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to all the animals. Griffins and eagles were obedient to this man, and dragons and Behemoth, and even Leviathan, while the trees and bushes rang with melody. But of all marvels this has amazed him most, that the two inmates of the garden have power subtly to weave together body and soul, and create double angels, out of the same clay-flesh and bones. It is for this purpose, no doubt, that God has just made these two strange creatures, that he may reap from them a rich harvest of souls. Apollyon watches, with an agony of jealousy and longing, their joyous dalliance; and at last, with infinite pain, tears himself away from a scene in which he can have no part. But of all the beauties and wonders, he praises Woman most, and grows so ecstatic that he declares

Search all our angel bands, in beauty well arrayed,

They will but monsters seem, by the dawn-light of a maid.
Belz. It seems you burn in love for this new woman-kind!
Apoll. My great wing-feather in that amorous flame, I find

I've singed! 'Twas hard indeed to soar up from below,
To sweep, and reach the verge of Angelborough so;
I parted, but with pain, and three times looked around;
There shines no seraph-form in all the ætherial bound
Like hers, whose hanging hair, in golden glory, seems
To rush down from her head in a torrent of sunbeams,
And flow along her back. So clad in light and grace,
Stately she treads, and charms the daylight with her face:
Let pearls and mother o' pearl their claims before her furl,
Her brightness passes far the beauty of a pearl!

Belz. But what can profit man this beauty that must fade,
And wither like a flower, and shortly be decayed?

The description that closes with the above passage bears many striking points of resemblance to the Fourth Book of Milton's epic. What follows is contrary to the purpose of the English poet. Apollyon goes on to explain that an eternity is assured to mankind by a tree of immortal life which he has seen in the midst of Eden, by eating the fruit of which man will live for ever, and the number and power of his children be eternally on the increase. The key-note of the drama is then struck, for Belzebub, quivering with jealousy, exclaims

Man thus has power and scope to wax above our heads.

At this moment a trumpet is heard, and the hosts of heaven assemble. Gabriel," chief of the angelic guards," appears, attended with the chorus of cherubim, sent as herald from the throne of God. His message is to this effect: God has created man a little lower than the angels, in order that, in the process of time, he may ascend up the staircase of the world into the summit of uncreated light, the infinite glory. Though the spiritual race now seems to overtop all others, yet God has from eternity concluded to exalt the human race, and to transport them into a splendour which is not different from that of God. The eternal Word, clothed in flesh and bone, anointed as Lord and Head and Judge, you

shall see give law to all the troops of spirits, angels, and man, from his unshadowed kingdom. Then the clear flame of seraphim shall seem dark beside the godlike splendour of man. This is destiny, and an unrevokable destiny. A burst from the chorus

Whatever Heaven decrees shall please the heavenly host—

softens the severity of Gabriel's demeanour, and he passes on to discuss the present state of the angelic orders. Vondel's conceptions in this respect are simply those of St. Thomas Aquinas and Dante: we seem to move in the fourteenth century, as we read of the inmost hierarchy of seraphim, cherubim, and thrones; of the second of dominations, virtues, powers, and the outer hierarchy of principalities, archangels, and angels. We must remember, however, that Milton also was not free from the technical expressions of a celestial cosmology that the researches of science had already exploded. To return to the earlier part of Gabriel's charge, it will be noted that Vondel, though shadowy in his theology, fully escapes that rock of Arian heresy on which Milton struck in his Sixth Book ; but, once started on the primum mobile, he wanders on in a sufficiently tedious prolixity. At length, however, the speech of Gabriel ceases, and the first act closes with a long antiphonal ode from the chorus. As this passage—almost the only one hitherto translated into English-was rendered with some success by the late Sir John Bowring, I will not attempt to give a version of it here. It is a long rhapsody in praise of the divine attributes, expressed in language of exceptional sublimity, and with a mingling of daring theological dogma with organ-harmony of music which is not unworthy of those that "sing, and singing in their glory move."

