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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 2 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 ignorance 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 In the decree To us until this moment hidden, Dost thou not err as we In being here 2 Raph. I came to call ye back to your fit sphere, In the great name and at the word of God. Lear, 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 7 immortal still
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 heirs — Born to be plough'd with years, 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, 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 1 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 of clay An hour beyond his will ; Nor see ye lose a portion of his grace, For all the mercy which Seth's race Find still. Fly And as your pinions bear ye back to heaven, Think that my love still mounts with thee on high, Samiasa : And if I look up with a tearless eye, 'T is that an angel's bride disdains to weep— Farewell ; Now rise, inexorable Deep : Anah. And must we die 2 And must I lose thee too, Azaziel ! Oh my heart : my heart Thy prophecies were true : And yet thou wert so happy too: The blow, though not unlook'd for, falls as new : But yet depart :
Ah 1 why? Yet let Inc not retain thee — fly I 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 doorn is sorrow : not to us alone, But to the spirits who have not disdain'd To love us, conneth 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 May'st 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, 'twill 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 thern 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 1 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 command 7 Can we in desolation's peace have rest ? Oh 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, [graves, Whose drops shall be less thick than would their 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. Sam. It may not be : We have chosen, and will endure. Raph. Say'st thou? Aza. He hath said it, and I say, Amen 1 Raph. Again : Then from this hour, Shorn as ye are of all celestial power,
And aliens from your God, Farewell Japh. Alas! where shall they dwell ? Hark, hark | Deep sounds, and decper 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, Yct dared to soar, Even when the waters wax'd too fierce to brave. Soon it shall be their only shore, And then, no more Japh. The sun the sun 1 He riseth, but his better light is gone, And a black circle, bound His glaring disk around, Proclaim's earth's last of summer days hath shome ! The clouds return into the hues of night, Save where their brazen-colour'd edges streak The verge where brighter morns were wont to break. Noah. And lo l yon flash of light, The distant thunder's harbinger, appears : It cometh ! hence, away ! Leave to the elements their evil prey ! Hence to where our all-hallow'd ark up rears Its safe and wreckless sides : Japh. Oh, father, stay Leave not my Anah to the swallowing tides 1 Noah. Must we not leave all life to such 2 Begone Japh. Not I. Noah. With them : 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 2 Noah. Blasphemer darest thou murmur even now 7 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 daughters. [unite Aho. The tempest cometh; Heaven and Earth 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. [birth : Anah. Oh my dear father's tents, my place of And mountains, land, and woods ! when ye are not, Who shall dry up my tears 2 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. R
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 2
Raph. The moment cometh to approve thy
How vain to war with what thy God commands :
Enter Mortals, flying for refuge.
Chorus of Mortals. The hcavens and carth are mingling—God t oh God . What have we done 2 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 : Raph. Farewell, thou earth 1 ye wretched sons of clay, I cannot, must not, aid you. "T is decreed . [Erit 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." Aza. Come, Anah I 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 SAM1AsA fly off, and disappear with ANAH and Aholl BAMAH. 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. *
Chorus of Mortals.
Oh son of Noah mercy on thy kind
1 [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 upon them gloomily watching their fate,
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 7 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!'tis 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 7 Accurst De he who made thee and thy sire I We deem our curses vain; we must expire; But as we know the worst, Why should our hymn be raised, our knees be bent Before the implacable Omnipotent, Since we must fall the same 7 If he hath made earth, let it be his shame, To make a world for torture. —Lot they come, The loathsome waters, in their rage And with their roar make wholesome Nature dumb 1 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), So massy, vast, yet green in their old age, Are overtopp'd, Their summer blossoms by the surgeslopp'd Which rise, and rise, and rise. Wainly we look up to the lowering skies — They meet the seas, And shut out God from our beseeching eyes. Fly, son of Noah, fly I and take thine ease In thine allotted ocean-tent; And view, all floating o'er the element, The corpses of the world of thy young days : Then to Jehovah raise Thy song of praise 1 A Mortal. Blessed are the dead Who dic in the Lord : And though the waters be o'er earth outspread, Yet, as his word, Be the decree adored He gave me life — he taketh 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–
1 [This poem 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 frelings of the sensitive, or furnishing an object for the discriminating morality of the Lord Chancellor. Lord Byron has evidently endeavoured to sustain the interest of this by depicting natural but deep drawn thoughts, in all their freshness and intensity, with as little fictitious 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 gloon cast suitable to the subject: an ominous fearful hue, ike that which Poussin has flung over his inimitable picture of the Deluge. We see much . 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 natorials. That it has faults is obvious : proraic 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 poctry. 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. – CA Mr Bell.
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 incomprehensibie catastrophe pervades the whole composition : and its expression is made sublime by the noble strain of poetry in which it is said or sung. – Wilson.
