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Origins: By the Waters (Floods, Rivers) of Babylon

DigiTrad:
RIVERS OF BABYLON
WATERS OF BABYLON


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Q (Frank Staplin) 18 Dec 13 - 04:23 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 18 Dec 13 - 04:39 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 18 Dec 13 - 07:31 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 18 Dec 13 - 07:49 PM
GUEST,leeneia 19 Dec 13 - 10:41 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 19 Dec 13 - 12:37 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 19 Dec 13 - 12:50 PM
Joe_F 19 Dec 13 - 04:09 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 19 Dec 13 - 04:21 PM
GUEST,leeneia 19 Dec 13 - 06:56 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 20 Dec 13 - 08:59 PM
Gibb Sahib 21 Dec 13 - 03:54 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 21 Dec 13 - 01:10 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 21 Dec 13 - 01:36 PM
MGM·Lion 21 Dec 13 - 02:18 PM
Joe Offer 21 Dec 13 - 02:24 PM
Gibb Sahib 21 Dec 13 - 04:34 PM
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Subject: Lyr Add: By the Waters (Floods, Rivers)of Babylon
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 18 Dec 13 - 04:23 PM

Lyr. Add: FLODES OF BABYLON
Richard Rolle, 1290-1349, psalter

1. Aboven the flodes of Babilon, thar we sat and gret whils we unthought of Syon.
2. In the wylghis in the middies of hit we hang up our orgoyns.
3. For thar thei askyd us, tho that caitifes led us, words of songes, and tho that away led us thmpne til us of the sangesf syon.
4. How shal we syng the song of Lord to aliens land?
5. If I forget thee Jerusalem, til forgetyng be gifen my righthand.
6. My tong draw til my chekis, if I had thought not of thee, if I sett nought of thee, Jerusalem, in begynnyng of my joy.
7. By menand, Lord, of the sunnys of Edom in day of Jerusalem, the whilk seys "Temys, til the ground in hit."
8. Doughtur of Babilon, wrech, blissful he that shal yeld til thee the theldyng that thou theldid til us.
9. Blisful for that shal holde and knok his smale til the stone.

http://aclerkofoxford.blogspot.ca

Lyr: Add: FLOODIS OF BABILOYNE
Wycliffe translation, late 14th C.

1. On the floodis of Babyloyne there we saten, and wepten; while we bithouyten on Syon.
2. In salewis in the myddil thereos; we hangiden uo oure orguns.
3. For thei that ledden us prisoners, axiden us there the wordie of songis,
And thei that ledden awei us seiden "Synge ye to us an ympne of the songis of Syon."
4. Hou schulen we singe a songe of the Lord in an alien land?
5. If I foryete thee, Jerusalem, my riyt hond be youun to foryetting.
6. Mt tunge cleue to my chekis, if I bithenke not on thee, if I purposide not of thee, Jerusalem, in the begynnyng of my gladnesse.
7. Lord, haue thou mynde on the sones of edom, for the dai of foundement ther inne.
8. Thou wretched douyter of Babiloyne, he is blessed, that schal yelde to thee thi yelding, which thou yeldidist to vs.
9. He is bleddid, thal shal holde; and hurtle doun hise little children at a stoon.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: By the Waters (Floods, Rivers)of Babylon
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 18 Dec 13 - 04:39 PM

Lyr. Add: RIVERS OF BABYLON
Psalm 137 ("Transcription" from the Hebrew.

By the rivers of Babylon there we sat,
also wept, when we remembered Zion.

On the poplars in the midst thereof we had hung up our lyres.
For there, those that led us captive asked of us words of a song
and our captors asked us to make merry.
"Sing us one of the songs of Zion."

How can we sing a song of YAHVEH in a foreign land?

If I forget you Jerusalem, let my right hand forget.
May my tongue stick to the roof of my mouth if I don't remember you,
if I don't set Jerusalem as my greatest joy.

Remember YAHVEH, the children of Edom. The day of Jerusalem
who said, "Destroy it! Flatten it even to the ground of its foundation!"

