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The Hall of Banquet, with the Fiery Letters on the Art like the rest, and gazest on thy fellows

In blank and sullen ignorance.—Spurn them forth!
Ye wise! ye learned ! ye with Fate's mysteries

Entrusted! Spurn, I say, and trample on them! Hath the King spoken?

Let them be outcast to the scorn of slaves !

Let children pluck their beards, and every voice Not a word : as now, Hoot at them as they pass ! He hath sate, with eyes that strive to grow familiar

Despair! Despair! With those red characters of fire : but still

This is thy palace now! No throne, no couch The agony of terror hath not pass'd

Beseems the King, whose doom is on his walls From his chill frame. But, if a word, a step, Emblazed-yet whose vast empire finds not one A motion, from those multitudes reclined

Whose faithful love can show its mystic import! Down each long festal board ; the bursting string Low on the dust, apon the pavement stone, Of some shrill instrument; or even the wind, Belshazzar takes his rest!- Ye hosts of slaves, Whispering amid the plumes and shaking lamps, Behold your King! the Lord of Babylon !Disturb him—by some mute, imperious gesture, Speak not-for he that speaks, in other words Or by his brow's stern anger, he commands

But to expound those fiery characters, All the vast halls to silence.

Shall ne'er speak more!

NITOCRIS (enlering.)
Peace! he hears

As thou didst give command, Our murmur'd speech.

My son, I'm here to see the all-glorious feast

That shames the earth, and copes with Hearen.

Great Power. ARIOCH.

Is 't thus ? Oh! look not with that mute reproach, Did ye not observe him, More terrible than anger, on thy mother! When his hand fell upon the all-ruling sceptre, Oh, pardon my rash taunts!—my son ! my son! The bitter and self-mocking laugh that pass'd Thou art but now the beauteous, smiling child, O'er his pale cheek?

That from my bosom drank the flowing life;

By whom I've pass'd so many sleepless nights His lips move, but he speaks not! In deeper joy than slumber e'er could give! All still again

The sole refreshment of my weary spirit

To gaze on thee !— Alas! 't was all my crime :-
They are here :—the Priests and Seers; I gave to thy young lips the mantling cup
Their snowy garments sweep the Hall.

Of luxury and pride; I taught thee first

That the wide earth was made for thee, and man

Behold! Born for thy uses ! He motions them to advance and to retreat

BELSHAZZAR. At once—and pants, yet shudders, to demand

Find me who will read it, Their answer.

And thou wilt give me, then, a life more precious

Than that I once received of thee.
Oh! Chaldea's worshipp'd Sages-

Oh! men of wisdom, that have pass'd your years,

"T was he; Your long and quiet, solitary years,

I saw him as I pass'd along the courts, In tracing the dim sources of th' events

The Hebrew, that, when visions of the night That agitate this world of man-oh! ye

Shook the imperial soul of Nabonassar,
That in the tongues of every clime discourse ; Like one to whom the dimly-peopled realms
Ye that hold converse with the eternal stars, Of sleep were clear as the bright noontide Heavers,
And in their calm prophetic courses, read

The destinies of empires; ye whose dreams
Are throng'd with the predestined images

With the speed of lightning call him hither.
of things that are to be; to whom the Fates No more, my mother-till he comes, no more.
Unfold their secret councils; to whose sight
The darkness of Futurity withdraws,

King of the world, he's here.
And one vast Present fills all Time-behold
Yon burning characters! and read, and say

Not yet! not yet! Why the dark Destinies have hung their sentence Delay him! hold him back !-My soul 's not strung Thus visible to the sight, but to the mind

To the dire knowledge. Unsearchable ?-Ye have heard the rich reward;

Up the voiceless hall And I but wait to see whose neck shall wear He moves; nor doth the white and ashen fear, The chain of glory –

That paints all faces, change one line of his. Ha! each pale fallen lip Audacious slave! walks he erect and firm, iceless! and each upon the other turns

When kings are grovelling on the earth! - Give wan and questioning looks.—Kalassan! thou place!






Why do ye crowd around him? Back! I say. Where the cold cypress shades our Fathers' tombs, Is your king heard—or hath he ceased to rule ? And grow familiar with the abode of Death?

