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Medieval and Classical Library

Codex Junius 11

[Oxford, Bodleian Library, Junius 11, pp.173-212]

Online Medieval and Classical Library Release #14b


(ll. 1-21) In Jerusalem, as I have heard, the Hebrews prospered,
dispensing treasure and holding kingly sway, as well was meet,
when by the might of God the host and all the battle legion were
given into Moses' hand, and in a multitude they got them forth
from Egypt.  That was a valiant race so long as they might rule
their realm and sway their cities!  As long as they kept the
covenant of their fathers, great was their prosperity!  And God,
the Warden of the heavenly kingdom, the Holy Lord, the Prince of
glory, the Lord of every creature, watched over them, and gave
them strength and courage, so that in war they conquered many
nations who rose against them, until at last pride came upon them
at their wine-feasts, drunken thoughts and devilish deeds, and
they forsook the teachings of their law, and the might of God. 
So should no man sunder his soul's love from God.

(ll. 22-32) Then I beheld that nation walking in ways of error,
the tribe of Israel following after sin, and doing evil.  That
was a grief to God!  The Warden of the heavenly kingdom oft sent
His holy prophets, proclaiming knowledge to the people, and
wisdom to the host.  A little time they trusted in His counsels,
till longing for the joys of earth defrauded them of lasting
wisdom, and in the end they turned them from the laws of God, and
chose the Devil's craft.

(ll. 33-56) Then the Lord became displeased and angered with that
people whom He had prospered.  To them, a wandering folk, who
once were dearest of mankind to God, dearest of all peoples and
best loved of the Lord, He had showed a highway to their lofty
city and their native land, where Salem stood, wailed round about
and girt with battlements.  Thither the wise men, the Chaldean
people, came up against the city within whose walls their wealth
was stored.  A host rose up to smite them, a great army, eager
for deeds of blood.  Nebuchadnezzar, the lord of men and prince
of Babylon, stirred up strife against them in his city.  In
enmity he searched the thoughts of his heart how he most easily
could smite the Israelites and take them captive.  From south and
north he mustered savage legions, faring westward with a band of
heathen princes against that lofty town.  The rulers of Israel
prospered as long as the Lord would let them!

(ll. 57-78) Then, as I have heard, these mortal foes, a host of
unbelievers, sacked their city.  From Solomon's temple, that
glorious building, they took red gold and jewels and silver. 
They plundered the treasure under the walls of stone, all such as
those earls possessed, till they had razed and wasted every
stronghold which stood for a protection to that people.  They
carried off as spoil the treasure of princes, as much as was
found there, cattle and men; and so returned, with great
possessions, over the eastern roads, leading the tribe of Israel,
a countless host, on a long journey unto Babylon, into the power
of heathen judges.  And Nebuchadnezzar showed no pity on the
tribe of Israel, but made them subject unto him to be his slaves,
all such as had escaped the sword.  And he sent a great host of
his thanes into the west to take possession of their kingdom and
their wasted realm, after the Hebrews.

(ll. 79-87) He bade his prefects seek among the wretched remnant
of the tribe of Israel which of the young men they had brought
there were wisest in the books of the law.  He wished the youths
to grow in knowledge, that they might teach him wisdom, but'not
at all because he could or would be mindful to thank God for all
the gifts which He had given him to his comfort.

(ll. 88-103) And they found three wise and noble youths, devout
and young, and with the fear of God.  One was Hananiah; the
second, Azariah; the third was Mishael, chosen of the Lord. 
Stout of heart and thoughtful-minded the young men came before
the king, where the heathen ruler sat rejoicing in his splendour
in the city of the Chaldeans.  And the Hebrew men with holy
hearts spake words of wisdom and great learning unto the proud
prince.  Then the lord of Babylon, the haughty king, bade his
thanes and princes on their lives see to it that the three youths
knew no lack of food or raiment all their life long.


(ll. 104-115) Now the famous lord of Babylon was great and
glorious over all the earth, and terrible to the sons of men.  He
lived in insolence and heeded not the law.  And there came to the
great king in his slumber, when the prince had gone to his rest,
a terrible dream that hovered about his heart, how wondrously the
world was wrought, unlike for men, until the world's redemption.
Truth was revealed as he slumbered, that there would come a
bitter end to every rule and to the joys of earth.

