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Were your immortal mission safety, 't would
Be general, not for two, though beautiful;
And beautiful they are, but not the less
Condemn'd.
Japh.
Noah.

Oh, father! say it not.

Son! son! If that thou wouldst avoid their doom, forget That they exist: they soon shall cease to be; While thou shalt be the sire of a new world, And better.

Japh. Let me die with this, and them! Noah. Thou shouldst for such a thought, but shalt Who can redeems thee. [not; he

Sam. And why him and thee, More than what he, thy son, prefers to both? Noah. Ask Him who made thee greater than myself And mine, but not less subject to his own Almightiness. And lo! his mildest and Least to be tempted messenger appears! Enter RAPHAEL the Archangel. (1) Spirits!

Raph.

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The first and fairest of the sons of God,
How long hath this been law,

That earth by angels must be left untrod?
Earth! which oft saw

Jehovah's footsteps not disdain her sod!
The world he loved, and made

For love; and oft have we obey'd
His frequent mission with delighted pinions:

Adoring him in his least works display'd;
Watching this youngest star of his dominions;

And, as the latest birth of his great word,
Eager to keep it worthy of our Lord.
Why is thy brow severe ?

And wherefore speak'st thou of destruction near?
Raph. Had Samiasa and Azaziel been

In their true place, with the angelic choir,
Written in fire

They would have seen
Jehovah's late decree,

And not inquired their Maker's breath of me:
But ignorauce must ever be
A part of sin;

And even the spirits' knowledge shall grow less
As they wax proud within;

For Blindness is the first-born of Excess.
When all good angels left the world, ye stay'd,
Stung with strange passions, and debased

By mortal feelings for a mortal maid:
But ye are pardon'd thus far, and replaced
With your pure equals. Hence! away! away!
Or stay,

And lose eternity by that delay!
Aza. And thou! if earth be thus forbidden

(1) In the original MS. "Michael.""I return you," says Lord Byron to Mr. M., "the revise. I have softened the part to which Gifford objected, and changed the name of Michael

In the decree

To us until this moment hidden, Dost thou not err as we

In being here?

Raph. I came to call ye back to your fit sphere, In the great name and at the word of God. Dear, dearest in themselves, and scarce less dear That which I came to do: till now we trod Together the eternal space; together

Let us still walk the stars. True, earth must die! Her race, return'd into her womb, must wither, And much which she inherits: but oh! why Cannot this earth be made, or be destroy'd, Without involving ever some vast void

In the immortal ranks? immortal still

In their immeasurable forfeiture.
Our brother Satan fell; his burning will
Rather than longer worship dared endure!
But ye, who still are pure!

Seraphs! less mighty than that mightiest one,
Think how he was undone!

And think if tempting man can compensate
For heaven desired too late?

Long have I warr'd,

Long must I war

With him who deem'd it hard

To be created, and to acknowledge Him
Who 'midst the cherubim

Made him as sun to a dependent star,
Leaving the archangels at his right hand dim.

I loved him-beautiful he was: oh heaven! Save his who made, what beauty and what power Was ever like to Satan's! Would the hour

In which he fell could ever be forgiven!
The wish is impious: but, oh ye!
Yet undestroy'd, be warn'd! Eternity

With him, or with his God, is in your choice:
He hath not tempted you; he cannot tempt
The angels, from his further snares exempt:
But man hath listen'd to his voice,
And ye to woman's-beautiful she is,
The serpent's voice less subtle than her kiss.
The snake but vanquish'd dust; but she will draw
A second host from heaven, to break heaven's law.
Yet, yet, oh fly!
Ye cannot die;
But they

Shall pass away,

While ye shall fill with shrieks the upper sky For perishable clay,

Whose memory in your immortality

Shall long outlast the sun which gave them day. Think how your essence differeth from theirs In all but suffering! why partake The agony to which they must be heirsBorn to be plough'd with tears, and sown with cares, And reap'd by Death, lord of the human soil? Even had their days been left to toil their path Through time to dust, unshorten'd by God's wrath, Still they are Evil's prey and Sorrow's spoil. Aho. Let them fly!

I hear the voice which says that all must die Sooner than our white-bearded patriarchs died; And that on high

An ocean is prepared,

to Raphael, who was an angel of gentler sympathies."B. Letters, July 6, 1822.-L. E.

