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song history - How Can I Keep From Singing

DigiTrad:
HOW CAN I KEEP FROM EATING?
HOW CAN I KEEP FROM PURRING
HOW CAN I KEEP FROM SINGING
HOW CAN I KEEP FROM SWINGING
HOW CAN I KEEP FROM SWINGING?
YOU CAN'T KEEP ME FROM SINGING


Related threads:
Lyr Req: How Can I Keep from Purring? (Wellings) (38)
Copyright - Doris Plenn's verse-Keep from Singing (10)
Lyr Req: How Can I Keep from Fishing? (7)
My life flows on with endless song (4)
Lyr Req: How Can I Keep From Singing - more verses (21)
Lyr Add: You Can't Keep Me From Singing (MacDonald (21)
Lyr Add: How Can I Keep From Drinking? (parody) (6)
Lyr Req: How Can I Keep From Singing (7)
(origins) How can I keep from Singing (32)
Lyr Add: How Can I Keep from Moving? (26)


GUEST,Jennifer 20 Mar 01 - 02:03 PM
Burke 20 Mar 01 - 07:13 PM
Joe Offer 20 Mar 01 - 09:08 PM
Amergin 20 Mar 01 - 10:21 PM
GUEST,pat shields 21 Mar 01 - 10:00 PM
GUEST 08 Mar 04 - 03:42 PM
Burke 08 Mar 04 - 06:35 PM
open mike 08 Mar 04 - 09:05 PM
GUEST,Frank T 09 Mar 04 - 03:32 PM
Q 09 Mar 04 - 04:52 PM
Q 09 Mar 04 - 05:43 PM
Q 09 Mar 04 - 06:09 PM
michaelr 09 Mar 04 - 06:41 PM
Burke 09 Mar 04 - 06:48 PM
Burke 09 Mar 04 - 06:56 PM
Q 09 Mar 04 - 08:10 PM
masato sakurai 09 Mar 04 - 08:15 PM
Burke 09 Mar 04 - 08:29 PM
masato sakurai 09 Mar 04 - 08:41 PM
Burke 09 Mar 04 - 08:47 PM
Q 09 Mar 04 - 09:50 PM
Burke 09 Mar 04 - 10:35 PM
Q 10 Mar 04 - 12:02 AM
masato sakurai 10 Mar 04 - 04:48 AM
masato sakurai 10 Mar 04 - 05:57 AM
Burke 10 Mar 04 - 11:07 AM
Q 10 Mar 04 - 11:31 AM
Burke 10 Mar 04 - 12:16 PM
LadyJean 11 Mar 04 - 12:36 AM
greg stephens 11 Mar 04 - 09:59 AM
Cuilionn 11 Mar 04 - 12:22 PM
masato sakurai 02 Apr 04 - 10:36 PM
GUEST,Katie White 07 Jul 05 - 01:20 PM
CapriUni 17 Jul 06 - 12:35 AM
Peace 17 Jul 06 - 12:53 AM
Peace 17 Jul 06 - 12:59 AM
Peace 17 Jul 06 - 01:05 AM
Peace 17 Jul 06 - 01:06 AM
Peace 17 Jul 06 - 01:14 AM
Peace 17 Jul 06 - 01:25 AM
CapriUni 17 Jul 06 - 09:38 AM
Carol 17 Jul 06 - 11:42 AM
T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird) 25 May 08 - 12:58 AM
T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird) 25 May 08 - 01:11 AM
oldhippie 25 May 08 - 08:14 AM
GUEST,TIA 25 Jun 08 - 06:52 PM
GUEST,JTT 27 Jun 08 - 05:57 PM
Franz S. 27 Jun 08 - 06:38 PM
GUEST,TIA 27 Jun 08 - 06:58 PM
GUEST,JTT 27 Jun 08 - 08:02 PM
GUEST,TIA 29 Jun 08 - 12:50 AM
Burke 30 Jun 08 - 07:44 PM
Burke 03 Oct 08 - 06:21 PM
Burke 03 Oct 08 - 08:01 PM
GUEST,Noreen 20 Nov 08 - 08:20 AM
Carol 20 Nov 08 - 09:40 AM
Ross Campbell 20 Nov 08 - 03:21 PM
Carol 21 Nov 08 - 12:26 PM
Ross Campbell 21 Nov 08 - 12:32 PM
GUEST 10 Feb 10 - 02:58 PM
Burke 16 Feb 10 - 01:59 PM
GUEST,Melyssa Rice 19 Apr 10 - 10:45 AM
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Subject: song history
From: GUEST,Jennifer
Date: 20 Mar 01 - 02:03 PM

I am looking for info regarding the song "How Can I Keep From Singing". I know it was done by Pete Seeger in the '60's, but I've also heard it has some association with Abolition/Civil Rights. Does anyone know about this?


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Subject: RE: Help: song history
From: Burke
Date: 20 Mar 01 - 07:13 PM

It's not Quaker.

