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ACT ONE


1. Overture

Scene 1

(The Palace in Babylon)

2. Accompagnato

NITOCRIS
Vain, fluctuating state
of human empire!
First, small and weak,
it scarcely rears its head,
scarce stretching out
its helpless infant arms,
implores protection
of its neighbour states,
who nurse it to their hurt.
Anon, it strives
for power and wealth,
and spurns at opposition.
Arrived to full maturity,
it grasps at all
within its reach,
overleaps all bounds,
robs, ravages and wastes
the frighted world.
At length, grown old
and swelled to bulk enormous,
the monster
in its proper bowels feeds
pride, luxury,
corruption, perfidy,
contention, fell diseases of a state,
that prey upon her vitals.
Of her weakness
Some other rising power
advantage takes,
(Unequal match!)
plies with repeated strokes
Her infirm aged trunk:
she nods, she totters,
she falls,
alas, never to rise again!
The victor state,
upon her ruins raised,
runs the same shadowy round
of fancied greatness,
meets the same certain end.

3. Air

Thou, God most high, and Thou alone,
unchanged for ever dost remain:
Through boundless space
extends thy throne,
through all eternity thy reign.
As nothing in thy sight
The reptile man appears,
Howe'er imagined great;
Who can impair thy might?
In heaven or earth,
who dares dispute thy power?
Thy will is fate.
Thou, God most high, and Thou alone,
unchanged for ever dost remain:
Through boundless space
extends thy throne,
through all eternity thyreign.

4. Recitative

The fate of Babylon
I fear, is nigh.
I have sought to avert it;
small my skill,
had not the Hebrew prophet
with his counsel
supported my weak steps.
See, where he comes:
wisdom and goodness
in his front serene
conspicuous sit enthroned.

(Enter Daniel)

Oh, much beloved
of God and man!
Say, is there aught can save
this sinking state?

DANIEL
Great Queen, 'tis not for man
to pry into the counsels of omniscience.
But you have done
your duty, I mine.
No more remains but to submit to what
God, only wise and just, ordains.

5. Air

Lament not thus, O Queen, in vain!
Virtue's part is to resign
all things to the will divine,
nor of its just decrees complain.
The sins of Babylon urge on her fate;
but virtue still this comfort gives,
on earth she finds a safe retreat,
or blessed in Heav'n
for ever lives.

Scene 2

(The camp of Cyrus before Babylon. A view of the city, with the River Euphrates running through it. Cyrus, Gobrias,
Medes and Persians)

6. BABYLONIANS
(upon the walls, deriding Cyrus, as engaged in an impractible undertaking)
Behold, by Persia's hero made
in ample form, the strong blockade!
How broad the ditch,
how deep it falls!
What lofty towers o'erlook the walls!
Hark, Cyrus!
Twenty times the sun round
the great year his course shall run:
If there so long thy army stay,
not yet to dogs and birds a prey,
no succour from without arrive,
within remain no means to live,
we then may think it time to treat,
and Babylon capitulate.
A tedious time!
To make it short,
thy wise attempt will find us sport.

7. Recitative

GOBRIAS
Well may they laugh,
from meagre famine safe,
in plenteous stores
for more than twenty years;
from all assault secure
in gates of brass,
and walls stupendous;
in Euphrates' depth
yet more secure.

CYRUS
'Tis that security
shall aid me to their ruin.
I tell thee, Gobrias,
I will revenge thy wrongs upon the head
of this inhuman king.

8. Accompagnato

GOBRIAS
Oh, memory!
Still bitter to my soul!
Methinks I see my son,
the best, the loveliest of mankind,
whose filial love and duty
above all sons
made me above all other fathers happy,
I see him breathless
at the tyrant's feet,
the victim of his envy.

9. Air

Oppressed with never-ceasing grief,
I drag a painful, weary life;
of all that made
life sweet bereft,
no hope, but in revenge, is left.

10. Air

CYRUS
Dry those unavailing tears,
haste your just revenge to speed;
I'll disperse your gloomy fears,
dawning hope shall soon succeed.

11. Recitative

Be comforted:
safe though the tyrant seem
within those walls,
I have a stratagem,
inspired by Heav'n
(dreams oft descend from Heav'n)
shall baffle all his strength;
so strong my mind
the impression bears,
I cannot think it less.

