African-American spiritual



Steal away, steal away, steal away to Jesus!
Steal away, steal away home,
I ain’t got long to stay here.

 I was walk’n in Savannah, past a church, decayed and dim;

when there slowly through the window, came a plaintive funeral hymn.

And a sympathy awakened, a wonder quickly grew,

‘til I found myself environed in a little Negro pew.


Out in front a young couple sat in sorrow, and nearly wild.

On the altar was a coffin, in the coffin, was a child.


‘Rose a sad old Negro preacher, from a little wooden desk;

with a manner grandly awkward, with a countenance grotesque.


And he said:


“Now don’t you be weep’n, for this pretty bit of clay,

for the little boy who lived there, he done gone and run away.

He’s do’n very finely, and he ‘preciates your love,

but as sure enough Father want him in the large house up above.


Now He didn’t give you that baby, by a hundred thousand miles.

He just think you need some sunshine, and He lent it for a while.

And He let you love and keep him, ‘til your hearts was bigger grown.

And these silver tears you’re shedden, is just interest on the loan.


So my poor dejected mourners, let your hearts with Jesus rest.

And don’t go criticize’n the one who knows the best.

He’s give us many comforts, He has a right to take away.

To the Lord be praise and glory, now and ever let us pray.”


My Lord calls me,

He calls me by the thunder;

The trumpet sounds within my soul,

I ain’t got long to stay here.

Contributed by Garry W. Wright

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