This “Mystery" has more poetry and music in it than any of Lord Byron's 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 prosesses 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 deluze the face of nature. We have an impassioned picture of the strong and devoted attachment inspired into the daughtery 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 unpoiished 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,
And sent forth evening songs from sweetest birds,
[The waters rise; Men fly in every direction ; many are overtaken by the wares; the Chorus of Mortals disperses in search of safety up the mountains ; Japhet remains upon a rock, while the Ark floats towards him in the distance.
ethereal and lawless, that listed the eye of beauty to the skies, and, in the latter, the human passions that “drew angels down to earth.” – Jeff Rev. Among all the wonderful excellences 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, or at least mars, the general effect of his picture, by the introduction of incongruous thoughts or images. The poet's passions are, on occasions, too strong for his imagination, drag him down to earth, and, for the sake of some ill-timed 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 spell-bound 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 persectly ludicrous metrical whimsies, yet all is in keeping —all is strange, poetic, oriental ; the lyric abruptness, the prodigal accumulation 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, §. when all that walked the earth were not born of woman. viii. xi. A N. The Mystery of “ Heaven and Earth" is conceived in the best style of the greatest masters of P. 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 heauty of the daughter of Cain; nor any thing more venerable than the mild but inflexible dignity 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 profession of those sentiments which he exhibits as extorted from perishing mortals, in their last instant 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.— . Mag.]
t 244. BYRON'S WORKS. §arbamapalug: 4. A TRAGEDY." to THE ILLUSTRIOUS GOEThe A stro Axcest PRESuxies to offer the Hoxi.AGE of A Liter ARY vass Al to his Liece Lond, the first of Existing writers, wiio HAs cn EATED THE LITERATURE of 111s own cou NTRY, AND illustin ATED That of Europe. tile UN wortii Y PR oductiox willicil Tite Aurthost vextures to ixscribe to Ilixi is extitled SARDAN APALUs. 2 \ ware of the - his PREFACE. He is aware t unpopularity of this notion in present English literature; but it is not a system of IN publishing the following Tragedies? I have only his own, being merely an opinion, which, not very to repeat, that they were not composed with the long ago, was the law of literature throughout the most remote view to the stage. On the attempt | world, and is still so in the more civilised parts of it. made by the managers in a former instance, the But “nous avons changé tout cela," and are reaping public opinion has been already expressed. With the advantages of the change. The writer is far from regard to my own private feelings, as it seems that conceiving that any thing he can adduce by perthey are to stand for nothing, I shall say nothing. sonal precept or example can at all approach his For the historical foundation of the following regular, or even irregular predecessors; he is merely compositions the reader is referred to the Notes. giving a reason why he preferred the more regular The Author has in one instance attempted to pre- formation of a structure, however feeble, to an entire serve, and in the other to approach, the “unities; ” abandonment of all rules whatsoever. Where he conceiving that with any very distant departure from has failed, the failure is in the architect, — and not them, there may be poetry, but can be no drama. in the art. “ [On the original MS. Lord Byron has written:- "Mem. has been to dramatise, like the Greeks (a modest phrase), Ravenna, May 27. S21. – I began this drama on the 13th of striking passages of history and mythology. You will find January, 1821 ; and continued the two first acts very slowly, all this very unlike Shakspeare ; and so much the better in and by intervals. The three last acts were written since the one sense, for I look upon him to be the worst of models, 13th of May, 1821 (this present month); that is to say, in a though the most extraordinary of writers. It has been my fortnight.” The following are extracts from Lord Byron's object to be as simple and severe as Alfieri, and I have broken dio and letters : — down the poetry as nearly as I could to common language. “January 13, 1821. Sketched the outline and Dram. Pers. | The hardship is that, in these times, one can neither speak of of an intended, tragedy of Sardanapalus, which I have for kings nor queens without suspicion of politics or personalities. some time meditated. Took the names from Diodorus Si- | I intended neither.” culus, (I know the history of Sardanapalus, and have known “July 22., Print away, and publish. I think they must it since I was twelve years old,) and read over a passage in own that I have more styles than one. • Sardanapalus' is, the ninth volume of Mitford's Greece, where he rather vin. however, almost a comic character: but, for that matter, so dicates the memory of this last of the Assyrians. Carried is Richard the Third. Mind the unities, which are my great Teresa the Italian translation of Grillparzer's Sappho. She object of research. I am glad Gifford likes it : as for the uarrelled with me, because I said that love was not the lofticst million, you see I have carefully consulted any thing but the theme for a tragedy; and, having the advantage of her native taste of the day for extravagant coups de theatre.'” language, and natural female eloquence, she overcame my Sardanapalus was published in December, 1821, and was fewer arguments. I o of was right, I must put more received with very great approbation.] love into ‘Sardanapalus' than I intended." 2 so wall lenr. ovi - > ..o.o.o.o. I have made sus. | c......'...o.o.o.o.o.o. danapa o o to voluptuous, as history ..". pressions contained in this dedication, nor interpret th. §: §: "...o.o.o.o. j mean to continue them in the fifth, if possible; but Nor for o * austible in the materials of his subthe stage." o, "... --44 §: 30. By this post I send you the tragedy. You will s [. Sardanapalus originally appeared in the same volume remark that the unities are all strictly preserved. The scene with “The Two Foscari."l passes in the same hall always : the time, a summer's night, “[". In this preface,” (says Mr. Jeffrey) “Lord Byron reabout nine hours or less ; though it begins before sunset, and news his protest against looking upon any of his plays as ends after sunrise. . It is not for the stage, any more than the having been composed with the most remote view to, the other was intended for it ; and I shall take better care this stage : " and, at the same time, testifies in behalf of the unities, time that they don't get hold on 't." as essential to the existence of the drama – according to “ July 14. I trust that “Sardanapalus' will not be mis- what “ was till lately, the law of literature throughout the taken for a political play ; which was so far from my inten- world, and is still so in the more civilised parts of it.” We do tion, that I thought of nothing but Asiatic history. My object not think these opinions very consistent; and we think that