click to play

Come, let us arise, and go up to the top of the mount Zion,
and view her towers;
behold her mighty walls and her bulwarks of everlasting strength.

Here we will exult and sing,
What hill or mountain is like thee,
what hill or mountain is like thee,
O thou celestial light!

View from her brilliant tops
the hills and mountains round about her,
cover'd with desolation
Return, mine eyes, come home, come home;
once more explore this holy hill.

This is the hill of God's abode,
This is the hill of God's abode,
His everlasting throne.

No noxious air can reach me here,
No sickness, pain nor death and fear.
This is the hill I will adore;
I'll tarry here for evermore.

abc | midi | pdf
Source: Patterson, D W, 1979, The Shaker Spiritual, Princeton University Press, New Jersey

Patterson wrote:

The Shakers at Enfield, Connecticut, learned this anthem in 1819 as one composed by Issachar Bates while at Watervliet, Ohio. Elder Issachar's piece is only loosely representative of the early anthems. His test is unusual in not being an excerpt from the Scriptures, but a web of Biblical allusions. He had in mind certain lines scattered though Psalm 48:

Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion ... God is known in her palaces for a refuge ... Walk about Zion, and go round her: tell the towers thereof. Mark ye well her bulwarks, consider her palaces ... For this God is our God for ever and ever: he will be our guide even unto death.

His text is furthermore unusual in that it begins in prose, slips midway into iambic feet, and closely rhymed tetrameter couplets. Elder Issachar's musical setting for these words is also unusually coherent for an anthem.


Browse Titles: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W Y Z