(ll. 116-129) Then the wolf-hearted lord of Babylon awoke from
his wine-flushed slumber.  His heart was not blithe; but a fear
was upon him, and dread of the dream.  Yet he could not recall
what the vision had been.  And he summoned his people, all such
as were skilled in magic, and asked the men so gathered what his
dream had been, while men lay sleeping.  He was shaken with
terror and knew no beginning nor word of the dream; but he bade
them tell it to him.  Troubled, the sorcerers answered (for
wisdom was not given them to tell his dream unto the king):

(ll. 130-133) "How may we divine so secret a thing in thy soul, O
king!  how thy dream hath run, or knowledge come to thee of
Fate's decrees, except thou tell us first the beginning of thy

(ll. 134-144) And the wolf-hearted king was vexed, and answered
his wise men: "Ye were not so wise above all men as ye told me,
saying ye knew my fate as it should fall, or I should find it in
the future, nor do ye know the dream that bringeth wisdom before
this people.  Ye shall die the death except I know the import of
the dream that lieth heavy on my heart."

(ll. 145-157) But the company there gathered might not divine or
search out knowledge, for it was denied them to tell the king his
dream, or the mysteries of fate, until Daniel, the prophet, wise
and righteous, and beloved of God, came to the palace to
interpret the vision.  He had pre-eminence among that wretched
remnant who needs must serve the henthen king.  God gave him
grace from heaven through the communion of the Holy Spirit; and
an angel of the Lord rehearsed to him all the dream, even as the
king had dreamed it.

(ll. 158-177) Then went Daniel at the dawn of day to tell the
dream unto his lord, recounting wisely the decrees of fate; and
soon the haughty king knew all the dream, its end and its
beginning, that he had dreamed.  And Daniel had great honour and
reward in Babylon among the scribes, after he showed the dream
unto the king which the prince of Babylon had not been able to
remember because of his sins.  Yet could not Daniel bring him to
believe in the might of God, but he began to build an idol in the
plain which men called Dura, which was in the land of the mighty
Babylonians.  The city-warden, the ruler of the realm, reared an
idol before men, a golden image displeasing unto God; he was not
wise, but redeless, reckless, heeding not the right....

((LACUNA -- One leaf missing.))

(ll. 178-187) The warriors listened; and when the sound of the
voice of the trumpet came to the city-dwellers, the heathen
people fell upon their knees before the image, and bowed them
down before the idol, and worshipped it, knowing no better
wisdom.  Wickedness they wrought and sin, with hearts perverted,
even as their king.  As their lord before them, the people turned
to folly.  Grim the reward that came on him thereafter!  For he
had sinned.

(ll. 188-208) Now there were three men of Israel in the city of
the king who would not heed their lord's decree, nor offer up
their prayers unto the idol, though trumpets sang aloud among the
host.  They were of the stock of Abraham's children, faithful men
who served Almighty God, the Everlasting Lord in heaven above. 
The royal youths gave men to know they would not have or hold the
golden image as a god, but only the Great King, Shepherd of
souls, who granted them His grace.  Oft they said boldly that
they recked naught of the idol, nor could the leader of the
heathen people constrain them unto prayer, nor compel them to go
before the golden image which he had set up as a god.  These
thanes said unto their lord that this was their resolve: that
they were subject to a higher power in this lofty city, "nor will
we ever work idolatry, nor worship the image which thou hast made
to be thy god."

(ll. 209-223) Then the prince of Babylon was angered with them,
and in wrath gave them savage answer: grimly said that they
should quickly worship, or suffer pain and torture, the cruel
surge of flame, except they sought protection of that worst of
demons, the golden image which he had made his god.  Yet would
the youths not hearken in their hearts unto his heathen counsels. 
They were resolved to keep the law of God and not forsake the
Lord of hosts, lest that their virtue turn to heathen folly. 
They had no longing to seek shelter with false gods, though
bitter the death proclaimed!


