Battle Hymn of the Republic

Melody - William Steffe?, 1862

Julia Ward Howe, 1862

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, hallelujah! :|
Glory! glory, hallelujah!
Our God is marching on.

2. I have seen Him in the watchfires
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.

3. I have read a firey Gospel writ
In rows of burnished steel
As you deal with My contemners,
So with you my grace shall deal
Let the hero born of woman
Crush the serpent with his heel
His truth is marching on.

4. He has sounded forth the trumpet
That shall never sound retreat;
He is sifting out the hearts of men
Before His judgment seat;
O be swift, my soul, to answer Him;
Be jubilant, my feet!
Our God is marching on.

5. In beauty of the lilies,
Christ born across the sea,
With a glory in His bosom
That transfigures you and me;
As he died to make men holy,
Let us live to make men free,
While God is marching on.

6. He is coming like the glory
Of the morning on the wave;
He is wisdom to the mighty,
He is honor to the brave;
So the world shall be His footstool,
And the soul of wrong His slave.
Our God is marching on.

Julia Ward Howe, the author of this stirring war song, was born in New York, May 27, 1819, and was married to Dr. S.G. Howe in 1843.

In December, 1861, Dr. and Mrs. Howe, with a party of friends, paid a visit to Washington. Everything about the city had a martial aspect. The railroads were guarded by pickets, the streets were full of soldiers and all about could be seen the "watchfires of a hundred circling camps".

One day the party drove several miles from the city to see a review of the Federal soldiers. An attack by the Confederates caused much excitement and delayed their return. Finally they started back to Washington under an escort of soldiers, and on the way they sang war songs, among others, "John Brown".

Waking in the gray dawn of the following morning Mrs. Howe found herself weaving together words to the music she had sung the day before. Fearing she might forget the lines if she slept again, she arose and wrote down the verses. The poem was first published in the Atlantic Monthly for February, 1862. The verses were published without the author's name, and she received but five dollars for them.

Of this great hymn a recent writer says, "Unlike many of the songs of the Civil War, it contains nothing sectional, nothing personal, nothing of a temporary character. While we feel the beauty of the lines and their aspiration after freedom, even in the piping times of peace, it is only in the time of storm and stress that their full meaning shine out. Written with intense feeling, they seem to burn and glow when our own emotions are aroused". - From The Golden Book of Favorite Songs, 1915.

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