Scripture Verse

In My Father’s house there are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. John 14:2

Introduction

portrait
Sanford F. Bennett
1836–1898

Words: San­ford F. Ben­nett, in The Sig­net Ring, by Jo­seph Web­ster (Chi­ca­go, Il­li­nois: Ly­on & Hea­ly, 1868), pag­es 90–91. This song was sung in the 1941 Aca­de­my Award win­ning mo­vie Ser­geant York.

Music: Sweet By and By Jo­seph P. Web­ster (🔊 pdf nwc).

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Joseph P. Webster
1819–1875

Origin of the Song

Mr. Web­ster, like ma­ny mu­si­cians, was of an ex­ceed­ing­ly ner­vous and sens­i­tive na­ture, and sub­ject to pe­ri­ods of de­pres­sion, in which he looked up­on the dark side of all things in life.

I had learned his pe­cul­i­ar­i­ties so well that on meet­ing him I could tell at a glance if he was mel­an­cho­ly, and had found that I could rouse him up by giv­ing him a new song to work on.

He came in­to my place of bu­si­ness [in Elk­horn, Wis­con­sin], walked down to the stove, and turned his back on me with­out speak­ing. I was at my desk. Turn­ing to him, I said, Web­ster, what is the mat­ter now? It’s no mat­ter, he re­plied, it will be all right by and by.

The idea of the hymn came me like a flash of sun­light, and I re­plied, The Sweet By and By! Why would not that make a good hymn? May­be it would, he said in­dif­fer­ent­ly.

Turning to my desk I penned the words of the hymn as fast as I could write. I hand­ed the words to Web­ster. As he read his eyes kin­dled, and step­ping to the desk he be­gan writ­ing the notes.

Taking his vi­olin, he played the me­lo­dy and then jot­ted down the notes of the chor­us. It was not ov­er thir­ty min­utes from the time I took my pen to write the words be­fore two friends with Web­ster and my­self were sing­ing the hymn.

Sanford Fill­more Ben­nett
(1836–1898)

Lyrics

There’s a land that is fair­er than day,
And by faith we can see it afar;
For the Fa­ther waits ov­er the way
To prepare us a dwell­ing place there.

Refrain

In the sweet by and by,
We shall meet on that beau­ti­ful shore;
In the sweet by and by,
We shall meet on that beau­ti­ful shore.

We shall sing on that beau­ti­ful shore
The melodious songs of the blessed;
And our spi­rits shall sor­row no more,
Not a sigh for the bless­ing of rest.

Refrain

To our boun­ti­ful Fa­ther above,
We will of­fer our trib­ute of praise
For the glo­ri­ous gift of His love
And the bless­ings that hal­low our days.

Refrain