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Bible Stories And Religious Classics by Philip P. Wells


The King was on his throne,
The Satraps throng'd the hall;
A thousand bright lamps shone
O'er that high festival.
A thousand cups of gold,
In Judah deem'd divine --
Jehovah's vessels hold
The godless Heathen's wine.

In that same hour and hall
The fingers of a Hand
Came forth against the wall,
And wrote as if on sand:
The fingers of a man; --
A solitary hand
Along the letters ran,
And traced them like a wand.

The monarch saw, and shook,
And bade no more rejoice;
All bloodless wax'd his look,
And tremulous his voice: --
|Let the men of lore appear,
The wisest of the earth,
And expound the words of fear,
Which mar our royal mirth.|

Chaldea's seers are good,
But here they have no skill;
And the unknown letters stood
Untold and awful still.
And Babel's men of age
Are wise and deep in lore;
But now they were not sage,
They saw -- but knew no more.

A Captive in the land,
A stranger and a youth,
He heard the king's command,
He saw that writing's truth;
The lamps around were bright,
The prophecy in view;
He read it on that night, --
The morrow proved it true!

|Belshazzar's grave is made,
His kingdom pass'd away,
He, in the balance weigh'd,
Is light and worthless clay;
The shroud, his robe of state;
His canopy, the stone:
The Mede is at his gate!
The Persian on his throne!|

-- Lord Byron

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