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David's Lamentation (William Billings) David the king was grieved and moved; He went to his chamber, his chamber and wept, And as he went, he wept and said, "Oh my son! Oh my son! Would to God I had died! Would to God I had died for thee! Oh Absalom, my son, my son!" Vict'ry that day was turned into mourning When the people did see how the King grieved for his son. He covered his face, and in a loud voice cried, "Oh my son! Oh my son! Would to God I had died! Would to God I had died for thee! Oh Absalom, my son, my son!" William Billings, c. 1800. An almost verbatim use of 2 Samuel 18:33, 19:2. Absalom, the oldest living son of David, had rebelled against his father. When the final battle between the two sides came, David gave orders for Absalom to be spared, but Joab, David's general, had the prince killed. This was David's response when he heard the news. Found in many shape note hymnals, but usually with only the first verse. Sally Rogers recorded it (with "When Jesus Wept") on "The Unclaimed Pint;" the full text is found on The Watersons' "Sound, Sound Your Instruments of Joy." The chorus circulates separately under the title "Absalom, My Son" or simply "Absalom." RW RW
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