Captives by Babel's limpid streams,
We hung our harps on willows there;
Wept over Zion; and our dreams,
Waking or sleeping, she did share.
Our victors, with their battle arms,
Derided, jeered, and scorned our tears;
Required mirth, diversion's charms,
To thus allay their guilty fears.
"Sing us a song" is their demand,
"Yea, sing us one of Zion's songs!"
How can our voices thus expand
To what to us and God belongs?
How can we on this heathen shore,
Surrounded by idolatry,
Sing songs that unto us are more
Than all their glittering pageantry?
Jerusalem, should we forget,
We pray our hearts and tongues be still!
Jerusalem! Oh, may we yet
Worship upon thy holy hill.
Babylon, thou art to be destroyed!
Thy doom's foretold in prophecy;
And happy be the means employed
To hurl thee to thy destiny.