Like them the features of fair earth: --
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
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. 'T is darkness
Lucifer. And so it shall be ever; but we
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
Cain. The clouds still open wide And wider, and make widening circles round us
Cain. And thou?
Lucifer. Fear not -- without me thou Couldst not have gone beyond thy world
On! on !
[They disappear through the clouds.
Enter LUCIFER and Cain.
Cain. How silent and how vast are these
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 populace 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