The Complete Poetical Works of Lord Byron

By George Gordon Byron | Go to book overview
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Like them the features of fair earth: -- instead,
All here seems dark and dreadful

Lucifer. But distinct

Thou seekest to behold death and dead

things ? 191

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

Lucifer. Behold!

Cain. 'T is darkness

Lucifer. And so it shall be ever; but we will
Unfold its gates !

Cain. Enormous vapours roll Apart -- what's this?

Lucifer. Enter!

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

Cain. The clouds still open wide And wider, and make widening circles round us

Lucifer. Advance!

Cain. And thou?

Lucifer. Fear not -- without me thou Couldst not have gone beyond thy world

On! on !

[They disappear through the clouds.


SCENE II

Hades.

Enter LUCIFER and Cain.

Cain. How silent and how vast are these dim worlds!
For they seem more than one, and yet more peopled
Than the huge brilliant luminous orbs which swung
So thickly in the upper air, that I
Had deem'd them rather the bright popu

lace 210
Of some all unimaginable heaven
Than things to be inhabited themselves,
But that on drawing near them I beheld
Their swelling into palpable immensity
Of matter, which seem'd made for life to dwell on,
Rather than life itself. But here, all is
So shadowy and so full of twilight, that
It speaks of a day past

Lucifer. It is the realm Of death. -- Wouldst have it present?

Cain. Till I know

That which it really is, I cannot answer. 220
But if it be as I have heard my father
Deal out in his long homilies, 't is a thing --
Oh God! I dare not think on 't! Curs -- d be
He who invented life that leads to death I
Or the dull mass of life, that, being life,
Could not retain, but needs must forfeit it --
Even for the innocent!

Lucifer. Dost thou curse thy father?

Cain. Cursed he not me in giving me my birth? Cursed he not me before my birth, in daring To pluck the fruit forbidden?

Lucifer. Thou say'st well:
The curse is mutual 'twixt thy sire and

thee -- 231
But for thy sons and brother?

Cain. Let them share it With me, their sire and brother! What else is Bequeath'd to me? I leave them my inheritance

Oh, ye interminable gloomy realms Of swimming shadows and enormous shapes, Some fully shown, some indistinct, and all Mighty and melancholy -- what are ye? Live ye, or have ye lived?

Lucifer. Somewhat of both

Cain. Then what is death?

Lucifer. What? Hath not he who made ye Said 't is another life?

Cain. Till now he hath 241

Said nothing, save that all shall die

Lucifer. Perhaps He one day will unfold that further secret

Cain. Happy the day!

Lucifer. Yes; happy! when unfolded, Through agonies unspeakable, and clogg'd With agonies eternal, to innumerable Yet unborn myriads of unconscious atoms, All to be animated for this only!

Cain. What are these mighty phantoms which I see
Floating around me? -- They wear not the

form 250
Of the intelligences I have seen
Round our regretted and unenter'd Eden,
Nor wear the form of man as I have view'd it

-639-

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