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In the Beginning

ACT I


The Garden of Eden. Afternoon. An immense serpent is sleeping with
her head buried in a thick bed of Johnswort, and her body coiled in
apparently endless rings through the branches of a tree, which is
already well grown; for the days of creation have been longer than our
reckoning. She is not yet visible to anyone unaware of her presence, as
her colors of green and brown make a perfect camouflage. Near her head a
low rock shows above the Johnswort.

The rock and tree are on the border of a glade in which lies a dead fawn
all awry, its neck being broken. Adam, crouching with one hand on the
rock, is staring in consternation at the dead body. He has not noticed
the serpent on his left hand. He turns his face to his right and calls
excitedly.

**

ADAM. Eve! Eve!

EVE'S VOICE. What is it, Adam?

ADAM. Come here. Quick. Something has happened.

EVE [_running in_] What? Where? [_Adam points to the fawn_]. Oh! [_She
goes to it; and he is emboldened to go with her_]. What is the matter
with its eyes?

ADAM. It is not only its eyes. Look. [_He kicks it._]

EVE. Oh don't! Why doesn't it wake?

ADAM. I don't know. It is not asleep.

EVE. Not asleep?

ADAM. Try.

EVE [_trying to shake it and roll it over_] It is stiff and cold.

ADAM. Nothing will wake it.

EVE. It has a queer smell. Pah! [_She dusts her hands, and draws away
from it_]. Did you find it like that?

ADAM. No. It was playing about; and it tripped and went head over heels.
It never stirred again. Its neck is wrong [_he stoops to lift the neck
and shew her_].

EVE. Dont touch it. Come away from it.

_They both retreat, and contemplate it from a few steps' distance with
growing repulsion._

EVE. Adam.

ADAM. Yes?

EVE. Suppose you were to trip and fall, would you go like that?

ADAM. Ugh! [_He shudders and sits down on the rock_].

EVE [_throwing herself on the ground beside him, and grasping his knee_]
You must be careful. Promise me you will be careful.

ADAM. What is the good of being careful? We have to live here for ever.
Think of what for ever means! Sooner or later I shall trip and fall. It
may be tomorrow; it may be after as many days as there are leaves in
the garden and grains of sand by the river. No matter: some day I shall
forget and stumble.

EVE. I too.

ADAM [_horrified_] Oh no, no. I should be alone. Alone for ever. You
must never put yourself in danger of stumbling. You must not move about.
You must sit still. I will take care of you and bring you what you want.

EVE [_turning away from him with a shrug, and hugging her ankles_] I
should soon get tired of that. Besides, if it happened to you, _I_
should be alone. I could not sit still then. And at last it would happen
to me too.

ADAM. And then?

EVE. Then we should be no more. There would be only the things on all
fours, and the birds, and the snakes.

ADAM. That must not be.

EVE. Yes: that must not be. But it might be.

ADAM. No. I tell you it must not be. I know that it must not be.

EVE. We both know it. How do we know it?

ADAM. There is a voice in the garden that tells me things.

EVE. The garden is full of voices sometimes. They put all sorts of
thoughts into my head.

ADAM. To me there is only one voice. It is very low; but it is so near
that it is like a whisper from within myself. There is no mistaking it
for any voice of the birds or beasts, or for your voice.

EVE. It is strange that I should hear voices from all sides and you only
one from within. But I have some thoughts that come from within me and
not from the voices. The thought that we must not cease to be comes from
within.

ADAM [_despairingly_] But we shall cease to be. We shall fall like the
fawn and be broken. [_Rising and moving about in his agitation_]. I
cannot bear this knowledge. I will not have it. It must not be, I tell
you. Yet I do not know how to prevent it.

EVE. That is just what I feel; but it is very strange that you should
say so: there is no pleasing you. You change your mind so often.

ADAM [_scolding her_] Why do you say that? How have I changed my mind?

EVE. You say we must not cease to exist. But you used to complain
of having to exist always and for ever. You sometimes sit for hours
brooding and silent, hating me in your heart. When I ask you what I have
done to you, you say you are not thinking of me, but of the horror of
having to be here for ever. But I know very well that what you mean is
the horror of having to be here with me for ever.

ADAM. Oh! That is what you think, is it? Well, you are wrong. [_He sits
down again, sulkily_]. It is the horror of having to be with myself for
ever. I like you; but I do not like myself. I want to be different; to
be better, to begin again and again; to shed myself as a snake sheds its
skin. I am tired of myself. And yet I must endure myself, not for a day
or for many days, but for ever. That is a dreadful thought. That is what
makes me sit brooding and silent and hateful. Do you never think of
that?

EVE. No: I do not think about myself: what is the use? I am what I am:
nothing can alter that. I think about you.

ADAM. You should not. You are always spying on me. I can never be alone.
You always want to know what I have been doing. It is a burden. You
should try to have an existence of your own, instead of occupying
yourself with my existence.

EVE. I _have_ to think about you. You are lazy: you are dirty: you
neglect yourself: you are always dreaming: you would eat bad food and
become disgusting if I did not watch you and occupy myself with you. And
now some day, in spite of all my care, you will fall on your head and
become dead.

ADAM. Dead? What word is that?

EVE [_pointing to the fawn_] Like that. I call it dead.

ADAM [_rising and approaching it slowly_] There is something uncanny
about it.

EVE [_joining him_] Oh! It is changing into little white worms.

ADAM. Throw it into the river. It is unbearable.

EVE. I dare not touch it.

ADAM. Then I must, though I loathe it. It is poisoning the air. [_He
gathers its hooves in his hand and carries it away in the direction from
which Eve came, holding it as far from him as possible_].

Eve looks after them for a moment; then, with a shiver of disgust, sits
down on the rock, brooding. The body of the serpent becomes visible,
glowing with wonderful new colors. She rears her head slowly from the
bed of Johnswort, and speaks into Eve's ear in a strange seductively
musical whisper.

THE SERPENT. Eve.

EVE [_startled_] Who is that?

THE SERPENT. It is I. I have come to shew you my beautiful new hood. See
[_she spreads a magnificent amethystine hood_]!

EVE [_admiring it_] Oh! But who taught you to speak?

THE SERPENT. You and Adam. I have crept through the grass, and hidden,
and listened to you.

EVE. That was wonderfully clever of you.

THE SERPENT. I am the most subtle of all the creatures of the field.

EVE. Your hood is most lovely. [_She strokes it and pets the serpent_].
Pretty thing! Do you love your godmother Eve?

THE SERPENT. I adore her. [_She licks Eve's neck with her double
tongue_].

