Suns, moons, and earths, upon their loud-voiced spheres A shepherd's humble offering.
Singing in thunder round me, as have made me
Unfit for mortal converse: leave me, Abei.

I have no flocks:

I am a uller of the ground, and must Thine eyes are flashing with unnatural light- Yield what it yieldeth to my toil—its fruit : Thy cheek is flush'd with an unnatural hue

[He gathers fruits. Thy words are fraught with an unnatural sound- Behold them in their various bloom and ripeness. What may this mean?

[They dress their altars, and kindle a flame upon

It means I pray thee, leave me.

My brother, as the elder, offer first
Not till we have pray'd and sacrificed together. Thy prayer and thanksgiving with sacrifice.
Abel, I pray thee, sacrifice alone-

No-I am new to this ; lead thou the way,

And I will follow-as I may.
Jehovah loves thee well.

ABEL (kneeling).
Both well, I hope.

Oh God!

Who made us, and who breathed the breath of life But thee the better : I care not for that;

Within our nostrils, who hath blessed us, Thou art fitter for his worship than I am:

And spared, despite our father's sin, to make Revere him, then-but let it be alone

His children all lost, as they might have been, At least without me.

Had not thy justice been so temper'd with

The mercy which is thy delight, as to
Brother, I should ill

Accord a pardon like a paradise,
Deserve the name of our great father's son,

Compared with our great crimes :-Sole Lord of ligh!! If as my elder I revered thee not,

of good, and glory, and eternity!

Without whom all were evil, and with whom
And in the worship of our God call'd not
On thee to join me, and precede me in

Nothing can err, except to some good end
Our priesthood—'t is thy place.

Of thine omnipotent benevolence

Inscrutable, but still to be fulfill'd-
But I have ne'er

Accept from out thy humble first of shepherd's

First of the first-born flocks-an offering,
Asserted it.

In itself nothing—as what offering can be
The more my grief; I pray thee

Aught unto thee ?—but yet accept it for
To do so now; thy soul seems labouring in

The thanksgiving of hin who spreads it in Some strong delusion; it will calm thee.

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!
Nothing can calm me more. Calm ! say I? Never

CAIN (standing erect during this speech, Knew I what calm was in the soul, although

Spirit! whate'er or whosoe'er thou art, I have seen the elements stilld. My Abel, leave me ! Omnipotent, it may be-and, if good, Or let me leave thee to thy pious purpose.

Shown in the exemption of thy deeds from evi;

Jehovah upon earth! and God in heaven! Neither; we must perform our task tugether.

And it may be with other names, because Spurn me not.

Thine attributes seem many, as thy works :

If thou must be propitiated with prayers,
If it must be so well, then,

Take them! If thou must be induced with altars,
IVhat shall I do?

And soften'd with a sacrifice, receive them!

Two beings here erect them unto thee.
Choose one of those two altars.

If thou lovest blood, the shepherd's shrine, which smokes

On my right hand, hath shed it for thy service, Choose for me : they to me are so much turf

In the first of his flock, whose limbs now reek Ard stone.

In sanguinary incense to thy skies;

Or if the sweet and blooming fruits of earth,
Choose thou!

And milder seasons, which the unstain'd turf

I spread them on, now offers in the face
I have chosen.

of the broad sun which ripen'd them, may seem

Good to thee, inasmuch as they have not

'Tis the highest, Suffer'd in limb or life, and rather form And suits thee, as the elder. Now prepare

A sample of thy works, than supplication Thine offerings.

To look on ours! If a shrine without victim,

And altar without gore, may win thy favour,
Where are thine ?

Look on it! and for him who dresseth it,

He is—such as thou mad'st him; and seeks nothing

Behold them here— Which must be won by kneeling : if he's evil, The firstrings of the flock, and fat thercof- Strike him! thou art omnipotent, and may'st,
















For what can he oppose? If he be good,

ABEL. Strike him, or spare him, as thou wilt! since all

In his great name, Rests upon thee; and good and evil seem

I stand between thee and the shrine which hath To have no power themselves, save in thy will ;

Had his acceptance. And whether that be good or ill I know not,

CAIN. Not being omnipotent, or fit to judge

If thou lov'st thyself, Omnipotence, but merely to endure

Stand back till I have strew'd this turf along Its mandate, which thus far I have endured.

Its native soil :-else(The fire upon the altar of Abel kindles into a

ABEL (opposing him). column of the brightest flame, and uscends

I love God far more to heaven; while a whirlwind throws down Than life. the altar of Cain, and scallers the fruits Cain (striking him with a brand, on the temples, which abroad upon the earth.

he snatches from the altar). ABEL (kneeling).

Then take thy life unto thy God, Ob, brother, pray! Jehovah 's wroth with thee! Since he loves lives.

ABEL (falls). Why so?

What hast thou done, my brother?

