MacMillan's Reading Books eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 344 pages of information about MacMillan's Reading Books.


[Notes:  [1] Waggon.

[2] Oxen.

[3] Such.]

* * * * *


       The King was on his throne. 
          The Satraps throng’d the hall: 
       A thousand bright lamps shone
          O’er that high festival. 
       A thousand cups of gold,
          In Judah deem’d divine—­
       Jehovah’s vessels hold
          The godless heathen’s wine!

       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.

       The monarch saw, and shook,
          And bade no more rejoice;
       All bloodless wax’d 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.”

       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.

       A captive in the land,
          A stranger and a youth,
       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.

       “Belshazzar’s grave is made,
          His kingdom pass’d away,
       He, in the balance weigh’d,
          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!”


[Notes:  Belshazzar, the last king of Babylon, lived probably in the 6th century B.C.  He was defeated by the Medes and Persians combined.

Satraps.  The governors or magistrates of provinces.

A thousand cups of gold, &c.  Taken in the captivity of Judah.

A captive in the land = the Prophet Daniel.]

* * * * *


       Ye mariners of England,
          That guard our native seas,
       Whose flag has braved a thousand years
          The battle and the breeze! 
       Your glorious standard launch again,
          To match another foe! 
       And sweep through the deep,
          While the stormy winds do blow;
       And the battle rages loud and long,
          And the stormy winds do blow.

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MacMillan's Reading Books from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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