EVE [_petting her_] Eve's wonderful darling snake. Eve will never be
lonely now that her snake can talk to her.

THE SNAKE. I can talk of many things. I am very wise. It was I who
whispered the word to you that you did not know. Dead. Death. Die.

EVE [_shuddering_] Why do you remind me of it? I forgot it when I saw
your beautiful hood. You must not remind me of unhappy things.

THE SERPENT. Death is not an unhappy thing when you have learnt how to
conquer it.

EVE. How can I conquer it?

THE SERPENT. By another thing, called birth.

EVE. What? [_Trying to pronounce it_] B-birth?

THE SERPENT. Yes, birth.

EVE. What is birth?

THE SERPENT. The serpent never dies. Some day you shall see me come out
of this beautiful skin, a new snake with a new and lovelier skin. That
is birth.

EVE. I have seen that. It is wonderful.

THE SERPENT. If I can do that, what can I not do? I tell you I am very
subtle. When you and Adam talk, I hear you say 'Why?' Always 'Why?' You
see things; and you say 'Why?' But I dream things that never were; and I
say 'Why not?' I made the word dead to describe my old skin that I cast
when I am renewed. I call that renewal being born.

EVE. Born is a beautiful word.

THE SERPENT. Why not be born again and again as I am, new and beautiful
every time?

EVE. I! It does not happen: that is why.

THE SERPENT. That is how; but it is not why. Why not?

EVE. But I should not like it. It would be nice to be new again; but my
old skin would lie on the ground looking just like me; and Adam would
see it shrivel up and--

THE SERPENT. No. He need not. There is a second birth.

EVE. A second birth?

THE SERPENT. Listen. I will tell you a great secret. I am very subtle;
and I have thought and thought and thought. And I am very wilful, and
must have what I want; and I have willed and willed and willed. And I
have eaten strange things: stones and apples that you are afraid to eat.

EVE. You dared!

THE SERPENT. I dared everything. And at last I found a way of gathering
together a part of the life in my body--

EVE. What is the life?

THE SERPENT. That which makes the difference between the dead fawn and
the live one.

EVE. What a beautiful word! And what a wonderful thing! Life is the
loveliest of all the new words.

THE SERPENT. Yes: it was by meditating on Life that I gained the power
to do miracles.

EVE. Miracles? Another new word.

THE SERPENT. A miracle is an impossible thing that is nevertheless
possible. Something that never could happen, and yet does happen.

EVE. Tell me some miracle that you have done.

THE SERPENT. I gathered a part of the life in my body, and shut it into
a tiny white case made of the stones I had eaten.

EVE. And what good was that?

THE SERPENT. I shewed the little case to the sun, and left it in its
warmth. And it burst; and a little snake came out; and it became bigger
and bigger from day to day until it was as big as I. That was the second
birth.

EVE. Oh! That is too wonderful. It stirs inside me. It hurts.

THE SERPENT. It nearly tore me asunder. Yet I am alive, and can burst my
skin and renew myself as before. Soon there will be as many snakes in
Eden as there are scales on my body. Then death will not matter: this
snake and that snake will die; but the snakes will live.

EVE. But the rest of us will die sooner or later, like the fawn. And
then there will be nothing but snakes, snakes, snakes everywhere.

THE SERPENT. That must not be. I worship you, Eve. I must have something
to worship. Something quite different to myself, like you. There must be
something greater than the snake.

EVE. Yes: it must not be. Adam must not perish. You are very subtle:
tell me what to do.

THE SERPENT. Think. Will. Eat the dust. Lick the white stone: bite the
apple you dread. The sun will give life.

EVE. I do not trust the sun. I will give life myself. I will tear.
another Adam from my body if I tear my body to pieces in the act.

THE SERPENT. Do. Dare it. Everything is possible: everything. Listen.
I am old. I am the old serpent, older than Adam, older than Eve. I
remember Lilith, who came before Adam and Eve. I was her darling as I am
yours. She was alone: there was no man with her. She saw death as you
saw it when the fawn fell; and she knew then that she must find out how
to renew herself and cast the skin like me. She had a mighty will: she
strove and strove and willed and willed for more moons than there are
leaves on all the trees of the garden. Her pangs were terrible: her
groans drove sleep from Eden. She said it must never be again: that the
burden of renewing life was past bearing: that it was too much for one.
And when she cast the skin, lo! there was not one new Lilith but two:
one like herself, the other like Adam. You were the one: Adam was the
other.

EVE. But why did she divide into two, and make us different?

THE SERPENT. I tell you the labor is too much for one. Two must share
it.

EVE. Do you mean that Adam must share it with me? He will not. He cannot
bear pain, nor take trouble with his body.

THE SERPENT. He need not. There will be no pain for him. He will implore
you to let him do his share. He will be in your power through his
desire.

EVE. Then I will do it. But how? How did Lilith work this miracle?

THE SERPENT. She imagined it.

EVE. What is imagined?

THE SERPENT. She told it to me as a marvellous story of something that
never happened to a Lilith that never was. She did not know then that
imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire;
you will what you imagine; and at last you create what you will.

EVE. How can I create out of nothing?

THE SERPENT. Everything must have been created out of nothing. Look at
that thick roll of hard flesh on your strong arm! That was not always
there: you could not climb a tree when I first saw you. But you willed
and tried and willed and tried; and your will created out of nothing the
roll on your arm until you had your desire, and could draw yourself up
with one hand and seat yourself on the bough that was above your head.

EVE. That was practice.

THE SERPENT. Things wear out by practice: they do not grow by it. Your
hair streams in the wind as if it were trying to stretch itself further
and further. But it does not grow longer for all its practice in
streaming, because you have not willed it so. When Lilith told me what
she had imagined in our silent language (for there were no words then) I
bade her desire it and will it; and then, to our great wonder, the thing
she had desired and willed created itself in her under the urging of her
will. Then I too willed to renew myself as two instead of one; and after
many days the miracle happened, and I burst from my skin another snake
interlaced with me; and now there are two imaginations, two desires, two
wills to create with.

EVE. To desire, to imagine, to will, to create. That is too long a
story. Find me one word for it all: you, who are so clever at words.

THE SERPENT. In one word, to conceive. That is the word that means both
the beginning in imagination and the end in creation.

EVE. Find me a word for the story Lilith imagined and told you in your
silent language: the story that was too wonderful to be true, and yet
came true.

THE SERPENT. A poem.

EVE. Find me another word for what Lilith was to me.

THE SERPENT. She was your mother.

