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Lilith The Legend of the First Woman   By: (1843-)

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LILITH

THE LEGEND OF THE FIRST WOMAN

BY ADA LANGWORTHY COLLIER

BOSTON D. LOTHROP AND COMPANY FRANKLIN AND HAWLEY STREETS

COPYRIGHT, 1885. D. LOTHROP & COMPANY.

PREFACE.

That Eve was Adam's second wife was a common Rabbinic speculation. Certain commentators on Genesis adopted this view, to account for the double account of the creation of woman, in the sacred text, first in Genesis i. 27, and second in Genesis xi. 18. And they say that Adam's first wife was named Lilith, but she was expelled from Eden, and after her expulsion Eve was created. Abraham Ecchelensis gives the following account of Lilith and her doings: "There are some who do not regard spectres as simple devils, but suppose them to be of a mixed nature part demoniacal, part human, and to have had their origin from Lilith, Adam's first wife, by Eblis, prince of the devils. This fable has been transmitted to the Arabs, from Jewish sources, by some converts of Mohamet from Cabbalism and Rabbinism, who have transferred all the Jewish fooleries to the Arabs. They gave to Adam a wife formed of clay, along with Adam, and called her Lilith, resting on the Scripture: 'Male and female created He them.'" Legends of the Patriarchs and Prophets. Baring Gould.

Lilith or Lilis. In the popular belief of the Hebrews, a female spectre in the shape of a finely dressed woman, who lies in wait for, and kills children. The old Rabbins turned Lilith into a wife of Adam, on whom he begat demons and who still has power to lie with men and kill children who are not protected by amulets with which the Jews of a yet later period supply themselves as a protection against her. Burton in his Anatomy of Melancholy tells us: "The Talmudists say that Adam had a wife called Lilis, before he married Eve, and of her he begat nothing but devils." A commentator on Skinner, quoted in the Encyclopædia Metropolitana , says that the English word Lullaby is derived from Lilla, abi (begone, Lilith)! In the demonology of the Middle Ages, Lilis was a famous witch, and is introduced as such in the Walpurgis night scene in Goethe's "Faust." Webster's Dictionary.

Our word Lullaby is derived from two Arabic words which mean "Beware of Lilith!" Anon.

Lilith, the supposed wife of Adam, after she married Eblis, is said to have ruled over the city of Damascus. Legends of the Patriarchs and Prophets. Baring Gould.

From these few and meagre details of a fabled existence, which are all that the author has been able to collect from any source whatever, has sprung the following poem. The poet feels quite justified in dissenting from the statements made in the preceding extracts, and has not drawn Lilith as there represented the bloodthirsty sovereign who ruled Damascus, the betrayer of men, the murderer of children. The Lilith of the poem is transferred to the more beautiful shadow world. To that country which is the abode of poets themselves. And about her is wrapt the humanizing element still, and everywhere embodied in the sweetest word the human tongue can utter lullaby . Some critics declare that true literary art inculcates a lofty lesson has a high moral purpose. If poets and their work must fall under this rigorous rule, then alas "Lilith" will knock at the door of public opinion with a trembling hand indeed. If the poem have either moral aim or lesson of any kind (which observe, gentle critic, it is by no means asserted that it has), it is simply to show that the strongest intellectual powers contain no elements adverse to the highest and purest exercise of the affectional nature... Continue reading book >>




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