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The Works of Lord Byron Volume V Part 81

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_Aza._ It cannot slay us: threaten dust with death, And talk of weapons unto that which bleeds.

What are thy swords in our immortal eyes? 790

_Raph._ The moment cometh to approve thy strength; And learn at length How vain to war with what thy G.o.d commands: Thy former force was in thy faith.

_Enter Mortals, flying for refuge_.

_Chorus of Mortals_.

The heavens and earth are mingling--G.o.d! oh G.o.d!

What have we done? Yet spare!

Hark! even the forest beasts howl forth their prayer!

The dragon crawls from out his den, To herd, in terror, innocent with men; And the birds scream their agony through air. 800 Yet, yet, Jehovah! yet withdraw thy rod Of wrath, and pity thine own world's despair!

Hear not man only but all nature plead!

_Raph._ Farewell, thou earth! ye wretched sons of clay, I cannot, must not, aid you. 'Tis decreed!

[_Exit_ RAPHAEL.

_j.a.ph._ Some clouds sweep on as vultures for their prey, While others, fixed as rocks, await the word At which their wrathful vials shall be poured.

No azure more shall robe the firmament, Nor spangled stars be glorious: Death hath risen: 810 In the Sun's place a pale and ghastly glare Hath wound itself around the dying air.

_Aza._ Come, Anah! quit this chaos-founded prison, To which the elements again repair, To turn it into what it was: beneath The shelter of these wings thou shall be safe, As was the eagle's nestling once within Its mother's.--Let the coming chaos chafe With all its elements! Heed not their din!

A brighter world than this, where thou shalt breathe 820 Ethereal life, will we explore: These darkened clouds are not the only skies.

[AZAZIEL _and_ SAMIASA _fly off, and disappear with_ ANAH _and_ AHOLIBAMAH.

_j.a.ph._ They are gone! They have disappeared amidst the roar Of the forsaken world; and never more, Whether they live, or die with all Earth's life, Now near its last, can aught restore Anah unto these eyes.

_Chorus of Mortals_.

Oh son of Noah! mercy on thy kind!

What! wilt thou leave us all--all--_all_ behind?

While safe amidst the elemental strife, 830 Thou sitt'st within thy guarded ark?

_A Mother_ (_offering her infant to_ j.a.pHET).

Oh, let this child embark!

I brought him forth in woe, But thought it joy To see him to my bosom clinging so.

Why was he born?

What hath he done-- My unweaned son-- To move Jehovah's wrath or scorn?

What is there in this milk of mine, that Death 840 Should stir all Heaven and Earth up to destroy My boy, And roll the waters o'er his placid breath?

Save him, thou seed of Seth!

Or cursed be--with him who made Thee and thy race, for which we are betrayed!

_j.a.ph._ Peace! 'tis no hour for curses, but for prayer!

_Chorus of Mortals_.

For prayer!!!

And where Shall prayer ascend, 850 When the swoln clouds unto the mountains bend And burst, And gushing oceans every barrier rend, Until the very deserts know no thirst?

Accursed Be he who made thee and thy sire!

We deem our curses vain; we must expire; But as we know the worst, Why should our hymns be raised, our knees be bent Before the implacable Omnipotent, 860 Since we must fall the same?

If he hath made Earth, let it be his shame, To make a world for torture.--Lo! they come, The loathsome waters, in their rage!

And with their roar make wholesome nature dumb!

The forest's trees (coeval with the hour When Paradise upsprung, Ere Eve gave Adam knowledge for her dower, Or Adam his first hymn of slavery sung), So ma.s.sy, vast, yet green in their old age, 870 Are overtopped, Their summer blossoms by the surges lopped, Which rise, and rise, and rise.

Vainly we look up to the lowering skies-- They meet the seas, And shut out G.o.d from our beseeching eyes.

Fly, son of Noah, fly! and take thine ease, In thine allotted ocean-tent; And view, all floating o'er the element, The corpses of the world of thy young days: 880 Then to Jehovah raise Thy song of praise!

_A Mortal_.

Blessed are the dead Who die in the Lord!

And though the waters be o'er earth outspread, Yet, as _his_ word, Be the decree adored!

He gave me life--he taketh but The breath which is his own: And though these eyes should be for ever shut, 890 Nor longer this weak voice before his throne Be heard in supplicating tone, Still blessed be the Lord, For what is past, For that which is: For all are his, From first to last-- Time--s.p.a.ce--Eternity--Life--Death-- The vast known and immeasurable unknown.

