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LUCIFER

A THEOLOGICAL TRAGEDY



LUCIFER
A Theological Tragedy

BY
GEORGE SANTAYANA





HERBERT S. STONE AND COMPANY

CHICAGO AND NEW YORK

MDCCCXCIX



COPYRIGHT, 1899, BY
HERBERT S. STONE & CO



INVOCATION



Te whose lost voices, echoing in this rhyme,

My tongue usurps, forgive if I have erred.

Not as ye uttered, but as I have heard,

I spell your meanings in an evil time.

Mock not the hope your conference sublime

Hath in the vigils of an exile stirred,

But let the music of my woven word

Waft to your shades the sweetness of your prime.

For ye have passed beyond the gate of day

Into the twilight of a paler morn,

And hidden beauty from the world, and shorn

The mortal eye of its supernal ray.

Take, till I come, the homage of my lay,

Nor hold the pilgrim of your night in scorn.



DRAMATIS PERSONS



THE RISEN CHRIST
MICHAEL THE ARCHANGEL
SAINT PETER

ANGELS AND SAINTS

LUCIFER

MEPHISTOPHELES

AZAZEL

BELIAL

TUREL

DEVILS AND WITCHES

ZEUS

HERMES

ARES

HERA

ATHENA

APHRODITE

GODS, GODDESSES AND
ATTENDANTS



ACT FIRST

A MOUNTAIN TOP. BELOW, A CAVE. NIGHT

HERMES {alighting)

What star art thou and by what god beguiled

To wander in this heaven

Far from the serene and mild

Circle of the sisters seven ?
O blasted rock, untenanted and wild,

By lightnings riven,

Receive thou me,
O goddess, if the Pleiad lost thou be,

Lost too and driven
By viewless currents of the ethereal sea.

(Kisses the ground.)

For Earth, my mother, while her child
Wings these frozen spaces drear,
Oh, how otherwise enisled
In her blue and liquid sphere



LUCIFER ACT I



Swims, forgetting grief, and sleeps
Wrapped in the fleeces of her atmosphere !

Above Olympus, Phoebe dim
Patiently shines the while, and keeps
Still watch in heaven; while below the rim
Of ocean now her brother s steeds uprear
Their fiery manes apace, and dawn is near.
But here no dawn is, and no morning star;

The suns that nearest are

Show like a twinkling host, and peer
Through the cold night, immeasurably far.

Here who can dwell ? If there be deities
Whose body stone, whose spirit silence is,
Here they might slumber frozen. Wrinkled brow
And cloven sides of mountains, heaped up rocks
Toys of young giants long since dead, and thou
Horrid abyss that meteors hot might plough
From Heaven falling, and ye vales, by shocks
Of earthquake split in snowy chasms, Oh speak,
If ye have tongues or any ghostly life !

The stranger do not wrong,

A god, though seeming weak,



ACT I LUCIFER 3

Who prays you, with the winds too long at strife,
For shelter from this night and stinging thong
Of sleet. Oh, answer me, if any banished soul
Haunts you, and guards from harm the frozen pole.

LUCIFER

(rising from a rocky pinnacle upon which he has been seated]

Nay! Not a banished soul. What seems forlorn,
Hermes, to thee, another loveth best.

In this crag, the throne of scorn,

Hath a bolder spirit rest.

HERMES

Thou who callest me by name,
Large spectre plumed for the eagle s flight,

Let me be thy guest this night
If kindness move thy breast, or any flame
Leap on thy hearth, that henceforth, ever bright,

On this hoarse and angry coast,
May gleam the beacon of its sacred light

Where a god, by fortune hurled,

Found an altar and a host
High on the utmost headland of the world.



4 LUCIFER ACT I

LUCIFER (advancing)

Stranger, look upon this face,
Look long, nor let thy fond heart rashly speak.
Seest thou mortal blood within this cheek ?

Do not think thy brother s grace
Befits all spirits. Some there be too high

To wear outward glory still;

For it passes nature s skill

To paint reason to the eye
Or cast in mould indomitable will.