Thy fruits are scatter'd on the earth.


ABEL. From earth they came, to earth let them return;

Oli, God! receive thy servant, and Their seed will bear fresh fruit there ere the summer : Forgive his slayer, for he knew not what Thy burnt flesh-offering prospers better ; see He did.-Cain, give me-give me thy hand; and tell How heaven licks up the flames, when thick with blood! Poor Zillah

CAIN (after a moment's stupefaction). Think not upon my offering's acceptance,

My hand! 't is all red, and with But make another of thine own before

What? It is too late.

(A long pause. - Looking slowly round,

Where am I ? alone! Where's Abel? where I will build no more altars,

Cain? Can it be that I am he? My brother, Nor suffer any.-

Awake!-why liest thou so on the green

earth? ABEL (rising).

"T is not the hour of slumber :--why so pale ? Cain! what meanest thou?

What hast thou?-lhou wert full of life this morn:

Abel! I pray thee, mock me not! I smote CAIN. ro cast down yon vile fatt'rer of the clouds,

Too fiercely, but not fatally. Ah, why. Che smoky harbinger of thy dull prayers

Wouldst thou oppose me? This is nockery; rhine altar, with its blood of lambs and kids,

And only done to daunt me:-'t was a blow-
Which fed on milk, to be destroy'd in blood.

And but a blow. Stir-stir-nay, only stir!
ABEL (opposing him).

Why, so that's well!—thou breath'st! breathe upon Thou shalt not :-add not impious works to impious

Oh, God! Oh, God!
Words! let that altar stand—'t is hallow'd now
By the immortal pleasure of Jehovah,

ABEL (very faintly).

What's he who spcaks of God ? In his acceptance of the victims.

His !

Thy murderer.
His pleasure! what was his high pleasure in


God forgive him! Cain,
The fumes of scorching flesh and smoking blood,
To the pain of the bleating mothers, which

Comfort poor Zillah :- she has but one brother

Now, Sull yearn for their dead offspring ?

(ABEL dies.

CAIN. or the sad ignorant victims underneath

and I none! Who makes me brotherless ? Thy pious knife? Give way! this bloody record

His eyes are open! then he is not dead! Shall not stand in the sun, to shame creation !

Death is like sleep; and sleep shuts down our lids.

His lips, too, are apart; why then he breathes ! Brother, give back! thou shalt not touch my altar


I feel it not.-His heart!-his hear 1-
With violence: if that thou wilt adopt it,

Let me see, doth it beat ?-methinks-No!-no: To try another sacrifice, 't is thine.

This is a vision, else I am become

The native of another and worse world. Another sacrifice! Give way, or else

The earth swims round me:-what is this?--'t is wel, That sacrifice may

(Puts his hand to his brow, and then looks at il.

And yet there are no dewe! 'Tis blood-my bloodWhat meanest thou ? My brother's and my own; and shed by me!

Then what have I further to do with life,

Give- Since I have taken life from my own flesh? Give way! thy God loves blood !-then look to it:- But he cannot be dead!-Is silence death? Give way, ere he hath more!

No; he will wake: then let me watch by him




or the pangs






Life cannot be so slight, as to be quench'd

I see it now-he hangs his guilty head,
Thus quickly!-he hath spoken to me since- And covers his ferocious eye with hands
What shall I say to him?–My brother !-No; Incarnadine.
He will not answer to that name ; for brethren

Smite not each other. Yet-yet-speak to me.

Mother, thou dost him wrongOh! for a word more of that gentle voice,

Cain! clear thee from this horrible accusal, That I may bear to hear my own again!

Which grief wrings from our parent.

Enter Zillah.

Hear, Jehovah

May the eternal serpent's curse be on him! I heard a heavy sound: what can it be?

For he was fitter for his seed than ours. 'Tis Cain; and watching by my husband. What May all his days be desolate! May— Dost thou there, brother ? Doth he sleep? Oh! heaven!

ADAH. What means this paleness, and yon stream ?-No! no!

Hold! It is not blood; for who would shed his blood ? Curse him not, mother, for he is thy sonAbel! what's this !—who hath done this ? He moves Curse him not, mother, for he is my brother, not ;

And my betroth’d. He breathes not: and his hands drop down from mine

EVE. With stony lifelessness! Ah! cruel Cain!

He hath left thee no brother-
Why cam'st thou not in time to save him from Zillah no husband-me no son !—for this
This violence? Whatever hath assail'd him, I curse him from my sight for evermore!
Thou wert the stronger, and should'st have stepp'd in All bonds I break between us, as he broke
Between him and aggression ! Father !--Eve!- That of his nature, in yon—Oh death! death!
Adah!—come hither! Death is in the world! Why didst thou not take me, who first incurr'd thee?

(Exit Zillah calling on her parents, etc. Why dost thou not so now?
CAIN (solus).

