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Two altars, which our brother Abel made
During thine absence, whereupon to offer
A sacrifice to God on thy return.

And how knew he, that I would be so ready
With the burnt-offerings, which he daily brings
With a meek brow, whose base humility
Shows more of fear than worship, as a bribe
To the Creator ?

When thou art gentle. Love us, then, my Cain!
And love thyself for our sakes, for we love thee.
Look! how he laughs and stretches out his arms,

wide his blue eyes upon thine,
To hail bis father; while his little form
Flutters as wing'd with joy. Talk not of paio!
The childless cherubs well might envy thee
The pleasures of a parent! Bless him, Cain!
As yet he hath no words to thank thee, but
His heart will, and thine own loo.



Surely, 't is well done.


Bless thee, boy! If that a mortal blessing may avail thee, To save thee from the serpent's curse!

One altar may suffice ; I have no offering.



The fruits of the earth-the early, beautiful
Blossom and bud, and bloom of flowers, and fruits ;
These are a goodly offering to the Lord,
Given with a gentle and a contrite spirit.


I have toild, and tilld, and sweaten in the sun
According to the curse:--must I do more?
For what should I be gentle? for a war
With all the elements ere they will yield
The bread we eat? For what must I be grateful ?
For being dust, and groveling in the dust,
Till I retura to dust? If I am nothing-
For nothing shall I be a hypocrite,
And seem well pleased with pain? For what should I
Be contrite? for my father's sin, already
Expiate with what we all have undergone,
And to be more than expiated by
The ages prophesied, upon our seed.
Little deems our young blooming sleeper, there,
The germs of an eternal misery
To myriads is within him! Better 't were
I snatch'd him in his sleep, and dash'd him 'gainst
The rocks, than let him live to--

It shall.
Surely a father's blessing may avert
A reptile subtlety.


Of that I doubt; Cut bless him ne'er the less.


Our brother comes.

CAIN. Thy brother Abel.

Enter ABEL.


Welcome, Cain! My brother, The peace of God be on thee !


Abel! hail !

ABEL. Our sister tells me that thou hast been wandering, Ju high communion with a spirit, far Beyond our wonted range. Was he of those We have seen and spoken with, like to our father?



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Why then commune with him? he may be A foe to the Most Higl.


And friend to man.
Has the Most High been so-if so you term him?

Term him! your words are strange to-day, my brother.
My sister Adab, leave us for a while-
We mean to sacrifice.


Oh, my God! Touch not the child—my child! thy child! Oh Cain!

Fear not! for all the stars, and all the power
Which sways them, I would not accost yon infant
With ruder greeting than a father's kiss.

Then, why so awful in thy speech?


I said,
'T were better that he ceased to live, than give
Life to so much of sorrow as he must
Endure, and, harder still, bequeath ; but since
That saying jars you, let us only say-
T were better that he never had been born.

Oh, do not say so! Where were then the joys,
The mother's joys of watching, nourishing,
And loving him? Soft! he awakes. Sweet Enoch!

(She goes to the child. Oh Caio! look on him; see how full of life, Of strength, of bloom, of beauty, and of joy, How like to me-how like to thee, when gentle, For then we are all alike; is not so, Caiu ? Mother, and sire, and son, our features are Reflected in each other; as they are In the clear waters, when they are gentle, and

Farewell, my Cain;
But first cmbrace thy son. May lis soft spirit,
And Abel's pious ministry, recal thee
To peace and holiness!

(Exit Aday, with her child,
Where hast thou been?

I know not.

Nor what thou hast seen?

The dead,
The immortal, the unbounded, the omnipotent,
The overpowering mysteries of space-
The innumerable worlds that were and are
A whiclwind of such overwhelming things,



Suns, moons, and carths, upon their loud-voiced spheres A shepherd's humble offering.
Singing in thunder round me, as have made me
Unfit for mortal converse: leave me, Abel.

I have no flocks:

I am a tiller of the ground, and must Thine eyes are flashing with unnatural light

Yield what it yieldeth to my toil—its fruit: Thy cheek is flush'd with an undatural hue

(We gathers fruits. Thy words are fraught with an unnatural sound

Behold them in their various bloom and ripeness. What may this mean?

[They dress their allars, and kindle a flame


upon them.

It means --I pray thee, leave me.


ABEL. My brother, as the elder, offer first | Thy prayer and thanksgiving with sacrifice.


Not till we have pray'd and sacrificed together.

CAIN Abel, I pray thee, sacrifice aloncJehovah loves thee well.


Both well, I hope.



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Nothing can calm me more. Calm ! say I? Never
Knew I what calm was in the soul, although
I have seen the elements stilld. My Abel, leave me!
Or let me leave thee to thy pious purpose.

Neither; we must perform our task together.
Spurn me not.


If it must be so well, then,
What shall I do?

