[The Earth near Eden, as in Act I.]
[Enter CAIN and ADAH.]
/Adah./ Hush! tread softly, Cain.
/Cain./ I will; but wherefore?
/Adah./ Our little Enoch sleeps upon yon bed
Of leaves, beneath the cypress.
/Cain./ Cypress! 'tis
A gloomy tree, which looks as if it mourn'd
O'er what it shadows; wherefore didst thou choose it
For our child's canopy?
/Adah./ Because its branches
Shut out the sun like night, and therefore seem'd
Fitting to shadow slumber.
/Cain./ Ay, the last --
And longest; but no matter -- lead me to him.
[They go up to the child.]
How lovely he appears! his little cheeks,
In their pure incarnation, vying with
The rose leaves strewn beneath them.
/Adah./ And his lips, too,
How beautifully parted! No; you shall not
Kiss him, at least not now; he will awake soon --
His hour of mid-day rest is nearly over;
But it were pity to disturb him till
/Cain./ You have said well; I will contain
My heart till then. He smiles, and sleeps! -- Sleep on
And smile, thou little, young inheritor
Of a world scarce less young: sleep on, and smile!
Thine are the hours and days when both are cheering
And innocent! /Thou/ hast not pluck'd the fruit --
Thou know'st not thou art naked! Must the time
Come thou shalt be amerced for sins unknown,
Which were not mine nor thine? But now sleep on!
His cheeks are reddening into deeper smiles,
And shining lids are trembling o'er his long
Lashes, dark as the cypress which waves o'er them,
Half open; from beneath them the clear blue
Laughs out, although in slumber. He must dream --
Of what? Of paradise! -- Ay! dream of it,
My disinherited boy! 'Tis but a dream;
For never more thyself, thy sons, nor fathers,
Shall walk in that forbidden place of joy!
/Adah./ Dear Cain! Nay, do not whisper o'er our son
Such melancholy yearnings o'er the past:
Why wilt thou always mourn for Paradise?
Can we not make another?
/Adah./ Here, or
Where'er thou wilt: where'er thou art, I feel not
The want of this so much regretted Eden.
Have I not thee, our boy, our sire, and brother,
And Zillah -- our sweet sister, and our Eve,
To whom we owe so much besides our birth?
/Cain./ Yes -- death, too, is among the debts we owe her.
/Adah./ Cain! that proud spirit, who withdrew thee hence
Hath sadden'd thine still deeper. I had hoped
The promised wonders which thou hast beheld,
Visions, thou say'st, of past and present worlds,
Would have composed thy mind to the calm
Of a contented knowledge; but I see
Thy guide hath done thee evil: still I thank him,
And can forgive him all, that he so soon
Hath given thee back to us.
/Cain./ So soon?
/Adah./ 'Tis scarcely
Two hours since ye departed: two /long/ hours
To /me,/ but only /hours/ upon the sun.
/Cain./ And yet I have approach'd that sun, and seen
Worlds which he once shone on, and never more
Shall light; and worlds he never lit: methought
Years had roll'd o'er my absence.
/Adah./ Hardly hours.
/Cain./ The mind then hath capacity of time,
And measures it by that which it beholds,
Pleasing or painful; little or almighty.
I had beheld the immemorial works
Of endless beings; skirr'd extinguish'd worlds;
And, gazing on eternity, methought
I had borrow'd more by a few drops of ages
From its immensity; but now I feel
My littleness again. Well said the spirit,
That I was nothing!
/Adah./ Wherefore said he so?
Jehovah said not that.
/Cain./ No: /He/ contents Him
With making us the /nothing/ which we are;
And after flattering dust with glimpses of
Eden and Immortality, resolves
It back to dust again -- for what?
/Adah./ Thou know'st --
Even for our parents' error.
/Cain./ What is that
To us! they sinn'd, then /let them/ die!
/Adah./ Thou hast not spoken well, nor is that thought
Thy own, but of the spirit who was with thee.
Would /I/ could die for them, so /they/ might live!
