The Real Handcart Song

Exactly ten years ago I posted one Pioneer Day plea: could we please at least sing the whole original song? It’s so much better than the shortened version the majority of us American Mormons learned in Primary. A decade on, unfortunately, the plea is as timely as ever. So come along every, let’s sing!

Ye Saints who dwell on Europe’s shore
Prepare yourselves for many more
To leave behind your native land
For sure God’s judgments are at hand–-

For you must cross the raging main
Before the promised land you gain
And with the faithful make a start
To cross the plains with your handcart!

For some must push and some must pull
As we go marching up the hill
So merrily on the way we go
Until we reach the valley-o!

As on the road the carts are pulled
‘Twould very much surprise the world
To see the old and feeble dame
Thus lend a hand to pull the same,

And maidens fair will dance and sing
Young men more happy than a king
And children too, will laugh and play
Their strength increasing day by day.

For some must push and some must pull
As we go marching up the hill
So merrily on the way we go
Until we reach the valley-o!

But some will say, it is too bad
The Saints upon the foot to ‘pad’
And more than that, to pull a load
As they go marching o’er the road.

But then we say, it is the plan
To gather up the best of men
And women too–for none but they
Will ever travel in this way.

For some must push and some must pull
As we go marching up the hill
So merrily on the way we go
Until we reach the valley-o!

And long before the valley’s gained
We will be met upon the plains
With music sweet and friends so dear
And fresh supplies our heart to cheer–

And then with music and with song
How cheerfully we’ll march along
And thank the day we made a start
To cross the plains with our handcart!

For some must push and some must pull
As we go marching up the hill
So merrily on the way we go
Until we reach the valley-o!

When you get there among the rest
Obedient be and you’ll be blest,
And in God’s chambers be shut in
While judgments cleanse the earth from sin.

For we do know it will be so;
God’s servants spoke it long ago.
We say it is high time to start
To cross the plains with our handcarts.

For some must push and some must pull
As we go marching up the hill
So merrily on the way we go
Until we reach the valley-o!

Comments

  1. Okay, but only if we sing all five original verses of “Ye Elders of Israel.”

  2. This is all kinds of awesome. Thanks much!

  3. I like this verse, which for some reason didn’t get included above (maybe I like it because of my politics):

    The lands that boast of modern light
    We know are all as dark as night
    Where poor men toil and want for bread,
    Where peasant folks are blindly led.
    These lands that boast of liberty
    You ne’er again will wish to see
    When you from Europe make a start
    To cross the plains with your handcart.

    http://mldb.byu.edu/folksng2.htm

  4. Left Field says:

    So what’s different about the shortened version that the majority (not including me, evidently) of American Mormons learned in Primary?