Julia Ward Howe: She Wrote the Spiritual That Informed and Inspired the First Memorial Day


Today’s the birthday of Julia Ward Howe,

Remembered for one poem now.

Her Battle Hymn still resonates

And every patriot elates.*


*”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 had loosed the fatal 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 truth 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 trumpetĀ  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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  • Good point. One of the best songs of hope ever written.

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