jueves, 8 de agosto de 2013

Theatre: Lord Byron - Cain - Part I - Act I - Scene I - Closet Drama - Links


           A MYSTERY

"Now the Serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made." -- GEN. iii. 1.





                     THE AUTHOR.



The following scenes are entitled "A Mystery," in conformity with the ancient title annexed to dramas upon similar subjects, which were styled "Mysteries, or Moralities."  The author has by no means taken the same liberties with his subject which were common formerly, as may be seen by any reader curious enough to refer to those very profane productions, whether in English, French, Italian, or Spanish.  The author has endeavoured to preserve the language adapted to his characters; and where it is (and this is but rarely) taken from actual /Scripture,/ he has made as little alteration, even of words, as the rhythm would permit.  The reader will recollect that the Book of Genesis does not state that Eve was tempted by a demon, but by "the serpent;" and that only because he was "the most subtil of all the beasts of the field."  Whatever interpretation the Rabbins and the Fathers may have put upon this, I take the words as I find them, and reply, with Bishop Watson upon similar occasions, when the Fathers were quoted to him, as Moderator in the schools of Cambridge, "Behold the Book!" -- holding up the Scripture.  It is to be recollected that my present subject has nothing to do with the /New Testament,/ to which no reference can be here made without anachronism.  With the poems upon similar topics I have not been recently familiar.  Since I was twenty, I have never read Milton; but I had read him so frequently before, that this may make little difference.  Gesner's "Death of Abel" I have never read since I was eight years of age, at Aberdeen.  The general impression of my recollection is delight; but of the contents I remember only that Cain's wife was called Mahala, and Abel's Thirza: in the following pages I have called them "Adah" and "Zillah," the earliest female names which occur in Genesis; they were those of Lamech's wives: those of Cain and Abel are not called by their names.  Whether, then, a coincidence of subject may have caused the same in expression, I know nothing, and care as little.

The reader will please to bear in mind (what few choose to recollect), that there is no allusion to a future state in any of the books of Moses, nor indeed in the Old Testament. For a reason for this extraordinary omission, he may consult Warburton's "Divine Legation;" whether satisfactory or not, no better has yet been assigned.  I have therefore supposed it new to Cain, without, I hope, any perversion of Holy Writ.

With regard to the language of Lucifer, it was difficult for me to make him talk like a clergyman upon the same subjects; but I have done what I could to restrain him within the bounds of spiritual politeness.

If he disclaims having tempted Eve in the shape of the Serpent, it is only because the Book of Genesis has not the most distant allusion to anything of the kind, but merely to the Serpent in his serpentine capacity.

/Note./ -- The reader will perceive that the author has partly adopted in this poem the notion of Cuvier, that the world had been destroyed several times before the creation of man.  This speculation, derived from the different strata and the bones of enormous and unknown animals found in them, is not contrary to the Mosaic account, but rather confirms it; as no human bones have yet been discovered in those strata, although those of many known animals are found near the remains of the unknown.  The assertion of Lucifer, that the pre-Adamite world was also peopled by rational beings much more intelligent than man, and proportionately powerful to the mammoth, &c. &c., is, of course, a poetical fiction to help him make out his case.

I ought to add, that there is a "tramelogedia" of Alfieri, called "Abele." -- I have never read that, nor any other of the posthumous works of the writer, except his Life.



Dramatis Personae.








[The Land without Paradise. -- Time, Sunrise.
a Sacrifice.]

/Adam./  God, the Eternal! Infinite! All-wise! --
Who out of the darkness on the deep didst make
Light on the waters with a word -- all hail!
Jehovah, with returning light, all hail!

/Eve./  God! who didst name the day, and separate
Morning from night, till then divided never --
Who didst divide the wave from wave, and call
Part of Thy work the firmament -- all hail!

/Abel./  God! who didst call the elements into
Earth -- ocean -- air -- and fire, and with the day
And night, and worlds, which these illuminate,
Or shadow, madest beings to enjoy them,
And love both them and Thee -- all hail! all hail!

/Adah./  God, the Eternal! Parent of all things!
Who didst create these best and beauteous beings,
To be beloved, more than all, save Thee --
Let me love Thee and them: -- All hail! all hail!

/Zillah./  O God! who loving, making, blessing all,
Yet didst permit the Serpent to creep in,
And drive my father forth from Paradise,
Keep us from further evil: -- Hail! all hail!

/Adam./ Son Cain, my first-born, wherefore art thou silent?

/Cain./  Why should I speak?

/Adam./                      To pray.

/Cain./                               Have ye not pray'd?

/Adam./  We have, most fervently.

/Cain./                           And loudly: I
Have heard you.

/Adam./         So will God, I trust.

/Abel./                               Amen!

/Adam./  But thou, my eldest born, art silent still.

/Cain./  'Tis better I should be so.

/Adam./                              Wherefore so?

/Cain./  I have nought to ask.

/Adam./                        Nor aught to thank for?

/Cain./                                                No.

/Adam./  Dost thou not live?

/Cain./                      Must I not die?

/Eve./                                       Alas!
The fruit of our forbidden tree begins
To fall.

/Adam./  And we must gather it again.
O God! why didst Thou plant the tree of knowledge?