While from below

The deep shall rise to meet heaven's overflow.
Few shall be spared,

It seems; and, of that few, the race of Cain
Must lift their eyes to Adam's God in vain.
Sister! since it is so,
And the eternal Lord

In vain would be implored

For the remission of one hour of woe,
Let us resign even what we have adored,
And meet the wave, as we would meet the sword,
If not unmoved, yet undismay'd,

And wailing less for us than those who shall
Survive in mortal or immortal thrall,

And, when the fatal waters are allay'd,
Weep for the myriads who can weep no more.
Fly, seraphs! to your own eternal shore,
Where winds nor howl nor waters roar.
Our portion is to die,

And yours to live for ever:
But which is best, a dead eternity,
Or living, is but known to the great Giver.
Obey him, as we shall obey;

I would not keep this life of mine in clay
An hour beyond his will;

Nor see ye lose a portion of his grace,
For all the mercy which Seth's race

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Yet let me not retain thee-fly!

My pangs can be but brief; but thine would be
Eternal, if repulsed from heaven for me.

Too much already hast thou deign'd
To one of Adam's race!

Our doom is sorrow: not to us alone,

But to the spirits who have not disdain'd

To love us, cometh anguish with disgrace.

The first who taught us knowledge hath been hurl'd From his once archangelic throne

Into some unknown world:

And thou, Azaziel! No

Thou shalt not suffer woe

For me. Away! nor weep!

Thou canst not weep; but yet

Mayst suffer more, not weeping: then forget

Her, whom the surges of the all-strangling deep
Can bring no pang like this. Fly! fly!
Being gone, 't will be less difficult to die.
Japh. Oh say not so!

Father! and thou, archangel, thou!
Surely celestial mercy lurks below
That pure severe serenity of brow:

Let them not meet this sea without a shore,

Save in our ark, or let me be no more! Noah. Peace, child of passion, peace! If not within thy heart, yet with thy tongue Do God no wrong!

Live as he wills it-die, when he ordains,
A righteous death, unlike the seed of Cain's.
Cease, or be sorrowful in silence; cease
To weary Heaven's ear with thy selfish plaint.
Wouldst thou have God commit a sin for thee?
Such would it be

To alter his intent

For a mere mortal sorrow. Be a man!
And bear what Adam's race must bear, and can.
Japh. Ay, father! but when they are gone,
And we are all alone,

Floating upon the azure desert, and
The depth beneath us hides our own dear land,
And dearer, silent friends and brethren, all
Buried in its immeasurable breast,

Who, who, our tears, our shrieks, shall then com-
Can we in desolation's peace have rest? [maud?
O God! be thou a God, and spare

Yet while 'tis time!

Renew not Adam's fall:

Mankind were then but twain,

But they are numerous now as are the waves
And the tremendous rain,

Whose drops shall be less thick than would their graves,

Were graves permitted to the seed of Cain. Noah. Silence, vain boy! each word of thine's a crime.

Angel! forgive this stripling's fond despair.

Raph. Seraphs! these mortals speak in passion: Ye! Who are, or should be, passionless and pure, May now return with me.

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Japh.

Farewell!

Alas! where shall they dwell?
Hark, hark! Deep sounds, and deeper still,
Are howling from the mountain's bosom:
There's not a breath of wind upon the hill,
Yet quivers every leaf, and drops each blossom:
Earth groans as if beneath a heavy load.

Noah. Hark, hark! the sea-birds cry!
In clouds they overspread the lurid sky,
And hover round the mountain, where before
Never a white wing, wetted by the wave,
Yet dared to soar,

Even when the waters wax'd too fierce to brave.
Soon it shall be their only shore,

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How darest thou look on that prophetic sky,
And seek to save what all things now condemn,
In overwhelming unison

With just Jehovah's wrath!

Japh. Can rage and justice join in the same path? Noah. Blasphemer! darest thou murmur even now? Raph. Patriarch, be still a father! smooth thy brow: Thy son, despite his folly, shall not sink: He knows not what he says, yet shall not drink With sobs the salt foam of the swelling waters; But be, when passion passeth, good as thou, Nor perish like heaven's children with man's daugh

ters.

Aho. The tempest cometh; heaven and earth unite
For the annihilation of all life.
Unequal is the strife

Between our strength and the Eternal Might!

Sam. But ours is with thee; we will bear ye far To some untroubled star,

Where thou and Anah shalt partake our lot:

And if thou dost not weep for thy lost earth, Our forfeit heaven shall also be forgot.

Anah. Oh! my dear father's tents, my place of birth, And mountains, land, and woods! when ye are not, Who shall dry up my tears?

Aza.
Thy spirit-lord.
Fear not; though we are shut from heaven,
Yet much is ours, whence we can not be driven.

Raph. Rebel! thy words are wicked, as thy deeds
Shall henceforth be but weak: the flaming sword,
Which chased the first-born out of Paradise,
Still flashes in the angelic hands.

