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acquaintance with Mr. Townsend, a gentleman of the for a moment upheld their dogmatic nonsense oftheo phie law, who was with me on business in Venice three lanthropy. The church of England, if overthrown, wild years ago, for the purpose of obtaining any defama- | be swept away by the sectarians, and not by the sceptics. tory particulars of my life from this occasional visitor.” People are 100 wise, too well-informed, too certain of Mr. Townsend is welcome to say what he knows. I men- their own immense importance in the realms of space, tion these particulars merely to show the wo:ld in gen- ever to submit to the impiety of doubt. There may be a eral what the literary lower world contains, and their few such diffident speculators, like water in the pe.e sui way of setting to work. Another charge made, I am beam of human reason, but they are very few, and their told, in the “Literary Gazette” is, that I wrote the notes opinions, without enthusiasm or appeai to th . passions, to “Qucen Mab;' a work which I never saw till some can never gain proselytes—unless, indeed, they are time after its publication, and which I recollect showing persecuted: thai, to be sure, will increase any thing. to Mr. Sotheby as a poem of great power and imagi- Mr. S., with a cowardly ferocity, exults over the ane nation. I never wrote a line of the notes, nor ever saw ticipated “death-bed repentance" of the objects of his them except in their published form. No one knows dislike; and indulges himself in a pleasant “ Vision of better than their real author, that his opinions and Judgment,” in prose as well as verse, full of impious mine differ materially upon the metaphysical portion impudence. What Mr. S.'s sensations or ours may be of that work; though, in common with all who are not in the awful moment of leaving this state of existence, blinded by baseness and bigotry, I highly admire the neither he nor we can pretend to decide. In common, poetry of that and his other publications.

I presume, with most men of any reflection, I have not Mr. Southey, too, in his pious preface to a poem whose waited for a “death-bed" to repent of many of my blasphemy is as harmless as the sedition of Wat Tyler, actions, notwithstanding the " diabolical pride” which because it is equally absurd with that sincere production, this pitiful renegado in his rancour would impule to calls upon the “legislature to look to it," as the tolera- those who scorn him. Whether, upon the whole, the tion of such writings led to the French Revolution : not good or evil of my deeds may preponderate, is not for such writings as Wat Tyler, but as those of the “Satanic me to ascertain ; but, as my means and opportunities School.” This is not true, and Mr. Southey knows it to be have been greater, I shall limit my present defence to an not true. Every French writer of any freedom was perse- assertion (easily proved, if necessary) that I,“ in my de cuted; Voltaire and Rousseau were exiles, Marmontel gree,” have done more real good in any one given year, and Diderot were sent to the Bastile, and a perpetual war since I was twenty, than Mr. Southey in the whole was waged with the whole class by the existing despotism. course of his shifting and turncoat existence. There are In the next place, the French Revolution was not occa- several actions to which I can look back with an honest sioned by any writings whatsoever, but must have occur- pride, not to be damped by the calumnies of a hireling. red had no such writers ever existed. It is the fashion to There are others to which I recur with sorrow and reattribute every thing to the French Revolution, and the pontance; but the only act of my life of which Mr. French Revolution to every thing but its real cause. Southey can have any real knowledge, as it was one That cause is obvious—the government exacted too which brought me in contact with a near connexion of much, and the people could neither give nor bear more. his own, did no dishonour to that connexion nor to me. Without this, the Encyclopedists might have written I am not ignorant of Mr. Southey's calumnies on a diftheir fingers off without the occurrence of a single alter- ferent occasion, knowing them to be such, which he ation. And the English Revolution-(the first, I mean) scattered abroad, on his return from Switzerland, against what was it occasioned by ? The Puritans were surely me and others: they have done him no good in this as pious and moral as Wesley or his biographer ? Acts-world; and, if his creed be the right one, they will do acts on the part of government, and not writings against him less in the next. What his " death-bed” may be, them, have caused the past convulsions, and are tending it is not my province to predicate: let him settle it with to the future.