In reviewing this first act, we see that, as in Paradise Lost, jealousy is the seed out of which the shoot aad flower of rebellion bear such rapid fruit of destruction. But whereas in that poem, in almost precisely similar terms, God himself commands obedience to the Son, "whom this day I have begot," and proclaims His superiority to the angels, which enflames them to sullen revolt, it is here the ignominy of watching the crescent supremacy of the vile rival man, born of the dust, that rouses the jealous anger of the Princes of Angelborough. The causes are widely distinct; the consequences are curiously identical. But we must not press on too fast: when the first act closes, all appears docile and quiet in heaven; if complaint there be, it finds no voice in words.

But the second act opens in startling contrast to this universal subjection. Lucifer himself enters, attended by Belzebub and other of his own familiar followers. They draw rein in this quiet place, and the leader opens discourse as follows:


Swift spirits, let us stay the chariot of the dawn,

For high enough, in sooth, God's morning-star is drawn,

Yea, driven up high enough! 'tis time for my great car
To yield before the advent of this double star,

That rises from below, and seeks, in sudden birth,
To tarnish heaven's gold with splendour from the earth!
Embroider no more crowns on Lucifer's attire,

And gild his forehead not with eminent dawn-fire

Of the morning-star enrayed, that rapt archangels prize,
For see another blaze in the light of God arise!
The stars grow faint before the eyes of men below;

'Tis night with angels, and the heavens forget to glow.

In this tone of almost petulant indignation the Stadholder of Heaven proceeds, and only ceases to call the attention of Belzebub to the sound that reaches them from far away. It is the trumpet of Gabriel, who pronounces the same disastrous message at another of the gates of Angelborough. The melancholy of Lucifer is stirred and roused by the passionate declamations of Belzebub, who cries that an earth-worm has crept out of a clod of earth that he, the lord of heaven, might with downcast eyes and bended knees adore it. Lucifer had best not wait for the order to lay down his sceptre, but leave his throne at once, and take the lyre in hand, ready, at the first sight of man, to smite its chords with a servile plectrum. All this ironical advice is little to the taste of the prince.

Nay, that will I resist, so be it in my power,

he cries; and Belzebub takes instant advantage of his defiance to build him up in conceit of his own majesty and power. His ever-crescent light, the first and nearest God's, no captious decree can diminish, no upstart mortal approach. Shall a voice of lower pitch thunder from the throne? To carry out this vain design of promoting man, were to violate the sacred right of the eldest child's inheritance. Such an assumption, actually forced on the angelic orders, might provoke all heaven armed against one. Lucifer replies in a spirit of patriotic devotion, which has nothing of the rebel angel in it, but is rather inspired by the recent memories of the holy struggle of the United Provinces against Spain: "If I am a child of the light, a ruler over the light, I shall preserve my prerogative. I budge before no tyrant, nor archtyrant. Let who will budge, I will not yield a foot. Here is my fatherland. Let me perish, so long as I perish with this crown upon my head, this sceptre in my fist, and so many thousands of dear friends around me. That fall will tend to honour and unwithering praise,

En liever d'eerste Vorst in eenigh lager hof,

Dan in't gezalight licht de tweede, of noch een minder,

and better to be first prince of some lower court, than in the blessed light to be second, or even less." These two lines are not less famous in Holland than is with us that single line, in which Milton intensified the expression of Vondel's idea in half the number of words. But in the midst of these vague desires and unshaped instincts of defiance, the chariot of Gabriel, in whose hands the book of God's mysteries lies folded, is driven their way, and Lucifer determines to question the

