Ligeia's Warning

Caleb Jacobo. (1988–PRESENT).  Initial Draft.
Public Writing Journal.  2014.

Ligeia’s Warning

THE ARGUMENT.—This poem can be supposed to have taken place moments before the great war in heaven broke out between one-third of the Angels and their God. Ligeia, my fictional wife of Satan, propositions her husband in one last desperate attempt to dissuade him from war on behalf of herself and their newborn son; in the name of peace, and the resurrection of virtue in their angelic race.

Oh, Wise husband and most ambitious Prince,
Chief Cherubim in this our righteous cause;
Rebellion against virtueless God,
Whose boundless love proves prodigious ill
To those whom His omnipotent powers
Force into filial bondage once create;
And who, through show of power, infects
His Angels with fear, breeding dire Arms —
Mark the Trumpet blast! your Soldiers uproar:
Will it be fair Peace; or ignoble War?

Yet — stay, a moment; as you love your Wife —
Or, as you love your Son, Cupid’s envy,
Who shares your beaming face and regal locks,
All your attributes most paramount:
Harken my advice — bitter as you wish —
But be not incensed, nor deride my speech,
Which promotes Peace and virtue resurrect,
Free from red Thunder, ire-tempered Spears,
Or threat of Exile to vulgar Spheres.
Against Heaven’s worth; duly weigh these words:

How like headiest Ambrosia your speech
Excites the hearts of our heavenly guests;
Seraphim and Cherubim mute your halls,
Some in ethic disagreement, but all
Bearing the weight of God’s supernal love,
A patriarchal burden thrust on us
By forced deliverance from virgin Night,
Where all united in blissful slumber.
But, serve we must, or forfeit God’s grace,
and be banished to roast in penal flames.

Uniform Heaven was splintered by rule;
Now rood Monarchy flails gentle Spirits,
And God, our protector, Great Creator,
Conducts by golden throne and scepter proud,
Outreaching, out seeing all Angels ken,
Fracturing the cosmos; spreading His germ,
Turning deaf ear to the plight of Angels,
So eager to abandon His first work,
To start afresh with His new creation,
What to expect but that His kin blaspheme?

Now’s the hour of your incumbent choice,
Summon to order all the Synod Chiefs,
Confer with Mammon and Beelzebub;
But beware the avarice of Moloch
For he first spoke of costly War;
And, when God revealed frail Man to Heaven,
It was his mind what dreamt foul sabotage,
Not accounting God’s highest moral law —
A death for a death; before you unleash
Your crew on Heaven; know, God will repay.

What grave folly is in this divine War!
Which, perforce, pits sons against their Father,
Against God, whose true might He held aloof,
Demand they strike down Him who fashioned them,
But can words orate the Ineffable?
Or the line out-course the draughtsman?
Might the shield unbuckle the Soldier?
The image free itself from Malachite?
Can the Mind unmake the Universe?
Neither might we by force, be rid of God.

Now, often we hear of Man and Earth,
Who will soon usurp Heaven and Angel
As the Creator’s holy Host and Court;
The foremost objects of His later love;
Though weaker and tamer creatures than us,
Both in mind and body, but in vial
Prostration, superior in His eye:
Superior in affection; yearned for
With such alacrity, as might forget our race entire…
So to this point, and these Men, my advice;

What you have patiently quickened ear for,
To which I now passionately give air:
To Man, let us gift this eternal king,
Forgetting Angels, we forgetting Him,
Forgetting all, dissolve Authority;
Thus, through sufferance of supernal power,
Regain both our liberty and virtue;
His Wrath not offending us unfounded;
With Earth new Heaven; Heaven our new home,
Balance, you alone, may restore… you grimace?

In Monarchy, there’d be no choice but you,
To rule justly with umpire conscience,
But despite your ambition and design,
Tomorrow’s rule will prove free as fetters!
Then those like Belial; ever scheming,
Will nip away at your ascended heels…
It is not God we depose, but His hand:
So long as Authority rules Heaven,
Virtue is denied proliferation;
Doomed to wither in Night’s eternal womb.

All these truths bind me to my conviction;
My love for dear husband, and my child,
Who has no part or blame in holy war,
Has excited my essence to action;
But know, whichever decision you make,
Lead it to cindered inheritance, or
Banishment from these our native mansions,
Whether He be lost with Heaven or no,
Look not for me in your infernal vault,
Nor ever hope, to chance upon our Son.

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