My hand drew yon starry girth
About the middle of the hollow sky;

I have stood a witness by

At the founding of the earth;

I have seen the twelve gods birth,
Alas ! and I wait to see them die.

HERMES

Imperious spirit, I would not offend.

Thy heart knows if this be truth,
And mine eyes, on thee gazing, comprehend

That thou art a god in sooth.

Be then gracious, and befriend



ACT I LUCIFER 5

The stranger, and beside thee grant me rest,
That I gain strength unto my journey s end,
And see again Olympus gleaming crest
And the brothers that I love.

(Embraces the knees of Lucifer)
LUCIFER

But what error brought the dove
To the eagle s wintry nest ?

HERMES

I wandered long upon an idle quest
And found no other isle in all the deep.

LUCIFER

Luckless for the child of Jove
To set his winged foot upon this steep.
No vines upon so wild a ruin creep,
No Nereid sports in such an icy cove.
But, come. There is a cavern in the hill.

HERMES

Twill be a covert from this piercing air.



6 LUCIFER ACT I

LUCIFER

My servant s fire shall medicine thy chill.
Perhaps thy hunger will not scorn our fare.
This way. Tis dark along the icy stair.

(Gives Hermes his hand)
HERMES

Art thou a serpent, that thy flesh is cold ?

LUCIFER

They call me so. My blood was hot of old.

HERMES

But froze from breathing long this cruel storm?

LUCIFER

Nay, gentle Hermes. It was not the wind
Which only bites because the heart is warm.
Mine cannot suffer. In my youth I sinned
And loved the soft caresses of the world.
Now I am free. I have forsworn delight
Which makes us slaves.

HERMES

The chill of wintry night
Keeps germs from budding; with no leaf unfurled



ACT I LUCIFER 7

Dies the imprisoned deity within.

How, then, shouldst thou be free beneath the blight

Of this sharp flaw?

LUCIFER

I can be free from sin.

( They reach the cave)
HERMES

O welcome glow ! My brother s nimble spirit
Even to this region creeps, ingenious fire,
And leaps to meet me, conscious that I came.
But who is he I see in silence near it ?

LUCIFER

An angel once, now guardian of this flame,
Still studious, as thou seest, of the lyre.
He mixed the draught and heaped the driftwood up
That we have light and comfort while we sup.

( They sit down)
HERMES

A subtle servitor, that serves desire.

So watching for the dawn before the fight

Soldiers might bivouac.



8 LUCIFER ACT I

LUCIFER

Stranger, fill thy cup

And wrap thee in this cloak, if coarse attire
Can please thee, being warm, on such a night.
Guests come not often hither, for the sky
Grudges me chance of hospitality
Lest that small virtue in me wound its sight.

HERMES
But is the sky thine enemy?

LUCIFER

Thou seest

It doth not flatter. Yet tis the ally
Of one that wrongs us both.

HERMES

Why, if thou fleest
Into the tempest, on thee it must blow.

LUCIFER

Ah, if thou knewest !

HERMES

Art thou here confined ?



ACT I LUCIFER c

LUCIFER

By a great sorrow and a tameless mind.

HERMES

A sorrow ?

LUCIFER

Listen, if thou needs must know,
There is among the stars one greatest star
Which showeth dark, and none may see it shine.
Men know it by their hope; a hand divine
Must darkly lead them thither from afar.
But once within its bounds eternal light
Streams on their ampler souls, and there they are
What upon earth they would be. Of this realm
An ancient God is king, majestic, wise,
Of triple form and all-beholding eyes.
The terror of his glance can overwhelm
The sense, as lightning when it rends the skies.
The dread words of his mouth are gladly heard
But marvellous their meaning, not to prove
Except by faith and argument of love.
He saith he fashioned nature with a word,
And in him all things are and live and move.



io LUCIFER ACT I

To that fair kingdom from primeval night

I passed, and clad in splendour and in might

I led the armies of my father, God.

My right hand urged them with a sword of light,

My left hand ruled them with a flowering rod.

Brave was my youth and pleasing in his sight,

Next him in honour; till one day discourse

Upon his greatness and our being s source

Led me to question : " Tell, O Lord, the cause

Why sluggish nature doth with thee contend.

