How can I keep from singing

Music: Robert Lowry arr. Frances Cockburn, Words: Pauline T.

Voicing: SAA

Performance time approx: 2m 10s

Range S: b♭ - f'' / A1: b♭ - b'♭ / A2: g - d''

Price code: B


How Can I Keep From Singing was originally a 19th century hymn with words by one “Pauline T.” and music by Robert Lowry, a Baptist minister. In the folk movement of the 1960s, the song was taken up by Pete Seeger, who created a secular version of the original lyrics and included an extra verse by Doris Plenn that was understood to refer to McCarthyism. Many variants of the lyrics now exist, incorporating strands both of the original and of Seeger’s version.  And, in a kind of circle, the song has also been republished in many hymnals and sung as a hymn again. To stay clearly within copyright, we have published Pauline T’s original words in this arrangement, but you are free to make your own decisions about which words to use in practice.

My life flows on in endless song:
Above Earth’s lamentation,
I catch the real 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 Saviour 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 heaven and earth,
How can I keep from singing?

Attributed to 'Pauline T.' in the New York Observer, August 7, 1868

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How can I keep from singing

Frances Cockburn


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