/Cain./ Why, so say I -- provided that one victim
Might satiate the insatiable of life,
And that our little rosy sleeper there
Might never taste of death nor human sorrow,
Nor hand it down to those who spring from him.
/Adah./ How know we that some such atonement one day
May not redeem our race?
/Cain./ By sacrificing
The harmless for the guilty! what atonement
Were there? why /we/ are innocent: what have we
Done, that we must be victims for a deed
Before our birth, or need have victims to
Atone for this mysterious, nameless sin --
If it be such a sin to seek for knowledge.
/Adah./ Alas! thou sinnest now, my Cain: thy words
Sound impious in mine ears.
/Cain./ Then leave me!
Though thy God left thee.
/Cain./ Say, what have we here?
/Adah./ Two altars, which our brother Abel made
During thine absence, whereupon to offer
A sacrifice to God on thy return.
/Cain./ And how knew /he/ that /I/ would be so ready
With the burnt-offerings, which he daily brings
With a meek brow, whose base humility
Shews more of fear than worship, as a bribe
To the Creator?
/Adah./ Surely, 'tis well done.
/Cain./ One altar may suffice; /I/ have no offering.
/Adah./ The fruits of the earth, the early, beautiful
Blossom and bud, and bloom of flowers and fruits,
These are a goodly offering to the Lord,
Given with a gentle and a contrite spirit.
/Cain./ I have toil'd, and till'd, and sweated in the sun
According to the curse: -- must I do more?
For what should I be gentle? for a war
With all the elements ere they will yield
The bread we eat? For what must I be grateful?
For being dust, and grovelling in the dust,
Till I return to dust? If I am nothing --
For nothing shall I be an hypocrite,
And seem well-pleased with pain? For what should I
Be contrite? for my father's sin, already
Expiate with what we all have undergone,
And to be more than expiated by
The ages prophesied, upon our seed.
Little deems our young blooming sleeper, there,
The germs of an eternal misery
To myriads is within him! better 'twere
I snatch'd him in his sleep, and dash'd him 'gainst
The rocks, than let him live to --
/Adah./ Oh, my God!
Touch not the child -- my child! /thy/ child! O Cain!
/Cain./ Fear not! for all the stars, and all the power
Which sways them, I would not accost yon infant
With ruder greeting than a father's kiss.
/Adah./ Then, why so awful in thy speech?
/Cain./ I said,
'Twere better that he ceased to live, than give
Life to so much of sorrow as he must
Endure, and, harder still, bequeath; but since
That saying jars you, let us only say --
'Twere better that he never had been born.
/Adah./ Oh, do not say so! Where were then the joys,
The mother's joys of watching, nourishing,
And loving him? Soft! he awakes. Sweet Enoch!
[She goes to the child.]
O Cain! look on him; see how full of life,
Of strength, of bloom, of beauty, and of joy,
How like to me -- how like to thee, when gentle,
For /then/ we are /all/ alike; is't not so, Cain?
Mother, and sire, and son, our features are
Reflected in each other; as they are
In the clear waters, when /they/ are /gentle,/ and
When /thou/ art /gentle./ Love us, then, my Cain!
And love thyself for our sakes, for we love thee.
Look! how he laughs and stretches out his arms,
And opens wide his blue eyes upon thine,
To hail his father; while his little form
Flutters as wing'd with joy. Talk not of pain!
The childless cherubs well might envy thee
The pleasures of a parent! Bless him, Cain!
As yet he hath no words to thank thee, but
His heart will, and thine own too.
/Cain./ Bless thee, boy!
If that a mortal blessing may avail thee,
To save thee from the serpent's curse!
/Adah./ It shall.
Surely a father's blessing may avert
A reptile's subtlety.
/Cain./ Of that I doubt;
But bless him ne'er the less.
/Adah./ Our brother comes.
/Cain./ Thy brother Abel.
/Abel./ Welcome, Cain! My brother,
The peace of God be on thee!
/Cain./ Abel, hail!
/Abel./ Our sister tells me thou hast been wandering,
In high communion with a spirit, far
Beyond our wonted range. Was he of those
We have seen and spoke with, like to our father?