(ll. 224-241) Then the fierce king was moved to anger, and bade
them kindle a furnace to torture the youths to death, because
they withstood his will.  The furnace was heated, as fiercely as
might be, with cruel flames of fire.  And the lord of Babylon,
savage and grim, assembled the people, and bade his servants bind
the prophets of God, and cast the young men in the flames.  But
He was ready who wrought them help!  Though the prince so
fiercely thrust them into the heart of the flame, yet a mighty
messenger of God preserved their lives, and brought them help
from heaven, as many learned.  From heaven above the Gracious
Lord of men sent unto them His Holy Spirit.  An angel passed
within the furnace, wherein they suffered torment, and covered
the noble youths with sheltering arms under the roof of fire. 
And the heat of the quivering flame could not mar their beauty;
but God preserved them.

(ll. 242-250) Then the heart of the heathen prince was hardened;
he bade them quickly be burned with fire.  The flame rose high,
the furnace was heated; through and through the iron glowed. 
Many a slave cast wood therein according to command.  Brands they
bore to the ruddy blaze.  The ruthless king would fain have built
an iron wall about those righteous men, but the flame passed over
them, beloved of God, and with joy slew more than was meet.

(ll. 251-268) The flame passed by the holy men and fell upon
their heathen foes.  The youths were blithe of heart!  Round
about the furnace burned the slaves; the fire took hold upon
those evil men to their hurt, and the prince of Babylon beheld
it.  Blithe were the Hebrew earls, praying to God with zeal and
gladness in the furnace, offering their accustomed praise,
because their lives were spared.  With joyful hearts they
worshipped God, in whose protection the fierce heat of the flame
was turned away.  The noble youths were sheltered from the
flames' assault, and suffered naught of evil.  The roaring
furnace was no more grievous unto them than the shining of the
sun.  The fire harmed them not, but in their hour of danger the
flames passed over them, and fell on those who did them evil. 
The heathen slaves departed from the holy youths.  And the beauty
of those cursed men was lessened, whoso had rejoiced in that

(ll. 269-278) Now when the haughty king beheld how in that
torture a miracle was come to pass, and believed his senses, it
seemed to him a wondrous thing.  The righteous men, all three,
were walking unharmed in the fiery furnace, and one was seen
there walking with them, an angel of Almighty God.  No whit of
harm had come upon them, but within the furnace it was most like
as when in the summer season the sun shineth, and the dewfall
cometh at dawn, scattered by the wind.  It was the God of glory
who saved them from that peril.

(ll. 279-282) Then in the hot flame the holy Azariah,
eager-hearted, sang an inspired hymn. The sinless man praised God
and spake this word:

(ll. 283-295) "O Lord of all!  Thy might is strong to save! 
Excellent is Thy name in all the earth, sublime and great in
glory!  Thy laws are always sure and just and mighty, even as
Thou art mighty.  Wise and righteous is Thy will, O Lord of
heaven!  O God of spirits, grant us help and favour!  Save us, O
Holy Lord!  Wrapped in flame, we pray Thee for Thy mercy on our
woe, our thraldom and humiliation.

(ll. 295-308) "As we have wrought, so hath it come to pass.  Our
fathers also, city-dwellers, in pride have sinned, and broken Thy
commandments, and scorned a holy life.  We are scattered over all
the spacious earth and driven asunder, cast out from grace.  In
many lands and under many peoples our life is infamous and vile,
and we are subject to the worst of earthly kings, and captive to
grim-hearted men; in heathen lands we suffer thraldom.

(ll. 309-332) "Thanks be to Thee, O Lord of hosts!  that Thou
hast laid this punishment upon us.  Forsake us not, O Lord
Eternal, for Thy mercy's sake which men attribute unto Thee, and
for the covenant, O Lord of glory, Shaper of spirits, Saviour of
men!  which Thou didst give to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. 
Thou didst promise them in days of old that Thou wouldest bless
their seed, and that a mighty nation should be born of them, a
race to be exalted as the stars of heaven that trace their
wandering courses even to the strand of ocean, and the sands of
the sea-shore that form the foundations of the deep throughout
the salt sea; even so should they be numberless for untold years. 
Fulfil Thine ancient promise now, though few are living!  Show
forth Thy glory and Thy word upon us!  Make known Thy strength
and power, that the Chaldean race and many nations living heathen
lives may learn Thy glory under heaven, and know Thou only art
Eternal God, Wielder of victory, Lord of hosts and all creation,
the Righteous God."

