Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Destruction of Sennacherib

This poem is based on the Scriptural account found in II Kings chapter 19. Two things that Lord Byron's work teaches us:
  1. The battle belongs to the LORD;
  2. Occasionally, even the English get it right ;-)
The poem is composed in anapestic tetrameter (see yesterday's post).


THE DESTRUCTION OF SENNACHERIB, first published in 1815

The Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold,
And his cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold;
And the sheen of their spears was like stars on the sea,
When the blue wave rolls nightly on deep Galilee.

Like the leaves of the forest when Summer is green,
That host with their banners at sunset were seen:
Like the leaves of the forest when Autumn hath blown,
That host on the morrow lay withered and strown.

For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast,
And breathed in the face of the foe as he passed;
And the eyes of the sleepers waxed deadly and chill,
And their hearts but once heaved, and for ever grew still!

And there lay the steed with his nostril all wide,
But through it there rolled not the breath of his pride;
And the foam of his gasping lay white on the turf,
And cold as the spray of the rock-beating surf.

And there lay the rider distorted and pale,
With the dew on his brow, and the rust on his mail:
And the tents were all silent, the banners alone,
The lances unlifted, the trumpet unblown.

And the widows of Ashur are loud in their wail,
And the idols are broke in the temple of Baal;
And the might of the Gentile, unsmote by the sword,
Hath melted like snow in the glance of the Lord!

3 comments:

Bruce said...

I loved the poem. I read it to my two oldest. I never heard of it before.

Unfortunately, they had already read it in a book. "Ho hum, get with the program, Daddy" say they.

Still, had fun with it.

Gravelbelly said...

In "The Dead Poets Society", Robin Williams' character says that the real purpose of poetry is to "get women."

While that may be one purpose of some poets, he's off the mark. The clash of swords, the din of battle, and the last breath of heroic souls are subject of many poems.

Then there are the awe-inspiring poems that put us in touch with the works of the our God, the Warrior King.

This is one of those poems. Glad you liked it.

Gravelbelly said...

BTW, bruce, say "HI" to the lady & the grandkids for me.