/Cain./  And wherefore pluck'd ye not the tree of life?
Ye might have then defied Him.

/Adam./                        Oh! my son,
Blaspheme not: these are serpents' words.

/Cain./                                   Why not?
The snake spoke /truth;/ it /was/ the tree of knowledge;
It /was/ the tree of life; knowledge is good,
And life is good: and how can both be evil?

/Eve./  My boy! thou speakest as I spoke, in sin,
Before thy birth: let me not see renew'd
My misery in thine.  I have repented.
Let me not see my offspring fall into
The snares beyond the walls of paradise,
Which e'en in Paradise destroy'd his parents.
Content thee with what /is./  Had we been so,
Thou now hadst been contented. -- Oh, my son!

/Adam./  Our orisons completed, let us hence,
Each to his task of toil -- not heavy, though
Needful: the earth is young, and yields us kindly
Her fruits with little labour.

/Eve./                         Cain, my son,
Behold thy father cheerful and resign'd,
And do as he doth.
                    [Exeunt ADAM and EVE.]

/Zillah./          Wilt thou not, my brother?

/Abel./  Why wilt thou wear this gloom upon thy brow,
Which can avail thee nothing, save to rouse
The Eternal anger?

/Adah./            My beloved Cain,
Wilt thou frown even on me?

/Cain./                    No, Adah! no;
I fain would be alone a little while.
Abel, I'm sick at heart; but it will pass.
Precede me, brother -- I will follow shortly.
And you, too, sisters, tarry not behind;
Your gentleness must not be harshly met:
I'll follow you anon.

/Adah./               If not, I will
Return to seek you here.

/Abel./                  The peace of God
Be on your spirit, brother!
              [Exeunt ABEL, ZILLAH, and ADAH.]

/Cain. (solus.)/            And this is
Life! -- Toil! and wherefore should I toil? -- because
My father could not keep his place in Eden.
What had /I/ done in this? -- I was unborn:
I sought not to be born; nor love the state
To which that birth has brought me.  Why did he
Yield to the serpent and the woman? or,
Yielding, why suffer?  What was there in this?
The tree was planted, and why not for him?
If not, why place him near it, where it grew,
The fairest in the centre?  They have but
One answer to all questions, "'Twas /His/ will,
And /He/ is good."  How know I that?  Because
He is all-powerful, must all-good, too, follow?
I judge but by the fruits -- and they are bitter --
Which I must feed on for a fault not mine.
Whom have we here? -- A shape like to the angels,
Yet of a sterner and a sadder aspect
Of spiritual essence: why do I quake?
Why should I fear him more than other spirits,
Whom I see daily wave their fiery swords
Before the gates round which I linger oft,
In twilight's hour, to catch a glimpse of those
Gardens which are my just inheritance,
Ere the night closes o'er the inhibited walls
And the immortal trees which overtop
The cherubim-defended battlements?
If I shrink not from these, the fire-arm'd angels,
Why should I quail from him who now approaches?
Yet he seems mightier far than them, nor less
Beauteous, and yet not all as beautiful
As he hath been, and might be: sorrow seems
Half of his immortality.  And is it
So? and can aught grieve save humanity?
He cometh.

           [Enter LUCIFER.]
/Lucifer./  Mortal!

/Cain./             Spirit, who art thou?

/Lucifer./  Master of Spirits.

/Cain./                        And being so, canst thou
Leave them, and walk with dust?

/Lucifer./                      I know the thoughts
Of dust, and feel for it, and with you.

/Cain./                                 How?
You know my thoughts?

/Lucifer./            They are the thoughts of all
Worthy of thought; -- 'tis your immortal part
Which speaks within you.

/Cain./                  What immortal part?
This has not been revealed: the tree of life
Was withheld from us by my father's folly,
While that of knowledge, by my mother's haste,
Was pluck'd too soon; and all the fruit is death!

/Lucifer./  They have deceived thee, thou shalt live.

/Cain./ But live to die: and, living, see no thing
To make death hateful, save an innate clinging,
A loathsome, and yet all invincible,
Instinct of life, which I abhor, as I
Despise myself, yet cannot overcome --
And so I live.  Would I had never lived!

/Lucifer./  Thou livest, and must live for ever: think not
The earth, which is thine outward cov'ring, is
Existence -- it will cease, and thou wilt be
No less than thou art now.

/Cain./                    No /less!/ and why
No more?

/Lucifer./  It may be thou shalt be as we.

/Cain./  And ye?

/Lucifer./       Are everlasting.

/Cain./                           Are ye happy?

/Lucifer./  We are mighty.

/Cain./                    Are ye happy?

/Lucifer./                              No: art thou?

/Cain./  How should I be so?  Look on me!

/Lucifer./                                Poor clay!
And thou pretendest to be wretched! Thou!

/Cain./  I am: -- and thou, with all thy might, what art thou?

/Lucifer./  One who aspired to be what made thee, and
Would not have made thee what thou art.

/Cain./                                 Ah!
Thou look'st almost a god; and --

/Lucifer./                        I am none:
And having fail'd to be one, would be nought
Save what I am.  He conquer'd; let Him reign!

/Cain./  Who?

/Lucifer./    Thy sire's Maker, and the earth's.

/Cain./                                     And heaven's,
And all that in them is.  So I have heard
His seraphs sing; and so my father saith.

