Most people with visual impairment were gifted with the ability to cope with what’s going on in the world using their other senses. Others gained a connection with their surrounding with the help and direction of others. That was specifically true with Horace Burr, a blind person who inspired the writing of the hymn “Beyond the Sunset.”
“Beyond the Sunset” is a recitation song that originated from a poem entitled “Should You Go First.” Albert Rowswell wrote it and was initially put to a hymn in 1936. Chickie Davis, a West Virginian performer did the hymn’s first recording. In 1950, the song was released as Hank Williams’ single under the pseudonym Luke the Drifter.
Albert Rowswell collaborated with Blanche Kerr Brock and Virgil P. Brock for the writing of the hymn from the original poem. One of its songwriters, Virgil Brock, later shared the story behind the hymn’s composition.
Accordingly, Brock and some friends were having a sunset viewing over Winona Lake in Indiana one evening. The group then had a lengthy discussion about the sunset. One of them was Horace Burr, a blind man for a long time, who began talking about ‘seeing.’ When asked about it, Horace gave a profound answer.
“I see through others’ eyes, and I think I see more than many others see. I can see beyond the sunset.”
Blanche thought of it as a great idea for a song which eventually led to the birth of the hymn “Beyond the Sunset.”
The second stanza talks about the threatening storm clouds they’ve seen during the sunset viewing. Additionally, the last verse is about Horace and his wife Grace, the latter being his guide in his blindness for many years.
“Beyond the sunset no clouds will gather,
No storms will threaten, no fears annoy;
O day of gladness, O day unending,
Beyond the sunset, eternal joy!”
“Beyond the sunset a hand will guide me
To God, the Father, whom I adore;
His glorious presence, His words of welcome,
Will be my portion on that fair shore.”
Now let’s listen to the song and reflect on it.
To get more inspiration, let us listen to the song.
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Albert Rowswell, Blanche Kerr Brock, Chickie Davis, Hank Williams Sr., Virgil Brock