to him, as Moderator in the schools of Cambridge, 'Behold the Book!' -- holding up the Scripture. It is to be recollected that my present subject has nothing to do with the New Testament, to which no reference can be here made without anachronism. With the poems upon similar topics, I have not been recently familiar. Since I was twenty I have never read Milton; but I had read him so frequently before, that this may make little difference. Gesner Death of Abel. I have never read since I was eight years of age, at Aberdeen. The general impression of my recollection is delight; but of the contents I remember only that Cain's wife was called Mahala, and Abel.'s Thirza: in the following pages I have called them 'Adah' and 'Zillah,' the earliest female names which occur in Genesis; they were those of Lamech's wives: those of Cain and Abel. are not called by their names
Whether, then, a coincidence of subject may have caused the same in expression, I know nothing, and care as little
The reader will please to bear in mind (what few choose to recollect), that there is no allusion to a future state in any of the books of Moses, nor indeed in the Old Testament. For a reason for this extraordinary omission he may consult Warburton Divine Legation; whether satisfactory or not, no better has yet been assigned. I have therefore supposed it new to Cain, without, I hope, any perversion of Holy Writ
With regard to the language of Lucifer, it was difficult for me to make him talk like a clergyman upon the same subjects; but I have done what I could to restrain him within the bounds of spiritual politeness. If he disclaims having tempted Eve in the shape of the Serpent, it is only because the book of Genesis has not the most distant allusion to any thing of the kind, but merely to the Serpent in his serpentine capacity
Note. -- The reader will perceive that the author has partly adopted in this poem the notion of Cuvier, that the world had been destroyed several times before the creation of man. This speculation, derived from the different strata and the bones of enormous and unknown animals found in them, is not contrary to the Mosaic account, but rather confirms it; as no human bones have yet been discovered in those strata, although those of many known animals are found near the remains of the unknown. The assertion of Lucifer, that the preAdamite world was also peopled by rational beings much more intelligent than man, and proportionably powerful to the mammoth, etc., etc., is, of course, a poetical fiction to help him to make out his case
I ought to add, that there is a 'tramelogedia' of Alfieri, called Abel.e. -- I have never read that, nor any other of the posthumous works of the writer, except his Life
RAVENNA, Sept. 20, 1821
|SPIRITS||ANGEL OF THE LORD|
The Land without Paradise. -- Time, Sunrise.
ADAM, EVE, CAIN, Abel., ADAH, ZILLAH, offering a Sacrifice.
Adam. God, the Eternal! Infinite! All-wise! --
Who out of darkness on the deep didst make
Light on the waters with a word -- all hail!
Jehovah, with returning light, all hail!
Eve. God! who'didst name the day, and separate
Morning from night, till then divided never,
Who didst divide the wave from wave, and call
Part of thy work the firmament -- all hail!
Abel. God! who didst call the elements into
Earth, ocean, air, and fire, and with the day
And night, and worlds which these illuminate 11 Or shadow, madest beings to enjoy them,
And love both them and thee -- all hail! all hail!
Adah. God, the Eternal! Parent of all things!
Who didst create these best and beauteous beings,
To be belovèd more than all save thee --
Let me love thee and them: -- all hail! all hail!
Zillah. Oh, God! who loving, making, blessing all,
Yet didst permit the Serpent to creep in, 19 And drive my father forth from Paradise,
Keep us from further evil: -- Hail! all hail!
Adam. Son Cain, my first-born, wherefore art thou silent?