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I am Going to the Lordy (2012)
for Mixed Voices and Timpani
Text by Charles Guiteau

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Charles Guiteau (1841-1882), the assassin of President James Garfield (a moderate Republican), composed I am Going to the Lordy on the morning he was to be executed for the purpose of reading as his last words. Prior to the execution, he requested an orchestra to accompany a performance of the poem, but was denied. He did specify, however, that the poem would be more effective if set to music, with the instruction that “the idea is that of a child babbling to his mamma and papa.”

Guiteau, also a Republican, thought himself a hero following the assassination; he exclaimed, “I am a Stalwart of the Stalwarts! I did it and I want to be arrested! [Chester A.] Arthur is President now!” My setting of I am Going to the Lordy attempts to capture his delirious sense of pride in the moments before his death.



I am Going to the Lordy, by Charles Guiteau

I am going to the Lordy, I am so glad,
I am going to the Lordy, I am so glad,
I am going to the Lordy,
Glory hallelujah! Glory hallelujah!
I am going to the Lordy.
I love the Lordy with all my soul,
Glory hallelujah!
And that is the reason I am going to the Lord,
Glory hallelujah! Glory hallelujah!
I am going to the Lord.
I saved my party and my land,
Glory hallelujah!
But they have murdered me for it,
And that is the reason I am going to the Lordy,
Glory hallelujah! Glory hallelujah!
I am going to the Lordy!
I wonder what I will do when I get to the Lordy,
I guess that I will weep no more
When I get to the Lordy!
Glory hallelujah!
I wonder what I will see when I get to the Lordy,
I expect to see most glorious things,
Beyond all earthly conception
When I am with the Lordy!
Glory hallelujah! Glory hallelujah!