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THE LIBRARY

OF

THE UNIVERSITY

OF CALIFORNIA

LOS ANGELES



PROMETHEUS' DAUGHTER.



% |«p-



BY



COLONEL JAMES ABBOTT,

H. M. BENGAL ARTILLERY,
Al'THOU OF " NARRATIVE OF A JOCRNEY FROM HERAUT TO KHIVA.



LONDON:

SMITH, ELDER AND CO., 65, CORNHILL.



M.DCCC.LXI.



4ooo



TO HER

WHO, FROM THE DAWN OF REASON UNTIL NOW, HAS BEEN

THE MODEL FROM WHICH 1 HAVE BORROWED EVERY ATTEMPT TO PORTRAT

THE PURITY, DIGNITY, AND TENDER DEVOTION OF

THE FEMALE CHARACTER:

Co mg lister

I DEDICATE A WORK

WHICH, IF IT HAVE ANY MERIT, HAS DERIVED IT FROM THOSE IMPRESSIONS

OF

HER EXCELLENCE,

WHICH HAVE FORMED THE CHIEF CHARM OF MY BEING.



85893S



CONTENTS.



CANTO PAGE

Preface - - - - vu

Introduction - - - 1

I. — The Exiles . - 5

II. — The Minstrel - - - - - 23

III. — The Pilgrimage - - - - - 53

rV.— The Vigil ... 67

V.— The Quest - - . - - - 93

VI. — The Defiance - - - - - - - - 127

VII. — The Dethroned - - - 165

VIII.— The Avenger :— To Pontus - - - - - - 189

IX.— The Snare - - - 233

X. — The Eve of Battle - - - - - - -271

XI.— The Succour— Part I. 295

Part II. - - 307

XII.— The Battle— Part I. - - - - 329

Part II. - - - 348

Conclusion - - - - - 377

Notes - - - - - 379



PEEFACE.



The half-fabulous tradition of Prometheus has afforded
subject for the drama to the Greek tragedian iEschylus
and to the poet Shelley ; the poem of the latter being a
beautiful completion of the bold outline of the Greek.

No resemblance to either, whether in plot or character,
will be found in the following work. But, as the Author
has presumed to read differently from those two great
names the tradition or allegory of Prometheus, a reason
for the deviation may be expected of him.

The sufferings of Prometheus, as narrated by iEschylus,
afforded the Greeks their noblest idea of moral sublimity.
The spectacle of a mighty being deliberately choosing to



Via PREFACE.

suffer the most terrible of tortures for 30,000 years, rather
than betray a secret which would confirm the tyranny of
Jupiter over Gods and Men, is undoubtedly sublime.
But that sublimity is more effectively rendered in a score
of words than in a volume. And probably there are few
readers of jJEschylus, or of Shelley, who will not allow
that our sympathy with the great victim would have been
greater had his complaints been less. The dignity of
silent sorrow is expressed in few words ; and the expansion
of that single idea into a drama robs it of its greatest
power over the heart.

My purpose, however, is not to criticize, but to explain
my motives for deviating from the assumption of two
great authorities. To the human mind there can be
but one object, — absolutely good, absolutely great, abso-
lutely glorious. Other beings can be so only by com-
parison. When, therefore, Prometheus is made better
and wiser than the greatest of the Gods ; when the exist-
ence of that God is made to depend upon the breath of
Prometheus' nostrils, we do not so much perceive Pro-



PKEFACE. IX

metheus to be elevated as that the Godhead is degraded :
for Prometheus is confessedly a finite being.

To sympathize with any being, we must understand his
nature so thoroughly as to be able to enter, as it were,
into his breast. The human can sympathize with the
human — can even descend to sympathize in a less degree
with the inferior creation. But when a man is called
on to sympathize with a being so incomprehensible as
Prometheus — who is, in fact, the Godhead in his bene-
ficent attribute of Divine Providence — he finds it impos-
sible to fit his own nature into the shapeless and boundless
mould before him. His reason is shocked to find the
higher attributes of God — his love, his mercy, truth,
justice, and knowledge — in subjection to attributes which,
disjoined from these, take the character of brute force,
yet appertain to the so-named King of Gods. The
kingship of the latter conflicts with our high estimate of
the former ; and the subjection of the former desecrates
the high pretentions of the latter ; and thus the two
divine natures cancel one another.



x PREFACE.

