The old Zion Church, on the old country road,
Encircled with wagons when each brought a load
Of the farmers, who came when the calm Sabbath-day
Put the plow and the reaper and planter away.
I can hear "Coronation" flow out from the choir,
Bubbling over the building and up to the spire,
Where one pair of bluebirds on Sunday did perch
Just to join in the hymns of the old Zion Church.
O the old Zion Church, down its unpainted aisles
How the river of song broke in ripples of smiles
As the bride drew her robes from the altar to door
Thro' sunshine that sweetened the old oaken floor.
And tears often flowed; for the whole village wept
When the bonnie wee babe in its white coffin slept,
While the good pastor told how Death, in his search
For the good Shepherd's lambs, came to old Zion Church.
O the old Zion Church--I can see it in spring,
When the orchards enfold it in sweet blossoming;
And thro' the long summer it basks in the heat
Where swift swallows swim the waves of the wheat;
To the tone of its bell, on the still Autumn morn,
The quail whistles alto far off in the corn;
And in Winter the snow wraps the cedar and birch
Keeping watch o'er the graves by the old Zion Church.
O the old Zion Church,--where the oak ever waves
Its mantle of gloom o'er my ancestors' graves,
Where my father and mother were long ago laid,
And whippoorwill mourns in the murmurous shade.
When my time comes to say farewell to the earth,
I would like to return to the scenes of my birth,
Shake off the old life, leave the world in the lurch,
For heaven is not far from the old Zion Church.