And who hath brought him there?-I-who abhor

Eve! let not this, The name of death so deeply, that the thought Thy natural grief, lead to impiety! Empoison'd all my life, before I knew

A heavy doom was long forespoken to us; His aspect-I have led him here, and given

And now that it begins, let it be borne My brother to his cold and still embrace,

In such sort as may show our God, that we As if he would not have asserted his

Are faithful servants to his holy will. Inexorable claim without my aid.

EVE (pointing to Cain).
I am awake at last-a dreary dream

His will! the will of yon incarnate spirit
Had madden'd me :--but he shall ne'er awake! of death, whom I have brought upon the earth

To strew it with the dead. May all the curs
Enter Adam, Eve, Adah, and Zillah.

Of life be on him! and his agonies

Drive him forth o'er the wilderness, like us, A voice of woe from Zillah brings me here.

From Eden, till his children do by him What do I see ?-T is true!-My son !

As he did by his brother! May the swords Woman, behold the serpent's work, and thine ! And wings of fiery cherubim pursue him

(To Eve. By day and night-snakes spring up in his path

Earth's fruits be ashes in his mouth-the leaves Oh! speak not of it now: the serpent's fangs

On which he lays his head to sleep bo strew'd Are in my heart. My best beloved, Abe!!

With scorpions ! May his dreams be of his victim! Jehovah ! this is punishment beyond

His waking a continual dread of death!
A mother's sin, to take him from me!

May the clear rivers turn to blood, as he

Stoops down to stain them with his raging lip!

May every clement shun or change to him!
Or what hath done this deed ?-speak, Cain, since thou May he live in the pangs which others die with!
Wert present : was it some more hostile angel,

And death itself wax something worse than death Who walks not with Jehovah ? or some wild

To him who first acquainted him with man! Brute of the forest ?

Hence, fratricide! henceforth that word is Cain,

Through all the coming myriads of mankind,
Ah! a livid light

Who shall abhor thee, though thou wert their sire! Breaks thorough, as from a thunder-cloud ! yon brand, May the grass wither from thy feet! the woods Massy and bloody! snatch'd from oft' the altar,

Deny thee shelter! earth a home! the dust And black with smoke, and red with

A grave! the sun his light! and heaven her God'

(Exit Eva. Speak, my son! Speak, and assure us, wretched as we are,

Cain! get thee forth ; we dwell no more together. That we are not more miserable still.

Depart! and leave the dead to me, I am

Henceforth alone—we never must meet more.
Speak. Cair' and say it was not thou !


Oh, part not with him thus, my father : do not
It was.

Add thy deep curse to Eve's upon his head'

[ocr errors]















Shall slay me? where are these on the lone earth curse him not: his spirit be his cursc.

As yet unpeopled ?
come, Zillah!

Thou hast slain thy brother,
I must watch

And who shall warrant thee against thy son ?
husband's corse.

We will return again, when he is

Angel of light! be merciful, nor say

gone Who hath provided for us this dread office.

That this poor aching breast now nourishes
Come, Zillah!

A murderer in my boy, and of his father.

Then he would but be what his father is.
Yet one kiss on yon pale clay,
And those lips once so warm—my heart! my heart!

Did not the milk of Eve give nutriment

To him thou now see'st so besmcard with blood ?
[Ereunt Adam and Zillah, weeping.

The fratricide might well engender parricides.-
Cain! thou hast heard, we must go forth. I am ready; And mine commandeth me to set his seal

But it shall not be 30—the Lord thy God
So shall our children be. I will bear Enoch,

On Cain, so that he may go forth in safety.. And you his sister. Ere the sun declines

Who slayeth Cain, a sevenfold vengeance shall Let us depart, nor walk the wilderness

Be taken on his head. Come hither! l'rder the cloud of night.--Nay, speak to me,

To me thine own,

Wouldst thou with me?
Leave me!

To mark upon thy brow
Why, all have left thec. Exeinption from such deeds as thou hast done.

And wherefore lingerest thou ? Dost thou not fear No, let me die!

To dwell with one who hath done this?

It must not be,
I fear

[The ANGEL sets the mark on Cain's bror

CAIX. Nothing except to leave thee, much as I

It burns Shrink from the deed which leaves thee brotherless.

My brow, but nought to that which is within it. I must not speak of this—it is between thee

Is there more ? let me meet it as I may.
And the great God.

A Voice from within exclaims,

Stern hast thou been and stubborn from the womb,
Cain! Cain!

As the ground thou must henceforth till; but he

Thou slew'st was gentle as the flocks he tended.
Hear'st thou that voice?

The Voice within,

After the fall too soon was I begotten;
Cain! Cain!

Ere yet my mother's mind subsided from
It soundeth like an angel's tone.

The serpent, and my sire still miourn'd for Eden.

