A landscape with palms, outside Eden. A small crude wooden hut. ADAM is driving stakes into the ground to make a fence. EVE is building a bower. LUCIFER overlooks them.

So this is mine. The wide world is behind me.
This plot shall be my home. I’ll master it,
Defend it from all harm of fowl or brute
And force the field to yield its fairest fruit.

And I will build a bower like that before
To conjure the Eden that is ours no more.

What potent words are kin and property,
Like two great levers that shall move the world,
They will give birth to every pain and pleasure.
The two ideas will grow continuously,
Creating nations and industries,
Begetting greatness and nobility,
Devouring, in time, their own progeny.

You speak in riddles. You promised wisdom -
I put aside instinctive joys,
Prepared to struggle, to be great. What for?

You feel no different from before?

I feel that when the Lord abandoned me
And thrust me into the desert, empty handed,
I too abandoned him. My God is me,
Whatever I regain is mine by right.
This is the source of all my strength and pride.

Thumb your nose at heaven, vain puppet, you!
We’ll see your mettle when storms buffet you.

My only source of pride is to know
That I shall be the mother of the world.

What fine ideals fill her heart. To be
The carrier of sin and misery.

What should I thank Him for? This mere existence?
If mere existence can be justified
The fruits of my exertions must suffice.
In order to take pleasure in plain water
I have to work and feel my thirst the keener.
Each honeyed kiss untunes us, the price of that
Is what it brings in tow: it leaves us flat.
But though the bonds of gratitude have snapped
And fallen from me, and though I am free
To reconstruct my fate or wreck it again,
Stumbling in my efforts at perfection,
I doubt if help were needed to get this far,
To do this much was quite within my power.
You haven’t freed me from the heavy chains
That bind my mortal body to the dust.
I feel entwined by something I can’t name,
One hair, or something frailer, to my shame,
A curb on my ambitious spirit. Look,
I try to leap: my body drags me down,
My eyes and ears refuse to serve me when
I would be prying into hidden knowledge,
And even when imagination raises me
Mere hunger plucks me down and humbles me,
And makes me descend once more into base matter.

That single strand has greater strength than I have.

You must be weak indeed to be defeated
By this invisible web, this piece of nothing
Among whose strands a million creatures feel
At liberty to frolic as they please,
Whose presence is suspected by no more
Than a few exalted spirits at the most.

It is the only thing that can defy me,
Because, like me, it is pure spirit. You think
It frail because it seems to work obscurely?
Not in the least: it sits and waits in darkness,
Creating or destroying galaxies.
Your head would spin if you could see it plain.
Man’s work alone depends on sound and fury
And that can be contained in a mere thimble.

You know how strong I am, so let me see -
A glimpse is all I want - that mechanism
Which so effects me, though I am expressly
Designed for self-sufficiency.

“I am” - what foolish words! You were, you will be.
All life is an eternal ebb and flow.
But go on, look, my spirits will lend you eyes.

who, as he speaks, begins to see what be describes
What flood is boiling up and rising
Ever higher all about me,
Dividing into two and rumbling
Like thunder towards the Poles?

Heat quickening a land of ice.

And those two streams of fire roaring
And racing beside me, I fear they’ll sweep me away
Although I feel their generative power.

Magnetism. Fields of force.

The earth is shaking. What seemed firm and boundless
Is seething matter, irresistibly
Striving for form, struggling to be born.
See, here it shapes a flower, there a crystal.
But in all this wild confusion what becomes
Of me, of my self-image, of that body
In which I fondly trusted, like a child,
Imagining it was a worthy tool
To help me gain my ends and my desires?
Spoilt infant, pampered brat, who brings me pain
And pleasure, indiscriminate in both,
Are you to be reduced to a few handfuls
Of fine dust, a residue of water
And thin air? So radiant and glowing
Even now, are you to dissolve in clouds?
Each word I speak, each thought I form, consumes
My being drop by drop, I burn away!
Perhaps some hidden and mysterious spirit
Fans these fearsome flames, hoping to warm
Himself beside my ashes. Take it away!
Oh take away this dream which drives me mad.
It is terrible to stand alone among
A hundred warring elements and feel
That sense of sharp and utter desolation!
O why did I dismiss that providence
I felt instinctively but could not prize.
My intellect now yearns in vain for it.

