Volunteer Organist, The

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The Volunteer Organist

Roud 5378

Written by William Gray, music by Henry Lamb, in 1863.

As sung by Fred Jordan on A Shropshire Lad (Veteran VTD148CD):

  1. The preacher at the village church, one Sunday morning said,
    "Our organist is ill today; will someone play instead?"
    An anxious look came o'er the face of every person there
    To see who in the church that morn would fill the vacant chair.

  2. An old man stumbled up the aisle, his clothes was worn and torn
    How strange a drunkard seemed to be in church on Sunday morn
    But as his fingers touched the keys, without a single word
    The melody the old man played was the sweetest ever heard.

    The scene was one I'll ne'er forget as long as I may live
    And just to see it o'er again, all earthly wealth I'd give
    The congregation all amazed, the preacher old and grey,
    The organ and the organist who volunteered to play.

  3. Each eye grew dim in church that morn, and the strongest cheek grew pale.
    The organist without a word, had told his own life's tale.
    No lesson that the preacher read, that morning could compare
    With life's example that morn sat in the vacant chair.
    And as he gently closed the lid and slowly went his way
    The preacher rose and softly said "Good brethren, let us pray."


Also sung by George Spicer, Sussex on MTCD309-10 Just Another Saturday Night.
Words and notes.

Sheet music from the Lester S. Levy Collection of Sheet Music