(ll. 333-344) So the holy men praised the loving-kindness of the
Lord, rehearsing the strength of His might.  Then was a gleaming
angel sent from heaven above, with shining face and clothed in
glory, who came to comfort and deliver them with loving favour. 
Holy and heavenly bright, he cast aside the blaze of the hot
flame; with mighty strength he swept away and quenched the flame
of fire so that their bodies were not harmed a whir.  But in his
wrath he hurled the fire upon their foes, because of their deeds
of evil.

(ll. 345-361) Then in the furnace, when the angel came, the air
was cool and pleasant, most like the weather in the summer
season, when rain falleth during the day and warm showers from
the clouds.  As is the best of weather, so was it in the furnace
for their comfort through the holy might of God. The burning
flame was quenched and scattered where Hananiah, Azariah, and
Mishael, with brave hearts, were walking in the furnace, and the
angel with them who preserved their lives, who was the fourth.
Devout of heart, the three youths praised the Lord, and called
upon the sons of Israel and all created things of earth to bless
the Everlasting God, the Lord of nations. With understanding
hearts they spake with one accord:


(ll. 362-408) "O let the beauty of the world, and all Thy works,
bless Thee, our Gracious Father, the heavens and all the angels,
and the shining waters!  Let all, who in Thy great creation dwell
in heavenly glory, bless the Lord of might!  Let all things made,
the shining orbs that circle through the heavens, the sun and
moon, praise Thee in their degree.  Let the stars of heaven, and
dew and the fierce storm, praise Thee.  O let the souls of men
bless the Lord of might!  Let burning fire and radiant summer
praise Thee.  Let night and day and all lands, light and
darkness, heat and cold, praise Thee in their degree.  Let frost
and snow and wintry weather and the flying clouds bless the Lord
of might!  Let the swift, shining lightnings bless Thee!  Let all
the earth, the hills and plains and lofty mountains, the salt
sea-waves and ocean, and the welling springs, praise the
Everlasting God, the Righteous Lord!  Let the whales, and the
birds of the air that fly in the heavens, praise Thee.  Let all
that move in the water, wild beasts and all cattle, bless Thy
name!  Let all men praise Thee, yea!  let Israel bless the Lord,
who giveth all good things.  Let holy men of heart, the spirits
and souls of the righteous, praise the Everlasting God, the Lord
of life, who giveth a reward to all.  Let Hananiah and Azariah
and Mishael praise the Lord!  We worship Thee and bless Thee,
Lord of men, Almighty Father, and Thee, True Son of God, Saviour
of souls and Helper of manlkind, and Thee, O Holy Ghost, the God
of wisdom.  We praise Thee, Holy Lord, and worship Thee with
prayer.  Blessed art Thou, and adorned with holy might for ever,
above the world's roof reigning King of heaven, and Lord of life
in every land."

(ll. 409-415) Then Nebuchadnezzar, the lord of that people, spake
unto the princes who stood nigh unto him and said: "Ye beheld, my
princes, how we cast three men to a fiery death in the blazing
flames.  And now, in truth, I see four men therein, except my
sense deceive me."

(ll. 416-429) Then spake a counsellor of the king, wise of heart
and prudent of speech: "This is some marvel which we behold with
our eyes.  Bethink thee now, my lord, of what is fitting.  Know
who it is hath showed this grace upon the youths.  They worship
One Eternal God, and call on Him with zeal by every name.  With
eager words they praise His Majesty, and say that He alone is God
Almighty, Wise King of glory, of earth and heaven.  Call these
men forth from out the furnace, prince of the Chaldeans!  In no
wise is it well that they should linger in that torture longer
than thou hast need."

(ll. 430-439) Then the king bade the young men come before him. 
Boldly the noble youths obeyed His word and came as they were
bidden.  The young men rose and went before the heathen king. 
Their fetters were burned away and the bonds of the king which
were laid upon them, but their bodies were saved from harm.  For
their beauty was no wise injured, nor was any harm come upon
their garments, nor their hair singed by the fire, but in God's
protection they came forth gladly from that gruesome horror, wise
of heart and favoured by the Holy Ghost.

