By the Babylonian Rivers

Representative Text

1 By the Babylonian rivers
we sat down in grief and wept;
hung our harps upon a willow,
mourned for Zion while 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, hear your lonely band.

Source: In Every Corner Sing: songs of God's world #63

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 >



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 - 21 of 21)

Christian Worship #137B

Church Hymnary (4th ed.) #94

Community of Christ Sings #198


Global Songs for Worship #41

Text InfoAudio

Glory to God #72

Hymnal Supplement 1991 #737

Page Scan

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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