By the Babylonian Rivers

Representative Text

1 By the Babylonian rivers
We sat down in grief and wept;
Hung our harps upon the willow,
Mourned for Zion when we slept.

2 There our captors in derision
Did require of us a song;
So we sat with staring vision,
And the days were hard and long.

3 How shall we sing the Lord's song
In a strange and bitter land;
Can our voices veil the sorrow?
Lord God, hold your holy band.

4 Let the Cross be benediction
For those bound in tyranny;
By the power of resurrection
Loose them from captivity.

Source: RitualSong: a hymnal and service book for Roman Catholics #543

Author: Ewald Bash

Ewald J. Bash (Indiana, 1924-- ). A poet and also an occasional writer of folk melodies, his personal interests arose in the era of return to genuine folk music of the early Sixties and continued into the Seventies during the time of turmoil and crisis. His lyrics, set to a Latvian folk song, "Hymn for Those in Captivity," appears in Cantate Domine. He also composed hymns which have appeared in the hymnals of a number of communions. He was part of a folk liturgical movement in the Lutheran Church and contributed much to a development of such moods in an early work, Songs for Today. Certain of his work has also appeared in Jerusalem/Babylon: Handbook for a Christian in the Urban World. --Ewald J. Bash, DNAH Archives In a letter from Ba… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: By the Babylonian rivers
Title: By the Babylonian Rivers
Author: Ewald Bash (1964)
Language: English
Copyright: From "Songs for Today," © 1964 American Lutheran Church. Reprinted by permission of Augsburg Fortress.



CAPTIVITY is a traditional Latvian folk tune; it is also known as KAS DZIEDAJA from the Latvian poem associated with the tune. The title CAPTIVITY is derived from its more recent use (especially in post-Vatican II Roman Catholicism) with Ewald Bash's paraphrase of Psalm 137, which begins "By the Bab…

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Instances (1 - 20 of 20)

Christian Worship #137B

Church Hymnary (4th ed.) #94


Global Songs for Worship #41

Text InfoAudio

Glory to God #72

Hymnal Supplement 1991 #737

Hymns of Glory, Songs of Praise #94

In Every Corner Sing #63


Lift Up Your Hearts #651

Psalms for All Seasons #137A

Rejoice in the Lord #137


RitualSong #543

Sing and Rejoice! #13

Sing Glory #655

Singing the Faith #694

The Book of Praise #98

The Faith We Sing #2217

The Presbyterian Hymnal #246

Voices United #859

With One Voice #656

Worship (3rd ed.) #426

Include 4 pre-1979 instances
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