The Destruction of Sennacherib

Original Text: 
Byron, Works. 17 vols. London: John Murray, 1832-33. PR 4351 M6 1832 ROBA
2And his cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold;
3And the sheen of their spears was like stars on the sea,
4When the blue wave rolls nightly on deep Galilee.
5  Like the leaves of the forest when Summer is green,
6That host with their banners at sunset were seen:
7Like the leaves of the forest when Autumn hath blown,
8That host on the morrow lay withered and strown.
9  For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast,
10And breathed in the face of the foe as he passed;
11And the eyes of the sleepers waxed deadly and chill,
12And their hearts but once heaved, and for ever grew still!
13  And there lay the steed with his nostril all wide,
14But through it there rolled not the breath of his pride;
15And the foam of his gasping lay white on the turf,
16And cold as the spray of the rock-beating surf.
17  And there lay the rider distorted and pale,
18With the dew on his brow, and the rust on his mail:
19And the tents were all silent, the banners alone,
20The lances unlifted, the trumpet unblown.
21  And the widows of Ashur are loud in their wail,
22And the idols are broke in the temple of Baal;
23And the might of the Gentile, unsmote by the sword,
24Hath melted like snow in the glance of the Lord!


1] See Isaiah 37.33-38 (King James Version): "Therefore thus saith the Lord concerning the king of Assyria, He shall not come into this citie, nor shoot an arrow there, nor come before it with shields, nor cast a banke against it. By the way that he came, by the same shall he returne, and shall not come into this citie, saith the Lord. For I will defend this citie to saue it, for mine owne sake, and for my seruant Dauids sake. Then the Angel of the Lord went forth, and smote in the campe of the Assyrians a hundred and fourescore and fiue thousand: and when they arose earely in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses. So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed, and went, and returned, and dwelt at Nineueh. And it came to passe as hee was worshipping in the house of Nisroch his god, that Adramelech and Sharezer his sons smote him with the sword, and they escaped into the land of Armenia: and Esarhaddon his sonne reigned in his stead." Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
J. D. Robins
RPO Edition: 
2RP 2.165.