/Lucifer./  They say -- what they must sing and say, on pain
Of being that which I am -- and thou art --
Of spirits and of men.

/Cain./                And what is that?

/Lucifer./  Souls who dare use their immortality --
Souls who dare look the Omnipotent tyrant in
His everlasting face, and tell Him, that
His evil is not good!  If he has made,
As He saith -- which I know not, nor believe --
But, if He made us -- He cannot unmake;
We are immortal! -- nay, He'd /have/ us so,
That He may torture: -- let Him!  He is great --
But, in His greatness, is no happier than
We in our conflict!  Goodness would not make
Evil; and what else hath He made?  But let Him
Sit on His vast and solitary throne,
Creating worlds, to make eternity
Less burthensome to His immense existence
And unparticipated solitude!
Let Him crowd orb on orb: He is alone
Indefinite, indissoluble tyrant!
Could He but crush Himself, 'twere the best boon
He ever granted: but, let Him reign on,
And multiply Himself in misery!
Spirits and men, at least we sympathise --
And, suffering in concert, make our pangs,
Innumerable, more endurable,
By the unbounded sympathy of all --
With all!  But /He!/ so wretched in His height,
So restless in His wretchedness, must sill
Create, and re-create --

/Cain./  Thou speak'st to me of things which long have swum
In visions through my thought: I never could
Reconcile what I saw with what I heard.
My father and my mother talk to me
Of serpents, and of fruits and trees: I see
The gates of what they call their Paradise
Guarded by fiery-sworded cherubim,
Which shut them out, and me: I feel the weight
Of daily toil and constant thought: I look
Around a world where I seem nothing, with
Thoughts which arise within me, as if they
Could master all things: -- but I thought alone
This misery was /mine./ -- My father is
Tamed down; my mother has forgot the mind
Which made her thirst for knowledge at the risk
Of an eternal curse; my brother is
A watching shepherd boy, who offers up
The firstlings of the flock to Him who bids
The earth yield nothing to us without sweat;
My sister Zillah sings an earlier hymn
Than the birds' matins; and my Adah, my
Own and beloved, she, too, understands not
The mind which overwhelms me: never till
Now met I aught to sympathise with me.
'Tis well -- I rather would consort with spirits.

/Lucifer./  And hadst thou not been fit by thine own soul
For such companionship, I would not now
Have stood before thee as I am: a serpent
Had been enough to charm ye, as before.

/Cain./  Ah! didst /thou/ tempt my mother?

/Lucifer./                                 I tempt none,
Save with the truth: was not the tree, the tree
Of knowledge? and was not the tree of life
Still fruitful?  Did /I/ bid her pluck them not?
Did /I/ plant things prohibited within
The reach of beings innocent, and curious
By their own innocence?  I would have made ye
Gods; and even He who thrust ye forth, so thrust ye
Because "ye should not eat the fruits of life,
And become gods as We."  Were those His words?

/Cain./  They were, as I have heard from those who heard them,
In thunder.

/Lucifer./  Then who was the demon?  He
Who would not let ye live, or he who would
Have made ye live for ever in the joy
And power of knowledge?

/Cain./                 Would they had snatch'd both
The fruits, or neither!

/Lucifer./              One is yours already;
The other may be still.

/Cain./                How so?

/Lucifer./                     By being
Yourselves, in your resistance.  Nothing can
Quench the mind, if the mind will be itself
And centre of surrounding things -- 'tis made
To sway.

/Cain./  But didst thou tempt my parents?

/Lucifer./                                I?
Poor clay! what should I tempt them for, or how?

/Cain./  They say the serpent was a spirit.

/Lucifer./                                  Who
Saith that?  It is not written so on high:
The Proud One will not so far falsify,
Though man's vast fears and little vanity
Would make him cast upon the spiritual nature
His own low failing.  The snake /was/ the snake --
No more, and yet not less than those he tempted,
In nature being earth also -- /more/ in /wisdom,/
Since he could overcome them, and foreknew
The knowledge fatal to their narrow joys.
Think'st thou I'd take the shape of things that die?

/Cain./  But the thing had a demon?

/Lucifer./                          He but woke one
In those he spake to with his forky tongue.
I tell thee that the serpent was no more
Than a mere serpent: ask the cherubim
Who guard the tempting tree.  When thousand ages
Have roll'd o'er your dead ashes, and your seed's,
The seed of the then world may thus array
Their earliest fault in fable, and attribute
To me a shape I scorn, as I scorn all
That bows to Him, who made things but to bend
Before His sullen, sole eternity;
But we who see the truth must speak it.  Thy
Fond parents listen'd to a creeping thing,
And fell.  For what should spirits tempt them?  What
Was there to envy in the narrow bounds
Of Paradise, that spirits who pervade
Space --- but I speak to thee of what thou know'st not,
With all thy tree of knowledge.

/Cain./                        But thou canst not
Speak aught of knowledge which I would not know,
And do not thirst to know, and bear a mind
To know.

/Lucifer./  And heart to look on?

/Cain./                           Be it proved.

/Lucifer./  Darest thou to look on Death?

/Cain./                                   He has not yet
Been seen.

/Lucifer./  But must be undergone.

