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The Battle-Hymn of the Republic -- Julia Ward Howe

Guest poem submitted by Suresh Ramasubramanian:
(Poem #473) The Battle-Hymn of the Republic
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.

        Glory, Glory, Halleluijah!
        Glory, Glory, Halleluijah!
        Glory, Glory, Halleluijah!
          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.

        Glory, Glory, Halleluijah! etc.

I have read a fiery gospel writ in burnish'd 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."

        Glory, Glory, Halleluijah! etc.

He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat;
He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgement-seat:
Oh, be swift, my soul, to answer Him ! be jubilant my feet !
  Our God is marching on.

        Glory, Glory, Halleluijah! etc.

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.

        Glory, Glory, Halleluijah!
        Glory, Glory, Halleluijah!
        Glory, Glory, Halleluijah!
          His truth is marching on.
-- Julia Ward Howe
Julia Ward Howe and her husband Dr. Gridley Howe were close friends and
supporters of Florence Nightingale.  Julia was one of theearliest feminists, who
also wrote several tragedies like "Lenore", "The World's Own" and "Hippolytus".
This is her most famous (or rather, _only_ famous) work, inspired by the
American civil war, a protest against the south's support of slavery.


[thomas adds]

This is one of those songs which I can't hear without getting a lump in my
throat - one of those songs where the beauty of the melody, the power of the
words and the weight of history all come together into a single majestic whole.


16 comments: ( or Leave a comment )

Julian Tepper said...

I've seen both "born across the sea," and "borne across the sea," in printed and
'net versions of the poem. I think, with no facts or evidence to support my
supposition, that in the context of the stanza, the word refers to Jesus being
transported after his death, in which case the word should be borne, should it not?


JIAJACK1 said...

I believe the Battle Hymn of The Republic was a devinely inspired song and
should be played much much more in this country. After all it was proclaimed
our national hymn.


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