It has always seemed to me that the story of Pro-
metheus was susceptible of its sublimest interpretation by
regarding him as a mortal King, impressed with a sense of
the misery and moral degradation of his people, resulting
from a false and perverted worship ; and standing forth,
alone and unsupported, against a corrupt and all-powerful
priesthood, — whom he challenges to prove their vaunted
infallibility in the selection of a victim for sacrifice. They
accept the challenge and the test. The result disproves
their own asserted infallibility, and with it, the divinity
of their Jupiter.

Incensed at this, Jupiter (i. e. his Priests) withhold fire
from the Earth: religious rites, perhaps. The nation is
excommunicated. Prometheus, by the aid of Minerva
(Wisdom) climbs the heavens, and conveys to man the
Divine Fire (of Truth) from the source of life and light,
typified by the Chariot of the Sun. Jupiter (i.e. the
Priesthood) seize and chain him to a rock of the Caucasus.

Whatever may be the capacity of Angels to appreciate
the sufferings of an order of beings higher than Man,



PREFACE. XI

it is certain that, to human contemplation, no spectacle
can exceed in sublimity that of a mortal king delibe-
rately enduring, for the love of his people, and to rescue
them from moral degradation, the utmost torture which
human malice could invent. This fills up the measure
of our capacity to admire, and rivets all our sympathies.

The Greeks, indeed, being familiar with the super-
human attributes of Prometheus, would ill have endured
that he should be lowered to the standard of humanity.
But a modern public are under no such restraint, and
would (it is believed) give their sympathies more readily
to a mortal than to a demigod.



PROMETHEUS' MU&HTEE.



INTRODUCTION.



Know'st thou how Day declines, where mountains rise
To greet with rugged brows his farewell ray ?
Know'st thou how Night descends from Alpine skies
O'er Alpine thrones to hold majestic sway?
Know'st thou, how, pausing on their downward way.
Th' ethereal coursers curb their steps of fire,
Champ the bright bit, in lingering, long delay,
And backward gaze with memory's fond desire,
Ere in the golden West their glorious course expire ?



riiOMETIIEUS' DAUGHTER.



Oh ! there be lands, whose boast is in the dower
Of Nature's lavish and o'erteeming breast,
Lands of the Field, the Orchard, and the Bower,
Of Ceres cherish'd, of Pomona blest :
Where, by the gentle violence opprest
Of the Day's Lord to store and garner, flow
The riches Man first priz'd and first possess'd,
Ere from Earth's bowels wrung those ores did glow,
Fruitful, alas ! of crime, dull care, and carking woe !



On fertile plains the Day-star glides away,
And Evening heralds soul-subduing Night :
But here, the rival thrones of Night and Day
Together was;e th' intense tho' silent fiffht :
For while thine eye drinks deep the roseate light
Of some high summit, in the dell below
Darkness hath wing'd her mystery-burden'd flight,
And rules supreme her sombre realm of woe
Down in the deep, deep glen, where cedar forests grow.



INTRODUCTION. 3

And in micl-air a dreamy twilight floats,
Where the twin realms harmonious blend together,
Darkness and Light, with all their mimic motes
In contest soft contending each with other.
And the mock'd eye seeks vainly to discover
Where meet the limits of their neighbour reign,
And on the ear sweet sounds are wafted over
From thickets where in rival notes complain
The birds of Night and Day, of blithe and solemn strain.



Such, when serene the mountain shadows grow
From base to summit. But, when Daylight dies
Mid the loud crash of tempests, would'st thou know
What might majestic their wild rage supplies
To Beauty, form'd alike to harmonize
With Heavens all peace and their chaotic jar?
Then follow me ; for even now do rise
Moans on the breeze, betokening from afar
The Powers of Woe abroad, Death and the scythe-arm'd
Car.

1—2



PROMETHEUS' DAUGHTER



Canto I.
THE EXILES.



