I Can Trust - (2008)
Daniel Webster Davis
for low or medium voice and piano
I can not see why trials come,
And sorrows follow thick and fast;
I can not fathom His designs,
Nor why my pleasures can not last,
Nor why my hopes so soon are dust,
But, I can trust.
When darkest clouds my sky o'er hang,
And sadness seems to fill the land,
I calmly trust His promise sweet,
And cling to his ne'er failing hand,
And, in life's darkest hour, I'll just
Look up and trust.
I know my life with Him is safe,
And all things still must work for good
To those who love and serve our God,
And lean on Him as children should,
Though hopes decay and turn to dust,
I still will trust.
[ 2 pages, circa 2' 15" ]
Daniel Webster Davis
As gentle and sweet is this confident credo of Davis is his
humorous Hog Meat
in its "flavorful" dialect and savory images. That a minister should write
in both genres is to me delightful. For more on the Reverend Davis, please
see that web page for a biography and additional remarks on dialect.
The notion of trust is important. A distant cousin who had attended seminary
for a short while before leaving that course of study asked me to sum up my
belief, especially as I did not wholly subscribe to his particular
scriptures and view of them. My answer came in two words, "I trust," with
the caveat that I was unsure of one of them -- "I." Each of us changes
throughout our life such that any self-definition involves such continual
change, such that the personal pronoun, "I," cannot fully be defined and is
ever in flux. Therefore the important element in such a minimalist credo is
"trust," not one's self. One trusts in something beyond and greater than
one's self, and this even includes the sometimes agonized architecture of
thought behind those who call themselves atheists but who cannot rid
themselves of the wholly human phenomenon of belief.
All people believe; the only remaining question is "in what?" Those whose
belief leads them to hatred and violence against others for the sake of
their belief have included the religious and, especially in the supposedly
advanced and modern twentieth century, the utterly irreligious, for
socialism is itself founded on beliefs, however incorrect they have
repeatedly proven in practice. From the "higher power" of Alcoholics
Anonymous to the "Creator" of Charles Darwin's own writings to the God of
many virtuous, believing peoples, trust in some version of "Him" - even when
translated into the contemporary green Gaia of the environmental movement
- is a mater of "trust." Mankind must trust and cannot avoid a belief
system. The simplest is often the finest and most elegant, and this text
from 1895 of Daniel Webster Davis is a jewel for that very reason.
tessitura for low and medium editions
As the text is a simple, three stanza form, the setting too is simple and in
three verses or strophes. The last verse merely sets the accompaniment an
octave lower and with some small changes in the gestures, ending with a
gentle yet assertive repetition of the phrase, "I still will trust."
The score for I Can Trust is available as a free PDF download, though
any major commercial performance or recording of the work is prohibited
without prior arrangement with the composer. Click on the graphic below for
this piano-vocal score.
I Can Trust
edition for low voice
I Can Trust
edition for medium voice