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It's a basic grammatical rule that a gerund is to be used after a preposition. Why is an infinitive used after for in this song? Is it correct English?

Swing low, sweet chariot, coming for to carry me home.

CB
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Cool BreezeIt's a basic grammatical rule that a gerund is to be used after a preposition. Why is an infinitive used after for in this song? Is it correct English?

Swing low, sweet chariot, coming for to carry me home.

CB
This is a spiritual sung by slaves of the Old South in the U.S. They had no education, so their English was normally nonstandard, if not a second language in the first place. It is "folk" English. And, it would probably be "comin' ".
There is a similar structure in the song "Oh, Susanna":

Oh I come from Alabama with a banjo on my knee,
I'm going to Louisiana, my true love for to see
It rain'd all night the day I left, the weather it was dry
The sun so hot I froze to death -- Susanna, don't you cry.

It's just a guess on my part, but it seems to me this usage is connected with an African-American dialect from the southern US.
I think the original lyrics may have also used I's goin' rather than I'm going, for example.
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YankeeThere is a similar structure in the song "Oh, Susanna":

Oh I come from Alabama with a banjo on my knee,
I'm going to Louisiana, my true love for to see
Hi Yankee

The structure is actually very common. A Google search for 'for to see' gives about 188,000 hits. Emotion: smile
CB
"to-infinitive" expressing purpose is common with phrasal verbs:

here

here
Hi CB

To me personally, it's only "very common" in certain songs. Emotion: smile
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<188,000 hits>

Yes, but ...

Most of them are from lyrics of ballads and songs that are at least 150 years old, or from the Bible.

Dickens highlights this structure in David Copperfield, and there we see it as a feature of an idiosyncratic kind of English, already being caricatured more than a century ago. (Note the use of ain't in the same sentence.)

My house ain't much for to see, sir, ...
_____________

Other uses are not really the same grammatically as the examples above.
They are just coincidental juxtapositions of for and to see.

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[ T ]he Aramaic roots of the verb for "to see God" evoke the image of ...

No Theory of Everything can ever provide total insight. For, to see through everything would leave us seeing nothing at all.

[ C ]ompare [them] to the name of the process that you're looking for to see if you get a match.
Signs To Watch For To See If ...
What symptoms should I look for to see if ...?
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CJ

Cool BreezeIt's a basic grammatical rule that a gerund is to be used after a preposition. Why is an infinitive used after for in this song? Is it correct English?

Swing low, sweet chariot, coming for to carry me home.

CB
G'day Cool Breeze,

This song uses a technique mastered by Mark Twain.

It uses the word structure of the people of the song to give added realism and artistic credibility to the song.

It is by no means a common current construction.

It would be understood but it is certainly non standard. It would be probably referenced to this song. This song is very well known.

Stannum
StannumThis song uses a technique mastered by Mark Twain.
Have you ever heard of Stephen Foster, Stannum? Was "mimic" the technique you were referring to? Emotion: wink
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