Daughter of Babylon you are to be destroyed.
Privileged is he who repays you as you have dealt with us.
Privileged is he who seizes and smashes your children against the rock.

http://www.musicofthebible.com/psalm137.htm


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: By the Waters (Floods, Rivers)of Babylon
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 18 Dec 13 - 07:31 PM

Lyr. Add: WHEN WE DID SIT IN BABYLON, psalm 137
William Whittingham, 1524-1579

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 forever fast,
If I rejoice before I see
the full deliv'rance past.

7. Therefore, O Lord, remember now
the cursed 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 that man be called,
that our revenge has wrought.

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

Sternhold & Hopkins, Psalter, 1562; Psalm 137 by W. Whittingham.
1812 Edition; spellings modernized.

http://www0.cpdl.org/wiki/index.php/Psalm_137


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: By the Waters (Floods, Rivers)of Babylon
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 18 Dec 13 - 07:49 PM

Lyr. Add: WATERS OF BABYLON
George Garrett, 1834-1897

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 cleve 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 be he that rewardeth thee, as thou has served us.

9. Blessed shall be he that taketh thy children; and throweth them
against the stones.

Psalm Translations: By the Waters of Babylon.

http://aclerkofoxford.blogspot.ca


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: By the Waters (Floods, Rivers)of Babylon
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 19 Dec 13 - 10:41 AM

Thank you, Q.

My goodness, but those lines, and especially that last line, evoke the brutality of that age and the long-lasting hate that it left behind.

I'm sure it is to be emphasized in this way:

"Blessed shall be he that taketh THY children; and throweth THEM against the stones," because that is what the Babylonian armies did to small and useless captured children.   
===========
The language is fascinating too, of course. I wonder if 'ympne' in the Wycliffe is supposed to be 'ymyne,' or 'hymn.' It's easy to mistake a y for a p.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: By the Waters (Floods, Rivers)of Babylon
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 19 Dec 13 - 12:37 PM

It is 'ympne', leeneia. Thanks for the correction.
Revenge, "an eye for an eye....," continues. Our knowledge of the history of the time, and the flow of peoples across the Middle East, is poor, and colored by the biblical stories.

Here is one of several copyright versions.   

Lyr. Add: RIVERS OF BABYLON
© Reyan, G., Farian, F., Dowe, B., McNaughton, T.

By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down
Ye-eah we wept, when we remembered Zion.
By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down
Ye-eah, we wept, when we remembered Zion.
When the wicked
carried us away in captivity
Required from us a song
Now how shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?
Let the words of our mouth and the meditations of our heart
Be acceptable in thy sight here tonight.
Let the words of our mouth and the meditations of our heart
Be acceptable in thy sight here tonight.

By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down
Ye-eah, we wept, when we remembered Zion.
By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down
Ye-eah, we wept, when we remembered Zion.
By the rivers of Babylon (dark tears of Babylon)
There we sat down- (You got to sing a song)
Ye-eah, we wept,- (Sing a song of love)
When we remembered Zion (Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah)
By the rivers of Babylon (Rough rivers of Babylon)
There we sat down (You hear the people cry)
Ye-eah, we wept (They need that (?))
When we remembered Zion (Ooh, have the power).

As sung by the group "Boney M." One of the top youtube songs, with over 22 million hits.
Lyrics need checking. My ear is not up to it.

Sony/ATV Music Pub., Universal Music Publishing Group Royalty Network, EMI Music Publishing.
Taken from www.lyricsfreak.com


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: By the Waters (Floods, Rivers)of Babylon
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 19 Dec 13 - 12:50 PM

Chaucer-
"And many an ympne for your halydayes. That heighten balades, roundels, virelays; And for to speke of other holynesse, ....."

ympne- A song of praise, a canticle. See "Middle English Dictionary" in Google. Several variant spellings.


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Subject: ADD: By Sas's Sickly Streams (Psalm 137 parody)
From: Joe_F
Date: 19 Dec 13 - 04:09 PM

By Sas's sickly streams we sat,
And ay we grain'd and ay we grat,
    When Scotland we thought on,
Our bagpipes hung neglected by,
The bag was toome, the whistle dry,
    And silent was the drone.

Now they wha brought us to this town,
Cry'd "Lads, Why are ye a' cast down?
    "Come sing us a Scotch sang."
But surely we'd be fair to blame,
To song our sangs sae far frae hame,
    To sic a scury gang.

