"How Can I Keep From Singing?" as written by Faryl Smith, Jon Cohen and Dp,....
My life goes on in endless song
Above earth´s lamentations,
I hear the real, though far-off hymn
That hails a new creation.

Through all the tumult and the strife
I hear its music ringing,
It sounds an echo in my soul.
How can I keep from singing?

While though the tempest loudly roars,
I hear the truth, it liveth.
And though the darkness 'round me close,
Songs in the night it giveth.

No storm can shake my inmost calm,
While to that rock I´m clinging.
Since love is lord of heaven and earth
How can I keep from singing?

When tyrants tremble in their fear
And hear their death knell ringing,
When friends rejoice both far and near
How can I keep from singing?

In prison cell and dungeon vile
Our thoughts to them are winging,
When friends by shame are undefiled
How can I keep from singing?


Lyrics submitted by daz_spaz

"How Can I Keep from Singing?" as written by Nicky Ryan Eithne Ni Bhraonain

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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How Can I Keep From Singing? song meanings
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8 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentI believe this a hymn of praise. It is to say that she is so overwhelmed with love for God that she cannot help but express her awe.

    I particularly like the line 'No storm can shake my inmost clam, while to that rock I'm clinging." It gets me through anything and makes me weap with joy.

    "For You are my rock and my fortress; Therefore, for Your name's sake, lead me and guide me." Psalm 31:3
    Paramedico987on October 12, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love this song. It's so beautiful. The meaning to me is too hard for me to express in words but I love it.
    StarAngel2003on August 17, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentShe is saying that she is strong and that everything that comes her way, good or bad, shouldnt bring her down all the way. I love this song. One of my favorites on that CD.
    msleamichon April 28, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt is an amazing song. It is actually crazy old...written in something like 1860 and is very traditional and has been sung by many people (John McCutcheon, etc.) and I think Enya does a nice job with it.
    marlindarlinon December 11, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI have sung this song in Church (it is in our hymnals)... Enya sings it much better
    littlethreeon June 09, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI agree with msleamich Everyone should go on and not bring down
    isacon January 10, 2007   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningI wish Enya had used the original lyrics, but these are really nice just the same. The original lyrics were by Robert Wadsworth Lowry, a Christian, so if my comments offend you, take it up with him. ;]

    "My life goes on in endless song above earth's lamentations."
    - Christ said, "My kingdom is not of this world." (John 18:36) His kingdom includes his sheep (Christians). We are in the world, but we are not of it. Our hope and joy is in Heaven with God, above all of the sorrows of the earth.

    "I hear the real, though far-off hymn that hails a new creation."
    - New creation: Heaven and the new, sinless earth that God will create. The hymn he hears is far off and quiet, almost to the point of completely silent, especially in this loud, fallen world. But the writer still hears it and knows it is real. And he waits for it eagerly.

    "Through all the tumult and the strife I ear it's music ringing.
    it sounds and echo in my soul. How can I keep from singing?"
    -Though the sound is faint during times of persecution, strife, and heartache, Lowry can still hear the hymn. The hymn represents the promise of Heaven and being with God for eternity.

    "But though the tempest loudly roars, I hear the truth, it liveth
    and though the darkness round me close, songs in the night if giveth."
    - Again, through the storm (and not just any storm; a TEMPEST! A violent storm), the writer still holds on to the promise that he knows is true (though the world rejects it) that Christ will return.

    "No storm can shake my inmost calm while to that Rock I'm clinging
    since Love is Lord or Heaven and earth, how can I keep from singing?"
    - From Psalm 62:2: "He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken." Christ is often referred to as "Rock of Ages". This is a reference to Exodus 33:22 where we see a foreshadowing of Christ in the Old Testament. God tells Moses that He will hide him in the cleft of a rock while He passes over; just as the repentant are hiding in Christ as God judges the unrepentant for their sins. We are told The original lyrics say "Since Christ is Lord of heaven and earth" but since Christ is God, and God is Love then this verse still works out. :)

    "When tyrants tremble in their fear and hear their death knell ringing,
    When friends rejoice both far and near, how can I keep from singing?"
    - This verse it pretty obvious, though that fact doesn't make it any less beautiful. :]

    "In prison cell and dungeon vile our thoughts to them are winging."
    - Prayers for the persecuted believers. There are Christians on the other side of the world (even today) being tortured, put in prison, & killed for their faith in Christ. This verse mentions them and reminds us to keep them in our prayers.

    "When friends by shame are undefiled how can I keep from singing?"
    - This is probably my favorite line in the entire hymn. I never understood it when I was younger. I tried to make sense of it but I couldn't. Finally, after God graciously saved me in 2008, I was thinking about this hymn and I FINALLY got it! The world is fallen. We have all sinned and are therefore are separated from God and deserving of punishment (Hell). But when the Gospel is preached we are brought to shame because we realize that we have all broken the Law. We have all sinned. We are then humbled by our shame and we repent and trust in Christ (who took the punishment that we deserve) as the only means of salvation. We are no longer defiled; we are made clean (undefiled).

    Thus, "When friends, by SHAME, are undefiled, how can I keep from singing?"
    I mean....with a God like that who would save wretched sinners like us...
    ...how CAN you keep from singing?

    God bless,
    Aaron :]
    wretchedaaronon January 18, 2010   Link
  • 0
    Link(s)Original lyrics (Ro­bert Wadsworth Low­ry): cyberhymnal.org/htm/h/c/…
    johnk73on January 15, 2013   Link

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