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SCENE IV.-The Piazza and Piazzetta of Now-now-he kneels and now they form Saint Mark's.- The People in crowds
A circle gathered round the grated gates of the Round him, and all is hidden - but I see Ducal Palace, which are shut.
The lifted sword in air-Ah! hark! it falls!
[The people murmur. First Citizen. I have gain’d the gate, Third Citizen. Then they have murder'd and can discern the Ten,
him who would have freed us. Robed in their gowns of state, ranged round Fourth Citizen. He was a kind man to the Doge.
the commons ever. Second Citizen. I cannot reach thee with Fifth Citizen. Wisely they did to keep mine utmost effort.
their portals barr’d. How is it? let us hear at least, since Would we had known the work they were sight
preparing Is thus prohibited unto the people, Ere we were summon'd here; we would Except the occupiers of those bars.
have brought First Citizen. One has approached the Weapons, and forced them! Doge, and now they strip
Sirth Citizen. Are you sure he's dead ? The ducal bonnet from his head-and now First Citizen. I saw the sword fall-Lo! He raises his keen eyes to Heaven. I see
what have we here? Them glitter, and his lips move-Hush! Enter on the Balcony of the Palace hush !-No
which fronts Saint Mark's Place a Twas but a murmur-Curse upon the CAIEF OF THE TEN, with a bloody distance!
sword. He waves it thrice before the His words are inarticulate, but the voice
People, and exclaims, Swells up like mutter'd thunder; would "Justice hath dealt upon the mighty we could
Traitor!" But gather a sole sentence!
The gates are opened; the populace Second Citizen. Hush! we perhaps may rush in towards the“GiantsStaircase," catch the sound.
where the erecution has taken place. First Citizen. 'Tis vain.
The foremost of them exclaims to those I cannot hear him. How his hoary hair
behind, Streams on the wind like foam upon the The gory head rolls down the "Giant's wave!
[The curtain falls.
A MY S T E R Y.
“Now the Serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field
taken the same liberties with his sabject SIR WALTER SCOTT, BART. which were common formerly, as may be
THIS MYSTERY OF CAIN seen by any reader curious enongh to refer IS INSCRIBED, BY HIS OBLIGED FRIEND, AND to those very profane productions, whether FAITHFUL SERVANT,
in English, French, Italian, or Spanish. THE AUTHOR.
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 PREFACE.
alteration, even of words, as the rhythm
would permit. The reader will recollect The following scenes
are entitled "a that the book of Genesis does not state that Mystery,” in conformity with the ancient Eve was tempted by a demon, but by “the tiile annexed to draruas upon similar sub- Serpent;” and that only because he was jects, which were styled Mysteries, or the most subtil of all the beasts of the Moralities. The author has by no means field.” Whatever interpretation the Rabbins and the Fathers may have put upon this, I to Cain, without, I hope, any, perversion I must take the words as I find them, and of Holy Writ. reply with Bishop Watson upon similar With regard to the language of Lucifer, occasions, when the Fathers were quoted to it was difficult for me to make him talk, him, as Moderator in the Schools of Cam- like a Clergyman upon the same subjects; bridge, “Behold the Book!"-holding up but I have done what I could to restrain the Scripture. It is to be recollected that him within the bounds of spiritual politeness. my present subject has nothing to do with If he disclaims having tempted Eve in the New Testament, to which no reference the shape of the Serpent, it is only because can be here made without anachronism. the book of Genesis has not the most distant With the poems upon similar topics I have allusion to any thing of the kind, but not been recently familiar. Since I was merely to the Serpent in his serpentine twenty, I have never read Milton; but I capacity. had read him so frequently before, that this may make little difference. Gesner's Note.—The reader will perceive that the “Death of Abel” I have never read since I author has partly adopted in this poem the was eight years of age, at Aberdeen. The notion of Cuvier, that the world had been general impression of my recollection is destroyed several times before the creation delight; but of the contents I remember of man. This speculation, derived from only that Cain's wife was called Mahala, the different strata and the bones of enormand Abel's Thirza. - In the following pages ous and unknown animals found in thcm, I have called them Adah and Zillah, is not contrary to the Mosaic account, but the earliest female names which occur in rather confirms it; as no human bones have Genesis; they were those of Lamech's wives: yet been discovered in those strata, although those of Cain and Abel are not called by those of many known animals are found their names. Whether, then, a coincidence near the remains of the unknown. The of subject may have caused the same in assertion of Lucifer, that the pre-adamite expression, I know nothing, and care as little. world was also peopled by rational beings
The reader will please to bear in mind much more intelligent'than man, and pro(what few choose to recollect) that there portionably powerful to the mammoth, is no allusion to a future state in any of is, of course, a poetical fiction to him the books of Moses, nor indeed in the Old to make out his case. Testament. For a reason for this extra- I ought to add, that there is a “Trameloordinary omission he may consult “War-gedie” of Alfieri, called “Abel.”—I have burton's Divine Legation;" whether satis- never read that nor any other of the factory or not, no better has yet been posthumous works of the writor, except assigned. I have therefore supposed it new his Life.
