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BENINA.

BENINA.

BENINA.

That no mortal eye may see

That blazed around my path. Even now I feel On! we may not follow thee;

My trembling foot more firm; and, like the eagle's,
Only with our music sweet

Mine eyes familiar with their cloudy height-
We pursue thy mounting feet.

What's here!-a hurried tread-
Now, upon the topmost height,

What art thou ? speak!
Thou art lost to mortal sight!

KALASSAN
Lo! the couch beside thee spread,

The honour'd of the God that honours thee.
Where the Heaven-loved maids are wed. Oh, miracle of beauty! I beheld thee,
Till the bridal midnight deep

And strove with my impatient spirit within
Bow thy head in balmy sleep

To wait th' appointed hour; but, as the pilgrim
Sleep that shall be sweetly broken

Sees the white fountain in the palmy shade,
When the God his bride hath woken. Nor brooks delay, even thus my thirsty eyes

Demand their instant feast.
Alone! alone upon this giddy height!
Yet, better thus than by that frantic rout

Thou shouldst have brought Encircled : yet a while, and I shall breathe

The sage Diviners to unfold the meaning With freedom. Oh! thou cool, delicious silence,

Of this dark language. How grateful art thou to the ears that ring

KALASSAN. With that wild music's turbulent dissonance!

Loveliest bashfulness !

Or is it but the sportive ignorance By slow degrees the starlight face of things That laughs beneath the dark and glittering eyelids, Gmws clear around my misty, swimming eyes. At the delighted dupe of its dissembling ? Oh, Babylon! how art thou spread beneath me! Like some wide plain, with rich pavilions set Peace, and avaunt! 'Mid the dark umbrage of a summer grove.

KALASSAN. Like a small rivulet, that from bank to bank

O maid! thou art so beauteous Is ruffled by the sailing cygnet's breast,

That yon bright Moon is rising, all in haste, Euphrates seems to wind. Oh! thou vast city, To gaze on thee, or to display thy grace Thus dwindled to our human sight, what art thou To him, that, lost in wonder, scarce hath melted To Him that from his throne, above the skies,

To love. Beyond the circuit of the golden Sun,

The snowy light falls where she treads, Views all the subject world!

As 't were a sacred place! in her loose locks

The parting day It wanders, even as with a sense of pleasure ! To twilight and the few faint early stars

And trembles on her bosom, that hath caught Hath left the city. On yon western lake

Its gentle restlessness, and trembles, too, A momentary gleam is lingering still.

Harmonious. Thou 'rt purpling now, 0 Sun, the vines of Canaan,

BENINA. And crowning, with rich light, the cedar top

Must mine ears endure thee still ? of Lebanon, where—but oh! without their daugh

KALASSAN. ter

And know'st thou not why thou art here ; what bliss, Soon my sad parents shall return. Where are ye, What bridal rapture waits thee? Beloved ? I seek in vain the lonely light or our dear cabin on Euphrates' side,

There are sins
Amid yon kindling fires. And have ye quench'd it, Whose very dread infects the virgin's soul,
That all your dwelling be as darkly sad

Tainting the fountain of her secret thoughts ;
As are your childless hearts ?-And thou—mine own, I'm here to suffer evil-what, I know not,
I thought this morn, and called thee-Adonijah, But will remain in holy ignorance,
Art thou, 100, thinking of that hour like this; Till my dark hour of trial.
The balmy, tranquil, and scarce starlight hour,

KALASSAN.
When the soft Moon had sent her harbinger,

Hast thou never, Pale Silence, to foreshow her coming presence;

Soft maid, when fervid noon bathes all the world To hush the winds, and smooth the clouds before her? In silence, in thy fond and wandering thoughts, That hour, that, with delicious treachery, stole Beheld a noble bridegroom seated near thee, The secret from Benina's lips she long'd,

And heard him, 'mid sweet falls of marriage music, From her full heart, t' unburthen? Better, now, Whispering what made thy pale cheek burn? Had it been buried in eternal darkness, Than thus have kindled hopes that shone so softly

Away! Were quench'd go soon, so utterly

And must he see my tears? and think me weak,

Fond heart, And of my God abandon'd! These soft, desponding, yet delightful thoughts,

KALASSAN. Must not dissolve thee to mistrust in him

Lo! the couch That fill'd thee as with fire, and touch'd my lips Bestrewn with flowers, whose fragrance and whose With holy scorn of all the wealth and pride

hues

BENINA.

