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For they seem more than one, and yet more peopled
Than the huge brilliant luminous orbs which swung
So thickly in the upper air, that I

Had deem'd them rather the bright populace

Of some all unimaginable heaven,

Than things to be inhabited themselves,
But that on drawing near them I beheld

Their swelling into palpable immensity

Of matter, which seem'd made for life to dwell on,
Rather than life itself. But here, all is
So shadowy and so full of twilight, that
It speaks of a day past.

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Through agonies unspeakable, and clogg'd
With agonies eternal, to innumerable
Yet unborn myriads of unconscious atoms,
All to be animated for this only !

Cain. What are these mighty phantoms which I see
Floating around me ?—They wear not the form
Of the intelligences I have seen

Round our regretted and unenter'd Eden,
Nor wear the form of man as I have view'd it
In Adam's, and in Abel's, and in mine,
Nor in my sister-bride's, nor in my children's:
And yet they have an aspect, which, though not
Of men nor angels, looks like something, which
If not the last, rose higher than the first,
Till I know Haughty, and high, and beautiful, and full
Of seeming strength, but of inexplicable
Shape; for I never saw such. They bear not
The wing of seraph, nor the face of man,
Nor form of mightiest brute, nor aught that is
Now breathing; mighty yet and beautiful
As the most beautiful and mighty which
Live, and yet so unlike them, that I scarce
Can call them living.

That which it really is, I cannot answer.
But if it be as I have heard my father
Deal out in his long homilies, 't is a thing —
Oh God! I dare not think on 't ! Cursed be
He who invented life that leads to death!
Or the dull mass of life, that, being life,
Could not retain, but needs must forfeit it
Even for the innocent!


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 ?

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["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,
Where billows never beat, nor tempests roar :
Ere well we feel the friendly stroke, 'tis o'er.

But was it an evil ever so great, is could not be remedied but
by one much greater, which is, by living for ever; by which
means our wickedness, unrestrained by the prospect of a
future state, would grow so unsupportable, our sufferings so
intolerable by perseverance, and our pleasures so tiresome by
repetition, that no being in the universe could be so com-
pletely miserable as a species of immortal men. We have no
reason, therefore, to look upon death as an evil, or to fear it
as a punishment, even without any supposition of a future
life: but if we consider it as a passage to a more perfect state,
or a remove only in an eternal succession of still improving
states (for which we have the strongest reasons),.it will then
appear a new favour from the divine munificence; and a man
must be as absurd to repine at dying, as a traveller would be
who proposed to himself a delightful tour through various
unknown countries, to lament that he cannot take up his
residence at the first dirty inn which he baits at on the road.
The instability of human life, or of the changes of its succes-
sive periods, of which we so frequently complain, are no more
than the necessary progress of it to this necessary conclusion;

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Intelligent, good, great, and glorious things,
As much superior unto all thy sire,
Adam, could e'er have been in Eden, as

The sixty-thousandth generation shall be,
In its dull damp degeneracy, to

Thee and thy son; -a and how weak they are, judge
By thy own flesh.

Ah me! and did they perish?
Lucifer. Yes, from their earth, as thou wilt fade

from thine.

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."]

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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
Of your poor attributes is such as suits
Reptiles engender'd out of the subsiding
Slime of a mighty universe, crush'd into
A scarcely-yet shaped planet, peopled with
Things whose enjoyment was to be in blindness
A Paradise of Ignorance, from which
Knowledge was barr'd as poison. But behold
What these superior beings are or were ;
Or, if it irk thee, turn thee back and till
The earth, thy task-I'll waft thee there in safety.
Cain. No: I'll stay here.


How long?

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

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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.

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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
Roar nightly in the forest, but ten-fold

In magnitude and terror; taller than

The cherub-guarded walls of Eden, with

Eyes flashing like the fiery swords which fence them,
And tusks projecting like the trees stripp'd of
Their bark and branches-what were they?

