In the Sweet By and By

In the Sweet By and By

Infobox Standard
title=The Sweet By and By

caption=Cover of original Lyon & Healy sheet music, 1868
composer=Joseph P. Webster
lyricist=S. Fillmore Bennett
recorded_by= Louis Armstrong, Johnny Cash, many others

"The Sweet By and By" is a Christian hymn with lyrics by S. Fillmore Bennett and music by Joseph P. Webster. It is recognizable by its chorus::In the sweet by and by::We shall meet on that beautiful shore.:In the sweet by and by::We shall meet on that beautiful shore. [Bennett, "The Sweet By And By."]


Mr. Webster, like ma­ny mu­si­cians, was of an ex­ceed­ing­ly ner­vous and sen­si­tive na­ture, and sub­ject to per­i­ods of de­press­ion, in which he looked up­on the dark side of all things in life. I had learned his pe­cul­i­ar­i­ties so well that on meet­ing him I could tell at a glance if he was mel­an­cho­ly, and had found that I could rouse him up by giv­ing him a new song to work on.

He came in­to my place of bus­i­ness [in Elk­horn, Wis­con­sin] , walked down to the stove, and turned his back on me without speak­ing. I was at my desk. Turn­ing to him, I said, “Webs­ter, what is the mat­ter now?” “It’s no mat­ter,” he re­plied, “it will be all right by and by.” The idea of the hymn came me like a flash of sun­light, and I re­plied, “The Sweet By and By! Why would not that make a good hymn?” “May­be it would,” he said in­dif­fer­ent­ly. Turn­ing to my desk I penned the words of the hymn as fast as I could write. I hand­ed the words to Web­ster. As he read his eyes kin­dled, and stepp­ing to the desk he be­gan writ­ing the notes. Tak­ing his vi­o­lin, he played the mel­o­dy and then jot­ted down the notes of the cho­rus. It was not over thir­ty min­utes from the time I took my pen to write the words be­fore two friends with Web­ster and myself were sing­ing the hymn.—"Sanford Fill­more Ben­nett (1836-1898)" [Sankey, "My Life and the Story of the Gospel Hymns", pp. 199-200.]


*This song was sung in the Acad­emy Award win­ning mo­vie "Sergeant York" (1941).

*It is a well known standard performed as a hymn and a dirge. In the New Orleans musical tradition, it is a standard dirge at so called "jazz funerals".

*Pop culture usage includes in the film "Benny and Joon".



*Bennett, S. Fillmore (w.); J.P. Webster (m.). "The Sweet By And By". Chicago: Lyon & Healy (1868).
*Sankey, Ira D. "My Life and the Story of the Gospel Hymns and of Sacred Songs and Solos". Philadelphia: The Sunday School Times Company (1906).

External links

* [ "In The Sweet By And By"] , Artisan Band (2006-08-13: Artisan iMix 2.0 Bluegrass Week) [ (CC2.5)] — [ "Internet Archive"] .
* [ In the Sweet By and By] at CyberHymnal

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