Simple Gifts

The lyrics and music of this Shaker dance song were written in 1848 by Elder Joseph Brackett at the Shaker community in Alfred, Maine. It became a popular American folk tune and was used by Aaron Copeland in his Appalachian Spring symphony in 1955.

Shaker gifts

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 out delight

'Till by turning, turning we come round right. 

American Shaker Music

Aaron Copland Collection at the Library of Congress

revised 11/26/02 by Schoenherr | Songs