EVE. And Adam's mother?

THE SERPENT. Yes.

EVE [_about to rise_] I will go and tell Adam to conceive.

THE SERPENT [_laughs_]!!!

EVE [_jarred and startled_] What a hateful noise! What is the matter
with you? No one has ever uttered such a sound before.

THE SERPENT. Adam cannot conceive.

EVE. Why?

THE SERPENT. Lilith did not imagine him so. He can imagine: he can
will: he can desire: he can gather his life together for a great spring
towards creation: he can create all things except one; and that one is
his own kind.

EVE. Why did Lilith keep this from him?

THE SERPENT. Because if he could do that he could do without Eve.

EVE. That is true. It is I who must conceive.

THE SERPENT. Yes. By that he is tied to you.

EVE. And I to him!

THE SERPENT. Yes, until you create another Adam.

EVE. I had not thought of that. You are very subtle. But if I create
another Eve he may turn to her and do without me. I will not create any
Eves, only Adams.

THE SERPENT. They cannot renew themselves without Eves. Sooner or later
you will die like the fawn; and the new Adams will be unable to create
without new Eves. You can imagine such an end; but you cannot desire it,
therefore cannot will it, therefore cannot create Adams only.

EVE. If I am to die like the fawn, why should not the rest die too? What
do I care?

THE SERPENT. Life must not cease. That comes before everything. It is
silly to say you do not care. You do care. It is that care that
will prompt your imagination; inflame your desires; make your will
irresistible; and create out of nothing.

EVE [_thoughtfully_] There can be no such thing as nothing. The garden
is full, not empty.

THE SERPENT. I had not thought of that. That is a great thought. Yes:
there is no such thing as nothing, only things we cannot see. The
chameleon eats the air.

EVE. I have another thought: I must tell it to Adam. [_Calling_] Adam!
Adam! Coo-ee!

ADAM'S VOICE. Coo-ee!

EVE. This will please him, and cure his fits of melancholy.

THE SERPENT. Do not tell him yet. I have not told you the great secret.

EVE. What more is there to tell? It is I who have to do the miracle.

THE SERPENT. No: he, too, must desire and will. But he must give his
desire and his will to you.

EVE. How?

THE SERPENT. That is the great secret. Hush! he is coming.

ADAM [_returning_] Is there another voice in the garden besides our
voices and the Voice? I heard a new voice.

EVE [_rising and running to him_] Only think, Adam! Our snake has learnt
to speak by listening to us.

ADAM [_delighted_] Is it so? [_He goes past her to the stone, and
fondles the serpent_].

THE SERPENT [_responding affectionately_] It is so, dear Adam.

EVE. But I have more wonderful news than that. Adam: we need not live
for ever.

ADAM [_dropping the snake's head in his excitement_] What! Eve: do not
play with me about this. If only there may be an end some day, and yet
no end! If only I can be relieved of the horror of having to endure
myself for ever! If only the care of this terrible garden may pass on
to some other gardener! If only the sentinel set by the Voice can be
relieved! If only the rest and sleep that enable me to bear it from
day to day could grow after many days into an eternal rest, an eternal
sleep, then I could face my days, however long they may last. Only,
there must be some end, some end: I am not strong enough to bear
eternity.

THE SERPENT. You need not live to see another summer; and yet there
shall be no end.

ADAM. That cannot be.

THE SERPENT. It can be.

EVE. It shall be.

THE SERPENT. It is. Kill me; and you will find another snake in the
garden tomorrow. You will find more snakes than there are fingers on
your hands.

EVE. I will make other Adams, other Eves.

ADAM. I tell you you must not make up stories about this. It cannot
happen.

THE SERPENT. I can remember when you were yourself a thing that could
not happen. Yet you are.

ADAM [_struck_] That must be true. [_He sits down on the stone_].

THE SERPENT. I will tell Eve the secret; and she will tell it to you.

ADAM. The secret! [_He turns quickly towards the serpent, and in doing
so puts his foot on something sharp_]. Oh!

EVE. What is it?

ADAM [_rubbing his foot_] A thistle. And there, next to it, a briar. And
nettles, too! I am tired of pulling these things up to keep the garden
pleasant for us for ever.

THE SERPENT. They do not grow very fast. They will not overrun the whole
garden for a long time: not until you have laid down your burden and
gone to sleep for ever. Why should you trouble yourself? Let the new
Adams clear a place for themselves.

ADAM. That is very true. You must tell us your secret. You see, Eve,
what a splendid thing it is not to have to live for ever.

EVE [_throwing herself down discontentedly and plucking at the grass_]
That is so like a man. The moment you find we need not last for ever,
you talk as if we were going to end today. You must clear away some of
those horrid things, or we shall be scratched and stung whenever we
forget to look where we are stepping.

ADAM. Oh yes, some of them, of course. But only some. I will clear them
away tomorrow.

THE SERPENT [_laughs_]!!!

ADAM. That is a funny noise to make. I like it.

EVE. I do not. Why do you make it again?

THE SERPENT. Adam has invented something new. He has invented tomorrow.
You will invent things every day now that the burden of immortality is
lifted from you.

EVE. Immortality? What is that?

THE SERPENT. My new word for having to live for ever.

EVE. The serpent has made a beautiful word for being. Living.

ADAM. Make me a beautiful word for doing things tomorrow; for that
surely is a great and blessed invention.

THE SERPENT. Procrastination.

EVE. That is a sweet word. I wish I had a serpent's tongue.

THE SERPENT. That may come too. Everything is possible.

ADAM [_springing up in sudden terror_] Oh!

EVE. What is the matter now?

ADAM. My rest! My escape from life!

THE SERPENT. Death. That is the word.

ADAM. There is a terrible danger in this procrastination.

EVE. What danger?

ADAM. If I put off death until tomorrow, I shall never die. There is no
such day as tomorrow, and never can be.

THE SERPENT. I am very subtle; but Man is deeper in his thought than
I am. The woman knows that there is no such thing as nothing: the man
knows that there is no such day as tomorrow. I do well to worship them.

ADAM. If I am to overtake death, I must appoint a real day, not a
tomorrow. When shall I die?

EVE. You may die when I have made another Adam. Not before. But then,
as soon as you like. [_She rises, and passing behind him, strolls off
carelessly to the tree and leans against it, stroking a ring of the
snake_].

ADAM. There need be no hurry even then.

EVE. I see you will put it off until tomorrow.

ADAM. And you? Will you die the moment you have made a new Eve?

