The Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold,
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 leaves in the forest when summer is green
That host with their banners at sunset were seen;
Like the leaves of the forest when autumn has blown
That host on the morrow lay withered and strown.
Strown? Yeah, ancient rendering of strewn, and somehow you know that Lord Byron didn’t have to look it up, as I did. This is the first two verses of his The Destruction of Sennarcherib—an absolute favourite of mine. The invincible army of Sennarcherib laid siege to helpless Jerusalem, but in the night the Hand of God—the Head being in a typical genocidal mood—killed them all. Logic suggests a plague struck them down, but historical records tell us Sennarcherib and his host returned home to Nineveh safely. Terrific poem anyway.