I came to the place where the lone pilgrim lay,
And pensively stood by the tomb,
When in a low whisper I heard someone say,
"How sweetly I sleep here alone."
"The tempest may howl and the loud thunder roar,
And gathering storms may arise,
Yet calm is my feeling, at rest is my soul
The tears are all wiped from my eyes.
"The cause of my master compelled me from home,
I bade my companions farewell;
I blessed my dear children who now for me mourn,-
In far distant regions they dwell.
"I wandered an exile and stranger from home,
No kindred or relative nigh;
I met the contagion and sank to the tomb,
My soul flew to mansions on high.
"O tell my companion and children most dear,
To weep not for me now I'm gone;
The same hand that led me through scenes most severe,
Has kindly assisted me home.
"And there is a crown that doth glitter and shine,
That I shall for everyone wear;
Then turn to the Savior, his love's all divine,
All you that would dwell with me there."
George Pullen Jackson, ed. Spiritual Folk-Songs of Early North America (New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1937), 47.
"The text is attributed, by the 1911 editor of the Sacred Harp, to B.F. White, original compiler of that book. He wrote it "on the lone prairie in Texas", while standing "at the grave of a friend who once lived in Georgia". In Folksongs of Mississippi Hudson gives a variant text from oral tradition and tells of a local legend as to its source which agrees in the main with that given in the Sacred Harp which book, I suspect, was the source of the Mississippi legend.
"The tune, variously claimed in the fasola books, is identical with the 'Braes of Balquhidder'. See Gilchrist, JFSS, viii., 77. Other derivatives of the same tune are 'Sinners Invitation', 'Florence', and 'Orphan Girl' in this collection. In the The Musical Quarterly, xxii., No. 2, I have shown the relationship between this tune and Stephen Foster's 'Linda Has Departed.'" (47-78)
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