Verse > Anthologies > Joseph Friedlander, comp. > The Standard Book of Jewish Verse
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Joseph Friedlander, comp.  The Standard Book of Jewish Verse.  1917.
 
Belshazzar
By Bryan Waller Proctor (Barry Cornwall)
 
BELSHAZZAR is king! Belshazzar is Lord!
And a thousand dark nobles all bend at his board;
Fruits glisten, flowers blossom, meats steam, and a flood
Of wine that man loveth runs redder than blood;
Wild dancers are there, and a riot of mirth,        5
And the beauty that maddens the passions of earth;
And the crowds all shout, till the vast roofs ring—
“All praise to Belshazzar, Belshazzar the king!”
 
“Bring forth,” cries the monarch, “the vessels of gold,
Which my father tore down from the temples of old;        10
Bring forth!” and before him the vessels all shine,
And he bows unto Baal, and he drinks the dark wine,
While the trumpets bray and the cymbals ring,—
“Praise, praise to Belshazzar, Belshazzar the king!”
 
Now what! cometh—look, look!—without menace or call?        15
Who writes with the lightning’s bright hand on the wall?
What pierceth the king like the point of a dart?
What drives the bold blood from his cheek to his heart?
“Chaldeans! Magicians! the letters expound!”
They are read,—and Belshazzar is dead on the ground!        20
Hark!—The Persian is come on a conqueror’s wing;
And a Mede’s on the throne of Belshazzar the king.
 
 
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