The music is by Robert Lowry, who wrote a lot of tunes for evangelical hymns in the late 19th century. The words are sometimes attributed to Anna Warner, but from another list I've been told: The Dictionary of American Hymnology regarded the matter as unsettled, author unknown.

Its original printing (with tune) was in Rob't. Lowry, ed., Bright Jewels for the Sunday School (Boston: H.A. Brown & Co., 1869), p. 16. It was republished many times after that.

Pete Seeger learned it from Doris Plenn, who had it from her North Carolina family. Doris Plenn is also supposed to be responsible for the 3rd "tyrants tremble" verse. There are some other minor variations.

The words are here in the DT database. You can find the original words at Cyberhymnal

http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/h/c/hcaikeep.htm


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Subject: RE: Help: song history - How Can I Keep From Singing
From: Joe Offer
Date: 20 Mar 01 - 09:08 PM

Copied from a duplicate thread.
-Joe Offer-

Subject: RE: Help: song history
From: Mary in Kentucky
Date: 20-Mar-01 - 02:21 PM

Jennifer, If you'll put "how can I keep from singing" (without the quotes) in the Digitrad and Forum Search box on the first page of this site, you'll get lots of info. It seems that this song is a favorite of many people, and seem to turn up in many conversations. I noted in one thread that it's the name of Pete Seeger's autobiography.


Subject: RE: Help: song history
From: catspaw49
Date: 20-Mar-01 - 02:35 PM

Some info here alluding to Quaker origins which ties in some with the abolition/civil rights end.

But that particular thing is debunked by Sandy Paton on THIS THREAD

Good reading.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Help: song history - How Can I Keep From Singing
From: Amergin
Date: 20 Mar 01 - 10:21 PM

If I remember correctly, one of the books I have says that Plenn wrote that one verse about the McCarthy era....


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Subject: RE: Help: song history - How Can I Keep From Singing
From: GUEST,pat shields
Date: 21 Mar 01 - 10:00 PM

I know John McCutcheon had a album by that title in the 70's...maybe if you email him he can shed some light.


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Subject: RE: Help: song history - How Can I Keep From Singing
From: GUEST
Date: 08 Mar 04 - 03:42 PM

I saw a choir version (SATB) that indicated that it was a Quaker song from c. 1870. It is also found in a contemporary Catholic song book titled "Spirit & Song".


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Subject: RE: Help: song history - How Can I Keep From Singi
From: Burke
Date: 08 Mar 04 - 06:35 PM

The Quaker information is totally & completely wrong. See the links provided in the earlier messages, especially the one in Spaw's message.


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Subject: RE: Help: song history - How Can I Keep From Singi
From: open mike
Date: 08 Mar 04 - 09:05 PM

does SATB stand for Soprano Alto Tenor Bass?
and is that the name of a choir book?


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Subject: RE: Help: song history - How Can I Keep From Singing
From: GUEST,Frank T
Date: 09 Mar 04 - 03:32 PM

Pete Seeger recorded it again on his CD " Pete" which came out a few years ago. It is an excellent Cd .. if you haven't heard it get a copy ... fantastic stuff !


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Subject: RE: Help: song history - How Can I Keep From Singing
From: Q
Date: 09 Mar 04 - 04:52 PM

The original 1860 hymn by Robert Lowry is not in the DT, but the words were posted by Joe Offer in thread 40581.
Lowry How Can I Keep

The midi to the DT re-write sounds something like the original tune written by Robert Lowry for his lyrics, but a more upbeat tune by Ira D. Sankey is preferred by many.

Midis for both the Lowry and Sankey tunes are in Cyberhymnal, also the scores. (Can't bring up the scores- I have Acrobat but lack '%pdf' and don't know how to add it)
How Can I Keep From Singing


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Subject: RE: Help: song history - How Can I Keep From Singing
From: Q
Date: 09 Mar 04 - 05:43 PM

Several websites attribute this hymn to the Shakers. Kididdles.com which has many children's songs attributes it to the Shakers, and has a more PC kiddies version.

This website gives Doris Plenn's story of how she got the story from her Quaker grandmother in North Carolina. The grandmother told her: "Honey, this is my favorite song, and I want you to always remember it. It was made up years ago when people like us were being thrown in jail for their beliefs."
Plenn was told the original words were written in the 1850's by Ann Warner, who lived on an island in the Hudson that happens to be four miles south of my home in Beacon.
The third verse is by Doris Plenn, the song below copyright 1964 Sanga Music Inc.

The version in the DT re-arranges the Plenn verses. Here is the arrangement by Noel Stookey and Doris Plenn, copyright 1979 by Public Domain Foundation, Inc.

Lyr. Add: How Can I Keep From Singing

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

Above the tumult and the strife
I hear the music ringing
It sounds an echo in my soul
How can I keep from singing?

When tyrants tremble, sick with 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 go winging
When friends by shame are undefiled
How can I keep from singing?

And while the tempest loudly roars
I hear the truth, it liveth
And through the darkness round me closeSongs 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?
How can I keep from singing?

