Слике страница
PDF
ePub

Soften'd, but not impair'd. In waving curls
O'er his arch'd neck his golden tresses hung; ..
And on his shoulders two broad wings were plac'd,
Wings, which when clos'd, drew up in many a fold,
But, when extended to their utmost length, is
Were twice ten cubits. Two of smaller size
Came shadowing round his feet, with which he trod
The elastic air, and walk'd o'er buoyant space,
As on firm ground. 'A tunic brac'd his limbs,
Blanch'd in the fields of light ; and round his waist
Was clasp'd an azure zone, with lucid stars
All studded, like that circle broad, which cuts:
The equator, burning line. The astonish'd seer
With low obeisance bow'd his hoary head,
While thus in voice benign the cherub spake, 1:23

“ Servant of God, that prayer was not unheard
In heaven." I caught it, as before the thrones •
I stood, within the emerald bow, and mix'd !!!
With fragrant incense, offer'd it to him,
The white-rob’d Ancient of eternal days,
Even on his golden altar. Forthwith sent
To thee, with speed impetuous; swifter far
Than travels light's meridian beam, through realms
Of space, studded with worlds, which neither thought
Of mortal can conceive, nor numbers count; si
I come, God's messenger, Not twice the morn,
Shall dawn, ere all the woes which Salem felt .::
Shall fall on Babylon. This, this is he, ini
Whose streamers now round these devoted towers
Wave to the western wind, whom God hath rais'd

His instrument of vengeance. Twice hath pass'd
A century, since him the prophet styled
Cyrus, the Lord's anointed. He shall say, ..;
Cities of Judah, rise !' He shall command,
And Solyma’s unpeopled streets again
Shall throng with busy multitudes. To him
In vision, or in dream, shall God reveal ..
His secret purpose; or what other way
His power shall mould the victor's ductile will
To execute his promise. + One day more pi
Shall proud Chaldæa triumph. In that day .
Let not a knee in Benjamin be bowld'..., ..
Save to Jehovah. What though cruel pride ...
Inflame Belshazzar's soul; what though his wrath
Torments unknown prepare; 'a sign from heaven'
Shall blast each vain device, a sign obscure, !
But terrible. - Ask not what; for in that hour
Shall beam celestial knowledge on thy soul;1" 13
And thou shalt read the mystic characters .. "
Of dark futurity." Fear not his frown;ifi-sir
But in the sight of his assembled peers ;
Hurl bold defiance at his throne; and speak.
As fits a prophet of the living God." 11;!;!

He spake, nor ended here; but to the seer
Matters of import high disclos’d, which lay
Deep in the womb of time. " And these," he cried,
“ Record to distant ages, but conceal *: .18,
My present errand.", Daniel prepar'

d a 1' ? Obedient answer; but before he spake? Gabriel had furl'd his wings, and now had reach'd The middle space 'twixt earth, and highest heaven.

Procession of the Chaldæans to the Temple of Belus-Refusal of

the Jews to worship the Idol-Rage of Belshazzar-The handwriting on the wall of his palace—Daniel's prophecy.

FROM THE SAME.

Now Morn, with rosy-colour'd finger, rais'd
The sable pall, which provident Night had thrown
O'er mortals, and their works, when every street;
Straight, or transverse, that towards Euphrates turns
Its sloping path, resounds with festive shouts,
And teems with busy multitudes, which press
With zeal impetuous to the towering fané
Of Bel, Chaldæan Jove; surpassing far'
That Doric temple, which the Elean chiefs
Rais'd to their thunderer from the spoils of war,
Or that Ionic, where the Ephesian bow'd
To Dian, queen of heaven. Eight towers arise,
Each above each, immeasurable height,
A monument at once of eastern pride,
And slavish superstition. Round, a scale
Of circling steps entwines the conic pile;
And at the bottom on vast hinges grate
Four brazen gates, towards the four winds of heaven
Plac'd in the solid square. Hither at once
Come flocking all the sons of Babylon,
Chaldæan, or Assyrian; but retire
With humblest awe, while through their marshall’d

ranks Stalks proud Belshazzar. From his shoulders flows A robe, twice steep'd in rich Sidonian hues,

Whose skirts, embroider'd with meand'ring gold,
Sweep o'er the marble pavement. Round his neck.
A broad chain glitters, set with richest gems,
Ruby, and amethyst. The priests come next
With knives, and lancets arm'd; two thousand sheep,
And twice two thousand lambs stand bleating round,
Their hungry God's repast: six loaded wains,
With wine, and frankincense, and finest flour,
Move slowly. Then advance a gallant band,
Provincial rulers, counsellors, and chiefs,
Judges, and princes : from their essenc'd hair
Steam rich perfumes, exhal'd from flower, or herb,
Assyrian spices : last, the common train
Of humbler citizens. A linen vest
Enfolds their limbs; o'er which a robe of wool
Is clasp’d, while yet a third hangs white as snow,
Even to their sandal'd feet: a signet each,
Each bears a polish'd staff, on whose smooth top
In bold relief some well-carv'd emblem stands,
Bird, fruit, or flower. Determin'd, tho' dismay'd,
Judæa's mourning prisoners close the rear..

And now the unfolded gates on every side
Admit the splendid train, and to their eyes
A scene of rich magnificence display,
Censers, and cups, and vases, nicely wrought
In gold, with pearls and glittering gems inlaid,
The furniture of Baal. An altar stands
Of vast dimensions near the central stone,
On which the God's high-priest strews frankincense,
In weight a thousand talents. There he drags.in

The struggling elders of the flock; while near, Stretch'd on a smaller plate of unmix'd gold, . Bleed the reluctant lambs. The ascending smoke, Impregnate with perfumes, fills all the air..

These rites perform'd, his votaries all advance Where stands their idol ; to compare with whom That earth-born crew, which scal'd the walls of

heaven,...; . i . Or that vast champion of Philistia's host, Whom in the vale of Elah David slewens

Unarm’d, were 'minish'd to a span. In height · Twice twenty feet he rises from the ground;

And every mássy limb, and every joint; ;
Is carv'd in due proportion. Not one mine,
Though branching out in many a vein of gold,
Suffic'd for this huge column. Him the priests
Had swept, and burnish'd, and perfum'd with oils,
Essential odours. Now the sign is given,
And forthwith strains of mixed melody
Proclaim their molten thunderer; córnet, Aute,
Harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, unite
In loud triumphal hymn, and all at once .it
The King, the nations, and the languages ::
Fall prostrate on the ground. But not a head,
But not one head in all thy faithful bands,
O Judah, bows. As when the full-orb'd moon,
What time the reaper chants his harvest song,
Rises behind some horizontal-hill; mais
Flaming with reddest fire ; still, as she moves,
The tipts all soften, and a yellower light

« ПретходнаНастави »