his Maker, as I must do with mine. There is something I look upon such as inevitable, though no revolu- at once ludicrous and blasphemous in this arrogant scnbtionist: I wish to see the English constitution restored, bler of all works sitting down to deal damnation and deand not destroyed. Born an aristocrat, and naturally struction upon his fellow-creatures, with Wat Tyler, the one by temper, with the greater part of my present prop- Apotheosis of George the Third, and the Elegy on Marerty in the funds, what have I to gain by a revolution ? tin the regicide, all shuttled together in his writing-desk. Perhaps I have more to lose in every way than Mr. Sou- One of his consolations appcars to be a Latin note from they, with all his places and presents for panegyrics and a work of a Mr. Landor, the author of " Gebir," whose abuse into the bargain. But that a revolution is inevi- friendship for Robert Southey will, it seems, “ be an table, 1 repeat. The government may exult over the honour to him when the ephemeral disputes and cpherepression of petty tumults; these are but the receding meral reputations of the day are forgotten.” I for one waves repulsed and broken for a moment on the shore, neither envy him “the friendship,” nor the glory in while the great tide is still rolling on and gaining ground reversion which is to accrue from it, like Mr. Theluswith every breaker. Mr. Southey accuses us of attacking son's fortune in the third and fourth generation.the religion of the country; and is he abetting it by writ- This friendship will probably be as memorable as his ing lives of Wesley ? One mode of worship is merely de- own epics, which (as I quoted to him ten or twelve years stroyed by another. There never was, nor ever will be, a ago in English Bards) Porson said " would be remémcountry without a religion. We shall be told of France bered when Homer and Virgil are forgotten, and not til aguin: but it was only Paris and a frantic party, which then.” For the present, I leave him.




Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made.-Gen. ü. L




Old Testament. For a reason for this ex raordinary omission, he may consult “Warburton's Divine Lega

tion;" whether satisfactory or not, no better has yet The following scenes are intitled “a Mystery,"in con- been assigned. I have therefore supposed it new to formity with the ancient title annexed to dramas upon Cain, without, I hope, any perversion of Holy Writ. similar subjects, which were styled “Mysteries," or

With regard to the language of Lucifer, it was diffi* Moralities.” The author has by no means taken the cult for me to make him talk like a clergyman upon the same liberties with his subject which were common for- same subjects ; but I have done what I could to restrain merly, as may be seen by any reader curious enough to him within the bounds of spiritual politeness. refer to those very profane productions, whether in If he disclaims having tempted Eve in the shape of English, French, Italian, or Spanish. The author has the Serpent, it is only because the book of Genesis has endeavoured to preserve the language adapted to his not the most distant allusion to any thing of the kind, characters; and where it is (and this is but rarely) taken but merely to the Serpent in his serpentine capacity. from actual Scripture, he has made as little alteration, even of words, as the rhythm would permit. The

Note.—The reader will perceive that the author has reader will recollect that the book of Genesis does not partly adopted in this poem the notion of Cuvier, that state that Eve was tempted by a demon, but by the the world had been destroyed several times before the Serpent;” and that only because he was the most creation of man. This speculation, derived from the subtil of all the beasts of the field.” Whatever interpre- different strata and the bones of enormous and unlation the Rabbins and the Fathers may have put upon

known animals found in them, is not contrary to the nus, I must take the words as I find them, and reply Mosaic account, but rather confirms it; as no human with Bishop Watson upon similar occasions, when the bones have yet been discovered in those strata, alFathers were quoted to him, as Moderator in the Schools though those of many known animals are found near of Cambridge, “Behold the Book !”-holding up the the remains of the unknown. The assertion of Lucifer, Scripture. It is to be recollected that my present sub- that the Pre-Adamite world was also peopled by rational ject has nothing to do with the New Testament, to beings much more intelligent than man, and propor. which no reference can be here made without ana

tionably powerful to the mammoth, etc., etc., is, of ehronisın. With the poems upon similar topics I have course, a poetical fiction, to help him to make out his ao: been recently familiar. Since I was twenty, I have case. never read Milton; but I had read him so frequently

I ought to add, that there is a “Tramelogedia” of before, that this may make little difference. Gesner's Alfieri, called " Abel.”—I have never read that nor any * Death of Abel” I have never read since I was eight other of the posthumous works of the writer, excepit years of age, at Aberdeen. The general impression of his life. my recollection is delight; but of the contents, I remember only that Cain's wife was called Mahala, and Abel's Thirza.-In the following pages I have called them

DRAMATIS PERSONÆ. " Adah” and “ Zillah," the earliest female names which occur in Genesis ; they were those of Lamech's wives :


WOMEN. those of Cain and Abel are not called by their names. Whether, then, a coincidence of subject may have



ADAH, caused the same in expression, I know nothing, and


ZILLAH. care as little. The reader will please to bear in mind (what few

SPIRITS. choose to recollect) that there is no allusion to a future

ANGEL OF THE LORD. siate in any of the books of Moses, nor indeed in the

LUCIFER. 2 1 2









Dost thou not live?


Must I not die?


The fruit of our forbidden tree begins
The Land without Paradise.-Time, Sunrise. To fall.
ADAM, Eve, Cain, ABEL, ADAH, ZILLAH, offering
a Sacrifice.

And we must gather it again.

Oh, God! why didst thou plant the tree of knowledge God, the Eternal! Infinite! All-Wise ! Who out of darkness on the deep didst make

And wherefore pluck'd ye not the tree of life? Light on the waters with a word-all hail!

Ye might have then defied him.

ADAM. Jchovah, with returning light, all hail!