/Cain./                            My father
Says he is something dreadful, and my mother
Weeps when he is named; and Abel lifts his eyes
To heaven, and Zillah casts hers to the earth,
And sighs a prayer; and Adah looks on me,
And speaks not.

/Lucifer./      And thou?

/Cain./                   Thoughts unspeakable
Crowd in my breast to burning, when I hear
Of this almighty Death, who is, it seems,
Inevitable.  Could I wrestle with him?
I wrestled with the lion, when a boy,
In play, till he ran roaring from my gripe.

/Lucifer./  It has no shape: but will absorb all things
That bear the form of earth-born being.

/Cain./                                 Ah!
I thought it was a being: who could do
Such evil things to being save a being?

/Lucifer./  Ask the Destroyer.

/Cain./                        Who!

/Lucifer./                          The Maker -- call Him
Which name thou wilt; He makes but to destroy.

/Cain./  I knew not that, yet thought it, since I heard
Of death: although I know not what it is,
Yet it seems horrible.  I have look'd out
In the vast desolate night in search of him;
And when I saw gigantic shadows in
The umbrage of the walls of Eden, chequer'd
By the far-flashing of the cherubs' swords,
I watch'd for what I thought his coming; for
With fear rose longing in my heart to know
What 'twas which shook us all -- but nothing came,
And then I turn'd my weary eyes from off
Our native and forbidden Paradise,
Up to the lights above me, in the azure,
Which are so beautiful: shall they, too, die?

/Lucifer./  Perhaps -- but long outlive both thine and thee.

/Cain./  I'm glad of that: I would not have them die --
They are so lovely.  What is death?  I fear,
I feel, it is a dreadful thing; but what,
I cannot compass: 'tis denounced against us,
Both them who sinn'd and sinn'd not, as an ill --
What ill?

/Lucifer./  To be resolved into the earth.

/Cain./  But shall I know it?

/Lucifer./                    As I know not death,
I cannot answer.

/Cain./          Were I quiet earth,
That were no evil: would I ne'er had been
Aught else but dust!

/Lucifer./           That is a grovelling wish,
Less than thy father's, for he wish'd to know.

/Cain./  But not to live, or wherefore pluck'd he not
The life-tree.

/Lucifer./     He was hinder'd.

/Cain./                         Deadly error!
Not to snatch first that fruit: -- but ere he pluck'd
The knowledge, he was ignorant of death.
Alas! I scarcely now know what it is,
And yet I fear it -- fear I know not what!

/Lucifer./  And I, who know all things, fear nothing: see
What is true knowledge.

/Cain./                 Wilt thou teach me all?

/Lucifer./  Ay, upon one condition.

/Cain./                             Name it.

/Lucifer./                                   That
Thou dost fall down and worship me -- thy Lord.

/Cain./  Thou art not the Lord my father worships.

/Lucifer./                                         No.

/Cain./  His equal?

/Lucifer./          No: I have nought in common with Him!
Nor would; I would be aught above -- beneath --
Aught save a sharer or a servant of
His power.  I dwell apart; but I am great: --
Many there are who worship me, and more
Who shall -- be thou amongst the first.

/Cain./                                 I never
As yet have bow'd unto my father's God,
Although my brother Abel oft implores
That I would join with him in sacrifice: --
Why should I bow to thee?

/Lucifer./                Has thou ne'er bowed
To Him?

/Cain./  Have I not said it? -- need I say it?
Could not thy mighty knowledge teach thee that?

/Lucifer./  He who bows not to Him has bow'd to me!

/Cain./  But I will bend to neither.

/Lucifer./                           Ne'er the less,
Thou art my worshipper: not worshipping
Him makes thee mine the same.

/Cain./                    And what is that?

/Lucifer./  Thou'lt know here -- and hereafter.

/Cain./                                         Let me but
Be taught the mystery of my being.

/Lucifer./                         Follow
Where I will lead thee.

/Cain./                 But I must retire
To till the earth -- for I had promised --

/Lucifer./                                 What?

/Cain./  To cull some first-fruits.

/Lucifer./                          Why?

/Cain./                                  To offer up
With Abel on an altar.

/Lucifer./             Saidst thou not
Thou ne'er hadst bent to Him who made thee?

/Cain./                                     Yes --
But Abel's earnest prayer has wrought upon me;
The offering is more his than mine -- and Adah --

/Lucifer./  Why dost thou hesitate?

/Cain./                             She is my sister,
Born on the same day, of the same womb: and
She wrung from me, with tears, this promise;
Rather than see her weep, I would, methinks,
Bear all -- and worship aught.

/Lucifer./                     Then follow me!

/Cain./  I will.

              [Enter ADAH.]

/Adah./          My brother, I have come for thee;
It is our hour of rest and joy -- and we
Have less without thee.  Thou hast labour'd not
This morn; but I have done thy task: the fruits
Are ripe, and glowing as the light which ripens:
Come away.

/Cain./    Seest thou not?

/Adah./                    I see an angel:
We have seen many: will he share our hour
Of rest? -- he is welcome.

/Cain./                    But he is not like
The angels we have seen.

/Adah./                  Are there, then, others?
But he is welcome, as they were: they deign'd
To be our guests -- will he?

/Cain (to Lucifer.)/         Wilt thou?

