by William Knox
By the rivers of Babel we sat in our sorrow,
And wept when we thought of our Zion afar;
For no joy came to us with the beam of the morrow,
And no quiet arrived with the eve and her star.
And oft, when the winds through the willows were sighing,
We hung up our harps with a tear on their chord;
For there they that carried us captive from Zion
Required us to sing them a song of the Lord.
But how—while the rod of oppression waved o'er us,
While we toiled for the hands that compelled us to roam,
While a journey of bondage lay darkly before us—
Could we sing for the spoilers that wasted our home!
O Salem! dear Salem! if I do forget thee,
May my right hand be shrunk as it sweeps o'er the chord!
O city of God! when I cease to regret thee,
May my tongue be struck dumb mid the song of the Lord!