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Battle Hymn Of The Republic.

March 28, 2010


Mrs. Howe struck off ‘The Battle Hymn of the Republic’ early in the white heat of the Civil War upon hearing young soldiers marching to ‘John Brown’s Body.’ The regiments caught up with enthusiasm the new words which she set to the familiar tune; and the ‘Battle Hymn’ was sung in camp and field, from Maine to the Gulf of Mexico. It became the ‘Marseillaise’ of the unemotional Yankee.

—Julia Ward Howe.

MINE eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord:
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of his terrible swift sword:
His truth is marching on.
I have seen him in the watch-fires of a hundred circling camps;
They have builded him an altar in the evening dews and damps;
I can read his righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps:
His day is marching on.
I have read a fiery gospel, writ in burnished rows of steel:
“As ye deal with my contemners, so with you my grace shall deal;
Let the Hero, born of woman, crush the serpent with his heel,
Since God is marching on.”
He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat;
He is sifting out the hearts of men before his judgment-seat:
Oh! be swift, my soul, to answer him! be jubilant, my feet!
Our God is marching on.
In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in his bosom that transfigures you and me:
As he died to make men holy, let us die to make men free,
While God is marching on!



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