Sunday, April 27, 2008

Sum Mor Thots

It is Sunday morning.
As has become my habit, I walked around the neighborhood.
My circuit is almost exactly two miles.
Although I was prepared to get wet, the rain had already passed and all I received was a spattering of misty microdrops.
The birds were happily singing at 5:30 and all but a couple of the neighborhood dogs were sleeping in.
It was an enjoyable session with just faint reminders from my right knee and left hamstring (again) of the distress they have suffered this past week at work.

This past week a radio host related how moved he was to hear the performance of The Battle Hymn of the Republic, sung by a US military chorus.
He played a recording of it, and I, also, was moved.
I reprint the words here to remind you how a skilled poet can craft words to paint vivid images in our mind.

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!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! 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.
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! 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.
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! 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.
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! 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 live to make men free;
[originally …let us die to make men free]
While God is marching on.
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! While God is marching on.

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.
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Our God is marching on.
......................

The tune so lends itself to verse that many variations of words have been written over the years since Julia Ward Howe wrote these in 1861.
And hers were not the first set of lyrics set to this melody.
They were at least the third.
One version is a distinctly Church of God flavor.
I forget who wrote them.
I shall search for them and publish them when I find them.

Have a blessed day.

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