The Destruction of Sennacherib

The Destruction Of Sennacherib

The Destruction of Sennacherib

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The Destruction of Sennacherib is a poem by Lord Byron first published in 1815 in his Hebrew Melodies. It is based on an event described in the Bible (2 Kings 18-19) during the campaign by Assyrian king Sennacherib to capture Jerusalem. The rhythm of the poem has a feel of the beat of a galloping horse's hooves (an anapestic tetrameter) as the Assyrian rides into battle.

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The poem was popular in Victorian England and, when the first Australian cricket team to tour England defeated a strong MCC team, including W G Grace, at Lord's on 27 May 1878, the satirical magazine Punch celebrated by publishing a parody of the poem including a wry commentary on Grace's contribution:<blockquote>The Australians came down like a wolf on the fold,<br>The Marylebone cracks for a trifle were bowled;<br>Our Grace before dinner was very soon done,<br>And Grace after dinner did not get a run.

Mark Twain has references to this poem throughout his works, from his early newspaper sketches to The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and it is mentioned often in biographies of him, making it clear that it was important to him.

Ogden Nash's "Very Like a Whale", a humorous complaint about poetical metaphors, uses this poem for its inspiration:

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