Aza. It cannot slay us: threaten dust with death, And talk of weapons unto that which bleeds. What are thy swords in our immortal eyes?

Raph. The moment cometh to approve thy strength; And learn at length

(I) "In his description of the deluge, which is a varied and recurring master-piece,-(we hear it foretold, and we see it come,)-Lord Byron appears to us to have had an eye to Poussin's celebrated picture, with the sky hanging like a weight of lead upon the waters, the sun quenched and lurid, the rocks and trees, with fugitives upon them gloomily watching their fate, and a few figures struggling vainly with the overwhelming waves." Jeffrey.-L. E.

(2) "The elopement of spirits with children of dust is an incident that wants the sanction of reason, good-taste, popular opinion, history, or tradition. It is only counte

nanced by the mythology which school-boys learn from their pantheons, and, when endowed with natural good sense, learn to despise before they cease to be boys; and by the romances, which the good sense of later ages has discarded from their literature, although the superior sense of this enlightened age seems willing to restore them to favour. Milton is so far from countenancing any thing so monstrous and inconceivable as sexual love between spiritual and material creatures, that his Adam speaks to Raphael of the passion to which he was too much enthralled by female charms, even where it was properly and naturally placed, as a weakness of which he seems to be half ashamed

Here passion first I felt

Commotion strange! In all enjoyments else,

How vain to war with what thy God commands. Thy former force was in thy faith.

Enter Mortals, flying for refuge.

Chorus of Mortals.

The heavens and earth are mingling-God! oh God!
What have we done? Yet spare!

Hark! even the forest beasts howl forth their prayer! |
The dragon crawls from out his den,
To herd, in terror, innocent with men;
And the birds scream their agony through air.
Yet, yet, Jehovah! yet withdraw thy rod
Of wrath, and pity thine own world's despair!
Hear not man only, but all nature plead!

[clay! Raph. Farewell, thou earth! ye wretched sons of I cannot, must not, aid you. "Tis decreed!

[Exit RAPHAEL

Japh. Some clouds sweep on as vultures for their prey,

While others, fix'd as rocks, await the word
At which their wrathful vials shall be pour'd.
No azure more shall robe the firmament,
Nor spangled stars be glorious: Death hath risen:
In the sun's place a pale and ghastly glare
Hath wound itself around the dying air. (1)

Aza. Come, Anah! quit this chaos-founded prison, To which the elements again repair,

To turn it into what it was: beneath
The shelter of these wings thou shalt be safe,
As was the eagle's nestling once within
Its mother's.-Let the coming chaos chafe
With all its elements! Heed not their din!

A brighter world than this, where thou shalt breathe
Ethereal life, will we explore:

These darken'd clouds are not the only skies.

[AZAZIEL and SAMIASA fly off, and disappear with ANAB and ABOLIBAMAH. (2) Japh. They are gone! They have disappear'd amidst the roar

Of the forsaken world; and never more,
Whether they live, or die with all earth's life,
Now near its last, can aught restore
Anah unto these eyes. (3)

Chorus of Mortals.

Oh son of Noah! mercy on thy kind!
What! wilt thou leave us all-all-all behind?

Superior and unmoved. Here only, weak Against the charms of Beauty's powerful glance.' The angel rebukes him for yielding to a subjection unworthy the perfection of his nature, and warns him of the debasement and disgrace in which it might involve him. This produces a question from the man, whether sexual love made no part of the happiness of the blest abode? To whom the angel (with 'a smile that glowed celestial rosy red, love's proper hue',) answered

Let it suffice thee, that thou know'st
Us happy; and without love no happiness!
Whatever pure thou in thy body enjoy'st,
And pure thou wert created, we enjoy
In eminence.'

What Adam says, on another occasion, may be applied to these unnatural conjunctions:

Among unequals, what society Can sort, what harmony, and true delight?" In Lord Byron's poem, they are censured by Noah, as improper and unlawful; but this does not lessen the absurdity of supposing them possible." Anon.-L. E.

(3) "The despair of the mortal lovers for the loss of their mortal mistresses is well and pathetically expressed." Jeffrey.-L. E.

1

While safe amidst the elemental strife,
Thou sitt'st within thy guarded ark?

A Mother (offering her infant to JAPHET). Oh let this child embark!

I brought him forth in woe,

But thought it joy

To see him to my bosom clinging so.
Why was he born?

What hath he done

My unwean'd son

To move Jehovah's wrath or scorn?

What is there in this milk of mine, that death Should stir all heaven and earth up to destroy

My boy,

And roll the waters o'er his placid breath?
Save him, thou seed of Seth!

Or cursed be with him who made

Thee and thy race, for which we are betray'd!

