Here is an enemy at thy gates that scatters all before him; here is close siege, no entry but must be guarded; gird thee well, summon up all thy strength!
Honour of Juda the Lord retrieves now, and honour of Israel both, that have seen the spoiler ransack them, strip vineyard bare.✻
Bright flash that enemy’s shields, warriors of his go clad in scarlet; dart like flame his chariots as he goes to the attack, dizzily sways charioteer.
How jostle they in the streets, those chariots, hurtle they in the open market-place; dazzle they like flame of torches, like the lightning that comes and goes!
Alas, for the muster-roll of the king’s vassals,✻ fallen as they went about their task! Swiftly they manned the walls, but the engines were in place already.
Open, now, stands the water-gate, crumbles yonder temple into dust.
Alas, for warriors of Nineve gone into exile, for maids of hers led away,✻ that sigh and moan like ring-doves in the bitterness of their heart!
Nineve, welcome sight as pools of water to the fugitive;✻ stay, stay! But never a one looks back.
Out with silver, out with gold of hers; store is here of costly stuff beyond price or reckoning!
Roof to cellar rifled and ransacked! Sore hearts are here, and knees that knock together, loins that go labouring, and pale cheeks.✻
Lair of lion, and nursery of his whelps, what trace is left of thee, once so secure a retreat, his haunt and theirs?
Cub nor lioness should want, so preyed he, so mauled he, so filled with plunder of his forays the den where he lay.
Have at thee! says the Lord of hosts; yonder chariots shall be burnt to ashes; whelps of thine shall die at the sword’s point, plunder of thine be swept off the face of earth; and for thy heralds, their voices shall be heard no more.
The Holy Bible