Battle Hymn of the Republic

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Battle Hymn of the Republic

Postby Haggis@wk » Tue Apr 17, 2007 4:03 pm

This song and its variations has always fascinated me and I've been meaning to start this thread forever, hearing it today finally nudged me to do it. To me the Hymn is just so perfect and so “right” that I can’t imagine any other hymns or patriotic music that approaches this, although Ray Charles version of America the Beautiful comes pretty damn close….but I digress, I’m talking about the Battle Hymn of the Republic.

Actually that brings up another question. Is the battle Hymn, as sung in the below version, patriotic? It was played at Winston Churchill’s funeral. Maybe it patriotic in other countries?

The version today by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir is quite possibly the best version I've ever heard by a large choir (it always leaves a lump in my throat) but I'm curious if anyone has heard other versions equally moving?

I seem to recall a version by the choir at West Point but can't seem to find a version.

I'm also curious at the process by which stanzas are selected and even more so at the ones excluded.

Are the excluded ones out of date or just too seemingly Chauvinistic?

Comment are solicited
The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.” Alexis De Tocqueville 1835
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Re: Battle Hymn of the Republic

Postby Selma in Sandy Eggo » Tue Apr 17, 2007 4:45 pm

Haggis@wk wrote:I'm also curious at the process by which stanzas are selected and even more so at the ones excluded.

Are the excluded ones out of date or just too seemingly Chauvinistic?

Comment are solicited


The included ones are the ones that the performer, publisher, or arranger, thinks are traditional, or appropriate, or that they like. There are no formal criteria. I think the only exceptions are the works that still have a valid copyright on them - which pretty much lets out the old stuff.

My personal preference is to get rid of the stanzas that are really awkward to sing.
>^..^<
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Postby Shapley » Tue Apr 17, 2007 4:53 pm

The original verses are as follows:

The Battle Hymn of the Republic
by Julia Ward Howe

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.

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.

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 trumpet 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.

This last verse is often omitted, and was supposedly added by Julia Ward Howe, but not included in the original:

He is coming like the glory of the morning on the wave,
He is wisdom to the mighty, he is sucour to the brave,
So the world shall be his footstool, and the soul of Time his slave,
Our God is marching on.
Quod scripsi, scripsi.
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Postby Selma in Sandy Eggo » Tue Apr 17, 2007 5:02 pm

Before Julia got hold of it, it was "John Brown's Body" and it was a camp revival song before that. That tune's been around.

There are a number of other verses that have been shoved into the "Battle Hymn", in addition to the ones Julia wrote. And some of Julia's work has been "improved", from time to time.

Some folks just got no respect. :curse:
>^..^<
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Postby piqaboo » Tue Apr 17, 2007 5:56 pm

That one about burnished steel? I've never heard that stanza. Not the easiest thing to sing, but I've sung more awkward lyrics.
Altoid - curiously strong.
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Postby dai bread » Tue Apr 17, 2007 7:03 pm

The choir does a similar version at someone's funeral, but with less emphasis on the march rhythm art the start and not as well recorded. It's on the same site as the link above.
We have no money; we must use our brains. -Ernest Rutherford.
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Postby barfle » Wed Apr 18, 2007 6:48 pm

If you've ever seen the play Steambath, there's a reference to the "terrible swift sword."

Amazing how someone can make an ominous phrase like that humorous.
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