Battle Hymn, verse 4

Last Sunday, we attended a family member’s baby blessing in a Spanish Ward in Utah. My rudimentary high school Spanish was no help at all. For the hymns, I played “name that tune” by listening to the intro and then trying to find the matching words in the English hymn book as quickly as possible, a feat made more difficult by differing page numbers. The opening hymn was “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” which I thought was a perfectly appropriate nod to Independence Day while recognizing that many in the audience have more intimate feelings for different countries around the world.

The jolt came when I quit singing after verse three (that’s all there are in my hymnbook) and all my Spanish-speaking brothers and sisters continued with verse four.

Cyberhymnal tells me there are actually six verses in the hymn by Julia Ward Howe. Just out of curiosity, can some of you more musically-inclined bilingual persons tell me which verses are included in the Spanish hymnbook? Is it common that the songs vary between the hymnbooks created in different languages? Anyone know why?

26 comments for “Battle Hymn, verse 4

  1. I have seen him the watchfires of a hundred circling camps …

    He has sounded forth the trumpet that will never call retreat, he is sifting out the souls of men before his judgment seat, oh be swift my soul to answer him, be jubilant my feet …

  2. I’m not sure that I’m a “musically-inclined bilingual person,” but I would suggest that you check the music section of There is a cross-reference chart for hymn numbers in the Spanish, Portuguese and French hymnals (I have no idea why only these languages).

    FWIW, the 2nd verse in Spanish is the one that isn’t in our English hymnal.

    I’d bet that all 6 verses have been translated into Spanish at some point, but probably not by the Church, which, theoretically, could lead to copyright issues.

    I do think there is something of a mystery as to what hymns are in each language’s hymnal — I assume it is influenced by a combination of what can be translated, what translations have already been done, how acceptable the doctrine in the translation is (the English might be acceptable and the Spanish not if the translation was done by a non-Mormon), etc. It would be interesting to get more information about what gets included and why. And, especially, what hymns the Church itself chooses to translate.

  3. Yeah that is interesting Called to Serve always threw me off on my mission it’s only 2 verses in English but 4 in Spanish. Must be what Kent said something to do with the copyright, but don’t copyrights expire after a while?

  4. As he died to make men holy,
    let us die to make men free,
    while God is marching on.

    It’s the *Battle* Hymn of the Republic. Not the Self-Esteem Hymn of the Republic.

  5. 1. “The opening hymn was ‘Battle Hymn of the Republic,’ which I thought was a perfectly appropriate nod to Independence Day…” I think I’ve mentioned this before, but…) I played BHOTR for sacrament-meeting organ-prelude about twenty years ago in southeastern Texas; I was told to stop lest I bother some of the older folks with that “Yankee hymn.”

    2. I played piano in Spanish branches for four years but don’t recall BHOTR. In Portuguese, however, I and other novice Portuguese speakers found it difficult to learn: the “extra” syllables go zipping, tripping, and slurring by all kind of fast.

    3. As to the OP: I don’t know anything about the selection, collation, or editing processes and history of the various hymnals. Sometimes they jigger with the rhythms to make everything fit; keyboardists beware. All of the non-English hymnals I’ve seen are shorter than the 1985 English hymnal. I wonder if there are patterns to the exclusion—some hymns that never get translated?

  6. The songs do vary between different language hymnals, indeed. But usually the other way around. Many of the non-english hymnals don’t have nearly so many hymns in them than the english one. And many of the songs do not have all the verses that they have in english. There might be some “local” hymns too, that aren’t in the english book.
    (My knowledge is based most on swedish and finnish hymnals.)

    I wonder if there are some copyright issues that effect on which hymns may be included.

  7. “When hymns are first translated into a new language, the collection includes 35 hymns and 10 children’s songs. After membership within a language group grows sufficiently, a new hymnbook is translated that includes 107 songs that are standard in every language, a choice of 50 additional hymns that are recommended, and 50 more hymns that are chosen by a committee for each language.”

    I don’t know exactly what’s on the list of 107, or the second list of 50 recommended hymns. For the 50 chosen by the language committee, they often choose hymns that are “native” to that language, or other hymns that are in the English hymnal, but not on either list, or sometimes even hymns that are in previous English hymnals, but not in our current hymnal.

    Many of our hymns are not under copyright (i.e. Battle Hymn of the Republic is not copyrighted). In regards to most of the hymns in our hymnal that are copyrighted, the church (more spefically, IRI) holds the legal rights to them, anyway. For the ones that are copyrighted by other individuals or companies, the church has to pay to use them.

  8. Oops, I included a link to the article on where I got the quote in #7, but it disappeared.

  9. FWIW, the 2nd verse in Spanish is the one that isn’t in our English hymnal

    So, it wasn’t the “he has sounded forth the trumpet” verse which is the traditional last verse. The one we use as a last verse is the second to last.

    Either “I have seen him in the watchfires of a hundred circling camps” or the “I have seen his righteous sentence writ in burnished rows of steel” verse.

    Now I’m curious.

  10. re #6 – its the same with Japanese – there are a couple (?haven`t actually counted) that are in the Japanese book but not in the English one.
    re OP – in the back of the Japanese hymn book, there is a list in the back of corresponding numbers (plus it always gets written on our programme as well) – I had assumed that all non-English hymn books had this, but obviously not!

