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Lucifer. No! by heaven, which He
Holds, and the abyss, and the immensity

Of worlds and life, which I hold with him—No!
I have a victor-true; but no superior.
Homage he has from all-but none from me :
I battle it against him, as I battled
In highest heaven. Through all eternity,
And the unfathomable gulfs of Hades,

And the interminable realms of space,
And the infinity of endless ages,
All, all, will I dispute! And world by world,
And star by star, and universe by universe,
Shall tremble in the balance, till the great
Conflict shall cease, if ever it shall cease,
Which it ne'er shall, till he or I be quench'd!
And what can quench our immortality,
Or mutual and irrevocable hate?

He as a conqueror will call the conquer'd
Evil; but what will be the good he gives?
Were I the victor, his works would be deem'd
The only evil ones. And you, ye new
And scarce born mortals, what have been his gifts
To you already, in your little world?

Cain. But few! and some of those but bitter.

With me, then, to thine earth, and try the rest
Of his celestial boons to you and yours.
Evil and good are things in their own essence,
And not made good or evil by the giver;
But if he gives you good—so call him; if
Evil springs from him, do not name it mine,
Till ye know better its true fount; and judge
Not by words, though of spirits, but the fruits
Of your existence, such as it must be.
One good gift has the fatal apple given -
Your reason: - let it not be over-sway'd
By tyrannous threats to force you into faith
'Gainst all external sense and inward feeling:
Think and endure,—and form an inner world
In your own bosom - where the outward fails;
So shall you nearer be the spiritual
Nature, and war triumphant with your own. 2
[They disappear.



The Earth near Eden, as in Act I. Enter CAIN and ADAH. Adah. Hush! tread softly, Cain.



I will; but wherefore?

1 O["Whatever we enjoy is purely a free gift from our Creator; but that we enjoy no more, can never sure be deemed an injury, or a just reason to question his infinite benevolence. All our happiness is owing to his goodness; but that it is no greater, is owing only to ourselves; that is, to our not having any inherent right to any happiness, or even to any existence at all." JENYNS.]

[As to the question of the origin of evil, Lord Byron has neither thrown any new light upon it, nor darkened the previous knowledge which we possessed It remains just where it was, in its mighty, unfathomed obscurity. His Lordship may, it is true, have recapitulated some of the arguments with a more concise and cavalier air than the old schoolmen or fathers; but the result is the same. There is no poetical road to metaphysics. In one view, however, which our rhapsodist has taken of the subject, we conceive he has done well. He represents the temptations held out to Cain by Satan, as constantly succeeding and corresponding to some previous discontent and gloomy disposition in his

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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! 'T is but a dream;
For never more thyself, thy sons, nor fathers,
Shall walk in that forbidden place of joy! S

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?


Where? Adah. Where'er thou wilt: where'er thou art, The want of this so much regretted Eden. Have I not thee, our boy, our sire, and brother, And Zillahour sweet sister, and our Eve, To whom we owe so much besides our birth? Cain. Yes-death, too, is amongst the debts we owe her. [hence, Adah. Cain! that proud spirit, who withdrew thee

Here, or feel not

own mind; so that Lucifer is little more than the personified demon of his imagination: and further, the acts of guilt and folly into which Cain is hurried are not treated as accidental, or as occasioned by passing causes, but as springing from an internal fury, a morbid state akin to phrensy, a mind dissatisfied with itself and all things, and haunted by an insatiable, stubborn longing after knowledge rather than happiness, and a fatal proneness to dwell on the evil side of things rather than the good. We here see the dreadful consequences of not curbing this disposition (which is, after all, perhaps, the sin that most easily besets humanity,) exemplified in a striking point of view; and we so far think, that the moral to be derived from a perusal of this Mystery is a valuable one. JEFFREY.]

3 [The censorious may say what they will, but there are speeches in the mouth of Cain and Adah, especially regarding their child, which nothing in English poetry but the "woodnotes wild" of Shakspeare ever equalled. -SIR EGERTON BRYDGES.]

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Thou know'st

Even for our parents' error.

What is that
To us? they sinn'd, then let them die ! [thought
Adah. Thou hast not spoken well, nor is that
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,



Then leave me !

Though thy God left thee.


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.

[The third Act shows us Cain gloomily lamenting over the future fortunes of his infant son, and withstanding all the consolations and entreaties of Adah, who is anxious to soften him to the task of submission and to a participation in the

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
Shows more of fear than worship, as a bribe
To the Creator?


Surely, 't is 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 sweaten 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?

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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. [day
Adah. How know we that some such atonement one
May not redeem our race?

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 Encch!
[She goes to the child.
Oh 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

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 cur birth, or need have victims to
Atone for this mysterious, nameless sin-
If it be such a sin to seek for knowledge?

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.

