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Even had their days been left to toil their path Through time to dust, unshortened by G.o.d's wrath, Still they are Evil's prey, and Sorrow's spoil.
_Aho._ Let them fly! 610 I hear the voice which says that all must die, Sooner than our white-bearded patriarchs died; And that on high An ocean is prepared, While from below The deep shall rise to meet Heaven's overflow-- Few shall be spared, It seems; and, of that few, the race of Cain Must lift their eyes to Adam's G.o.d in vain.
Sister! since it is so, 620 And the eternal Lord In vain would be implored For the remission of one hour of woe, Let us resign even what we have adored, And meet the wave, as we would meet the sword, If not unmoved, yet undismayed, And wailing less for us than those who shall Survive in mortal or immortal thrall, And, when the fatal waters are allayed, Weep for the myriads who can weep no more. 630 Fly, Seraphs! to your own eternal sh.o.r.e, Where winds nor howl, nor waters roar.
Our portion is to die, And yours to live for ever: But which is best, a dead Eternity, Or living, is but known to the great Giver.
Obey him, as we shall obey; I would not keep this life of mine in clay An hour beyond his will; Nor see ye lose a portion of his grace, 640 For all the mercy which Seth's race Find still.
And as your pinions bear ye back to Heaven, Think that my love still mounts with thee on high, Samiasa!
And if I look up with a tearless eye, 'Tis that an angel's bride disdains to weep,-- Farewell! Now rise, inexorable deep!
And must we die? 650 And must I lose thee too, Azaziel?
Oh, my heart! my heart!
Thy prophecies were true!
And yet thou wert so happy too!
The blow, though not unlocked for, falls as new: But yet depart!
Yet let me not retain thee--fly!
My pangs can be but brief; but thine would be 660 Eternal, if repulsed from Heaven for me.
Too much already hast thou deigned To one of Adam's race!
Our doom is sorrow: not to us alone, But to the Spirits who have not disdained To love us, cometh anguish with disgrace.
The first who taught us knowledge hath been hurled From his once archangelic throne Into some unknown world: And thou, Azaziel! No-- 670 Thou shall not suffer woe For me. Away! nor weep!
Thou canst not weep; but yet May'st suffer more, not weeping: then forget Her, whom the surges of the all-strangling deep Can bring no pang like this. Fly! fly!
Being gone, 'twill be less difficult to die.
_j.a.ph._ Oh say not so!
Father! and thou, archangel, thou!
Surely celestial mercy lurks below 680 That pure severe serenity of brow: Let them not meet this sea without a sh.o.r.e, Save in our ark, or let me be no more!
Peace, child of pa.s.sion, peace!
If not within thy heart, yet with thy tongue Do G.o.d no wrong!
Live as he wills it--die, when he ordains, A righteous death, unlike the seed of Cain's.
Cease, or be sorrowful in silence; cease To weary Heaven's ear with thy selfish plaint. 690 Wouldst thou have G.o.d commit a sin for thee?
Such would it be To alter his intent For a mere mortal sorrow. Be a man!
And bear what Adam's race must bear, and can.
_j.a.ph._ Aye, father! but when they are gone, And we are all alone, Floating upon the azure desert, and The depth beneath us hides our own dear land, And dearer, silent friends and brethren, all 700 Buried in its immeasurable breast, Who, who, our tears, our shrieks, shall then command?
Can we in Desolation's peace have rest?
Oh G.o.d! be thou a G.o.d, and spare Yet while 'tis time!
Renew not Adam's fall: Mankind were then but twain, But they are numerous now as are the waves And the tremendous rain, Whose drops shall be less thick than would their graves, 710 Were graves permitted to the seed of Cain.
_Noah_. Silence, vain boy! each word of thine's a crime.
Angel! forgive this stripling's fond despair.
_Raph._ Seraphs! these mortals speak in pa.s.sion: Ye!
Who are, or should be, pa.s.sionless and pure, May now return with me.
_Sam._ It may not be: We have chosen, and will endure.
_Raph._ Say'st thou?
_Aza._ He hath said it, and I say, Amen!
Then from this hour, 720 Shorn as ye are of all celestial power, And aliens from your G.o.d, Farewell!
_j.a.ph._ Alas! where shall they dwell?
Hark, hark! Deep sounds, and deeper still, Are howling from the mountain's bosom: There's not a breath of wind upon the hill, Yet quivers every leaf, and drops each blossom: Earth groans as if beneath a heavy load.
_Noah_. Hark, hark! the sea-birds cry! 730 In clouds they overspread the lurid sky, And hover round the mountain, where before Never a white wing, wetted by the wave, Yet dared to soar, Even when the waters waxed too fierce to brave.
Soon it shall be their only sh.o.r.e, And then, no more!
_j.a.ph._ The sun! the sun!
He riseth, but his better light is gone; And a black circle, bound 740 His glaring disk around, Proclaims Earth's last of summer days hath shone!
The clouds return into the hues of night, Save where their brazen-coloured edges streak The verge where brighter morns were wont to break.
_Noah_. And lo! yon flash of light, The distant thunder's harbinger, appears!
It cometh! hence, away!
Leave to the elements their evil prey!
Hence to where our all-hallowed ark uprears 750 Its safe and wreckless sides!
_j.a.ph._ Oh, father, stay!
Leave not my Anah to the swallowing tides!
_Noah_. Must we not leave all life to such? Begone!
_j.a.ph._ Not I.
_Noah_. Then die With them!
How darest thou look on that prophetic sky, And seek to save what all things now condemn, In overwhelming unison 760 With just Jehovah's wrath!
_j.a.ph._ Can rage and justice join in the same path?
_Noah_. Blasphemer! darest thou murmur even now!
_Raph._ Patriarch, be still a father! smooth thy brow: Thy son, despite his folly, shall not sink: He knows not what he says, yet shall not drink With sobs the salt foam of the swelling waters; But be, when pa.s.sion pa.s.seth, good as thou, Nor perish like Heaven's children with man's daughters.
_Aho._ The tempest cometh; heaven and earth unite 770 For the annihilation of all life.
Unequal is the strife Between our strength and the Eternal Might!
_Sam._ But ours is with thee; we will bear ye far To some untroubled star, Where thou, and Anah, shalt partake our lot: And if thou dost not weep for thy lost earth, Our forfeit Heaven shall also be forgot.
_Anah_. Oh! my dear father's tents, my place of birth, And mountains, land, and woods! when ye are not, 780 Who shall dry up my tears?
_Aza._ Thy spirit-lord.
Fear not; though we are shut from Heaven, Yet much is ours, whence we can not be driven.
_Raph._ Rebel! thy words are wicked, as thy deeds Shall henceforth be but weak: the flaming sword, Which chased the first-born out of Paradise, Still flashes in the angelic hands.