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The monarch held his banquet
To music's pleasant sound,

And the ruddy bowl

That blinds the soul With the flashing wine was crowned; And beauty all unlovely With bright but hollow eye,

In rapture wild

Upon him smiled In his drunken revelry.

A

14

FALL OF BABYLON.

What ho, what ho, the goblet !
The rosy wine for me ;

My father stood

On the field of blood
And what reward hath he ?
They circled him with glory-
They called him, mighty Lord !

They bent the knee

His face to see,
And they trembled at his word !

But where is he, the mighty,
And the glory he hath won ?-

They have laid him low

With the conquered foe,
Ere half his work was done.
But the joy of the bounding pulse-
And the heart that laughs at care,

They are found in the throng

Of the dance and song,
And the monarch's feast to share.

What ho, what ho, the goblet !
It hath held the holy wine;

And prophets of old

Have blessed the gold,
And the gods have made it mine :

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He raised the goblet high,
And the foaming juice ran o'er ;

And ever the bout

Of the frantic rout
Did shake the marble floor.
The matron rent her veil
As she tossed the beady wine,

And even the queen

To drink was seen With the reeling concubine.

What ho, what ho, the goblet !
He
grasps

it in his hands
What ails the king

While the minstrels sing,
And the wine untasted stands ?-
He hath dashed his jewelled crown,
He hath rent his golden pall,

For a finger dark

On the wall doth mark,
And an earthquake rocks the hall.

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Now fetch me my magicians,
Bid them hither haste with speed,

For a kingly state

Upon him doth wait
That the deadly scroll shall read.
They have looked upon the scroll;
But word said never a breath,

Till stern and loud

To the frightened crowd Spoke the voice of the Seer of Death.

FALL OF BABYLON.

17

Thou has pledged me a kingdom-hast offered a throne;
To-morrow, oh king, thou shalt seek for thine own;
And the daughters of Ashur shall wail in the cry,
That the widows of Judah have sent to the sky.

Thou hast wasted the altar, and trod, in thy pride,
On the ark for which princes and prophets have died ;
And the priest's hallowed rose, and the gem and the shrine,
Thou hast cursed with the drunken pollution of wine.

For this thou art weighed, and thy balance is light;
And the hand of the Lord hath condemned thee to-night!
Lo, the sentence of wrath that his finger hath wrote;
Lo, the sword of the conqueror gleams at thy throat,
And the Mede and the Persian shall sit in thy place,
When Jehovah has scattered the house of thy race.

Now crown the prophet straight;
He hath read the scroll aright,

And chance may be,

That I and ye
Shall perish here to-night.
But bid the banquet on,
To the gods we leave the rest,

For fear, at least,

At the monarch's feast,
Were a most unseemly guest.

B

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