/Abel./ Why then commune with him? he may be
A foe to the Most High.
/Cain./ And friend to man.
Has the Most High been so -- if so you term Him?
/Term Him!/ your words are strange to-day, my brother.
My sister Adah, leave us for a while --
We mean to sacrifice.
/Adah./ Farewell, my Cain;
But first embrace thy son. May his soft spirit,
And Abel's pious ministry, recall thee
To peace and holiness!
[Exit ADAH, with her child.]
/Abel./ Where hast thou been?
/Cain./ I know not.
/Abel./ Nor what thou hast seen?
/Cain./ The dead,
The immortal, the unbounded, the omnipotent,
The overpowering mysteries of space --
The innumerable worlds that were and are --
A whirlwind of such overwhelming things,
Suns, moons, and earths, upon their loud-voiced spheres
Singing in thunder round me, as have made me
Unfit for mortal converse: leave me, Abel.
/Abel./ Thine eyes are flashing with unnatural light,
Thy cheek is flush'd with an unnatural hue,
Thy words are fraught with an unnatural sound --
What may this mean?
/Cain./ It means -- I pray thee, leave me.
/Abel./ Not till we have pray'd and sacrificed together.
/Cain./ Abel, I pray thee, sacrifice alone --
Jehovah loves thee well.
/Abel./ /Both/ well, I hope.
/Cain./ But thee the better: I care not for that;
Thou art fitter for His worship than I am;
Revere Him, then -- but let it be alone --
At least, without me.
/Abel./ Brother, I should ill
Deserve the name of our great father's son,
If, as my elder, I revered thee not,
And in the worship of our God call'd not
On thee to join me, and precede me in
Our priesthood -- 'tis thy place.
/Cain./ But I have ne'er
/Abel./ The more my grief; I pray thee
To do so now: thy soul seems labouring in
Some strong delusion; it will calm thee.
Nothing can calm me more. /Calm!/ say I? Never
Knew I what calm was in the soul, although
I have seen the elements still'd. My Abel, leave me!
Or let me leave thee to thy pious purpose.
/Abel./ Neither: we must perform our task together.
Spurn me not.
/Cain./ If it must be so -- well, then,
What shall I do?
/Abel./ Choose one of those two altars.
/Cain./ Choose for me: they to me are so much turf
/Abel./ Choose thou!
/Cain./ I have chosen.
/Abel./ 'Tis the highest,
And suits thee, as the elder. Now prepare
/Cain./ Where are thine?
/Abel./ Behold them here--
The firstlings of the flock, and fat thereof --
A shepherd's humble offering.
/Cain./ I have no flocks;
I am a tiller of the ground, and must
Yield what it yieldeth to my toil -- its fruit:
[He gathers fruits.]
Behold them in their various bloom and ripeness.
[They dress their altars, and
kindle a flame upon them.]
/Abel./ My brother, as the elder, offer first
Thy prayer and thanksgiving with sacrifice.
/Cain./ No -- I am new to this; lead thou the way,
And I will follow -- as I may.
/Abel (kneeling.)/ O God!
Who made us, and who breathed the breath of life
Within our nostrils, who hath blessed us,
And spared, despite our father's sin, to make
His children all lost, as they might have been,
Had not Thy justice been so temper'd with
The mercy which is Thy delight, as to
Accord a pardon like a Paradise,
Compared with our great crimes: -- Sole Lord of light!
Of good, of glory, and eternity;
Without whom all were evil, and with whom
Nothing can err, except to some good end
Of Thine omnipotent benevolence --
Inscrutable, but still to be fulfill'd --
Accept from out thy humble first of shepherd's
First of the first-born flocks -- an offering,
In itself nothing -- as what offering can be
Aught unto Thee? -- but yet accept it for
The thanksgiving of him who spreads it in
The face of Thy high heaven, bowing his own
Even to the dust, of which he is, in honour
Of Thee, and of Thy name, for evermore!
