Lament Of The Jewish Captives
by Achsa White Sprague
By Babylon's lone river, far in a stranger's land,
Were gathered all together our sad and broken band:
And there with hearts fast breaking, while all around us slept,
Upon their banks by moonlight we sat us down and wept.
We wept for Zion fallen from all her greatness now,
While we poor, lonely captives to servitude must bow;
We wept to think how strangers now dwelt within her walls,
And held their mirth and pastime in our deserted halls.
We wept, and oh! how vainly, to think we never there,
Within our holy temple, might meet again in prayer,
Where we had met to worship our own and fathers' God,
For now far off we're scattered, beneath his chastening rod.
Our harps upon the willows we had in silence hung,
For now their strings were tuneless, and palsied were our tongues;
And oft the eve's breeze sweeping among the jarring strings,
To our lone ear desponding, a mournful cadence brings.
And they that bound us captive in servitude so long,
With mocking tone and gestures required of us a song,
Sing us one of Zion, -- the long-remembered lays,
When ye were met to worship your God with prayer and praise.
But never to those strangers shall songs like ours be sung,
No! rather let each harp-string forever be unstrung,
No! rather let the willows their mournful burden bear, --
Yet still relief is left us -- 'tis fervent, heart-felt prayer!
An early poem, composed during sickness.
Source:The Poet And Other Poems.
Boston: William White And Co.,
158 Washington Street.