George Gordon Byron

(22 January 1788 – 19 April 1824 / London, England)

To Belshazzar


Belshazzar! from the banquet turn,
Nor in thy sensual fulness fall;
Behold! while yet before thee burn
The graven words, the glowing wall.
Many a despot men miscall
Crown'd and anointed from on high;
But thou, the weakest, worst of all­
Is it not written, thou must die?

Go! dash the roses from thy brow--
Grey hairs but poorly wreathe with them;
Youth's garlands misbecome thee now,
More than thy very diadem,
Where thou hast tarnish'd every gem:
Then throw the worthless bauble by,
Which, worn by thee, ev'n slaves con­temn;
And learn like better men to die!

Oh! early in the balance weigh'd,
And ever light of word and worth,
Whose soul expired ere youth decay'd,
And left thee but a mass of earth.
To see thee moves the scorner's mirth:
But tears in Hope's averted eye
Lament that even thou hadst birth--
Unfit to govern, live, or die.

Submitted: Thursday, March 25, 2010

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