Psalm 137

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General Information

Settings by composers

Note: In Latin, unless otherwise indicated:

See also Super flumina Babylonis (Offertory) for settings of v. 1 as the Offertory for Pentecost XX.

Other settings possibly not included in the manual list above

Text and translations

Clementine Vulgate (Psalm 136)

Latin.png Latin text

1  Psalmus David, Jeremiae. Super flumina Babylonis illic sedimus et flevimus, cum recordaremur Sion.
2  In salicibus in medio ejus suspendimus organa nostra:
3  quia illic interrogaverunt nos, qui captivos duxerunt nos, verba cantionum; et qui abduxerunt nos: Hymnum cantate nobis de canticis Sion.
4  Quomodo cantabimus canticum Domini in terra aliena?
5  Si oblitus fuero tui, Jerusalem, oblivioni detur dextera mea.
6  Adhaereat lingua mea faucibus meis, si non meminero tui; si non proposuero Jerusalem in principio laetitiae meae.
7  Memor esto, Domine, filiorum Edom, in die Jerusalem: qui dicunt: Exinanite,
exinanite usque ad fundamentum in ea.
8  Filia Babylonis misera! beatus qui retribuet tibi retributionem tuam
quam retribuisti nobis.
9  Beatus qui tenebit, et allidet parvulos tuos ad petram.

Church of England 1662 Book of Common Prayer

English.png English text

1  By the waters of Babylon we sat down and wept: when we remembered thee, O Sion.
2  As for our harps, we hanged them up: upon the trees that are therein.
3  For they that led us away captive required of us then a song, and melody in our heaviness:
Sing us one of the songs of Sion.
4  How shall we sing the Lord's song: in a strange land?
5  If I forget thee, O Jerusalem: let my right hand forget her cunning.
6  If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth: yea, if I prefer not Jerusalem in my mirth.
7  Remember the children of Edom, O Lord, in the day of Jerusalem: how they said, Down with it,
down with it, even to the ground.
8  O daughter of Babylon, wasted with misery: yea, happy shall he be that rewardeth thee,
as thou hast served us.
9  Blessed shall he be that taketh thy children: and throweth them against the stones.

French metrical version by Clément Marot

French.png French text

Estans assis aux rives aquatiques
De Babylon, plorions mélancholiques,
Nous souvenant du païs de Syon:
Et au milieu de l'habitation,
Où de regret tant de pleurs espandismes,
Aux saules vers nos harpes nous pendismes

Lors, ceulx qui là captifs nous emmenèrent,
de les sonner fort nous importunèrent,
Et de Syon les chansons réciter:
Las, dismes nous, qui pourroit inciter
Nos tristes cueurs à chanter la louange,
De nostre Dieu, en une Terre estrange ?

Or toutefoys, puisse oublier ma dextre
L'art de harper, avant qu'on te voye estre
Ierusalem, hors de mon souvenir:
Ma langue puisse à mon palais tenir
St je t'oublie, et si jamais ay joye,
Tant que premier ta délivrance j'oye.

French version (A. Ory)

French.png French text

Au bord des eaux de la cité païenne,
Dans notre exil, nous partagions nos peines,
Nous souvenant de toi, Jerusalem.

Comment chanter tes psaumes immortels ?
Aux peupliers nous suspendions nos harpes
Peuple sans voix, brisé par tant de larmes.

French version (A. Quételart)

French.png French text

Près du fleuve étranger, conduits par nos vainqueurs,
Nous nous sommes assis, lassés de tant d'alarmes,
Ton souvenir, Sion, a vibré dans nos cœurs,
Et nous tournons vers toi nos yeux remplis de larmes !

Au saule incliné sur le bord
Notre harpe qui se balance
Mêle à nos pleurs, dans le silence,
La voix de son plaintif accord.

Au sein de leurs impures fêtes,
Parmi leurs autels détestés,
Nos tyrans nous ont dit :
Chantez, chantez les chants sacrés de vos prophètes !

Seigneur, sous ce joug odieux,
Séparés de nos lois antiques,
Comment chanter tes saints cantiques
Loin du temple de nos aïeux !

Jérusalem, chère patrie !
Que mon sang se glace en mes doigts,
Que ma lèvre reste sans voix,
Jérusalem ! Jérusalem ! Jérusalem !
Que ma lèvre reste sans voix,
Jérusalem ! si je t'oublie.

Malheur à toi ! fille de Babylone,
Nous fuirons ton impur séjour !
Et l’Éternel brisant ton trône
Fera pâlir ton dernier jour !

Tes ennemis, dans leur colère,
Viendront, de leurs bras triomphants,
A tes yeux, briser sur la pierre,
Le front maudit de tes enfants.

Malheur à toi, fille de Babylone,
Malheur ! Malheur ! Malheur !

