A monologue from the play by Lord Byron
NOTE: This monologue is reprinted from Lord Byron: Six Plays. Lord Byron. Los Angeles: Black Box Press, 2007.
RAPHAEL: 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 suns 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;
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.