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him for deserting the warlike func- dours on the lofty nuptial-couch of
tions of his regal place; though, either Bel, that he may be willing to de-
from her apprehending indistinctly scend in his glory. And the first
what he had meant to ask, or from scene closes.
some infelicity of construction in her In the Quarter of the Jewish slaves,
own answer, it would rather seem as next appear Imlah, bis wife Naomi,
if he had desired to know when he and their daughter Benina. The near
should reign? Some conversation en- coming on of the destruction of their
sues, in which the King, who, as it oppresssors, and of their own deliver-
may be supposed, is not a person to ance, begins to be understood. Imlah
take being told the truth, very ten- has been speaking of it, which leads
derly, nevertheless, to the surprise of the young maiden to dwell with much
the court, bears his mother's bitter re- tenderness and beauty, and not with-
monstrance with magnanimous and out bappy allusion, on the beloved
filial patience. He is even moved to land, of which the hope now dawns
conceive and declare an intention of upon their exile.
withering the host of the besiegers
by the terror of his appearance, for

Benina, Father ! dear Father ! said'st

thou that our feet which purpose he will mount his car of battle, and ride along the walis.

Shall tread the glittering paths of Sion's The queen is rather startled with the

And that our lips shall breathe the fragrant limit of his military purposes, but con

airs soles herself with believing that the That blow from dewy Hermon, and the sight of the enemy will inflame his fount kingly heart to some more energetic Of Siloe flow in liquid music by us?" and useful hostility, in which trust she denounces their destruction, while Imlah asks her, what she, a daughKalassan, on his part, declares the ter of captivity, can know of the city probable favour of the Gods, whom where their fathers bad dwelt, ere they they are about to propitiate that day had yet provoked their God to forwith their richest rites, and by devo- sake them. ting a virgin-that one,

Benina. My father !

Have I not seen my mother and thyself “ Whom to our wandering search he first

Sit by the river side, and dwell for ever presents,"

On Salem's glories, and the Temple's to the nuptials of the guardian deity pride, of Babylon.

Till tears have choked your sad though If the Gods are to hold festival to. pleasant speech ? night, the King informs them that his In the deep midnight, when our lords are

sleeping, own palace shall not be without an

I've seen the Brethren, from the willores take swerable rejoicing. As he speaks, his

Their wind-caressedharps,theirhalf-breath'd eye falls on the sacred vessels of the

sounds Hebrews, and inquiring and under- Scarce louder than the rippling rivers dash standing what they are, he commands Around the matted sedge; and still they them to be carried to the palace to pour'd minister in the imperial banquet. Their voices down the stream, as though they Though consecrated to Bel, Kalassan rish'd allows that they will be honoured by Their songs to pass away to other lands such a profanation ; and orders are

Beyond the bounds of their captivity.

I've listen'd in an ecstacy of tears, given to execute the King's command. The slaves, who are girding themselves Till purer waters seem'd to wander near to bear them, are struck to the earth, And sweeter flowers to bloom beneath my

me, and the ground rocks, with other

feet, omens; Belshazzar remaining un- And towers of fairer structure to arise daunted in the general dismay, and

Under the moonlight ; and I felt the joy undisturbed from his purpose. One Of freedom in my light and sportive limbs." chorus then pours forth a chaunt to the Euphrates, bidding him smooth Imlah now acquaints them in what his waves for the path of Belshazzar's manner the approach of their delivergalley, and another to the sun, in- ance has become known to him, espevoking him to pause in mid-heaven, cially from the altered demeanour of nd shower down his fullest splen- the prophet Daniel. He was, till late

lows ;

ly, girt with sack-cloth, his cheek Yea, mine entombed ancestors awake, sank with fasting, and ashes on his Their heads uplift upon their marble pilhead. But he hath cast from him the attire of woe, and called for wine. They claim the glory of thy birth. Thou And now he walks with stately gait That didst disdain the quarry of the field,

hunter, through the city, his looks charged Choosing thee out a nobler game of man, with a mournful scorn, passing on

Nimrod ! and thou that with unfeminine amid palaces and gardens, as though hand he trod on the ruins of an already deso- Didst lash the coursers of thy battle-car late city, gazing at times on the clouds, O'er prostrate thrones, and necks of capas if he were considering the view

tive kings, less forms of the destroyers ; and it is Semiramis ! and thou whose kingly breath even said, that at the dead of the night Was like the desert wind, before its comhe bath poured forth, in his prophetic ing fury, the burden of Babylon. ---They The people of all earth fell down, and hid turn to speak of their own coming Their humble faces in the dust ; that

madest happiness, and of the bridal of Benina, which shall not be “With song sup:

