Everything you need to understand or teach For an Assyrian Frieze by Peter Viereck.
In the first stanza, Viereck introduces the subject of his poem, a bas-relief (or a sculpture in which figures are carved so that they protrude out of a stone background) from ancient Assyria. Assyria was an ancient kingdom, very powerful in Biblical times (it flourished especially from 1000 B.C. to 606 B.C.) that stretched from the Tigris and Euphrates basin to m odern-day Syria, Lebanon, and Israel. The bas-relief shows "a lion with a prophet's beard" with "wonderfully sad" eyes. To the narrator, the lion appears to be coming out of the bas-relief to stretch its paws, just before "the terrible king grows wings." At this point, the narrator is imagining rather than simply transcribing what is in the sculpture. He sees the lion fly "above the black Euphrates loam, / Hunting for the enemies of Nineveh." Nineveh was an important city in the heart of the Assyrian territory in... View more of the For an Assyrian Frieze Summary