Auld Reekie I did ne'er forget,
For ony town that I've seen yet,
    In a' their foreign lands:
Gin e'er I do, in time to come,
I pray that I may be struck dumb,
    And powerless be my hands.

How happy would the Dutchman be
If Britain was sunk in the sea,
    'Twould better their condition.
But let's gang on as we've begun,
'Tis to be hoped we spoil their fun,
    And nick them of their fishing.

O then we'll gar them a' repent,
The sending us to Sas van Ghent,
    We'll pay them for their pains.
We'll spare them neither young nor auld,
We'll take their gaytlings by the spauld,
    And dad them to the stanes.

-- Sir Robert Murray Keith (18th century)

found in Google Books - The Scotch haggis; consisting of anecdotes, jests [&c.] with a coll. of epitaphs and inscriptions (1822)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: By the Waters (Floods, Rivers)of Babylon
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 19 Dec 13 - 04:21 PM

Joe F, New to me. Thanks for posting it.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: By the Waters (Floods, Rivers)of Babylon
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 19 Dec 13 - 06:56 PM

Okay on the 'ympne.'


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: By the Waters (Floods, Rivers)of Babylon
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 20 Dec 13 - 08:59 PM

Lyr. Add: BY THE RIVERS OF BABYLON (Marley)
Bob Marley and the Wailers

Sing it alah
Sing a song of freedom (brother) sister
wannaahhanna (woohooooh)
hhhmm mm mmm m

We gunna walk it (we guna Singandshoutit) talk it
We guna sing and shout ohh yaw yea
Shout the song of freedom now
woohhoo hooo (hmmmm mm m)

So let the words of our mouth
and the meditations of our hearts
be acceptable in your sight.
O, Far I

So let the words of our mouth
and the meditations of our hearts
be acceptable in your sight.
O, Far I

Sing it sing it de (oohhooo hoo)
We got to sing it together
Everyone ohh woohoo (gotta shout it together)
aahhaanaana (oohohoh ananaa)
woohhoo ohh woohoh

By the rivers of Babylon
where we sat down
and there we wept
when we remembered Zion
'cause the wicked
carried us away- captivity
required from us a song
how can we sing King Alpha's song
in a strange land?

'cause the wicked
carried us away- captivity
required from us a song
how can we sing King Alpha's song
in a strange land?

Sing it sing it ohh (sing it sing it sing it)
sing a song of freedom brothers
you gotta sing it sisters...
(fades)

On youtube. My ear is not good enough to catch any corrections.

http://www.streetdirectory.com/lyricadvisor/song/eafoco/by_the_rivers_of_babylon/


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: By the Waters (Floods, Rivers) of Babylon
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 21 Dec 13 - 03:54 AM

FWIW (It's subjective, but I'm a long time fan of Jamaican popular music) the interpretation vocalized by The Melodians is the definitive one in that repertory. I wasn't aware of any Marley/Wailers rendition at all (if there is one?; I've not heard a recording. People seem to randomly ascribe credit to the over-famous Marley for things), and the Boney M, in my opinion, is derivative trash.

The rhythm has a very distinctive style, where the organ emphasizes the the downbeats, that was common around 1970 and then faded into oblivion within the next couple years.

The Melodians seem to have been the Jamaican group to dig into their hymn-singing background and bring this into popular music recording—subsequently "covered" by others.

The song was used on the very popular soundtrack to the film _The Harder They Come_, hence its spread far outside Jamaica in this form.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: By the Waters (Floods, Rivers) of Babylon
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 21 Dec 13 - 01:10 PM

The Melodians lyrics (found after I posted the Marley) are similar to the Marley. I will post them.

Looking at the old spirituals (black), I haven't found this song, but it has been brought into modern versions, especially by Caribbean singers.

Speaking of questionable copyrights, one of a version of the round, "written by David Carbonera" is worth noting:

Babylon
By the waters, the waters of Babylon,
We laid down and wept, and wept
For thee Zion
We remember thee, remember Thee Zion.

© Warner/Chappell Music Inc.

