Part I: Balthasar’s Feast
King Balthasar wishes to celebrate a feast, and commands the Satraps to bring his prized vessels. The Satraps carry out their royal errand while praising the power and riches of the Kings of Babylon, Balthasar and his father (Nebuchadnezzar, according to the Old Testament).
The Princes summon and bring Daniel to court. Daniel responds, “Poor and exiled, I go to the King with you” [Envois al Roi par vos]. The king promises Daniel immense wealth if he will translate the mysterious words.
Daniel contemplates the message and answers slowly, first saying that he wants no reward for his advice, and then reminding Balthasar that God had caused his father Nebuchadnezzar to eat grass as if he were a beast in the field—a humiliation for originally stealing the vessels from the Temple.
Although Balthasar has learned of his doom, he keeps his promise to reward Daniel and cloaks him with royal vestments. He then commands the vessels be removed before harm comes. With cries of “Gaudeamus,” praising Daniel, the Satraps carry off the vessels.
Daniel agrees to give counsel at court. As he is led in, the entire assembly (jumping ahead and out of time in the story) sings a song celebrating the Nativity of Christ and praising Daniel's wise deeds, including his prophecy of the birth of Christ. (Congaudemus celebremus natalis sollempnia- Let us celebrate the Solemn Feast of the Nativity.)
The Princes become envious and conspire to trick Daniel. They encourage Darius to enact a law whereby any man who worships a god other than Darius himself will be cast into the lion’s den.