How Can I Keep From Singing


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Subject: RE: Help: song history - How Can I Keep From Singing
From: Q
Date: 09 Mar 04 - 06:09 PM

A website with both English and Spanish versions attributes the Lowry song to the Shakers. The Spanish version:

Lyr. Add: Cómo Puede Dejar De Cantar?

Mi vida transcurre como una canción sin fin
por encima de los lamentos de la tierra,
oigo el auténtico, aunque lejano himno
que saluda una creación nueva.

A través de todo el tumulto y la contienda
Oigo la música llamando
Suena un eco en mi alma
Có puedo dejar de cantar?

Mientras la tempestad ruge fuerte,
oigo que la verdad vive.
Y aunque la obscuridad me rodea,
me son concedidas en la noche.

Ninguna tormenta puede alterar mi profunda calma,
Mientras me adhiera a esta roca.
Puesto que el amor es en el señor del cielo y la tierra
Cómo puedo dejar de cantar?

Cuando los tiranos tiembien de miedo
y oigan su toque de muerte sonando,
cuando los amigos se regocijan tanto lejos como cerca
Cómo puedo dejar de cantar?

En celda de prisión y vil calabozo
nuestros pensamientos vuelan hacia ellos,
cuando los amigos son puros por vergüenza
cómo puedo dejar de cantar?

Como Puede Dejar De Cantar


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Subject: RE: Help: song history - How Can I Keep From Singing
From: michaelr
Date: 09 Mar 04 - 06:41 PM

Enya's songbook calls it a Shaker hymn.

What's the difference between a Quaker and a Shaker?

Cheers,
Michael


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Subject: RE: Help: song history - How Can I Keep From Singi
From: Burke
Date: 09 Mar 04 - 06:48 PM

Copied from the other thread. Sandy is an authority we can trust here:

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: You Can't Keep Me From Singing
From: Sandy Paton - PM
Date: 07 Dec 99 - 10:07 PM

Doris Plenn was not a Quaker. She learned the hymn she later re-wrote as an Episcopalian. You will note that I hedged my bets in my earlier post by saying "I'm told" that Quaker meetings are traditionally silent (until someone is moved to speak, that is). The contemporary songs recently compiled into a modern Quaker "hymnal" (including the Sydney Carter contributions) would be likely to include "How Can I Keep from Singing" as a powerful song popularized by contemporary "folk" singers, along with similar songs of "spirit" and social awareness. To call it "a Quaker hymn" is to suggest that the later "adoption of an adaptation" by a group replaces the actual origin, which it surely does not. Boy, I must have made my position as clear as mud, as my mother used to say.

Sandy


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Subject: RE: Help: song history - How Can I Keep From Singi
From: Burke
Date: 09 Mar 04 - 06:56 PM

Quakers: Friends, Society of
also called Friends Church , byname Quakers Christian group that arose in mid-17th-century England, dedicated to living in accordance with the "Inward Light," or direct inward apprehension of God, without creeds, clergy, or other ecclesiastical forms. As most powerfully expressed by George Fox (1624–91), Friends felt that their "experimental" discovery of God would lead to the purification of all of Christendom. It did not; but Friends founded one American colony and were dominant for a time in several others, and though their numbers are now comparatively small, they continue to make disproportionate contributions to science, industry, and especially to the Christian effort for social reform.
"Society of Friends." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2004. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 9 Mar. 2004 .

Shakers: United Society of Believers in Christ's Second Appearing celibate millenarian sect that established communal settlements in the United States in the 18th century. Dedicated to productive labour as well as to a life of perfection, Shaker communities flourished economically and contributed a distinctive style of architecture, furniture, and handicraft to American culture before the sect's decline in the late 19th and 20th centuries.

The Shakers derived originally from a small branch of radical English Quakers who had adopted the French Camisards' ritual practices of shaking, shouting, dancing, whirling, and singing in tongues. The Shaker doctrine, as it came to be known in the United States, was formulated by Ann Lee, an illiterate textile worker of Manchester, who was converted to the "Shaking Quakers" in 1758. After experiencing persecution and imprisonment for participation in noisy worship services, "Mother Ann" had a series of revelations, after which she regarded herself—and was so regarded by her followers—as the female aspect of God's dual nature and the second Incarnation of Christ. She established celibacy as a cardinal principle of the sect.

"Shaker." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2004. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 9 Mar. 2004 .


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Subject: RE: Help: song history - How Can I Keep From Singing
From: Q
Date: 09 Mar 04 - 08:10 PM

Burke, re your re-posting of Sandy Paton's comments. Was Doris Plenn's grandmother a Quaker? Or is the quotation I put in my post of 5:43 pm, supposedly made to Plenn by her grandmother, false?

Here is the link to the quotation, which I forgot to give: Pete Singing

Who is Ann Warner or did she exist? (Not the Frank and Anne Warner collectors or the modern songwriter, but the one who was said to have composed the song ca. 1850).