Japh. Peace! 't is no hour for curses, but for prayer!

Chorus of Mortals.

For prayer !!!

And where

Shall prayer ascend,

When the swoln clouds unto the mountains bend

And burst,

And gushing oceans every barrier rend,
Until the very deserts know no thirst?
Accursed

Be he who made thee and thy sire!

We deem our curses vain; we must expire;

But as we know the worst,

Why should our hymn be raised, our knees be hent Before the implacable Omnipotent,

Since we must fall the same?

If he hath made earth, let it be his shame,

To make a world for torture.-Lo! they come, The loathsome waters, in their rage!

And with their roar make wholesome nature dumb!
The forest's trees (coeval with the hour
When Paradise upsprung,

Ere Eve gave Adam knowledge for her dower,
Or Adam his first hymn of slavery sung),
1 So massy, vast, yet green in their old age,
Are overtopp'd,

Their summer blossoms by the surges lopp'd,
Which rise, and rise, and rise.

Vainly we look up to the lowering skies

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(1) "This poem, or rather first part of a poem, for so it is stated to be, carries with it the peculiar impress of the writer's genius. It displays great vigour, and even a severity of style, throughout; which is another proof, if proof were needed, that elevation of writing is to be obtained only by a rigid regard to simplicity. It may be perused without shocking the feelings of the sensitive, or furnishing an object for the discriminating morality of any Lord Chancellor. Lord Byron has evidently endeavoured to sustain the interest of this poem, by depicting natural but deep-drawn thoughts, in all their freshness and intensity, with as little fictitious

And though the waters be o'er earth outspread, Yet, as his word

Be the decree adored!

He gave me life-he taket but

The breath which is his own:

And though these eyes should be for ever shut, Nor longer this weak voice before his throne Be heard in supplicating tone,

Still blessed be the Lord,

For what is past,

For that which is:

For all are his,

From first to last

Time-space-eternity-life-death

The vast known and immeasurabie unknown. He made, and can unmake;

And shall I, for a little gasp of breath,

Blaspheme and groan?

No; let me die, as I have lived, in faith, Nor quiver, though the universe may quake!

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aid as possible. Nothing is circumlocutory: there is no going about and about to enter at length upon his object, but he impetuously rushes into it at once. All over the poem there is a gloom cast suitable to the subject: an ominous fearful hue, like that which Poussin has flung over his inimitable picture of the Deluge. We see much evil, but we dread more. All is out of earthly keeping, as the events of the time are out of the course of nature. Man's wickedness, the perturbed creation, fear-struck mortals, demons passing to and fro in the earth, an overshadowing solemnity, and unearthly loves, form together the materials. That it has

faults is obvious: prosaic passages, and too much tedious soliloquising: but there is the vigour and force of Byron to fling into the scale against these: there is much of the sublime in description, and the beautiful in poetry. Prejudice, or ignorance, or both, may condemn it; but while true poetical feeling exists amongst us, it will be pronounced not unworthy of its distinguished author."-Campbell.

"It appears that this is but the first part of a poem; but it is likewise a poem, and a fine one too, within itself. We confess that we see little or nothing objectionable in it, either as to theological orthodoxy, or general human feeling. It is solemn, lofty, fearful, wild, tumultuous, and shadowed all over with the darkness of a dreadful disaster. Of the angels who love the daughters of men we see little, and know less and not too much of the love and passion of the fair lost mortals. The inconsolable despair preceding and accompanying an incomprehensible catastrophe, pervades the whole composition; and its expression is made sublime by the noble strain of poetry in which it is said or sung. Sometimes there is heaviness dulness-as if it were pressed in on purpose; intended, perhaps, to denote the occasional stupefaction, drowsiness, and torpidity of soul produced by the impending destruction upon the latest of the antedilu. vians. But, on the whole, it is not unworthy of Lord Byron." -Wilson.

"Lord Byron's Mystery, with whatever crudeness and defects it is chargeable, certainly has more poetry and music in it than any of his dramatic writings since Manfred; and has also the peculiar merit of throwing us back, in a great degree, to the strange and preternatural time of which it professes to treat. It is truly, and in every sense of the word, a meeting of Heaven and Earth; angels are seen ascending and descending, and the windows of the sky are opened to deluge the face of nature. We have an impassioned picture of the strong and devoted attachment inspired into the daughters of men by angel forms, and have placed before us the emphatic picture of woman wailing for her demon lover.' There is a like conflict of the passions as of the elements-all wild, chaotic, uncontrollable, fatal; but there is a discordant harmony in all this-a keeping in the colouring and the time. In handling the unpolished page, we look upon the world before the Flood, and gaze upon a doubtful blank, with only a few straggling figures, part human and part divine; while, in the expression of the former, we read the fancies, ethereal and lawless, that lifted the eye of beauty to the skies, and in the latter, the human passions that drew angels down to earth.'”—Jeffrey.

