“What can I do for my ever-dear uncle?” whispered Perreeza.
“One more little song, accompanied by the harp of Judah,” said Joram, with a smile, “and I ask no more.”
“Perreeza greatly fears that it will disturb thee.”
“Nay, my sweet child, thy Uncle Esrom was never yet disturbed by the sound of melody. Sing to me that little song thy aunt so dearly loved.”
“Oh, my dear uncle,” whispered the weeping Perreeza, “I fear it is beyond my power to sing. I am filled with weeping. Yet, at thy request, I will make the effort. Oh, God of my fathers, help me!”
“He will, my child,” faintly answered the old Israelite; “get thy harp and sing.”
Once again the old harp was brought from its corner. Perreeza wiped away her tears, and succeeded in conquering her emotions. She took the familiar instrument in her arms, and sat at a little distance from the dying man. Joram cast one look on the old harp, smiled, and gently closed his eyes. Perreeza softly touched the chords and sang:
“Father, send Thy heavenly chariot,
Call Thy weeping child away;
Long I’ve waited for Thy coming,
Why, O why, this long delay?
Of this earth my soul is weary,
Yonder lies the better land;
Fain my soul would leave its prison,
Glad to join the glorious band.
“Thrice ten thousand happy spirits
Sing Thy praise in heaven above;
All arrayed in robes of glory.
Crowned with righteousness and love;
Old companions wait to greet me,
Smilingly they bid me come.
Father, send Thy heavenly chariot,
Call Thy weary pilgrim home.
“Earth is fading from my vision;
Brightness gathers o’er my head:
Thrilling strains from heavenly harpers
Sound around my dying bed.
Blessed land of saints and angels!
Here I can no longer stay;
Yonder comes my Father’s chariot;
Rise, my soul, and haste away!”
The song was ended. The harp was laid aside.
“Did my father enjoy the song?” soothingly inquired Mathias. Joram made no reply. The “chariot” had arrived, and Joram had departed! As the last vibrations of the “harp of Judah” died on the ear, his soul was wafted on angelic pinions, and introduced to the melody around the throne of God.
After the insanity of Nebuchadnezzar, Evil-Merodach, his son, acted as regent. The misfortune of the Chaldean monarch cast a deep gloom over the vast empire. He fell at the zenith of his popularity, and the government throughout felt the shock. Evil-Merodach was far from being a favorite, and among all classes in the nation there seemed to be a growing dissatisfaction. This feeling would have been immeasurably greater had it not been for the wisdom and vigilance of Belteshazzar, his prime minister. Of Daniel’s wisdom the regent had no doubt. From his father he had learned all the particulars in regard to Daniel’s interpretation of the dream; and, seeing before his eyes daily a literal fulfillment of its awful predictions, he could not but hold the interpreter in much reverence.