38. No! To thyself thy trifles be

From Belshazzar, HWV 61, Act II

George Frideric Handel
F major

English text


No, to thyself thy trifles be,
Or takes thy rich rewards who will!
Such glitt’ring trash affects not me,
Intent on greater matters still.
Yet, to obey His dread command,
Who vindicates His honour now,
I’ll read this oracle, and thou,
But to thy cost, shalt understand.
Thou, O king,
Hast lifted up thyself against the Lord of Heav’n,
Whose vessels they have brought before thee,
And thou, thy lords, thy wives, and concubines,
Have drunk wine in them! Thou hast prais’d the gods
Of gold and silver, brass, iron, wood and stone,
Which neither see, nor hear, nor aught perceive!
But Him, the God whose hands upholds thy life,
And in whose high dispose are all thy ways,
Thou hast not glorified, but hast blasphem’d.
From Him the hand was sent, by His appointment
These words were written:
MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN, which I thus interpret.
MENE: the God, whom thou hast dishonour’d,
The days hath number’d of thy reign, and finish’d it.
TEKEL: thou in the balances art weigh’d,
And art found wanting.
PERES: thy kingdom is divided,
And to the Medes and Persians given.

About the text

  • Author: Charles Jennens


  • Violino I + Violino II
  • Viola
  • Daniel (Alto)
  • Continuo


Similar instrumentation

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