I would not live alway
I would not live alway. William Augustus Muhlenberg* (1796-1877).
A version of this hymn is said to have been written in 1824 at Lancaster, Pennsylvania, for a lady’s album, where it began:
I would not live alway; no, no, holy man, Not a day, not an hour, should lengthen my span.
This suggests the jeu d’esprit of a young clergyman, although it was based on Job 7: 16: ‘I would not live alway: let me alone; for my days are vanity.’ The original text had six 8-line stanzas. The text given in Ayres (1889) and printed in Edmund Clarence Stedman’s An American Anthology, 1787-1900 (1900) was in six 8-line stanzas:
I would not live alway--live alway below! Oh no, I'll not linger when bidden...
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