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    JUDITH.   Table of Contents     THE EXPULSION OF HAGAR.

Bibb, Eloise
Poems

- BELSHAZZER'S FEAST.


BELSHAZZER'S FEAST.


The sun has sunk 'neath yonder distant hill,
A hush pervades the world and all is still;
And twilight shadows lengthen into night,
That screens earth's beauties from the
eager sight.
The city seems to sleep, yet, many a scene
Of sin, of misery and sorrow keen
This hour enacted 'neath the garb of
night,
Most terrifying to the human sight.

But hark!-- these sounds-- are they of
revelry?
What means this grand and pompous pageantry,--
These notes rung from the harp and tabret's
soul,
That wake the brain and o'er the senses'
roll.
All Babylon awakes to view the sight,
Of lords and princes 'rayed in garments
white;
And mark their march to yonder stately
hall,
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87
Where sits Belshazzar, king and lord of
all.

And here on rich drawn of sumptuous rate,
This king of Babylon in robes of state,
Has deigned to feast with lords and ladies
fair,
Who bow before his august presence
there.
More beauteous scene the eye will ne'er behold,
Than all those sculptured forms in matchless
mould,
That rise above those towering columns
grand,
And seem to form one powerful, heavenly
band.

"Beneath the porphyry pillars that uphold
The arabesque-- work of the roof of gold,
A stately peristyle in grand array,
With moresque work stands proud, as well
it may,
For artists would their souls mortgage away,
But to behold this work of art one day;
And from this bower of Eden, rich perfume,
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Like Brahma's burning founts, the hall
illume.

Belshazzar speaks, "I issue this command,
That all the sacred vessels now on hand,
Within the temple of Jerusalem,
Be brought to me that I dispose of them,
And we will drink, my drives end princes all,
Make merely here within this stately hall.
Long live the gods of gold, of brass and
wood,
But cursed be the kingdom of the good."

Why does he cease? and why this sudden
hush,
A moment past there was an obvious rush,
The tabret and the harp are heard no
more,
The jests, and jokes of king and lords are
o'er,
Belshazzar's face is of an ashen hue,
His joints are loosed, and why-- his conscience
knew.
The eyes of all within that lofty hall,
Are turned upon a hand that's on the
wall.
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It writes mysterious words that no one knew,
The king would give to know their purport
true
A scarlet robe, a chain of priceless gold,
His kingdom e'en, their meaning to unfold,
In vain he bade the wise men rise and speak,
'Twas folly sure their import now to seek;
The queen bethought of Hebrew Daniel's
fame,
And mentioned to the king the prophet's
name.

And Daniel entering in the stately hall,
Soon reads the words inscribed upon the
wall;
He gave a solemn warning to the king,
And loud the echoes through the building
ring;
" `Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin.'-- see,
I will, O king, these words explain to thee:
Thou art found wanting for thou hast
been weighed,
Thy kingdom numbered, and a section
made."
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Bring forth the scarlet robe," Belshazzar
cried,
With death-like face that bore no marks of
pride,
"And on his neck put on his chain of
gold,
And make him ruler, who these things
have told: "
And then the kingly head in dark despair,
Was bowed upon his breast as if in prayer;
Too late, Belshazzar, time for thee is o'er,
Thou will offend thy maker never more.
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    JUDITH.   Table of Contents     THE EXPULSION OF HAGAR.