A CT I.
Eve. God! who didst name the day, and
separate SCENE 1.– The Land without Paradise.- Morning from night, till then divided never Time, Sunrise.
Who didst divide the wave from wave, and
call ADAM, Eve, Cain, Abel, ADAH, ZILLAI, offering a Sacrifice.
Part of thy work the firmament-all hail!
Abel. God! who didst call the elements into Adam. God, the Eternal! Infinite! All- Earth - ocean-air-and fire, and with the day Wise!
And night, and worlds which these illuminate Who out of darkness on the deep didst make Or shadow, madest beings to enjoy them, Light on the waters with a word-all hail! And love both them and thee all hail! Jehovah, with returning light, all hail!
Adah. God, the Eternal! Parent of all Zillah. Wilt thon not, my brother ? things!
Abel. Why wilt thou wear this gloom Who didst create these best and beauteous
upon thy brow, beings,
Which can avail thee nothing, save to rouse To be beloved, more than all, save thee - The eternal anger? Let me love thee and them :-All hail! all Adah. My beloved Cain, hail !
Wilt thou frown even on me? Zillah. Oh, God! who loving, making,
Cain. No, Adah! no; blessing all,
I fain would be alone a little while. Yet didst permit the serpent to creep in,
Abel, I'm sick at heart; but it will pass : And drive my father forth from Paradise, Precede me, brother-I will follow shortly. Keep us from further evil:-Hail! all hail! And you, too, sisters, tarry not behind; Adam. Son Cain, my first-born, where- Your gentleness must not be harshly met: fore art thou silent?
I'll follow you anon. Cain. Why should I speak!
Adah. If not, I will Adam. To pray.
Return to seek you here. Cain. Have ye not pray'd ?
Abel. The peace of God Adam. We have, most fervently. Be on your spirit, brother! Cain, And loudly: I
[Ereunt Abel, Zillah, and Adah. Have heard you.
Cain (solus). And this is Adam. So will God, I trust.
Life!—Toil! and wherefore should I toil? Abel. Amen!
because Adam. But thou, my eldest-born, art My father could not keep his place in Eden. silent still.
What had I done in this ?-I was unborn, Cain. Tis better I should be so. I sought not to be born; nor love the state Adam. Wherefore so ?
To which that birth has brought ine. Why Cain. I have nought to ask.
did he Adam. Nor aught to thank for? Yield to the serpent and the woman? or, Cain. No.
Yielding, why suffer? What was there in this? Adam. Dost thou not live?
The tree was planted, and why not for him? Cain. Must I not die!
If not, why place him near it, where it grew, Eve. Alas!
The fairest in the centre? They have but The fruit of our forbidden tree begins One answer to all questions, “ 'twas his will, To fall.
And he is good.” How know I that? Because Adam. And we must gather it again. He is all-powerful must all-good, too, follow? Oh, God! why didst thou plant the tree of I judge but by the fruits and they are knowledge?
bitter Cain. And wherefore pluck'd ye not the Which I must feed on for a fault not mine. tree of life?
Whom have we here ? - A shape like to the Ye might have then defied him.
angels, Adam. Oh! my son.
Yet of a sterner and a sadder aspect Blaspheme not: these are serpents' words. Of spiritual essence: why do I quake? Cain Why not?
