Steal Away

Traditional Spiritual

“I ain’t got long to stay here….”

Noah Brooks

This simple, majestic spiritual, which had been used as a code by fugitives on the Underground Railroad, is sung by a black soldier and a northern freedwoman in the wake of Lincoln’s assassination. As Lincoln’s young secretary stares down alone from the top of the newly completed Capitol dome, he speaks his private farewell and struggles to make sense of the loss. As a distant whistle fades into the night, the funeral train carries its burden on the westbound journey into mythology.


Steal away, steal away,
Steal away to Jesus.
Steal away, steal away home,
I ain’t got long to stay here.

My Lord calls me,
He calls me by the lightning.
The trumpet sounds within my soul,
I ain’t got long to stay here.