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The Assyrian came down like the wolf on...

Language: English

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 forever 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 trumpets 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!

Translation(s): FRE FRE GER GER RUS RUS

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About the headline (FAQ)

Note: first published as "The Destruction of Semnacherib"

Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]


Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Settings in other languages:

  • Also set in German (Deutsch), a translation by Franz Theremin (1780 - 1846) , title unknown, from Hebräische Gesänge, published 1820 RUS FRE by Johann Karl Gottfried Loewe.
  • Also set in German (Deutsch), a translation by Anonymous/Unidentified Artist , title unknown RUS FRE by Hans Huber.
  • Also set in Russian (Русский), a translation by Modest Petrovich Musorgsky (1839 - 1881) , title unknown [an adaptation] GER FRE GER by Modest Petrovich Musorgsky.
  • Also set in Russian (Русский), a translation by Modest Petrovich Musorgsky (1839 - 1881) , title unknown [an adaptation] GER FRE GER by Modest Petrovich Musorgsky.

Other available translations, adaptations, and transliterations (if applicable):

Text added to the website: 2003-11-15.
Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:01:59
Line count: 24
Word count: 236

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La destruction de Sennachérib

Language: French (Français) after the English

L'Assyrien arriva comme le loup sur le troupeau,
Et ses cohortes brillaient en pourpre et or ;
Et l'éclat de leurs lances étaient comme les étoiles sur la mer,
Quand la vague bleue roule la nuit sur la Galilée profonde.

Comme les feuilles de la forêt quand l'été est vert,
Cette armée avec ses bannières au coucher du soleil a été vue ;
Comme les feuilles de la forêt quand l'automne a soufflé,
Cette armée le lendemain reposait flétrie et éparpillée.

Car l'ange de la mort a étendu ses ailes sur le souffle,
Et a respiré à la face de l'ennemi quand il est passé ;
Et les yeux des dormeurs ont été scellés par la mort et le froid,
Et leurs cœurs ne se sont soulevés qu'une fois et pour toujours sont restés immobiles !

Et là le coursier était étendu avec ses naseaux tout ouverts,
Mais à travers eux le souffle de son orgueil ne roulait pas ;
Et l'écume de son halètement reposait blanche sur l'herbe,
Et froide comme les gouttelettes du ressac battant le rocher.

Et là gisait le cavalier déformé et pâle,
Avec la rosée sur son front, et la rouille sur sa cotte de maille :
Et les tentes étaient toutes silencieuses, les bannières seules.
Les lances n'étaient pas dressées, et on ne soufflait pas dans les trompettes.

Et les veuves d'Assur font grand bruit dans leur plainte,
Et les idoles sont brisées dans le temple de Baal ;
Et le pouvoir des Gentils, non frappé par l'épée,
A fondu comme la neige sous le regard du Seigneur !

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  • Translation from English to French (Français) copyright © 2011 by Guy Laffaille, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you may ask the copyright-holder(s) directly or ask us; we are authorized to grant permission on their behalf. Please provide the translator's name when contacting us.


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Based on
  • a text in English by George Gordon Noel Byron, Lord Byron (1788 - 1824), "The Destruction of Sennacherib", appears in Hebrew Melodies, no. 18, first published 1815 GER RUS RUS GER
      • This text was set to music by the following composer(s): Granville Ransome Bantock, Sir, Francis Boott, A. Clifford, Eliza Davis, Stephen Ralph Glover, Clarence S. Hill, D. Cyril Jenkins, Samuel Ernest Lovatt, Isaac Nathan, Elizabeth Parker, Alexander Patterson, Lewys Thomas, Ferris Tozer, Bryceson Treharne, S. Ward-Casey, F. L. Wiseman. Go to the text.


Text added to the website: 2011-08-31.
Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:04:32
Line count: 24
Word count: 265