Lamentation over Boston (William Billings)
- Editor: Aaron Giles (submitted 2016-09-26). Score information: Letter, 7 pages, 90 kB Copyright: Public Domain
- Edition notes: Transcribed from The Singing Master's Assistant
- Editor: Barry Johnston (submitted 2014-10-11). Score information: Letter, 4 pages, 102 kB Copyright: Public Domain
- Edition notes: Complete score, oval-note format. Transcribed from The Singing-Master's Assistant, 1778. Re-formatted 2018-01-04.
First published: 1778 in The Singing Master's Assistant
Description: First published in TheSinging Master's Assistant (1778). A setting of a text (apparently by Billings) alluding to Psalm 137, Jeremiah 3:21 and 31:20, and to the events of the American Revolution. A personal, emotional statement, and a powerful illustration of how the American Revolution tore families and friends apart.
References: Barbour (1960), pages 11, 110-112.
Original text and translations
By the Rivers of Watertown we sat down and wept,
we wept when we remembered, O Boston.
Lord God of Heaven, preserve them, defend them,
deliver and restore them unto us again.
Forbid it, Lord God,
forbid that those who have sucked Bostonian Breasts
should thirst for American Blood.
A voice was heard in Roxbury which echoed through the Continent,
weeping for Boston because of their Danger.
Is Boston my dear Town, is it my native Place?
for since their Calamity I do earnestly remember it still!
If I forget thee, yea, if I do not remember thee,
Then let my numbers cease to flow, Then be my Muse unkind,
Then let my Tongue forget to move and ever be confined;
Let horrid Jargon split the Air and rive my nerves asunder.
Let hateful discord greet my ear as terrible as Thunder.
Let harmony be banished hence and Consonance depart;
Let dissonance erect her throne and reign within my Heart.