We Shall Sleep, But Not Forever

Compiling a hymnal is fascinating, as you have a reason to look into the history of how each hymn has been presented in other hymnals, as well as what you can find of the oral tradition. This particular hymn presented a number of surprises. First, its text by J. E. Goodson, Jr., #233 from D. H. Goble's Primitive Baptist Hymn Book:

  1. We shall sleep, but not forever —
    We shall rest beneath the trees;
    We shall wake to live forever
    In the land where Jesus is;
    Then weep not for me,
    Then weep not for me,
    For I'm going o'er death's river,
    And you soon will follow me.

  2. Yes, I feel death's chills upon me,
    And my friends are all in tears,
    But my Saviour still upholds me,
    And has banished all my fears:
    Then weep not for me, &c.

  3. Oh, the grave lies cold before me,
    And we're called awhile to part,
    Yet his words, "I'll never leave thee,"
    Live — still live within my heart:
    Then weep not for me, &c.

  4. Oh, to meet again in heaven,
    What a blessing it will be!
    There with all our sins forgiven,
    And from death forever free:
    Then weep not for me, &c.

I found a number of hymnals, Primitive Baptist and otherwise, with a text beginning "We shall sleep, but not forever," but they turned out to be a different hymn, similar only in spirit, written by Mary Ann Kidder. In fact, even usually reliable sites like Hymnary.org conflate the two, treating it as a single hymn of uncertain attribution. At any rate, I found myself without a printed source for a tune to this hymn.

Luckily, I found this:

I'm not completely sure who Glenda Campbell is, but she sings beautifully, and her tunes for various hymns from D.H. Goble's hymn book are usually in line with what's familiar to me. In this case, she taught me a new good tune. Here it is in my hymnal-style arrangement:

(Click the small image to see a full-size version.)

One challenge of arranging a tune from one singing is that each person, and each congregation, ornaments a tune in their own way. It's hard from one instance to tell for certain what notes are intrinsic to the tune and what is ornament. For instance, on the word "trees" at the end of the first phrase, there is a flicker of notes that are clearly ornament; I've omitted them. But is the pair of quarter-notes, D to C, an ornament on what should be written as a half-note C? If I had more recordings of other people singing the same tune, I could go by what's common among them, but in this case I don't.

I'd be interested to hear from anyone who sings this tune — or any other one — for these words, about what I may have gotten wrong, or about what other tunes people use.