Where Babel's rivers winding stray

Author: Anne Steele (1760)
Published in 2 hymnals

Representative Text

I. Where Babel's rivers winding stray
A silent, cool retreat we chose;
There lost in thoughtful sadness lay,
And pond'ring o'er our mighty woes.

II. Our mighty woes increasing rise,
Revolving Sion's hapless fate;
And louder griefs, and streaming eyes,
Deplore her wretched, ruin'd state.

III. No more could music sooth our cares;
Our harps neglected, and unstrung,
(Vanish'd their once delightful airs,)
All silent, on the willows hung.

IV. Our barb'rous masters mock'd our pains,
While with insulting haughty tongues,
They bade us tune the charming strains,
And give them one of Sion's songs.

V. Ah, no; shall Sion's sacred airs,
Inspir'd by heav'n, be thus prophan'd?
Be sung to please such ears as theirs,
Whose impious arms destroy'd our land?

VI. Far from our dear-lov'd native soil,
Shall we resume the pleasing lay?
Can rugged bondage wear a smile,
Or ever-wasting grief be gay?

VII. If I forget thy ruin'd state,
Jerusalem, my heart's desire;
Then let my useless hand forget
Her skill to strike the sounding lyre.

VIII. If I indulge a mirthful song,
Or thy dear name my mem'ry leave;
All silent, let my faithless tongue
Fast to my mouth forever cleave.

IX. Jerusalem, lamented name!
Shall still my mournful voice employ;
And I the sadly pleasing theme
Prefer to ev'ry thought of joy.

X. Remember, Lord, proud Edom's sons,
Who cruel, urg'd the conqu'ring foe,
To raze her beauteous tow'rs at once,
And lay her lofty structures low.

XI. Such rain, Babel, thou shalt share,
And sure reward awaits thy guilt;
Then shall thy heart untaught to spare,
Repay the blood thy hand has spilt.

XII. Happy the man who then shall rise,
(While heav'n the righteous vengeance owns,)
And dash with unrelenting eyes,
Thy bleeding babes against the stones.

Source: Poems on Subjects Chiefly Devotional, Vol. 2 #228

Author: Anne Steele

Anne Steele was the daughter of Particular Baptist preacher and timber merchant William Steele. She spent her entire life in Broughton, Hampshire, near the southern coast of England, and devoted much of her time to writing. Some accounts of her life portray her as a lonely, melancholy invalid, but a revival of research in the last decade indicates that she had been more active and social than what was previously thought. She was theologically conversant with Dissenting ministers and "found herself at the centre of a literary circle that included family members from various generations, as well as local literati." She chose a life of singleness to focus on her craft. Before Christmas in 1742, she declined a marriage proposal from contemporar… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: Where Babel's rivers winding stray
Title: Psalm CXXXVII
Author: Anne Steele (1760)
Language: English
Publication Date: 1760
Copyright: Public Domain



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Poems on Subjects Chiefly Devotional, Vol. 2 #228

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