An awful vision floats before my sight,
Black as the storm and fearful as the night:
Thy fall, oh Babylon!--the awful doom
Pronounced by Heaven to hurl thee to the tomb,
Peals in prophetic thunder in mine ear--
The voice of God foretelling ruin near!
Hark! what strange murmurs from the hills arise,
Like rushing torrents from the bursting skies!
Loud as the billows of the restless tide,
In strange confusion flowing far and wide,
Ring the deep tones of horror and dismay,
The shriek--the shout--the battle's stern array--
The gathering cry of nations from afar--
The tramp of steeds--the tumult of the war--
Burst on mine ear, and o'er thy fated towers
Hovers despair, and fierce destruction lowers;
Within the fire--without the vengeful sword;
Who leads those hosts against thee but the Lord?
Proud queen of nations! where is now thy trust?--
Thy crown is ashes and thy throne the dust.
The crowds who fill thy gates shall pass away,
As night's dim shadows flee the eye of day.
No patriot voice thy glory shall recall,
No eye shall weep, no tongue lament thy fall.
The day of vengeance comes--the awful hour--
Fraught with the terrors of almighty power;
The arm of God is raised against thy walls;
Destruction hovers o'er thy princely halls,
Flings his red banner to the rising wind,
While death's stern war-cry echoes far behind.
When the full horrors of that hour are felt,
The warrior's heart shall as the infant's melt;
Counsel shall flee the learned and the old,
And fears unfelt before shall tame the bold.
Woe for thee, Babylon!--thy men of might
Shall fall unhonoured in the sanguine fight;
Like the chased roe thy hosts disordered fly,
And those who turn to strive but turn to die.
Thy young men tremble and thy maids grow pale,
And swell with frantic grief thy funeral wail;
They kneel for mercy, but they sue in vain;
Their beauty withers on the gore-dyed plain;
With fathers, lovers, brothers, meet their doom,
And 'mid thy blackened ruins find a tomb.
Of fear unconscious, in soft slumbers blest,
The infant dies upon its mother's breast,
Unpitied e'en by her--the hand that gave
The blow has sent the parent to the grave.
Queen of the East! all desolate and lone,
No more shall nations bow before thy throne.
Low in the dust thy boasted beauty lies;
Loud through thy princely domes the bittern cries,
And the night wind in mournful cadence sighs.
The step of man and childhood's joyous voice
Are heard no more, and never shall rejoice
Thy lonely echoes; savage beasts shall come
And find among thy palaces a home.
The dragon there shall rear her scaly brood,
And satyrs dance where once thy temples stood;
The lion, roaming on his angry way,
Shall on thy sacred altars rend his prey;
The distant _isles_ at midnight gloom shall hear
Their frightful clamours, and, in secret, fear.
No more their snowy flocks shall shepherds lead
By Babel's silver stream and fertile mead;
Or peasant girls at summer's eve repair,
To wreathe with wilding flowers their flowing hair;
Or pour their plaintive ditties to the wave,
That rolls its sullen murmurs o'er thy grave.
The wandering Arab there no rest shall find,
But, starting, listen to the hollow wind
That howls, prophetic, through thy ruined halls,
And flee in haste from thy accursed walls.
Oh Babylon, with wrath encompassed round,
For thee no hope, no mercy, shall be found:
Thy doom is sealed--e'en to thy ruin clings
The awful sentence of the King of kings!