(ll. 440-457) Then the angel, a faithful servant to the Holy
Lord, departed up to seek eternal bliss on the high roof of the
heavenly kingdom.  And by that marvel he had honoured those who
had deserved it.  The young men praised the Lord before the
heathen host, exhorting them with words of truth, rehearsing many
truthful tokens before the king, until he too believed this was a
God of wonders who freed them from the darkness.  And the mighty
lord of Babylon, the haughty king, decreed among his people that
he was guilty unto death whoso denied this was a glorious God of
might who freed them from that death.  He gave back unto God the
remnants of His captive people and granted favour to his olden
foes.  And their prosperity in Babylon was great and their fame
was known throughout the nation, after they endured that trial by
fire, and obeyed their Lord.  Mighty were their counsels after
God, the Holy Warden of the heavenly kingdom, had shielded them
from harm.

(ll. 458-471) Then, as I have heard, when the lord of Babylon
perceived the marvel that was come to pass within the flames, he
was fain to know how the youths had passed through the blaze of
fire, and overwon the terror of the heated furnace and the
flames, so that the fury of the burning brands and raging furnace
had wrought God's prophets naught of harm, but His defence had
shielded them against that fearful peril.  And the prince
commanded a council, and summoned his people, and there, before
the multitude so gathered, rehearsed the event as it had come to
pass, and the miracle of God made known upon the youths:

(ll. 472-485) "Consider now the holy might and wondrous works of
God.  We saw how He shielded the young men in the furnace from
death and the leaping flames, because they served Him.  He only
is the Lord, Eternal and Almighty, who gives them glory and
abundant weal who preach His gospel.  And He reveals Himself by
many a wonder to holy hearts who seek His favour.  It is well
known that Daniel showed me the interpretation of a secret dream,
which formerly perplexed the minds of many men among my people,
because Almighty God had given him an understanding spirit in his
heart, and strength of wisdom."

(ll. 486-494) So spake the leader of the host, the lord of
Babylon, when he perceived the miracle and God's clear token. 
And yet he wrought no whit the better; pride ruled the prince. 
His heart was insolent and the thoughts of his heart were
thoughts of pride, more than was meet, until the Lord Almighty
humbled him, as He humbleth many who walk with arrogance.


(ll. 495-522) Now a dream came unto Nebuchadnezzar in his sleep
and troubled him.  It seemed to him that there stood a tree upon
the earth, wondrous fair, deeply rooted and gleaming with fruit. 
Nor was it like to other trees, but it towered unto the stars of
heaven, so that it overshadowed the regions of the world and all
the earth with its boughs and branches, even unto the shores of
the sea.  And as he gazed it seemed to him that the tree made
shelter for the wild beasts, and that it held food for them all,
and likewise that the birds of the air found sustenance in the
fruit of the tree.  And it seemed to him that an angel descended
from the heavens, and spake with a loud voice, commanding the
tree to be cut down, and the wild beasts and the birds to flee
away, when its fall should come.  And he bade that its fruit be
cut off and its branches and boughs. but that the roots of the
tree should abide fast in the earth as a token, until green
shoots should spring again when God granted.  And he bade bind
the mighty tree with brazen fetters and fetters of iron, and thus
bound cast it into torment, that his heart might know that a
mightier than he had power of correction, against whom he might
not prevail.

(ll. 523-537)  Then the earthly king awoke from his slumber, and
his dream was ended.  But fear of it was upon him, and terror of
the vision which God had sent him.  And the haughty king bade
summon his people together, and the leaders of the people, and
asked them all the import of his dream, in no wise thinking that
they knew; but he made trial of them how they would answer.  Then
Daniel, the prophet of God, was called unto judgment, and the
Holy Ghost was sent to him from heaven to strengthen his heart. 
In him the lord of men perceived an understanding spirit and
depth of counsel, strength of wisdom, words of judgment.  And
once again he showed forth many a wonder, the mighty works of
God, before the eyes of men.