And thy designs, observant of her laws,

By tortuous paths must struggle to their end."

To this with many words of little pith

He answered.

And as when sailors crossing some broad frith

Spy in the lurid west a sudden gloom

And grasp the rudde t taking double reef,

I nerved my heart for battle ; for my doom

I saw upon me, and that I was born

To suffer and to fill the world with grief.

But strong in reason, terrible in scorn,

I rose. u Seek not, O Lord, my King," I cried,

" With solemn phrases to deceive my doubt.



ACT I LUCIFER n

Tell me thy thought, or I will pluck it out
With bitter question. Woe if thou hast lied,
Woe if thou hast not ! Make thy prudent choice !
Either confess that how thou cam st to be
Or why the winds are docile to thy voice,
And why the will to make us was in thee,
And why the partners of thy life are three
Thou canst not know, but even as the rest
That wake to life behold the sun and moon
And feel their natural passions stir their breast
They know not why, so thou from some long swoon
Awaking once, didst with supreme surprise
Scan thy deep bosom and the vault of heaven,
For I did so when fate unsealed mine eyes.
Thy small zeal for the truth may be forgiven
If thou confess it now, and I might still
Call thee my master, for thou rulest well
And in thy kingdom I have loved to dwell.
Or else, if truth offend thy pampered will,
And with caressing words and priestly spell
Thou wouldst seduce me, henceforth I rebel."
I knew his answer, and I drew my sword,
And many spirits gathered to my side.



12 LUCIFER ACT I

But in high heaven he is still the Lord ;

I am an exile in these spaces wide

Where none is master. The north wind and the

west
Are my companions, and the void my rest.

HERMES

Tis much. When evil fortune bows a friend
We blush that we are happy.

LUCIFER

Nay, rejoice.

The pleasant music of a tempered voice
Is cure for sadness. If my grief could end
It would with dreaming of an age of gold
When all were blessed.

HERMES

They who serve thy King
Are they not blessed still ?

LUCIFER

A doubtful thing

Is happiness like that. They grow not old.
They live in friendship and their wondering eyes
Blinded to nature feed on fantasies.



ACT I LUCIFER 13

Their raptured souls, like lilies in a stream,
That from their fluid pillow never rise,
Float on the lazy current of a dream.
My grief is not that I am not like them,
Or that the splendour of my life is less.
My soul hath kinship with the wilderness.
But rage at pangs that reason cannot stem
Right balked with cunning and truth shamed with

lies

Rage that the lust of living never dies
Gnaws at my heart. My noble trust deceived
In justice and indomitable truth,
The unthought of shame that I should stand alone
When universal nature was aggrieved
And should have mutinied ! Faith of my youth
That my stout heart did never yet disown,
Prove thyself true and still to be believed !
Hasten, just day, and hurl him from his throne
As children in a chasm cast a stone !

HERMES

That day may come, but wishing now is vain.
Rest from this passion ; much I fear my speech
Hath stirred unwittingly a slumbering pain.



1 4 LUCIFER ACT I

LUCIFER

Not slumbering; dumb, and eased with words again
Now thou dost listen.

HERMES

Tell me, I beseech,

Were many with thee from thy kingdom driven?
And are their hearts embittered like thine own ?

LUCIFER

Like mine ? Like mine ? Peerless I stood in heaven,
And in misfortune still I stand alone.
They follow each his will, and ill they fare.
In having poor and only rich in greed,
They dwell in caves or sail the murky air.
Their spirits have been humbled to their need.
In hunger once, not finding root or weed
One killed a heron and lapped up the blood.
Straight his will, mastered by the infectious deed,
Lost its free function. His lean body s food
Must be warm blood, on blood his visions feed.
Another, then without the goad of lust,
Fell to lasciviousness ; his narrowed gaze,



ACT I LUCIFER 15

Caught by the wanton image, from him thrust
All other joys. Impossible desire
Is the foul torment of his nights and days.
So some to drunkenness and some to ire

Are also slaves.

