Beside the winding river Maine
The village church is seen,
With spire so tall it is plain
For miles around, I ween,
Peeping with slender top from out
A circlet of green.
Each Sabbath morn, at twelve o’clock,
Its doors are open flung,
And all the people thither flock
After the bell has rung,
Save the loiterers who don’t arrive
Till the first psalm is sung.
Beneath the pulpit’s purple shade
The village seats its choir;
Its youths are few, but many a maid
Is there, and all admire
The rows of charming country girls,
In their Sabbath-day attire.
Their fresh, young voices fill the church,
They make the rafters ring;
With praise sincere their hearts are full,
Right joyfully they sing.
A funeral march they all despise;
Sour gloom aside they fling.
Their faces bright the people keep
From sad and vexing thought;
Their voices sweet the minds uplift
Of those who mourn their lot.
They powerfully prepare the way
For the lesson to be taught.
Long may they give their tuneful help!
Long may they wield their power!
Long may their voices fill the kirk!
Long live the village choir.
In the church of the future villagers
May their music ne’er expire.
27th October 1899