Beautiful River


Another one of the songs it my 19th century American Song book is this Religious Favorite.  Written By Rev. Robert Lowry, minister at Hanson Place Baptist Church, this song was sung by 40,000 children in Brooklyn during a parade.

While his most famous creation, he was not especially proud of it, preferring All the Way My Saviour Leads Me and I Need Thee Every Hour.

I found this song in my Baptist and Methodist hymnals, with 4 verses, but not the same four. Of Lowry’s 6 verses, the 5th disappears from the hymn books I have. Later hymnals apparently dropped the “smiling of the river”.

The other change I noticed was that in the last verse, instead of Lowry’s original silver river, hymnals change the river to a “shining river.”

Shall we gather at the river,

Where bright angel feet have trod

With its crystal tide forever

Flowing by the throne of God!


Yes, we’ll gather at the river,

The beautiful, the beautiful river

gather with the saints at the river,

That flows by the throne of God.

On the margin of the river,

Washing up its silver spray,

We will walk and worship ever,

All the happy golden day.


On the bosom of the river,

Where our Saviour-king we own,

We shall meet and sorrow never

‘Neath the glory of the throne.


Ere we reach the shining river,

Lay we every burden down,

Grace our spirits will deliver

And provide a robe and crown.


At the smiling of the river,

Mirror of the Saviour’s face

Saints whom death will never sever,

Lift their songs of saving grace.


Soon we’ll reach the silver river,

Soon our pilgrimage will cease;

Soon our happy hearts will quiver

With the melody of peace.



One thought on “Beautiful River

  1. I’ve often sung the traditional setting of the hymn followed by the version composed by Charles Ives. The river flows smoothly and then hits a bit of rapid water. And then its calm again. I love to hear how the new grew organically out of the old.

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