Poem of the Week: “The Destruction of Sennacherib”

"Niederlage Sanheribs [Defeat of Sennacherib] by Peter Paul Rubens. Source: Wikimedia Commons
“Niederlage Sanheribs” [“Defeat of Sennacherib”] by Peter Paul Rubens. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Since you all seem to like poetry so much (and I’m warming up to it too), I’ve decided to start a new weekly series on BGA. Every week, I’m going to post a poem that I find interesting, inspiring, beautiful, or in some cases, funny. This meme was originally created by Elizabeth Rose, the author of a wonderful blog called Living on Literary Lane. She gave up the meme sometime last year, but that doesn’t mean I can’t still join, does it?

This week’s poem, Lord Byron’s “The Destruction of Sennacherib” is probably my favorite poem, which is why it shall be my first.

Without further ado . . . !

“The Destruction of Sennacherib”

by Lord George Gordon Byron

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.



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