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Subject: RE: Help: song history - How Can I Keep From Singing
From: masato sakurai
Date: 09 Mar 04 - 08:15 PM

There is a Japanese version in Sanbika ["The Hymnal"] (Nihon Kirisuto Kyoodan [The United Church of Christ in Japan], 1954, no. 530): "Ukiyo no nageki mo kokoro ni tomeji," with the Lowry tune (tune name: ENDLESS SONG). This is a revision of an earlier translation in Sanbika [Meiji edition] published in 1894 (no. 303; words only; tune name: ENDLESS SONG).

1. Ukiyo no nageki mo kokoro ni tomeji,
   Tokoyo no tanoshimi mi ni koso mitsure.
   Misora ni kikoyuru tae naru uta ni,
   Awasete warera mo iza home utawan.

2. Ukiyo no sakae wa kienaba kiene,
   Makoto no sakae wa Shu ni koso are ya.
   Yamiyo ni au tomo Shu tomo ni imashite,
   Miuta o tamaeba iza home utawan.

3. Misora o aogeba ukiyo no kumo wa
   Hi ni hi ni kieyuki kiri hata harenu.
   Yukute ni kagayaku tokoyo no hikari
   Mitomeshi warrera wa iza home utawan.


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Subject: RE: Help: song history - How Can I Keep From Singi
From: Burke
Date: 09 Mar 04 - 08:29 PM

Q, Please read the thread You can't keep me from singing. Sandy has several messages that explain how the confusion about Quakers arose. There is no need to repost it all here.

All the places that say it's Quaker are perpetuating an initial mistake on Pete Seeger's part. People all seem to like the wrong story better than right one.

I have no idea where that Granny quote came from, your message does not have a link to your source. Does it give the source of the quote?


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Subject: RE: Help: song history - How Can I Keep From Singing
From: masato sakurai
Date: 09 Mar 04 - 08:41 PM

I have a copy of J.R. Sweney and W.J. Kirkpatrick's Hymns of the Gospel New and Old (date & publisher unknown to me, because it lacks the title page), which includes "How Can I Keep from Singing?" (no. 259; with the Lowry tune) and says the author is "R.L."; the composer Rev. R. Lowry, D.D. In Sankey et al.'s Gospel Hymns Nos. 1 to 6 Complete (1895, p. 250 [no. 244]; with the Sankey tune), the author is "anon."


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Subject: RE: Help: song history - How Can I Keep From Singi
From: Burke
Date: 09 Mar 04 - 08:47 PM

Anna Warner was very real. A brief bio is on Cyberhymnal.
The attribution of the hymn to her is what is questionable.


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Subject: RE: Help: song history - How Can I Keep From Singing
From: Q
Date: 09 Mar 04 - 09:50 PM

Burke, the link to the statement about Plenn's "Quaker grandmother" is in my post of 8:10 pm. (forgot to link in my earlier post). The quote itself is in the earlier post. Here is the link again:
How Can I Keep

I had read the Paton posts in the other thread and they do not indicate whether or not Plenn's grandmother was a Quaker, nor whether the quote attributed to her in the remarks to which I linked are genuine (the quote not mentioned in Paton's posts, she may not have seen it).

Did Pete Seeger invent the quotation?


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Subject: RE: Help: song history - How Can I Keep From Singi
From: Burke
Date: 09 Mar 04 - 10:35 PM

I haven't seen anything I consider authoritative to indicate that Plenn's grandmother was a Quaker. Since Sandy says the whole Quaker thing was Pete's mistake, I see no reason to give creedance to that idea.

I have no idea about the quote, but the description of the Grandmother is where Quakerism is mentioned, not in the quote itself.

But why the obsession with trying to make it a Quaker hymn?

Robert Lowry is cleary responsible for the tune, along with many other popular Gospel songs. The words are 'source unknown.' Could be Lowry, or he got it from someone else. Hymnologists have not been able to find anyone else to credit.

It was republised many times in the late 19th century. Dorothy Plenn's family seems to have kept singing it even as it may not have been constantly included in later Gospel song books. Her grandmother could have believed anything about the song. That just tells you what gave it meaning for her, not where it came from.

Given the date of 1869 indicating possibly the 1860's for it's writing, I'm inclined to read it as song about the tumult of the Civil War. Life can be full of tumult, though, so how one identifies with the words can be very individual & personal.


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Subject: RE: Help: song history - How Can I Keep From Singing
From: Q
Date: 10 Mar 04 - 12:02 AM

I have not said the song is a Quaker hymn; the lyrics (and one of the tunes) is Lowry's. The point is that if Plenn's grandmother told Doris Plenn that it was a Quaker song, and the grandmother ws Quaker, Plenn herself may have been responsible for Seeger and others believing that it was a Quaker song.


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Subject: RE: song history - How Can I Keep From Singing
From: masato sakurai
Date: 10 Mar 04 - 04:48 AM

The song is also in Philip Phillips' Hallowed songs ... designed for prayer-meetings, young men's Christian associations Sunday-schools, religious meetings, family worship, praise meetings, etc. (without music; Publication date: [c1874]), where no author is given. "No. 15: My life flows on in endless song" is on p. 4.