The pastime of a summer day t'o'erthrow

A city, or cast down some ancient throne; press'd, and dim half-curtain'd lamp,"

Whose voice each ocean shore obey'd, and as the nuptials of the captives had all been in the land of sorrow and fear. From sable Ethiopia to the sands Her lover, Adonijah, enters. He de- Of the gold-flowing Indian streams ;-oh! scribes, with youthful pride, the fierce thou magnificence of the Persian host, which Lord of the hundred thrones, high Nabohe has been beholding from the bat- nassar ! tlements. Imlah plights their hands And thou my father, Merodach ! ye

crown'd for puptials to be solemnized in their own recovered country, and sings a

This City with her diadem of towershymn of triumph and joy.

Wherefore !-but prescient of Belshaz

zar's birth, The scene changes to the walls of And conscious of your destin'd son, ye Babylon.

toil'd " BELSHAZZAR in his Chariot, Nito

To rear a meet abode. Oh, Babylon !

Thou hast him now, for whom through ARIOCA, SABARIS, &c.

ages rose

Thy sky.exalted towers—for whom yon Belshazzar. For twice three hours our

palace stately cars have rollid

Reard its bright domes, and groves of Along the broad highway that crowns the golden spires ; walls

In whom, secure of immortality Of mine imperial City, nor complete Thou stand'st, and consecrate from time Our circuit by a long and ample space. and ruin, And still our eyes look down on gilded Because thou hast been the dwelling of roofs,

Belshazzar !" And towers and temples, and the spreading tops

The army of the Persians is seen Of cedar groves, through which the foun- below. The effect on the King's mind tains gleam ;

is not what Nitocris had hoped for. And everywhere the countless multitudes, Belshazzar is moved only with scorn Like summer insects in the noontide sun, of the undistinguished Cyrus riding Come forth to bask in our irradiate pre- but as the captain of his host. But sence.

Nitocris is strnck with what she obOh, thou vast Babylon ! what mighty

serves, and describes with spirit the hand

kingliness of military command in the Created thee, and spread thee o'er the plain Capacious as a world; and girt'thee round

young conqueror. With high-tower'd walls, and bound thy Nitocris. Look down ! look down ! gates with brass ;

where, proud of his light conquest, And taught the indignant river to endure The Persian rides-it is the youthful CyThy bridge of cedar and of palm, high hung

How skilfully he winds through all the Upon its marble piers ?-What voice pro- ranks claim'd,

His steed, in graceful ease, as though he Amid the silence of the sands, ' Arise !

sate And be earth's wonder?' Was it not my Upon a firm-set throne, yet every motion fathers ?

Obedient to his slack and gentle rein, VOL. XII.



rus ;


As though one will controll'd the steed and tary suspension of sense, had commurider !

nion with the prophet Daniel, and beNow leaps he down, and holds a brief dis- ing lifted in the power of faith above

all apprehension to herself. BelshazWith yon helmed captain ; like a stooping falcon,

zar passes on, and she remains to ut. Now vaults he to the patient courser's

ter a prophetic denunciation of the back.

fall of the city, and its everlasting deHappy the mother of that noble youth !

solation—the priests offering not to

put violence or constraint upon the Nitocris. Dost ask, my son, his marks bride of their divinity. She takes of sovereignty?

leave of her lover and her father, reThe armies that behold his sign, and trust quiring of them their prayers. Their fate upon the wisdom of his rule, These, taking their way back to the Confident of accustom’d victory ;

home that is now become childless, The unconquerable valour, the proud love Of danger, and the scorn of silken ease ;

re-appear as they have reached it. The partnership in suffering and in want, learns her loss. Her grief, vehement

The mother coming out to them, Even with his meanest follower ; the disdain

and uncontrollable, breaks out into Of wealth, that wins the spoil but to be- impatient and daring expostulations, stow it,

which the others attempt to subdue Content with the renown of conquering by the harp, and by the holy song. deeds."