(ll. 538-550) Then the proud, heathen leader of the host began to
tell his fearful dream, and all the horror of the vision that had
vexed him, and bade him tell the import of this secret thing,
bidding him speak in holy words and search his heart to tell with
truth the meaning of the tree which he saw gleaming, and declare
to him the decrees of fate.  Then he fell silent.  Yet Daniel
clearly saw in the assembly that his prince, the lord of men, was
guilty before God.  The prophet paused; then God's herald,
skilled in the law, made answer to the king:

(ll. 551-579) "This, O prince of men, is no little wonder, which
thou hast seen in thy dream, a tree as high as heaven, and the
holy words, wrathful and full of terror, which the angel spake --
that the tree should be stripped of its branches and fall, where
formerly it stood fast, lying joyless with the beasts, abiding in
a desert place, its roots to remain fast in the earth in
stillness for a season where it stood, as the Voice declared, and
then after seven years to receive increase again!  So shall thy
fortune be brought low!  As the tree grew high unto heaven so art
thou lord and ruler over all the dwellers of earth, and there is
none on earth to withstand thee save God alone.  He shall cut
thee off from thy kingdom and drive thee into exile without
friends, and thy heart shall be changed so that there shall be no
thought in thy heart of worldly joys, nor any reason in thy mind
save the ways of the wild beasts, but thou shalt live a long time
in the forest ranging with the deer.  Thou shalt have no food
save the grass of the field, nor any fixed abiding-place, but the
showers of rain shall drench thee and harass thee even as the
wild beasts, until after seven winters thou shalt believe there
is One God for all mankind, a Lord and Ruler dwelling in the

(ll. 580-592) "Yet is it pleasing unto me that the roots remained
fixed in the earth, as the Voice declared, and after seven
seasons received increase.  So shall thy kingdom stand unharmed
of men until thou come again.  Take now, my lord, firm counsel in
thy heart; give alms; defend the needy, and make atonement before
God, ere yet the hour cometh when He shall drive thee from thine
earthly kingdom.  Oft for many peoples God abateth pain and woe,
if they but earnestly repent them of their sins, ere His avenging
wrath, with fatal doom, hath laid them low."

(ll. 593-597) But Daniel was not able to speak these many words
of truth, with craft of wisdom, to his lord, so that the mighty
ruler of the world would heed; but pride ruled his heart.  And
bitter was his atonement!

(ll. 598-607) And as the king of the Chaldeans ruled his realm,
and beheld the city of Babylcn in its prosperity towering up to
heaven, the city which the prince had built with many a wonder
for his people, and the fields of the Shinarites wide-stretching
round about, then the king began to utter boastful words.  He
became perverse and arrogant of heart, beyond all men, because of
the special gifts which God had given him, a mighty kingdom and
the world to rule in the life of men:

(ll. 608-611) "Thou art the mighty city, famed afar, which I have
builded to my honour, a spacious kingdom.  I will have rest in
thee, a dwelling and a home."

(ll. 612-621) Then the lord of men was smitten for his boasting,
and driven into exile, arrogant of heart beyond all men.  Even as
in the days of strife, when God's swift wrath and anger smote him
from the heavens, Nebuchadnezzar trod the bitterest path unto
God's vengeance that ever living men have trod.  Seven winters
together the king of that fair city suffered torment, a
desert-life with beasts.

(ll. 622-639) Then the wretched man, companion of the beasts,
looked up through the flying clouds; and he knew in his heart
that there was a Lord and King of heaven, and one Eternal Spirit
ruling over the sons of men.  And he was recovered from the
madness which long had been upon him, vexing the heart and soul
of the king.  His heart was turned again unto men and his mind
unto thoughts of God, after he came to know Him.  And the
wretched man rose up and came again among men, a naked wanderer
acknowledging his sin, a strange exile without clothing, and of
humbler heart than the lord of men had been in his boasting. 
Behind its lord the world had stood, behind the prince his home
and native land, unchanged for seven winters together, so that
his kingdom had not lessened under heaven until its ruler came

(ll. 640-656) Then was the lord of Babylon once more seated upon
his throne; he had a better heart, a clearer faith in the Lord of
life, knowing that God dealeth unto every man weal or woe as He
desireth.  The lord of nations was not slow to heed the counsels
of his wise men, but far and wide rehearsed the might of God,
where he had power of proclamation.  He told his people of his
wanderings, his far journeys with the beasts, until the spirit of
the Lord God came upon him and thoughts of wisdom, when he looked
up to heaven.  Fate was fulfilled, the wonder come to pass, the
dream come true, the punishment endured, the doom awarded, even
as Daniel said aforetime that the king would suffer downfall for
his pride, and earnestly proclaimed it before men, by the might
of God.