Oh! my son, God! who didst name the day, and separate

Blaspheme not: these are serpents' words.

CAIN. Morning from night, till then divided never

Why not? Who didst divide the wave from wave, and call

The snake spoke truth: it was the tree of knowledge : Part of thy work the firmament—all hail!

It was the tree of life :-knowledge is good,

And lifo is good; and how can both be evil?
God! who didst call the elements into
Earth-ocean-air-and fire, and with the day

My boy! thou speakest as I spoke in sin,
And night, and worlds which these illuminate

Before thy birth: let me not see renew'd Or shadow, madest beings to enjoy them,

My misery in thine. I have repented. And love both them and thee--all hail! all hail !

Let me not see my offspring fall into

The snares beyond the walls of Paradise, God, the Eternal! Parent of all things !

Which e'en in Paradise destroy'd his parents. Who didst create these best and beauteous beings, Content thee with what is. Had we been so, To be beloved, more than all, save thee

Thou now hadst been contented.-Oh, my son! Let me love thee and them:-All hail ! all hail!

Our orisons completed, let us hence, Oh, God! who loving, making, blessing all,

Each to his task of toil-not heavy, though Yet didst permit the serpent to creep in,

Needful: the earth is young, and yields us kindly And drive my father forth from Paradise,

Her fruits with little labour.
Keep us from further evil :-Hail! all hail !


Cain, my son,
Son Cain, my first-born, wherefore art thou silent ?

Behold thy father cheerful and resign'd,

And do as he doth. Why should I speak ?

[Erit Adam and Ers ADAM.

Wilt thou not, my brother?







To pray:



Have ye not pray'd? Why wilt thou wear this gloom upon thy brow,

Which can avail thee nothing, save to rouse
We have, most fervently.

The Eternal anger ?

And loudly: I

My beloved Cain,
Have heard you.

Wilt thou frown even on me?

So will God, I trust.

No, Adah! no;

I fain would be alone a little while.

Abel, I'm sick at heart; but it will pass :
But thou, my eldest-born, art silent still.

Precede me, brother-I will follow shortly.

And you, too, sisters, tarry not behind ;
T is better I should be so.

Your gentleness must not be harshly met:

I'll follow you anon.
Wherefo.e so?

If not, I will
I have nought to ask.

Return to seek you here.

Nor aught to thank for?

The peace of God

Be on your spirit, brother !

(Exit ABEL, Zillah, and Adas.









CAIN (solus).

To make death hateful, save an innate clinging,
And this is

A loathsome and yet all invincible
Life!—Toil! and wherefore should I toil ?-because Instinct of life, which I abhor, as I
My father could not keep his place in Eden. Despise myself, yet cannot overcome-
What had I done in this ?-I was unborn,

And so I live. Would I had never lived !
I sought not to be born; nor love the state
To which that birth has brought me. Why did he Thou livest, and must live for ever: think not
Yield to the serpent and the woman? or,

The earth, which is thine outward covering, is
Yielding, why suffer? What was there in this? Existence-it will cease, and thou wilt be
The tree was planted, and why not for him ? No less than thou art now.
If not, why place him near it, where it grew,
The fairest in the centre? They have but

No less! and why
One answer to all questions, “'t was his will,

No more?
And he is good." How know I that? Because
He is all-powerful, must all-good, too, follow?

It may be thou shalt be as we.
I judge but by the fruits—and they are bitter-

Which I must feed on for a fault not mine.

And ye?
Whəm have we here?-A shape like to the angels,
Yet of a sterner and a sadder aspect,

Are everlasting.
Of spiritual essence: why do I quake?
Why should I fear him more than other spirits,

Are ye happy?
Whom I see daily wave their fiery swords


We are mighty.
Before the gates round which I linger oft,
In twilight's hour, to catch a glimpse of those
Gardens which are my just inheritance,

Are ye happy?

Ere the night closes o'er the inhibited walls,
And the immortal trees which overtop

No: art thou?

The cherubim-defended battlements ?

How should I be so ? Look on me!
If I shrink not from these, the fire-arm'd angels,
Why should I quail from him who now approaches ?

Poor clay!
Yet he seems mightier far than them, nor less

And thou pretendest to be wretched! Thou!
Beauteous, and yet not all as beautiful
As he hath been, and might be : sorrow seems
Half of his immortality. And is it

I am:--and thou, with all thy might, what art thou ! So ? and can aught grieve save humanity?

He cometh.

One who aspired to be what made thee, and

Would not have made thee what thou art.


Thou look'st almost a god; and
Spirit, who art thou ?

I am nonc:
Master of spirits.

And having fail'd to be one, would be nought

Save what I am. He conquer'd; let him reign :
And being so, canst thou
Leave them, and walk with dust?

I know the thoughts

Thy sire's Maker, and the earth's.
Of dust, and feel for it, and with you.