/Lucifer./                              I ask
Thee to be mine.

/Cain./          I must away with him.

/Adah./  And leave us?

/Cain./                Ay.

/Adah./                    And /me?/

/Cain./                              Beloved Adah!

/Adah./  Let me go with thee.

/Lucifer./                    No, she must not.

/Adah./                                         Who
Art thou that steppest between heart and heart?

/Cain./  He is a god.

/Adah./               How know'st thou?

/Cain./                                 He speaks like
A god.

/Adah./  So did the serpent, and it lied.

/Lucifer./  Thou errest, Adah! -- was not the tree that
Of knowledge?

/Adah./       Ay -- to our eternal sorrow.

/Lucifer./  And yet that grief is knowledge -- so he lied not:
And if he did betray you, 'twas with truth;
And truth in its own essence cannot be
But good.

/Adah./  But all we know of it has gather'd
Evil on ill: expulsion from our home,
And dread, and toil, and sweat, and heaviness;
Remorse of that which was -- and hope of that
Which cometh not.  Cain! walk not with this spirit.
Bear with what we have borne, and love me -- I
Love thee.

/Lucifer./  More than thy mother, and thy sire?

/Adah./  I do.  Is that a sin, too?

/Lucifer./                          No, not yet:
It one day will be in your children.

/Adah./                              What!
Must not my daughter love her brother Enoch?

/Lucifer./  Not as thou lovest Cain.

/Adah./                              Oh! my God!
Shall they not love, and bring forth things that love
Out of their love? have they not drawn their milk
Out of this bosom? was not he, their father,
Born of the same sole womb, in the same hour
With me?  Did not we love each other? and
In multiplying our being multiply
Things which will love each other as we love
them? -- And as I love thee, Cain! go not
Forth with this spirit; he is not of ours.

/Lucifer./  The sin I speak of is not of my making,
And cannot be a sin in you -- whate'er
It seems in those who will replace ye in

/Adah./    What is the sin which is not
Sin in itself?  Can circumstance make sin
Of virtue? -- if it doth, we are the slaves
Of --

/Lucifer./  Higher things than ye are slaves: and higher
Than them or ye would be so, did they not
Prefer an independency of torture
To the smooth agonies of adulation,
In hymns and harpings, and self-seeking prayers,
To that which is omnipotent, because
It is omnipotent, and not from love,
But terror and self-hope.

/Adah./                   Omnipotence
Must be all goodness.

/Lucifer./            Was it so in Eden?

/Adah./  Fiend! tempt me not with beauty; thou art fairer
Than was the serpent, and as false.

/Lucifer./                          As true.
Ask Eve, your mother: bears she not the knowledge
Of good and evil?

/Adah./           Oh, my mother! thou
Hast pluck'd a fruit more fatal to thine offspring
Than to thyself; thou at the least hast pass'd
Thy youth in Paradise, in innocent
And happy intercourse with happy spirits:
But we, thy children, ignorant of Eden,
Are girt about by demons, who assume
The words of God, and tempt us with our own
Dissatisfied and curious thoughts -- as thou
Wert work'd on by the snake in thy most flush'd
And heedless, harmless wantonness of bliss.
I cannot answer this immortal thing
Which stands before me; I can not abhor him;
I look upon him with a pleasing fear,
And yet I fly not from him: in his eye
There is a fastening attraction which
Fixes my fluttering eyes on his; my heart
Beats quick; he awes me, and yet draws near,
Nearer, and nearer: -- Cain -- Cain -- save me from him!

/Cain./  What dreads my Adah?  This is no ill spirit.

/Adah./  He is not God -- nor God's: I have beheld
The cherubs and the seraphs; he looks not
Like them.

/Cain./    But there are spirits loftier still --
The archangels.

/Lucifer./      And still loftier than the archangels.

/Adah./  Ay -- but not blessed.

/Lucifer./                      If the blessedness
Consists in slavery -- no.

/Adah./                    I have heard it said,
The seraphs /love most/ -- cherubim /know most/ --
And this should be a cherub -- since he loves not.

/Lucifer./  And if the higher knowledge quenches love,
What must /he be/ you cannot love when known?
Since the all-knowing cherubim love least,
The seraphs' love can be but ignorance:
That they are not compatible, the doom
Of thy fond parents, for their daring, proves.
Choose betwixt love and knowledge -- since there is
No other choice: your sire hath chosen already;
His worship is but fear.

/Adah./                  Oh, Cain! choose love.

/Cain./  For thee, my Adah, I choose not -- it was
Born with me -- but I love nought else.

/Adah./                                 Our parents?

/Cain./  Did they love us when they snatch'd from the tree
That which hath driven us all from Paradise?

/Adah./  We were not born then -- and if we had been,
Should we not love them and our children, Cain?