"According to that vague and mysterious conception of grandeur which religious or poetic minds associate with the antediluvian ages of the world, there were giants in those days: the face of nature, the animal and vegetable productions, the stature, the longevity, the passions of men; were of a vast and majestic growth, unknown in the later and more feeble days of our ordinary world. Hence, from a poet who throws himself back into those times, we make the unreasonable demand, that he should keep the scenes and persons whom he introduces to our notice sufficiently allied to our common sympathies to excite our interest; while, at the same time, they must appear as almost belonging to another earth, and a different race of beings. We imperiously require that degree of reality, without which no poetry can become lastingly popular: yet that reality must be far removed from all our ordinary notions; the region visited by angels must be formed of the same elements, yet possess a totally distinct character from that which we inhabit: the sons and daughters of men, who enjoyed familiar intercourse with a higher race of beings, while we are to feel for them as akin to ourselves, must partake in some de gree of the unearthly nature of their celestial visitants. this at once real and unreal world, among this human yet ut the same time almost preterhuman race, we must be transported by the imagination of the poet; and the slightest

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incongruity, the most insignificant vulgarism, or modernism, or even too great similarity to the ordinary features of nature, breaks the charm at once, and destroys the character of the picture, as a faithful representation of the pri meval earth, and the mighty race which nature bore while yet in her prime of youth. Among all the wonderful excellencies of Milton, nothing surpasses the pure and undisturbed idealism with which he has drawn our first parents, so completely human as to excite our most ardent sympathies, yet so far distinct from the common race of men as manifestly to belong to a higher and uncorrupted state of being. In like manner, his Paradise is formed of the universal productions of nature-the flowers, the fruits, the trees, the waters, the cool breezes, the soft and sunny slopes, the majestic hills that skirt the scene; yet the whole is of an earlier, a more prolific, a more luxuriant vegetation: it fully comes up to our notion of what the earth might have been before it was cursed of its Creator.' This is the more remarkable, as Milton himself sometimes destroys, ori at least mars, the general effect of his picture, by the introduction of incongruous thoughts or images. It has, not without justice, been said, that sometimes

God the Father turns a school divine;"

and it is impossible, now and then, not to regret the intrusion of the religious controversies of modern days. The poet's passions are, on occasions, too strong for his imagina tion, drag him down to earth, and, for the sake of some illtimed allusion to some of those circumstances which had taken possession of his mighty mind. he runs the hazard of breaking the solemn enchantment with which he has spellbound our captive senses. Perhaps, of later writers, Lord Byron alone has caught the true tone, in his short drama called Heaven and Earth. Here, notwithstanding that we cannot but admit the great and manifold delinquencies against correct taste, particularly some perfectly ludicrous metrical whimsies, yet all is in keeping-all is strange, poetic, oriental; the lyric abruptness, the prodigal accumula tion of images in one part, and the rude simplicity in others -above all, the general tone of description as to natural objects, and of language and feeling in the scarcely mortal beings which come forth upon the scene, seem to throw us upward into the age of men before their lives were shortened to the narrow span of three-score years and ten, and when all that walked the earth were not born of woman." -Milman.

"From the Loves of the Angels, we turn to a 'strain of higher mood;' with feelings much like those which would arise on leaving the contemplation of a Holy Family' by Carlo Dolce, to behold the Last Judgment' of Michel Angelo. The Mystery of Heaven and Earth is conceived in the best style of the greatest masters of poetry and painting. It is not unworthy of Dante, and of the mighty artist to whom we have alluded. As a picture of the last deluge, it is incomparably grand and awful. The characters, too, are invested with great dignity and grace. Nothing can be more imposing and fascinating than the haughty, and imperious, and passionate beauty of the daughter of Cain; nor any thing more venerable than the mild but inflexible dig nity of the patriarch Noah. We trust that no one will be found with feelings so obtuse, with taste so perverted, or with malignity so undisguised, as to mar the beauties of pictures like these, by imputing to their author the cool profes sion of those sentiments which he exhibits as extorted from perishing mortals, in their last instants of despair and death Such a poem as this, if read aright, is calculated, by its lofty passion and sublime conceptions, to exalt the mind and to purify the heart beyond the power of many a sober homily. It will remain an imperishable monument of the transcendent talents of its author; whom it has raised, in our estimation, to a higher pitch of pre-eminence than he ever before attained." M. Mag.-L. E.

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