Virginia Glee Club Wiki

"The Wayfaring Stranger" (aka "Poor Wayfaring Stranger" or "I Am a Poor Wayfaring Stranger"), Roud 3339, is a well-known American folk song likely originating in the early 19th century[1] about a plaintive soul on the journey through life. As with most folk songs, many variations of the lyrics exist.

The Virginia Glee Club first performed the text in an arrangement by Harry Rogers Pratt during their 50th Anniversary Concert in 1936. The group has performed a version arranged by Douglas Moore and Donald Loach since 1991. The Moore/Loach arrangement omits the third verse.


I'm just a poor wayfaring stranger
I'm traveling through this world of woe
Yet there's no sickness, toil nor danger
In that bright land to which I go
I'm going there to see my father
I'm going there no more to roam
I'm just a-going over Jordan
I'm just a-going over home

I know dark clouds will gather 'round me
I know my way is rough and steep
Yet golden fields lie just before me
Where God's redeemed shall ever sleep
I'm going there to see my father
He said he'd meet me when I come
I'm only going over Jordan
I'm only going over home

I want to wear a crown of glory
When I get home to that good land
I want to shout salvation's story
In concert with the blood-washed band

I'm going there to meet my Saviour
To sing his praise forever more
I'm just a-going over Jordan
I'm just a-going over home

Use in classical music[]

Ernő Dohnányi used the tune (along with two other traditional American folktunes) in his final composition American Rhapsody (1953). In addition, George Crumb used the tune with lyrics in Unto the Hills (2001), for soprano, piano, and percussion quartet.


Harry Rogers Pratt arrangement[]

Moore/Loach arrangement[]



  1. Norman Cazden, Herbert Haufrecht, Norman Studer. Folk Songs of the Catskills. SUNY Press, 1982. 292-294. ISBN 0-87395-581-1

Further reading[]

  • John F. Garst, "'Poor Wayfaring Stranger'—Early Publications," The Hymn: [A Publication of the Hymn Society in the United States and Canada], vol. 31, no. 2, 1980, pp. 97–101

External links[]

  • Template:MetroLyrics song
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