Scripture Verse

There remaineth…a rest to the people of God. Hebrews 4:9

Introduction

portrait
Hubert P. Main
1839–1925

Words: Ma­ry L. Dem­a­rest, 1861.

Music: Io­ne T. Han­na, 1864. Har­mo­ny by Hu­bert P. Main (🔊 pdf nwc).

portrait
Mary L. Demarest
1838–1888

Origin of the Song

Many years ago John Mac­duff and his young bride left Scot­land on a sail­ing ves­sel for Am­er­ica, there to seek their for­tune.

After tar­ry­ing a few weeks in New York they went on West, where they were suc­cess­ful in ac­cum­u­lating a good com­pe­tence. By and by the wife’s health began to fail. The anx­ious hus­band said that he feared she was home­sick.

John, she re­plied, I am wea­ry­ing for my ain coun­trie; will you not take me to the sea, that I may see the ships sail­ing to the home­land once more?

Her hus­band’s heart was moved with com­pas­sion. In a few weeks he sold their West­ern home and took his wife East to a plea­sant lit­tle cot­tage by the sea, whose fur­ther shore broke on the rocks that line the coast of Scot­land.

She would oft­en sit and gaze wist­ful­ly at the ships sail­ing from the bay, one af­ter an­oth­er dis­ap­pear­ing be­low the ho­ri­zon on their way to her ain coun­trie. Al­though she ut­tered no com­plaint, it was evi­dent that she was slow­ly pin­ing away. John was afraid that she would die in a for­eign land; and as an ef­fort to save her he sold his New Eng­land home, and took her back across the ocean.

She was speed­i­ly re­co­vered by the keen moun­tain air, the sight of pur­ple heath­er, nod­ding blue­bells, and hedge­rows white with frag­rant haw­thorn blos­soms in bon­nie Scot­land, her own dear na­tive land. To her it was home. And there is no sweet­er word in any lang­uage than home!

At an ear­ly age [Ma­ry Dem­a­rest] lost her mo­ther and was left in charge of a Scot­tish nurse, from whom she learned some­thing of the Scot­tish di­a­lect. And her grand­fa­ther, a na­tive of Scot­land, had oft­en sung lit­tle Ma­ry to sleep with Scot­tish lul­la­bies…

At the age of 23, Mary Lee wrote this im­mor­tal po­em, af­ter hear­ing the sto­ry of John Mac­duff and his wife, and pub­lished it first in The New York Ob­serv­er.

Sankey, pp. 193–95

Lyrics

I am far frae my hame,
An’ I’m wea­ry aften­whiles,
For the langed for hame bring­in’,
An’ my Fa­ther’s wel­come smiles;
An’ I’ll ne’er be fu’ con­tent,
Until mine een do see
The gow­den gates o’ Heav’n
An’ my ain coun­trie.

Refrain

The earth is fleck’d wi’ flow­ers,
Mony tint­ed, fresh an’ gay
The bird­ies war­ble blithe­ly,
For my Fa­ther made them sae:
But these sights an’ these soun’s
Will as nae­thing be to me,
When I hear the an­gels sing­in’
In my ain coun­trie.

I’ve His gude word o’ pr­omise
That some glad­some day, the King
To His ain roy­al pa­lace
His ban­ished hame will bring;
Wi’een an’ wi’ hert
Rinnin’ owre, we shall see
The King in His beau­ty,
In oor ain coun­trie.

Refrain

Sae lit­tle noo I ken,
O’ yon bless­èd, bon­nie place
I on­ly ken it’s Hame,
Whaur we shall see His face,
It wad surely be eneuch
For ever mair to be
In the glo­ry o’ His pre­sence,
In oor ain coun­trie.

Refrain

He is faith­fu’ that hath pro­mised,
An He’ll sure­ly come again,
He’ll keep His tryst wi’ me,
At what oor I din­nna ken;
But He bids me still to wait,
An’ rea­dy aye to be,
To gang at ony mo­ment
To my ain coun­trie.