" Sweet Mother, haste thee to the lattice. Mark
How whelm'd the East with storm-clouds dense and

dark.
Still gleams the Sun : his parting glance repay
With smiles, Lake, mead, soft basking in his ray.
The waving oaks that in his glory stood
Sombre and threat'ning as some midnight flood,
Now, as he quits the world he fill'd with light,
Veil all their sternness in the farewell rite,



6 PROMETHEUS' DAUGHTER. [CANTO I.

And take, return the warm, impassion'd hue
Diffus'd o'er Heaven, as glows his last adieu :
Whilst o'er yon Eastern pile of mountains rude
Night pours the terrors of her solitude.

" Long as engag'd in training up the Vine,
And golden jasmine, and fair eglantine,
That shade the sunbeams from my elfin bower,
I've watch'd the gloom increasing, hour by hour ;
And as the hues of amethyst decay
O'er mountains swath 'd in ether, far away,
And as the purple of the sunset sky
Declines apace, yon summit looms more nigh ;
And old Traditions heaviest woe portend
From the near frown of snow-clad Demawend."

" Child of my joyless age, my widow'd breast,
Thou young Aurora of Life's dire unrest,
What be the portents of an evening sky
To her, whose sunset gleams in years gone by,
Whose very night, unlighted, save of one
Sweet Star of Hope, so tremulous and lone,



CANTO I.] THE EXILES. 7

Declines apace, foreshadowing with its gloom
The direr Night and thraldom of the Tomb ?
Thou my sweet bosom-flower, sprung up ere yet
The soil empoison'd, or the curse deep set
Of barrenness for all save that which grows
From hopeless prospects and remember'd woes : —
Thou my sweet flower ! Oh, yes ! to view that form
Of life and Ii«;ht in contrast with the storm
Brooding o'er yonder heights ; to watch thee nigh,
Hope in thy smile, young promise in thine eye ;
Whilst the far realm to which those young hopes tend
Glooms like the wrack o'er snow-girt Demawend ; —
Oh, yes ! to this dim eye it still is given
To view, not all unmov'd, the signs of Heaven,
To pray the bolt its vengeance may fulfil
On this scath'd trunk, and leave my flower of Promise,
still."

" Nay, sweetest Mother, first, best guardian, nay,
Thy fears recall, thy fond vows yet unsay.
If life have trouble in its mingled flow,
The hand that mixed can temper every woe.



8 PROMETHEUS' DAUGHTER. [CAKTO I.

For me its cup all blessedness hath been,

Peace, health, and hope, light griefs and hours serene ;

A Heaven most kind, o'ershadowing me above,

On Earth, a Mother's arms, a Mother's beauteous love.

On thee the storm hath lour'd : on thy sad path

Unsparing rag'd Affliction's fiery wrath :

But, sweetest Evenings bless the storm-clear'd sky,

And peace gains beauty from each woe gone by,

And those black shadows in thy path attest

How bright on high the sunshine of thy rest."



" Indra, my sweet enthusiast, yet awhile
Beam o'er my soul that pure and guileless smile !
For, basking in its ray, I drown life's care,
And catch Hope's wreck, regurging from despair.
Oh ! were all hearts prophetic as thine own
Of such fair promise for the hour to come :
Were not Experience but a name the more
For inward death to sympathies whose lore
Was fram'd for world less perishably fair :
Were Truth less frail and falsehood less sincere,



CANTO I.] THE EXILES.

We yet might drag along Life's carking chain,

Nor curse the future, which brings round again

The record drear of toils without an aim ;

The tale of woes whose very sameness cloys,

And thin, dim wrecks of mutilated joys,

A Future, onlv diverse from the Past,

In that its vista's swallowed up, at last,

By the sheer precipice o'er whose dread brow

Hang gloom and terror and mysterious woe,

The shrieking: things abhorr'd of Nature most,

And far beneath that soul-affrighting coast,

To which, unskill'd, we names of gloom bequeath,

As Ades, Lethe, Nullity or Death.