That which I a:n, I am; I did not seek

For life, nor did I make myself; but could I

With my own death redeem him from the dust-
There is thy brother Abel ?

And why not so ? let him return to day,

And I lie ghastly! so shall be restored
Am I then

By God the life to him he loved; and taken
My brother's keeper ?

From me a being I ne'er loved to bear.

Cain! what hast thou done?

Who shall heal murder? what is done is done.
The voice of thy slain brother's blood cries out,

Go forth ! fulfil thy days! and be thy deeds Even from the ground, unto the Lord !-Now art thou Unlike the last !

[The Angel disappears. Cursed from the earth, which opened late her mouth To drink thy brother's blood from thy rash hand.

He's gone, let us go forth;
Henceforth, when thou shalt till the ground, it shall not I hear our little Enoch
Yield thee her strength; a fugitive shalt thou

Our bower.
Be from this day, and vagabond on earth!

Al! little knows he what he weeps sur' This punishment is more than he can bear.

And I who have shed blood cannot shed tears! Behold, thou drivest him from the face of earth, But the four rivers' would not cleanse my soul. And from the face of God shall he be hid.

Think'st thou my boy will bear to look on me?
A fiigitive and vagabond on earth,

T will come to pass, that whoso findeth him If I thought that he would not, I would-
Shall slay him.

1 'l he four rivers" which flowed round Eden, and conse CAIX.

quently the only waters with which Cain was acquainted upon Would they could! but who are they (the carth.




cry within







CAIN (interrupting her).

No, A dreary, and an early doom, my brother,
No more of threats : we have had too many of them : Has been thy lot! Of all who mourn for thee,
Go to our children; I will follow thee.

I alone must not weep. My office is

Henceforth to dry up tears, and not to shed them, I will not leave thee lonely with the dead;

But yet, of all who mourn, none mourn like me, Let us depart together.

Not only for thyself, but him who slew thee.

Now, Cain! I will divide thy burden with thee. Oh! thou dead

And everlasting witness ! whose unsinking

Eastward from Eden will we take our way;
Blood darkens earth and heaven! what thou now art, 'Tis the most desolate, and suits my steps.
I know not! but if thou see'st what I am,

I think thou wilt forgive him, whom his God

Lead! thou shalt be my guide, and may our God Can ne'er forgive, nor his own soul.-Farewell ! Be thine! Now let us carry forth our children. I must not, dare not, touch what I have made thee. I, who sprung from the same womb with thee, drain'd And he who lieth there was childless. The same breast, clasp'd thee often to my own, I have dried the fountain of a gentle race, In fondness brotherly and boyish, I

Which might have graced his recent marriage couch, Can never meet thee more, nor even dare

And might have temper'd this stern blood of mine, To do that for thee, which thou shouldst have dono

Uniting with our children Abel's offspring!
For me-compose thy limbs into their grave O Abel!
The first grave yet dug for mortality.
But who hath dug that grave? Oh, earth! Oh, earth!

Peace be with him!
For all the fruits thou hast render'd to me, I
Give thee back this.—Now for the wilderness.

But with me! (Adah stoops down and kisses the body of ABEL.





Werner; or, The Xnheritance;






conception, rather than execution; for the story might, perhaps, have been more developed with greater advan

tage. Amongst those whose opinions agreed with mine The following drama is taken entirely from the “Ger- upon this story, I could mention some very high names ; man's Tale, Kruitzner,” published many years ago in but it is not necessary, nor indeed of any use ; for every “ Lee's Canterbury Tales ;" written (I believe) by two one must judge according to their own feelings. I sisters, of whom one furnished only this story and merely refer the reader to the original story, that he may another, both of which are considered superior to the see to what extent I have borrowed from it; and am not remainder of the collection. I have adopted the char- unwilling that he should find much greater pleasure in acters, plan, and even the language, of many parts of perusing it than the drama which is founded upon its This story. Some of the characters are modified or contents. altered, a few of the names changed, and one character I had begim a drama upon this tale so far back 28 (Ida of Stralenheim) added by myself: but in the rest 1815 (the first I ever attempted, except one at thirteen the original is chiefly followed. When I was young years old, called “ Ulric and Ilvina," which I had sense (about fourteen, I think) I first read this tale, which enough to burn), and had nearly completed an act, made a deep impression upon me; and may, indeed, be when I was interrupted by circumstances. This is some said to contain the germ of much that I have since where amongst my papers in England; b.. writter. I am not sure that it ever was very popular; or been found, I have re-written the first, d the at any rate its popularity has since been eclipsed by that subsequent acts. of ciher great writers in the same department. But I The whole is neither intended, nor in any shape have generally found that those who had read it, agreed adapted, for the stage. with me in their estimate of the singular power of miua and conception which it developes. I should also add / February, 1822.

25 not

« 前へ次へ »