Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Old Churchyard

The entire month of November is a time to remember the faithful departed, and (as ever) their ranks continue to grow- a cause of sadness for us, and surely a cause of great joy for them.

Amid all the good, proper sacred music being posted here and on Facebook and elsewhere as tributes, I thought I would post one of my favorite songs about death - a very unliturgical, but intensely haunting English folk hymn. I find the music stirs my soul, and the lyrics resonate with truth.

The Old Churchyard

Come, come with me out to the old churchyard,
I so well know those paths 'neath the soft green sward.
Friends slumber in there that we want to regard;
We will trace out their names in the old churchyard.

Mourn not for them, their trials are o'er,
And why weep for those who will weep no more?
For sweet is their sleep, though cold and hard
Their pillows may be in the old churchyard.

I know that it's vain when our friends depart
To breathe kind words to a broken heart;
And I know that the joy of life is marred
When we follow lost friends to the old churchyard.

But were I at rest 'neath yonder tree,
Oh, why would you weep, my friends, for me?
I'm so weary, so wayworn, why would you retard
The peace I seek in the old churchyard?

Why weep for me, for I'm anxious to go
To that haven of rest where no tears ever flow;
And I fear not to enter that dark lonely tomb
Where our saviour has lain and conquered the gloom.

I rest in the hope that one bright day
Sunshine will burst to these prisons of clay,
And old Gabriel's trumpet and voice of the Lord
Will wake up the dead in the old churchyard.