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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.


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

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 scald the walls of

heaven, Or that vast champion of Philistia's host, Whom in the vale of Elah David slew Unarm'd, were 'minish'd to a span. In height Twice twenty feet he rises from the ground; And every massy 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, fute, Harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, unite In loud triumphal hymn, and all at once 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, senses Flaming with reddest fire; still, as she moves, The tints all soften, and a yellower light


Gleams through the ridges of a purple cloud:
At length, when midnight holds her silent reign,
Chang'd to a silver white, she holds her lamp
O'er the belated traveller; so thy face,
Belshazzar, from the crimson glow of rage,
Shifting through all the various hues between,
Settles into a wan and bloodless pale.
Thine eye-balls glare with fire. “Now by great Bel,"
Incens'd, exclaims the monarch," soon as morn
Again shall dawn, my vengeance shall be pour'd

head of their detested race."
He spake, and left the fane with hasty step,
Indignant. Him a thousand lords attend,
The minions of his court. And now they reach
The stately palace. In a spacious hall,
From whose high roof seven sparkling lustres hang,
Round the perpetual board high sophas rang'd
Receive the gallant chiefs. The floor is spread
With carpets, work'd in Babylonia's looms,
Exquisite art; rich vessels carv'd in gold,
In silver, and in ivory, beam with gems. si i
'Midst these is plac'd whate'er of massy plate,
Or holy ornament, Nebassar brought
From Sion's ransack'd temple ; lamps, and cups,
And bowls, now sparkling with the richest growth
Of Eastern vineyards. On the table smokes
All that can rouse the languid appetite,
Barbaric luxury. Soft minstrels round
Chant songs of triumph to .symphonious harps.
Propt on a golden couch Belshazzar lies,

While on each side fair slaves of Syrian race
By turns solicit with some amorous tale
The monarch's melting heart. “Fill me," he cries,
That largest bowl, with which the Jewish slaves
Once deck'd the altar of their vanquish'd God.
Never again shall this capacious gold
Receive their victim's blood: Henceforth the kings
Of Babylon, oft as this feast returns,
Shall crown it with rich wine, nectareous draught.
Fill high the foaming goblet; rise, my friends;
And as I quaff the cup, with loud acclaim
Thrice hail to Bel.” They rose; when all at once
Such sound was heard, as when the roaring winds
Burst from their cave, and with impetuous rage
Sweep o'er the Caspian, or the Chronian deep.
O'er the devoted walls the gate of heaven
Thunder'd, an hideous peal; and lo! a cloud
Came darkening all the banquet, whence appear'd
A hand, (if hand it were, or airy form,
Compound of light and shade,) on the adverse wall ,
Tracing strange characters. Belshazzar saw,
And trembled: from his lips the goblet fell:
He look'd again; perhaps it was a dream;
Thrice, four times did he look; and every time
Still plainer did the mystic lines appear,
Indelible. Forthwith he summons all
The wise Chaldæans, who by night consult
The starry signs, and in each planet read
The dark decrees of fate. Silent they stand;
Vain are their boasted charms. With eager step

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