Verse > Anthologies > Jessie B. Rittenhouse, ed. > The Little Book of Modern Verse
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Jessie B. Rittenhouse, ed. (1869–1948).  The Little Book of Modern Verse.  1917.
 
50. Harps Hung Up in Babylon
 
By Arthur Colton
 
 
THE HARPS hung up in Babylon,
Their loosened strings rang on, sang on,
And cast their murmurs forth upon
The roll and roar of Babylon:
“Forget me, Lord, if I forget        5
Jerusalem for Babylon,
If I forget the vision set
High as the head of Lebanon
Is lifted over Syria yet,
If I forget and bow me down        10
To brutish gods of Babylon.”
 
Two rivers to each other run
In the very midst of Babylon,
And swifter than their current fleets
The restless river of the streets        15
Of Babylon, of Babylon,
And Babylon’s towers smite the sky,
But higher reeks to God most high
The smoke of her iniquity:
“But oh, betwixt the green and blue        20
To walk the hills that once we knew
When you were pure and I was true,”—
So rang the harps in Babylon—
“Or ere along the roads of stone
Had led us captive one by one        25
The subtle gods of Babylon.”
 
The harps hung up in Babylon
Hung silent till the prophet dawn,
When Judah’s feet the highway burned
Back to the holy hills returned,        30
And shook their dust on Babylon.
In Zion’s halls the wild harps rang,
To Zion’s walls their smitten clang,
And lo! of Babylon they sang,
They only sang of Babylon:        35
“Jehovah, round whose throne of awe
The vassal stars their orbits draw
Within the circle of Thy law,
Canst thou make nothing what is done,
Or cause Thy servant to be one        40
That has not been in Babylon,
That has not known the power and pain
Of life poured out like driven rain?
I will go down and find again
My soul that’s lost in Babylon.”        45
 

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