previous next
“ [187] was given me to say, which did strengthen the hearts of those who fought in the field and of those who languished in the prison.”

Returning from a review of troops near Washington, her carriage was surrounded and delayed by the marching regiments: she and her companions sang, to beguile the tedium of the way, the war songs which every one was singing in those days; among them--

John Brown's body lies a-mouldering in the grave.
His soul is marching on!

The soldiers liked this, cried, “Good for you!” and took up the chorus with its rhythmic swing.

Mrs. Howe,” said Mr. Clarke, “why do you not write some good words for that stirring tune?”

“I have often wished to do so!” she replied.

Waking in the gray of the next morning, as she lay waiting for the dawn, the word came to her.

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord

She lay perfectly still. Line by line, stanza by stanza, the words came sweeping on with the rhythm of marching feet, pauseless, resistless. She saw the long lines swinging into place before her eyes, heard the voice of the nation speaking through her lips. She waited till the voice was silent, till the last line was ended; then sprang from bed, and groping for pen and paper, scrawled in the gray twilight the “Battle Hymn of the Republic.” She was used to writing thus; verses often came to her at night, and must be scribbled in the dark for fear of waking the baby; she crept back to bed, and as she fell asleep she said to herself, “I like this better than most things I have ”

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Battle Hymn (1)
Julia Howe (1)
James Freeman Clarke (1)
John Brown (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: