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Approaches. God of Israel, hath ought chang'a
Thine everlasting counsel ? wilt thou leave
Thy people yet in sad captivity,
And join thy prophet with the despis'd tribe
Of Babel's false diviners ? Not to thee,
But to great Bel, Chaldæa's frantic priests
Waft clouds of incense. Soon as morning dawns,
With shouts the noisy revellers will proclaim
The triumph of their God; nor will they cease
To rouse their monarch's rage, should Judah dare
Resist his impious edict. Then, O then,
God of our fathers, rise ; and in that day,
Even before night, whose vaulted arch now shines
With clustering stars, shall visit earth again,
Confound their horrid rites, and show some sign
That yet again thy prisoners shall be free."

He spake, and sudden heard a rushing noise,
As when a north-west gale comes hovering round
Some cape, the point of spacious continent
Or in the Indian, or Pacific main ;
The sailor hears it whistling in his shrouds,
And bids it hail. Bright as the summer's noon
Shone all the earth. Before the prophet stood
Gabriel, seraphic form : graceful his port,
Mild was his eye; yet such as might command
Reverence, and sacred awe, by purest love
Soften'd, but not impair’d. In waving curls
O’er his arch'd neck his golden tresses hung;
And on his shoulders two broad wings were plac'd,
Wings, which when clos’d, drew up in many a fold,
But, when extended to their utmost length,
Were twice ten cubits. Two of smaller size
Came shadowing round his feet, with which he trod
The elastic air, and walk'd o’er buoyant space,


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As on firm ground. A tunic brac'd his limbs,
Blanch'd in the fields of light; and round his waist
Was clasp'd an azure zone, with lucid stars
All studded, like that circle broad, which cuts
The equator, burning line. The astonish'd seer
With low obeisance bow'd his hoary head,
While thus in voice benign the cherub spake.

“ Servant of God, that prayer was not unheard
In heaven. I caught it, as before the throne
I stood, within the emerald bow, and mix'd
With fragrant incense, offer'd it to him,
The white-rob’d Ancient of eternal days,
Even on his golden altar. Forthwith sent
To thee, with speed impetuous, swifter far
Than travels light's meridian beam, through realms
Of space,studded with worlds, which neither thought
Of mortal can conceive, nor numbers count,
I come, God's messenger. Not twice the morn
Shall dawn, ere all the woes which Salem felt
Shall fall on Babylon. This, this is he,
Whose streamers now round these devoted towers
Wave to the western wind, whom God hath rais'd
His instrument of vengeance. Twice hath pass'd
A century, since him the prophet styled
Cyrus, the Lord's anointed. He shall say,
Cities of Judah, rise! He shall command,
And Solyma's unpeopled streets again
Shall throng with busy multitudes. To him
In vision, or in dream, shall God reveal
His secret purpose ; or what other way
His power shall mould the victor's ductile will
To execute his promise. One day more
Shall proud Chaldæa triumph. In that day
Let not a knee in Benjamin be bow'd

Save to Jehovah. What though cruel pride
Inflame Belshazzar's soul; what though his wrath
Torments unknown prepare; a sign from heaven
Sball blast each vain device, a sign obscure,
But terrible. Ask not what ; for in that hour
Shall beam celestial knowledge on thy soul,
And thou shalt read the mystic characters
Of dark futurity. Fear not his frown;
But in the sight of his assembled peers
Hurl bold defiance at his throne; and speak
As fits a prophet of the living God.”

He spake, nor ended here; but to the seer
Matters of import high disclosd, which lay
Deep in the womb of time. “And these," he cried,
“ Record to distant ages, but conceal
My present errand.” Daniel prepar'd
Obedient answer ; but before he spake
Gabriel had furld his wings, and now had reach'd
The middle space 'twixt earth, and highest heaven.

Procession of the Chaldæans to the Temple of Belus-Refusal

of the Jews to worship the Idol-Rage of Belshazzar-The hand-writing 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


Its sloping path, resounds with festive shouts,
And teems with busy multitudes, which press

With zeal impetuous to the towering fane
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

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 côme 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, exhald 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-cary'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 dimension 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 scal'd 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,

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