And yet how calm, how fragrant, how serene Alas! my son, fear levels kings and slaves

The night!— When empires fall, and Pale thrusts


The monarchs from their ancient thrones, 't is said, Art thou that Daniel of the Hebrew race,

The red stars meet, with ominous, hostile fires ; In whom the excellence of wisdom dwells

And the dark vault of Heaven flames all across As in the Gods? I have heard thy fame ;-behold

With meteors; and the conscious earth is rock’d; Yon mystic letters, flaming on the wall,

And foaming rivers burst their shores! But now, That, in the darkness of their fateful import, Baffle the wisest of Chaldea's sages!

Save in my soul, there is no prescient dread :

Nought but my fear-struck brow is dark and sad, Read, and interpret; and the satrap robe

All sleeps in moonlight silence: ye can wave, Of scarlet shall invest thy limbs; the chain

Oh happy gardens ! in the cool night airs Or gold adorn thy neck; and all the world

Your playful branches ; ye can rise to Heaven, Own thee third ruler of Chaldea's realm!

And glitter, my unconscious palace-towers;

No gliding hand, no Prophet's voice, to you
Belshazzar, be thy gifts unto thyself,

Hath rent the veil that hides the awful future! And thy rewards to others. I, the servant

Well, we'll go rest once more on kingly couches, Of God, will read God's writing to the King.

My mother, and we'll wake and feel that earth The Lord of Hosts to thy great Ancestor,

Still trembles at our nod, and see the slaves To Nabonassar, gave the all-ruling sceptre

Reading their fate in our imperial looks! O'er all the nations, kingdoms, languages;

And then and then-Ye Gods! that I had still Lord paramount of life and death, he slew

Nought but my shuddering and distracting fears; Where'er he will’d; and where he will'd men lived; That those dread letters might resume once more His word exalted, and his word debased;

Their dark and unintelligible brightness ; And so his heart swellid up; and, in its pride,

Or that 't were o'er, and I and Babylon A rose to Heaven! But then the Lord of earth

Were-what a few short days or hours will make us Became an outcast from the sons of men — Companion of the browsing beasts! the dew's Of night fell cold upon his crownless brow, And the wild asses of the desert sed

Above the City. Round their unenvied peer! And so he knew

THE DESTROYING ANGEL. That God is Sovereign o'er earth's sceptred Lords.

The hour is come! the hour is come! With voice But thou, his son, unwarn'd, untaught, untamed,

Heard in thy inmost soul, I summon thee, Belshazzar, hast arisen against the Lord,

Cyrus, the Lord's anointed! And thou River, And in the vessels of his house hast quaffd

That flow'st exulting in thy proud approach Profane libations, 'mid thy slaves and women,

To Babylon, beneath whose shadowy walls
To gods of gold, and stone, and wood; and laugh'd

And brazen gates, and gilded palaces,
The King of Kings, the God of Gods, to scorn.
Now hear the words, and hear their secret meaning. Thy azure bosom shall repose, with lights

And groves, that gleam with marble obelisks, “ Number'd!” twice Number'd! Weigh'd! Divi.

Fretted and chequer'd like the starry heavens: ded!" King,

I do arrest thee in thy stately course, Thy reign is number'd, and thyself art weigh'd,

By Him that pour'd thee from thine ancient fountain, And wanting in the balance, and thy realm

And sent thee forth, even at the birth of Time, Sever'd, and to the conquering Persian given!

One of his holy streams, to lave the mounts

Of Paradise. Thou hear'st me: thou dost check What vengeance will he wreak? The pit of lions

Abrupt thy waters, as the Arab chief The stake

His headlong squadrons. Where the unobserved

Yet toiling Persian breaks the ruining mound,
Go-lead the Hebrew forth, array'd I see thee gather thy lumultuous strength;
In the proud robe, let all the city hail

And, through the deep and roaring Naharmalcha, (8) The honour'd of Belshazzar. Oh! not long

Roll on, as proudly conscious of fulfilling Will that imperial name command your awe! The Omnipotent command! While, far away, And, oh! ye bright and festal halls, whose vaults The lake, that slept but now so calm, nor moved Were full of sweet sounds as the summer groves, Save by the rippling moonshine, heaves on high Must ye be changed for chambers, where no tone Its foaming surface, like a whirlpool gull, Of music sounds, nor melody of harp,

And boils and whitens with the unwonted tide. Or lute, or woman's melting voice ?—My mother! But silent as thy billous used to flow, And how shall we two meet the coming ruin? And terrible the hosis of Elam move, In arms! thou say'st; but with what arms, to front Winding their darksome way profound, where man The Invisible, that in the silent air