And heaven How !

And all that in them is. So I have heard
You know my thoughts ?

His seraphs sing; and so my father saith.
They are the thoughts of all
Worthy of thought ;-'t is your immortal part

They say—what they must sing and say, on pain Which speaks within you.

Of being that which I am-and thou art

or spirits and of men. What immortal part ?

And what is that?
This has not heen reveald: the tree of life

Was withheld from us by my father's folly,
While that of knowledge, by my mother's haste,

Souls who dare use their immortality-
Was pluck'd too soon; and all the fruit is death!

Souls who dare look the Omnipotent tyrant in

His everlasting face, and tell him, that They have deceived thee; thou shalt live.

His evil is not good! If he has made,

As he saith-which I know not, nor believe

I live, But, if he made us—he cannot unmake, But life to die: and, living, see no thing

We are immortal !-nay, he'd have us so.


















To sway.


That he may torture:–let him! He is great In thunder.
But, in his greatness, is no happier than
We in our conflict! Goodness would not make

Then who was the demon ? He
Evil; and what else hath he made? But let him Who would not let ye live, or he who would
Sit on his vast and solitary throne,

Have made ye live for ever in the joy Creating worlds, to make eterity

And power of knowledge ? Less burthensome to his immense existence

CAIX. And unparticipated solitude !

Would they had snatch'd both Let him crowd orb on orb: he is alone,

The fruits, or neither!
Indefinite, indissoluble tyrant!
Could he but crush himself, 't were the best boon

One is yours already,
He ever granted: but let him reign on,

The other may be still.
And multiply himself in misery!
Spirits and men, at least we sympathize;

How so?
And, suffering in concert, make our pangs,

LUCIFER. Inumerable, more endurable,

By being By the unbounded sympathy of all

Yourselves, in your resistance. Nothing can With all! But He! so wretched in his height,

Quench the mind, if the mind will be itself
So restless in his wretchedness, must still

And centre of surrounding thingst is made
Create, and re-create-

Thou speak'st to me of things which long have swum But didst thou tempt my parents ?
In visions through my thought: I never could

Reconcile what I saw with what I heard.
My father and my mother talk to me

Poor clay! what should I tempt them for, or how! Of serpents, and of fruits and trees: I see 'The gates of what they call their Paradise

They say the serpent was a spirit. Guarded by fiery-sworded cherubim,

LUCIFER. Which shut them out, and me: I feel the weight

Who of daily toil, and constant thought: I look

Saith that? It is not written so on high: Around a world where I seem nothing, with

The proud One will not so far falsify, Thoughts which arise within me, as if they

Though man's vast fears and little vanity Could master all things:—but I thought alone

Would make him cast upon the spiritual nature This misery was mine.--My father is

His own low failing. The snake was the snakeTamed down; my mother has forgot the mind

No more; and yet not less than those he tempted, Which made her thirst for knowledge at the risk

In nature being earth also—more in wisdom, Of an eternal curse; my brother is

Since he could overcome them, and foreknew A watching shepherd boy, who offers up

The knowledge fatal to their narrow joys. The firstlings of the flock to him who bids

Think'st thou I'd take the shape of things that die i The earth yield nothing to us without sweat; My sister Zillah sings an earlier hymn

But the thing had a demon? Than the bird's matins ; and my Adah, my

Own and beloved, she too understands not

He but woke one
The mind which overwhelms me: never till
Now met I aught to sympathize with me.

In those he spake to with his forky tongue.

I tell thee that the serpent was no more Sis well-I rather would consort with spirits.

Than a mere serpent : ask the cherubim And hadst thou not been fit by thine own soul

Who guard the tempting tree. When thousand ages For such companionship, I would not now

Have rolld o'er your dead ashes and your seed's, Hlave stood before thee as I am: a serpent

The seed of the then world may thus array

Their earliest fault in fable, and attribute
Had been enough to charm ye, as before.

To me a shape I scorn, as I scorn all
Ah! didst thou tempt my mother ?

That bows to him who made things but to bend

Before his sullen sole eternity;
I tempt none,

But we, who see the truth, must speak it. Thy Save with the truth: was not the tree, the 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 them ? Wheer Suill fruitful ? Did I bid her pluck them not ?

Was there to envy in the narrow bounds Did I plant things prohibited within

Of Paradise, that spirits who pervade The reach of beings innocent, and curious

Space- -but I speak to thee of what thou know'st not By their own innocence? I would have made ye With all thy tree of knowledge. Gods ; and even He who thrust ye forth so thrust ye

CAIN. Because " ye should not eat :he fruits of life,

But thou canst not And become gods as we.” Were those his words ? Speak aught of knowledge which I would not know, CAIN,

And do not thirst to know, and bear a mind They were, as I have heard from those who heard them. To know.



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