For absolutely no identifiable reasons I have been Gifted.
May you also be gifted
“Simple Gifts” was written by Elder Joseph while he was at the Shaker community in Alfred, Maine. These are the lyrics to his one-verse song:
- ‘Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free
- ‘Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
- ‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gain’d,
- To bow and to bend we shan’t be asham’d,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
- Till by turning, turning we come ’round right.
Several Shaker manuscripts indicate that this is a “Dancing Song” or a “Quick Dance.” “Turning” is a common theme in Christian theology, but the references to “turning” in the last two lines have also been identified as dance instructions.
The tune was written by Joseph Brackett (1797–1882) who first joined the Shakers at Gorham, Maine, when his father’s farm helped to form the nucleus of a new Shaker settlement.
A manuscript of Mary Hazzard of the New Lebanon, New York, Shaker community records this original version of the melody: