In the strength of his shields, the Assyrian comes down,
The earth, with her rivers and mountains, his own.
He comes, like a giant refresh'd with new wine,
Exulting in strength, while his men of war shine.
In the pride of his heart to the fight he advances,
The wilderness flames with the gleam of his lances ;
The son of the forest, with howling affright,
Starts from the blaze to the darkness of night.
Like the roaring of waters, like bellowing of storm,
Like dark rolling clouds, to the combat they form;
And hurling their foes to the torrents of hell,
Triumphing sing to the glory of Bel."
"Look to the king! look to the lord!
Starting from the banquet board."
Pale, and motionless, as monumental stone,
The cold flesh quivers on the bone.
The sparkless eye upon the wall is raised,
There rivetted-it gazes glazed.
What can Assyria's greatness thus appall?
A sever'd hand is moving on that wall-
A sever'd hand, in deep mysterious gloom,
Traces the characters of doom.
O'er all that gorgeous room,
'Tis the deep hush of terror-and the breath
Already owns the chilling touch of death.
Chaldea's Seers, aghast,
Confess their science past.
Those characters remain
The hoary Hebrew came,
Upon his lips the prophet's flame
Burning in brightness.
His form is feeble, slow his
Wild ringlets shade his aged face,
Reverend in whiteness.
He saw, he read, he spoke ;
And all delirious, from his quiet broke.
As the arrow from the bow,
As the fish that flies the foe,
As the gush of Horeb flow'd,
As the lightning from the cloud,
Starts he to life,
Convulsive with prophetic strife.
His eye, where Age her film had drawn,
Flashes the flame of its glances;
His old, worn form, all animated shone,
Kindled and wild he advances;