GEORGE MEREDITH (1828-1909)
"Lucifer in Starlight" - sonnet
Lucifer means "bearing light." In ancient Rome, the term referred
to the Morning Star (Venus). In the morning, Lucifer rises first,
followed by Dawn, followed by the Sun. Thus Lucifer was seen as a
minor diety who was the son of Aurora (the Dawn).
The identification of Lucifer with Satan comes from Isaiah 14:12-16, which
forms the basis for this poem by Meredith. It refers to the fall
of the "morning star" (Helel, which was translated as Lucifer)
Leaves underworld to go to earth
Sinners are sleeping but not very restfully
Line 5, he tempts them and they sin
Line 11, he is half-way to Heaven. Sees stars which reminds him of
his battling scars and cause him to sink to despair.
Calls stars the "army of unalterable law." The stars were a sign
of nature - of reason, making them the "Brain of Heaven." There is
nothing he can do to change things, making him despair.
How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how
art thau cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!
For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt
my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the
corngrgation, in the sides of the north:
I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most
Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.
They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee,
saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tromble, that
did shake kingdoms?