EVE. Why should I? Are you eager to be rid of me? Only just now you
wanted me to sit still and never move lest I should stumble and die like
the fawn. Now you no longer care.

ADAM. It does not matter so much now.

EVE [_angrily to the snake_] This death that you have brought into the
garden is an evil thing. He wants me to die.

THE SERPENT [_to Adam_] Do you want her to die?

ADAM. No. It is I who am to die. Eve must not die before me. I should be
lonely.

EVE. You could get one of the new Eves.

ADAM. That is true. But they might not be quite the same. They could
not: I feel sure of that. They would not have the same memories. They
would be--I want a word for them.

THE SERPENT. Strangers.

ADAM. Yes: that is a good hard word. Strangers.

EVE. When there are new Adams and new Eves we shall live in a garden of
strangers. We shall need each other. [_She comes quickly behind him and
turns up his face to her_]. Do not forget that, Adam. Never forget it.

ADAM. Why should I forget it? It is I who have thought of it.

EVE. I, too, have thought of something. The fawn stumbled and fell and
died. But you could come softly up behind me and [_she suddenly pounces
on his shoulders and throws him forward on his face_] throw me down so
that I should die. I should not dare to sleep if there were no reason
why you should not make me die.

ADAM [_scrambling up in horror_] Make you die!!! What a frightful
thought!

THE SERPENT. Kill, kill, kill, kill. That is the word.

EVE. The new Adams and Eves might kill us. I shall not make them. [_She
sits on the rock and pulls him down beside her, clasping him to her with
her right arm_].

THE SERPENT. You must. For if you do not there will be an end.

ADAM. No: they will not kill us: they will feel as I do. There is
something against it. The Voice in the garden will tell them that they
must not kill, as it tells me.

THE SERPENT. The voice in the garden is your own voice.

ADAM. It is; and it is not. It is something greater than me: I am only a
part of it.

EVE. The Voice does not tell me not to kill you. Yet I do not want you
to die before me. No voice is needed to make me feel that.

ADAM [_throwing his arm round her shoulder with an expression of
anguish_] Oh no: that is plain without any voice. There is something
that holds us together, something that has no word--

THE SERPENT. Love. Love. Love.

ADAM. That is too short a word for so long a thing.

THE SERPENT [_laughs_]!!!

EVE [_turning impatiently to the snake_] That heart-biting sound again!
Do not do it. Why do you do it?

THE SERPENT. Love may be too long a word for so short a thing soon. But
when it is short it will be very sweet.

ADAM [_ruminating_] You puzzle me. My old trouble was heavy; but it was
simple. These wonders that you promise to do may tangle up my being
before they bring me the gift of death. I was troubled with the burden
of eternal being; but I was not confused in my mind. If I did not know
that I loved Eve, at least I did not know that she might cease to love
me, and come to love some other Adam and desire my death. Can you find a
name for that knowledge?

THE SERPENT. Jealousy. Jealousy. Jealousy.

ADAM. A hideous word.

EVE [_shaking him_] Adam: you must not brood. You think too much.

ADAM [_angrily_] How can I help brooding when the future has become
uncertain? Anything is better than uncertainty. Life has become
uncertain. Love is uncertain. Have you a word for this new misery?

THE SERPENT. Fear. Fear. Fear.

ADAM. Have you a remedy for it?

THE SERPENT. Yes. Hope. Hope. Hope.

ADAM. What is hope?

THE SERPENT. As long as you do not know the future you do not know that
it will not be happier than the past. That is hope.

ADAM. It does not console me. Fear is stronger in me than hope. I must
have certainty. [_He rises threateningly_]. Give it to me; or I will
kill you when next I catch you asleep.

EVE [_throwing her arms round the serpent_] My beautiful snake. Oh no.
How can you even think such a horror?

ADAM. Fear will drive me to anything. The serpent gave me fear. Let it
now give me certainty or go in fear of me.

THE SERPENT. Bind the future by your will. Make a vow.

ADAM. What is a vow?

THE SERPENT. Choose a day for your death; and resolve to die on that
day. Then death is no longer uncertain but certain. Let Eve vow to love
you until your death. Then love will be no longer uncertain.

ADAM. Yes: that is splendid: that will bind the future.

EVE [_displeased, turning away from the serpent_] But it will destroy
hope.

ADAM [_angrily_] Be silent, woman. Hope is wicked. Happiness is wicked.
Certainty is blessed.

THE SERPENT. What is wicked? You have invented a word.

ADAM. Whatever I fear to do is wicked. Listen to me, Eve; and you,
snake, listen too, that your memory may hold my vow. I will live a
thousand sets of the four seasons--

THE SERPENT. Years. Years.

ADAM. I will live a thousand years; and then I will endure no more: I
will die and take my rest. And I will love Eve all that time and no
other woman.

EVE. And if Adam keeps his vow I will love no other man until he dies.

THE SERPENT. You have both invented marriage. And what he will be to you
and not to any other woman is husband; and what you will be to him and
not to any other man is wife.

ADAM [_instinctively moving his hand towards her_] Husband and wife.

EVE [_slipping her hand into his_] Wife and husband.

THE SERPENT [_laughs_]!!!

EVE [_snatching herself loose from Adam_] Do not make that odious noise,
I tell you.

ADAM. Do not listen to her: the noise is good: it lightens my heart.
You are a jolly snake. But you have not made a vow yet. What vow do you
make?

THE SERPENT. I make no vows. I take my chance.

ADAM. Chance? What does that mean?

THE SERPENT. It means that I fear certainty as you fear uncertainty. It
means that nothing is certain but uncertainty. If I bind the future I
bind my will. If I bind my will I strangle creation.

EVE. Creation must not be strangled. I tell you I will create, though I
tear myself to pieces in the act.

ADAM. Be silent, both of you. I _will_ bind the future. I will be
delivered from fear. [_To Eve_] We have made our vows; and if you must
create, you shall create within the bounds of those vows. You shall not
listen to that snake any more. Come [_he seizes her by the hair to drag
her away_].

EVE. Let me go, you fool. It has not yet told me the secret.

ADAM [_releasing her_] That is true. What is a fool?

EVE. I do not know: the word came to me. It is what you are when you
forget and brood and are filled with fear. Let us listen to the snake.

ADAM. No: I am afraid of it. I feel as if the ground were giving way
under my feet when it speaks. Do you stay and listen to it.

THE SERPENT [_laughs_]!!!

ADAM [_brightening_] That noise takes away fear. Funny. The snake and
the woman are going to whisper secrets. [_He chuckles and goes away
slowly, laughing his first laugh_].