BENINA

BENINA.

Shall not have faded, till great Bel come down In flowers of fire. But chief around the Palace
Beneath that dimly canopied alcove-

Whitens the glowing splendour; every court
BENINA.

That lay in misty dimness indistinct,
There's that within thy words I ought to fear: Is traced by pillars and high architraves
But it should seem, that with the earth I've left Of crystal lamps that tremble in the wind :
All earthly fears beneath me. I defy

Each portal arch gleams like an earthly rainbow, Thee and thy Gods alike.

And o'er the front spreads one entablature
KALASSAN.

Of living gems of every bue, so bright
Alike in truth;

That the pale Moon, in virgin modesty,
For sometimes doth the Mightiest not disdain Retreating from the dazzling and the tumul,
To veil his glories in a morial shape,

Afar upon the distant plain reposes
Even great Kalassan's. Look on me, and say

Her unambitious beams, or on the bosom If he could choose a nobler.

of the blue river, ere it reach the walls.

Hark! too, the sounds of revelry and song
BENINA.
What! and fear'st not

Upon the pinions of the breeze come up Thine own false Gods—thou worse than Idol wor- Even to this height. No eye is closed in sleep; shipper?

None in vast Babylon but wakes to joyWhy even the senseless wood and stone might wake None-none is sad and desolate but I. To indignation, and their fiery vengeance

Yet over all, I know not whence or how, Break forth from Heaven. Alas! and what have they, A dim oppression loads the air, and sounds Whose name thou dost usurp to cloke thy sin,

As of vast wings do somewhere seem to brood To do with Heaven more than thy loathsome self?

And hover on the winds; and I that most

Should tremble for myself, the appointed prey
KALASSAN.
Thine eyes, albeit so full of scorn, survey not

Of sin, am bow'd, as with enforced compassion, My form in vain. I tell thee, Maid, I tread

To think on sorrows not mine own, to weep This earth so conscious that the best of Deity,

O'er those whose laughter and whose song upbraids The power and majesty reside within me,

My prodigality of misspent pity. That I but stoop to win myself a bride

I will go rest, if rest it may be callidBeneath another name: here 'mid the clouds

Not, Adonijah-not to think of thee. I stand, as in mine own appropriate place.

Oh! bear a brief unwilling banishment

From thine own home, my heart; I cannot cope The darkest pit of Tophet were too light

With thy subduing image, and be strong.
For thine offence.
KALASSAN.

CHORUS OF BABYLONIANS BEFORE THE PALACE
Oh! soft and musical voice,
Art thou so lavish of injurious words ?

Awake! awake! put on thy garb of pride, Erewhile thou 'lt be as prodigal of fondness ;

Array thee like a sumptuous royal bride, So now prepare thee: ere two hours are past

O festal Babylon! Thou wedd'st Kalassan, or Kalassan's God,

Lady, whose ivory throne Or both, or either, which thou wilt. Farewell

Is by the side of many azure waters! A little while: but I beseech thee, wear

In floating dance, like birds upon the wing. When I return this soft becoming pride;

Send tinkling forth thy silver-sandal'd daughters;

Send in the solemn march,
Nor imitate, as yet, the amorous slaves
That weary with officious tenderness.

Beneath each portal arch,
Be as thou seem'st, a kindred spirit with mine,

Thy rich-robed lords to crowd the banquet of their And we will mate like eagles in the Heavens,

King.
And give our children an immortal heritage
To bathe their plumage in the fiery sun.

They come! they come from both the illumined shores;

Down each long street the festive tumult pours; BENINA (alone).

Along the waters dark Did the earth bear thee, monster! or art thou

Shoots many a gleaming bark, Th’Eternal Enemy in the human shape?

Like stars along the midnight welkin flashing, Oh! 't is the innocent's best security,

And galleys, with their masts enwreath'd with light, That the unrighteous pluck the thunderbolt

From their quick oans the kindling waters dashing; With such resistless violence on their heads.

