African American Poetry (1870-1926): A Digital Anthology

Fenton Johnson, "Slave Death Song" (1915)

SLAVE DEATH SONG.

1.

Oh, my chariot is swinging,
Jesus, bring it near,
Soft I hear the harp a-ringing,
Jesus, bring it near,
All my troubles are a-dying,
Low within the grave a-lying,
Angels o'er my bones a-bending,
Peace and rest to me descending;
Jesus, bring it near,

2.

Throne of God is shining brightly,
Jesus, bring it near,
Angels stepping round it sprightly,
Jesus, take me home.
Curved coach with jasper cover
Swinging for the dusky lover;
White robed choir is sweetly singing,
Glory music earthward bringing,
Jesus, take me home.

3.

Scythe of Heaven gently reaping,
Jesus, bring it near,
Love eternal o'er me creeping,
Jesus, bring it near;
Day within the West is dying,
O'er me summer breeze is sighing,
To my mother's breast returning,
For me long she has been yearning;
Jesus, take me home.

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