" Death ! Ah, that name hath terror in its tone.
What ! must the hope which scarce hath buoy'd us on
O'er each most sad vicissitude bygone,
With all its promise unfulfill'd, be o'er
And set in gloom profound, to rise no more ?
Drear as Life still hath been and sad as be
Our cold dim prospects of Futurity,



10 PROMETHEUS' DAUGHTER. [CANTO I.

'Twere easier far its countless ills to brave,

Than brook the heart-loath'd mystery of the Grave :

To cease at once from sympathies, inwove

By Sorrow's self all closely with our love,

To go, we know not whither, be, we know

Nor what, nor how ; it may be, far below

The meanest thing, that trails its form along

And ends existence with the setting sun :

Piecemeal dispers'd on Earth, air, fire or wind

The frame corporeal and the mystic mind :

Pain to such nullity were simple bliss,

And Life's worst bondage freedom, weigh'd with this.



" But mark, how denser pil'd and nearer grown,
Yon mighty heap of watery gloom rolls on,
Like some dark pall with mournful mystery rife,
To cloak Death's dismal triumph over life.
While still, above each deep'ning shade of gloom,
Which Earth and Heaven's commingling bounds assume,
His brow upheaves th' empyreal vault to rend,
With snows age-crown'd, majestic Demawend.



CANTO I.] THE EXILES. 1 1

Low at his feet, where crouching mountains bow
The dwindled form and pride-despoiled brow,
Low at his base and round his footstool sweep
Floods, like old Ocean's, swelling blue and deep :
But not a wave shall toss its angry spray,
And not a cloud shall climb the upward way,
And scarce a sigh of all the wrathful blast,
In yon black dungeon pent and prison'd fast,
Shall with its idle breath the peace molest
Or break the stillness of his awful crest.



" Child of an ancient Race, sublime and lone,
O'er Man uprais'd, like yon cloud-girdled throne,
Ah ! why hath Fate, to Might material kind,
Still wreak'd her fury on the matchless Mind ?
Thy first great Sire, who brav'd the Thunderer's might
To snatch from Heaven Truth's soul-reviving Light,
For love to Man reap'd perfidy and hate : —
All hearts have quail'd o'er great Prometheus' fate.
He fell : and from his phoenix dust did spring
A long proud Line, of Prophet, Chief, and King ;



12 PEOMETHEUS' DAUGHTER. [CANTO I.

Each Avith his spirit's glowing seal imprest,
Truth's zeal, Man's love inspiring each large breast ;
Each to like doom decreed: — an infant lone
Last heir, — and exil'd from Prometheus' throne.
Here, refuge from Man's hate the princely child
Found mid Hvrcania's rocks and mountains wild ;
Bequeathing for the boon his matchless Line,
To build mid barbarous hosts a fane divine.



" Hence sprang thy matchless Sire. My Indra, how
Describe his stately mien, his princely brow,
Those attributes sublime, which mark the mind
Form'd by its majesty to awe mankind.
Against a nation in that nation's cause
He stirr'd his might, dragg'd forth her tarnish'd laws
To open day ; despoil'd the worshipp'd fire
Of honours vain ; taught mortals to aspire
To worship worthy of the wise and free,
The great First-Cause, th' essential Deity.
Indra, thou know'st his fate. 'Twas such a day
As this : the Summer sun's declining ray



CANTO I.] THE EXILES. 13

Stream'd o'er an ocean of dark clouds, afar

Pil'd o'er yon Eastern heights : — th' infuriate war

Of elemental Powers drew slowly on,

And Demawend's vast mass upheav'd and lone

Stood like wave-girdled pinnacle of snow.

Ne'er since that Eve so near hath gloom'd his brow,

So vast hath seem'd his tempest-skirted form :

That was the Eve when thou, sweet child, wert born :

Born mid thy father's blood, thy mother's woes.

And this — ay ! this so semblant eve will close

The fourth sweet lustre of my child's career,

And a like term of widowhood to her,

Whom Man, more cruel than relentless Death,

Bereav'd of peace, yet left the curse of breath.

'Twas such an eve as this "

" Forbear, forbear,
Sweet Friend. That dismal record will impair
Thy shatter'd strength. In characters of fire
Lives each dread record of her matchless &ire
Upon his daughter's grateful soul imprest.
He fell, but not ignobly : his large breast



14 PROMETHEUS' DAUGHTER. [CANTO I.

O'erteemecl with fires divine that never die.
He was a martyr for the Truth, and high
As Truth can lift Man's tarnish'd soul, he rose,
And seal'd his birthright in the very woes,
Devis'd of thankless Man."

