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Suns, moons, and earths, upon their loud-voiced spheres A shepherd's humble offering.
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
My brother, as the elder, offer first
No-I am new to this ; lead thou the way,
And I will follow-as I may.
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
Accord a pardon like a paradise,
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
Nothing can err, except to some good end
Of thine omnipotent benevolence
Inscrutable, but still to be fulfill'd-
Accept from out thy humble first of shepherd's
First of the first-born flocks-an offering,
In itself nothing—as what offering can be
Aught unto thee ?—but yet accept it for
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!
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,
Take them! If thou must be induced with altars,
And soften'd with a sacrifice, receive them!
Two beings here erect them unto thee.
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,
And milder seasons, which the unstain'd turf
I spread them on, now offers in the face
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,
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?
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-
And but a blow. Stir-stir-nay, only stir!
Why, so that's well!—thou breath'st! breathe upon Thou shalt not :-add not impious works to impious
Oh, God! Oh, God!
ABEL (very faintly).
What's he who spcaks of God ? In his acceptance of the victims.
God forgive him! Cain,
Comfort poor Zillah :- she has but one brother
Now, Sull yearn for their dead offspring ?
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-
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,
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.
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-
(Exit Zillah calling on her parents, etc. Why dost thou not so now?
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).
His will! the will of yon incarnate spirit
To strew it with the dead. May all the curs
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!
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!
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,
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.
Oh, part not with him thus, my father : do not
Add thy deep curse to Eve's upon his head'
Shall slay me? where are these on the lone earth curse him not: his spirit be his cursc.
As yet unpeopled ?
Thou hast slain thy brother,
And who shall warrant thee against thy son ?
Angel of light! be merciful, nor say
gone Who hath provided for us this dread office.
That this poor aching breast now nourishes
A murderer in my boy, and of his father.
Then he would but be what his father is.
Did not the milk of Eve give nutriment
To him thou now see'st so besmcard with blood ?
The fratricide might well engender parricides.-
But it shall not be 30—the Lord thy God
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 mark upon thy brow
It must not be,
[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.
Stern hast thou been and stubborn from the womb,
As the ground thou must henceforth till; but he
Thou slew'st was gentle as the flocks he tended.
After the fall too soon was I begotten;
Ere yet my mother's mind subsided from
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-
And why not so ? let him return to day,
And I lie ghastly! so shall be restored
By God the life to him he loved; and taken
From me a being I ne'er loved to bear.
Who shall heal murder? what is done is done.
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;
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?
T will come to pass, that whoso findeth him If I thought that he would not, I would-
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.
CAIN (interrupting her).
No, A dreary, and an early doom, my brother,
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
Eastward from Eden will we take our way;
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!
Peace be with him!
But with me! (Adah stoops down and kisses the body of ABEL.
Werner; or, The Xnheritance;
TO THE ILLUSTRIOUS GOETHE,
BY ONE OF HIS HUMBLEST ADMIRERS,
THIS TRAGEDY IS DEDICATED.
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.