"Swing Low, Sweet Chariot"

A Spiritual

"Swing Low, Sweet Chariot"

Swing low, sweet chariotComing for to carry me home,Swing low, sweet chariot,Coming for to carry me home.I looked over Jordan, and what did I seeComing for to carry me home?A band of angels coming after me,Coming for to carry me home.Sometimes I'm up, and sometimes I'm down,(Coming for to carry me home)But still my soul feels heavenly bound.(Coming for to carry me home)The brightest day that I can say,(Coming for to carry me home)When Jesus washed my sins away.(Coming for to carry me home)

About the Song...

This is one of the most famous and most beloved Spirituals from the days of slavery. Even today, congregations in churches around the world sing it with joy. Although the song appears quite simple, with its call-and-response structure and repeated refrain, it is far more complex than it seems. On the surface, the song is from the point-of-view of someone asking God to "carry me home" to heaven. However, if you look at its historical context, you see that it is deeply infused with the pains and hopes of slaves yet to be set free. The "sweet chariot" is the Underground Railroad, carrying them up to the freedom of "Jordan" in the North. And the singers' use of such optimistic words as sweet and band of angels bring both joy and a sense of passionate urgency.
Swing Low, Sweet Chariot - With Lyrics