Adah. Alas! thou sinnest now, my Cain: thy words Look! how he laughs and stretches out his arms, Sound impious in mine ears.

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. I


Bless thee, boy!

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sacrifice which his brother is about to offer. Here are some passages of no common beauty. That which strikes us most is when the parents are hanging over their sleeping boy,HEBER.]

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Cain. It means- I pray thee, leave me. Abel. Not till we have pray'd and sacrificed together. Cain. Abel, pray thee, sacrifice aloneJehovah loves thee well.


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.

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—'t is thy place.

But I have ne'er

Asserted it.
Abel. The more my grief; I pray thee
To do so now: thy soul seems labouring in
Some strong delusion; it will calm thee.

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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 flume 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).

Oh 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, and glory, and eternity;

Without whom all were evil, and with whom

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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,
Shown 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. [smokes
If thou lov'st blood, the shepherd's shrine, which
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.
Abel (kneeling). Oh, brother, pray! Jehovah's wroth
with thee.

Cain. Why so?
Thy fruits are scatter'd on the earth.
Cain. From earth they came, to earth let them

Their seed will bear fresh fruit there ere the summer:
Thy burnt flesh-off ring prospers better; see
How heav'n licks up the flames, when thick with

Abel. Think not upon my offering's acceptance, But make another of thine own before

It is too late.

I will build no more altars,
Nor suffer any.—

Abei (rising). Cain what meanest thou?
Cain. To cast down yon vile flatt'rer of the clouds,
The smoky harbinger of thy dull pray'rs -
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,

[It is evident that Lord Byron had studied his subject very deeply; and, though he has varied a little from, or gone a little beyond, the letter of Scripture, which is very concise, yet he has apparently entered with great exactness into the minds of Cain and Abel in this most interesting scene: and were it allowable to ascribe to the author of a dramatic work the principles or feelings of all or any of his characters, except as adopting them for his particular purpose, one would be at a loss to say, whether Lord Byron ought most to be identified with Cain, or with Abel; so appropriately has he maintained the character of each. GRANT'S" Notes on Cain," p. 401.]

2 [As a whole, this scene is heavy and clumsily managed. It can hardly fail to strike the reader as a detect in poetry, no less than a departure from history, that the event which is the

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why so pale ?

[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; 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:'t was a blowAnd but a blow. Stir-stir-nay, only stir! Why, so that's well! thou breath'st! breathe Oh, God! Oh, God! [upon me! 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 Now.

[ABEL dies, 2

catastrophe of the drama, is no otherwise than incidentally we may say accidentally, produced by those which precede it. Cain, whose whole character is represented Scripture as envious and malicious, rather than impious; - this Cain, as painted by Lord Byron, has no quarrel with his brother whatever, nor, except in a single word, does he intimate any jealousy of him. Two acts, and half the third, are passed without our advancing a single step towards the conclusion; and Abel at length falls by a random blow given in a struggle of which the object is not his destruction, but the overthrow of Jehovah's altar. If we could suppose a reader to sit down to the perusal of the drama in ignorance of its catastrophe, he could scarcely be less surprised by its termination in such a stroke of chance-medley, than if Abel had been made to drop down in an apoplexy, or Cain to die of grief over his body. HEBER.]



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!-No!no! Let me see, doth it beat? methinks This is a vision, else I am become The native of another and worse world. The earth swims round me : - what is this? -'tis [Puts his hand to his brow, and then looks at it. And yet there are no dews! "Tis blood-my bloodMy 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 -No: - My brother! What shall I say to him? He will not answer to that name; for brethren Smite not each other. Yet — yetOh! for a word more of that gentle voice, That I may bear to hear my own again!

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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, heav'n! [no ! What means this paleness, and yon stream? -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. Cain (solus). 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 giv'n
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!

Who walks not with Jehovah ? or some wild
Brute of the forest?

May all his days be desolate. speak to me.


Enter ADAM, EVE, ADAH, and ZILLAH. Adam. A voice of woe from Zillah brings me here.


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


What do I see?-'T is true! - My son !-my son!
Woman, behold the serpent's work, and thine!
[To EVE.
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!

Speak, my son !
Speak, and assure us, wretched as we are,
That we are not more miserable still.

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

Who, [thou
Or what hath done this deed? - speak, Cain, since
Wert present; was it some more hostile angel,

Adah. Speak, Cain! and say it was not thou!
It was.

[The three last lines were not in the original MS. In forwarding them to Mr. Murray, to be added to Eve's speech, Lord Byron says "There's as pretty a piece of imprecation


Curse him not, mother, for he is thy sonCurse 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-Oh death! death! Why didst thou not take me, who first incurr'd thee? Why dost thou not so now?


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 show 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! 1 [Exit EvE.

for you, when joined to the lines already sent, as you may wish to meet with in the course of your business. But don't forget the addition of these three lines, which are clinchers to Eve's


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