    Comment from Joe Offer: I always cringe when I see this "Waters of Babylon" round attributed to Don McLean, or to some other modern artist. I checked a number of sources. Some attribute this setting of Psalm 137 to William Billings (1746-1800) of Massachusetts. Others say it is "erroneously attributed" to Billings. Some sources call it a "traditional Jewish melody." Daniel Harper of Northern California researched the song, and found a copy of the melody in a 1786 book titled The Muses Delight: Catches, Glees, Canzonets and Canons by Philip Hayes, page 105.

    Makes it a bit older than old Don McLean, doesn't it?

    -Joe-


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: By the Waters (Floods, Rivers) of Babylon
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 21 Dec 13 - 01:36 PM

The Melodians may be heard singing this song on youtube.
Gibb, please post corrections.

RIVERS OF BABYLON
The Melodians

By the rivers of Babylon
Where he sat down
And there he wept
When he remembered Zion.

'Cause the wicked carried us away in captivity
Required from us a song
How can we sing King Alpha's song
In a strange land?

'Cause the wicked carried us away in captivity
Required from us a song
How can we sing King Alpha's song
In a strange land?

Sing it out loud
Sing a song of freedom, brother
Sing a song of freedom, sister.

So, let the words of our mouth
And the meditation of our heart
Be acceptable in Thy sight.
O Fari

So, let the words of our mouth
And the meditation of our heart
Be acceptable in Thy sight
O Fari

We got to sing it together
Everyone
La la la la la

By the rivers of Babylon
Where he sat down
And there he wept
When he remembered Zion.

'Cause the wicked carried us away in captivity
Required from us a song
How can we sing King Alpha's song
In a strange land?

'Cause the wicked carried us away in captivity
Required from us a song
How can we sing King Alpha's song
In a strange land?

http://lyrics.wikia.com/The_Melodians:Rivers_Of_Babylon


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: By the Waters (Floods, Rivers) of Babylon
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 21 Dec 13 - 02:18 PM

A setting of the psalm also appears, of course, in William Walton's great cantata of 1931 —

Belshazzar's Feast is a cantata by the English composer William Walton. It was first performed at the Leeds Festival on 8 October 1931, with the baritone Dennis Noble, the London Symphony Orchestra and the Leeds Festival Chorus, conducted by Malcolm Sargent. The work has remained one of Walton's most celebrated compositions. Osbert Sitwell selected the text from the Bible, primarily the Book of Daniel, and Psalm 137.
    Wikipedia

~M~


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: By the Waters (Floods, Rivers) of Babylon
From: Joe Offer
Date: 21 Dec 13 - 02:24 PM

http://homepage.ntlworld.com/davebulow/wow/key_ideas_-_a&o.htm has some interesting information on the Melodians song.

In Rastafarian terms, the title 'King Alpha' refers to Emperor Haile Selassie I (identified with the Almighty God Jah Rastafari), and is often used in conjunction with the name 'Queen Omega' referring to the Emperor's consort Empress Woizero Menen Asfaw.

Does "O Fari" refer to Prince Far I, a Rastafarian disc jockey?

The Wikipedia article on "Rivers of Babylon" adds a bit of information to what we have above.
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Origins: By the Waters (Floods, Rivers) of Babylon
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 21 Dec 13 - 04:34 PM

The Melodians lyrics you posted are accurate, Q, thanks.

There is no Marley version (that I know of). Knuckleheads on the Internet have seemed to imagine Marley's anachronous (late 70s) face in conjunction with 'most anything Jamaican and musical, and they are confounding your/our searches!

Joe, no, nothing to do with the DJ! If "O Far I" is what they are singing (it seems most likely), it is simply the usual reference to Jah Rastafari (Ras Tafar I) - shortened. There is a lot of word-play in Rastafari (< the pedants' correct name of the faith, as opposed to Rastafarianism). "Rastafari" (the faith) and "Rasta" (a practitioner of the faith) are derived from Haile Selassie's name Ras (a title, like "prince," I think) Tafar (his actual name) I (the Roman numeral of "the First"), i.e. something like "Prince Tafar the First." The fact that that could be pronounced and broken down in so many ways speaks to the word-play. Of course, "I" (pronounced like the first person singular pronoun) is the most important of this word-play, hence "I and I", where one "I" is the self and the other is Jah. Some Rastas go so far as to replace the word "me" in their speech with "I", like "Give I a piece of pie"!

N.B. I have not fact-checked any of this. It is what I know only from personal experience.


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