Familiar Songs - Their Authors & Histories

300 traditional songs, inc sheet music with full piano accompaniment & lyrics.

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Nigh to a grave that was newly made, Leaned a sexton old on his earth-worn spade, His work was done, and he paused to wait The funeral train at the open gate. A relic of bygone days was he, And his locks were white as the foamy sea; And these words came from his lips so thin: " I gather them in: I gather them in.
* I gather them in ! for man and boy,
Year after year of grief and joy';
I've builded the houses that lie around,
In every nook of this burial ground;
Mother and daughter, father and son,
Come to my solitude, one by one, —
But come they strangers or come they kin —
I gather them in, I gather them in.
" Many are with me, but still I'm alone,
I'm king of the dead — and I make my throne
On a monument slab of marble cold;
And my sceptre of rule is the spade I hold;
Come they from cottage or come they from halL
Mankind are my subjects, all, all, all!
Let them loiter in pleasure or toilfully spin —
I gather them in, I gather them in.
■ I gather them in, and their final rest
Is here, down .here, in the earth's dark breast!"
And the sexton ceased, for the funeral train
Wound mutely o'er that solemn plain !
And I said to my heart, when time is told,
A mightier voice than that sexton's old
Will sound o'er the last trump's dreadful din —
" I gather them in, I gather them in."
It is the custom of some of the watchmen in Germany to sing songs during the night, a stanza of a national, amusing, or devotional song, for a kind of " All's well," as they an­nounce each hour. The following was one of the especial favorites.
The music was composed by I. Heffernan.