/Cain./  My little Enoch! and his lisping sister!
Could I but deem them happy, I would half
Forget -- but it can never be forgotten
Through twice a thousand generations: never
Shall men love the remembrance of the man
Who sow'd the seed of evil and mankind
In the same hour!  They pluck'd the tree of science
And sin -- and, not content with their own sorrow,
Begot /me/ -- /thee/ -- and all the few that are,
And all the unnumber'd and innumerable
Multitudes, millions, myriads, which may be,
To inherit agonies accumulated
By ages! -- and /I/ must be sire of such things!
Thy beauty and thy love -- my love and joy,
The rapturous moment and the placid hour,
All we love in our children and each other,
But lead them and ourselves through many years
Of sin and pain -- or few, but still of sorrow,
Intercheck'd with an instant of brief pleasure,
To Death -- the unknown!  Methinks the tree of knowledge
Hath not fulfill'd its promise: -- if they sinn'd,
At least they ought to have known all things that are
Of knowledge -- and the mystery of death.
What do they know? -- that they are miserable.
What need of snakes and fruits to teach us that?

/Adah./  I am not wretched, Cain, and if thou
Wert happy --

/Cain./       Be thou happy, then, alone --
I will have nought to do with happiness,
Which humbles me and mine.

/Adah./                    Alone I could not,
Nor /would/ be happy: but with those around us,
I think I could be so, despite of death,
Which, as I know it not, I dread not, though
It seems an awful shadow -- if I may
Judge from what I have heard.

/Lucifer./                    And thou couldst not
/Alone,/ thou say'st, be happy?

/Adah./                         Alone! Oh, my God!
Who could be happy and alone, or good?
To me my solitude seems sin; unless
When I think how soon I shall see my brother,
His brother, and our children, and our parents.

/Lucifer./  Yet thy God is alone; and is He happy?
Lonely, and good?

/Adah./           He is not so; He hath
The angels and the mortals to make happy,
And thus becomes so in diffusing joy.
What else can joy be, but the spreading joy?

/Lucifer./  Ask of your sire, the exile fresh from Eden;
Or of his first-born son: ask your own heart;
It is not tranquil.

/Adah./             Alas! no! and you --
Are you of heaven?

/Lucifer./        If I am not, inquire
The cause of this all-spreading happiness
(Which you proclaim) of the all-great and good
Maker of life and living things; it is
His secret, and He keeps it.  /We/ must bear,
And some of us resist, and both in vain,
His seraphs say; but it is worth the trial,
Since better may not be without: there is
A wisdom in the spirit, which directs
To right, as in the dim blue air the eye
Of you, young mortals, lights at once upon
The star which watches, welcoming the morn.

/Adah./  It is a beautiful star; I love it for its beauty.

/Lucifer./  And why not adore?

/Adah./                        Our father
Adores the Invisible only.

/Lucifer./                 But the symbols
Of the Invisible are the loveliest
Of what is visible; and yon bright star
Is leader of the host of heaven.

/Adah./                          Our father
Saith that he has beheld the God himself
Who made him and our mother.

/Lucifer./                   Hast /thou/ seen Him?

/Adah./  Yes -- in His works.

/Lucifer./                    But in His being?

/Adah./                                         No --
Save in my father, who is God's own image;
Or in His angels, who are like to thee --
And brighter, yet less beautiful and powerful
In seeming: as the silent sunny noon,
All light they look upon us; but thou seem'st
Like an ethereal night, where long white clouds
Streak the deep purple, and unnumber'd stars
Spangle the wonderful mysterious vault
With things that look as if they would be suns:
So beautiful, unnumber'd, and endearing,
Not dazzling, and yet drawing us to them,
They fill my eyes with tears, and so dost thou.
Thou seem'st unhappy: do not make us so,
And I will weep for thee.

/Lucifer./                Alas! those tears!
Couldst thou but know what oceans will be shed --

/Adah./  By me?

/Lucifer./      By all.

/Adah./                 What all?

/Lucifer./                        The million millions --
The myriad myriads -- the all-peopled earth --
The unpeopled earth -- and the o'er-peopled hell,
Of which thy bosom is the germ.

/Adah./                         O Cain!
This spirit curseth us.

/Cain./                 Let him say on;
Him will I follow.

/Adah./            Whither?

/Lucifer./                  To a place
/Whence/ he shall come back to thee in an hour;
But in that hour see things of many days.

/Adah./  How can that be?

/Lucifer./                Did not your Maker make
Out of old worlds this new one in a few days?
And cannot I, who aided in this work,
Shew in an hour what He hath made in many,
Or hath destroyed in few?

/Cain./                   Lead on.

/Adah./                            Will he,
In sooth, return within an hour?

/Lucifer./                        He shall.
With us acts are exempt from time, and we
Can crowd eternity into an hour,
Or stretch an hour into eternity:
We breathe not by a mortal measurement --
But that's a mystery.  Cain, come on with me.

/Adah./  Will he return?

/Lucifer./               Ay, woman! he alone
Of mortals from that place (the first and last
Who shall return, save ONE) -- shall come back to thee,
To make that silent and expectant world,
As populous as this: at present there
Are few inhabitants.

/Adah./              Where dwellest thou?

Throughout all space.  Where should I dwell?  Where are
Thy God or Gods -- there am I: all things are
Divided with me; life and death -- and time --
Eternity -- and heaven and earth -- and that
Which is not heaven nor earth, but peopled with
Those who once peopled or shall people both --
These are my realms!  So that I do divide
/His,/ and possess a kingdom which is not
/His./  If I were not that which I have said,
Could I stand here?  His angels are within
Your vision.

/Adah./      So they were when the fair serpent
Spoke with our mother first.