EVE. Now the secret. The secret. [_She sits on the rock and throws her
arms round the serpent, who begins whispering to her_].

_Eve's face lights up with intense interest, which increases until an
expression of overwhelming repugnance takes its place. She buries her
face in her hands_.

--


ACT II


A few centuries later. Morning. An oasis in Mesopotamia. Close at hand
the end of a log house abuts on a kitchen garden. Adam is digging in the
middle of the garden. On his right, Eve sits on a stool in the shadow
of a tree by the doorway, spinning flax. Her wheel, which she turns by
hand, is a large disc of heavy wood, practically a flywheel. At the
opposite side of the garden is a thorn brake with a passage through it
barred by a hurdle.

The two are scantily and carelessly dressed in rough linen and leaves.
They have lost their youth and grace; and Adam has an unkempt beard and
jaggedly cut hair; but they are strong and in the prime of life. Adam
looks worried, like a farmer. Eve, better humored (having given up
worrying), sits and spins and thinks.

A MAN'S VOICE. Hallo, mother!

EVE [_looking across the garden towards the hurdle_] Here is Cain.

ADAM [_uttering a grunt of disgust_]!!! [_He goes on digging without
raising his head_].

_Cain kicks the hurdle out of his way, and strides into the garden. In
pose, voice, and dress he is insistently warlike. He is equipped with
huge spear and broad brass-bound leather shield; his casque is a tiger's
head with bull's horns; he wears a scarlet cloak with gold brooch over a
lion's skin with the claws dangling; his feet are in sandals with brass
ornaments; his shins are in brass greaves; and his bristling military
moustache glistens with oil. To his parents he has the self-assertive,
not-quite-at-ease manner of a revolted son who knows that he is not
forgiven nor approved of._

CAIN [_to Adam_] Still digging? Always dig, dig, dig. Sticking in the
old furrow. No progress! no advanced ideas! no adventures! What should I
be if I had stuck to the digging you taught me?

ADAM. What are you now, with your shield and spear, and your brother's
blood crying from the ground against you?

CAIN. I am the first murderer: you are only the first man. Anybody could
be the first man: it is as easy as to be the first cabbage. To be the
first murderer one must be a man of spirit.

ADAM. Begone. Leave us in peace. The world is wide enough to keep us
apart.

EVE. Why do you want to drive him away? He is mine. I made him out of my
own body. I want to see my work sometimes.

ADAM. You made Abel also. He killed Abel. Can you bear to look at him
after that?

CAIN. Whose fault was it that I killed Abel? Who invented killing? Did
I? No: he invented it himself. I followed your teaching. I dug and dug
and dug. I cleared away the thistles and briars. I ate the fruits of the
earth. I lived in the sweat of my brow, as you do. I was a fool. But
Abel was a discoverer, a man of ideas, of spirit: a true Progressive. He
was the discoverer of blood. He was the inventor of killing. He found
out that the fire of the sun could be brought down by a dewdrop. He
invented the altar to keep the fire alive. He changed the beasts he
killed into meat by the fire on the altar. He kept himself alive by
eating meat. His meal cost him a day's glorious health-giving sport and
an hour's amusing play with the fire. You learnt nothing from him: you
drudged and drudged and drudged, and dug and dug and dug, and made me do
the same. I envied his happiness, his freedom. I despised myself for
not doing as he did instead of what you did. He became so happy that he
shared his meal with the Voice that had whispered all his inventions to
him. He said that the Voice was the voice of the fire that cooked his
food, and that the fire that could cook could also eat. It was true: I
saw the fire consume the food on his altar. Then I, too, made an altar,
and offered my food on it, my grains, my roots, my fruit. Useless:
nothing happened. He laughed at me; and then came my great idea: why not
kill him as he killed the beasts? I struck; and he died, just as they
did. Then I gave up your old silly drudging ways, and lived as he had
lived, by the chase, by the killing, and by the fire. Am I not better
than you? stronger, happier, freer?

ADAM. You are not stronger: you are shorter in the wind: you cannot
endure. You have made the beasts afraid of us; and the snake has
invented poison to protect herself against you. I fear you myself. If
you take a step towards your mother with that spear of yours I will
strike you with my spade as you struck Abel.

EVE. He will not strike me. He loves me.

ADAM. He loved his brother. But he killed him.

CAIN. I do not want to kill women. I do not want to kill my mother. And
for her sake I will not kill you, though I could send this spear through
you without coming within reach of your spade. But for her, I could not
resist the sport of trying to kill you, in spite of my fear that you
would kill me. I have striven with a boar and with a lion as to which of
us should kill the other. I have striven with a man: spear to spear and
shield to shield. It is terrible; but there is no joy like it. I call
it fighting. He who has never fought has never lived. That is what has
brought me to my mother today.

ADAM. What have you to do with one another now? She is the creator, you
the destroyer.

CAIN. How can I destroy unless she creates? I want her to create more
and more men: aye, and more and more women, that they may in turn create
more men. I have imagined a glorious poem of many men, of more men than
there are leaves on a thousand trees. I will divide them into two great
hosts. One of them I will lead; and the other will be led by the man I
fear most and desire to fight and kill most. And each host shall try
to kill the other host. Think of that! all those multitudes of men
fighting, fighting, killing, killing! The four rivers running with
blood! The shouts of triumph! the howls of rage! the curses of despair!
the shrieks of torment! That will be life indeed: life lived to the very
marrow: burning, overwhelming life. Every man who has not seen it, heard
it, felt it, risked it, will feel a humbled fool in the presence of the
man who has.

EVE. And I! I am to be a mere convenience to make men for you to kill!

ADAM. Or to kill you, you fool.

CAIN. Mother: the making of men is your right, your risk, your agony,
your glory, your triumph. You make my father here your mere convenience,
as you call it, for that. He has to dig for you, sweat for you, plod
for you, like the ox who helps him to tear up the ground or the ass who
carries his burdens for him. No woman shall make me live my father's
life. I will hunt: I will fight and strive to the very bursting of my
sinews. When I have slain the boar at the risk of my life, I will throw
it to my woman to cook, and give her a morsel of it for her pains. She
shall have no other food; and that will make her my slave. And the man
that slays me shall have her for his booty. Man shall be the master of
Woman, not her baby and her drudge.

_Adam throws down his spade, and stands looking darkly at Eve._

EVE. Are you tempted, Adam? Does this seem a better thing to you than
love between us?

