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How Can I Keep From Singing ?

My life flows by in endless song,
beyond earth's lamentations,
I catch the sweet, though far-off, humn
that hails a new creation

No storm can shake my inmost calm
when to that rock i'm clinging.
Since love* is lord of heaven and earth,
how can i keep from singing.**

Through all the tumult and the strife
I hear the music ringing.
It finds an echo in my soul,
How can i keep from singing?

My Choice 179 - Enya: How Can I Keep From Singing - YouTube


This was the closing hymn at mass tonight.  I have always loved it!  It is Quaker hymn (Maybe even Shaker?), it is beautiful and simple.  It ia one of less than a handful of songs i will attempt in public without fear of embarrassment.   I never pay much attention to the lyrics.  Tonight, i did.

Behind its simplicity, there is a highly mystical quality to this hymn.  That shouldn't have surprised me.  Mysticism is really very simple once the head gets out of the heart's way,  How can going "beyond earth's lamentations" be "sweet" (amd  sane) unless those lamentations are illusory, or at least less real than the "far-off hymn."


* The original lyrics, as  written in the nineteenth centrury by Robert Lowry, omit references to "Christ" and "Savior" thus it was originally a more "universal" song, though written by Christians for Christians.  The Catholic hymn book retains the original lyrics.  Wikipedia gives a different version of the hymn's origin, that  this was not originally Quaker music, that Lowry wrote both words and music, and that the lyrics originally included the explicitly Christian wirds..  It alleges that the Christian references were removed by the protest singers of l950s.

** I cannot carry a tune in a basket, but i do sing this one at the top of my lungs; i don't care how off key i am.  In fact, i think i sound pretty good when accompanied by many other voices and a good  piano player. :)

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Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
bardcat
Oct. 5th, 2016 02:32 pm (UTC)
I so love this hymn, particularly the universal original version.
(Deleted comment)
bobby1933
Oct. 6th, 2016 10:30 pm (UTC)
The "original" Greek text, so far as i know, is lost.

But i will check with my friend who has read Matthew in ancient Greek. I, sadly, remain as always, monolingual.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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