The Battle Hymn of the Republic
By Julia Ward Howe (1819 – 1910)
Julia Ward Howe was a prolific writer, but by far and away her most famous and well known work is The Battle Hymn of the Republic. She had visited Washington D.C. just prior to the Civil War, and during a tour of a military camp heard the soldiers singing, “John Brown’s Body,” which had become a popular tune at the time. At the suggestion of Rev. Clarke, Howe wrote the words to THE BATTLE HYMN OF THE REPUBLIC to the tune of John Brown’s Body!
The song had such a memorable tune that it was resurrected on several occasions during our nation’s history. In 1898 and the Spanish American War we got:
Let us furl again Old Glory in the Name of Liberty
In WW I we had:
We have heard the cry of anguish from the victims of the Hun.
Wars were not the only events that generated new lyrics. In 1890, an adaptation known as the BATTLE HYMN OF THE SUFFRAGISTS provided us with:
They come from every nation
Women fair and strong and brave
But, these are all “re-writes”, so here are the lyrics Julia Ward Howe Blessed us with:
Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord;
He is trampling out the vintage where grapes of wrath are stored;
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword,
His truth is marching on.
Glory, glory, hallelujah! Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah! 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.
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.
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.