Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

Lest passionate in anguish, she fling down
Beneath your trampling feet, God's gift to us
Of sovranty by reason and freewill,

Sinning against the province of the Soul
To rule the soulless. Reverence her estate,
And pass out from her presence with no words.

Eve. O dearest Heart, have patience with my heart!
O Spirits, have patience, 'stead of reverence,
And let me speak, for, not being innocent,
It little doth become me to be proud,
And I am prescient by the very hope
And promise set upon me, that henceforth
Only my gentleness shall make me great,
My humbleness exalt me. Awful Spirits,
Be witness that I stand in your reproof
But one sun's length off from my happiness-
Happy, as I have said, to look around,

Clear to look up!—And now!

I need not speak Ye see me what I am; ye scorn me so,

Because ye see me what I have made myself

From God's best making! Alas,-peace foregone, Love wronged, and virtue forfeit, and tears wept

Upon all, vainly! Alas, me! alas,

Who have undone myself from all that best
Fairest and sweetest, to this wretchedest

Saddest and most defiled-cast out, cast down-
What word metes absolute loss? let absolute loss

Suffice you for revenge. For I, who lived
Beneath the wings of angels yesterday,
Wander to-day beneath the roofless world!
I, reigning the earth's empress yesterday,
Put off from me, to-day, your hate with prayers!
I, yesterday, who answered the Lord God,
Composed and glad as singing-birds the sun,

Might shriek now from our dismal desert, 'God,'
And hear him make reply, 'What is thy need,
Thou whom I cursed to-day?'

Adam.
Eve.

Eve!

I, at last,

Who yesterday was helpmate and delight
Unto mine Adam, am to-day the grief
And curse-mete for him! And, so, pity us,
Ye gentle Spirits, and pardon him and me,
And let some tender peace, made of our pain,
Grow up betwixt us, as a tree might grow,
With boughs on both sides. In the shade of which,
When presently ye shall behold us dead,-
For the poor sake of our humility,

Breathe out your pardon on our breathless lips,
And drop your twilight dews against our brows,
And stroking with mild airs our harmless hands
Left empty of all fruit, perceive your love
Distilling through your pity over us.
And suffer it, self-reconciled, to pass.

LUCIFER rises in the circle.

Luc. Who talks here of a complement of grief? Of expiation wrought by loss and fall?

Of hate subduable to pity? Eve?

Take counsel from thy counsellor the snake,
And boast no more in grief, nor hope from pain,
My docile Eve! I teach you to despond,
Who taught you disobedience. Look around;-
Earth-spirits and phantasms hear you talk unmoved,
As if ye were red clay again and talked!

What are your words to them? your grief to them?
Your deaths, indeed, to them? Did the hand pause
For their sake, in the plucking of the fruit,

That they should pause for you, in hating you?
Or will your grief or death, as did your sin,
Bring change upon their final doom? Behold,
Your grief is but your sin in the rebound,
And cannot expiate for it.

Adam.

That is true.

Luc. Ay, that is true. The clay-king testifies To the snake's counsel,-hear him!-very true. Earth Spirits, I wail, I wail!

[blocks in formation]

Distant starry voice. Ah, ah, Heosphorus! Heosphoros!

Adam. Mark Lucifer. He changes awfully. Ece. It seems as if he looked from grief to God And could not see Him!-wretched Lucifer!

Adam. How he stands-yet an angel!

Earth Spirits.

We all wail!

Luc. (after a pause.) Dost thou remember, Adam,

when the curse

Took us in Eden? On a mountain-peak
Half-sheathed in primal woods and glittering
In spasms of awful sunshine at that hour,
A lion couched, part raised upon his paws,
With his calm, massive face turned full on thine,
And his mane listening. When the ended curse
Left silence in the world,-right suddenly

He sprang up rampant and stood straight and stiff,
As if the new reality of death

Were dashed against his eyes, and roared so fierce, (Such thick carnivorous passion in his throat Tearing a passage through the wrath and fear)

And roared so wild, and smote from all the hills Such fast, keen echoes crumbling down the vales Precipitately, that the forest beasts,

One after one, did mutter a response

Of savage and of sorrowful complaint

Which trailed along the gorges. Then, at once, He fell back, and rolled crashing from the height Into the dusk of pines.

Adam.

I heard the curse alone.

Earth Spirits.

It might have been.

I wail, I wail!

Luc. That lion is the type of what I am.
And as he fixed thee with his full-faced hate,
And roared O Adam, comprehending doom,
So, gazing on the face of the Unseen,

I cry out here between the Heavens and Earth
My conscience of this sin, this woe, this wrath,
Which damn me to this depth.

Earth Spirits.

Eve. I wail-O God!

Luc.

I wail, I wail!

I scorn you that ye wail,

Who use your pretty griefs for pedestals
To stand on, beckoning pity from without,
And deal in pathos of antithesis

Of what ye were forsooth, and what ye are ;—
I scorn you like an angel! Yet, one cry

I, too, would drive up like a column erect,
Marble to marble, from my heart to Heaven,
A monument of anguish to transpierce
And overtop your vapory complaints
Expressed from feeble woes.

Earth Spirits.

I wail, I wail!

Luc. For, O ye Heavens, ye are my witnesses,

That I, struck out from nature in a blot,

The outcast and the mildew of things good,
The leper of angels, the excepted dust
Under the common rain of daily gifts,-
I the snake, I the tempter, I the cursed,-
To whom the highest and the lowest alike
Say, Go from us—we have no need of thee,-
Was made by God like others. Good and fair,
He did create me!-ask Him, if not fair!
Ask, if I caught not fair and silvery

His blessing for chief angels on my head
Until it grew there, a crown crystallised!
Ask, if He never called me by my name,
Lucifer-kindly said as ‘Gabriel’–
Lucifer-soft as 'Michael!' while serene
I, standing in the glory of the lamps,
Answered 'my Father,' innocent of shame
And of the sense of thunder. Ha! ye think,
White angels in your niches,-I repent,
And would tread down my own offences back
To service at the footstool? that's read wrong!
I cry as the beast did, that I may cry—
Expansive, not appealing! Fallen so deep,
Against the sides of this prodigious pit
I cry-cry-dashing out the hands of wail
On each side, to meet anguish everywhere,
And to attest it in the ecstasy

And exaltation of a woe sustained
Because provoked and chosen.

Pass along

Your wilderness, vain mortals! Puny griefs
In transitory shapes, be henceforth dwarfed
To your own conscience, by the dread extremes
Of what I am and have been. If ye have fallen,
It is but a step's fall,-the whole ground beneath

« AnteriorContinuar »