GREAT SPECKLED BIRD
“The Great Speckled Bird” is a Southern hymn whose lyrics were written by the
Reverend Guy Smith. The song is in the form of AABA and has a 12 bar count. It is
based on Jeremiah 12:9, “Mine heritage is unto me as a speckled bird, the birds round
about are against her; come ye, assemble all the beasts of the field, come to devour.” It
was recorded in 1936 by Roy Acuff. It was also later recorded by Johnny Cash (in 1959),
Hank Locklin (1962), Bert Southwood [in 1990], and Jerry Lee Lewis.
The tune is the same apparently traditional melody used in the folk song “I Am Thinking
Tonight Of My Blue Eyes,” originally recorded in the 1920s. The same melody was later
used in the 1952 country hit “The Wild Side of Life,” sung by Hank Thompson, and the
even more successful “answer song” performed by Kitty Wells called “It Wasn’t God Who
Made Honky-Tonk Angels.”
What a beautiful thought I am thinking
Concerning a great speckled bird
Remember her name is recorded
On the pages of God’s Holy Word.
All the other birds are flocking ’round her
And she is despised by the squad
But the great speckled bird in the Bible
Is one with the great church of God.
All the other churches are against her
They envy her glory and fame
They hate her because she is chosen
And has not denied Jesus’ name.
Desiring to lower her standard
They watch every move that she makes
They long to find fault with her teachings
But really they find no mistake.
She is spreading her wings for a journey
She’s going to leave by and by
When the trumpet shall sound in the morning
She’ll rise and go up in the sky.
In the presence of all her despisers
With a song never uttered before
She will rise and be gone in a moment
Till the great tribulation is o’er.
I am glad I have learned of her meekness