Chuse one of those two altars.

Chuse for me: they to one are so much torf
And stone.

- Chuse thou !

I have chosen.

"T is the highest, And suits thee, as the elder.

Now prepare
Thine offerings.

Where are thine?

Behold them here
The firstlings of the tlock, and fat thereof-

No-I am new to this; lead thou the way,
And I will follow-as I may.

ABEL (kneeling).

Oh God!
Who made and who breathed the breath of life
Within our nostrils, who hath blessed us,
And spared, despite our father's sin, to make
His children all lost, as they might have been,
Tad not thy justice been so temper'd with
The mercy which is thy delight, as to
Accord a pardon like a paradise,
Compared with our great crimes:-Sole Lord of light!
Of good, and glory, and eternity;
Without whoin all were evil, and with whom
Nothing can err, except to some good end
Of thine omnipotent benevolence-
Inscrutable, but still to be fulbild-
Accept from out thy humble first of shepherd's
First of the first-born tlocks-an offering,
In itself nothing-as what offering can be
Aught unto thee?—but yet accept it for
The thanksgiving of him who spreads it in
The face of thy high heaven, bowing his owo
Even to the dust, of which he is, in honour
Of thee, and of thy name, for evermore!

CAIN (standing erect during this speech).
Spirit! whate'er or whosoe'er thou art,
Omnipotent, it may be--and, if good,
Shown in the exemption of thy deeds from evil:

earth! and God in heaven!
And, it may be, with other names, because
Thine attributes seem many, as thy works :
If thou inust be propitiated with prayers,
Take them! If thou must be induced with altars,
And soften'd with a sacrifice, receive them!
Two beings here erect them unto thee.
If thou lovest blood, the shepherd's shrine, which smokes
On my right hand, hath shed it for thy service,
In the first of his flock, whose limbs now reek
lo sanguinary incense to thy skies;
Or if the sweet and blooming fruits of earth,
And milder seasons, wbich the unstain'd turf
I spread them on now offers in the face
Of the broad sun which ripeo'd them, may seem
Good to thee, inasmuch as they have not
Sufferd in limb or life, and rather form
A sample of thy works, than supplication
To look on ours! If a shrine without a victim,
And altar without gore, may wia thy favour,
Look on it! and for him who dressech it,
He is-such as thou madest liim ; and seeks nothing
Which must be won by kneeling: if he's evil,
Sirike biin! thou art omnipotent, and mayst, –


For what can be oppose? If he be good,

ABEL. Strike him, or spare him, as thou wilt! since all

In his great name, Rests upon thee; and good and evil seem

I stand between thee and the shrine which hath To have no power themselves, save in thy will;

llad his acceptance. And whether that be good or ill I know not,

CAIN. Not being omnipotent, or fit to judge

If thou lor'st thyself, Omnipotence, but merely to endure

Stand back till I have strew'd this turf aloog Its mandate, which thus far I have endured.

Its native soil :-else-(The fire upon the altar of Abelkindles into u

ABEL (opposing him). column of the brightest flame, and ascends

I love God far more
to heaven; while a whirlwind throws down Than life.
the altar of Cain, and scatters the fruits CAIN (striking him with a brand, on the temples, which

the earth.

he snatches from the altar).
ABEL (kneeling).

Then take thy life unto thy God, Oh, brother, pray! Jehovah 's wroth with thee! Since he loves lives.

ABEL (falls). Why so?

What hast thou done, my brother?







Thy fruits are scatter'd on the earth.

From earth they came, to earth let them return;

Oh, God! receive thy servant, and
Their seed will bear fresh fruit there ere the summer: Forgive his slayer, for he knew not what
Thy burnt flesh-offering prospers better; see

He did. -Cain, give me- -give me thy hand; and tell How heaven licks up the flames, when thick with blood ! Poor Zillah

CAIN (after a moment's stupefaction). Think not upon my offering's acceptance,

My hand! 't is all red, and withBut make another of thine own before

What ? It is too late.

(A long pause. Looking slowly round. CAIN.

Where am I? alone! Where's Abel? where I will build no more altars,

Cain? Can it be that I am he? My brother,
Nor suffer any.--

Awake!-why liest thou so on the green earth ?
ABEL (rising).

'T is not the hour of slumber :-why so pale?
Cain! what meanest thou?

What hast thou?--thou wert full of life this moro!

Abel! I pray thee, mock me noi! I smote To cast down yon vile flatt'rer of the clouds,

Too fiercely, but not fatally. Ah, why The smuky harbinger of thy dull prayers-

Wouldst thou oppose me? This is mockery; Thine altar, with its blood of lambs and kids,

And only done to daunt me :-( was a blow-
Which fed on milk, to be destroy'd in blood.

And but a blow. Stir-stir--nay, only stir!
ABEL (opposing him).

