Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Battle Hymn of the Republic

I've been struggling to find poems this fall.  I had a few earlier - in August and September, but since then this well has dried up.

I had been counting on the poetry books from our homeschool curriculum.  Unfortunately, my older two were scheduled to repeat a book (second time for them, third time for me.  I love reading, but that was too much), and my younger two have a rather small poetry book, from which nothing has stood out so far.

One thing we are doing is singing our way through Wee Sing America - a collection of songs tied to our nation's history.

This morning, it struck me:

Songs are poetry put to music!  (Yes, I knew this.  But I was excited to remember it.)

I took a few pictures of my younger two, belting their hearts out, singing this week's song The Battle Hymn of the Republic.  They were singing so well, I also took some video.

They were so amazed and excited to find the song in the old church hymnals I have on the shelf for singing Christmas carols, they pulled them out this week to use instead of the tiny little Wee Sing America songbook.  (I'm not sure they understand that you would find a hymn in a hymnal.  They're of that generation, you know.)

I hope you enjoy their rendition of this Civil War era song.

The Battle Hymn of the Republic
Julia Ward Howe
(historical note: Howe heard the Union soldiers singing "John Brown's Body," a popular Union song.  The melody stayed with her and during the night she got up and wrote the words of this song.)

Mine eyes have seen the glory
Of the coming of the Lord;
He has trampled out the vintage
Where the grapes of wrath are stored;
He hath loos'd the fateful lightning
Of His terrible swift sword,
His truth is marching on.

(my favorite verse is the last:)
In the beauty of the lillies
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.

(*newer hymnals say "Let us live to make men free", but it's not historically accurate.)

Poetry Wednesday


Kris Livovich said...

We are studying Civil War THIS week! How appropriate! Poems put to music are some of the best.

I hope your kids get some better poetry books next time around, so you can post more. Or just keep the hymns coming, I love 'em.

Molly Sabourin said...

Well, how sweet is that?! I actually really love this hymn, especially in light of what those soldiers and their families endured throughout the civil war. Thanks for this! : )

Beth said...

Jared picked up a book for me at the symphony's second fiddle sale fundraiser entitled, "Songs that Changed America." Of course, this, as well as "John Brown's Body" were in it and I learned at that time that the tune was from the latter. So interesting. Thank you for sharing this. And thank you for the note. That too is interesting to me. Peace and goodness to you all. If you ever get bored, come visit Iowa.