Wayfaring Stranger (Traditional)

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  • (Posted 2021-02-24)  CPDL #63140:       
Editor: Joseph Knapicius (submitted 2021-02-24).   Score information: Letter, 2 pages, 69 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: Arranged for SSA.
  • (Posted 2021-02-23)  CPDL #63129:         
Editor: Barry Johnston (submitted 2021-02-23).   Score information: Letter, 1 page, 52 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: For one part, arranged by William T. Dale, 1893, in 3:4 time (E minor). Four stanzas, as in Dale 1893.
  • (Posted 2021-02-22)  CPDL #63120:       
Editor: Joseph Knapicius (submitted 2021-02-22).   Score information: Letter, 5 pages, 94 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: Vocal arrangement in 3:4 time (D minor) for four parts SATB, a cappella.
  • (Posted 2021-02-22)  CPDL #63119:       
Editor: Joseph Knapicius (submitted 2021-02-22).   Score information: Letter, 11 pages, 337 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: Jazz arrangement in 4:4 time (G minor) for five woodwinds.

General Information

Title: Wayfaring Stranger
Composer: Anonymous (Traditional)
Lyricist: Anonymous

Genre: SacredFolksong   Meter: 98. 98

Language: English
Instruments: A cappella

First published: 1882 in Revival Hymns and Plantation Melodies
Description:  A folk hymn of unknown origin, apparently first published in 1882; the words first published in 1858 (Garst 1980). However, Boni (1947) says: "After the Revolutionary War, this spiritual sprang up all through the southern mountains … and appears in the old shape-note hymn books of the period. This is a version sung by the early settlers of De Kalb County, Texas." So far, it has not been found in any nineteenth-century shapenote book. A version appears in The Sacred Harp in 1935 and following editions, arranged by John M. Dye. There are several versions of the words.


  • Bever, Joseph. 1858. The Christian Songster. Dayton, Ohio: United Brethren in Christ.
  • Boni, Margaret B. 1947. Fireside Book of Folk Songs. New York, New York: Simon and Schuster.
  • Dale, William T. 1893. Times of Refreshing. Macon, Georgia: G. W. Burke.
  • Garst, John F. 1980. Poor Wayfaring Stranger – Early Publications. The Hymn 31(2):97-101.
  • Taylor, Marshall W. 1882. Revival Hymns and Plantation Melodies. Cincinnati, Ohio: Taylor and Echols.
  • Tillman, Charlie D. 1891. The Revival. Williston, South Carolina: Author.

External websites:

Original text and translations

Original text and translations may be found at I am a poor wayfaring stranger.