« PreviousContinue »
But of the deep diviners thou shalt learn,
Enter Astrologers, Magicians, &c. Bel. Approach, ye sages, 'tis the king commands!
[They knel. As. Hail, mighty king of Babylon! Bel.
Nay, rise : I do not need your homage, but your help; The world may worship, you must counsel me. He who declares the secret of the king, No common honours shall await his skill ; Our empire shall be tax'd for his reward, And he himself shall name the gift he wishes. A splendid scarlet robe shall grace his limbs, His neck a princely chain of gold adorn: Meet honours for such wisdom : He shall rule The third in rank throughout our Babylon. 2d As. Such recompense becomes Belshazzar's
bounty. . Let the king speak the secret of his soul; Which heard, his humble creatures shall unfold. Bel. (points to the wall.] Be 't so— look there
– behold those characters ! Nay, do not start, for I will know their meaning ! Ha! answer ; speak, or instant death awaits you! What, dumb! all dumb! where is your boasted skill ?
[They confer together. Keep them asunder — no confederacy —
No secret plots to make your tales agree.
[They kneel. 1st As. Oh, let the king forgive his faithful servants!
2d As. Oh, mitigate our threaten'd doom of death; If we declare, with mingled grief and shame, We cannot tell the secret of the king, Nor what these mystic characters portend!
Bel. Off with their heads! Ye shall not live an hour! Curse on your shallow arts, your lying science! 'Tis thus you practise on the credulous world, Who think you wise because themselves are weak! But, miscreants, ye shall die! the pow'r to punish Is all that I have left me of a king. Ist Cour. Great Sire, suspend their punishment
awhile. Behold Nitocris comes, thy royal mother!
O my misguided son!
If haply I may show some likely means
Speak, O queen!
Then hear me.
Send with speed
Enter DANIEL Bel. Welcome, thrice venerable sage! approach. Art thou that Daniel whom my great forefather Brought hither with the captive tribes of Judah? Dan.
I am, O king! Bel.
Then, pardon, holy prophet; Nor let a just resentment of thy wrongs, And long-neglected merit shut thy heart Against a king's request, a suppliant king.
Dan. The God I worship teaches to forgive.
Bel. Then let thy words bring comfort to my soul. I've beard the spirit of the gods is in thee; That thou canst look into the fates of men With prescience more than human ! Dan.
Hold, O king! Wisdom is from above; ’tis God's own gift; I of myself am nothing: but from Him The little knowledge I possess, I hold; To Him be all the glory! Bel.
Then, O Daniel! If thou indeed dost boast that wondrous gift, That faculty divine, look there and tell me! O say what mean those mystic characters ? Remove this load of terror from my soul, And honours, such as kings can give, await thee. Thou shalt be great beyond thy soul's ambition, And rich above thy wildest dream of wealth: Clad in the scarlet robe our nobles wear, And grac'd with princely ensigns, thou shalt stand Near our own throne, and third within our empire.
Dan. O mighty king, thy gifts with thee remain, And let thy high rewards on others fall.
The princely ensign, nor the scarlet robe,
Yet, О king !
Speak, O prophet!