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Subject: RE: song history - How Can I Keep From Singing
From: masato sakurai
Date: 10 Mar 04 - 05:57 AM

John Julian (A Dictionary of Hymnology, vol. 1, 2nd rev. ed., 1907; rpt. Dover, p. 699) regards Lowry as the author:
Lowry, Robert, D.D., [...] Of Dr. Lowry's hymns those which have attained the widest circulation are:--
...
5. My life flows on in endless song. Joy in God. In Bright Jewels, 1869; the Royal Diadem, 1873, and others in America and G. Britain, with music by the author.
...


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Subject: RE: song history - How Can I Keep From Singing
From: Burke
Date: 10 Mar 04 - 11:07 AM

Q, I think Sandy knows the background of the story well enough & thought his messages put the entire Quaker question to rest. That includes Plenn's religious background and giving an account of how Pete arrived at his misunderstanding. I guess you don't agree. That's one to take up with Sandy.


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Subject: RE: song history - How Can I Keep From Singing
From: Q
Date: 10 Mar 04 - 11:31 AM

Doris Plenn (and Pete Seeger) also seem to be responsible for any connection people may make with "Civil War tumult." The verse about tyrants and prison cells is hers, not Lowry's.
A simple hymn of happy faith is badly distorted by this verse.

The verses in Phillips (Masato link) are exactly Lowry's. Whether written in 1860 or published in 1969 (was there an earlier printing?), the song quickly became popular, "My Life Flows On In Endless Song" a common title.

The song book published by the Unitarians, repeats the Quaker song attribution. "Singing the Living Tradition," Unitarian Universalist Association, 1993, Hymn # 108.

Haruo (a member of Mudcat) has an Esperanto version in Himnaro Cigneta. He gives midis for both the Lowry and Sankey tunes.

In "The Luthran Book of Worship, it is # 781 ("My Life...," attribution?)


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Subject: RE: song history - How Can I Keep From Singing
From: Burke
Date: 10 Mar 04 - 12:16 PM

The Civil War connection was not suggested to me by anyone, it's my own pure speculation, based on the date & the lamentaion, tulmult and strife of the 1st verse, not the tyrants. To me it's not simple, happy faith. For me it reads like a lot of Psalms. Sort of "I'm having all these difficulties in life, yet God is with me so I will praise Him." That's probably why it fell out of favor in the 20th cent. 17th-19th cent. hymns are full of this kind of sentiment but you find it less is the later songs.

I suspect the problem with the attribution is that no one seems to have found it earlier than 1869. Lowry may not have listed an author when he published it, but must have listed himself as the composer. This would leave it ambiguous as to if he also wrote the words or he found the words elsewhere, but did not know the author. He died in 1899 so John Julian could have been closer to the sources. OTOH, lots of stuff has been identified as mis-attributed by late scholarship. Expect for hounding on the "it's not Quaker" issue, I'll leave the hymnologists to sort that out.


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Subject: RE: song history - How Can I Keep From Singing
From: LadyJean
Date: 11 Mar 04 - 12:36 AM

A friend, who was a Friend, taught me the song. She claimed it came from Quaker persecutions in North Carolina.


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Subject: RE: song history - How Can I Keep From Singing
From: greg stephens
Date: 11 Mar 04 - 09:59 AM

The confusion between Shakers and Quakers contunues to spread, and will doubtless get morre and more common as the dictinction between various sects of Christianity become less and less important to people.
   The attribution of this song to Shakers(or Quakers) seems to follow a fairly common pattern, where things in the past tend to cluster round famous people/things. Dick Turpin ends up with any highwayman stories attributed to him, whereas back in the age of highwayman there were plenty of people in that trade, each with their own story. Similarly, witticisms attach themselves to Oscar Wilde. Any old bit of simple furniture can get labelled "Shaker" in poular thought, and the same thing can happen to songs. I'm perfectly sure that Carolan has acquired a good few harp-tunes in recent years that he wouldnt have known in his life.
   The Shaker/Quaker thing is an unusual example; instead of of all the highwaymen merging into Dick turpin, we have have two separate religions merging, the process being driven by their rhyming with each other. Give it another five hundred years and the bakers and candlestsick makers may merge in as well. people will then be arguing on Mudcat about a strange sect who sang some of the time, sat in silence otherwise, and eked out a simple living selling chairs, loaves of bread and candles that they made by hand.


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Subject: RE: song history - How Can I Keep From Singing
From: Cuilionn
Date: 11 Mar 04 - 12:22 PM

Och, an jist for the record... (if ye'll indulge me in a wee bit o thread creep)

The Shakers (the Shaking Quakers) are NAE deid yet! The last survivin community o Shakers is at Sabbathday Lake, New Gloucester, Maine, jist ane toon awa frae me. There are four true Shakers left, but they are supportit by a muckle grait band o followers, the "Friends o the Shakers", that help wi' the upkeep o the plaice. There's a woman in oor food co-op that usit tae live wi the Shakers, an Ah ken a local wuid-wairker that studied furniture-makin wi them an builds/repairs an occasional piece for them. Ah'm thinkin that they'd tak in new folk even the noo, if onyane's serious eno & earnest eno aboot jynin 'em. 'Tis still a guid way o life, tae ma way o thinkin.