The scene that follows is not with

out an effect of an original and singuThe chief of the eunuchs, Sabaris, lar kind, the author availing himself opposes to her arguments and an elo- of that peculiarity in the design of his quence more suited to the imperial drama, that it is not to be represented. ears, and maintains, much to his lord's It is a progressive, or moving scene. satisfaction, an original difference in Benina and her attendant priests apthe allotments of sovereigns, some of pear at the gate of the Temple, whence whom are born to painful and toil- she is led up from hall to hall of the some, and some, the elected favourites high-piled edifice, in one-continued of heaven, to untroubled and luxuri- movement, may we call it, of the poem, ous empire. The King entering warm- the chorus of priests accompanying ly into the distinction, undertakes in and describing her ascent by their sucthe festival of that evening, which cessive songs. There is enough of imshall spread out within his courts an perial and of mystic grandeur in the army of revellers, wide and numerous appropriation of the seven successive as that encamped on the sultry sands halls of the Temple. The first is that below, to compel Nitocris herself to of the Chaldean kings, the dead and acknowledge that the height of earth- the living, whose statues are ranged ly glory is to be found embosomed in around the golden image of Nabogorgeous and blissful power on the passar, which is here supposed to be throne of Belshazzar.

The next is the chamber At this moment Benina appears, of tribute, the treasury of Assyria imploring succour. She, as was to be heaped with the wealth of a world ; apprehended, is the virgin who has then the captive kings, in sculpture, first encountered the roving search of though not in person ; then the capthe priests, and is become the destin- tive gods. They next reach the place ed bride of the God. She flies shriek- of the dreamers, lying in their visioned ing, the priests encircling and singing sleep, from which they awake to salute around her. The King, to the sup- the spouse of Bel as she passes. In plication made to him to protect her, the sixth chamber the astrologers are answers of course, declining to inter- watching. The seventh is the solitude fere in the claims of the Deity-Nito. of the high priest, Kalassan. High cris is equally unmoved. Benina re- above all is the couch strewed on the strains the passion of Adonijah, who, open summit, beneath the sun and the by exclamations of rage and defiance, glowing stars, for the accustomed reis about to expose himself to fruitless pose of the descending tutelary power. danger. She then falls into either a The songs of the priests, the descripswoon or a trance,--from which she tion of the successive halls, interruptrises up in majestic fearlessness, ha- ed by the observations of scorn or sorving, as should seem, in her momen- row provoked from Benina, give a suf

his own.



ficiently poetical and solemn effect to she lays herself down to rest ; and the this peculiar scene; till the priests stop festal night is ushered in by a descripin awe, and the maiden mounts alone tive to the summit, unknowing, in the light of her innocence, what is meant by her mysterious and holy dedication. Daring their long and slow ascent, the Awake ! awake! put on thy garb of pride, daylight has decayed ; and she now

Array thee like a sumptuous royal bride,

O festal Babylon ! looks down on the mighty city, from that vast and diminishing height, Is by the side of many azure waters !

Lady, whose ivory throne shewing dimly in the starlight,

In floating dance, like birds upon the wing, * Like some wide plain, with rich pavi- Send tinkling forth thy silver-sandald lions set,

daughters; Mid the dark umbrage of a summer bow

Send in the solemn march, er."

Beneath each portal arch, She looks for the lonely light of their Thy rich-robed lords to crowd the banquet

of their King. small solitary cabin on the Euphrates' side, speaks with tenderness, but it They come! they come from both the ilmay be thought too great composure,

lumined shores; of her love; and is conscious of a grow

Down each long street the festive tumult

pours; ing calmness of spirit in her extraor

Along the waters dark dinary situation, when the burried step

Shoots many a gleaming bark, of Kalassan breaks the stillness, and Like stars along the midnight welkin invades the peace of her thoughts. A flashing, short impetuous dialogue serves to And galleys, with their masts enwreath'd leave her no longer uncertain of the with light, impious and hateful meaning of her From their quick oars the kindling waters destination ; and he leaves her. Still dashing; she is not appalled ; a courage of faith,

In one long moving line which, if it be possible, as perhaps it

Along the bridge they shine, is, must at least, one would think, be

And with their glad disturbance wake the

peaceful night. won from some struggles with hideous fear. At once the imperial City is Hang forth, hang forth, in all your avenues, lighted up to her eyes with the pre

The arching lamps of more than rainbow parations of festivity.


