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BATTLE HYMN OF THE REPUBLIC

81

JULIA WARD HOWE

AMERICA, 1819–

Battle Hymn of the Republic 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;

5 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 My grace with

you shall deal ; Let the Hero, born of woman, crush the serpent with his heel,

Since God is marching on.

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He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never

call retreat; He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judg

ment-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

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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.

JOAQUIN MILLER

AMERICA, 1841

Columbus

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Behind him lay the gray Azores,

Behind him the gates of Hercules;
Before him not the ghost of shores,

Before him only shoreless seas.
The good mate said: “Now must we pray,

For lo! the very stars are gone.

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Brave Admiral, speak; what shall I say?"

“Why say: ‘Sail on! sail on! and on!'”

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“My men grow mutinous day by day;

My men grow ghastly wan and weak,” The stout mate thought of home; a spray

Of salt wave washed his swarthy cheek. “What shall I say, brave Admiral, say,

If we sight naught but seas at dawn ?“Why, you shall say, at break of day,

"Sail on! sail on! sail on! and on!'

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They sailed and sailed as winds might blow,

Until at last the blanched mate said: "Why, now not even God would know

Should I and all my men fall dead.
These very winds forget their way,

For God from these dread seas is gone.
Now speak, brave Admiral, speak and say — ”

He said: “Sail on! sail on! and on!”

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They sailed. They sailed. Then spake the mate:

“This mad sea shows his teeth to-night. He curls his lip, he lies in wait,

With lifted teeth, as if to bite !
Brave Admiral, say but one good word:

What shall we do when hope is gone ?”
The words leapt as a leaping sword:

"Sail on! sail on! sail on! and on!”

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Then, pale and worn, he kept his deck,

And peered through darkness. Ah, that night Of all dark nights! And then a speck

A light! a light ! a light ! a light ! 5 It grew, a starlit flag unfurled !

It grew to be Time's burst of dawn. He gained a world; he gave that world

Its greatest lesson: “On! sail on!”

JAMES WHITCOMB RILEY

AMERICA, 1852–

Old Glory'

Old Glory! say, who, 10 By the ships and the crew,

And the long, blended ranks of the gray and the blueWho gave you, Old Glory, the name that you bear With such pride everywhere,

As you cast yourself free to the rapturous air 13 And leap out full length, as we're wanting you to?

Who gave you that name, with the ring of the same,
And the honor and fame so becoming to you?
Your stripes stroked in ripples of white and of red,

1 This and the following poems are used by the courteous permission of the publishers, Messrs. Bobbs, Merrill, & Co., Indianapolis.

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With your stars at their glittering best overhead
By day or by night
Their delightfullest light
Laughing down from their little square heaven of

blue ! Who

gave you the name of Old Glory Who gave you the name of Old Glory?

say, who

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The old banner lifted and faltering then
In vague lisps and whispers fell silent again.
Old Glory: the story we're wanting to hear
Is what the plain facts of your christening were,
For your name -- just to hear it,
Repeat it, and cheer it, 's a tang to the spirit
As salt as a tear;
And seeing you fly, and the boys marching by,
There's a shout in the throat and a blur in the eye,
And an aching to live for you always or die,
If, dying, we still keep you waving on high.
And so, by our love
For you, floating above,
And the scars of all wars and the sorrows thereof,
Who gave you the name of Old Glory, and why

Are we thrilled at the name of Old Glory?

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Then the old banner leaped like a sail in the blast,
And fluttered an audible answer at last.
And it spake with a shake of the voice, and it said:

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