/Cain (standing erect during this speech.)/
Spirit! whate'er or whosoe'er Thou art,
Omnipotent, it may be -- and, if good,
Shewn in the exemption of Thy deeds from evil;
Jehovah upon earth! and God in heaven!
And it may be with other names, because
Thine attributes seem many, as thy works: --
If Thou must be propitiated with prayers,
Take them! If Thou must be induced with altars,
And soften'd with a sacrifice, receive them!
Two beings here erect them unto Thee.
If Thou lov'st blood, the shepherd's shrine, which smokes
On my right hand, hath shed it for Thy service
In the first of his flock, whose limbs now reek
In sanguinary incense to Thy skies;
Or if the sweet and blooming fruits of earth,
And milder seasons, which the unstain'd turf
I spread them on now offers in the face
Of the broad sun which ripen'd them, may seem
Good to Thee, inasmuch as they have not
Suffer'd in limb or life, and rather form
A sample of Thy works, than supplication
To look on ours! If a shrine without victim,
And altar without gore, may win Thy favour,
Look on it! And for him who dresseth it,
He is -- such as Thou mad'st him; and seeks nothing
Which must be won by kneeling: if he's evil,
Strike him! Thou art omnipotent, and may'st --
For what can he oppose? If he be good,
Strike him, or spare him, as Thou wilt! since all
Rests upon Thee; and good and evil seem
To have no power themselves, save in Thy will;
And whether that be good or ill I know not,
Not being omnipotent, nor fit to judge
Omnipotence, but merely to endure
Its mandate; which thus far I have endured.
[The fire upon the altar of ABEL kindles into
a column of the brightest flame, and ascends
to heaven; while a whirlwind throws down the
altar of CAIN, and scatters the fruits abroad
upon the earth.]
Oh, brother, pray! Jehovah's wroth with thee.
/Cain./ Why so?
/Abel./ Thy fruits are scatter'd on the earth.
/Cain./ From earth they came, to earth let them return;
Their seed will bear fresh fruit there ere the summer:
Thy burn flesh-offering prospers better; see
How heaven licks up the flames, when thick with blood!
/Abel./ Think not upon my offering's acceptance,
But make another of thine own before
It is too late.
/Cain./ I will build no more alters,
Nor suffer any. --
/Abel (rising.)/ Cain! what meanest thou?
/Cain./ To cast down, you vile flatterer of the clouds,
The smoky harbinger of thy dull prayers --
Thine altar, with its blood of lambs and kids,
Which fed on milk, to be destroy'd in blood.
/Abel (opposing him.)/
Thou shalt not! -- add not impious works to impious
Words! let that altar stand -- 'tis hallow'd now
By the immortal pleasure of Jehovah,
In His acceptance of the victims.
His pleasure!/ what was His high pleasure in
The fumes of scorching flesh and smoking blood,
To the pain of the bleating mothers, which
Still yearn for their dead offspring? or the pangs
Of the sad ignorant victims underneath
Thy pious knife? Give way! this bloody record
Shall not stand in the sun, to shame creation!
/Abel./ Brother, give back! thou shalt not touch my altar
With violence: if that thou wilt adopt it,
To try another sacrifice, 'tis thine.
/Cain./ Another sacrifice! Give way, or else
That sacrifice may be --
/Abel./ What mean'st thou?
/Cain./ Give --
Give way! -- thy God loves blood! -- then look to it: --
Give way, ere He hath /more!/
/Abel./ In /His/ great name,
I stand between thee and the shrine which hath
Had His acceptance.
/Cain./ If thou lov'st thyself,
Stand back till I have strew'd this turf along
Its native soil: -- else --
/Abel (opposing him.)/ I love God far more
/Cain (striking him with a brand on the temples,
which he snatches from the altar.)/
Then take thy life unto thy God,
Since He loves lives.
/Abel (falls.)/ What hast thou done, my brother?
/Abel./ O God! receive Thy servant, and
Forgive his slayer, for he knew not what
He did -- Cain, give me -- give me thy hand; and tell
Poor Zillah --
/Cain (after a moment's stupefaction.)/
/My/ hand! 'tis all red, and with --
[A long pause. -- Looking slowly round.]