12. Accompagnato

Methought, as on the bank
of deep Euphrates I stood,
revolving in my anxious mind
our arduous enterprise,
a voice divine,
in thunder uttered,
to the bottom seemed
to pierce the river's depth.
The lofty towers of yon proud city
trembling bowed their heads,
a they would kiss the ground.
"Thou deep," it said, “be dry".
No more; but instant at the word,
the stream forsook its bank,
and in a moment left bare
his oozy bed.
Amazed I stood:
Horror, till then unknown,
uprais'd my hair,
and froze my falt'ring tongue.
The voice renew'd:
"Cyrus, go on, and conquer:
'tis I that rais'd thee,
I will direct thy way.
Build thou my city,
and without ransom
set my captives free."

13. Recitative

CYRUS
Now tell me, Gobrias,
does not this Euphrates
flow through the midst of Babylon?

GOBRIAS
It does.

CYRUS
And I have heard you say,
that on the west a monstrous lake,
on every side extended,
four hundred furlongs,
while the banks were made,
received the exhausted river?

GOBRIAS
'Tis most true.

CYRUS
Might we not then
by the same means now
drain Euphrates dry,
and through its channel
march into the city?

GOBRIAS
Suppose this done:
yet still the brazen gates,
which from the city to the river lead,
will bar our passage,
always shut by night,
when we must make the attempt.
Could we suppose
those gates unshut,
we might indeed ascend
with ease into the city.

CYRUS
Said you not
This is the feast to Sesach consecrate?
And that the Babylonians spend the night
in drunken revels, and in loose disorder?

GOBRIAS
They do; and 'tis religion to be drunk
on this occasion.

14. Air

Behold the monstrous human beast
wallowing in excessive feast!
No more his Maker's image found:
but, self-degraded to a swine,
he fixes grov'ling on the ground
his portion of the breath Divine.
Behold the monstrous human beast
wallowing in excessive feast!

15. Recitative

CYRUS
Can you then think it strange,
if drown'd in wine,
and from above infatuate,
they neglect the means of their own safety?

16. Air

Great God, who, yet but darkly known,
thus far hast deigned my arms to bring;
support me still, while I pull down
Assyria's proud, injurious king.
So shall this hand thy altars raise,
this tongue for ever sing thy praise;
and all thy will, when clearly shown,
by thy glad servant shall be done.

17. Recitative

My friends, be confident,
and boldly enter
upon this high exploit.
No little cause
we have to hope success;
since not unjustly we have attacked,
but being first attacked,
we have pursued the aggressor.
Add to this, that I proceed in nothing
with neglect of power divine:
whatever I undertake,
I still begin with God,
and gain His favour
with sacrifice and prayer.

18. Chorus
All empires upon God depend;
begun by his command,
at his command they end.
Look up to him in all your ways,
begin with prayer
and end with praise.

Scene 3

(Daniel's house. Daniel, with the Prophecies of Isaiah and Jeremiah open before him. Other Jews)

19. Air

DANIEL
O sacred oracles of truth,
o living spring of purest joy!
By day be ever in my mouth,
and all my nightly thoughts employ.
Whoever withhold attention due,
neglect themselves, despising you.
O sacred oracles of truth,
o living spring of purest joy!
By day be ever in my mouth,
and all my nightly thoughts employ.

20. Accompagnato

Rejoice, my countrymen!
The time draws near,
the long-expected time herein foretold:
"Seek now the Lord your God
with all your heart,
and you shall surely find him.
He shall turn your
long captivity:
he shall gather you from all the nations
whither you are driven,
and to your native land
in peace restore you."
For long ago,
Whole ages ere this Cyrus
yet was born or thought of,
great Jehovah, by His Prophet,
in words of comfort
to his captive people
foretold, and called by name
the wonderous man.

21. Air

"Thus saith the Lord to Cyrus, his anointed,
whose right hand I have holden,
to subdue nations before him:
I will go before thee, to loose
the strong-knit loins of mighty kings,
make straight the crooked places,
break in pieces the gates of solid brass,
and cut in sunder the bars of iron,
for my servant's sake, Israel my chosen.
Though thou hast not known me,
I have surnamed thee:
I have girded thee:
that from the rising to the setting sun
the nations may confess,
I am the Lord, there is none else,
there is no God besides me.
Thou shalt perform my pleasure,
to Jerusalem saying, ‘Thou shalt be built’;
and to the Temple, ‘Thy razed foundation
shall again be laid’."

22. CHORUS
Sing,
O ye Heavens,
for the Lord hath done it!
Earth, from thy centre shout!
Break forth, ye mountains,
into songs of joy,
o forest,
and each tree therein,
for the Lord hath done it!
Jehovah hath redeemed Jacob,
And glorified himself in Israel.
Hallelujah!
Amen, Hallelujah!

