The midnight hour was drawing on
And peace lay over Babylon,

But in the palace of the King
Were lights and sounds of revelling,

For King Belshazzar’s lords, his thrall,
Were feasting in the royal hall.

The nobles were seated in glistening lines
Draining their goblets of ruby-red wines,

They were clashing their goblets, yelling with glee,
Just what the stubborn old King liked to see.

The King’s complexion was all aglow;
In drink, he feels his courage grow.

Blinded, he gets quite carried away;
Such sinful, blasphemous things he does say,

So boldly he brags, such wild blasphemy;
The lords roar in support for him on bended knee.

The King shouts an order, his expression is black;
A servant goes off and quickly comes back

Laden with armfuls of looted gold
From Jehovah’s Temple, so we’re told.

And the King grabs, his mien terribly grim,
A sacred goblet full to the brim;

Not till he’s drained the last drop does he quit,
Then declares, his lips all covered in spit:

To Jehovah I proclaim eternal scorn –
I am the King, ruler of Babylon!

But hardly had these words been expressed,
When Belshazzar felt a secret fear in his breast.

No more laughter echoing wall to wall;
It grew deadly quiet in the banqueting hall.

And there, behold – how, none could understand,
There came an apparition of a human hand,

Which wrote, wrote on the wall which was white,
In letters of fire, before disappearing from sight.

The King just sat there, so ill at ease,
Deathly pale with trembling knees.

His band of nobles no voices found,
They sat silent, making no sound.

The Wise Men examined the fiery scrawl,
But could not read the writing on the wall.

And so it was that very same night,
His noblemen ventured Belshazzar to smite.