HERMES

If all are thus depraved
I see thou canst not live among them now.

LUCIFER

They are my people, Hermes. Knowest thou

Twas by my deed that they \vere first enslaved ?

How should I leave them ? Wrongly I allow

Myself this absence, but their hideous lot

Fills me with grief, and I can bear it not.

Almost it seemeth that the will must err

That brings such sorrow. That thought rends

my heart

With vacillation. Fear me. All I touch
Is blasted with infection.

HERMES

Bitter thou art,
And to a by-gone sorrow bound too much.



1 6 LUCIFER ACT I

LUCIFER

Thinkest thou it is gone ? Was it the blow
Of Michael s sword ? Was it the infinite fall,
The darkness, the desire for heaven ? No !
What men call pain I never felt at all,
Nor fear, nor need to see the face of God.
The love of woman I have held in scorn,
And could I make an Eden with a nod, ,

I would not do it. Tis nothing to my soul
What blooms, what withers ; by what little thorn
My firm foot, treading on the rose, is torn.
These things are swallowed in the fatal whole
That mocks at justice.

HERMES

But why dwell apart

On this bleak mountain ? If thy wound is deep
To natural slumber yield thy tortured heart.
Watch not these feeble stars, sad lamps of grief,
But close thine eyes on the vain past, and sleep.

LUCIFER

Sleep ? Yet, why not ? When every shivering leaf
From the proud oak is stripped by autumn s flaw



ACT I LUCIFER 17

He suffers winter s deep oblivious snows

To choke his anguish and enshroud his woes,

Nor wakes till the new buds begin to thaw

And the whole forest is alive with song.

Yes, sleep. The child, rebellious at some wrong,

Frets in his helpless pain till slumber dries,

Closing his weary eyelids, his dim eyes.

They open laughing in the morning light j

Then his keen pang is nothing, and his cries

The all-forgotten dream of yesternight.

But is my grief a child s ? Am I so slight ?

Or could my bosom like the wanton trees

Put forth new blooms to every wind that blew ?

Say that it could : say that some vernal breeze

Melted my winter ; could my vain forgetting

Make heaven just or make the past untrue ?

The evil lives, and if I ceased regretting

I should be more unhappy than I knew.

HERMES

No one is truly happy. Evil things
Fate lays upon us. Yet she makes amends,
Bringing us daily comfort on the wings
Of sleep, and by the willing hands of friends.



1 8 LUCIFER ACT I

LUCIFER

Of friends ?

HERMES

Thou hadst none ? Deem that time is far.
Friendship is knitted in a single night
Twixt noble minds. Quench not the memory quite
If I to-day was welcome in this star,
But let that breed new kindness. I in turn
Would greet thee in my kingdom. It is fair.
The wisest mind hath something yet to learn,
And I might teach oblivion to thee there.
How sweet it is to scent that fragrant air
At evening, where the outer planets burn !
Ah ! hear the blast. I yet have far to fare.

LUCIFER

Aks ! I have not suffered thee to rest.

I had forgotten, as I sleep no more,

Thy happy need of sleep. Ay, to the roar

Of this hoarse ocean shut a while thy breast,

And on the pillow of thy bended arm

Lay there thy head. It is a barren nest,

But, by mine honour, stranger, safe from harm.



ACT I LUCIFER 19

I will watch yonder on the mountain crest \
Perchance ere thou awake the drifting storm
Will veer to blow thee homeward from the west.

HERMES
Do as thou wilt. Here by the hearth tis warm.

(Lies down in the cave)
LUCIFER

Turel !

TUREL

My lord.

LUCIFER

To-day or am I wrong?
I heard thee croon and strum upon the lyre.
It was some echo of Sicilian song
Which shepherds on the slopes of ./Etna s pyre
Thou heardst to sing, when we were wanderers.
It was a hymn they chanted to this god.
Sing it. He ll dream the breath of summer stirs
The leafy grove, while mid his worshippers
He doth upon his wreathed altar nod.

TUREL

I do but half remember it, my lord,
But I will try.

