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Battle Hymn of the Republic

Julia Ward Howe, 1862

You think you know where a song comes from, and then you start to look. The Battle Hymn of the Republic, written by Julia Ward Howe following the start of the Civil War, was not the first song to use this tune. She wrote the lyrics to a then-popular marching song for abolitionists, John Brown's Body, which was itself based on an older song called Say, Brothers, Will You Meet Us, which dates to the late 1700s, and was prominent in the religious revivals of that time.

Despite all that, the tune is virtually identical, far more than many songs which use older tunes (including the U.S. National Anthem.)

original music by William Steffe

Battle_Hymn_of_the_Republic
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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.

Chorus
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
His truth is marching on.

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.

Chorus

I have read a fiery gospel

writ in burnished rows of steel:
"As ye deal with my contempters,

so with you my grace shall deal";
Let the Hero, born of woman,

crush the serpent with his heel,
Since God is marching on.

Chorus


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.

Chorus


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.

Chorus
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
His truth is marching on.

songs based on
"The Battle Hymn of the Republic"
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