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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: H. Hastings Weld :: The Women of the Scriptures

H. Hastings Weld :: Queen Vashti's Fall

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At banquet sate the Persian king,
And heard the golden vessels ring
Along his festive boards,
Where friendly guests, in purple wine,
Did pledge him and his royal line,
And rank him with the gods.

He feasted long-he feasted late,
With mighty men of war and state,
And favourites of his power;
And festal laugh, and song, and shout,
From Shushan's palace walls rang out,
Through each bewildering hour.

But o'er the monarch's soul the thrall
Of love was wrought, surpassing all
That feast around him threw;-
His realm was nought without a queen,
And vain to him the banquet scene
That Vashti could not view.

At last, amidst the jocund throng,
He rose, elate and spirit‐strong,
Ere seven days' glee was o'er,
And said, "Ere Pleasure's reign doth cloy,
Shall not the queen partake our joy
And glad our festal store?"

His bosom shared a fluttering pride
He might not speak, yet could not hide,
In Persia's queenly dame-
She whom his heart from thousands chose,
To share his empire as it rose
In Ahasuerian fame.

And would she not, with joy, fulfil
Her husband's wish-her monarch's will,
To please his doating heart?
When he desired she should be nigh,
Would not her footsteps swiftly fly,
To act a wifely part?

She would! The wife is as the bride-
The queen, for love as well as pride,
Her liege‐lord will obey-
And where the Persian women hold
Their feast, 'midst shining pearls and gold,
A message doth away.

"Go, greet the queen!" the monarch said,
"Where Persia's female feast is spread,
And bid her here repair,
Where many a prince and Persian knight
Awaits, within our royal sight,
To see that she is fair.

"Bring her in beauty with the crown,
Link'd with our boundless realm's renown,
Queen of the orient race-
Greet her with homage in our name,
That soon her presence we may claim,
Our royal feast to grace!"

The queen was in her gorgeous home,
Where red lips press'd the red wine's foam,
And wit and revel reign'd;-
Where Flattery plied its poisonous tongue,
Till Pride within her bosom sprung,
And roused her to disdain.

She heard the message of the king,
But felt her soul's resistant spring
Deny his courteous call:
"Back to your Lord!" she answer gave,
"And tell him to command his slave,
Not one who scorns his thrall.

"Doth it become a woman's rule,
To be the ever‐pliant tool
Of man's imperious will?
No! no! and hence it shall be known,
That I, who share the Persian throne,
That throne can fitly fill!

"Shall lordly man thus idly vex
With strange requests our higher sex,
Our souls to overawe?
Forbid it, Pride! Go tell the king,
I was not born a servile thing,
To make his whim my law!"

While feasting yet, with startled ear,
The king grew wroth these words to hear
Of Vashti's alien heart;-
And bade his men of state to frame
A law henceforth to seal her shame,
And place their lives apart.

"Her scorn has crush'd," the monarch swore,
"My love-my pride forevermore,
In Vashti's fate and fame:
Hence to the whirlwinds let her go:-
The rebel wife-the woman foe,
My soul doth now disclaim.

"Let it be wide declared to all,
That man's the master of his hall-
His house-his hearth-his home;-
That woman's strength is in her power
To help and cheer each social hour,
Beneath her husband's dome!"

That Medean law on Vashti fell,
And curb'd the spirit's high‐wrought spell
That scorn'd her lord's control-
Till from his court and from his face-
Disown'd-dishonour'd-in disgrace
She turn'd with haughty soul.

Ere long the realms of Persia's king
Did with new bridal music ring,
And with a greater joy-
For Esther, bless'd with charms divine
Arose in Vashti's place to shine,
And found it sweet employ!


The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.


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