Yes, yes, I too feel the same.
While you are striving against beasts of prey
And I am wearily toiling in the garden,
I look about me, searching the horizon,
But neither on earth nor in heaven do I see
A single friend to cheer or comfort me.
How different it was in the good old days.

LUCIFER mocking
Well then, if you’re both so feeble minded
That you catch cold without a nurse or mother,
And if you must serve someone,
I’ll summon up a god to suit your needs,
Someone nicer than old Nobodaddy:
The Spirit of the Earth, a decent lad -
I used to know him in the Heavenly Choir.
Spirit, no one else would dare
To summon from the Earth, appear!
The Spirit of Denial’s voice
Takes no deny and leaves no choice.
Flames shoot from the ground, a thick black cloud appears with a rainbow, rolling with thunder

LUCIFER stepping back
Who are you, Terror? I did not call you.
The Spirit of the Earth is meek and mild.

What in the Heavenly Choir seemed weak to you
Is infinite and strong in its own sphere -
Now here I am because I must obey
The words of spirits, but take note of this:
To rouse is one thing, to control another.
My true form is too harsh a sight for you -
And as for these two worms, it would destroy them.

Inform me then, if man would worship you
And make you his god, how may he approach you?

Dispersed among the waters and the clouds,
In groves, in every place that man surveys
With strong desire and elevated spirits.
The SPIRIT disappears. The springs and groves are peopled with playful nymphs

Ah look at those sweet kindred faces,
Look, just look, how charmingly they greet us,
Now farewell wilderness and desolation,
True happiness has come to dwell among us.
They’ll comfort us when we are low
And give us good advice when we’re in doubt.

Nor could you wish for better counsellors,
Since by the time you ask you have decided -
And these delightful evanescent creatures
Will answer in the spirit of the question.
They smile benignly on the pure in heart
But seem horrendous to the desperate,
They’ll company you in a myriad shapes,
A hundred transformations, till you die.
They offer cooling shade to fevered minds,
Ideals to the eternal young-in-heart.

What’s that to me? What is this mirage,
This glittering display I cannot grasp?
To me it’s yet another mystery.
Don’t monkey with me, Lucifer. Enough!
Where is the knowledge that you promised me?

Bitter enough will it seem in time to come -
You’ll wish for ignorance before we’re through.
Have patience please. You know you have to struggle
’To earn even your momentary pleasures.
You have so much to learn yet. Be prepared
For many disappointments on the way.

It’s easy enough for you to talk of patience -
Eternity’s vast store is laid before you.
But I’ve not tasted of the Tree of Life;
A thimbleful of time means I must hurry.

All creatures have an equal share in time,
The hundred year old tree, ephemeral flies,
All feel, take pleasure, propagate and die
Having fulfilled their needs, used up their day.
It is not time that moves, but we who change.
A century, a day - it makes no difference.
So never fear, you too will run your race,
But do not think that man’s entire self
Is bound up with this lump of clay, the body.
You’ve seen the anthill, no doubt, and the beehive:
A thousand workers stumbling to and fro,
Unconsciously they do, they err, they die.
The organism though, the One, lives on
By instinct shaped into a single mass,
Fulfilling its delineated purpose
Until the day when everything must end.
You too will come to dust, it is quite true,
But in a hundred forms you’ll live again
And never will you have to start afresh
Since when you err, your son will bear the blame,
You pass on to him your feebleness, your gout -
All that you feel, experience and learn
Remains your own throughout a million years.

This backward glance might satisfy an old man:
My heart is young, its passions are quite different.
I want to see the future, to discover
What I must struggle for, what I must suffer.

Let me see too, if I am to retain
My charm through all the changes that remain.

So let it be. I’ll cast a spell on you
And you will see unto the end of time
As in a dream, in fleeting images.
But when you see how foolish are your aims,
How fierce the war in which you are engaged,
I’ll grant you - to prevent you from despair
And to maintain your courage in the battle -
A tiny ray of light there in the sky,
That you might think the whole dream was a mirage.
That tiny ray of light will be called Hope.
LUCIFER leads ADAM and EVE into the hut. They fall asleep.