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The complete poetical works of George Eliot

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Pages: 214

Book format: An electronic version of a printed book that can be read on a computer or handheld device designed specifically for this purpose.

Publisher: Date:8/5/2009 - General Books LLC

By: George Eliot

Excerpt from book: THE LEGEND OF JUBAL. WHEN Cain was driven from Jehovah's land He wandered eastward, seeking some far strand Euled by kind gods who asked no offerings Save pure field-fruits, as aromatic things, To feed the subtler sense of frames divine That lived on fragrance for their food and wine: Wild joyous gods, who winked at faults and folly, And could be pitiful and melancholy. He never had a doubt that such gods were: He looked within, and saw them mirrored there. Some think he came at last to Tartary, And some to Ind: but, howsoe'er it be, His staff he planted where sweet waters ran, And in that home of Cain the Arts began. Man's life was spacious in the early world: It paused, like some slow ship with sail unfurled Waiting in seas by scarce a wavelet curled: Beheld the slow star-paces of the skies, And grew from strength to strength through centuries : Saw infant trees fill out their giant limbs, And heard a thousand times the sweet bird's marriage hymns. In Cain's young city none had heard of Death Save him, the founder : and it was his faith That here, away from harsh Jehovah's law, Man was immortal, since no halt or flaw In Cain's own frame betrayed six hundred years, But dark as pines that autumn never sears His locks thronged backward as he ran, his frame Rose like the orbe'd sun each morn the same, Lake-mirrored to his gaze: and that red brand, The scorching impress of Jehovah's hand, Was still clear-edged to his unwearied eye, Its secret firm in time-fraught memory. He said, " My happy offspring shall not know That the red life from out a man may flow When smitten by his brother." True, his race Bore each one stamped upon his new-born face A copy of the brand no whit less clear: But every mother held that little copy dear. Thus generations in glad idlesse throve, ...  

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