Monday, March 03, 2014

How Can I Keep From Singing? by Robert Lowry

My life flows on in endless song;
Above earth’s lamentation
I hear the sweet though far off hymn
That hails a new creation:
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?

What though my joys and comforts die?
The Lord my Savior liveth;
What though the darkness gather round!
Songs in the night He giveth:
No storm can shake my inmost calm
While to that refuge clinging;
Since Christ is Lord of Heav’n and earth,
How can I keep from singing?

I lift mine eyes; the cloud grows thin;
I see the blue above it;
And day by day this pathway smoothes
Since first I learned to love it:
The peace of Christ makes fresh my heart,
A fountain ever springing:
All things are mine since I am His—
How can I keep from singing?

This was first published in the 1860s by 'son of Ulster' Robert Wadsworth Lowry, who wrote the words and the tune. I am in touch with one of his descendants who hopes to visit Northern Ireland this summer to visit the townlands and villages of Killinchy and Crossgar where the Lowrys lived before emigrating. Over the years it has been recorded (and its lyrics altered to be more secular) by artists like Pete Seeger, Bruce Springsteen, Eva Cassidy and Enya.