The Mammoth is in thy world;
By myriads underneath its surface.
None on it? 3

That which

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

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Tempt thee or them to aught that's new or strange,
Be sure thou see'st first who hath tempted them.
Cain. Thy precept comes too late: there is no more
For serpents to tempt woman to.

But there
Are some things still which woman may tempt man to,
And man tempt woman:-let thy sons look to it!
My counsel is a kind one; for 't is even
Given chiefly at my own expense: 't is true,
"T will not be follow'd, so there 's little lost.
Cain. I understand not this.

The happier thou!— Thy world and thou are still too young! thinkest

Thyself most wicked and unhappy: is it
Not so?

Cain. For crime, I know not; but for pain,
I have felt much.



First-born of the first man!
Thy present state of sin—and thou art evil,
Of sorrow and thou sufferest, are both Eden
In all its innocence compared to what
Thou shortly may'st be; and that state again
In its redoubled wretchedness, a Paradise
To what thy sons' sons' sons, accumulating
In generations like to dust (which they
In fact but add to), shall endure and do. -
Now let us back to earth!

And wherefore didst thou
Lead me here only to inform me this?
Lucifer. Was not thy quest for knowledge?

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,
Ill cannot come: they are too beautiful.

considerably less than a single step removed from the ridiculous. HEDER.]

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As the day closes over Eden's walls ;-
All these are nothing, to my eyes and heart,
Like Adah's face: I turn from earth and heaven
To gaze on it.

"Tis fair as frail mortality,

In the first dawn and bloom of young creation,
And earliest embraces of earth's parents,
Can make its offspring; still it is delusion.

Cain. You think so, being not her brother.

My brotherhood 's with those who have no children.
Cain. Then thou canst have no fellowship with us.
Lucifer. It may be that thine own shall be for me.
But if thou dost possess a beautiful
Being beyond all beauty in thine eyes,
Why art thou wretched?

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I ask'd

And yet my sire says he's omnipotent :
Then why is evil - he being good?
This question of my father; and he said,
Because this evil only was the path

To good. Strange good, that must arise from out
Its deadly opposite. I lately saw

A lamb stung by a reptile: the poor suckling
Lay foaming on the earth, beneath the vain
And piteous bleating of its restless dam;
My father pluck'd some herbs, and laid them to
The wound; and by degrees the helpless wretch
Resumed its careless life, and rose to drain
The mother's milk, who o'er it tremulous
Stood licking its reviving limbs with joy.
Behold, my son! said Adam, how from evil
Springs good!

What didst thou answer?

Nothing; for

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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
What thy remoter offspring must encounter;
But bask beneath the clime which knows no winter!
Cain. But dost thou not love something like thy-

Lucifer. And dost thou love thyself?
Yes, but love more

What makes my feelings more endurable,
And is more than myself, because I love it.

Lucifer. Thou lovest it, because 't is beautiful,
As was the apple in thy mother's eye;
And when it ceases to be so, thy love
Will cease, like any other appetite.
Cain. Cease to be beautiful! how can that be?
Lucifer. With time.


But time has past, and hitherto Even Adam and my mother both are fair : Not fair like Adah and the seraphimBut very fair.

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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.
How came ye, being spirits, wise and infinite,
To separate? Are ye not as brethren in
Your essence, and your nature, and your glory?
Lucifer. Art thou not Abel's brother?
We are brethren,

And so we shall remain; but were it not so,
Is spirit like to flesh? can it fall out?

Infinity with Immortality?

Jarring and turning space to misery -
For what?

Lucifer. To reign.

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Ye are his creatures, and not mine.

Then leave us
His creatures, as thou say'st we are, or show me
Thy dwelling, or his dwelling.

I could show thee
Both; but the time will come thou shalt see one
Of them for evermore. 2

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
To the great double Mysteries! the two Principles ! 3
And gaze upon them on their secret thrones !
Dust limit thy ambition; for to see
Either of these, would be for thee to perish!

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.

Of death?

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 ?

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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.]

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