Oh! gardens of delight ! “Bat lo! what blaze of light beneath me With the cool airs of night spreads

Are lightly waved your silver-foliage trees, O'er the wide city! Like yon galaxy The deep-embower'd yet glowing blaze Above mine head, each long and spacious prolong street

Height above height the lofty terraces; Becomes a line of silver light, the trees

Seeing this new day-break, In all their silent avenues break out

The nestling birds awake, In flowers of fire. But chief around the The nightingale hath hush'd her sweet unPalace

timely song. Whitens the glowing splendour ; every

Lift up, lift up your golden-valved doors, court That lay in misty dimness indistinct,

Spread to the glittering dance your marble

floors, Is traced by pillars and high architraves

Palace! whose spacious halls, Of crystal lamps that tremble in the wind: Each portal arch gleams like an earthly

And far-receding walls, rainbow,

Are hung with purple like the morning And o'er the front spreads one entablature


And all the living luxuries of sound
Of living gems of every hue, so bright
That the pale Moon, in virgin modesty,

Pour from the long out-stretching gal

leries; Retreating from the dazzling and the tu

Down every colonnade mult, Afar upon the distant plain reposes

The sumptuous board is laid, Her unambitious beams, or on the bosom

With golden cups and lamps and bossy of the blue river, ere it reach the walls."

chargers crown'd. After a few words of pity for the hu- They haste, they haste! the high-crown'd

Rulers stand, man beings, the faint sound of whose Each with a sceptre in his kingly hand; revelry reaches her, and of whose de

The bearded Elders sage, struction dark bodings press upon her, Though pale with thought and age : grow familiar

Those through whose bounteous and un- his speech at length rises to utter imfailing hands

piety, he is at once stricken with the The tributary streams of treasure flow

sight of the handwriting on the wall. From the rich bounds of earth's remotest

We cannot afford a quotation here; lands;

nor indeed is there much power shewn All but the pomp and pride Of battle laid aside,

where a truly great poet might have Chaldeas Captains stand in many a glit- produced prodigious effect. tering row.

Here the scene changes again to the

summit of the Temple; where Benina They glide, they glide ! each, like an an

is again visited by Kalassan, who comes telope, Bounding in beauty on a sunny slope,

now, as the only God for whose nuptials With full and speaking eyes,

she had been led hither, to claim his And graceful necks that rise bride; while bursting flames and imiO'er snowy bosoms in their emulous pride, tative thunders, and the clangour of The chosen of earth's choicest loveliness ; the dissonant and deafening music of Some with the veil thrown timidly aside, the Temple announce the hour of the Some boastful and elate

God's descent. The hope of deliverance In their majestic state,

seems past, when Kalassan is suddenly Whose bridal bed Belshazzar's self hath

summoned away, with the dreamers deign'd to bless.

and astrologers, to the presence of the Come forth ! come forth ! and crown the King. To whom the scene returns. peerless feast,

The Hall of Banquet, with the Fiery Thou whose high birthright was the efful

Letters on the Wall. gent east !

Arioch. Hath the King spoken ?
On th' ivory seat alone,

Sabaris. Not a word: as now,
Monarch of Babylon !

He hath sate, with eyes that strive to
Survey the interminable wilderness
Of splendour, stretching far beyond the

With those red characters of fire; but still sight;

The agony of terror hath not pass'd Nought but thy presence wants there now

From his chill frame. But, if a word, i to bless:

step, The music waits for thee,

A motion, from those multitudes reclined Its fount of harmony,

Down each long festal board; the bursting Transcending glory thou of this thrice

string glorious night!

Of some shrill instrument ; or even the Behold ! behold ! each gem-crown'd fore- wind, head proud,

Whispering amid the plumes and shaking And every plume and crested helm is lamps, bow'd,

Disturb him-by some mute, imperious Each high-arch'd vault along

gesture, Breaks out the blaze of song,

Or by his brow's stern anger, he commands Belshazzar comes ! nor Bel, when he re- All the vast halls to silence.” turns

Kalassan and the seers and sages enFrom riding on his stormy thunder-cloud, ter the hall; but on being required by To where his bright celestial palace burns.

the King to expound the mystery of Alights with loftier tread,

their blank and astonished silence, acMore full of stately dread, While under his fix'd feet the loaded skies

knowledging their inability, he com

mands them to be driven forth with are bow'd.”

shame. Belshazzar continues to speak: The hall of banquet is then disco

Despair ! Despair ! vered, and, after another chorus has This is thy palace now ! No throne, no sung the praises of their sovereign, couch Sabaris and Arioch, in language of Beseems the King, whose doom is on his meet adulation, announce the happi

walls ness which is about to fall on the great Emblazed-yet whose vast empire finds assembly in hearing Belshazzar speak. His speech follows. It is proud, and

Whose faithful love can show its mystic glorying as the occasion requires, in a

import! strain, however, of much poetical elo- Belshazzar takes his rest ! ye hosts of

Low on the dust, upon the pavement-stone, quence; so much so as perhaps to im

slaves, pair what should seem to be its proper Behold your King! the Lord of Babylon!effect: it ought more strongly to alarm Speak not-for he that speaks, in other and revolt the mind of the reader. As words

not one

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