NOTE TO SELF, BASED ON QUAKER TESTIMONIES OF INTEGRITY, SIMPLICITY, PEACE, EQUALITY, AND COMMUNITY:

1. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and soul, and your neighbor as yourself.
2. Do what you say, say what you think, think what is true.
3. Subtract superfluities from your life, speech, desires and thoughts.
4. Don't initiate aggression against the persons or property of others, nor support people who do, including the people who "constitute" the government.
5. Respect life and natural law.
6. All people are endowed by their Creator with equal and inalienable rights to the earth and to the fruits of their own labor, and a "Citizen's Dividend" funded by a "Single Tax" on the unimproved value of land and other natural resources would be the fairest way to protect these rights.

For supporting materials, see the Archive and the Recommended Reading and Videos section at the bottom of this page.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Two Songs: Hallelujah Square, and How Can I Keep From Singing?

I thought I would spruce my blog up with a little music. The first song I thought of was "How Can I Keep From Singing?" It's often identified as a traditional "Quaker" hymn. This is incorrect (Quakers, after all, traditionally don't sing as a group during Meeting for Worship), but it's nevertheless a beautiful song. The only versions that show up when I plug this title into the YouTube "Video Bar" page element Blogger offers is one by Enya and one by somebody named Chris Tomlin. I like Enya's version. I've never really listened to her. Her music has typically been categorized in the "New Age" genre, though according to her Wikipedia article she does not personally consider her music as belonging to that genre.

The other song I was inspired to search for is "Hallelujah Square," a song I fondly remember my then 16-year old Aunt Melody singing to me and my brother when I was about 5 years old, back when she was attending a Pentecostal Church. I haven't heard the song since, but somehow I've always remembered the song and the lyrics. It's one of my earliest and best memories. The two versions that show up from the YouTube "Video Bar" search aren't exactly the way I remember the song (I liked my aunt's version better), but they're close, and not too bad.

Both songs are in the YouTube "Video Bars" to the right. Below are the lyrics. Enya's version of How Can I Keep From Singing uses lyrics modified from the older hymn and made popular by Pete Seeger, which omit much of the Christian wording of the original. Here are the older original lyrics, written in 1860 by Baptist minister Robert Lowry. The lyrics below to Hallelujah Square are slightly different than any you'd find online, since I've transcribed them the way I remember my Aunt Mel singing them.


How Can I Keep From Singing?

My life goes on in endless song
Above earth's lamentations,
I hear the real, though far-off hymn
That hails a new creation.

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

While though the tempest loudly roars,
I hear the truth, it liveth.
And though the darkness round me close,
Songs in the night it giveth.

No storm can shake my inmost calm,
While to that rock I'm clinging.
Since love is lord of heaven and earth
How can I keep from singing?

When tyrants tremble in their fear
And hear their death knell ringing,
When friends rejoice both far and near
How can I keep from singing?

In prison cell and dungeon vile
Our thoughts to them are winging,
When friends by shame are undefiled
How can I keep from singing?


Hallelujah Square

(1) I saw a blind man, he was tapping along,
Losing his way as he passed through the throng;
I said to him, "I'm so sorry you can't see."
But with a smile on his face, he replied to me, "I'm gonna [chorus]

Chorus: "see all my friends in Hallelujah Square;
What a glorious time we'll all have up there.
We'll sing and praise Jesus, his glory to share,
(1) And there won't be one blind man in Hallelujah Square.
(2) And there won't be one cripple in Hallelujah Square.
(3) And we'll all live forever in Hallelujah Square."

(2) I saw a cripple, he was dragging his feet;
He couldn't walk like you do down the street.
I said to him, "I feel so sorry for you."
But he said, "Up in heaven I'm gonna walk just like you. And I'll [chorus]"

(3) I saw an old man, he was gasping for breath;
Soon he'd be gone as his eyes closed in death;
He said to me, "Now Boy, don't look so blue;"
He said, "I'm going up to heaven; now how about you? And I'll [chorus]"