herald further as to the actual import of this message that so trenches on angelic pride. Belzebub leaves him, and the two great princes meet. Lucifer addresses Gabriel with a frank statement of his doubts and apprehensions. For what purpose has the eternal Grace humiliated its children? Why has the angel nature been thus precipitated into dishonour? Will God unite eternity to a beginning, the highest to the lowest, the Creator to the created? Must innumerable God-like spirits, unweighted by bodies, bow before the gross and vile element of mortal clay? He closes by entreating Gabriel to unlock the sealed book he holds, and explain to his wondering intelligence this terrible paradox. To this eloquent appeal Gabriel has no very intelligible reply to give : he repeats the statement of destiny, he charges the stadholder with obedience; but he fails to give any very salient reasons for a decree that must have startled and perplexed himself. "Obey God's trumpet! you have heard his will!" is the sum of the explanation that he has to give. Lucifer then draws a picture of the misery of those coming days, when he will have to see man sitting beside the Deity upon his throne, and watch the incense-censers swinging to the sound of thousand thousand unanimous chorales, each bar of which will dull the majesty and diamond rays of the Morning Star, and echo like wailing in the courts of heaven. Gabriel interposes occasionally with commonplaces about obe dience, duty, and contentment, while the lament of Lucifer grows keener and shriller as he mourns beforehand over the ruin of his dignity. Nay, even of God's dignity; for he declares that if the fountain of light is to plunge its splendour into the pit of a morass, the heavens will be struck blind, the stars whirl and fall dizzily into space, and disorder and chaos rule in Paradise. It is to give God his right that he thus presumes to oppose his decree. To which Gabriel pertinently, if rather prosaically, answers: "You are very zealous for the honour of God's name; but without considering that God knows much better than you do in what his greatness consists." He quells the murmurs of the stadholder with some sharp words about the necessity of cheerful obedience, and bids him see to it that his feet walk in the steps of God's revealed wisdom. Belzebub, being left alone with Lucifer, hastens to point out to him that the obvious effect of this new edict will be to clip the wings of the stadholder's authority, which, indeed, the latter needs no argument to perceive. Lucifer vows to take his honour into his own hands; he will raise his seat into the very centre of heaven, past all the circles with their starry glory. The heaven of heavens shall furnish him with a palace, the rainbow shall be his throne. On a chariot of clouds, borne up on air and light, he will crush and override all opposition, even from the Lord of earth himself. Or, if he falls, the transparent arch of heaven shall burst like a bubble, and all the universe crash in chaos. He summons Apollyon to council. In the dialogue that ensues some dramatic skill is shown, though Vondel's force lies rather in description, in gorgeous expression, and in lyric rhetoric, than in the true field of the

drama. Lucifer is flushed and arrogant; Belzebub, an etherial Iago, hounds him on to rebellion; Apollyon is prudential and diffident, a graceful courtier, who hints a weak point and hesitates difficulties. The argument of the latter is that Michael, God's Field-Marshal, holds the key of the armoury; the watch is entrusted to him, and not a star can move without his thorough consciousness. He finely exemplifies the serene strength of the Deity by saying that although the Castle of Heaven should set its diamond gates wide open, it would fear not craft, nor ambush, nor attack. Lucifer, however, decides that the attempt must be made; but first of all Apollyon is sent to direct Belial to sound the minds of the angels; the "persuasive accents" of Belial, as in Paradise Lost, being set great store by for their power of eloquent dissimulation, since

his tongue

Dropt manna, and could make the worse appear

The better reason, to perplex and dash
Maturest counsels.

It may be said, in passing, that the figure of Belzebub, though to less marked a degree, resembles the grand figure so named in Milton's poem. Lucifer and Belzebub ascend and disappear: Belial enters with Apollyon, who is now eloquent in the course he lately shunned, and Belial needs no persuasion. They pass to whisper the project of rebellion far and wide among the Orders. While they are busied in this work, the stage is crowded with the Chorus of loyal angels, who contemplate, as from the Primum Mobile, the Hierarchies circling in the Crystalline Heaven, illuminated by the uncreated light, as Dante in the Paradiso gazed on the snow-white Rose of the Blessed. They witness with alarm the change that comes over the snowy, starry purity of the Orders.

Why seem the courteous angel-faces

So red? Why streams the holy light

So red upon our sight,

Through clouds and mists from mournful places?

What vapour dares to blear

The pure, unspotted, clear

And luminous sapphire?

The flame, the blaze, the fire

Of the bright Omnipotence?

Why does the splendid light of God

Glow, deepened to the hue of blood,

That late, in flowing thence,

Gladdened all hearts?

What is the cause, they cry? Since, but now, all the balconies and battlements of heaven were thronged by myriads of happy faces, singing the praise of Man! The Anti-chorus takes up its parable in replyWhen we, enkindled and uplifted

By Gabriel's trumpet, in new ways
Began to chant God's praise,
The perfume of rose-gardens drifted

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