Scene 4

(The Palace. Belshazzard, Nitocris, Babylonians and Jews)

23. Air

BELSHAZZAR
Let festal joy triumphant reign,
Glad every heart,
in every face appear!
Free flow the wine,
nor flow in vain;
Far fly corroding care.
Each hand the chime melodious raise,
each voice exult in Sesach's praise;
Let order vanish!
Liberty alone,
unbounded liberty
the night shall crown.
Let festal joy triumphant reign.
Free flow the wine,
nor flow in vain;
Far fly corroding care.

24. Recitative

For you my friends,
the nobles of my court,
I have prepar'd a feast magnificent,
worthy of you and me.
Let all my wives and concubines attend.
Our royal mother…

NITOCRIS
I must prevent thee, son.
Who can endure
the unbridled license of this festival,
Miscalled by the licentious, liberty?
Where nought prevails
but riotous excess,
The noisy idiot laugh,
the jest obscene,
the scurril taunt,
and drunken midnight brawl.
My soul starts back at such brutality,
Asserting reason's empire.

25. Air

The leafy honours of the field,
before the furious driving wind,
in giddy dissipation fly.
To noise and folly forc'd to yield,
the fair ideas quit the mind,
and lost in wild confusion lie.
The leafy honours of the field,
before the furious driving wind,
in giddy dissipation fly.

26. Recitative

BELSHAZZAR
It is the custom, I may say, the law,
by long prescription fixed.

(looking round and spying the Jews)

These captive Jews!
What do they here?
They lower upon our joys,
and envy liberty they cannot taste.
Yet something
your perverse and wayward nation
shall to our mirth contribute.
Bring those vessels,
those costly vessels
my victorious grandsire
took from the Temple of Jerusalem,
and in the temple of Bel laid up,
but used them not:
'tis fit they should be used.
And let their God,
whose power was found too weak
to save his people,
serve the conquerors
of him and them.
We'll revel in his cups:
Their rich materials
and choice workmanship
shall well augment
the splendor of our feast.
And as we drink,
we'll praise our country gods,
To whom we owe the prize.

NITOCRIS
Oh, sacrilege,
Unheard of profanation!

27. JEWS
Recall, O king, thy rash command!
Nor prostitute with impious hand
to uses vile the holy things
of great Jehovah, king of kings.
Thy grandsire trembled at his name,
and doomed to death who durst blaspheme;
For he, like us,
his power had tried,
confessed him just in all his ways,
confessed him able to abase
the sons of men
that walk in pride.

28. Recitative

NITOCRIS
They tell you true;
nor can you be to learn
Though ease and pleasure
have engrossed you all
things done in public view.
I'll not repeat the seven-fold
heated furnace,
by that God whom you defy,
made to his faithful servants
a walk of recreation;
nor the king, in height of all his pride,
drove from his throne,
and from the first of men,
in thought a god,
reduced to brutal rank:
all this, and more,
thou knows't as well as I,
and shoulds't consider.

BELSHAZZAR
Away!
Is then my mother convert grown
to Jewish superstition?
Apostate queen!
These idle tales might well become
the dotage of palsied eld,
but not a queen like you,
in prime of life,
for wisdon far renown'd.
On to the feast!
I waste my time too long
in frivolous dispute,
time, due of right
to pleasure and the gods.

29. Duet

NITOCRIS
O dearer than my life,
forbear!
Profane not, o my son,
with impious rites Jehovah's Name.
Remember what His arm has done,
The earth contains not half his fame:
Remember, and his vengeance fear!

BELSHAZZAR
O queen, this hateful theme forbear!
Join not against your son
with captive slaves,
your country's foes.
Remember what our gods have done
To those who durst their power oppose.
Remember, and their vengeance fear.

NITOCRIS
Alas! Then must I see my son
headlong to sure destruction run?

BELSHAZZAR
Not to destruction but delight
I fly, and all once more invite
to reign with me this happy night.

NITOCRIS
O dearer than my life,
forbear!

