Where Babels Rivers Winding Stray


I. Where Babel’s rivers winding stray
A silent, cool retreat we chose;
There lost in thoughtful sadness lay,
And pond’ring o’er our mighty woes.

II. Our mighty woes increasing rise,
Revolving Sion’s hapless fate;
And louder griefs, and streaming eyes,
Deplore her wretched, ruin’d state.

III. No more could music sooth our cares;
Our harps neglected, and unstrung,
(Vanish’d their once delightful airs,)
All silent, on the willows hung.

IV. Our barb’rous masters mock’d our pains,
While with insulting haughty tongues,
They bade us tune the charming strains,
And give them one of Sion’s songs.

V. Ah, no; shall Sion’s sacred airs,
Inspir’d by heav’n, be thus prophan’d?
Be sung to please such ears as theirs,
Whose impious arms destroy’d our land?

VI. Far from our dear-lov’d native soil,
Shall we resume the pleasing lay?
Can rugged bondage wear a smile,
Or ever-wasting grief be gay?

VII. If I forget thy ruin’d state,
Jerusalem, my heart’s desire;
Then let my useless hand forget
Her skill to strike the sounding lyre.

VIII. If I indulge a mirthful song,
Or thy dear name my mem’ry leave;
All silent, let my faithless tongue
Fast to my mouth forever cleave.

IX. Jerusalem, lamented name!
Shall still my mournful voice employ;
And I the sadly pleasing theme
Prefer to ev’ry thought of joy.

X. Remember, Lord, proud Edom’s sons,
Who cruel, urg’d the conqu’ring foe,
To raze her beauteous tow’rs at once,
And lay her lofty structures low.

XI. Such rain, Babel, thou shalt share,
And sure reward awaits thy guilt;
Then shall thy heart untaught to spare,
Repay the blood thy hand has spilt.

XII. Happy the man who then shall rise,
(While heav’n the righteous vengeance owns,)
And dash with unrelenting eyes,
Thy bleeding babes against the stones.