Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, NIMROD WARS WITH THE ANGELS, by ANNA HEMPSTEAD BRANCH



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NIMROD WARS WITH THE ANGELS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: But god sent forth a pale and spectral host
Last Line: "am I not nimrod?"
Subject(s): Babel, Tower Of; Bible; Nimrod (bible)


BUT God sent forth a pale and spectral host
Of war horse and of rider. From the steeps
And citadels of cloud on the horizon,
They mightily plunged upon the embattled plain
Encircled round great Babel. Blazing scouts
Skirmished the valley; shadowy stallions reared,
Driven by vast archangels, whose fierce spears
Whirling aloft, they stabbed upon the town.
A thousand gusty shapes rushed forth to war.
And there were chariots of dust that drove
Windily down the plain. Bright meteors lit
Upon them screaming. Built among the clouds
Were domes and turrets; and blazing with pale lights
Acropolis towered above acropolis.
Then Nimrod, throned upon his peak, looked down
To where the blazing cohorts of the Lord
Threatened the town with vengeance; and he rose,
Obscured with wrath as is the sun with cloud.
And like an engine of dread war he set
His shoulder to the mountain side and heaved
Its giant bowlders forth till from the cliff
With sudden scream, as if some savage chief
Would drive his angry cohorts into war,
They leaped with sound of grating wheels and plunged
Down the precipitous slope at God's encampment.
But Nimrod, leaping to the mightiest stone,
Then bounding to another as they plunged,
With arms outstretched and darkly beetling breast,
With angry locks, with great and god-like eye,
With furious shouts of battle and laughter huge,
And challenges to Heaven, scourged with cries

His screaming stallions maned with whistling wind,
Goaded the vengeance of His flinty wheels
That bright with many a whirling fire appeared
Bestrid with eyes -- yes -- like the lightning perched
Upon the gale, he swept upon God's hosts
His monstrous cavalcades. Then, driving down
His thousand thundering chariots of stone,
Enraged, enraptured, pale, with bow upraised,
Great Nimrod shot his arrow at the gods.
And lo, the heavenly onslaught flamed away.
God's dark encampment lifted from the plain.
Then there were rushings heard in the deep air
And all the spectral host paled from the sky.

Then Nimrod unto Babel cried aloud.
"Lo, I have shot in Heaven God's great white horse!
With neighings and fearful tramplings he went down!
And his affrighted angel drifts pale wings
Across his bosom, lest he take from me
The anguish of mine arrow in mid air.
Am I not Nimrod?" And he cried aloud,
"Am I not Nimrod?"




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