Nursery Rhymes

Swing Low Sweet Chariot

Swing Low Sweet Chariot Lyrics

The words and lyrics of this African American Spiritual begin with "Swing low, sweet chariot,  Coming for to carry me home" as the first line of the song. The words, tune and lyrics of the "Swing Low Sweet Chariot" song were passed on verbally and the names of the author and composer are therefore unknown.

Swing Low Sweet Chariot Song Meaning and History
The history of the "Swing Low Sweet Chariot" song lyrics date back to the Slave Plantations between the 1600's to 1800's. Meaning: The song was sung by slaves who yearned for freedom. The line "I looked over Jordan" is a biblical reference to the River Jordan which the Israelites crossed to enter the Promised Land (Joshua 3:1 - 4:24). The "River Jordan" was a secret code name for the Ohio River which was the dividing line between the slave states in the South and the non-slave states in the North. The song was a favorite of Harriet Tubman (c1820 - March 10, 1913), the most well-known of all the "conductors" on the "Underground Railroad", the secret organization that helped slaves escape from slavery in the South. We have placed "Swing Low Sweet Chariot" in the category of African American Spirituals, aka Negro Spirituals and Slave Songs.

Swing Low Sweet Chariot Song
Title: Swing Low Sweet Chariot *** Name of Composer: Unknown *** Name Author / Writer of Lyrics: Unknown *** Category: Slave Songs aka African American Spirituals or Negro Spirituals

Swing Low Sweet Chariot Lyrics

Swing low, sweet chariot,
Coming for to carry me home
Swing low, sweet chariot,
Coming for to carry me home

I looked over Jordan, and I what did I see
Coming for to carry me home?
A band of angels coming after me
Coming for to carry me home

If you get there before I do
Coming for to carry me home
Tell all my friends I coming too
Coming for to carry me home

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
 

Information about the Song
Title of Song: Swing Low Sweet Chariot
Author of Lyrics: Unknown
Nationality of Author: African American
Name of Music Composer: Unknown
Song Category: Slave Songs aka African American Spirituals or Negro Spirituals
First Line of Song: "Swing low, sweet chariot,  Coming for to carry me home"
First Publication Date: 1867. The lyrics of the song were first published in 'Slave Songs of the United States'.

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