Why, so-that's well!-thou breath'st! breathie upon Thou shalt not :-add not impious works to impious

me! Words ! Jet that altar stand-t is hallow'd now Oh, God! Oh, God! By the immortal pleasure of Jehovah,

ABEL (very faintly).
In his acceptance of the victims.

What's he who speaks of God?

Thy murderer.
His pleasure! what was his bigh pleasure in
The fumes of scorching flesh and smoking blood,

Then may God forgive him! Cain, To the pain of the bleating mothers, which

Comfort poor Zillah :-she has but one brother Sull

Now. for their dead offspring? or the pangs yearn

[ABEL dies. Of the sad ignorant victims underneath

And I none! Thy pious knife? Give way! this bloody record

Who makes me brotherless ?

His Sball not stand in the sun, to shame creation !

eyes are open! then he is not dead !

Death is like sleep; and sleep shuts down our lids.
Brother, give back! thou shall not touch

His lips, too, are apart; why then he breathes!

I feel it not.-His beart!-- his heart! -
With violence: if that thou wilt adopt it,

Let me see, doth it beat?-methiuks--No!--no! To try another sacrifice, 't is thine.

This is a vision, else I am become

The native of another and worse world. Another sacrifice! Give way, or else

The eartlı swins round me:-what is this ?- 't is wet; That sacrifice may be-

[Puts his hand to his brow, and then looks at it.

And yet there are no dews! *T is blood-my bloodWhat meanest thou ?

My brother's and my own; and shed by me!

Then what have I further to do with life,

Give Since I have taken life from my own flesh? Give way! thy God loves blood !-Then look to it:- But he can not be dead !--Is silence death? Give way, ere he hath more!

No; he will wake: then let me watch by him.




And yet








Life cannot be so slight, as to be quench'd

I see it now-he hangs his guilty head, Thus quickly!-he hath spoken to me since

And covers his ferocious eye with hands What shall I say to him?— My brother!-No;

Incarnadine. He will not answer to that name; for brethren

ADAH. Smite not each other. Yet-yet-speak to me.

Mother, thou dost him wrongOh! for a word more of that gentle voice,

Cain! clear thee from this horrible accusal, That I may bear to hear my own again!

Which grief wrings from our parent.

Enter ZiLLAH.

Hear, Jehovah !

May the eternal serpent's curse be on him!
I heard a heavy sound: what can it be?

For he was fitter for his seed than ours.
'T is Caiu; and watching by my husband. What May all his days be desolate! May--
Dost thou there, brother? Dotlı lie słcep? Oh! heaven:
What means this paleness, and yon stream ?-No! no!

It is not blood; for who would shed his blood ? Curse him not, mother, for he is thy son
Abel! what's this ?—who hath done this? He moves Curse him not, mother, for he is my brother,


my betroth d.
He breathies not: and his hands drop down from mine
With stony lifelessness! Ah! cruel Cain!

He hath left thee no brother-
Why camest thou not in time to save him from Zillah no husband-me no son! - for this
This violence? Whatever hath assaild him,

I curse him from my sight for evermore!
Thou were the stronger, and shouldst have stepp'd in All boods I break between us, as he broke
Between him and augression! Father !- Eve! - That of his nature, in yon-Oh death! death!
Adah !-come hither! Death is in the world!

Why didst thou not take me, who first incurr'd thee? [Exit Zillau, calling on her parents, etc. Why dost thou not so now?

CAIN (solus).
And who hath brought him there?-1-who abhor

Eve! let not this,
The name of death so deeply, that the thought Thy natural grief, lead to impiety!
Empoison'd all my life, before I knew

A heavy doom was long forespoken to us;
His aspect-I have led him here, and given

And now that it begins, let it be borne My brother to his cold and still embrace,

In such sort as may show our God, that we As if he would not have asserted his

Are faithful servants to his holy will. Inexorable claim without my aid.

Eve (pointing to Cain). I am awake at last-a dreary dream

His will! the will of yon incarnate spirit Had madden'd me :--but he shall ne'er awake!

Of death, whom I have brought upon the earth

To strew it with the dead. May all the curses
Enter Adam, Eve, ADAU, and ZıLLAH.

Of life be on him! and his agonies

Drive him forth o'er the wilderness, like us,
A voice of woe from Zillah brings me here.-

From Eden, till his children do by him What do I see ?—'T is true !— My son!--my son!

As he did by his brother! May the swords Woman, behold the serpent's work, and thine ! And wings of fiery cherubim pursue

him [T, Eve. "'y day and night-snakes spring up in his path

Earth's fruits be ashes in his mouth-the leaves Oh! speak not of it now: the serpent's fängs

On which he lays his head to sleep be strewd Are in my heart. My best beloved, Abel!

With scorpions ! May his dreams be of his victim! Jehovah! this is punishment beyond

His waking a continual dread of death! A mother's sin, to take him from me!

