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For they seem more than one, and yet more peopled
Had deem'd them rather the bright populace
Of some all unimaginable heaven,
Than things to be inhabited themselves,
Their swelling into palpable immensity
Of matter, which seem'd made for life to dwell on,
Through agonies unspeakable, and clogg'd
Cain. What are these mighty phantoms which I see
Round our regretted and unenter'd Eden,
That which it really is, I cannot answer.
Dost thou curse thy father? Cain. Cursed he not me in giving me my birth? Cursed he not me before my birth, in daring
To pluck the fruit forbidden ?
["Death, the last and most dreadful of all evils, is so far from being one, that it is the infallible cure for all others—
To die, is landing on some silent shore,
But was it an evil ever so great, is could not be remedied but
Intelligent, good, great, and glorious things,
The sixty-thousandth generation shall be,
Thee and thy son; -a and how weak they are, judge
and are so far from being evils deserving these complaints, that they are the source of our greatest pleasures, as they are the source of all novelty, from which our greatest pleasures are ever derived. The continual successions of seasons in the human life, by daily presenting to us new scenes, render it agreeable, and, like those of the year, afford us delights by their change, which the choicest of them could not give us by their continuance. In the spring of life, the gilding of the sunshine, the verdure of the fields, and the variegated paintings of the sky, are so exquisite in the eyes of infants at their first looking abroad into a new world, as nothing perhaps afterwards can equal. The heat and vigour of the succeeding summer of youth ripen for us new pleasures,-the blooming maid, the nightly revel, and the jovial chase: the serene autumn of complete manhood feasts us with the golden harvest of our worldly pursuits: nor is the hoary winter of old age destitute of its peculiar comforts and enjoyments, of which the recollection and relation of those past are perhaps none of the least; and at last death opens to us a new prospect, from whence we shall probably look back upon the diversions and occupations of this world with the same contempt we do now on our tops and hobby-horses, and with the same surprise that they could ever so much entertain or engage us."- JENYNS."These," says Dr. Johnson, “are sentiments which, though not new, may be read with pleasure and profit, in the thousandth repetition."]
Material as thou art.
Cain. Like them?
And must I be
Let He who made thee answer that. I show thee what thy predecessors are, And what they were thou feelest, in degree Inferior as thy petty feelings and
Thy pettier portion of the immortal part
Of high intelligence and earthly strength.
What ye in common have with what they had
Is life, and what ye shall have-death: the rest
For ever! Since I must one day return here from the earth, I rather would remain; I am sick of all That dust has shown me-let me dwell in shadows.
1["If, according to some speculations, you could prove the world many thousand years older than the Mosaic chronology -or if you could knock up Adam and Eve, and the Apple and Serpent-still, what is to be put up in their stead?-or how is the difficulty removed? Things must have had a beginning and what matters it when, or how? I sometimes think that man may be the relic of some higher material being wrecked in a former world, and degenerated in the hardship and struggle through chaos into conformity, or something like it as we see Laplanders, Esquimaux, &c. inferior, in the present date, as the elements become more inexorable. But even then, this higher pre-Adamite supposititious creation must have had an origin and a Creator; for a Creator is a more natural imagination than a fortuitous concourse of atoms: all things remount to a fountain, though they may flow to an ocean."-Byron Diary, 1821.]
2 [Mr. Gifford having, through Mr. Murray, suggested the propriety of omitting a portion of this dialogue, Lord Byron replied: "The two passages cannot be altered without making Lucifer talk like the Bishop of London, which would not be in the character of the former. The notion is from Cuvier (that of the old worlds). The other passage is also in character; if nonsense, so much the better, because then it can do no harm; and the sillier Satan is made, the safer for every body. As to alarms,' &c., do you really think such things ever led any body astray? Are these people more impious than Milton's Satan? or the Prometheus of Eschylus? or even than the Sadducees,' the Fall of Jerusalem' of Milman, &c. ? Are not Adam, Eve, Adah, and Abel, as pious as the Catechism? Gifford is too wise a man to think
And is. It is not with the earth, though I must till it, I feel at war, but that I may not profit By what it bears of beautiful untoiling, Nor gratify my thousand swelling thoughts
With knowledge, nor allay my thousand fears Of death and life.