German text (Wolfgang Dachstein, modernized spelling)

German.png German text

1. An Wasserflüssen Babylon
da saßen wir mit Schmerzen
als wir gedachten an Zion,
da weinten wir von Herzen.
Wir hingen auf mit schwerem Mut
die Harfen und die Orgeln gut
an ihre Bäum der Weiden,
die drinnen sind in ihrem Land;
da mußten wir viel Schmach und Schand
täglich von ihnen leiden.

2. Die uns gefangen hielten lang
So hart an selben Orten
Begehrten von uns ein Gesang
Mit gar spöttlichen Worten
Und suchten in der Traurigkeit
Ein fröhlichn Gsang in unserm Leid
Ach lieber tut uns singen
Ein Lobgesang, ein Liedlein schon
Von den Gedichten aus Zion,
Das fröhlich tut erklingen.

3. Wie sollen wir in solchem Zwang
Und Elend, jetzt vorhanden,
Dem Herren singen ein Gesang
Sogar in fremden Landen ?
Jerusalem, vergiss ich dein,
So wolle Gott, der G'rechte, mein
Vergessen in meim Leben,
Wenn ich nicht dein bleib eingedenk
Mein Zunge sich oben ane häng
Und bleib am Rachen kleben.

4. Ja, wenn ich nicht mit ganzem Fleiss,
Jerusalem, dich ehre,
Im Anfang meiner Freude Preis
Von jetzt und immermehre,
Gedenk der Kinder Edom sehr,
Am Tag Jerusalem, o Herr,
Die in der Bosheit sprechen:
Reiss ab, reiss ab zu aller Stund,
Vertilg sie gar bis auf den Grund,
Den Boden wolln wir brechen!
 
5. Die schnöde Tochter Babylon,
Zerbrochen und zerstöret,
Wohl dem, der wird dir gebn den Lohn
Und dir, das wiederkehret,
Dein Übermut und Schalkheit gross,
Und misst dir auch mit solchem Mass,
Wie du uns hast gemessen;
Wohl dem, der deine Kinder klein
Erfasst und schlägt sie an ein Stein,
Damit dein wird vergessen!

Hebrew text

Hebrew.png Hebrew text

`Al naharót bavel
sham yashavnu gam bachinu
b'zochrénu et tsiyyón.
`Al `aravim b'tóchah
talinu kinnóróteinu.
Ki sham sh'elunu shóveinu divrei shir
v'tólaleinu simcha
shiru lanu mishshir tsiyyón.
Ech nashir et shir adónai
`al admat néchar.
Im eshkachéch y'rushalayim
tishkach y'mini.
Tidbaq l'shóni 1'chiki im ló ezk'réchi
im ló a`ale et y'rushalayim
`al rósh simchati.
Z'chor adónai livnei edóm
et yóm y'rushalayim
haóm'rim `aru `aru
`ad hay'sód bah.
Bat bavel hashsh'duda
ashrei shey'shallém lach et g'muléch
shegamalt lanu.
Ashrei sheyóchéz v'nipéts
et `ólalayich el hassala!

Káldi fordítás

Hungarian.png Hungarian text

A fogságban lévők siralom-éneke.
Dávid (vagy) Jeremiás zsoltára. Babilon folyóvizei mellett, ott ültünk és sírtunk, midőn Sionról emlékezénk.
A fűzfákra függesztettük benne hangszereinket.
Mert ott, kik elvittek és fogságban tartottak minket, énekszót kivántak tőlünk: „Zengjetek nekünk éneket Sion énekeiből.“
Hogyan énekeljük az Úr énekét idegen földön?
Ha elfeledkezem rólad, Jerusalem! legyen elfeledve jobb kezem.
Torkomhoz ragadjon nyelvem, ha meg nem emlékezem rólad, ha nem teszem Jerusalemet fővígaságomnak.
Emlékezzél meg, Uram! Édom fiairól Jerusalem napján, kik mondák: Pusztítsátok el, pusztítsátok el azt alapjáig.
Babilon inséges leánya! boldog, ki visszaadja neked fizetésedet, melylyel te nekünk fizettél.
Boldog, ki megragadja s a kősziklához csapja kisdedeidet.

