The “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” Unexpurgated

In the comments to my last post, Terry Morris noted that the song “John Brown’s Body” energized the Union army with righteous fury. That John Brown was himself a homicidal lunatic seems to have been a feature, not a bug. As you know, “John Brown’s Body” was converted into the less vulgar but no less self-righteous “Battle Hymn of the Republic” by Julia Ward Howe, daughter of a Wall Street banker. I have here revised her lyrics to honor her father, and in the spirit of a less sanctimonious understanding of the War Between the States.

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the gold in New York banks,
They are lending out at interest, for which we must give our thanks,
They employ the men of Congress and all Senators of Yanks:
Gold truth is marching on.

Glory, Glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Gold 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 beheld the face of Mammon in the dim and flaring lamps:
Gold truth is marching on.

Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Gold is marching on

I have read a fiery gospel writ in ledger-books and chits,
“Bow to the almighty dollar, it rewards him who submits,”
Paladins of debt and interest, crush obdurate hypocrites,
Since Gold is marching on

Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Since Gold is marching on

We have sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat,
We’ll build railroads through all Dixie ’till the iron net’s complete,
Fly our flag o’er every statehouse, teach the rebel’s just defeat,
Our Gold is marching on

Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Our Gold is marching on

In the beauty of the lilies banks were born across the sea,
With gold hoarded in their vaults and their hearts bent on usury,
Teaching men that Truth and Honor are the blackest infamy,
While Gold is marching on

Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
While Gold is marching on

3 thoughts on “The “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” Unexpurgated

  1. Pingback: The “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” Unexpurgated | Reaction Times

  2. Bravo, sir. Wish I’d written that! I have the consolation of knowing my comment under the other post was at least partly the inspiration for your verse. I’ll take it.

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