Ne'er trod, nor light e'er shone, nor air from Heav'n Wars on us? Shall we seek some place of silence, Breathed. Oh! ye secret and unfathom'd depths,






How are ye now a smooth and royal way
For th' army of God's vengeance! Fellow slaves,

My father!
And ministers of the Eternal purpose,

IMLAH. Not guided loy the treacherous injured sons

Thou art righu, of Babylon, but by my mightier arm,

| 'T was rashly, madly spoken—but my spirit
Ye come, and spread your banners, and display Is wrung almost to find a deadly pleasure
Your glittering arms as ye advance, all white In madly uttering what the heart abhors.
Beneath th' admiring moon. Come on! the gates I'll on with thee.
Are open--not for banqueters in blood

Like you! I see on either side o'erflow

He motion'd me alone.
The living deluge of arm'd men, and cry
Begin, begin, with fire and sword begin

He did—and he must be obey'd : farewell,
The work of wrath. Upon my shadowy wings Dear youth-dear son! if thou shouldst meet with her
I pause and float a little while to see

Cast forth in scorn, and groveling on the earth, Mine human instruments fulfil my task

Chide her not, Adonijah-speak not to her, of final ruin. Then I mount, I fly,

Lest thy compassion seem to mock her shame : And sing my proud song, as I ride the clouds,

But, pray thee, lead her to the old man's homeThat stars may hear, and all the hosts of worlds,

To the old man's heart, that will not love her less, That live along the interminable space,

Though his love have less of pride and more of sor. Take up Jehovah's everlasting triumph!

Farewell, and prosper!

I'll go wander on
The Streets of Babylon.

Through the dusk streets. Poor Naomi! I left thee,

Thy wretchedness had wrought its own relief, A DONIJAH.

Asleep. Oh thou, if thou shouldst never wake, Imlah! this way he motion'd me to pass.

Thrice bless'd. Beloved, I should mourn for thee, IMLAH.

But envy while I mourn'd. My son! (alas ! I ever call thee son,

Great King of vengeance, Though my old childless heart but bleeds the more God of my fathers! thou art here at length. At that fond name, the broad Euphrates lies Behold! behold! from every street the flames That way, nor boat nor bark is wont to moor Burst out, and armed men, proud conquering men, By that inhospitable pier; he meant

Move in the blaze they've kindled to destroy. Toward the Temple—that way leads not thither. Are ye the avenging Spirits of the Lord, ADONIJAH.

Descended on the blast, and clouding o'er Father, the Lord will make a way, where'er The Heavens, as ye come down, with that red cope His Prophets do direct our feet. Thou saw'st not Deeper than lightning ? No-it is the Mede, As I; they led him at the king's command

The ravaging, the slaughtering. merciless Mede, Along the streets, in scarlet clad, and made

This way they fly, with shrieks, and clashing arms, Their trumpets clamour, and their voices shout And multitudes that choke th' impassable streets, Before great Daniel ; but it seem'd he mark'd Till the fierce conqueror bew his ruthless way. Nor trumpet sound, nor voice of man: the garb, Shall not I fly? and wherefore? Oh! waste on Th’array, the triumph touch'd not him : he held And burn, triumphant stranger! trample down A strange, elate, and voiceless intercourse

Master and slave alike there is one house With some dark being in the clouds; for now Thou canst not make more desolate: thou canst not I saw him, as the torches shone upon him

Pour ills on any of these guilty roofs, His brow like some crown'd warrior's, when his hosts So hateful as have burst on mine. Who comes ? Are spreading, in their arm'd magnificence,

NITOCRIS, IMLAR. Over a conquer'd realm; and now he seem'd To count impatient the slow time; and now He look d, where in the distant darkness rose My son! my son! I heard the cries—I saw The Temple, now where still the palace shone The flames; I rush'd through all the shrieking palace With its rich festal light, as though he watch'd To seek him—and I found him not; and sprang And listen'd for some earthquake to o'erthrow them. To find him, where I thought not, where I knew not. Ilis ominous looks were terrible with ruin;

One moment do I plunge into the gloom The majesty of God's triumphant vengeance Of some dark court, to shun the fue—the next, Was in his tread: even thus the Patriarch look d, I bless the angry and destroying light, When, mounting in his ark, he saw the deluge Because I think it may disclose the face, Come sweeping o'er the doom'd yet heedless world. The beauteous face of mine Imperial Boy. Something, be sure, the hand of God prepares I've pass'd by widows, and by frantic mothers, To rescue, to revenge.