/Lucifer./                   Cain! thou hast heard.
If thou dost long for knowledge, I can satiate
That thirst; nor ask thee to partake of fruits
Which shall deprive thee of a single good
The Conqueror has left thee.  Follow me.

/Cain./  Spirit, I have said it.
                  [Exeunt LUCIFER and CAIN.]

/Adah (follows, exclaiming.)/  Cain! my brother! Cain!




[The Abyss of Space.]

/Cain./  I tread on air, and sink not; yet I fear
To sink.

/Lucifer./  Have faith in me, and thou shalt be
Borne on the air, of which I am the prince.

/Cain./  Can I do so without impiety?

Believe -- and sink not! doubt -- and perish! thus
Would run the edict of the other God,
Who names me demon to His angels; they
Echo the sound to miserable things,
Which, knowing nought beyond their shallow senses,
Worship the word which strikes their ear, and deem
Evil or good what is proclaim'd to them
In their abasement. I will have none such:
Worship or worship not, thou shalt behold
The worlds beyond thy little world, nor be
Amerced for doubts beyond thy little life,
With torture of /my/ dooming.  There will come
An hour, when, toss'd upon some water-drops,
A man shall say to a man, "Believe in me,
And walk the waters;" and the man shall walk
The billows and be safe.  /I/ will not say,
Believe in /me,/ as a conditional creed
To save thee; but fly with me o'er the gulf
Of space an equal flight, and I will show
What thou dar'st not deny -- the history
Of past, and present, and of future worlds.

/Cain./  Oh, god, or demon, or whate'er thou art,
Is yon our earth?

/Lucifer./        Dost thou not recognise
The dust which form'd your father?

/Cain./                            Can it be?
Yon small blue circle, swinging in far ether,
With an inferior circlet near it still,
Which looks like that which lit our earthly night?
Is this our Paradise?  Where are its walls,
And they who guard them?

/Lucifer./               Point me out the site
Of Paradise.

/Cain./      How should I?  As we move
Like sunbeams onward, it grows small and smaller,
And as it waxes little, and then less,
Gathers a halo round it, like the light
Which shone the roundest of the stars, when I
Beheld them from the skirts of Paradise.
Methinks they both, as we recede from them,
Appear to join the innumerable stars
Which are around us; and, as we move on,
Increase their myriads.

/Lucifer./              And if there should be
Worlds greater than thine own, inhabited
By greater things, and they themselves far more
In number than the dust of thy dull earth,
Though multiplied to animated atoms,
All living, and all doom'd to death, and wretched,
What wouldst thou think?

/Cain./                  I should be proud of thought
Which knew such things.

/Lucifer./              But if that high thought were
Link'd to a servile mass of matter, and,
Knowing such things, aspiring to such things,
And science still beyond them, were chain'd down
To the most gross and petty paltry wants,
All foul and fulsome, and the very best
Of thine enjoyments a sweet degradation,
A most enervating and filthy cheat
To lure thee on to the renewal of
Fresh souls and bodies all foredoom'd to be
As frail, and few so happy --

/Cain./                       Spirit! I
Know nought of death, save as a dreadful thing
Of which I have heard my parents speak, as of
A hideous heritage I owe to them
No less than life; a heritage not happy,
If I may judge, till now.  But, spirit! if
It be as thou hast said (and I within
Feel the prophetic torture of its truth),
Here let me die: for to give birth to those
Who can but suffer many years, and die,
Methinks is merely propagating death,
And multiplying murder.

/Lucifer./              Thou canst not
/All/ die -- there is what must survive.

/Cain./                                  The Other
Spake not of this unto my father, when
He shut him forth from Paradise, with death
Written upon his forehead.  But at least
Let what is mortal of me perish, that
I may be in the rest as angels are.

/Lucifer./  I am angelic: wouldst thou be as I am?

/Cain./  I know not what thou art: I see thy power,
And see thou shew'st me things beyond /my/ power,
Beyond all power of my born faculties,
Although inferior still to my desires
And my conceptions.

/Lucifer./          What are they which dwell
so humbly in their pride, as to sojourn
With worms in clay?

/Cain./             And what art thou who dwellest
So haughtily in spirit, and canst range
Nature and immortality -- and yet
Seem'st sorrowful?

/Lucifer./         I seem that which I am;
And therefore do I ask of thee, if thou
Wouldst be immortal?

/Cain./             Thou hast said, I must be
Immortal in despite of me.  I knew not
This until lately -- but since it must be,
Let me, or happy or unhappy, learn
To anticipate my immortality.

/Lucifer./  Thou didst before I came upon thee.

/Cain./                                         How?

/Lucifer./  By suffering.

/Cain./                   And must torture be immortal?

/Lucifer./  We and thy sons will try.  But now, behold!
Is it not glorious?

/Cain./             Oh, thou beautiful
And unimaginable ether! and
Ye multiplying masses of increased
And still increasing lights! what are ye? what
Is this blue wilderness of interminable
Air, where ye roll along, as I have seen
The leaves along the limpid streams of Eden?
Is your course measured for ye?  Or do ye
Sweep on in your unbounded revelry
Through an aërial universe of endless
Expansion -- at which my soul aches to think --
Intoxicated with eternity?
O God! O Gods! or whatsoe'er ye are!
How beautiful ye are! how beautiful
Your works, or accidents, or whatsoe'er
They may be!  Let me die, as atoms die,
(If that they die) or know ye in your might
And knowledge!  My thoughts are not in this hour
Unworthy what I see, though my dust is;
Spirit! let me expire, or see them nearer.

