"The Angel Of Death Spread His Wings On The Blast"

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Last Updated on November 26, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 168

Context: Byron's source in this poem is II Kings, 18 and 19, and II Chronicles, 32. Sennacherib, King of Assyria, has invaded Judah, demanding the surrender of Jerusalem. But Hezekiah consults the prophet Isaiah, and together they pray to the Lord for deliverance. The Lord sends an Angel of Death...

(The entire section contains 168 words.)

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Context: Byron's source in this poem is II Kings, 18 and 19, and II Chronicles, 32. Sennacherib, King of Assyria, has invaded Judah, demanding the surrender of Jerusalem. But Hezekiah consults the prophet Isaiah, and together they pray to the Lord for deliverance. The Lord sends an Angel of Death into the camp of the Assyrians, destroying so many of them that they are forced to retreat to their own land, where Sennacherib is slain by his sons. The account in II Kings gives the number of Assyrians slain as 185,000, whereas II Chronicles states merely that the angel "cut off all the mighty men of valour, and the leaders and captains in the camp of the king of Assyria" (32:21). The third stanza of Byron's poem reads as follows:

For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast,
And breathed in the face of the foe as he pass'd;
And the eyes of the sleepers wax'd deadly and chill,
And their hearts but once heaved, and for ever grew still!

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