Why should I fear him more than other The snake spoke truth: it was the tree of spirits, knowledge;
Whom I see daily wave their fiery swords It was the tree of life:- knowledge is good, Before the gates round which I linger oft, And life is good; and how can both be evil? In twilight's hour,to catch a glimpse of those Eve. My boy! thou speakest as I spoke Gardens which are my just inheritance, in sin,
Ere the night closcs o'er the inhibited walls Before thy birth: let me not see renew'd And the immortal trees which overtop My misery in thine. I have repented. The cherubim-defended battlements ? Let me not see my offspring fall into If I shrink not from these, the fire- arm'd The snares beyond the walls of Paradise,
angels, Which e'en in Paradise destroy'd his parents. Why should I quail from him who now Content thee with what is. Had we been so, approaches ? Thou now hadst been contented.-Oh, my Yet he seems mightier far than they, nor less son !
Beauteous, and yet not all as beautiful Adam. Our orisons completed, let us hence, As he hath been,and might be: sorrow seems Each to his task of toil - not heavy, though Half of his immortality. And is it Needful: the earth is young, and yields us So ? and can aught grieve save humanity? kindly
Lucifer. Master of spirits.
Cain. And what is that? Cain. And being so, canst thou
Lucifer. Souls who dare use their imLeave them, and walk with dust?
mortalityLucifer. I know the thoughts
Souls who dare look the omnipotent tyrant in Of dust, and feel for it, and with you. His everlasting face, and tell him, that Cain. How !
His evil is not good! If he has made, You know my thoughts ?
As he saith-which I know not,nor believeLucifer. They are the thoughts of all But, if he made us, he cannot unmake: Worthy of thoughts ; – 'tis your immortal We are immortal!- nay, he'd have us so, part
That he may torture: - let him! He is greatWhich speaks within you.
But, in his greatness, is no happier than Cain. What immortal part?
Wein our conflict! Goodness,would not make This has not been reveald: the tree of life Evil; and what else hath he made? But Was withheld from us by my father's folly,
let him While that of knowledge, by my mother's Sit on his vast and solitary throne, haste,
Creating worlds, to make eternity Was pluck’d too soon; and all the fruit Less burthensome to his immense existence is death!
And unparticipated solitude! Lucifer. They have deceived thee; thou Let him crowd orb on orb: he is alone shalt live.
Indefinite, indissoluble tyrant! Cain. I live,
Could he but crush himself, 'twere the best But live to die: and, living, see no thing
boon To make death hateful, save an innate He ever granted: but let him reign on, clinging,
And multiply himself in misery! A loathsome and yet all invincible Spirits and men, at least we sympathise ; Instinct of life, which I abhor, as I And, suffering in concert, make our pangs, Despise myself, yet cannot overcome Innumerable, more endurable, And so I live. Would I had never lived! By the unbounded sympathy of allLucifer. Thon livest, and must live for With all! But He! so wretched in his height, ever: think not
So restless in his wretchedness, must still The earth, which is thine outward cov'ring,is Create, and re-createExistence- it will cease, and thou wilt be Cain. Thou speakst to me of things No less than thou art now.
which long have swum Cain No less! and why
In visions through my thought: I never could No more?
Reconcile what I saw with what I heard. Lucifer. It may be thou shalt be as we. My father and my mother talk to me Cain. And ye?
of serpents, and of fruits and trees: I see Lucifer. Are everlasting.
The gates of what they call their Paradise Cain. Are ye happy?
Guarded by fiery-sworded cherubirn, Lucifer. We are mighty.
Which shut them out, and me: I feel the Cain. Are ye happy ?
weight Lucifer. No: art thou ?
Of daily toil, and constant thought; I look Cain. How should I be so ? Look on me! Around a world where I seem nothing, with Lucifer. Poor clay!
Thoughts which arise within me, as if they And thou pretendest to be wretched! Thou ! Could master all things:– but I thought Cain. I am : -- and thou, with all thy alone; might, what art thou ?
This misery was mine.- My father is Lucifer. One who aspired to be what Tamed down; my mother has forgot the mind made thee, and
Which made her thirst for knowledge at Would not have made thee what thou art.
the risk Cain. Ah!
Of an eternal curse; my brother is Thou lookst almost a god; and - A watching shepherd-boy, who offers up Lucifer. I am none:
The firstlings of the flock to him who bids And having fail'd to be one, would be nought The earth yield nothing to us without sweat; Save what I am. He conquerd; let him My sister Zillah sings an earlier hymn reign!
