He will thunder from His holy dwelling and roar mightily against His land. He will shout like those who tread the grapes, shout against all who live on earth.@Jeremiah 25:30

Ju­lia W. Howe, 1861, alt. This hymn was born dur­ing the Am­er­i­can ci­vil war, when Howe and her hus­band vis­it­ed a Un­ion Ar­my camp on the Po­to­mac River near Wash­ing­ton, DC, in De­cem­ber 1861. She heard the sol­diers sing­ing the song John Brown’s Bo­dy, and was ta­ken with the strong march­ing beat. She wrote the words the next day.

The hymn ap­peared in the At­lan­tic Monthly in Feb­ru­ary 1862. It was sung at the fun­er­als of Bri­tish state­sman Win­ston Church­ill, Am­er­i­can sen­a­tor Ro­bert Ken­ne­dy, and Am­er­i­can pre­si­dents Ron­ald Rea­gan and Ri­chard Nix­on.

John Brown’s Bo­dy John Will­iam Stef­fe, 1852 (🔊 pdf nwc).

portrait
Julia W. Howe (1819–1910)

I awoke in the grey of the morn­ing, and as I lay wait­ing for dawn, the long lines of the de­sired poem be­gan to en­twine them­selves in my mind, and I said to my­self, I must get up and write these vers­es, lest I fall asleep and fo­rget them! So I sprang out of bed and in the dim­ness found an old stump of a pen, which I re­mem­bered us­ing the day be­fore. I scrawled the vers­es al­most with­out look­ing at the pa­per.

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.
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.