That howl and tear their hair o'er their dead chil IMLAH

dren: Too late! too late!

I cannot find my child. even to perform Ob that last night!

That last sad duty of my love--to mourn him.


my son's,




I've cried aloud, and told them I'm their queen ; The plunderer wars upon the gilded palace,
They gaze on me, and mock me with their pity, Not the base hovel. There's a mother there
Showing that queens can be as desolate

As sad as thou, and sleep may be as merciful
As slaves : and sometimes have I paused and stoop'd To thee as her.
O’er dying faces, with a hideous hope

Of seeing my son! I dare not cry Belshazzar,

Sleep! sleep! with Babylon
Lest he should hear me, and come forth and meet In flames around me; Nabonassar's realm,
The slanghtering sword. Ye Gods! his very beauty The city of earth's sovereigns rushing down,
And majesty will mark him out for slaughter: The pride of countless ages, and the glory,
And the fierce Persian, that in weary pride

By generations of triumphant kings
May scorn to flesh his sword on meaner heads, Rear'd up—my sire's, my husband's, and
Will win himself an everlasting glory,

And mine own stately birth-place perisbing:
By slaying th' unarm'd, the succourless Belshazzar. The summer gardens of my joy cut down;
Here's one-hast seen him? Slave, I'll give thee gold, The ivory chambers of my luxury,
I'll give thee kingdoms-ah! what gold or kingdoms where I was wed, and bore my beauteous son,
Hath the sad queen of captive Babylon

Howl'd through by strangers! No—I 'll on, and find To give? but thou hast haply known the love Death or my son, or both! My glorious city! That parents bear to those who have been a part My old ancestral throne! thou 'lt still afford Of their own selves, whose lives are twined with theirs A burial fire. I've lived a queen, the daughter So subtly, that 't were worse than death to part them. Of kings, the wife, the mother-and will die Hast seen the king—my son—the pride of kings Queen-like, with Babylon for my funeral pile ! My peerless son? I had a child this morn,

Before the Temple. Beautiful as the doe upon the mountains, Pure as the crystal of the brook she drinks ; Oh thou dread night! what new and awful signs And when they rent her from her father's heart, Crowd thy portentous hours, so calm in heav'n, To death-oh no!—to deeper woe than death,

With all thy stars and full-orb'd moon serene The queen of Babylon swept proudly by,

Sleeping on crystal and pellucid clouds! Nor sloop'd to waste ber pity on the childless. How terrible on earth! as I rush'd down

The vacant stair, nor heard a living sound, Oh ye just Gols! but cruel in your justice !

Save mine own bounding footstep, all at once And never met ye more?

Methought Euphrates' rolling waters sank

Into the earth; the gilded galleys rock'd,
No more!

And plunged and settled in the sandy depths;

And the tall bridge upon its lengthening pier

Great Heaven! Seem'd to bestride a dark, unfathom'd gull. I own your equal hand: the bitter chalice

Then, where blue waters and the ivory decks That we have given to others' lips, our own

Of royal vessels, and their silver prows, Must to the dregs drink out. So, never more

Reflected the bright lights of heav'n, they shone Shall I behold thee-not to wind thy corpse

Upon the glancing armour, helms, and spears To pour sweet ointments on thy clay-cold limbs.

Of a vast army: then the stone-paved walls Alas! and what did Nabonassar's daughter

Rang with the weight of chariots, and the gates In the dark streets alone? when there were men

Of brass fell down with ponderous clang : then sank To rally, arms to array-my voice, my look,

O'er the vast city one sepulchral silence, The hereditary terror that is said

As though the wondering conqueror scarce believed To dwell on mine imperial brow, had pour'd

His easy triumph. But ye revellers Dismay and flight upon the conquering Mede.

That lay at rest upon your festal garments, Semiramis, for empire, cast away

The pleasant weariness of wine and joy, The woman, and went forth in brazen arms.

And the sweet dreams of your scarce-ended pleasures, I could not for my son!

Still hanging o'er your silken couches! ye
My naked feet

Woke only, if ye woke indeed, to see
Bleed where I move; and on my crownless head

The Median scimitar that, red with blood, (For what have I to do with crowns ?) beat cold

Flash'd o'er you, or the blaze of fire that wrapt The chilling elements ; till but now I felt not

In sulphurous folds the chambers of your rest. My loose, and thin, and insufficient raiment.

