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The Works of Lord Byron Volume III Part 63

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Away--away--without a wing, O'er all--through all--its thought shall fly, A nameless and eternal thing, Forgetting what it was to die.

Seaham, 1815.

VISION OF BELSHAZZAR.[299]

I.

The King was on his throne, The Satraps thronged the hall:[lx]

A thousand bright lamps shone O'er that high festival.

A thousand cups of gold, In Judah deemed divine--[ly]

Jehovah's vessels hold The G.o.dless Heathen's wine!

II.

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.

III.

The monarch saw, and shook, And bade no more rejoice; All bloodless waxed 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."

IV.

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.

V.

A captive in the land, A stranger and a youth,[300]

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.

VI.

"Belshazzar's grave is made,[lz]

His kingdom pa.s.sed away.

He, in the balance weighed, 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!"

SUN OF THE SLEEPLESS!

Sun of the sleepless! melancholy star!

Whose tearful beam glows tremulously far, That show'st the darkness thou canst not dispel, How like art thou to Joy remembered well!

So gleams the past, the light of other days, Which shines, but warms not with its powerless rays: A night-beam Sorrow watcheth to behold, Distinct, but distant--clear--but, oh how cold!

WERE MY BOSOM AS FALSE AS THOU DEEM'ST IT TO BE.

I.

Were my bosom as false as thou deem'st it to be, I need not have wandered from far Galilee; It was but abjuring my creed to efface The curse which, thou say'st, is the crime of my race.

II.

If the bad never triumph, then G.o.d is with thee!

If the slave only sin--thou art spotless and free!

If the Exile on earth is an Outcast on high, Live on in thy faith--but in mine I will die.

III.

I have lost for that faith more than thou canst bestow, As the G.o.d who permits thee to prosper doth know; In his hand is my heart and my hope--and in thine The land and the life which for him I resign.

Seaham, 1815.

HEROD'S LAMENT FOR MARIAMNE.[301]

I.

Oh, Mariamne! now for thee The heart for which thou bled'st is bleeding; Revenge is lost in Agony[ma]

And wild Remorse to rage succeeding.[mb]

Oh, Mariamne! where art thou?

Thou canst not hear my bitter pleading:[mc]

Ah! could'st thou--thou would'st pardon now, Though Heaven were to my prayer unheeding.

II.

And is she dead?--and did they dare Obey my Frenzy's jealous raving?[md]

My Wrath but doomed my own despair: The sword that smote her 's o'er me waving.-- But thou art cold, my murdered Love!

And this dark heart is vainly craving[me]

For he who soars alone above, And leaves my soul unworthy saving.

III.

She's gone, who shared my diadem; She sunk, with her my joys entombing; I swept that flower from Judah's stem, Whose leaves for me alone were blooming; And mine's the guilt, and mine the h.e.l.l, This bosom's desolation dooming; And I have earned those tortures well,[mf]

Which unconsumed are still consuming!

_Jan._ 15, 1815.

ON THE DAY OF THE DESTRUCTION OF JERUSALEM BY t.i.tUS.

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The Works of Lord Byron Volume III Part 63 summary

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