Nursery Rhymes

Wayfaring Stranger

Wayfaring Stranger Lyrics

The words and lyrics of this African American Spiritual begin with "I am a poor wayfaring stranger, while traveling through this world of woe" as the first line of the song. The words, tune and lyrics of the "Wayfaring Stranger" song were passed on verbally and the names of the author and composer are therefore unknown.

Wayfaring Stranger Song Meaning and History
The history of the "Wayfaring Stranger" song lyrics date back to the Slave Plantations during between the 1700's and the 1800's. Meaning: This solemn song was sung by slaves that reflected the hardships, struggles and trials in the life of a slave and the promise of a better life on the other side of the Jordan. The song's refrain "I知 only going over Jordan" is a biblical reference to the River Jordan that the Israelites crossed to enter the Promised Land (Joshua 3:1 - 4:24). The "River Jordan" was also used as 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. We have placed "Wayfaring Stranger" in the category of African American Spirituals, aka Negro Spirituals and Slave Songs.

Wayfaring Stranger Song
Title: Wayfaring Stranger *** Name of Composer: Unknown *** Name Author / Writer of Lyrics: Unknown *** Category: Slave Songs aka African American Spirituals or Negro Spirituals

Wayfaring Stranger Lyrics

I am a poor wayfaring stranger
While traveling through this world of woe
Yet there痴 no sickness, toil nor danger
In that bright world to which I go
I知 going there to see my Father
I知 going there no more to roam

Refrain
I知 only going over Jordan
I知 only going over home

I know dark clouds will gather 喪ound me
I know my way is rough and steep
But golden fields lie out before me
Where God痴 redeemed shall ever sleep
I知 going there to see my mother
She said she壇 meet me when I come

I値l soon be free from every trial
My body sleep in the churchyard
I値l drop the cross of self denial
And enter on my great reward
I知 going there to see my Savior
To sing His praise forevermore

Information about the Song
Title of Song: Publication Date
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: "I am a poor wayfaring stranger, while traveling through this world of woe"
First Publication Date: 1784. The lyrics of the song were first published in 'Slave Songs of the United States'.

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