Thursday, March 30, 2006

Battle Hymn of the Republic

Having read a post at the Blogger of Jared on The War Prayer by Mark Twain, I decided to look the story up online to learn a little more about it. What I found was another commentary by Mark Twain on war. This time in the form of a parody of the Battle Hymn of the Republic. I think that his commentary is just as valid today as it was when he wrote this piece which was most likely about the Philippine-American War from 1899-1902.

Battle Hymn of the Republic
(Brought Down to Date)
Mark Twain(1900?)

Mine eyes have seen the orgy of the launching of the Sword;
He is searching out the hoardings where the stranger's wealth is stored;
He hath loosed his fateful lightnings, and with woe and death has scored;
His lust is marching on.

I have seen him in the watch-fires of a hundred circling camps;
They have builded him an altar in the Eastern dews and damps;
I have read his doomful mission by the dim and flaring lamps --
His night is marching on.

I have read his bandit gospel writ in burnished rows of steel:
"As ye deal with my pretensions, so with you my wrath shall deal;
Let the faithless son of Freedom crush the patriot with his heel;
Lo, Greed is marching on!"

We have legalized the strumpet and are guarding her retreat;*
Greed is seeking out commercial souls before his judgement seat;
O, be swift, ye clods, to answer him! be jubilant my feet!
Our god is marching on!

In a sordid slime harmonious Greed was born in yonder ditch,
With a longing in his bosom -- and for others' goods an itch.
As Christ died to make men holy, let men die to make us rich --
Our god is marching on.


Watt Mahoun said...

Ya just gotta love the guy. He can say things that would get the rest of us sent to Gitmo...if only in the minds of our fellow citizens...but we hear it from Twain and everyone smiles.

Guy Murray said...

Nice version of this hymn. It does have as much application today as at any other time in our history. Bush's war of folly, pride and choice is indeed an orgy of the launching (in this war) of cruise missiles and high tech weaponry--none of which is being used for the direct safety and/or protection of America or Americans.