--Cuilionn


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Subject: RE: song history - How Can I Keep From Singing
From: masato sakurai
Date: 02 Apr 04 - 10:36 PM

In its earliest appearance of the hymn, Rev. Rob't Lowry, ed., Bright Jewels For The Sunday School (New York: Biglow & Main, 1869, p. 16), the composer is "R.L.", but the author isn't mentioned.


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Subject: RE: song history - How Can I Keep From Singing
From: GUEST,Katie White
Date: 07 Jul 05 - 01:20 PM

I realize that I am responding to an old thread and that this debate may already have been settled. I have an original edition of a book written in 1888, Baptist Hymn Writters and Their Hymns by Henry S. Burrage, D. D. written while Lowry was still alive. I am not going to type out its 7 pages which focus on the many hymn books that he edited and the hymns that he wrote. The most famous one is "Shall We Gather at the River" and much of the biography is about the story behind this hymn. But the following quote from the book is of interest to this discussion.

"Besides his own hymns Dr. Lowry has given vitality and popularity to many productions of other writers by the music with which they are sung, such as . . . 'How Can I Keep From Singing,' . . . and a host of others."
From this, it appears that in the 1880s Lowry was known to not be the original source of the words to this hymn, but was being credited for making it known and available. This doesn't solve the debate, but I don't doubt the information for these reasons: 1) the early date of this book, written by a Baptist and about Baptists, while Lowry was serving a Baptist Church and having been a professor at a Baptist School. 2) If the Baptists wanted to lay claim to what it lists as a popular hymn, they would have done so in this 682 page book.

Conclusion: Lowry was the first to publish it but did not write the lyrics.


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Subject: RE: song history - How Can I Keep From Singing
From: CapriUni
Date: 17 Jul 06 - 12:35 AM

Refreshing an old thread, and an old debate:

I believe Sandy Paton when he says it is not a "Quaker Hymn." At the time the song was written, most Quakers (or at least the ones vocal enough to write tracts explaining Quaker beliefs) were downright hostile to music -- even religious hymns.

However, the song does express ideas which fit well with Quaker theology, and if it is now a favorite to be sung at some modern Quaker gatherings (we're much more relaxed, these days), I can see why.

Central to Quaker belief is the idea of Inner Light -- a spiritual light which comes from God, yet is part of every person as soon as they're born. As William Penn wrote, in his pamphlet Primative Christianity Revived:
If that which may be known of God is manifest in men, the people called Quakers cannot, certainly, be out of the way in preaching up the light within; without which, nothing can be manifested to the mind of man

So the verse

Above the tumult and the strife
I hear the music ringing
It sounds an echo in my soul
How can I keep from singing?

has always struck me as very "Quakerish in spirit," even if it was never sung in Meeting until 100 years after its composition.


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Subject: RE: song history - How Can I Keep From Singing
From: Peace
Date: 17 Jul 06 - 12:53 AM

"14. How Can I Keep From Singing 4:08

(Lyrics: Anne Warner (1864) Doris Plenn (v.3) Music: Rev. R. Lowry/Sanga Music, Inc.) Jon lead vocal, pennywhistle · Mike tenor vocal · Danny baritone vocal, pennywhistle · Ed High land bagpipes"

From here.

And the following:

"For her, this is significantly more than a charming adage. While hospitalized some years back, Nordeen drew great comfort from a certain traditional ballad, titled "How Can I Keep From Singing?" Written in 1864 by Anne Warner, the song – perhaps rooted in N.C.'s Iredell County – was resurrected in 1957 by one Doris Plenn, who, with the McCarthy hearings in mind, added the following verse: "When tyrants tremble sick with fear and hear their death knells 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?"

From here.


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Subject: RE: song history - How Can I Keep From Singing
From: Peace
Date: 17 Jul 06 - 12:59 AM

www.reggiekidd.com/Book_Features/assets/Kidd_WithOneVoice_Web.pdf

The above goes to a PDF file and I don't know how to link to that. However, if you read the bottom of p.18 and p.19, there is attribution there that the first two stanzas were by Warner and about the Civil War and that Plenn wrote the third stanza in the 1950s regarding the 'McCarthy Era'.


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Subject: RE: song history - How Can I Keep From Singing
From: Peace
Date: 17 Jul 06 - 01:05 AM

And this is something written on a site:

"Here's what the _Rise Up Singing_ songbook
says about the song:

   Words: Anne Warner, 1864 (third verse Doris Plenn); music Rev. R.
   Lowry


   This is *not* an old "Quaker" hymn, tho it certainly dates from at least
   1864. It is popular in Iredell Co., North Carolina. Plenn wrote the new
   verse when friends were imprisoned during the McCarthy period.


