Hath Melted Like Snow In The Glance Of The Lord

Assyrian Empire

 

I have never cared for Lord Byron, his poetry or the way he misled his life, with one massive exception.  From the first time I read this poem in grammar school it has had immense significance for me.

The Destruction of Sennacherib

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!

I found the poem absolutely stunning.  It brought home to me forever that God is the Lord of History and the final lines “ And the might of the Gentile, unsmote by the sword, Hath melted like snow in the glance of the Lord!” are an unforgettable statement of the omnipotence of God.  The poem is of course about the siege of Jersalem by the Assyrian Empire in 701 BC and God’s intervention to destroy that invasion.  “And the angel of the Lord went out, and slew in the camp of the Assyrians a hundred and eighty-five thousand. And they arose in the morning, and behold they were all dead corpses.”

I am curious as to what poems have had a religious impact on our readers?  Feel free to discuss them in the combox.

4 Responses to Hath Melted Like Snow In The Glance Of The Lord

  • Gabriel Austin says:

    Is it not an error to tell us how “you” “feel” about such a well regarded poet as Lord Byron? Goethe thought he was a great poet. Great-great-grandma doted on him.

    Add to which his efforts to free Greece from the [dare one say it?] Turkish tyranny. This was the spark of the Greek fraternities in the U.S. when they were doing something worthwhile.

    Byron’s DON JUAN is hilarious reading And ENGLISH BARDS AND SCOT REVIEWERS is great satire.

  • Cminor says:

    While I admire Byron’s poetry, you probably don’t want to know how I “feel” about the man himself. He was a dissolute, self-indulgent user and abandoner of women (and any unfortunate children they may have borne him) with no sense of common decency. He merits little in the way of admiration for anything other than his literary skill and occasional bravado.

    Though it’s a predictable answer, Gerard Manley Hopkins’s The Windhover. Also James Weldon Johnson’s God’s Trombones.

  • Gabriel Austin says:

    Why should anyone care about how you “feel” about the man? If we has a good poet, why then cite some of his poetry for our pleasure.

    If a bad man, do not rely on half truths which are now not to be verified. Byron was very fond of his daughter, Allegra. And keep always in mind de mortuis nil nisi bonum. For, after all, the dead cannot defend themselves.

    And as Emerson said “A man should be judged by his best moment”.

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