Where am I? alone! Where's Abel? where
Cain? Can it be that I am he? My brother,
Awake -- why liest thou so on the green earth?
'Tis not the hour of slumber; -- why so pale?
What, hast thou! -- thou wert full of life this morn!
Abel! I pray thee, mock me not! I smote
Too fiercely, but not fatally. Ah, why
Wouldst thou oppose me? This is mockery;
And only done to daunt me: -- 'twas a blow --
And but a blow. Stir -- stir -- nay, only stir!
Why, so -- that's well! -- thou breathest! breathe upon me!
O God! O God!
/Abel (very faintly.)/ What's he who speaks of God?
/Cain./ Thy murderer.
/Abel./ Then may God forgive him! Cain,
Comfort poor Zillah: -- she has but one brother
/Cain./ And I none! -- Who makes me brotherless?
His eyes are open! then he is not dead!
Death is like sleep; and sleep shuts down our lids.
His lips, too, are apart; why then he breathes!
And yet I feel it not. -- His heart! -- his heart!
Let me see, doth it beat? methinks -- No! -- no!
This is a vision, else I am become
The native of another and worse world.
The earth swims round me: -- what is this? -- 'tis wet;
[Puts his hand to his brow, then looks at it.]
And yet there are no dews! 'Tis blood -- my blood --
My brother's and my own! and shed by me!
Then what have I further to do with life,
Since I have taken life from my own flesh?
But he can not be dead! -- Is silence death?
No; he will wake: then let me watch by him.
Life cannot be so slight, as to be quench'd
Thus quickly! -- he hath spoken to me since --
What shall I say to him? -- My brother! -- No:
He will not answer to that name; for brethren
Smite not each other. Yet -- yet -- speak to me.
Oh for a word more of that gentle voice,
That I may bear to hear my own again!
/Zillah./ I heard a heavy sound; what can it be?
'Tis Cain; and watching by my husband. What
Dost thou there, brother? Doth he sleep? Oh, heaven!
What means this paleness, and yon stream? -- No, no!
It is not blood; for who would shed his blood?
Abel! what's this? -- who hath done this? He moves not;
He breathes not: and his hands drop down from mine
With stony lifelessness! Ah! cruel Cain!
Why cam'st thou not in time to save him from
This violence? Whatever hath assail'd him,
Thou wert the stronger, and should'st have stepp'd in
Between him and aggression! Father! -- Eve! --
Adah! -- come hither! Death is in the world!
[Exit ZILLAH, calling on her Parents, &c.]
And who hath brought him there? -- I -- who abhor
The name of Death so deeply, that the thought
Empoison'd all my life, before I knew
His aspect -- I have led him here, and given
My brother to his cold and still embrace,
As if he would not have asserted his
Inexorable claim without my aid.
I am awake at last -- a dreary dream
Had madden'd me; -- but /he/ shall ne'er awake.
[Enter ADAM, EVE, ADAH, and ZILLAH.]
/Adam./ A voice of woe from Zillah brings me here. --
What do I see? -- 'Tis true! -- My son! -- my son!
Woman, behold the serpent's work, and thine!
/Eve./ Oh! speak not of it now: the serpent's fangs
Are in my heart. My best beloved, Abel!
Jehovah! this is punishment beyond
A mother's sin, to take /him/ from me!
Or what hath done this deed? -- speak, Cain, since thou
Wert present; was it some more hostile angel,
Who walks not with Jehovah? or some wild
Brute of the forest?
/Eve./ Ah! a livid light
Breaks through, as from a thunder-cloud! yon brand,
Massy and bloody! snatch'd from off the altar,
And black with smoke, and red with --
/Adam./ Speak, my son!
Speak, and assure us, wretched as we are,
That we are not more miserable still.
/Adah./ Speak, Cain! and say it was not /thou!/
/Eve./ It was.
I see it now: he hangs his guilty head,
And covers his ferocious eye with hands
/Adah./ Mother, thou dost him wrong --
Cain! clear thee from this horrible accusal,
Which grief wrings from our parent.