" 'Twas even so
He spake and look'd. The glory of his brow
Thine own hath caught. Ah ! could he see thee now !
Far from me, Love, for ever, ever far
Be it thy meek and beauteous faith to mar
With the dark doubts by mental woe imprest
And dread experience on this widow'd breast.
It were a bliss I dare not hope, to dwell
On some bright future, where the word e farewell '
Is a forgotten sound : — where we might claim
All that high promise, coupled with Love's name,
In which we fondly, trustingly invest
The wealth, the peace, the sunshine of the breast.
But where is Truth ? All things around us fade ;
E'en Love and Friendship side by side are laid
In a few fleeting hours : all seek one bourne,
With tidings of its nature none return :



CANTO I.] THE EXILES. 15

Mid signs of Death innumerous, where may be
The path the clew to immortality ? "

" Where ! — Oh ! I've trac'd it in the breeze that flies
Laden with incense of a thousand sighs ;
In every stream bright-gushing from the rock ;
In every thunder's hoarse conflictive shock,
In the fork'd lightning, quivering as it plays,
The Moon's pale beam, the Sun's life-kindling rays,
In the Morn's music and the Eve's still sigh ;
And in that heart-pause of intensity,
When Night hath banish'd each distracting sound,
The World shut out and drawn her curtain round
My soul, my conscience and that awful eye,
Which scans the records of Eternity.

" Ah ! scorn not, Mother dear, that Realm refin'd
By Reason sway'd, the Empire of the Mind.
Think not, our aspirations pure and high
To Virtue, goodness, immortality,
Can ever (more than senseless matter) prove
Curb'd in durational) or compell'd to move



16 PROMETHEUS' DAUGHTER. [CANTO I.

In sphere unworthy their exalted aim.

Think not — oh ! scorn to think, that when tins flame

Leaps from its urn, to leave it dark and lone,

A lifeless wreck, its essence bright hath flown

Back to the prison of some baser clod, \

Deflected from the path it erst had trod |-

Tow'rd the pure presence of its source and God.'" J

She ceas'd, then meekly on her knees sank down

With eye uprais'd and tresses backward thrown,

And lip that quiver'd with the struggling fire

Of chasten'd rapture's most sublim'd desire.

" Spirit of Truth," she said, and every word

Distinct amid the stilly pause was heard

Of the vex'd elements, tho' deep and low

From the heart's inmost fane it seemed to flow.

" Spirit of Truth, whose seal we find imprest

On Heaven's starred vault, Earth's fair and genial breast,

In flowery mead and memory-haunted grove,

The Day-star's glory and Eve's star of Love,

Springs cmshino- bliss, still Autumn's sheenv ";old,

And hoarse-voic'd Winter, cloud and thunder-roll'd,



CANTO I.] THE EXILES. 17

And (than eternal Nature mightier still)
In each sublime and mystery-hidden thrill
Of inward consciousness, each strong desire
To pierce beyond the visible World, and higher
E'en than the highest soar, t' attain to Thee,
Wellspring of Truth and Love and Purity ;
Here at thy feet, and meekly to thy shrine,
We bring the offering, worthiest thee and thine,
Thine own best gifts, the thoughts that fain would rise,
The hopes that root their anchors in the skies,
Th' intense desire, more potent far than death,
To burst the chains of ignorance and breathe
Truth's pure, inspiring atmosphere, and be
Freemen, by Truth, Eternal Truth, set free.



" Alas ! we gaze around us, all in vain ;
Earth, wrapt in error, loves the sensual chain :
Night robes the Earth in her funereal pall,
And eyes, long us'd to darkness, vainly call
That, good, which our best sympathies within
Abhorring, own is vanity and sin.

2



18 PROMETHEUS' DAUGHTER. [CANTO I.

Whither, ah ! whither shall we turn ? To thee ?