Metrical 'Old Version' (William Whittingham)

English.png English text

1  When we did sit in Babylon
The rivers round about,
Then in remembrance of Zion
The tears for grief burst out.

2  We hanged our harps and instruments
The willow trees upon:
For in that place men for their use
Had planted many one.

3  Then they to whom we pris'ners were
Said to us tauntingly,
Now let us hear your Hebrew songs
And pleasant melody.

4  Alas! said we, who can once frame
His heavy heart to sing
The praises of our living God,
Thus under a strange king?

5  But yet if I Jerusalem
Out of my heart let slide;
Then let my fingers quite forget
The warbling harp to guide:

6  And let my tongue within my mouth
Be tied for ever fast,
If I rejoice before I see
Thy full deliv'rance past.

7  Therefore, O Lord, remember now
The cursèd noise and cry
That Edom's sons against us made,
When they razed our city.

8  Remember, Lord, their cruel words,
When with a mighty sound
They cried; Down. yea, down with it
Unto the very ground.

9  E'en so shalt thou, O Babylon,
At length to dust be brought;
And happy shall that man be called,
That our revenge hath wrought:

10  Yea, blessèd shall that man be called,
That takes thy little ones,
And dasheth them in pieces small
Against the very stones.

Metrical 'New Version' (Tate/Brady)

English.png English text

1  When we, our wearied limbs to rest,
Sat down by proud Euphrates' stream,
We wept, with doleful thoughts oppress'd,
And Sion was our mournful theme.

2  Our harps, that when with joy we sung
Were wont their tuneful parts to bear,
With silent strings neglected hung
On willow trees that wither'd there.

3  Meanwhile our foes, who all conspir'd
To triumph in our slavish wrongs,
Musick and mirth of us requir'd;
Come, sing us one of Sion s songs.

4  How shall we tune our voice to sing
Or touch our harps with skilful hands?
Shall hymns of joy to God our King
Be sung by slaves in foreign lands?

5  O Salem, our once happy seat,
When I of thee forgetful prove,
Let then my trembling hand forget
The speaking strings with art to move!

6  If I to mention thee forbear,
Eternal silence seize my tongue;
Or if I sing one cheerful air,
Till thy deliv'rance is my song!

7  Remember, Lord, how Edom's race,
In thy own city's fatal day,
Cried out, Her stately walls deface,
And with the ground quite level lay.

8  Proud Babel's daughter, doom'd to be
Of grief and woe the wretched prey;
Bless'd is the man who shall to thee
The wrongs thou lay'st on us repay.

9  Thrice blest, who with just rage possest,
And deaf to all the parents' moans,
Shall snatch thy infants from the breast,
And dash their heads against the stones.

Metrical Paraphrase by Joel Barlow, 1785

English.png English text

1. Along the banks where Babel's current flows,
Our captive bands in deep despondence strayed;
While Zion's fall in sad remembrance rose,
Her friends, her children, mingled with the dead.

2. The tuneless harp that once with joy we strung,
When praise employed and mirth inspired the lay,
In mournful silence on the willows hung,
And growing grief prolonged the tedious day.

3. The barbarous tyrants, to increase the woe,
With taunting smiles a song of Zion claim:
Bid sacred praise in strains melodious flow,
While they blaspheme the great Jehovah's name.

4. But how, in heathen chains and lands unknown,
Shall Israel's sons a song of Zion raise?
O hapless Salem, God's terrestrial throne,
Thou land of glory, sacred mount of praise.

5. If ever my memory lose thy lovely name,
If my cold heart neglect my kindred race,
Let dire destruction seize this guilty frame:
My hand shall perish, and my voice shall cease.

6. Yet shall the Lord, who hears when Zion calls,
O'ertake her foes with terror and dismay,
His arm avenge her desolated walls,
And raise her children to eternal day.

Paraphrase by Thomas Carew, ca. 1640

English.png English text

Sitting by the streams that glide
Down by Babel’s towering wall,
With our tears we filled the tide,
While our mindful thoughts recall
Thee, O Zion, and thy fall.

Our neglected harps unstrung,
Not acquainted with the hand
Of the skillful tuner, hung
On the willow trees that stand
Planted in the neighbor land.

Yet the spiteful foe commands
Songs of mirth, and bids us lay
To dumb harps our captive hands,
And to scoff our sorrows, say,
Sing us some sweet Hebrew lay.

 

But, say we, our holy strain
Is too pure for heathen land,
Nor may we God's hymns profane,
Or move either voice or hand
To delight a savage band.

Holy Salem, if thy love
Fall from my forgetful heart,
May the skill by which I move
Strings of music, tuned with art,
From my withered hand depart.

May my speechless tongue give sound
To no accents, but remain
To my prison roof fast bound,
If my sad soul entertain
Mirth, till thou rejoice again.

 

In that day remember, Lord,
Edom's breed, that in our groans
They triumph—with fire and sword
Burn their city, hearse their bones,
And make all one heap of stones.
 
Cruel Babel, thou shalt feel
The revenger of our groans,
When the happy victor's steel,
As thine our's, shall hew thy bones,
And make all one heap of stones.

Men shall bless the hand that tears
From the mother's soft embraces
Sucking infants, and besmears,
With their brains, the rugged faces
Of the rocks, and stony places.