In one long moving line Lord of the insulied Heavens! thou canst not strike

Along the bridge they shine, This impious man, without delivering me;

And with their glad disturbance wake the peaceful Me, else unworthy of thy gracious mercy.

night. But lo! what blaze of light beneath me spreads O'er the wide city. Like yon galasy

Hang forth, hang forth, in all your avenues, Above mine head, each long and spacious street The arching lamps of more than rainbow hues, * Becomes a line of silver light, the trees

Oh! gardens of delight! In all their silent avenues break out

With the cool airs of night

Are lightly waved your silver-foliaged trees,

The Hall of Banquel.
The deep-embower'd yet glowing blaze prolong

CHORUS
Height above height the losty terraces
Seeing this new day-break,

Mightiest of the sons of man!
The nestling birds awake,

The lion in his forest lair,
The nightingale hath hush'd her sweet untimely song.

The eagle in the fields of air,

Amid the tumbling waves Leviathan, Lift up, lift up your golden-valved doors,

In power without or peer or mate,
Spread to the glittering dance your marble floors,

Hold their inviolable state:
Palace! whose spacious halls,

Alone Belshazzar stands on earth,
And far-receding walls,

Pre-eminent o'er all of human birth,
Are hung with purple like the morning skies ;

Mightiest of the sons of man! And all the living luxuries of sound

Richest of the sons of man! Pour from the long outstretching galleries ;

For thee the mountains teem with gold,
Down every colonnade

The spicy groves their bloom unfold,
The sumptuous board is laid,

The bird of beauty bears its feathery fan, With golden cups and lamps and bossy chargers And amber paves the yellow seas, crown'd.

And spread the branching coral-trees,

Nor shrouds the mine its deepest gem, They haste, they haste! the high-crown'd rulers stand, Ambitious to adorn Belshazzar's diadem, Each with his sceptre in his kingly hand;

Richest of the sons of man!
The bearded Elders sage,
Though pale with thought and age;

Fairest of the sons of man!
Those through whose bounteous and unfailing hands Tall as the cedar towers thine head,
The tributary streams of treasure flow

And feel and terrible thy tread,
From the rich bounds of earth's remotest lands; As the strong coursers in the balle's van;
All but the pomp and pride

An Eden blooms upon thy face;
Of battle laid aside,

Like music, thy majestic grace
Chaldea's Captains stand in many a glittering row.

Holds the mute gazer's breath suppress'd,

And makes a tumult in the wondering breast, They glide, they glide! each, like an antelope,

Fairest of the sons of man!
Bounding in beauty on a sunny slope,

Noblest of the sons of man!
With full and speaking eyes,

The first a kingly rule that won,
And graceful necks that rise

Wide as the journey of the sun,
O’er snowy bosons in their emulous pride,

From Nimrod thine high-sceptred race began; The chosen of earth's choicest loveliness ;

And gathering splendour still, went down Some with the veil thrown timidly aside,

From sire to son the eternal crown,
Some boastful and elate

Till full on great Belshazzar's crest
In their majestic state

Its high meridian glory shone confest, -
Whose bridal bed Belshazzar's self hath deignd to

Noblest of the sons of man!
bless.

Happiest of the sons of man!
Come forth! come forth! and crown the peerless feast, In wine, in revel, and in joy
Thou whose high birthright was the effulgent east ! Was softly nursed the imperial buy;
On th' ivory seat alone,

His golden years like Indian rivers ran,
Monarch of Babylon!

And every rapturous hour surpast
Survey the interminable wilderness

The glowing rapture of the last, Of splendour, stretching far beyond the sight;

Even till the plenitude of bliss
Nought but thy presence wants there now to bless; Did overflow and centre all in this,
The music waits for thee,

Happiest of the sons of man!
Ils fount of harmony,
Transcending glory thou of this thrice-glorious night!

SABARIS.

Peace! peace! the king vouchsafes his gracious speech.
Behold! behold! each gem-crown'd forehead proud. Sit ye lıke statues silent! ye have quaff'd
And every plume and crested helm is bow'd, The liquid gladness of the blood-red wine,
Each high-arch'd vault along

And ye have eaten of the golden fruits
Breaks out the blaze of song,

That the sun ripens but for kingly lips,
Belshazzar comes! nor Bel, when he returns And now ye are about to feast your ears
From riding on his stormy thunder-cloud,

With great Belshazzar's voice.
To where his bright celestial palace burns,

ARIOCH.
Alights with loftier tread,

The crowded hall
More full of stately dread,

Suspense, and prescient of the coming iny, While under his fix'd feet the loaded skies are bow'd. Is silent as the cloudless summer skies.

BELSHAZZAR.