/Eve./ Hear, Jehovah!
May the eternal serpent's curse be on him!
For he was fitter for his seed than ours.
May all his days be desolate. May --
Curse him not, mother, for he is thy son --
Curse him not, mother, for he is my brother,
And my betroth'd.
/Eve./ He hath left thee no brother --
Zillah no husband -- me /no son!/ -- for thus
I curse him from my sight for evermore!
All bonds I break between us! as he broke
That of his nature, in yon -- O death! death!
Why didst thou not take /me,/ who first incurr'd thee?
Why dost thou not so now?
/Adam./ Eve! let not this,
Thy natural grief, lead to impiety!
A heavy doom was long forespoken to us;
And now that it begins, let it be borne
In such sort as may shew our God, that we
Are faithful servants to His holy will.
/Eve (pointing to Cain.)/
/His will!/ the will of yon incarnate spirit
Of death, whom I have brought upon the earth
To strew it with the dead. May all the curses
Of life be on him! and his agonies
Drive him forth o'er the wilderness, like us
From Eden, till his children do by him
As he did by his brother! May the swords
And wings of fiery cherubim pursue him
By day and night -- snakes spring up in his path --
Earth's fruits be ashes in his mouth -- the leaves
On which he lays his head to sleep be strew'd
With scorpions! May his dreams be of his victim!
His waking a continual dread of death!
May the clear rivers turn to blood, as he
Stoops down to stain them with his raging lip!
May every element shun or change to him!
May he live in the pangs which others die with!
And death itself wax something worse than death
To him who first acquainted him with man!
Hence, fratricide! henceforth that word is /Cain,/
Through all the coming myriads of mankind,
Who shall abhor thee, though thou wert their sire!
May the grass wither from thy feet! the woods
Deny thee shelter! earth a home! the dust
A grave! the sun his light! and heaven her God!
/Adam./ Cain! get thee forth: we dwell no more together.
Depart! and leave the dead to me -- I am
Henceforth alone -- we never must meet more.
/Adah./ Oh, part not with him thus, my father: do not
Add thy deep curse to Eve's upon his head!
/Adam./ I curse him not: his spirit be his curse.
/Zillah./ I must watch my husband's corse.
/Adam./ We will return again, when he is gone
Who hath provided for us this dread office.
/Zillah./ Yet one kiss on yon pale clay,
And those lips once so warm -- my heart! my heart!
[Exeunt ADAM and ZILLAH, weeping.]
/Adah./ Cain! thou hast heard, we must go forth. I am ready,
So shall our children be. I will bear Enoch,
And you his sister. Ere the sun declines
Let us depart, nor walk the wilderness
Under the cloud of night. Nay, speak to me,
To /me/ -- /thine own./
/Cain./ Leave me!
/Adah./ Why, all have left thee.
/Cain./ And wherefore lingerest thou? Dost thou not fear
To dwell with one who hath done this?
/Adah./ I fear
Nothing except to leave thee, much as I
Shrink from the deed which leaves thee brotherless.
I must not speak of this -- it is between thee
And the great God.
/A Voice from within exclaims,/ Cain! Cain!
/Adah./ Hear'st thou that voice?
/The Voice within./ Cain! Cain!
/Adah./ It soundeth like an angel's tone.
[Enter the ANGEL OF THE LORD.]
/Angel./ Where is thy brother Abel?
/Cain./ Am I then
My brother's keeper?
/Angel./ Cain! what hast thou done?
The voice of thy slain brother's blood cries out,
Even from the ground, unto the Lord! -- Now art thou
Cursed from the earth, which open'd late her mouth
To drink thy brother's blood from thy rash hand.
Henceforth, when thou shalt till the ground, it shall not
Yield thee her strength: a fugitive shalt thou
Be from this day, and vagabond on earth!
/Adah./ This punishment is more than he can bear.
Behold, thou drivest him from the face of earth,
And from the face of God shall he be hid.
A fugitive and vagabond on earth,
'Twill come to pass, that whoso findeth him
Shall slay him.
