[Enter IRAD and JAPHET.]
/Irad./ Despond not: wherefore wilt thou wander thus
To add thy silence to the silent night,
And lift thy tearful eye unto the stars?
They cannot aid thee.
/Japh./ But they soothe me -- now
Perhaps she looks upon them as I look.
Methinks a being that is beautiful
Becometh more so as it looks on beauty,
The eternal beauty of undying things,
/Irad./ But she loves thee not.
/Irad./ And proud Aholibamah spurns me also.
/Japh./ I feel for thee too.
/Irad./ Let her keep her pride;
Mine hath enabled me to bear her scorn:
It may be, time too will avenge it.
/Japh./ Canst thou
Find joy in such a thought?
/Irad./ Nor joy, nor sorrow.
I loved her well; I would have loved her better,
Had love been met with love; as 'tis, I leave her
To brighter destinies, if so she deems them.
/Japh./ What destinies?
/Irad./ I have some cause to think
She loves another.
/Irad./ No; her sister.
/Japh./ What other?
/Irad./ That I know not; but her air,
If not her words, tells me she loves another.
/Japh./ Ay, but not Anah; she but loves her God.
/Irad./ Whate'er she loveth, so she loves thee not,
What can it profit thee?
/Japh./ True, nothing; but
/Irad./ And so did I.
/Japh./ And now thou lov'st not,
Or think'st thou lov'st not, art thou happier?
/Japh./ I pity thee.
/Irad./ Me! why?
/Japh./ For being happy,
Deprived of that which makes my misery.
/Irad./ I take thy taunt as part of thy distemper,
And would not feel as thou dost for more shekels
Than all our father's herds would bring if weigh'd
Against the metal of the sons of Cain --
The yellow dust they try to barter with us,
As if such useless and discolour'd trash,
The refuse of the earth, could be received
For milk, and wool, and flesh, and fruits, and all
Our flocks and wilderness afford. -- Go, Japhet,
Sigh to the stars, as wolves howl to the moon --
I must back to my rest.
/Japh./ And so would I,
If I could rest.
/Irad./ Thou wilt not to our tents then?
/Japh./ No, Irad; I will to the cavern, whose
Mouth, they say, opens from the internal world,
To let the inner spirits of the earth
Forth when they walk its surface.
/Irad./ Wherefore so!
What wouldst thou there?
/Japh./ Soothe further my sad spirit
With gloom as sad: it is a hopeless spot,
And I am hopeless.
/Irad./ But 'tis dangerous;
Strange sounds and sights have peopled it with terrors.
I must go with thee.
/Japh./ Irad, no; believe me
I feel no evil thought, and fear no evil.
/Irad./ But evil things will be thy foe the more,
As not being of them: turn thy steps aside,
Or let mine be with thine.
/Japh./ No; neither, Irad:
I must proceed alone.
/Irad./ Then peace be with thee!
/Japh. (solus.)/ Peace! I have sought it where it should be found,
In love -- with love, too, which perhaps deserved it;
And, in its stead, a heaviness of heart --
A weakness of the spirit -- listless days,
And nights inexorable to sweet sleep --
Have come upon me. Peace! what peace? the calm
Of desolation, and the stillness of
The untrodden forest, only broken by
The sweeping tempest through its groaning boughs;
Such is the sullen or the fitful state
Of my mind overworn. The earth's grown wicked,
And many signs and portents have proclaim'd
A change at hand, and an o'erwhelming doom
To perishable beings. Oh, my Anah!
When the dread hour denounced shall open wide
The fountains of the deep, how mightest thou
Have lain within this bosom, folded from
The elements -- this bosom, which in vain
Hath beat for thee, and then will beat more vainly,
While thine -- O God! at least remit to her
Thy wrath! for she is pure amidst the failing
As a star in the clouds, which cannot quench,
Although they obscure it for an hour. My Anah!
How would I have adored thee, but thou wouldst not;
And still would I redeem thee -- see thee live
When Ocean is Earth's grave, and, unopposed
By rock or shallow, the leviathan,
Lord of the shoreless sea and watery world,
Shall wonder at his boundlessness of realm.
[Enter NOAH and SHEM.]
/Noah./ Where is thy brother Japhet?
/Shem./ He went forth,
According to his wont, to meet with Irad,
He said; but, as I fear, to bend his steps
Towards Anah's tents, round which he hovers nightly,
Like a dove round and round its pillaged nest;
Or else he walks the wild up to the cavern
Which opens to the heart of Ararat.
/Noah./ What doth he there? It is an evil spot
Upon an earth all evil: for things worse
Than even wicked men resort there: he
Still loves this daughter of a fated race,
Although he could not wed her if she loved him,
And that she doth not. Oh, the unhappy hearts
Of men! that one of my blood, knowing well
The destiny and evil of these days,
And that the hour approacheth, should indulge
In such forbidden yearnings! Lead the way;
He must be sought for!
/Shem./ Go not forward, father;
I will seek Japhet.
/Noah./ Do not fear for me:
All evil things are powerless on the man
Selected by Jehovah. -- Let us on.
/Shem./ To the tents of the father of the sisters?
/Noah./ No; to the cavern of the Caucasus.
[Exeunt NOAH and SHEM.]
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