Remembering thee

In Brief

The longing for Ireland expressed in Kevin Egan's recollection of a nostalgic song prompts Stephen to think of the Jews' lament for their lost homeland in the Bible: "Remembering thee, O Sion."

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Psalm 137 records the experience of the Jews who were taken off into captivity in Babylon after the destruction of Jerusalem, ca. 600 BCE:

By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion. We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion. How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land? If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy. (1-6)

Stephen's association of the captivity of the Jewish and Irish nations will return in Aeolus, where the equivalence is implied by the narrative itself.

JH 2016
By the Rivers of Babylon, painting by Gerhard Fugel ca. 1920, held in the Diƶzesanmuseum Freising, Germany. Source: Wikimedia Commons.