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Is heard, except some throbbing pulse proclaims
That life still lingers in their sinking frames.
See! now the vision brightens, now 'tis gone;
Like meteor flash, like heaven's own lightning flown!
But, though the hand hath vanished, still appear
Those mystic characters of fate and fear;
Baffling each effort vainly made to scan
Such revelation of the Lord to man.
"Quick bring the Prophet!-let his piercing eye
Scan these dim outlines of futurity:
And oh in mercy let his tongue proclaim
The mystery of that visionary flame."
The holy prophet came, with brow serene,
With spirit-speaking eye, and lofty mien.
To whom Belshazzar:-"Prophet, by thine aid
Be our sad doubts and anxious cares allayed;
Our sage Chaldeans now in vain explore
The secret wonders of their magic lore.
See the dire portents that our hearts appal;
Read thou the lines upon that dreaded wall.
Nor shall thy skill and high deserts forego
The richest gifts a monarch can bestow."
Unutterably awful was the eye
Which met the monarch's; and the stern reply
Fell heaey on his soul. "Thy gifts withhold,
Nor tempt the Spirit of the Law with gold.
Did memory fail thee? was thy father's lot
So lightly noted, and so soon forgot?
Him God exalted; him the Almighty gave
Power to cast down, set up, destroy or save.
But when the hand that raised him, he defied,
It smote him, and he withered in his pride;
An awful wreck of man, outcast of heaven,
From human haunts, from social converse driven.
At length relenting Heaven his pride subdued,
Restored his reason, and his form renewed.
Then humbly bent beneath the hand that shed
Mercies or judgments on his chastened head,
The covering shield he blessed, or kissed the rod,
And bowed submissive to the will of God.
But thou, unmindful of thy sire's release,
His pride and fall, his penitence and peace,
Hast braved the fury of the living Lord,
Profaned His vessels, and His rites abhorred.
Proud monarch, hear what these dread words reveal!
That lot on which the Eternal sets His seal :-
Thy kingdom numbered, and thy glory flown,
The Mede and Persian revel on thy throne.
Weighed in the balance, thou hast kicked the beam;
See to yon western sun the lances gleam,
Which, ere his orient rays adorn the sky,
Thy blood shall sully with a crimson dye."
This fate foretold, the strains prophetic cease.
But ere the prophet's feet depart in peace,
The chain of gold upon his neck they cast,
The robe of scarlet gird around his waist;
And proclamations through the land declare
Daniel third ruler, next Assyria's heir.
In the dire carnage of that night's dead hour,
Crushed mid the ruins of his crumbling power,
Belshazzar fell; though secret was the blow,
Unknown the hand that laid the tyrant low.
THE dews of summer night did fall,
The moon (sweet regent of the sky)
Silvered the walls of Cumnor Hall,
And many an oak that grew thereby.
Sir Walter Scott's admiration of this ballad induced him to found,
on the same incidents, the popular romance of "Kenilworth."
Now nought was heard beneath the skies,
The sounds of busy life were still,
Save an unhappy lady's sighs,
That issued from that lonely pile.
"Leicester," she cried, "is this thy love
That thou so oft hast sworn to me;
To leave me in this lonely grove,
Immured in shameful privacy?
No more thou com'st, with lover's speed,
Thy once-beloved bride to see;
But be she alive, or be she dead,
I fear, stern Earl! 's the same to thee.
Not such the usage I received
When happy in my father's hall;
No faithless husband, then, me grieved,
No chilling fears did me appal.
I rose up with the cheerful morn,
No lark more blithe, no flower more gay; And, like the bird that haunts the thorn, So merrily sung the live-long day.
Say that my beauty is but small,
Among court ladies all despised,
Why didst thou rend it from that hall,
Where, scornful Earl, it well was prized?
And when you first to me made suit,
How fair I was, you oft would say!
And, proud of conquest, plucked the fruit,
Then left the blossom to decay.
Yes! now neglected and despised,
The rose is pale, the lily's dead;
But he that once their charms so prized,
Is, sure, the cause those charms are fled.
For know, when sickening grief doth prey,
And tender love's repaid with scorn,
The sweetest beauty will decay:
What floweret can endure the storm ?
At court, I'm told, is beauty's throne,
Where every lady's passing rare,
The eastern flowers, that shame the sun,
Are not so glowing, not so fair.
Then, Earl, why didst thou leave those beds
Where roses and where lilies vie,
To seek a primrose, whose pale shades
Must sicken when those gauds are by?
'Mong rural beauties I was one;
Among the fields wild flowers are fair ;
Some country swain might me have won,
And thought my beauty passing rare.
But, Leicester (or I much am wrong),
Or 'tis not beauty fires thy vows;
Rather Ambition's gilded crown
Makes thee forget thy humble spouse.
Then, Leicester, why, again I plead,
(The injured surely may repine),
Why didst thou wed a country maid,
When some fair princess might be thine ?
Why didst thou praise my humble charms,
And, oh! then leave them to decay?
Why didst thou win me to thy arms,
Then leave me to mourn the live-long day?
The village maidens of the plain
Salute me lonely as I go:
Envious they mark my silken train,
Nor think a countess can have woe.
The simple nymphs! they little know
How far more happy's their estate;
To smile for joy, than sigh for woe ;
To be content, than to be great.
How far less blessed am I than them,
Daily to pine and waste with care!
Like the poor plant, that, from its stem
Divided, feels the chilling air.
Nor, cruel Earl! can I enjoy
The humble charms of solitude; Your minions proud my peace destroy, By sullen frowns, or pratings rude.
Last night, as sad I chanced to stray,
The village death-bell smote my ear;
They winked aside, and seemed to say,
'Countess, prepare-thy end is near.'
And now, when happy peasants sleep,
Here sit I lonely and forlorn;
No one to soothe me as I weep,
Save Philomel on yonder thorn.
My spirits flag, my hopes decay;
Still that dread death-bell strikes my ear; And many a boding seems to say, 'Countess, prepare-thy end is near."
Thus sore and sad that lady grieved
In Cumnor Hall, so long and drear;
Full many a heartfelt sigh she heaved,
And let fall many a bitter tear.
And ere the dawn of day appeared,
In Cumnor Hall so long and drear,
Full many a piercing scream was heard,
And many a cry of mortal fear.