Along the banks where Babel’s current flows,
Our captive bands in deep despondence strayed,
While Zion’s fall in sad remembrance rose,
Her friends, her children mingled with the dead.
The tuneless harp that once with joy we strung,
When praise employed, and mirth inspired the day,
In mournful silence on the willows hung
And growing grief prolonged the tedious day.
The barb’rous tyrants, to increase our woe,
With taunting smiles a song of Zion claim,
Bid sacred praise in strains melodious flow
While they blaspheme the great Jehovah’s name.
But how, in heathen chains and lands unknown,
Shall Israel’s sons a song of Zion raise?
O hapless Salem, God’s terrestrial throne,
Thou land of glory, sacred mount of praise.
If e’er my mem’ry lose the lovely name,
If my cold heart neglect thy kindred race,
Let dire destruction seize this guilty frame,
My hand shall perish, and my voice shall cease.
Yet shall the Lord, who hears when Zion calls,
O’ertake her foes with terror and dismay,
His arm avenge her desolated walls
And raise His children to eternal day.