CAIN. What does he know of love? Only when he has fought, when he has
faced terror and death, when he has striven to the spending of the last
rally of his strength, can he know what it is to rest in love in the
arms of a woman. Ask that woman whom you made, who is also my wife,
whether she would have me as I was in the days when I followed the ways
of Adam, and was a digger and a drudge?

EVE [_angrily throwing down her distaff_] What! You dare come here
boasting about that good-for-nothing Lua, the worst of daughters and the
worst of wives! You her master! You are more her slave than Adam's ox or
your own sheepdog. Forsooth, when you have slain the boar at the risk
of your life, you will throw her a morsel of it for her pains! Ha! Poor
wretch: do you think I do not know her, and know you, better than that?
Do you risk your life when you trap the ermine and the sable and the
blue fox to hang on her lazy shoulders and make her look more like an
animal than a woman? When you have to snare the little tender birds
because it is too much trouble for her to chew honest food, how much of
a great warrior do you feel then? You slay the tiger at the risk of your
life; but who gets the striped skin you have run that risk for? She
takes it to lie on, and flings you the carrion flesh you cannot eat. You
fight because you think that your fighting makes her admire and desire
you. Fool: she makes you fight because you bring her the ornaments and
the treasures of those you have slain, and because she is courted and
propitiated with power and gold by the people who fear you. You say that
I make a mere convenience of Adam: I who spin and keep the house, and
bear and rear children, and am a woman and not a pet animal to please
men and prey on them! What are you, you poor slave of a painted face and
a bundle of skunk's fur? You were a man-child when I bore you. Lua was a
woman-child when I bore her. What have you made of yourselves?

CAIN [_letting his spear fall into the crook of his shield arm, and
twirling his moustache_] There is something higher than man. There is
hero and superman.

EVE. Superman! You are no superman: you are Anti-Man: you are to other
men what the stoat is to the rabbit; and she is to you what the leech is
to the stoat. You despise your father; but when he dies the world will
be the richer because he lived. When you die, men will say, 'He was a
great warrior; but it would have been better for the world if he had
never been born.' And of Lua they will say nothing; but when they think
of her they will spit.

CAIN. She is a better sort of woman to live with than you. If Lua nagged
at me as you are nagging, and as you nag at Adam, I would beat her black
and blue from head to foot. I have done it too, slave as you say I am.

EVE. Yes, because she looked at another man. And then you grovelled at
her feet, and cried, and begged her to forgive you, and were ten times
more her slave than ever; and she, when she had finished screaming and
the pain went off a little, she forgave you, did she not?

CAIN. She loved me more than ever. That is the true nature of woman.

EVE [_now pitying him maternally_] Love! You call that love! You call
that the nature of woman! My boy: this is neither man nor woman nor love
nor life. You have no real strength in your bones nor sap in your flesh.

CAIN. Ha! [_he seizes his spear and swings it muscularly_].

EVE. Yes: you have to twirl a stick to feel your strength: you cannot
taste life without making it bitter and boiling hot: you cannot love
Lua until her face is painted, nor feel the natural warmth of her flesh
until you have stuck a squirrel's fur on it. You can feel nothing but a
torment, and believe nothing but a lie. You will not raise your head to
look at all the miracles of life that surround you; but you will run ten
miles to see a fight or a death.

ADAM. Enough said. Let the boy alone.

CAIN. Boy! Ha! ha!

EVE [_to Adam_] You think, perhaps, that his way of life may be better
than yours after all. You are still tempted. Well, will you pamper me as
he pampers his woman? Will you kill tigers and bears until I have a heap
of their skins to lounge on? Shall I paint my face and let my arms waste
into pretty softness, and eat partridges and doves, and the flesh of
kids whose milk you will steal for me?

ADAM. You are hard enough to bear with as you are. Stay as you are; and
I will stay as I am.

CAIN. You neither of you know anything about life. You are simple
country folk. You are the nurses and valets of the oxen and dogs and
asses you have tamed to work for you. I can raise you out of that. I
have a plan. Why not tame men and women to work for us? Why not bring
them up from childhood never to know any other lot, so that they may
believe that we are gods, and that they are here only to make life
glorious for us?

ADAM [_impressed_] That is a great thought, certainly.

EVE [_contemptuously_] Great thought!

ADAM. Well, as the serpent used to say, why not?

EVE. Because I would not have such wretches in my house. Because I hate
creatures with two heads, or with withered limbs, or that are distorted
and perverted and unnatural. I have told Cain already that he is not a
man and that Lua is not a woman: they are monsters. And now you want to
make still more unnatural monsters, so that you may be utterly lazy and
worthless, and that your tamed human animals may find work a blasting
curse. A fine dream, truly! [_To Cain_] Your father is a fool skin deep;
but you are a fool to your very marrow; and your baggage of a wife is
worse.

ADAM. Why am I a fool? How am I a greater fool than you?

EVE. You said there would be no killing because the Voice would tell our
children that they must not kill. Why did it not tell Cain that?

CAIN. It did; but I am not a child to be afraid of a Voice. The Voice
thought I was nothing but my brother's keeper. It found that I was
myself, and that it was for Abel to be himself also, and look to
himself. He was not my keeper any more than I was his: why did he not
kill me? There was no more to prevent him than there was to prevent me:
it was man to man; and I won. I was the first conqueror.

ADAM. What did the Voice say to you when you thought all that?

CAIN. Why, it gave me right. It said that my deed was as a mark on me, a
burnt-in mark such as Abel put on his sheep, that no man should slay me.
And here I stand unslain, whilst the cowards who have never slain, the
men who are content to be their brothers' keepers instead of their
masters, are despised and rejected, and slain like rabbits. He who bears
the brand of Cain shall rule the earth. When he falls, he shall be
avenged sevenfold: the Voice has said it; so beware how you plot against
me, you and all the rest.

ADAM. Cease your boasting and bullying, and tell the truth. Does not the
Voice tell you that as no man dare slay you for murdering your brother,
you ought to slay yourself?

CAIN. No.

ADAM. Then there is no such thing as divine justice, unless you are
lying.

CAIN. I am not lying: I dare all truths. There is divine justice. For
the Voice tells me that I must offer myself to every man to be killed if
he can kill me. Without danger I cannot be great. That is how I pay for
Abel's blood. Danger and fear follow my steps everywhere. Without them
courage would have no sense. And it is courage, courage, courage, that
raises the blood of life to crimson splendor.