(Exeunt severally)

30. Chorus of Jews
By slow degress the wrath of God
to its meridian height ascends;
There mercy long
the dreadful bolt suspends,
ere it offending man annoy;
Long patient for repentance waits,
reluctant to destroy.
At length the wretch, obdurate grown,
infatuate, makes the ruin all his own;
And every step he takes,
on his devoted head
precipitates the thunder down.
ACT ONE


1. Overture

Scene 1

(The Palace in Babylon)

2. Accompagnato

NITOCRIS
Vain, fluctuating state
of human empire!
First, small and weak,
it scarcely rears its head,
scarce stretching out
its helpless infant arms,
implores protection
of its neighbour states,
who nurse it to their hurt.
Anon, it strives
for power and wealth,
and spurns at opposition.
Arrived to full maturity,
it grasps at all
within its reach,
overleaps all bounds,
robs, ravages and wastes
the frighted world.
At length, grown old
and swelled to bulk enormous,
the monster
in its proper bowels feeds
pride, luxury,
corruption, perfidy,
contention, fell diseases of a state,
that prey upon her vitals.
Of her weakness
Some other rising power
advantage takes,
(Unequal match!)
plies with repeated strokes
Her infirm aged trunk:
she nods, she totters,
she falls,
alas, never to rise again!
The victor state,
upon her ruins raised,
runs the same shadowy round
of fancied greatness,
meets the same certain end.

3. Air

Thou, God most high, and Thou alone,
unchanged for ever dost remain:
Through boundless space
extends thy throne,
through all eternity thy reign.
As nothing in thy sight
The reptile man appears,
Howe'er imagined great;
Who can impair thy might?
In heaven or earth,
who dares dispute thy power?
Thy will is fate.
Thou, God most high, and Thou alone,
unchanged for ever dost remain:
Through boundless space
extends thy throne,
through all eternity thyreign.

4. Recitative

The fate of Babylon
I fear, is nigh.
I have sought to avert it;
small my skill,
had not the Hebrew prophet
with his counsel
supported my weak steps.
See, where he comes:
wisdom and goodness
in his front serene
conspicuous sit enthroned.

(Enter Daniel)

Oh, much beloved
of God and man!
Say, is there aught can save
this sinking state?

DANIEL
Great Queen, 'tis not for man
to pry into the counsels of omniscience.
But you have done
your duty, I mine.
No more remains but to submit to what
God, only wise and just, ordains.

5. Air

Lament not thus, O Queen, in vain!
Virtue's part is to resign
all things to the will divine,
nor of its just decrees complain.
The sins of Babylon urge on her fate;
but virtue still this comfort gives,
on earth she finds a safe retreat,
or blessed in Heav'n
for ever lives.

Scene 2

(The camp of Cyrus before Babylon. A view of the city, with the River Euphrates running through it. Cyrus, Gobrias,
Medes and Persians)

6. BABYLONIANS
(upon the walls, deriding Cyrus, as engaged in an impractible undertaking)
Behold, by Persia's hero made
in ample form, the strong blockade!
How broad the ditch,
how deep it falls!
What lofty towers o'erlook the walls!
Hark, Cyrus!
Twenty times the sun round
the great year his course shall run:
If there so long thy army stay,
not yet to dogs and birds a prey,
no succour from without arrive,
within remain no means to live,
we then may think it time to treat,
and Babylon capitulate.
A tedious time!
To make it short,
thy wise attempt will find us sport.

7. Recitative

GOBRIAS
Well may they laugh,
from meagre famine safe,
in plenteous stores
for more than twenty years;
from all assault secure
in gates of brass,
and walls stupendous;
in Euphrates' depth
yet more secure.

CYRUS
'Tis that security
shall aid me to their ruin.
I tell thee, Gobrias,
I will revenge thy wrongs upon the head
of this inhuman king.

8. Accompagnato

GOBRIAS
Oh, memory!
Still bitter to my soul!
Methinks I see my son,
the best, the loveliest of mankind,
whose filial love and duty
above all sons
made me above all other fathers happy,
I see him breathless
at the tyrant's feet,
the victim of his envy.

9. Air

Oppressed with never-ceasing grief,
I drag a painful, weary life;
of all that made
life sweet bereft,
no hope, but in revenge, is left.

10. Air

CYRUS
Dry those unavailing tears,
haste your just revenge to speed;
I'll disperse your gloomy fears,
dawning hope shall soon succeed.

11. Recitative

Be comforted:
safe though the tyrant seem
within those walls,
I have a stratagem,
inspired by Heav'n
(dreams oft descend from Heav'n)
shall baffle all his strength;
so strong my mind
the impression bears,
I cannot think it less.

