“Simple Gifts” or “Tis the gift to be simple” is a Shaker song written and composed in 1848 by Elder Joseph Brackett from Alfred Shaker Village. In Shaker songbooks it was listed as “dancing song” or “quick dance” to accompany worship. The song wasn’t known outside Shaker communities until 1944, when Aaron Copland used its melody in his music for the ballet Appalachian Spring.
The lyrics inspire us to lead a simple life through humility and freedom from worldly goods. This, along with the enchanting melody, have made the song a timeless favourite; it has been covered by many singers while it has also been adapted and arranged many times over the years. It is also popular in the music repertoire for drum corps and marching bands.
On this page you can find lyrics, a printable lyrics PDF file for free Download and a sing-along video of the song.
Printable Lyrics PDF
Click on the button to download a PDF file with lyrics to this song for free.
‘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 gained,
To bow and to bend we shan’t be ashamed,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come ’round right.
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