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The Falling Tear

[William Billings arr. Eliza Carthy]

Waterson:Carthy sang this hymn from the 1770 New England Psalm Singer on their 2006 album Holy Heathens and the Old Green Man. Martin Carthy commented in the album’s sleeve notes:

When Jesus Wept the Falling Tear was sent to the Watersons by A.L. Lloyd in the late 1970s for the 1978 album Sound, Sound Your Instruments of Joy, but for any number of reasons it wasn’t included. Written by Mr W. Billings, about whom we know nothing, it stuck around in the collective memory and it really is a beauty. We would be guessing if we said that it may be part of the Sacred Harp tradition of singing.


When Jesus wept, the falling tear
In mercy flowed beyond all bound;
When Jesus groaned, a trembling fear
Seized all the guilty world around.


(Repeat as a canon)