He made, and can unmake; 900 And shall I, for a little gasp of breath, Blaspheme and groan?

No; let me die, as I have lived, in faith, Nor quiver, though the Universe may quake!

_Chorus of Mortals_.

Where shall we fly?

Not to the mountains high; For now their torrents rush, with double roar, To meet the Ocean, which, advancing still, Already grasps each drowning hill, Nor leaves an unsearched cave. 910

_Enter a Woman_.

_Woman_.

Oh, save me, save!

Our valley is no more: My father and my father's tent, My brethren and my brethren's herds, The pleasant trees that o'er our noonday bent, And sent forth evening songs from sweetest birds, The little rivulet which freshened all Our pastures green, No more are to be seen.

When to the mountain cliff I climbed this morn, 920 I turned to bless the spot, And not a leaf appeared about to fall;-- And now they are not!-- Why was I born?

_j.a.ph._ To die! in youth to die!

And happier in that doom, Than to behold the universal tomb, Which I Am thus condemned to weep above in vain.

Why, when all perish, why must I remain?

[_The waters rise; Men fly in every direction; many are overtaken by the waves: the Chorus of Mortals disperses in search of safety up the mountains:_ j.a.pHET _remains upon a rock, while the Ark floats towards him in the distance_.[158]

FOOTNOTES:

[138] {285}[Aholibamah ("tent of the highest") was daughter of Anah (a Hivite clan-name), the daughter of Zibeon, Esau's wife, Gen. x.x.xvi. 14.

Irad was the son of Enoch, and grandson of Cain, Gen. iv. 18.]

[139] {286}[Compare _Manfred_, act i. sc. I, line 131, _Poetical Works_, 1901, iv. 89, and note i.]

[140] The archangels, said to be seven in number, and to occupy the eighth rank in the celestial hierarchy.

[Compare _Tobit_ xii. 15, "I am Raphael, one of the seven holy angels which present the prayers of the saints." _The Book of Enoch_ (ch. xx.) names the other archangels, "Uriel, Rufael, Raguel, Michael, Saraqael, and Gabriel, who is over Paradise and the serpents and the cherubin." In the _Celestial Hierarchy_ of Dionysius the Areopagite, a chapter is devoted to archangels, but their names are not recorded, or their number given. On the other hand, "The teaching of the oracles concerning the angels affirms that they are thousand thousands and myriad myriads."--_Celestial Hierarchy, etc._, translated by the Rev. J.

Parker, 1894, cap. xiv. p. 43. It has been supposed that "the seven which are the eyes of the Lord" (_Zech._ iv. 10) are the seven archangels.]

[141] {289}["The adepts of Incantation ... enter the realms of air, and by their spells they scatter the clouds, they gather the clouds, they still the storm.... We may adduce Ovid (_Amor._, bk. ii., El., i. 23), who says, 'Charmers draw down the horns of the blood-red moon,'... Here it is to be observed that in the opinion of simple-minded persons, the moon could be actually drawn down from heaven. So Aristophanes says (_Clouds_, lines 739, 740), 'If I should purchase a Thessalian witch, and draw down the moon by night;' and Claudian (_In Ruffin._, bk. i.

145), 'I know by what spell the Thessalian sorceress s.n.a.t.c.hes away the lunar beam.'"--_Magic Incantations_, by Christia.n.u.s Pazig (circ. 1700), edited by Edmund Goldsmid, F.R.H.S., F.S.A. (Scot.), 1886, pp. 30, 31.

See, too, Virgil, _Eclogues_, viii. 69, "Carmina vel clo possunt de ducere Lunam."]

[142] {291}["Tubal-Cain [the seventh in descent from Cain] was an instructor of every artificer of bra.s.s and iron" (_Gen._ iv. 22).

According to the _Book of Enoch_, cap. viii., it was "Azazel," one of the "sons of the heavens," who "taught men to make swords, and knives, and skins, and coats of mail, and made known to them metals, and the art of working them, bracelets and ornaments, and the use of antimony, and the beautifying of the eyebrows, and the most costly and choicest stones, and all colouring tincture, so that the world was changed."]

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The Works of Lord Byron Volume V Part 81 summary

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