ARIOCH. Oh ye, assembled Babylon! fair youths

See'st not thou And hoary Elders, Warriors, Counsellors,

That taunted'st me but now-upon the wall And bright-eyed Women, down my festal board

There-there-it moves Reclining! oh ye thousand living men,

BELSHAZZAR. Do ye not hold your charter'd breath from me ?

Oh dark and bodiless hand, And I can ange your souls in wine and joy ;

What art thou-thus upon my palace wall Or by a word, a look, dismiss you all

Gliding in shadowy, slow, gigantic blackness? To darkness and to shame : yet, are ye not

Lo! fiery letters, where it moves, break out: Proud of the slavery that thus enthrals you ?

"T is there—'t is gone :—'t is there again-no, nought What king, what ruler over subject man

But those strange characters of flame, that burn Or was, or is, or shall be like Belshazzar!

Upon the unkindled wall :- cannot read them, I summon from their graves the sceptred dead

Can ye? Of elder days, to see their shame. I cry

I see your quixeripg lips that speak nofUnto the cloudy Past, unfold the thrones

Sabaris–Arioch-Captains—Elders-all That glorified the younger world: I call

As pale and horror-stricken as myself! To the dim Future-lift thy veil and show

Are there no wiser? Call ye forth the Dreamers, The destined lords of human kind: they rise,

And those that read the stars, and every priest, They bow their veil'd heads to the dust, and own And he that shall interpret best shall wear The throne whereon Chaldea's Monarch sits, The scarlet robe and chain of gold, and sit The height and pinnacle of human glory.

Third ruler of my realm. Away_Noleave me not Oh Ancient Cities, o'er whose streets the grass To gaze alone ;-alone, on those pale signs Is green, whose name hath wither'd from the face Of destiny-lhe unextinguishable, Of earth! Oh ye by rich o'erflowing Nile,

The indelible--Strew, strew my couch where best Memphis, and hundred-gated Thebes--and thou, I may behold what sears my burning eyeballs Assyrian Nineveh, and ye golden towers

To gaze on—and the cold blood round my heart That redden o'er the Indian streams, what are ye To stand, like snow. Nomache mine eyes, and quiver To Babylon — Eternal Babylon !

My palsied limbs—I cannot turn away-
That's girt with bulwarks strong as adamant, Here am I bound as by thrice-linked brass,
O’er whom Euphrates' restless waves keep watch, Here, till the burthen of mine ignorance
That, like the high and everlasting Heavens, Be from my loaded soul taken off, in silence
Grows old, yet not less glorious ? Yes, to you Deep as the midnight round a place of tombs.
I turn, oh azure-curlain'd palaces !
Whose lamps are stars, whose music, the sweet motion
of your own spheres, in whom the banqueters

The Summit of the Temple.
Are Gods, nor fear my Babylonian halls
Even with your splendours to compare.

How long, O Lord! how long must I endure

Bring wine! This restlessness of danger ?-I have wish'd I see your souls as jocund as mine own:

That even the worst were come, I am so sick Pour in yon vessels of the Hebrews' God

And weary with suspense : 1 have sate and gazed Belshazzar's beverage-pour it high. Hear, earth! Upon the silent moon, as she pursued Hear, Heaven! my proud defiance ! -Oh, what a Her journey to yon blue celestial height.

Pilgrim of Heaven! the white translucent clouds, What God

Through which she wanders, fall away, nor leave

A taint upon her spotless orb: Shall I,
SABARIS, AND MANY VOICES.
The king! the king! look to the king! From the dark clouds that dim mine earthly course!

O Lord! emerge in purity as stainless
ARIOCH.

And sometimes as a whispering sound came up,
Where? I can see nor king nor people—nothing Though but the voice of some light breathing wind
But a bewildering, red, and gloom-like light Along the stair, I felt my trembling heart,
That swallows up the fiery canopy

And I grew guilty of a timorous doubt Of lamps.

In Him, whose guardian hand is o'er me.

Hark!

Hark! all around-above-beneath-it bursts, Hath blindness smitten thee?

The long deep roll of—in yon cloudless skies:

It cannot be God's thunder, and the fires,

I know not; Blue as the sulphurous lightning, rise from earth. But all things swim around me in a darkness

Not Heaven. Oh madly impious! dare ye thus That dazzles

Mimic the all-destroying arms that rage

Against the guilty ? the vast temple shakes, See, his shuddering joints are loosen'd, And all the clouded atmosphere is red And his knees smite each other : such a face With the hell-born lempest-like to rushing chariots Is seen in tombs :- What means it?