May the clear rivers turn to blood, as he

Stoops down to stain them with his raging lip!

May every element shun or change to him!
Or what hath done this deed ?-Speak, Cain, since thou May he live in the pangs which others die with!
Wert present: was it some more hostile angel,

And death itself wax something worse than death Who walks not with Jehovah? or some wild

To bim who first acquainted him with man! Brute of the forest ?

llence, fratricide! henceforth that word is Cain,

Through all the coming myriads of mankind,
Ah! a livid light

Who shall abhor chec, though thou wert their sire!
Breaks through, as from a thunder-cloud! yon brand, May the grass wither from thy feet! the woods
Massy and bloody! snatchi'd from off the altar, Deny thce shelter! earth a home! the dust
And black with smoke, and red with--

A grave! the sun his light! and heaven her God!

[Exit Esg. Speak, my son! Speak, and assure us, wretched as we are,

Cain! get thee forth: we dwell no more together. That we are not more miserable still.

Depart! and leave the dead to me-I am

llenceforth alone-we never must meet more. Speak, Cain! and say it was not thou !

Oh, part not with him thus, my father : do not
It was.

Add thy deep curse to Eve's upon his head !




















Shall slay me? where are these on the lone earth, I curse him not : his spirit be his curse.

As yet unpeopled ? Come, Zillah!


Thou hast slain thy brother,
I must watch my husband's corse. And who shall warrant thee against thy son ?

We will return again, when he is gone

Angel of light! be merciful, nor say
Who hath provided for us this dread office.

That this poor aching breast now pourishes
Come, Zillah!

A murderer in my boy, and of his father.
Yet one kiss on yon pale clay,

Then he would but be what his father is.
And those lips once so warm- n-my

hcarı! my heart!

Did not the milk of Eve give nutriment
(Exeunt Adam and Zilla weeping. To him thou now see'st so besmeard with blood ?

The fratricide might well engender parricides.-
Cain! thou hast heard, we must go forth. I am ready, But it shall not be so-the Lord thy God
So shall our children be. I will bear Enoch,

And mine commandeth me to set his seal
his sister. Ere the sun declines

On Cain, so that he may go forth in safety. Let us depart, nor walk the wilderness

Wlo slayeth Cain, a sevenfold vengeance shall Under the cloud of night.-Nay, speak to me,

Be taken on his head. Come hither!
To me- thine own.

Leave me!

Wouldst thou with me?

Why, all have left thee.

To mark upon thy brow

Exemption from such deeds as thou hast done.
And wherefore lingerest thou? Dost thou not fear
To dwell with one who hath done this?

No, let me die!
I fear

It must not be.
Nothing except to leave thee, much as I
Shrink from the deed which leaves thee brotherless.

[The Angel sets the mark on Carr's brow. I must not speak of this-it is between thee

It burns
And the great God.
A Voice from within exclaims,

My brow, but nought to that which is within it.

Is there more ? let me ineet it as I may.
Cain ! Cain !

Stern hast thou been and swaliborh oron mute wömb
Hear'st thou that voice?
The Voice within.

As the ground thou must henceforth elli put
Cain! Cain!

Thou slewist was gentle as the flocks he tended.

It soundeth like an angel's tone.

After the fall too soon was I begotten;

Ere yet my mother's mind subsided from
Enter the Angel of the Lord.

The serpent, and my sire still mourn'd for Eden.

That which I am, I am ; I did not seek
Where is thy brother Abel ?

For life, nor did I make myself; but could I

With my own death redeem him from the dust-
Am I then

And why not so ? let him return to day,
My brother's keeper?

And I lie ghastly! so shall be restored

By God the life to him he loved ; and taken
Cain! what hast thou done? From me a being I ne'er loved to bear.
The voice of thy slain brother's blood cries out,

Even from the ground, unto the Lord!-Now art thou Who shall heal murder? what is done is done.
Cursed from the earth, which open'd late her mouth Go forth! fulfil thy days! and be thy deeds
To drink thy brother's blood from thy rasla band. Unlike the last !

[The Angel disappears. Henceforth, when thou shalt till the ground, it shall


He's fone, let us go forth; Yield thee her streogth ; a fugitive shalt thou

I hear our little Enoch


within Le from this day, and vagabond on earth!

Our bower.

CAIN. This punishment is more than he can bear.

Ah! little knows he what he


for! Behold, thou drivest him from the face of carth, And I who have shed blood cannot shed tears! And from the face of God shall he be hid.

But the four rivers' would not cleanse my soul. A fugitive and vagabond on earth,

Think'st thou my boy will bear to look on me? 'T will come to pass, that whoso findeth him

Shall slay bim.

If I thought that he would not, I would-

The - four rivers, which flowed round Eden, and consequently
Would they could! but who are they the only waters with which Cain was acquainted upon the earth.


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