"The Wild Geese." by Norah M. Holland (1876-1925)
O PLEASANT are the fields of France, her vine-clad hills aglow,
And broad and smooth her rivers are, as singing on they go,–
Durance and Seine and Loire and Rhone–but not for us they flow.
And sweetly on a Frenchman's ear the songs of France may ring,
But not for us their melody who still amid their swing
The sobbing beat alone can hear of songs we used to sing.
For, as the streams of Babylon, though broad and fair they swept,
Were waters of captivity, whereby the Hebrews wept,
Dreaming of dear Jerusalem, where their forefathers slept–
So dreaming by the waves of France we think on Sion too,
Heartsick with longing for the streams we and our fathers knew–
Liffey and Lee and Avonmore and tawny Avondhu.
And turning homeward yearning eyes that ne'er shall see her strand,
We tune our harps and strike once more the chords with faltering hand,
And sing again the song of home, far in a lonely land.
"If we forget Jerusalem! " Ah, well we know the song–
Our waters of captivity, bitter their waves and strong,
And faint our hearts for weariness, how long, O Lord, how long?