ADAM [_picking up his spade and preparing to dig again_] Take yourself
off then. This splendid life of yours does not last for a thousand
years; and I must last for a thousand years. When you fighters do not
get killed in fighting one another or fighting the beasts, you die from
mere evil in yourselves. Your flesh ceases to grow like man's flesh: it
grows like a fungus on a tree. Instead of breathing you sneeze, or cough
up your insides, and wither and perish. Your bowels become rotten; your
hair falls from you; your teeth blacken and drop out; and you die before
your time, not because you will, but because you must. I will dig, and
live.

CAIN. And pray, what use is this thousand years of life to you, you
old vegetable? Do you dig any better because you have been digging for
hundreds of years? I have not lived as long as you; but I know all there
is to be known of the craft of digging. By quitting it I have set myself
free to learn nobler crafts of which you know nothing. I know the craft
of fighting and of hunting: in a word, the craft of killing. What
certainty have you of your thousand years? I could kill both of you; and
you could no more defend yourselves than a couple of sheep. I spare you;
but others may kill you. Why not live bravely, and die early and make
room for others? Why, I--I! that know many more crafts than either of
you, am tired of myself when I am not fighting or hunting. Sooner than
face a thousand years of it I should kill myself, as the Voice sometimes
tempts me to do already.

ADAM. Liar: you denied just now that it called on you to pay for Abel's
life with your own.

CAIN. The Voice does not speak to me as it does to you. I am a man: you
are only a grown-up child. One does not speak to a child as to a man.
And a man does not listen and tremble in silence. He replies: he makes
the Voice respect him: in the end he dictates what the Voice shall say.

ADAM. May your tongue be accurst for such blasphemy!

EVE. Keep a guard on your own tongue; and do not curse my son. It was
Lilith who did wrong when she shared the labor of creation so unequally
between man and wife. If you, Cain, had had the trouble of making Abel,
or had had to make another man to replace him when he was gone, you
would not have killed him: you would have risked your own life to save
his. That is why all this empty talk of yours, which tempted Adam just
now when he threw down his spade and listened to you for a while, went
by me like foul wind that has passed over a dead body. That is why there
is enmity between Woman the creator and Man the destroyer. I know you: I
am your mother. You are idle: you are selfish. It is long and hard and
painful to create life: it is short and easy to steal the life others
have made. When you dug, you made the earth live and bring forth as I
live and bring forth. It was for that that Lilith set you free from the
travail of women, not for theft and murder.

CAIN. The Devil thank her for it! I can make better use of my time than
to play the husband to the clay beneath my feet.

ADAM. Devil? What new word is that?

CAIN. Hearken to me, old fool. I have never in my soul listened
willingly when you have told me of the Voice that whispers to you. There
must be two Voices: one that gulls and despises you, and another that
trusts and respects me. I call yours the Devil. Mine I call the Voice of
God.

ADAM. Mine is the Voice of Life: yours the Voice of Death.

CAIN. Be it so. For it whispers to me that death is not really death:
that it is the gate of another life: a life infinitely splendid and
intense: a life of the soul alone: a life without clods or spades,
hunger or fatigue--

EVE. Selfish and idle, Cain. I know.

CAIN. Selfish, yes: a life in which no man is his brother's keeper,
because his brother can keep himself. But am I idle? In rejecting your
drudgery, have I not embraced evils and agonies of which you know
nothing? The arrow is lighter in the hand than the spade; but the energy
that drives it through the breast of a fighter is as fire to water
compared with the strength that drives the spade into the harmless dirty
clay. My strength is as the strength of ten because my heart is pure.

ADAM. What is that word? What is pure?

CAIN. Turned from the clay. Turned upward to the sun, to the clear clean
heavens.

ADAM. The heavens are empty, child. The earth is fruitful. The earth
feeds us. It gives us the strength by which we made you and all mankind.
Cut off from the clay which you despise, you would perish miserably.

CAIN. I revolt against the clay. I revolt against the food. You say it
gives us strength: does it not also turn into filth and smite us with
diseases? I revolt against these births that you and mother are so proud
of. They drag us down to the level of the beasts. If that is to be the
last thing as it has been the first, let mankind perish. If I am to
eat like a bear, if Lua is to bring forth cubs like a bear, then I had
rather be a bear than a man; for the bear is not ashamed: he knows no
better. If you are content, like the bear, I am not. Stay with the woman
who gives you children: I will go to the woman who gives me dreams.
Grope in the ground for your food: I will bring it from the skies with
my arrows, or strike it down as it roams the earth in the pride of its
life. If I must have food or die, I will at least have it at as far a
remove from the earth as I can. The ox shall make it something nobler
than grass before it comes to me. And as the man is nobler than the ox,
I shall some day let my enemy eat the ox; and then I will slay and eat
him.

ADAM. Monster! You hear this, Eve?

EVE. So that is what comes of turning your face to the clean clear
heavens! Man-eating! Child-eating! For that is what it would come to,
just as it came to lambs and kids when Abel began with sheep and goats.
You are a poor silly creature after all. Do you think I never have these
thoughts: I! who have the labor of the child-bearing: I! who have the
drudgery of preparing the food? I thought for a moment that perhaps this
strong brave son of mine, who could imagine something better, and could
desire what he imagined, might also be able to will what he desired
until he created it. And all that comes of it is that he wants to be a
bear and eat children. Even a bear would not eat a man if it could get
honey instead.

CAIN. I do not want to be a bear. I do not want to eat children. I do
not know what I want, except that I want to be something higher and
nobler than this stupid old digger whom Lilith made to help you to bring
me into the world, and whom you despise now that he has served your
turn.

ADAM [_in sullen rage_] I have half a mind to shew you that my spade can
split your undutiful head open, in spite of your spear.

CAIN. Undutiful! Ha! ha! [_Flourishing his spear_] Try it, old
everybody's father. Try a taste of fighting.

