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_Cain_. And wilt thou tell me so?
Why, I have seen the fire-flies and fire-worms Sprinkle the dusky groves and the green banks In the dim twilight, brighter than yon world Which bears them.
_Lucifer_. Thou hast seen both worms and worlds, Each bright and sparkling--what dost think of them?
_Cain_. That they are beautiful in their own sphere, And that the night, which makes both beautiful, The little shining fire-fly in its flight, 130 And the immortal star in its great course, Must both be guided.
_Lucifer_. But by whom or what?
_Cain_. Show me.
_Lucifer_. Dar'st thou behold?
_Cain_. How know I what I _dare_ behold? As yet, thou hast shown nought I dare not gaze on further.
_Lucifer_. On, then, with me.
Wouldst thou behold things mortal or immortal?
_Cain_. Why, what are things?
_Lucifer_. _Both_ partly: but what doth Sit next thy heart?
_Cain_. The things I see.
_Lucifer_. But what _Sate_ nearest it?
_Cain_. The things I have not seen, Nor ever shall--the mysteries of Death. 140
_Lucifer_. What, if I show to thee things which have died, As I have shown thee much which cannot die?
_Cain_. Do so.
_Lucifer_. Away, then! on our mighty wings!
_Cain_. Oh! how we cleave the blue! The stars fade from us!
The earth! where is my earth? Let me look on it, For I was made of it.
_Lucifer_. 'Tis now beyond thee, Less, in the universe, than thou in it; Yet deem not that thou canst escape it; thou Shalt soon return to earth, and all its dust: 'Tis part of thy eternity, and mine. 150
_Cain_. Where dost thou lead me?
_Lucifer_. To what was before thee!
The phantasm of the world; of which thy world Is but the wreck.
_Cain_. What! is it not then new?
_Lucifer_. No more than life is; and that was ere thou Or _I_ were, or the things which seem to us Greater than either: many things will have No end; and some, which would pretend to have Had no beginning, have had one as mean As thou; and mightier things have been extinct To make way for much meaner than we can 160 Surmise; for _moments_ only and the _s.p.a.ce_ Have been and must be all _unchangeable_.
But changes make not death, except to clay; But thou art clay--and canst but comprehend That which was clay, and such thou shall behold.
_Cain_. Clay--Spirit--what thou wilt--I can survey.
_Lucifer_. Away, then!
_Cain_. But the lights fade from me fast, And some till now grew larger as we approached, And wore the look of worlds.
_Lucifer_. And such they are.
_Cain_. And Edens in them?
_Lucifer_. It may be.
_Cain_. And men? 170
_Lucifer_. Yea, or things higher.
_Cain_. Aye! and serpents too?[cf]
_Lucifer_. Wouldst thou have men without them? must no reptiles Breathe, save the erect ones?
_Cain_. How the lights recede!
Where fly we?
_Lucifer_. To the world of phantoms, which Are beings past, and shadows still to come.
_Cain_. But it grows dark, and dark--the stars are gone!
_Lucifer_. And yet thou seest.
_Cain_. 'Tis a fearful light!
No sun--no moon--no lights innumerable-- The very blue of the empurpled night Fades to a dreary twilight--yet I see 180 Huge dusky ma.s.ses; but unlike the worlds We were approaching, which, begirt with light, Seemed full of life even when their atmosphere Of light gave way, and showed them taking shapes Unequal, of deep valleys and vast mountains; And some emitting sparks, and some displaying Enormous liquid plains, and some begirt With luminous belts, and floating moons, which took, Like them, the features of fair earth:--instead, All here seems dark and dreadful.
_Lucifer_. But distinct. 190 Thou seekest to behold Death, and dead things?
_Cain_. I seek it not; but as I know there are Such, and that my sire's sin makes him and me, And all that we inherit, liable To such, I would behold, at once, what I Must one day see perforce.
_Cain_. 'Tis darkness!
_Lucifer_. And so it shall be ever--but we will Unfold its gates!
_Cain_. Enormous vapours roll Apart--what's this?
_Cain_. Can I return?
_Lucifer_. Return! be sure: how else should Death be peopled? 200 Its present realm is thin to what it will be, Through thee and thine.