Top of page

Song-Collection My Days Have Been So Wondrous Free

Image: The Lovers Walk The lovers walk. Currier & Ives, [between 1856 and 1907]. Prints and Photographs Reading Room, Library of Congress.

by Francis Hopkinson (1737-1791)

The first extant art songs composed in the United States are credited to Francis Hopkinson, a friend of George Washington and signer of the Declaration of Independence. Hopkinson, the only American-born composer for whom there is evidence of having written songs prior to 1800, penned "My Days have been so Wondrous Free" (words by Doctor Parnell) in 1759. Scored for voice and harpsichord, this song by Hopkinson is America's earliest surviving secular composition.

The song is contained in a collection of Hopkinson's manuscripts, dating 1759-60, and housed in the Music Division of the Library of Congress. As was the performance practice at the time, Hopkinson composed "My Days have been so Wondrous Free" in but two parts, the treble and bass, leaving the harmonic details to be filled in by the accompanist. The song posses a charming, graceful melody, which is often punctuated by a repeated passing-note, resulting in a somewhat syncopated effect. A brief postlude concludes the piece.

About this Item


  • My Days Have Been So Wondrous Free


  • -  Songs Collections
  • -  Songs and Music


  • song collection

Additional Metadata Formats

Rights & Access

The Library of Congress is providing access to these materials for educational and research purposes and makes no warranty with regard to their use for other purposes. The written permission of the copyright owners and/or other rights holders (such as holders of publicity and/or privacy rights) is required for distribution, reproduction, or other use of protected items beyond that allowed by fair use or other statutory exemptions. There may be content that is protected as "works for hire" (copyright may be held by the party that commissioned the original work) and/or under the copyright or neighboring-rights laws of other nations.

Responsibility for making an independent legal assessment of an item and securing any necessary permission ultimately rests with persons desiring to use the item. Users should consult the bibliographic information that accompanies each item for specific information. This catalog data provides the details known to the Library of Congress regarding the corresponding items and may assist users in making independent assessments of the legal status of these items as related to their desired uses.

Items included here with the permission of the rights holders are indicated as such in the bibliographic record for each item.

In some cases, the Library was unable to identify a possible rights holder and has elected to place some of those items online as an exercise of fair use for strictly non-commercial educational uses. The Library of Congress would like to learn more about these materials and would like to hear from individuals or institutions that have any additional information or know of their history. Please contact:  Performing Arts Reading Room.

Suggested credit line: Library of Congress.

Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

My Days Have Been So Wondrous Free. Web..

APA citation style:

My Days Have Been So Wondrous Free. [Web.] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

My Days Have Been So Wondrous Free. Web.. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.