Scripture Verse

On the willow trees in the midst of Babylon we hung our harps. Psalm 137:2

Introduction

Words: James Joyce, in the Chris­tian Ob­serv­er, De­cem­ber 1809. Orig­in­al first line: High on the bend­ing wil­lows hung.

Music: Cai­ro, in The Sab­bath Hymn and Tune Book, by Lo­well Ma­son, Ed­wards A. Park & Aus­tin Phelps (New York; Bost­on, Mas­sa­chu­setts; and Chi­ca­go, Il­li­nois: Ma­son Bro­thers, J. E. Tilt­on and Root & Ca­dy, 1859), page 325 (🔊 pdf nwc).

If you know where to get a good pic­ture of Joyce (head-and-shoul­ders, at least 200×300 pix­els), would you ?

Lyrics

Why, on the bending willows hung,
Israel! still sleeps thy tuneful string?
Still mute remains thy silent tongue,
And Zion’s song denies to sing?

Awake! thy sweetest raptures raise,
Let harp and voice unite their strains;
Thy promised king His scepter sways,
Jesus, thine own Messiah, reigns!

No taunting foes the song require,
No strangers mock thy captive chain;
But friends provoke the silent lyre,
And brethren ask the holy strain.

Nor fear thy Salem’s hills to wrong,
If other lands thy triumph share;
A heavenly city claims thy song,
A brighter Salem rises there.

By foreign streams no longer roam,
Nor, weeping, think of Jordan’s flood;
In every clime behold a home,
In every temple see thy God.