Sweet Rivers

The banjo-like accompaniment adds considerable motion and excitement throughout the piece. The first verse is shared by the women, who introduce the theme. The men take the melody in the second verse as the women add echoing phrases. A modulation launches the third verse brightly, and quickly successive vocal entrances build the energy which crests in the first climax of the piece. An interlude follows, as the voices soar on the text “joy to be thine own.” The text of the first verse is heard again as the piece circles back to its home key for the jubilant final verse. A coda brings quick, unexpected modulations that rise to the rapturous conclusion: “sweet rivers of redeeming love lie just before mine eyes.”

This score is published by Boosey & Hawkes. Press “Order Score” or click here to view and listen.

Available as: SATB piano


Sweet Rivers is a newly-created “traditional song” that pairs an old hymn text with an original melody.
Sweet rivers of redeeming love lie just before mine eyes;
Had I the pinions of a dove, I’d to those rivers fly.
I’d rise superior to my pain, with joy outstrip the wind;
I’d cross o’er Jordan’s stormy waves and leave the world behind.
A few more days, or years at most, my troubles will be o’er;
I hope to join the heavenly host on Canaan’s happy shore.
My rapt’rous soul shall drink and feast in love’s unbounded sea,
The glorious hope of endless rest is ravishing to me.
O! Come, my Savior, come away, and bear me through the sky,
Nor let thy chariot wheels delay, but quickly draw thou nigh.
Then I shall join the angel throng and circle ‘round thy throne;
I’ll sing through the age song, and joy to be thine own.

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