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Swing Low, Sweet Chariot

Representative Text

Swing low, sweet chariot,
coming for to carry me home;
swing low, sweet chariot,
coming for to carry me home.

1 I looked over Jordan, and what did I see,
coming for to carry me home?
A band of angels coming after me,
coming for to carry me home. [Refrain]

2 If you get there before I do,
coming for to carry me home;
tell all my friends I’m coming too,
coming for to carry me home. [Refrain]

3 I’m sometimes up, I'm sometimes down,
coming for to carry me home;
but still my soul feels heavenly bound,
coming for to carry me home. [Refrain]

Source: Hymns of Promise: a large print songbook #137


This is one of the best-known African American spirituals in Christian history. Its source is the oral tradition of African Americans, but the concerts of the Fisk Jubilee Singers (PHH 476) and the Hampton Singers brought "Swing Low" to the attention of white audiences. J. B. T. Marsh includes an early version of text and tune in his The Story of the Jubilee Singers, with their Songs (1876 ed.). Considered by Erik Routley (PHH 31) to be one of the "archetypal" African American spirituals, "Swing Low" welcomes death as the occasion "to carry me home" to glory. The text incorporates the imagery of “Jordan” and "chariot" from the Old Testament narratives of Elijah's ascent into heaven (2 Kings 2). In spite of the "ups" and "downs" of earthly life (st. 3), it is comforting for Christians to know with certainty that their final destination is the glory of a new heaven and earth. Liturgical Use: Advent; times of hardship; with preaching on 2 Kings 2 or on eschatological topics. --Psalter Hymnal Handbook



A pentatonic melody, SWING LOW has the musical structure of "call and response" (solo and chorus) which is common in the rote practices associated with African American spirituals. Use a vocal soloist or a small group of voices for the marked unison segments and have the entire congregation sing the…

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The Cyber Hymnal #6434
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Psalter Hymnal (Gray) #617
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Worship and Rejoice #520


Instances (1 - 68 of 68)

A. M. E. C. Hymnal #618

Adult Bible Class Hymnal No. 1 #d45


African American Heritage Hymnal #539

American Student Hymnal #d125

Better Convention Songs, Our 1929 Book #d43

Page Scan

Calvary Hymns #297


Chalice Hymnal #643

Coleman's Songs for Men #d44

Cornelius' Gospel Songs #206

Cornelius' Gospel Songs No. 2 #d69

Page Scan

Cornelius' Gospel Songs No. 3 #206

Cornelius' Gospel Songs No. 4 #d64

Cross and Crown Hymnal, 3rd ed. #d154

Devotion in Motion #d6


Folk Songs of the American Negro (No. 1) #48

Foursquare Hymnal of Standard Songs of Evangelism #d72

Foursquare Hymnal of Standard Songs of Evangelism #183

Gems of Love #d54

Page Scan

Glorious Theme #133

Text InfoTextAudio

Glory to God #825

Gospel Jubilee and Soul Melodies #d18

Page Scan

Gospel Pearls #148

Gospel Quintet Songs #d60

Gospel Songs #d55


Hymns for a Pilgrim People #470

Hymns for Worship #d73

Hymns of Fellowship #d53

Hymns of Hope #d67

TextPage Scan

Hymns of Promise #137

Hymns of the Rural Spirit #d32


Lead Me, Guide Me (2nd ed.) #704


Lift Every Voice and Sing II #18

TextFlexscorePage Scan

Lift Up Your Hearts #469

Plantation Melodies and Spiritual Songs. 3d ed. #d37

Praises #d35

Text InfoTune InfoTextAudioPage Scan

Psalter Hymnal (Gray) #617

Page Scan

Rescue songs #68

Page Scan

Seth Parker's Hymnal #229

Seth Parker's Hymnal. 5th ed. #d59

TextPage Scan

Songs for Life #197

Songs for Service Men #d25

Songs for Worship #d66

Songs of hope #d96

Songs of Praise for Schools #d38

Songs of the Blessed Hope #d74

Songs of the Gospel #d47

Tabernacle Revivalist #d63

The A.M.E. Zion Hymnal #586

The Abingdon Song Book #d93

The Campers Hymnal, Songs for the Out-of-Doors #d47

The Cokesbury Worship Hymnal #d81


The Cyber Hymnal #6434

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The Highway Hymnal #29

The Hymnal #610

The New National Baptist Hymnal #486

The Service Song Book #d53


The United Methodist Hymnal #703

The White Ribbon Hymnal #d44

The Youth Hymnary #d87

TextPage Scan

This Far By Faith #171

Three Hundred Country Chapel Songs and Hymns #d85

TextScoreFlexscoreAudioPage Scan

Worship and Rejoice #520


Worship in Song #249

Youth Inspiral #d31

Youth Worship and Sing #d89

찬송과 예배 = Chansong gwa yebae = Come, Let Us Worship #384

Exclude 50 pre-1979 instances
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