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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Asia: Vols. XXI–XXIII. 1876–79.

Mesopotamia: Babylon

By the Rivers of Babylon We Sat down and Wept

By Lord Byron (1788–1824)

WE sat down and wept by the waters

Of Babel, and thought of the day

When our foe, in the hue of his slaughters,

Made Salem’s high places his prey;

And ye, O her desolate daughters,

Were scattered all weeping away.

While sadly we gazed on the river

Which rolled on in freedom below,

They demanded the song; but, O, never

That triumph the stranger shall know!

May this right hand be withered forever,

Ere it string our high harp for the foe!

On the willow that harp is suspended,

O Salem! its sound should be free;

And the hour when thy glories were ended

But left me that token of thee:

And ne’er shall its soft tones be blended

With the voice of the spoiler by me!