Scripture Verse

It came to pass that night, that the angel of the Lord went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses. 2 Kings 19:35

Introduction

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Destruction of Sennacherib’s Host
Gustave Doré (1832–1883)

Words: Ar­ranged from George Gor­don, Lord By­ron, He­brew Me­lo­dies, 1815.

Music: Christ­mas Song Karl P. Har­ring­ton, 1904 (🔊 pdf nwc).

Alternate Tune:

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Lord Byron
(1788–1824)

Lyrics

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 its banners
At sunset was 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 he 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 as 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,
Now hath melted like snow
In the glance of the Lord.