A Cento Poem by Beverly Stock
I’m just a poor wayfaring stranger,
A traveling through this world of woe,
But there is no sickness, toil or danger,
In that bright world to which I go.
Once in the dear dead days beyond recall,
Out of the dreams that rose in happy throng,
When on the world the mists began to fall,
Still to us at twilight comes love’s old song.
I know dark clouds will gather ‘round me,
My way is steep and rough, I know,
But fertile fields lie just before me,
In that fair land to which I go.
The Wayfaring Stranger, in stanzas one and three, was a religious song born in the Southern Appalachian mountains at the time of the American Revolution. Even before the War of 1812, this song had become well known. During the years around World War II, this song was revived again.
Love’s Old Sweet Song, stanza two, also called “Just a Song At Twilight” sounds like and American song, but it is in fact English. Written in the early 1880’s, the lyrics are by G. Clifon Binghan and melody by an Irish lawyer James Lyman Molloy. It was first published in America concurrent to the publication of Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn.
This poem was curated from lyrics published in the American Song Treasury, a volume of songs in the public domain, by Dover Publications.