(ll. 657-674) Then for a long time Daniel gave judgment and
counsel in Babylon unto the city-dwellers.  And after
Nebuchadnezzar, comrade and companion of the wild beasts,
returned from his wandering exile, the prince of the Chaldeans,
the wise and mighty leader of the folk, ruled his spacious
kingdom, guarding his treasure and the lofty city, until death
came upon him.  And there was no man to withstand him upon earth
till God through death took his high kingdom from him. 
Thereafter his descendants prospered greatly in that mighty
stronghold, in the city of earls, enjoying wealth and twisted
gold, a mighty treasure, when their lord lay dead.


(ll. 675-685) And after him among that people arose a third
generation, and Belshazzar ruled the city and the kingdom until
his heart grew great with insolence and hateful pride.  And the
Chaldean rule was ended!  For the Lord bestowed the kingdom upon
the Medes and Persians for a space of time, and let the might of
Babylon diminish, which the heroes should have held.  But He knew
that they were sinful men who would have ruled the realm.

(ll. 686-702) The lord of the Medes, as he sat in his stronghold,
resolved on that which none had done before him, that he would
lay waste Babylon, the city of earls, where the princes within
the walls dispensed the treasure.  Now the city of Babylon was
the most famous of all the fortresses of men, the mightiest and
most widely known of all that men inhabit, until Belshazzar in
his boasting tempted God.  They sat at wine within their walls,
fearing not the hate of any foe, though a hostile folk with
mighty hosts in armour were coming up against them, even against
the city of Babylon to destroy it.  And the Chaldean king and his
kinsmen sat feasting on the last day.

(ll. 703-711) Now when the leader of the host was drunk with wine
he bade them bring the treasure of Israel, the holy vessels of
the sacrifice, and the gold which the Chaldean warriors and their
legions had captured in Jerusalem, when they destroyed the might
of Judah with the sword, boasting exceedingly, with tumult
seizing on the kindly folk and gleaming treasure, as they
plundered the temple and the shrine of Solomon.

(ll. 712-726) Then was the lord of cities blithe in his heart,
boasting fiercely and defying God, and said his gods were
mightier to save, and greater, than the Eternal Lord of Israel. 
But, as he gazed, there came a dreadful token before men within
the hall, that he had spoken a lie before his people.  The hand
of an angel of God appeared within the lofty hall, a sight of
terror, and wrote before the eyes of men upon the wall in scarlet
letters and words of mystery.  Then the heart of the king was
troubled within him and sore afraid because of the sign; within
the hall he beheld the hand of an angel writing the doom of the

(ll. 727-736) But the multitude, the host within the hall, 
debated what the hand had written for a sign to the city-
dwellers.  And many came to see the wonder.  They searched the
thoughts of their hearts to know what the hand of the angel had
written.  Nor could the nobles and magicians read the angel's
message till Daniel, wise and righteous, loved of God, came to
the hall.  And his heart was filled with wisdom sent from God.

(ll. 737-742) Then, as I have heard, the city-dwellers sought to
tempt Daniel with gifts to read the writing and tell the import
of the mystery.  But the prophet of God, skilled in the law and
wise of heart, made answer to them:

(ll. 743-765) "Not for gain do I pronounce God's judgments to the
people, nor of mine own strength, but freely will I tell thy
fate, and the meaning of the words thou shalt not change.  In
thine insolence thou hast given into the hands of men the vessels
of the sacrifice, and in them drunk to devils, which formerly the
Israelites employed in holy rites before the ark of God, till
pride seduced them and drunken thoughts.  So shall it be with
thee!  Never would thy lord before thee lay hands of insolence
upon God's golden vessels, nor boast thereof, although it was his
legions that plundered Israel's treasure.  But after the Lord of
glory showed forth His wonders upon him, the lord of nations
often spake before his people in words of truth, and said that
He alone was Lord and Ruler of creation who gave him blameless
glory in his earthly kingdom and great prosperity.  But thou
deniest that He is the Living God who ruleth over devils..."

((LACUNA of indeterminate length))