/Cain./ Would they could! but who are they
Shall slay me? Where are those on the lone earth
As yet unpeopled?
/Angel./ Thou hast slain thy brother,
And who shall warrant thee against thy son?
/Adah./ Angel of Light! be merciful, nor say
That this poor aching breast now nourishes
A murderer in my boy, and of his father.
/Angel./ Then he would but be what his father is.
Did not the milk of Eve give nutriment
To him thou now seest so besmear'd with blood?
The fratricide might well engender patricides. --
But it shall not be so -- the Lord thy God
And mine commandeth me to set His seal
On Cain, so that he may go forth in safety.
Who slayeth Cain, a sevenfold vengeance shall
Be taken on his head. Come hither!
Wouldst thou with me?
/Angel./ To mark upon thy brow
Exemption from such deeds as thou hast done.
/Cain./ No, let me die!
/Angel./ It must not be.
[The ANGEL sets the mark on CAIN's brow.]
/Cain./ It burns
My brow, but nought to that which is within it.
Is there more? let me meet it as I may.
/Angel./ Stern hast thou been and stubborn from the womb,
As the ground thou must henceforth till; but he
Thou slew'st was gentle as the flocks he tended.
/Cain./ After the fall too soon was I begotten;
Ere yet my mother's mind subsided from
The serpent, and my sire still mourn'd for Eden.
That which I am, I am; I did not seek
For life, nor did I make myself; but could I
With my own death redeem him from the dust --
And why not so? let him return to day,
And I lie ghastly! so shall be restored
By God the life to him he loved; and taken
From me a being I ne'er loved to bear.
/Angel./ Who shall heal murder? what is done is done;
Go forth! fulfil thy days! and be thy deeds
Unlike the last!
[The ANGEL disappears.]
/Adah./ He's gone, let us go forth;
I hear our little Enoch cry within our bower.
/Cain./ Ah! little knows he what he weeps for!
And I who have shed blood cannot shed tears!
But the four rivers would not cleanse my soul.
Think'st thou my boy will bear to look on me?
/Adah./ If I thought that he would not, I would --
/Cain (interrupting her.)/ No,
No more of threats: we have had too many of them:
Go to our children; I will follow thee.
/Adah./ I will not leave thee lonely with the dead;
Let us depart together.
/Cain./ Oh! thou dead
And everlasting witness! whose unsinking
Blood darkens earth and heaven! what thou /now/ art
I know not! but if /thou/ seest what /I/ am,
I think thou wilt forgive him whom his God
Can ne'er forgive, nor his own soul. -- Farewell!
I must not, dare not touch what I have made thee.
I, who sprung from the same womb with thee, drain'd
The same breast, clasp'd thee often to my own.
In fondness brotherly and boyish, I
Can never meet thee more, nor even dare
To do that for thee, which thou shouldst have done
For me -- compose thy limbs into their grave --
The first grave yet dug for mortality.
But who hath dug that grave? Oh, earth! Oh, earth!
For all the fruits thou hast render'd to me, I
Give thee back this. -- Now for the wilderness!
[ADAH stoops down and kisses the body of ABEL.]
/Adah./ A dreary, and an early doom, my brother,
Has been thy lot! Of all who mourn for thee,
I alone must not weep. My office is
Henceforth to dry up tears, and not to shed them:
But yet, of all who mourn, none mourn like me,
Not only for thyself, but him who slew thee.
Now, Cain! I will divide thy burden with thee.
/Cain./ Eastward from Eden will we take our way:
'Tis the most desolate, and suits my steps.
/Adah./ Lead! thou shalt be my guide, and may our God
Be thine! Now let us carry forth our children.
/Cain./ And /he/ who lieth there was childless. I
Have dried the fountain of a gentle race,
Which might have graced his recent marriage couch,
And might have temper'd this stern blood of mine,
Uniting with our children Abel's offspring!
/Adah./ Peace be with him!
/Cain./ But with /me!/
Theatre: Lord Byron - Cain - Part III - Closet Drama - Links
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