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The Works of Lord Byron Volume V Part 73

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ii. 2).]

[cd] _An hour, when walking on a petty lake_.--[MS. M. erased.]

[ce] {234}

_Yon round blue circle swinging in far ether_ _With an inferior circlet dimmer still_.--[MS. M. erased.]

[111] [Compare--

"And, fast by, hanging in a golden chain, This pendent World, in bigness as a star Of smallest magnitude, close by the moon."

_Paradise Lost_, ii. 1051-1053.

Compare, too--

"The magic car moved on.

Earth's distant orb appeared The smallest light that twinkles in the heavens; Whilst round the chariot's way Innumerable systems rolled, And countless spheres diffused An ever-varying glory."

Shelley's _Queen Mab, Poetical Works_, 1829, p. 106.]

[112] {235}["Several of the ancient Fathers, too much prejudiced in favour of virginity, have pretended that if Man had persevered in innocence he would not have entered into the carnal commerce of matrimony, and that the propagation of mankind would have been effected quite another way." (See St. Augustine, _De Civitate Dei_, xiv. cap.

xxi.; Bayle's _Dictionary_, art. "Eve," 1735, ii. 853, note C.)]

[113] {236}[Compare--

"Below lay stretched the universe!

There, far as the remotest line That bounds imagination's flight, Countless and unending orbs In many motions intermingled, Yet still fulfilled immutably Eternal Nature's laws."

Shelley's _Queen Mab_, ii. _ibid._, p. 107.]

[cf] {239} _And with serpents too?_--[MS. M.]

[cg] {240} _Rather than things to be inhabited_.--[MS. M.]

[114] {241}["I have ... supposed Cain to be shown in the _rational_ pre-Adamites, beings endowed with a higher intelligence than man, but totally unlike him in form, and with much greater strength of mind and person. You may suppose the small talk which takes place between him and Lucifer upon these matters is not quite canonical."--Letter to Moore, September 19, 1821, _Letters_, 1901, v. 368.]

[115] {243}[Compare the "jingle between king and kine," in _Sardanapalus_, act v. sc. I, lines 483, 484. It is hard to say whether Byron inserted and then omitted to erase these blemishes from negligence and indifference, or whether he regarded them as permissible or even felicitous.]

[116] ["_Let_ He." There is no doubt that Byron wrote, or that he should have written, "Let Him."]

[ch] {246} _And being of all things the sole thing sure_.--[MS. M.]

[ci] _Which seems like water and which I should deem_.--[MS. M.]

[117] {247}[Lucifer's candour and disinterested advice are "after" and in the manner of Mephistopheles.]

[118] {250}["If you say that God permitted sin to manifest His wisdom, which shines the more brightly by the disorders which the wickedness of men produces every day, than it would have done in a state of innocence, it may be answered that this is to compare the Deity to a father who should suffer his children to break their legs on purpose to show to all the city his great art in setting their broken bones; or to a king who should suffer seditions and factions to increase through all his kingdom, that he might purchase the glory of quelling them.... This is that doctrine of a Father of the Church who said, 'Felix culpa quae talem Redemptorem meruit!'"--Bayle's _Dictionary_, 1737, art.

"Paulicians," note B, 25, iv. 515.]

[119] {251}[Lucifer does not infect Cain with his cynical theories as to the origin and endurance of love. For the antidote, compare Wordsworth's sonnet "To a Painter" (No. II), written in 1841--

"Morn into noon did pass, noon into eve, And the old day was welcome as the young, As welcome, and as beautiful--in sooth More beautiful, as being a thing more holy," etc.

_Works_, 1889, p. 772.]

[cj] {252} _Which my sire shrinks from--Death_----.--[MS. erased.]

[120] {254}[In Byron's Diary for January 28, 1821, we find the following entry--

"_Thought for a speech of Lucifer, in the Tragedy of Cain_.

"Were _Death_ an _evil_, would _I_ let thee _live_?

Fool! live as I live--as thy father lives.

And thy sons' sons shall live for evermore!"

_Letters_, 1901, v. 191.]

[121] [Matthew Arnold (_Poetry of Byron_, 1881, p. xxii.) quotes these lines as an instance of Byron's unknowingness and want of humour. It cannot be denied that he leaves imbedded in his fabric lumps of unshapen material, which mar the symmetry of his art. Lucifer's harangue involves a reference to "hard words ending in _ism_." The _spirit_ of error, not the Manichaean heresy, should have proceeded out of his lips.]

[122] ["Cain is a proud man: if Lucifer promised him kingdoms, etc., it would _elate_ him: the object of the Demon is to _depress_ him still further in his own estimation than he was before, by showing him infinite things and his own abasement, till he falls into the frame of mind that leads to the catastrophe, from mere _internal_ irritation, _not_ premeditation, or envy of Abel (which would have made him contemptible), but from the rage and fury against the inadequacy of his state to his conceptions, and which discharges itself rather against Life, and the author of Life, than the mere living."--Letter to Moore, November 3, 1821, _Letters_, 1901, v. 470. Here, no doubt, Byron is speaking _in propria persona_. It was this sense of limitation, of human nothingness, which provoked an "internal irritation ... a rage and fury against the inadequacy of his state to his conceptions." His "spirit beats its mortal bars," not, like Galahad, to be possessed by, but to possess the Heavenly Vision.]

[123] {255}[Compare--

"What though the field be lost, All is not lost; th' unconquerable will And study of revenge, immortal hate, And courage never to submit or yield."

_Paradise Lost_, i. 105-108.]

[124] {257}[An obsolete form of _carnation_, the colour of "flesh."]

[125] [Compare--

"Her dewy eyes are closed, And on their lids, whose texture fine Scarce hides the dark-blue orbs beneath, The baby Sleep is pillowed."

Shelley's _Queen Mab_, i., _ibid._, p. 104.]

[126] {258}["Time is our consciousness of the succession of ideas in our mind.... One man is stretched on the rack during twelve hours, another sleeps soundly in his bed. The difference of time perceived by these two persons is immense: one hardly will believe that half an hour has elapsed, the other could credit that centuries had flown during his agony."--Shelley's note to the lines--

" ... the thoughts that rise In time-destroying infiniteness."

_Queen Mab_, viii., _ibid._, p. 136.]

[127] {259}[_Vide ante_, p. 208.]

[128] {260}[It is Adah, Cain's wife, who suggests the disastrous compromise, not a "burnt-offering," but the "fruits of the earth," which would cost the giver little or nothing--an instance in point of Lucifer's cynical reminder (_vide ante_, act ii. sc. 2, line 210, p.

247) "that there are some things still which woman may tempt man to."]

[129] {262}["From the beginning" the woman is ineligible for the priesthood--"He for God only, she for God in him" (_Paradise Lost_, iv.

299). "Let the women keep silence in the churches" (_Corinthians_, i.

xiv. 34).]

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The Works of Lord Byron Volume V Part 73 summary

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