aefenglommung (aefenglommung) wrote,
aefenglommung
aefenglommung

Unlikely subjects

Our Wednesday Bible study group is wading through Isaiah and came upon the invasion of Judah by Sennacherib of Assyria. It's quite a story. It made me think of a couple of poems that mentioned Sennacherib. The first is by L. Sprague de Camp and Fletcher Pratt, from their fantasy novel The Carnelian Cube. The second is a poem by C.S. Lewis.

[Rhyme of the Kings of Assyria]

Assurnazirpal curled his beard;
Shalmaneser then made himself feared,
Shamshiraman's infant Hadadnirari
Stole from the Syrians all he could carry.
The Nebonassar, a turbulent fool, who
Lost his pajamas to General Pulu,
Who, under the name of Tiglathpileser,
Butchered his foes and begat Shalmanesar.
Another usurper the throne next ascended,
Sargon, who Isarael's monarchy ended.
Haughty Sennacherib, regular hellion,
Razed holy Babylon for its rebellion;
Fiercest of all of them, grim Esarhaddon
The kingdom of Egypt did dreadfully sadden.
Mild Assurbanipal, King of Assyrians,
Left his gardens to fight the Cimmerians.
Scythians swooped on the empire next;
King Assuretililani they vexed;
Then came the Medes, who punished the sin of a
Series of murderous monarchs of Nineveh;
Sinsariskun, the last king, they abolished,
And his iniquitous kingdom demolished;
For which I'm grateful as Cepheus, and how!
Otherwise Assur might harry us now.
-- L. Sprague de Camp and Fletcher Pratt



Sonnet

Dieu a etabli la priere pour communiquer a ses creatures la dignite de la causalite. -- Pascal

The Bible says Sennacherib's campaign was spoiled
By angels: in Herodotus it says, by mice --
Innumerably nibbling all one night they toiled
To eat his bowstrings piecemeal as warm wind eats ice.

But muscular archangels, I suggest, employed
Seven little jaws at labour on each slender string,
And by their aid, weak masters though they be, destroyed
The smiling-lipped Assyrian, cruel-bearded king.

No stranger that omnipotence should choose to need
Small helps than great -- no stranger if His action lingers
Till men have prayed, and suffers their weak prayers indeed
To move as very muscles His delaying fingers,

Who, in His longanimity and love for our
Small dignities, enfeebles, for a time, His power.
-- C.S. Lewis
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