Oh Lord of Hosts! in thine avenging hour Well, there's enough to shroud the dead; and thee

How dreadful art thou! Pardon if I weep To colder nakedness, my son! my son!

When all my grateful heart should beat with joy The spoiler will have stripp'd

For my deliverance.

God pardon me

For taunting her distress! Rest here, oh queen!

All is lost! Great Bel, Under this low and wretched roof thou art safe ; Thus, thus dost thou avenge thy broken rite!







Now, by thy thunders, 'tis the beauteous bride - He's here !-I dare not ask, whici art thou? which-
Thou givest her to me yet.

Alas, prophetic spirit bast thou let me

To ask? Oh Love! thou used o coow his tread
Miscreant! what mean'st thou ? | 'Mong thousands!

ADONIJAH. 'T was love before ; and now 't is love and ven

Sweet! whers et ihou? geance;

BENINA. And I will quaff the doubly-mantling cup,

On thy bosom In all its richness.


The Lord bath triumph'd by his servant's hands :
Guilty man! look round,

He lies in death, blaspheming his own Gods. Thou seest my God, the God of Gods, reveald

BENINA. In yon wide fires! Nor thou, nor one of those

Merciful! I almost thank thee for me dread
That walk the death-doom'd streets of Babylon, And danger of this night, that closes thus
Have even an hour to live.

In such o'erpowering joy!
Then I've no hour

Hast suffer'd nought
To waste. 'Tis said the Indian widows mount But dread and danger?
In pride and joy their husbands' funeral pyres ;

BENINA. Thou, in thy deep devotion, shall excel them,

What ? And wed thy bridegroom for the loftier glory

ADONIJAH Of dying by his side.

Thou 'st been where evil

Riots uncheckd, untamed!
Oh mercy!


Oh Adonijah!

I have endured thy lip upon my cheek,
Ask of the Babylonian maids and wives,

And I endure thine arms clasp'd fondly round me, If they find mercy ?

And on thy bosom I recline, and look

Upon thy face with eyes suffused with tears,
Ah! and I presumed

But not of shame. What would'st thou more?
To speak of pitying others !

Nought, nought, Come-What's here? Oh pardon that my jealous sears misdoubted KALASSAN, BENINA, ADONIJAH.

Thy pure, thy proud, thy holy love! Come on!

Come to thy parents' home that wait for thee,

And change thy voiceless house of desolation
With unwet foot I trod the river's depth :

To an abode of joy, as mute. It is the privilege of Israel's sons

Come! come! To walk through seas as on dry land.

Beauteous as her that with her timbrel pass'd

Along the Red Sea depths, and cast her song

Oh stranger! Upon the free airs of the wilderness -
That bear'st a Persian scimitar-No stranger! The song of joy, of triumph, of deliverance !
Is it his angel, with his beauteous brow?
His eyes, his voice-his clasping arms around me!-
Mine own, my brave, my noble Adonijah!
Too bounteous Heaven !

The Streets of Babylon in flames.
Fond slave! unclasp thine arms. I cannot fight nor fly: where'er I move,

On shadowy battlement, or cloud of smoke,
What-must I rob the Persian of his victim ?

That dark unbodied hand waves to and fro, Oh! not in vain this bright and welcome steel

And marshals me the way to death-to death Glitter'd to court my grasp! What! the first foe

That still eludes me. Every blazing wall My warrior arm hath met retreat before me?

Breaks out in those red characters of fate; I'll follow thee to earth's remotest verge.

And when I raised my sword to war, methought

That dark-stoled Prophet stood between, and seem'd Oh! I could shriek, and weary Heaven with cries Rebuking Heaven for its slow consummation For my sad self—for thee—for thee! My lips Of his dire words. Are parch'd to silence; and my throal-Come back!

I am alone : my slaves Their swords clash--some one falls--and groans : Fled at the first wild outcry; and my women he calls not

Closed all their doors against me—for they knew me Upon the God of Israel.-Ha! perchance

Mark'd with the seal of destiny: no hand, He cannot cry! All's dark.- Ah me! how strong, Though I have sued for water, holds a cup How dreadful was the Heathen in his strength! To my parch'd lips; no voice, as I pass on,




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