And wilt thou, Spirit of dread Purity

Thron'd in ineffable perfection, deign

Thine ear in pity to a Worm's sad plain —

Or stoop one thought tow'rd those whose feeble

prayers
Are drown'd in music of ten thousand spheres,
And shouts of mighty, bright angelic throngs,
And answering raptures of material tongues
Swarming through Nature's realm ? Ah ! rather, say,
Hast thou, in boundless plenitude of sway,
Created aught beyond thine own control,
And cast the wondrous structure of the soul
Like dew, upon the desert to expire,
Merg'd in its sands or withered by its fire,
A fruitless, useless waste ? Or hast thou wrought
One utmost point of Space, from which thy thought
Is bounded by remoteness ; or, which Thou
Found'st worthy to create, yet deem'st too low
To claim thy sovereign care ? Our hearts reply,
Accurst the doubt, attaching the Most High
Of error, feebleness, inconstancy !



CANTO I.] THE EXILES. 19

" Then, where is truth ? Once more to thee we turn.
Hast thou delight to see thy creatures mourn
And pine for that thou hold'st in boundless bliss ?
What ! shall a Worm impugn of littleness
Heav'n's Majesty supreme ? Yet, this our Earth
Continues still, as at primordial birth,
Sighing for truth, with not one gracious ray
To streak its void, its darkness roll away.

" Spirit of Truth ! And is it thus ? Hast thou
Ne'er sent a message of thy love below ?
Ne'er felt the pleading of thine own great might,
Thine own large goodness, to vouchsafe the light
Thou causest us to pine for ? Can there be
In unparticipated wealth, that free
Unbounded bliss our hearts ascribe to thee ?

" Then, were good, evil. Then, were darkness, light.
Then Chaos' self were order. Then, this bright
And beauteous Earth were but an humbling blot
On the great hand which formed it, yet forgot
His own strange nature ; causing it to spring

A deep reproach to him, its architect and king.

2—2



20 PROMETHEUS' DAUGHTER. [CANTO I.

" It is not thus. Oh ! by thy thunders say
It is not, cannot be. E'en tho' thou slay
Deny us not ; for rather would we fall
By thy great hand, than brook th' ignoble thrall
Of that our souls despise. If Truth's pure light
Must needs destroy these mortal frames, too bright
For their gross fabric, — spare, oh ! spare them not.
Launch down thine awful bolt, e'en on this spot,
And, whatsoe'er the grosser wreck may be,
Let thy large goodness set our spirits free.

" But, if thou rather lov'st to work thy will
Benign and righteous, by the peaceful rill
Than the hoarse torrent : if the fruitful shower
And gentle dew be tokens of thy power,
And ruin thy strange work : oh ! then distil
Into our hearts the truth we pine for, still ;
Or if that truth has been to Earth sent down
Make its blest precepts evermore our own."

She ceas'd. Down glanc'd as 'twere in answer dire
O'er her fair brow Heaven's fork'd, destroying fire,



CANTO I.] THE EXILES. 21

Lit up that forehead with surnatural light,
All too effulgent for her Mother's sight ;
Who in the fancied wreck before her spread
Bow'd, shuddering, to the Earth her careworn head.
But, harmless o'er Prometheus' child did play-
Promethean fire with consecrating ray,
Touch'd the tiar her fairy brow that bound,
And fus'd the ores in golden showers around ;
But spar'd the delicate cheek, the fearless eye,
Pouring its own pure flood of light on high,
The tresses sacred to the soul of night,
The forehead glistering in its snowy height.
Yes ! forth Prometheus' fearless daughter came
From searchino; test of fire's intensest flame.
Her beauty, breathing of the hand divine,
Her soul, aspiring to its source sublime,
Offer'd no base alloy t' incense the ray,
Beneath whose touch Earth's purest ores decay.

END OF CANTO I.



Canto II.

THE MINSTEEL.

Days of the shadowy Past, dim years and lone,
Whose knell uprises from the dark abyss,
Where have your dun, far-glooming pinions flown
With all the Night and Sunshine, woe and bliss
Of our vain World ; its pomp and littleness ?
The Mighty of old Times ye've swept away ;
Yea ! the dread Shades, once visitant of this
Our dwindled World, may here no longer stray,
Nor on our moonlit lawns disport the frolic Fay.



24 PROMETHEUS' DAUGHTER. [CANTO II.

What have ye left us for the treasures, merg'd
In those black caverns, buried out of sight ;
For souls of fire, whose daring genius urg'd
E'en to the gates of Heaven their eagle flight ?


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