/Lucifer./  Art thou not nearer? look back to thine earth!

/Cain./  Where is it?  I see nothing save a mass
Of most innumerable lights.

/Lucifer./                   Look there!

/Cain./  I cannot see it.

/Lucifer./                Yet it sparkles still.

/Cain./  That! -- yonder!

/Lucifer./                Yea.

/Cain./                        And wilt thou tell me so?
Why, I have seen the fire-flies and fire-worms
Sprinkle the dusky groves and the green banks
In the dim twilight, brighter than yon world
Which bears them.

/Lucifer./  Thou hast seen both worms and worlds,
Each bright and sparkling -- what dost think of them?

/Cain./  That they are beautiful in their own sphere,
and that the night, which makes both beautiful,
The little shining fire-fly in its flight,
And the immortal star in its great course,
Must both be guided.

/Lucifer./           But by whom or what?

/Cain./  Shew me.

/Lucifer./        Dar'st thou behold?

/Cain./                               How know I what
I /dare/ behold?  As yet, thou hast shewn nought
I dare not gaze on further.

/Lucifer./                 On, then, with me.
Wouldst thou behold things mortal or immortal?

/Cain./  Why, what are things?

/Lucifer./                     /Both/ partly: but what doth
Sit next thy heart?

/Cain./             The things I see.

/Lucifer./                            But what
/Sate/ nearest it?

/Cain./            The things I have not seen,
Nor ever shall -- the mysteries of death.

/Lucifer./  What, if I shew to thee things which have died,
As I have shewn thee much which cannot die?

/Cain./  Do so.

/Lucifer./      Away, then! on our mighty wings.

/Cain./  Oh! how we cleave the blue!  The stars fade from us!
The earth! where is my earth?  Let me look on it,
For I was made of it.

/Lucifer./            'Tis now beyond thee,
Less, in the universe, than thou in it;
Yet deem not that thou canst escape it: thou
Shalt soon return to earth, and all its dust:
'Tis part of thy eternity, and mine.

/Cain./  Where dost thou lead me?

/Lucifer./                        To what was before thee!
The phantasm of the world; of which thy world
Is but the wreck.

/Cain./           What! is it not then new?

/Lucifer./  No more than life is; and that was ere thou
Or /I/ were, or the things which seem to us
Greater than either: many things will have
No end; and some, which would pretend to have
Had no beginning, have had one as mean
As thou; and mightier things have been extinct
To make way for much meaner than we can
Surmise; for /moments/ only and the /space/
Have been and must be all /unchangeable./
But changes make not death, except to clay:
But thou art clay, -- and canst but comprehend
That which was clay, and such thou shalt behold.

/Cain./  Clay, spirit! what thou wilt, I can survey.

/Lucifer./ Away, then!

/Cain./                But the lights fade from me fast,
And some till now grew larger as we approach'd,
And wore the look of worlds.

/Lucifer./                   And such they are.

/Cain./  And Edens in them?

/Lucifer./                  It may be.

/Cain./                                And men?

/Lucifer./  Yea, or things higher.

/Cain./                            Ay? and serpents too?

Wouldst thou have men without them? must no reptiles
Breathe save the erect ones?

/Cain./                      How the lights recede;
Where fly we?

/Lucifer./    To the world of phantoms, which
Are beings past, and shadows still to come.

/Cain./  But it grows dark and dark -- the stars are gone!

/Lucifer./  And yet thou seest.

/Cain./                         'Tis a fearful light!
No sun, no moon, no lights innumerable --
The very blue of the empurpled night
Fades to a dreary twilight, yet I see
Huge dusky masses: but unlike the worlds
We were approaching, which, begirt with light,
Seem'd full of life even when their atmosphere
Of light gave way, and shew'd them taking shapes
Unequal, of deep valleys and vast mountains;
And some emitting sparks, and some displaying
Enormous liquid plains, and some begirt
With luminous belts, and floating moons, which took,
Like them, the features of fair earth: -- instead,
All here seems dark and dreadful.

/Lucifer./                        But distinct.
Thou seekest to behold death, and dead things?

/Cain./  I seek it not: but as I know there are
Such, and that my sire's sin makes him and me,
And all that we inherit, liable
To such, I would behold at once, what I
Must one day see perforce.

/Lucifer./                 Behold!

/Cain./                            'Tis darkness.

/Lucifer./  And so shall it be ever; but we will
Unfold its gates!

/Cain./          Enormous vapours roll
Apart -- what's this?

/Lucifer./            Enter!

/Cain./                      Can I return?

Return! be sure: how else should death be peopled?
Its present realm is thin to what it will be,
Through thee and thine.

/Cain./                The clouds still open wide
And wider, and make widening circles round us.

/Lucifer./  Advance!

/Cain./              And thou!

/Lucifer./                   Fear not -- without me thou
Couldst not have gone beyond thy world.  On! on!
                  [They disappear through the clouds.]

Theatre: Lord Byron - Cain - Part I - Act I - Scene I - Closet Drama - Links

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