And here are the lyrics (according to the book; she sings them slightly
differently):


   My life flows on in endless song above earth's lamentation
   I hear the real though far-off hymn that hails a new creation
   Through all the tumult and the strife I hear that music ringing
   It sounds an echo in my soul; how can I keep from singing?


   What though the tempest loudly roars, I hear the truth, it liveth
   What 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 sick with fear and hear their death knells 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?


   I lift my eyes, the cloud grows thin, I see the blue above it
   And day by day this pathway clears, since first I learned to love it
   The peace of God restores my soul, a fountain ever springing
   All things are mine since I am loved; how can I keep from singing?""

That is from
h


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Subject: RE: song history - How Can I Keep From Singing
From: Peace
Date: 17 Jul 06 - 01:06 AM

OK. Try a google of the following

Google Groups results for anne warner, 1864, how can I keep from singing

Help! Lyrics needed for "How can I keep from singing ... - alt.music.enya - 4-Feb-96

Wanted: text and tune for "How Can I keep from ... - rec.music.folk - 8-Jan-95


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Subject: RE: song history - How Can I Keep From Singing
From: Peace
Date: 17 Jul 06 - 01:14 AM

APOLOGIES. I can't relocate the site I got that post from.


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Subject: RE: song history - How Can I Keep From Singing
From: Peace
Date: 17 Jul 06 - 01:25 AM

Just found it. I googled

anne warner, 1864, how can I keep from singing

The page it brings up--go to the bottom and click the first site. I am leaving now because I can't see the screen anymore. Good night.


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Subject: RE: song history - How Can I Keep From Singing
From: CapriUni
Date: 17 Jul 06 - 09:38 AM

Thank you for your work, Peace.


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Subject: RE: song history - How Can I Keep From Singing
From: Carol
Date: 17 Jul 06 - 11:42 AM

No matter where the song came from I think it's a great song to sing, even as a Humanist, and am grateful for the extra, 4th verse


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Subject: RE: song history - How Can I Keep From Singing
From: T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird)
Date: 25 May 08 - 12:58 AM

On 20 Mar 2001 Burke wrote:

The music is by Robert Lowry, who wrote a lot of tunes for evangelical hymns in the late 19th century. The words are sometimes attributed to Anna Warner, but from another list I've been told: The Dictionary of American Hymnology regarded the matter as unsettled, >author unknown.

Its original printing (with tune) was in Rob't. Lowry, ed., Bright Jewels for the Sunday School (Boston: H.A. Brown & Co., 1869), p. 16. It was republished many times after that.


The qualification with tune is significant. The words alone were published in The Christian Pioneer, vol 20, 1866, page 39, with no author given.


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Subject: RE: song history - How Can I Keep From Singing
From: T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird)
Date: 25 May 08 - 01:11 AM

Oops. I lied.

The first publication in Christian Pioneer was not in volume 20, but in volume 23, in 1869, under the title "Always Rejoicing." So the American print may have priority after all.


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Subject: RE: song history - How Can I Keep From Singing
From: oldhippie
Date: 25 May 08 - 08:14 AM

Anyone have the lyrics in French?


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Subject: RE: song history - How Can I Keep From Singing
From: GUEST,TIA
Date: 25 Jun 08 - 06:52 PM

So, this song does appear to (possibly) have roots in the civil war. However, I do not find it in any of the standard civil war songs collections. So, if we play it at a big July 4 re-enactment (in our authentic garb of course), are purists likely to get bunchied up? Being pacifist types from Quaker schooling, we do not re-enact soldiers...we are civilian abolitionists, so the song fits (if the rumoured origins are correct). Plus it's just a nice tune (and dumb easy in the key of G on the banjo - my favorite benefit).


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Subject: RE: song history - How Can I Keep From Singing
From: GUEST,JTT
Date: 27 Jun 08 - 05:57 PM

It's very appealing, answering as it does the perennial "How could there be a loving God if there's torture and war and orphans and famine and disease and cruelty and floods and volcanoes and stuff" question by positing that under "earth's lamentation" there is a far-off song of joy, the music that finds an echo in our soul.

Don't know how it stacks up logically or theologically (if that's not in itself a contradiction in terms), but it's vaguely reassuring.

Two questions driving me mad at the moment.

1) Who's Cordelia's Dad, credited as the singer on the version in the Pete Seeger collection Where Have All the Flowers Gone?

2) Who's the tyrant listening worriedly to his death-knell in this version?

and

2 and a half) What has Lord of the Rings got to do with it in this version?


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Subject: RE: song history - How Can I Keep From Singing
From: Franz S.
Date: 27 Jun 08 - 06:38 PM

Guest JTT:
1. Cordelia's Dad is a musical group that has tried just about everything musical, I think. website: cordeliasdad.com.