(Turel sits at the mouth of the cave with his lyre)



20 LUCIFER ACT I

LUCIFER

Do, boy. Ay, that s the chord.
Play on. The children of Pythagoras
When they would sleep bade gentle numbers sound
To tune the soul to truth and the profound
Order of things ; so might she sooner pass
Into the light and be with beauty crowned.

(Climbs to his seat upon the rocky pinnacle)
TUREL (sings)

O blessed night that crept
O er Maia s cave when Zeus approached her side,

While in Olympus wide
Among the gods the white-armed Hera slept.

For, when the tenth new moon
Over Cyllene cast its thievish beams,

She bare the friend of dreams
Who born at daybreak played the lyre at noon.

HERMES (rising on his elbow}

What voice is this ? What words I long have heard ?
Good youth, is this thy song?

TUREL

Tis I that sing.



ACT I LUCIFER 21

HERMES

Who taught thee ?

TUREL

He who taught each cuckoo-bird
To mock the rest.

HERMES

Where didst thou hear the thing ?

TUREL
In Sicily they sang it long ago.

HERMES

But wast thou there ?

TUREL

My master travelled then

Much upon earth. Twas well for me to know
The country manners and thoughts of men
So he should keep me by him.

HERMES

Not of late
Thou servest Lucifer ?



22 LUCIFER ACT I

TUREL

Know you the date

When first he marshalled all the heavenly host ?
That day he chose two youths, who pleased him

most,

To walk before him, me to bear the spear
And one more stout to bear the golden shield ;
But he feigned scruples when the end drew near,
And followed not his master to the field.
So I remain alone.

LUCIFER (above)

Is this a dream ?

What vital breath is blowing on my soul ?
Into my deepest bosom falls a gleam
That makes me wish to live. Oh, strange, I seem
As if escaping from mine own control,
As if a fever waned, and opiate balm
Were running through my veins ! The gates of

hell

Are open to the morning, to the spell
Of the chill dewy glades. They breathe such calm
As heaven s garden knew, when evening fell



ACT I LUCIFER 23

In gold and purple, and each conscious flower
Blest God, and inly felt its sister sing
Inaudibly the praises of the spring.

HERMES
Is t Lucifer ?

TUREL

Ay, many an hour

He thus discourseth to the random wind
Of things I know not. Only, to my mind,
His voice is changed.

LUCIFER (above)

It were a wondrous thing
If once again the womb of ancient night
Were big with being, and a giant came
A rival to the other. Oh, the fight,
The victory, the fallen tyrant s shame !

HERMES

He plots revenge.

LUCIFER (as before)

He hath a wondrous charm,
A gentle hand, warm, made to touch a friend s,



24 LUCIFER ACT I

A well-born, open spirit, that attends

To others words, a young god s strength of arm,

The inward smile of them that know no harm.

HERMES

He speaks of me. Tis me that he intends.
I cannot doubt it.

LUCIFER

There should be no more pain,
And I, in that republic of the just
Might live from day to day in peace, a-nd trust
That life, although mysterious, was not vain.

HERMES
Hearest thou well ? What saith he ?

TUREL

Sir, I hear

But may not understand his sacred word.

HERMES

Will he say more ?

TUREL
Methinks he will, anon.



ACT I LUCIFER 25

HERMES

Come hither, little page. For many a year
Thou followest Lucifer, and thou hast heard
His daily musings.

TUREL

I have gone

Where he has led me, since the heaven s birth,
Even to this cold island of the north
Where, sir, you find us.

HERMES

Tis well; thinkest thou
To do me pleasure he would journey still
And let me follow as thou followest now ?

TUREL

O sir, tis not a place for you to fill.
You are too rich. The nights are long and drear.
He speaks but little, and you love him not.
But I, if you should rob me of my lot
If you have any pity, do not do it.

HERMES

But would he go if I should put him to it ?



26 LUCIFER ACT I

TUREL

He would, I know. Never since in his court
The six archangels gathered round his throne,
And graciously he spoke to every one
Beautiful words, and gave and took report
Of all their doings have I heard him greet
Any one so, or ponder so his word,
As he doth now with you. Tis as he heard
The wide-eyed Gabriel singing.

