Literature Poetry

The Destruction of Sennacherib by Lord Byron: Scansion

A complete scansion of the poem

The Destruction of Sennacherib

Thank you to  Mammoth Memory and Poetrydish for their partial scans of this poem. I scanned the last two stanzas myself, and I made some adjustments in the first four stanzas.  I am open to any feedback if you have a different interpretation.

Black = Anapest

Purple = Spondee

Iambic = Red

Trochee = Blue

Green = pyrrhic


The Destruction of Sennacherib by Lord Byron

The Assyr/ ian / came down / like the wolf / on the fold,
And his coh/ orts were / gleaming / in pur/ple 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 for/est when sum/mer is green,
That host / with their ban/ners at sun/set were seen:
Like the leaves /of the for/est when aut/umn hath blown,
That host / on the mor/row lay with/ered and strown.

For the Ang/el of Death / spread his wings / on the blast,
And breathed / in the face / of the foe / as he passed;
And the eyes / of the sleep/ers waxed / deadly / and chill,
And their hearts / but once heaved, / and for ev/er grew still!

And there / lay the steed / with his nost/ril all wide,
But through / it there rolled / not the breath / of his pride;
And the foam / of his gasp/ing lay white / on the turf,
And cold / as the spray / of the rock-/ beating surf.

And there / lay the rid/er distort/ed and pale,
With the dew / on his brow, / and the rust / on his mail:
And the tents / were all sil/ent, the bann/ers alone,
The lan/ces unlift/ed, the trum/pet unblown.

And the wid/ows of Ash/ur are loud / in their wail,
And the id/ols are broke / in the temp/le of Baal;
And the might / of the Gen/tile, unsmote / by the sword,
Hath melt/ed like snow / in the glance / of the Lord!


  1. The imagery of the poem, the intensity of the scenes, the ghostly rider and the grim warriors in wait. Supernatural creatures and the boding but gorgeous natural light reflected upon sharpened steel.
    Oh my, Christopher, it reminds me so much of Robert E Howard and seriously feeds my artistic hunger !

    Liked by 1 person

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