2.No particular tyrant. I saw Boris Yeltsin in there, on the occasion of the Soviet attempted coup in 1990(?).
2.5. No clue


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Subject: RE: song history - How Can I Keep From Singing
From: GUEST,TIA
Date: 27 Jun 08 - 06:58 PM

1) see Franz S.
3) Joe McCarthy! (I think...no kidding)


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Subject: RE: song history - How Can I Keep From Singing
From: GUEST,JTT
Date: 27 Jun 08 - 08:02 PM

The fellow in the middle of the row when she sings that particular line - the one with the dodgy sun-darkening glasses? Looks like Jim Jones but I think it's some politico.


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Subject: RE: song history - How Can I Keep From Singing
From: GUEST,TIA
Date: 29 Jun 08 - 12:50 AM

Played it at a re-enactment today (burning of the Wrightsville Bridge), and none of the authenticity police bitched. Sounds like we are in the clear on this one.


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Subject: RE: song history - How Can I Keep From Singing
From: Burke
Date: 30 Jun 08 - 07:44 PM

1) The clip of Cordelia's Dad that I was able to hear is Tim Erikson. More info here
Cordelia's Dad has come & gone as members have gone off to further education, careers, etc. They get back together every so often.

2)The tyrant is Doris Plenn's addition. Any tyrant will do.

I was the one who suggested a Civil War connection. It was pure speculation. To me the light after any disaster, war, etc. fits. The timing suggested Civil War to me.


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Subject: RE: song history - How Can I Keep From Singing
From: Burke
Date: 03 Oct 08 - 06:21 PM

Thanks to Google Books, the first publication of Lowry's hymn is now online. Bright Jewels for the Sunday School

I also found an earlier printing of the poem, from England!
The Christian pioneer, v.20, 1866. p. 39.

It is also in the New York Observer, Aug. 27, 1868. Title is "Always Rejoicing" Above the title it says "For the New York Observer" at the end it says "Pauline T."


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Subject: RE: song history - How Can I Keep From Singing
From: Burke
Date: 03 Oct 08 - 08:01 PM

Google Books has 3 or 4 volumes of The Christian Pioneer in one big file. In taking a closer look at it, the poem actually was published in the 1869 volume, not 1866.


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Subject: RE: song history - How Can I Keep From Singing
From: GUEST,Noreen
Date: 20 Nov 08 - 08:20 AM

Interesting to hear this song (the first two verses) being used for a Waitrose (supermarket) TV advert at the moment!

Lovely song.


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Subject: RE: song history - How Can I Keep From Singing
From: Carol
Date: 20 Nov 08 - 09:40 AM

It's one of my favourite songs that I love to sing but I haven't noticed the advert. - will have to stop falling asleep through the adverts!!


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Subject: RE: song history - How Can I Keep From Singing
From: Ross Campbell
Date: 20 Nov 08 - 03:21 PM

Waitrose Christmas ad

Ross


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Subject: RE: song history - How Can I Keep From Singing
From: Carol
Date: 21 Nov 08 - 12:26 PM

Thanks Ross - interesting!


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Subject: RE: song history - How Can I Keep From Singing
From: Ross Campbell
Date: 21 Nov 08 - 12:32 PM

A fuller version of the Waitrose ad here . The "Angel Voices" choir was renamed "Libera" at some point.

Ross


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Subject: RE: song history - How Can I Keep From Singing
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Feb 10 - 02:58 PM

Simply not true.

I'll raise you John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892), Quaker and author of one of the most popular hymns of all tinme: "Dear Lord and Father of mankind".

Mac


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Subject: RE: song history - How Can I Keep From Singing
From: Burke
Date: 16 Feb 10 - 01:59 PM

What's not true? What does Whittier have to do with this Sunday School hymn?


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Subject: To Katie White: Please update Wikipedia!
From: GUEST,Melyssa Rice
Date: 19 Apr 10 - 10:45 AM

To Katie White:
Your book below contains information that should be included in the Wikipedia entry about "How Can I Keep from Singing," as it calls into question whether Lowry wrote or simply published this famous hymn. You are the best person to update Wikipedia with this information, since you own the book. Would you please update Wikipedia so that it's correct?
- Melyssa

Quoting from Katie White:
"I have an original edition of a book written in 1888, Baptist Hymn Writters and Their Hymns by Henry S. Burrage, D. D. written while Lowry was still alive. I am not going to type out its 7 pages which focus on the many hymn books that he edited and the hymns that he wrote. The most famous one is "Shall We Gather at the River" and much of the biography is about the story behind this hymn. But the following quote from the book is of interest to this discussion.

"Besides his own hymns Dr. Lowry has given vitality and popularity to many productions of other writers by the music with which they are sung, such as . . . 'How Can I Keep From Singing,' . . . and a host of others."
From this, it appears that in the 1880s Lowry was known to not be the original source of the words to this hymn, but was being credited for making it known and available. This doesn't solve the debate, but I don't doubt the information for these reasons: 1) the early date of this book, written by a Baptist and about Baptists, while Lowry was serving a Baptist Church and having been a professor at a Baptist School. 2) If the Baptists wanted to lay claim to what it lists as a popular hymn, they would have done so in this 682 page book.

Conclusion: Lowry was the first to publish it but did not write the lyrics."


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