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The Works of Lord Byron Volume V Part 61

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_Lucifer_. He shall.

With us acts are exempt from time, and we Can crowd eternity into an hour, Or stretch an hour into eternity: We breathe not by a mortal measurement-- But that's a mystery. Cain, come on with me.

_Adah_. Will he return?

_Lucifer_. Aye, woman! he alone 540 Of mortals from that place (the first and last Who shall return, save ONE), shall come back to thee, To make that silent and expectant world As populous as this: at present there Are few inhabitants.

_Adah_. Where dwellest thou?

_Lucifer_. Throughout all s.p.a.ce. Where should I dwell? Where are Thy G.o.d or G.o.ds--there am I: all things are Divided with me: Life and Death--and Time-- Eternity--and heaven and earth--and that Which is not heaven nor earth, but peopled with 550 Those who once peopled or shall people both-- These are my realms! so that I do divide _His_, and possess a kingdom which is not _His_[109]. If I were not that which I have said, Could I stand here? His angels are within Your vision.

_Adah_. So they were when the fair Serpent Spoke with our mother first.

_Lucifer_. Cain! thou hast heard.

If thou dost long for knowledge, I can satiate That thirst; nor ask thee to partake of fruits Which shall deprive thee of a single good 560 The Conqueror has left thee. Follow me.

_Cain_. Spirit, I have said it.

[_Exeunt_ LUCIFER _and_ CAIN.

_Adah_ (_follows exclaiming_). Cain! my brother! Cain!

ACT II.

SCENE I.--_The Abyss of s.p.a.ce_.

_Cain_. I tread on air, and sink not--yet I fear To sink.

_Lucifer_. Have faith in me, and thou shalt be Borne on the air[110], of which I am the Prince.

_Cain_. Can I do so without impiety?

_Lucifer_. Believe--and sink not! doubt--and perish! thus Would run the edict of the other G.o.d, Who names me Demon to his angels; they Echo the sound to miserable things, Which, knowing nought beyond their shallow senses, Worship the _word_ which strikes their ear, and deem 10 Evil or good what is proclaimed to them In their abas.e.m.e.nt. I will have none such: Worship or worship not, thou shalt behold The worlds beyond thy little world, nor be Amerced for doubts beyond thy little life, With torture of _my_ dooming. There will come An hour, when, tossed upon some water-drops[cd], A man shall say to a man, "Believe in me, And walk the waters;" and the man shall walk The billows and be safe. _I_ will not say, 20 Believe in _me_, as a conditional creed To save thee; but fly with me o'er the gulf Of s.p.a.ce an equal flight, and I will show What thou dar'st not deny,--the history Of past--and present, and of future worlds.

_Cain_. Oh G.o.d! or Demon! or whate'er thou art, Is yon our earth?

_Lucifer_. Dost thou not recognise The dust which formed your father?

_Cain_. Can it be?

Yon small blue circle, swinging in far ether[ce], With an inferior circlet purpler it still[111], 30 Which looks like that which lit our earthly night?

Is this our Paradise? Where are its walls, And they who guard them?

_Lucifer_. Point me out the site Of Paradise.

_Cain_. How should I? As we move Like sunbeams onward, it grows small and smaller, And as it waxes little, and then less, Gathers a halo round it, like the light Which shone the roundest of the stars, when I Beheld them from the skirts of Paradise: Methinks they both, as we recede from them, 40 Appear to join the innumerable stars Which are around us; and, as we move on, Increase their myriads.

_Lucifer_. And if there should be Worlds greater than thine own--inhabited By greater things--and they themselves far more In number than the dust of thy dull earth, Though multiplied to animated atoms, All living--and all doomed to death--and wretched, What wouldst thou think?

_Cain_. I should be proud of thought Which knew such things.

_Lucifer_. But if that high thought were 50 Linked to a servile ma.s.s of matter--and, Knowing such things, aspiring to such things, And science still beyond them, were chained down To the most gross and petty paltry wants, All foul and fulsome--and the very best Of thine enjoyments a sweet degradation, A most enervating and filthy cheat To lure thee on to the renewal of Fresh souls and bodies[112], all foredoomed to be As frail, and few so happy----

_Cain_. Spirit! I 60 Know nought of Death, save as a dreadful thing Of which I have heard my parents speak, as of A hideous heritage I owe to them No less than life--a heritage not happy, If I may judge, till now. But, Spirit! if It be as thou hast said (and I within Feel the prophetic torture of its truth), Here let me die: for to give birth to those Who can but suffer many years, and die-- Methinks is merely propagating Death, 70 And multiplying murder.

_Lucifer_. Thou canst not _All_ die--there is what must survive.

_Cain_. The Other Spake not of this unto my father, when He shut him forth from Paradise, with death Written upon his forehead. But at least Let what is mortal of me perish, that I may be in the rest as angels are.

_Lucifer_. _I_ am angelic: wouldst thou be as I am?

_Cain_. I know not what thou art: I see thy power, And see thou show'st me things beyond _my_ power, 80 Beyond all power of my born faculties, Although inferior still to my desires And my conceptions.

_Lucifer_. What are they which dwell So humbly in their pride, as to sojourn With worms in clay?

_Cain_. And what art thou who dwellest So haughtily in spirit, and canst range Nature and immortality--and yet Seem'st sorrowful?

_Lucifer_. I seem that which I am; And therefore do I ask of thee, if thou Wouldst be immortal?

_Cain_. Thou hast said, I must be 90 Immortal in despite of me. I knew not This until lately--but since it must be, Let me, or happy or unhappy, learn To antic.i.p.ate my immortality.

_Lucifer_. Thou didst before I came upon thee.

_Cain_. How?

_Lucifer_. By suffering.

_Cain_. And must torture be immortal?

_Lucifer_. We and thy sons will try. But now, behold!

Is it not glorious?

_Cain_. Oh thou beautiful And unimaginable ether! and Ye multiplying ma.s.ses of increased 100 And still-increasing lights! what are ye? what Is this blue wilderness of interminable Air, where ye roll along, as I have seen The leaves along the limpid streams of Eden?

Is your course measured for ye? Or do ye Sweep on in your unbounded revelry Through an aerial universe of endless Expansion--at which my soul aches to think-- Intoxicated with eternity[113]?

Oh G.o.d! Oh G.o.ds! or whatsoe'er ye are! 110 How beautiful ye are! how beautiful Your works, or accidents, or whatsoe'er They may be! Let me die, as atoms die, (If that they die), or know ye in your might And knowledge! My thoughts are not in this hour Unworthy what I see, though my dust is; Spirit! let me expire, or see them nearer.

_Lucifer_. Art thou not nearer? look back to thine earth!

_Cain_. Where is it? I see nothing save a ma.s.s Of most innumerable lights.

_Lucifer_. Look there! 120

_Cain_. I cannot see it.

_Lucifer_. Yet it sparkles still.

_Cain_. That!--yonder!

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The Works of Lord Byron Volume V Part 61 summary

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