Than the birds' matins; and my Adah, my Cain. Who?
Own and beloved, she too understands not Lucifer. Thy sire's Maker, and the earth's. The mind which overwhelms me; never till Cain. And heaven's,
Now met I aught to sympathise with me. And all that in them is. So I have heard 'Tis well – I rather would consort with His seraphs sing; and so my father saith. spirits. Lucifer. They say -- what they inust Lucifer. And hadst thou not been fit by sing and say, on pain
thine own soul Of being that which I Am--and thou art -- For such companionship, I would not now of spirits and of men.
Have stood before thee as I am: A serpent
Had been enough to charm ye, as before. That bows to him who made things but to Cain. Ah! didst thou tempt my mother ?
bend Lucifer. I tempt none,
Before his sullen, sole eternity; Save with the truth: was not the tree, the But we,who see the truth,must speak it. Thy tree
Fond parents listen’d to a creeping thing, of knowledge ? and was not the tree of life And fell. For what should spirits tempt Still fruitful ? Did I bid her pluck them not?
them? What Did I plant things prohibited within Was there to envy in the narrow bounds The reach of beings innocent, and curious Of Paradise, that spirits who pervade By their own innocence? I would have Space, but I speak to thee of what thou
knowst not, Gods; and even He who thrust ye forth, With all thy tree of knowledge. 80 thrust ye
Cain. But thou canst not Because “ye should not eat the fruits of life, Speak aught of knowledge which I would And become gods as we.” Were those his
not know, words?
And do not thirst to know, and bear a mind Cain. They were, as I have heard from To know. those who heard them
Lucifer. And heart to look on? In thunder.
Cain. Be it proved! Lucifer. Then who was the demon ? He Lucifer. Dar'st thou look on Death ? Who would not let ye live, or he who would Cain. He has not yet Have made ye live for ever in the joy
Lucifer. But must be undergone.
Say he is something dreadful, and my Lucifer. One is yours already,
mother The other may be still.
Weeps when he's named; and Abel lifts Cain. How so? Lucifer. By being
To heaven,and Zillah casts hers to the earth, Yourselves, in your resistance. Nothing can And sighs a prayer; and Adah looks on me, Quench the mind, if the mind will be itself And speaks not. And centre of surrounding things -- 'tis made Lucifer. And thou?
Cain. Thoughts unspeakable Cain. But didst thou tempt my parents ? Crowd in my breast to burning, when I hear Lucifer. I?
Of this almighty Death, who is, it seems, Poor clay! what should I tempt them for, Inevitable. Could I wrestle with him ? or how ?
I wrestled with the lion, when a boy, Cain. They say the serpent was a spirit. In play, till he ran roaring from my gripe. Lucifer. Who
Lucifer. It has no shape; but will abSaith that? It is not written so on high:
sorb all things The proud One will not so far falsify, That bear the form of earth-born being. Though man's vast fears and little vanity Cain. Ah! Would make him cast upon the spiritual I thought it was a being: who could do
Such evil things to beings save a being ? His own low failing. The snake was the Lucifer. Ask the Destroyer. snake
Cain. Whom? No more; and yet not less than those he Lucifer. The Maker--call him tempted,
Which name thou wilt; he makes but to In nature being earth also -- more in wisdom, destroy. Since he could overcome them, and foreknew Cain. I knew not that, yet thought it, The knowledge fatal to their narrow joys.
since I heard Thinkst thou I'd take the shape of things of death : although I know not what it is, that die?
Yet it seems horrible. I have look'd out Cain. But the thing had a demon ? In the vast desolate night in search of him; Lucifer. He but woke one
And, when I saw gigantic shadows in In those he spake to with his forky tongue. The umbrage of the walls of Eden,cheqner'd I tell thee that the serpent was no more By the far-flashing of the cherubs' swords, Than a mere serpent: ask the cherubim I watch'd for what I thought his coming ; for Who guard the tempting tree. When thou- With fear rose longing in my heart to know
What 'twas which shook us all -- but noHave rollid o'er your dead ashes, and your thing came. seed's,
And then I turn'd my weary eyes from off The seed of the then world may thus array Our native and forbidden Paradise, Their earliest fault in fable, and attribute Up to the lights above us, in the azure, To me a shape I scorn, as I scorn all Which are so beautiful: shall they, too, dic?