HERMES

Run with joy.

Run where he loiters. Tell him that I stand

Waiting to beg a favour at his hand

But fear to ask it. Run, my gentle boy !

(Exit Turel, with hesitation)
HERMES (taking the lyre, sings:)

Twas I with subtle craft
Contrived you first, ye docile strings, to sound.

Twas I that playing found
The secret of your little souls, and laughed.

Apollo took you then,
And made of seven strings a louder lyre.



ACT I LUCIFER 27

His move the heavenly choir
My three suffice to rule the hearts of men.

With three did Orpheus tame
The shaggy lion and the panther wild,

With three doth Maia s child
Enchant this desert whither first he came.

(Re-enter Lucifer and Turel}
LUCIFER

Is music sweeter to my friend than sleep ?

HERMES

Nay, music is a slumber of the soul
That rests from thinking.

LUCIFER

Is thy thought so deep ?
And is this true, thou hast a boon to ask
From a poor hermit of the frozen pole ?

HERMES

The gods have laid on me a heavy task

LUCIFER
And can I make it lighter ?



28 LUCIFER ACT I

HERMES

to explore

The sea of space, and every luminous isle
That in its waters swims, from shore to shore,
And to make trial of what secret powers
Might lurk in Nature s womb, what realms stretch

out

Through space, beyond this twinkling vault of ours.
For meditation endeth still in doubt.
Upon this quest I started when the gale
Drove me, unwilling, on thy rock.

LUCIFER

I know.

Wouldst thou look farther ? Thou dost see the

vale ;

A gorge beneath it chokes with heavy snow ;
A frozen river, like time s pulses slow,
Works through the rock its hesitating way.
There is naught else to see.

HERMES

It is not that,
For to the gods I am content to say



ACT I LUCIFER 29

On what sad throne so sad a monarch sat.
That is enough of glory for one day.
But if again, most like, they send me forth
Without a chart and with the feeble oar
Of my light wing, how shall I breast the north
Or shun the straying planets, bright no more ?
Yet if beneath the cloak and mighty arm
Of one whose eye knows every cloudy bar,
I then should fly, I should be safe from harm
And reach the haven of some living star.

LUCIFER

Where wouldst thou go ?

HERMES

I know not. It were good
To look upon thy vassals, in their rude
Abandonment, and see their savage state,
For it might strengthen us in fortitude
To know how bravely they endure their fate.

LUCIFER

O generous soul, that in the lost in hell
Still marks a virtue !



30 LUCIFER ACT I

HERMES

I should mark it best
Could I prevail upon thy hand to guide me.

LUCIFER

How shouldst thou not? Tis thine.

(Holds out his hand]
HERMES (taking it)

And for the rest
Wilt thou in all my perils stand beside me ?

LUCIFER

Ay, by what most is sacred to my soul

By my own honour and thy love I swear it.

All that is mine I yield to thy control.

My wings, my arms, my thought, if thou canst

bear it,

With all the stars that in their courses roll
Obedient unto reason, rule, and date.
Time, Hermes, hath reduced to one estate
Our different lives, made sweeter that we share it.
Wanderer by nature thou, and I by fate.
Oh, let us forth ! My joy arriveth late.



ACT I LUCIFER 31

HERMES

But it is come now never to depart.

LUCIFER

Never ? O let us shut the future out,

Lest thought should poison with the shaft of doubt

The happy now ! Would I could trust my heart.

HERMES

Nay, come along.

LUCIFER

The event shall show the truth.
But, Turel, where art thou ? What thinkest thou ?

TUREL

What should I think, my lord ?

LUCIFER

Unhappy youth,

Why did I never pity thee till now ?
How weary have these watches been for thee
Serving me here ! Thou art too young a boy
To languish in this desert.



32 LUCIFER ACT I

TUREL

Tis my joy,
My lord, to serve you, wheresoe er it be.

LUCIFER

What should now be the season of the year ?

TUREL
Methinks it should be spring.

LUCIFER

Canst hear the birds ?


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