The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero)/Poetry/Volume 3/Hebrew Melodies/The Destruction of Sennacherib

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
The Works of Lord Byron by George Gordon Byron
The Destruction of Sennacherib

THE DESTRUCTION OF SENNACHERIB.

I.

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.


II.

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[1]
That host on the morrow lay withered and strown.


III.

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!


IV.

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,[2]
And cold as the spray of the rock-beating surf.[3]


V.

And there lay the rider distorted and pale,
With the dew on his brow, and the rust on his mail:[4]
And the tents were all silent—the banners alone—
The lances unlifted—the trumpet unblown.


VI.

And the widows of Ashur are loud in their wail,[5]
And the idols are broke in the temple of Baal;
And the might of the Gentile, unsmote by the sword,[6]
Hath melted like snow in the glance of the Lord!

Seaham, Feb. 17, 1815.

  1. [Compare—

    "As leaves in autumn, so the bodies fell."

    The Barons' Wars, by Michael Drayton, Bk. II. stanza lvii.; Anderson's British Poets, iii, 38.]

  2. And the foam of his bridle lay cold on the earth.—[MS.]
  3. —— of the cliff-beating surf.—[MS.]
  4. With the crow on his breast.—[MS.]
  5. And the widows of Babel ——.—[MS. erased.]
  6. And the voices of Israel are joyous and high.—[MS. erased.]