There Is a Happy Land
DESCRIPTION: "There is a happy land, far far away, Where saints in glory stand, Bright bright as day, Oh how they sweetly sing, Worthy is our savior king, Loud let his praises ring." The listener is told of the pleasures of heaven and urged not to hesitate
AUTHOR: Words: Andrew Young?
EARLIEST DATE: 1843 (Sacred Song Book, according to Julian)
KEYWORDS: religious nonballad
FOUND IN: US(Ap,So)
REFERENCES (3 citations):
Fuson, pp. 210, "The Happy Land" (1 text)
McNeil-SMF, pp. 118-119, "There Is a Happy Land" (1 text, 1 tune)
Rufus Crisp, "Brighter Day" (on Crisp01)
cf. "I Know a Boarding-House" (tune, form)
Old Soldiers Never Die (I) (File: FSWB277A)
NOTES: In the Sacred Harp (where it is given with the tune-name "Happy Land"), this melody is said to be derived from Hindu religious music. John Julian, editor, A Dictionary of Hymnology, 1892; second edition 1907 (I use the 1957 Dover edition in two volumes), p. 1160, explains this:
In 1838 Mr. [Andrew] Young was spending an evening in th house of Mrs. Marshall, the mother of some of his pupils. Among other pieces she played one air which caught his attention. On inquiry he found it was an Indian air called "Happy Land." With the air ringing in his ears he composed this hymn to it. It was sung in his classes at Niddry Street School, Edinburgh, and there heard by the Rev. James Gall, who included it in the first series of the Sacred Song Book, 1843... from whence it passed into many hymn books.
Roud lumps this with another song with the title "Happy Land," but they do not appear the same to me. - RBW
Much parodied, this hymn seems to have been enduringly popular in the south. And elsewhere, as witness, "Cook House," popular among soldiers of the Lincoln Brigade during the Spanish Civil War. We've listed that, more or less, as "Old Soldiers Never Die (I)" - PJS
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