12. Accompagnato

Methought, as on the bank
of deep Euphrates I stood,
revolving in my anxious mind
our arduous enterprise,
a voice divine,
in thunder uttered,
to the bottom seemed
to pierce the river's depth.
The lofty towers of yon proud city
trembling bowed their heads,
a they would kiss the ground.
"Thou deep," it said, “be dry".
No more; but instant at the word,
the stream forsook its bank,
and in a moment left bare
his oozy bed.
Amazed I stood:
Horror, till then unknown,
uprais'd my hair,
and froze my falt'ring tongue.
The voice renew'd:
"Cyrus, go on, and conquer:
'tis I that rais'd thee,
I will direct thy way.
Build thou my city,
and without ransom
set my captives free."

13. Recitative

CYRUS
Now tell me, Gobrias,
does not this Euphrates
flow through the midst of Babylon?

GOBRIAS
It does.

CYRUS
And I have heard you say,
that on the west a monstrous lake,
on every side extended,
four hundred furlongs,
while the banks were made,
received the exhausted river?

GOBRIAS
'Tis most true.

CYRUS
Might we not then
by the same means now
drain Euphrates dry,
and through its channel
march into the city?

GOBRIAS
Suppose this done:
yet still the brazen gates,
which from the city to the river lead,
will bar our passage,
always shut by night,
when we must make the attempt.
Could we suppose
those gates unshut,
we might indeed ascend
with ease into the city.

CYRUS
Said you not
This is the feast to Sesach consecrate?
And that the Babylonians spend the night
in drunken revels, and in loose disorder?

GOBRIAS
They do; and 'tis religion to be drunk
on this occasion.

14. Air

Behold the monstrous human beast
wallowing in excessive feast!
No more his Maker's image found:
but, self-degraded to a swine,
he fixes grov'ling on the ground
his portion of the breath Divine.
Behold the monstrous human beast
wallowing in excessive feast!

15. Recitative

CYRUS
Can you then think it strange,
if drown'd in wine,
and from above infatuate,
they neglect the means of their own safety?

16. Air

Great God, who, yet but darkly known,
thus far hast deigned my arms to bring;
support me still, while I pull down
Assyria's proud, injurious king.
So shall this hand thy altars raise,
this tongue for ever sing thy praise;
and all thy will, when clearly shown,
by thy glad servant shall be done.

17. Recitative

My friends, be confident,
and boldly enter
upon this high exploit.
No little cause
we have to hope success;
since not unjustly we have attacked,
but being first attacked,
we have pursued the aggressor.
Add to this, that I proceed in nothing
with neglect of power divine:
whatever I undertake,
I still begin with God,
and gain His favour
with sacrifice and prayer.

18. Chorus
All empires upon God depend;
begun by his command,
at his command they end.
Look up to him in all your ways,
begin with prayer
and end with praise.

Scene 3

(Daniel's house. Daniel, with the Prophecies of Isaiah and Jeremiah open before him. Other Jews)

19. Air

DANIEL
O sacred oracles of truth,
o living spring of purest joy!
By day be ever in my mouth,
and all my nightly thoughts employ.
Whoever withhold attention due,
neglect themselves, despising you.
O sacred oracles of truth,
o living spring of purest joy!
By day be ever in my mouth,
and all my nightly thoughts employ.

20. Accompagnato

Rejoice, my countrymen!
The time draws near,
the long-expected time herein foretold:
"Seek now the Lord your God
with all your heart,
and you shall surely find him.
He shall turn your
long captivity:
he shall gather you from all the nations
whither you are driven,
and to your native land
in peace restore you."
For long ago,
Whole ages ere this Cyrus
yet was born or thought of,
great Jehovah, by His Prophet,
in words of comfort
to his captive people
foretold, and called by name
the wonderous man.

21. Air

"Thus saith the Lord to Cyrus, his anointed,
whose right hand I have holden,
to subdue nations before him:
I will go before thee, to loose
the strong-knit loins of mighty kings,
make straight the crooked places,
break in pieces the gates of solid brass,
and cut in sunder the bars of iron,
for my servant's sake, Israel my chosen.
Though thou hast not known me,
I have surnamed thee:
I have girded thee:
that from the rising to the setting sun
the nations may confess,
I am the Lord, there is none else,
there is no God besides me.
Thou shalt perform my pleasure,
to Jerusalem saying, ‘Thou shalt be built’;
and to the Temple, ‘Thy razed foundation
shall again be laid’."

22. CHORUS
Sing,
O ye Heavens,
for the Lord hath done it!
Earth, from thy centre shout!
Break forth, ye mountains,
into songs of joy,
o forest,
and each tree therein,
for the Lord hath done it!
Jehovah hath redeemed Jacob,
And glorified himself in Israel.
Hallelujah!
Amen, Hallelujah!