Upon a stony way, like some vast forest

BENINA.

man,

SABARIS.

ARIOCH

SABARIS.

VOICE BELOW.

Kalassan!
KALASSAN.

Slaves!

VOICE.

Kalassan!

BENINA

Ablaze with a heaven-kindled conflagration,
It comes, it comes--as in a tent of clouds,
Bent at each moment by the flashing light,
The gloom rolls back—it bursts. Speak!-who art

thou,
Whose robes are woven as from the starry Heavens?
What means that sceptre, and the wreaths, like mist,
That turban thy dusk brow ?-I know thee now-
I see it grow into a hideous likeness
Kalassan!

KALASSAN.
Oh most sweet humility,
That doth disdain the modest palliation
Of being a Deity's enforced bride;
Her fond detection pierces every veil,
And springs in raptures to her mortal lover.

Thou 'rt callid

VOICE.

Kalassan! to Belshazzar's presence
We are summond :-Priest, Diviner, Seer, thyself;-
If thou delay’st, stern Arioch's sword must sever
The disobedient head !

BENINA,

With tears, not words, I bless thee, Lord !

BENINA.

KALASSAN.

BENINA

KALASSAN.

BENINA

Oh can I wonder that thou dost belie

Is this thy God?
The innocent helpless virgin, when thy falsehood
Aspires with frantic blasphemy t' attaint

My God, The immaculate Heavens ?

In his omnipotence, doth make the wrath
KALASSAN.

Of hurricanes and desolating fires
Roll on! I say, roll on

His ministers-why not the breath of Kings ?
My bridal music! the ear-stunning tambour -
Blaze forth my marriage fires !

The hour will come in which to tame thy scorn!
BENINA.

BENINA.
Avaunt!--My cries The hour is come that frees me from thy presence :
KALASSAN.

Haste, haste
Thy cries ! Thou mightst as well, on Taurus' brow

VOICE Call to the shipman on the Caspian Sea!

Kalassan!
See'st thou how far thou art from earth?

KALASSAN.
BENINA.

Slaves! I come.
See'st thou

BENINA.
How near to Heaven?

Away!
KALASSAN.

Thou 'lt pardon me my fond solicitude,
To Heaven! behold the stars Impatient of thy lingering.
Pierce not the cool pavilion, where soft Darkness,

KALASSAN.
Our handmaid, hangs her nuptial canopy,

Fare thee well At times illumin'd by the flashing light

Till I return. That loves to linger on thy kindling beauty.

Till thou return'st-He's gone! "T is as he says!-nor sound, nor gleam of succour- I did not think that I could hear his tread, Thy bride—oh, Adonijah-ah, no bride

His angry tread, with such a deep delight. of thine!-lost-lost to thee-would 't were by death! Oh! my fond parents! when we meet again, Is 't for the sin of loving thee too fondly

We shall not meet with strange, averted looks : I am deserted !-Spare me, Man of Terror,

Ye will not, in sad pity, take me back And prayers for thee (they say, God loves the prayers A shamed and blighted child to your cold bosoms. Of the undefiled) shall rise as constantly

And thou, betroih'd, beloved-I shall endure As summer-dews at eve.

To stand before thy face, nor wish the earth

To shroud me from thine unreproaching gaze; Now louder! louder!

For were I all I fear'd, thou hadst ne'er reproach'd Let there be triumph in your martial sounds.

me !

And oh, sweet Siloe! oh, my fathers' land ! Oh God! oh God! I have condemn'd myself, Land where the feet may wander where they will And fallen from the faith. Ah, not for me!

Land where the heart may love without a fear! For thine own glory suffer not the Heathen

I feel that I shall tread thee; for the Lord To boast of —Ha!-all silence, and all gloom Pours not his mercies in a sparing measure. I tremble--but he trembles too—

This is the earnest of his love-the seal

With which he marks us for his own, his blest,

With wrath! His ransom'd! Oh! fair Zion, lift thou up Slaves, wherefore have ye quench'd mine earthly Thy crown, that glitters to the morning Sun! light,

They come-thy lost, thy banish'd children come And stilld my storm ?

And thy streets rise to sounds of melody!

BENINA

KALASSAN.

BENINA.

KALASSAN

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