Phantoms inferior in intelligence
(At least so seeming) to the things we have pass'd, Resembling somewhat the wild habitants
Of the deep woods of earth, the hugest which
In magnitude and terror; taller than
The cherub-guarded walls of Eden, with
Eyes flashing like the fiery swords which fence them,
The Mammoth is in thy world;
but these lie
that such things can have any serious effect: who was ever altered by a poem? I beg leave to observe, that there is no creed or personal hypothesis of mine in all this; but I was obliged to make Cain and Lucifer talk consistently; and surely this has always been permitted to poesy. Cain is a proud man: if Lucifer promised him kingdom, &c. it would clate him: the object of the demon is to depress him still further in his own estimation than he was before, by showing him infinite things and his own abasement, till he falls into the frame of mind that leads to the catastrophe, from mere internal irritation, not premeditation, or envy of Abel (which would have made him contemptible), but from rage and fury against the inadequacy of his state to his conceptions, and which dis. charges itself rather against life, and the Author of life, than the mere living. His subsequent remorse is the natural effect of looking on his sudden deed. Had the deed been premeditated, his repentance would have been tardier."]
3 [Hades is a place, in Lord Byron's description, very different from all that we had anticipated. He supposes that the world which we now inhabit had been preceded by many successive worlds, which had each, in turn, been created and ruined; and the inhabitants of which he describes, on grounds sufficiently probable for poetry, as proportioned, in bodily and intellectual strength, to those gigantic specimens of ani mal existence whose remains still perplex the naturalist. But he not only places the pre-Adamite giants in Hades, but the ghosts of the Mammoth and Megatherion, their contemporaries, and, above all, the phantoms of the worlds them. selves which these beings inhabited, with their mountains, oceans, and forests, all gloomy and sad together, and (we
Tempt thee or them to aught that's new or strange,
The happier thou!— Thy world and thou are still too young! thinkest
Thyself most wicked and unhappy: is it
Cain. For crime, I know not; but for pain,
First-born of the first man!
The road to happiness.
Thou hast it.
Yes; as being
If truth be so,
Then my father's God did well
When he prohibited the fatal tree.
Lucifer. But had done better in not planting it. But ignorance of evil doth not save
From evil; it must still roll on the same,
A part of all things.
Not of all things. No:
I'll not believe it-for I thirst for good.
Lucifer. And who and what doth not? Who covets For its own bitter sake?-None-nothing! 't is The leaven of all life, and lifelessness.
Cain. Within those glorious orbs which we behold, Distant, and dazzling, and innumerable,
Ere we came down into this phantom realm,
considerably less than a single step removed from the ridiculous. HEDER.]
As the day closes over Eden's walls ;-
"Tis fair as frail mortality,
In the first dawn and bloom of young creation,
Cain. You think so, being not her brother.
And yet my sire says he's omnipotent :
To good. Strange good, that must arise from out
A lamb stung by a reptile: the poor suckling
What didst thou answer?
Cain. All things, my father says; but I confess
I see it not in their allotment here.
Lucifer. And, therefore, thou canst not see if I Or no, except some vast and general purpose, To which particular things must melt like snows. Cain. Snows! what are they? Lucifer.
Be happier in not knowing
Lucifer. And dost thou love thyself?
What makes my feelings more endurable,
Lucifer. Thou lovest it, because 't is beautiful,
But time has past, and hitherto Even Adam and my mother both are fair : Not fair like Adah and the seraphimBut very fair.
Together; but our dwellings are asunder.
Cain. Would there were only one of ye! perchance. An unity of purpose might make union
In elements which seem now jarr'd in storms.
And so we shall remain; but were it not so,
Infinity with Immortality?
Jarring and turning space to misery -
Lucifer. To reign.
Ye are his creatures, and not mine.
Then leave us
I could show thee
And why not now? Lucifer. Thy human mind hath scarcely grasp to gather
The little I have shown thee into calm
And clear thought; and thou wouldst go on aspiring
Cain. And let me perish, so I see them!
The son of her who snatch'd the apple spake ! But thou wouldst only perish, and not see them; That sight is for the other state.
Lucifer. That is the prelude. Cain.
Then I dread it less, Now that I know it leads to something definite. Lucifer. And now I will convey thee to thy world, Where thou shalt multiply the race of Adam, Eat, drink, toil, tremble, laugh, weep, sleep, and die. Cain. And to what end have I beheld these things Which thou hast shown me ?
being also infinitely wise and powerful, they would tie up one another's hands: so that upon this supposition, the notion of a deity would signify just nothing; and, by virtue of the eternal opposition and equality of these principles, they would keep one another at perpetual bay; and, being an equal match for one another, instead of being two deities, they would be two idols, able to do neither good nor evil."- TILLOTSON. "Moral evil is occasioned by free will, which implies choice between good and evil. With all the evil that there is, there is no man but would rather be a free agent, than a mere machine without the evil; and what is best for each individual must be best for the whole. If a man would rather be the machine, I cannot agree with him."- JOHNSON.]