Scene 4

(The Palace. Belshazzard, Nitocris, Babylonians and Jews)

23. Air

BELSHAZZAR
Let festal joy triumphant reign,
Glad every heart,
in every face appear!
Free flow the wine,
nor flow in vain;
Far fly corroding care.
Each hand the chime melodious raise,
each voice exult in Sesach's praise;
Let order vanish!
Liberty alone,
unbounded liberty
the night shall crown.
Let festal joy triumphant reign.
Free flow the wine,
nor flow in vain;
Far fly corroding care.

24. Recitative

For you my friends,
the nobles of my court,
I have prepar'd a feast magnificent,
worthy of you and me.
Let all my wives and concubines attend.
Our royal mother…

NITOCRIS
I must prevent thee, son.
Who can endure
the unbridled license of this festival,
Miscalled by the licentious, liberty?
Where nought prevails
but riotous excess,
The noisy idiot laugh,
the jest obscene,
the scurril taunt,
and drunken midnight brawl.
My soul starts back at such brutality,
Asserting reason's empire.

25. Air

The leafy honours of the field,
before the furious driving wind,
in giddy dissipation fly.
To noise and folly forc'd to yield,
the fair ideas quit the mind,
and lost in wild confusion lie.
The leafy honours of the field,
before the furious driving wind,
in giddy dissipation fly.

26. Recitative

BELSHAZZAR
It is the custom, I may say, the law,
by long prescription fixed.

(looking round and spying the Jews)

These captive Jews!
What do they here?
They lower upon our joys,
and envy liberty they cannot taste.
Yet something
your perverse and wayward nation
shall to our mirth contribute.
Bring those vessels,
those costly vessels
my victorious grandsire
took from the Temple of Jerusalem,
and in the temple of Bel laid up,
but used them not:
'tis fit they should be used.
And let their God,
whose power was found too weak
to save his people,
serve the conquerors
of him and them.
We'll revel in his cups:
Their rich materials
and choice workmanship
shall well augment
the splendor of our feast.
And as we drink,
we'll praise our country gods,
To whom we owe the prize.

NITOCRIS
Oh, sacrilege,
Unheard of profanation!

27. JEWS
Recall, O king, thy rash command!
Nor prostitute with impious hand
to uses vile the holy things
of great Jehovah, king of kings.
Thy grandsire trembled at his name,
and doomed to death who durst blaspheme;
For he, like us,
his power had tried,
confessed him just in all his ways,
confessed him able to abase
the sons of men
that walk in pride.

28. Recitative

NITOCRIS
They tell you true;
nor can you be to learn
Though ease and pleasure
have engrossed you all
things done in public view.
I'll not repeat the seven-fold
heated furnace,
by that God whom you defy,
made to his faithful servants
a walk of recreation;
nor the king, in height of all his pride,
drove from his throne,
and from the first of men,
in thought a god,
reduced to brutal rank:
all this, and more,
thou knows't as well as I,
and shoulds't consider.

BELSHAZZAR
Away!
Is then my mother convert grown
to Jewish superstition?
Apostate queen!
These idle tales might well become
the dotage of palsied eld,
but not a queen like you,
in prime of life,
for wisdon far renown'd.
On to the feast!
I waste my time too long
in frivolous dispute,
time, due of right
to pleasure and the gods.

29. Duet

NITOCRIS
O dearer than my life,
forbear!
Profane not, o my son,
with impious rites Jehovah's Name.
Remember what His arm has done,
The earth contains not half his fame:
Remember, and his vengeance fear!

BELSHAZZAR
O queen, this hateful theme forbear!
Join not against your son
with captive slaves,
your country's foes.
Remember what our gods have done
To those who durst their power oppose.
Remember, and their vengeance fear.

NITOCRIS
Alas! Then must I see my son
headlong to sure destruction run?

BELSHAZZAR
Not to destruction but delight
I fly, and all once more invite
to reign with me this happy night.

NITOCRIS
O dearer than my life,
forbear!

(Exeunt severally)

30. Chorus of Jews
By slow degress the wrath of God
to its meridian height ascends;
There mercy long
the dreadful bolt suspends,
ere it offending man annoy;
Long patient for repentance waits,
reluctant to destroy.
At length the wretch, obdurate grown,
infatuate, makes the ruin all his own;
And every step he takes,
on his devoted head
precipitates the thunder down.



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