EVE. Peace, peace, you two fools. Sit down and be quiet; and listen to
me. [_Adam, with a weary shrug, throws down his spade. Cain, with
a laughing one, throws down his shield and spear. Both sit on the
ground_]. I hardly know which of you satisfies me least, you with your
dirty digging, or he with his dirty killing. I cannot think it was for
either of these cheap ways of life that Lilith set you free. [_To Adam_]
You dig roots and coax grains out of the earth: why do you not draw down
a divine sustenance from the skies? He steals and kills for his food;
and makes up idle poems of life after death; and dresses up his
terror-ridden life with fine words and his disease-ridden body with fine
clothes, so that men may glorify and honor him instead of cursing him as
murderer and thief. All you men, except only Adam, are my sons, or my
sons' sons, or my sons' sons' sons: you all come to see me: you all shew
off before me: all your little wisdoms and accomplishments are trotted
out before mother Eve. The diggers come: the fighters and killers come:
they are both very dull; for they either complain to me of the last
harvest, or boast to me of the last fight; and one harvest is just like
another, and the last fight only a repetition of the first. Oh, I have
heard it all a thousand times. They tell me too of their last-born:
the clever thing the darling child said yesterday, and how much more
wonderful or witty or quaint it is than any child that ever was born
before. And I have to pretend to be surprised, delighted, interested;
though the last child is like the first, and has said and done nothing
that did not delight Adam and me when you and Abel said it. For you were
the first children in the world, and filled us with such wonder and
delight as no couple can ever again feel while the world lasts. When I
can bear no more, I go to our old garden, that is now a mass of nettles
and thistles, in the hope of finding the serpent to talk to. But you
have made the serpent our enemy: she has left the garden, or is dead: I
never see her now. So I have to come back and listen to Adam saying the
same thing for the ten-thousandth time, or to receive a visit from the
last great-great-grandson who has grown up and wants to impress me with
his importance. Oh, it is dreary, dreary! And there is yet nearly seven
hundred years of it to endure.

CAIN. Poor mother! You see, life is too long. One tires of everything.
There is nothing new under the sun.

ADAM [_to Eve, grumpily_] Why do you live on, if you can find nothing
better to do than complain?

EVE. Because there is still hope.

CAIN. Of what?

EVE. Of the coming true of your dreams and mine. Of newly created
things. Of better things. My sons and my son's sons are not all diggers
and fighters. Some of them will neither dig nor fight: they are more
useless than either of you: they are weaklings and cowards: they are
vain; yet they are dirty and will not take the trouble to cut their
hair. They borrow and never pay; but one gives them what they want,
because they tell beautiful lies in beautiful words. They can remember
their dreams. They can dream without sleeping. They have not will enough
to create instead of dreaming; but the serpent said that every dream
could be willed into creation by those strong enough to believe in it.
There are others who cut reeds of different lengths and blow through
them, making lovely patterns of sound in the air; and some of them can
weave the patterns together, sounding three reeds at the same time, and
raising my soul to things for which I have no words. And others make
little mammoths out of clay, or make faces appear on flat stones, and
ask me to create women for them with such faces. I have watched those
faces and willed; and then I have made a woman-child that has grown up
quite like them. And others think of numbers without having to count on
their fingers, and watch the sky at night, and give names to the stars,
and can foretell when the sun will be covered with a black saucepan lid.
And there is Tubal, who made this wheel for me which has saved me so
much labor. And there is Enoch, who walks on the hills, and hears the
Voice continually, and has given up his will to do the will of the
Voice, and has some of the Voice's greatness. When they come, there is
always some new wonder, or some new hope: something to live for. They
never want to die, because they are always learning and always creating
either things or wisdom, or at least dreaming of them. And then you,
Cain, come to me with your stupid fighting and destroying, and your
foolish boasting; and you want me to tell you that it is all splendid,
and that you are heroic, and that nothing but death or the dread of
death makes life worth living. Away with you, naughty child; and do you,
Adam, go on with your work and not waste your time listening to him.

CAIN. I am not, perhaps, very clever; but--

EVE [_interrupting him_] Perhaps not; but do not begin to boast of that.
It is no credit to you.

CAIN. For all that, mother, I have an instinct which tells me that death
plays its part in life. Tell me this: who invented death?

_Adam springs to his feet. Eve drops her distaff. Both shew the greatest
consternation._

CAIN. What is the matter with you both?

ADAM. Boy: you have asked us a terrible question.

EVE. You invented murder. Let that be enough for you.

CAIN. Murder is not death. You know what I mean. Those whom I slay would
die if I spared them. If I am not slain, yet I shall die. Who put this
upon me? I say, who invented death?

ADAM. Be reasonable, boy. Could you bear to live for ever? You think you
could, because you know that you will never have to make your thought
good. But I have known what it is to sit and brood under the terror of
eternity, of immortality. Think of it, man: to have no escape! to be
Adam, Adam, Adam through more days than there are grains of sand by the
two rivers, and then be as far from the end as ever! I, who have so much
in me that I hate and long to cast off! Be thankful to your parents, who
enabled you to hand on your burden to new and better men, and won for
you an eternal rest; for it was we who invented death.

CAIN [_rising_] You did well: I, too, do not want to live for ever. But
if you invented death, why do you blame me, who am a minister of death?

ADAM. I do not blame you. Go in peace. Leave me to my digging, and your
mother to her spinning.

CAIN. Well, I will leave you to it, though I have shewn you a better
way. [_He picks up his shield and spear_]. I will go back to my brave
warrior friends and their splendid women. [_He strides to the thorn
brake_]. When Adam delved and Eve span, where was then the gentleman?
[_He goes away roaring with laughter, which ceases as he cries from the
distance_] Goodbye, mother.

ADAM [_grumbling_] He might have put the hurdle back, lazy hound! [_He
replaces the hurdle across the passage_].

EVE. Through him and his like, death is gaining on life. Already most of
our grandchildren die before they have sense enough to know how to live.

ADAM. No matter. [_He spits on his hands, and takes up the spade
again_]. Life is still long enough to learn to dig, short as they are
making it.

EVE [_musing_] Yes, to dig. And to fight. But is it long enough for the
other things, the great things? Will they live long enough to eat manna?

ADAM. What is manna?

EVE. Food drawn down from heaven, made out of the air, not dug dirtily
from the earth. Will they learn all the ways of all the stars in their
little time? It took Enoch two hundred years to learn to interpret the
will of the Voice. When he was a mere child of eighty, his babyish
attempts to understand the Voice were more dangerous than the wrath of
Cain. If they shorten their lives, they will dig and fight and kill and
die; and their baby Enochs will tell them that it is the will of the
Voice that they should dig and fight and kill and die for ever.

ADAM. If they are lazy and have a will towards death I cannot help it.
I will live my thousand years: if they will not, let them die and be
damned.

EVE. Damned? What is that?

ADAM. The state of them that love death more than life. Go on with your
spinning; and do not sit there idle while I am straining my muscles for
you.

EVE [_slowly taking up her distaff_] If you were not a fool you would
find something better for both of us to live by than this spinning and
digging.

ADAM. Go on with your work, I tell you; or you shall go without bread.

EVE. Man need not always live by bread alone. There is something else.
We do not yet know what it is; but some day we shall find out; and then
we will live on that alone; and there shall be no more digging nor
spinning, nor fighting nor killing.

She spins resignedly; he digs impatiently.


George Bernard Shaw

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