  11. A few thoughts — 1) Copyrights expire, but not for a long time. 2) last Sunday our ward sang two patriotic hyms, including the National Anthem. We all stood for the hymn. Remarkably, the organist, who played very robustly and with great feeling, is a citizen of Japan. It was just too cool.

  12. Two of the hymns I can recall off the top of my head being included in the Japanese hymnal, but not the English, are “Oh, I Had Such A Pretty Dream Mama,” and “Verdant Spring and Rosy Summer.”

  13. 11 — Copyrights quite expiring with the passage of the Mickey Mouse Protection Act in 1998. There’s reason to think they’ll never expire again.

  14. And the Japanese hymnbook contained (still does?) Shu yo, mimune ni, sung to a tune from Weber’s opera Der Freischutz. Not familiar with that opera, I about fell off my chair in surprise when I first heard that tune, which the Japanese sang all the time.

  15. My 1942 Himnos de Sión has Himno de Batalla de la República on page 130. Verse four begins, “Fué allende de los mares que el Rey Jesús nació.” Spanish translation of “In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea.”

    Surely the Spanish hymnbook has changed since i was a missionary in the 1960s, but I would guess they still use the translation by Rey L. Pratt for this hymn.

    Verse two in Spanish translation is the one that begins “I have read a fiery gospel. . . ”

    Verse three is the translation of “He has sounded forth the trumpet . . . “

  16. A wonderful song from the Spanish hymnal is 88, “Placentero nos es trabajar”

    From Wikipedia page for “In the Sweet By and By” (The tune to which the song is sung):
    Andrés C. Gonzalez a early Latter-day Saint missionary in Mexico was not allowed to sing this hymn in a public location and was put in jail without trial during the Mexican Revolution. While in jail he wrote Spanish lyrics to accompany the same music. He was allowed to sing the modified version.[4] This same version continues in the current LDS hymnal under the name “Placentero nos es trabajar”.[5] It is not included in the current English Hymnal but perhaps in older versions.[6] This version has become a beloved hymn among Latin American Latter-day Saint Christians [7]

  17. Please help me understand why a song about United States nationalism would be included in a hymnbook in other languages and countries.

  18. FWIW I served a mission in Buenos Aires, Argentina 30 years ago. The Battle Hymn of the Republic was sung all the time then. I’d be suprised if many of the newer members even knew it was an American song.

  19. Oh, and how I could I forget – the fantastic hymn “Waiting for the Reapers” in the Japanese hymnal. I used to teach this one to the MTC elders and we would sing it all the time. I have checked the pre-1985 English hymnal for some of these but didn’t see them, so I wonder if they are even older.

  20. 18 —

    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
    while God is marching on.

    I still prefer that it be “die” to “live” in the penultimate line, but I think that’s where the action is. Although it’s clearly tied to a specific American conflict, there’s nothing exclusively American in any of the verses.

  21. The Battle Hymn of the Republic is a signature piece recorded and performed by the Tabernacle Choir, so there is every reason for LDS all over the world to be familiar with it after playing a MoTab CD at home on Sunday afternoon.

    Chris: Please remember that there are congregations in the US of people who speak other languages, including a Japanese language ward in Salt Lake, the Dai Ichi (“First”) Ward that meets in the secondary chapel of the Granite Stake Tabernacle on 9th East and 20th South. There have to be a hundred Spanish speaking wards and branches within the US.

    The current Japanese LDS Hymn book was translated by Brother and Sister Yanagida of Nagoya. Sister Yanagida was also the first Relief Society president in Japan (my Mom was one of her counselors). She was one of a handful of a hundred or so members of the Church who was baptized before the mission was closed in 1924, due to anti-American reaction to America’s new law barring all new Japanese immigration. After World War II, the mission was reopened. The old hymn books had been an attempt to literally translate all the words of each line of each hymn, without regard to the music, and you couldn’t sing it alongside an American singing in English, and couldn’t use piano music or choir arrangements that had been done in other languages. The Yanagida version threw out that approach and kept the music while adapting the words to fit the meter. In Japanese, most formal sentences end with verb conjugations, so rhyming is trivial and automatic and not part of poetry there. They just strove t0 have sentences that would be poetic and fit the meter of each line.

    My recollection is that some of the songs that were lost from the last edition of the English language hymnal (Come Thou Font of Every Blessing?) are still preserved in the Japanese edition.

    It is interesting how much the Japanese Saints tend to favor songs that are in the current English hymnal but don’t get much play in the US, such as “Oh What Songs of the Heart”, and “In Our Lovely Deseret”, both hymns that I never heard performed in the US before I sang them in Japan.

    In October 1980 I was back in Japan with the Air Force just in time for the dedication of the Tokyo Temple and an area conference with President Kimball immediately afterward. Because of the musical congruity of the hymns, when the choir in our military branch was asked to sing for one of the sessions, we transcribed the Japanese words of the first two verses of “We Thank Thee O God for a Profit” into Roman alphabet and sang those before switching on the verses 3 and 4 into English.

  22. #12: “Oh, I Had Such a Pretty Dream, Mamma” and “Verdant Spring and Rosy Summer” are songs from the old “Deseret Sunday School Songs.” By the 1940s the majority of Wards in the U.S. exclusively used this song book for all church meetings, rather than using the official “Latter-day Saint Hymns.” Most of the missionaries that started translating hymns in the early 20th century would probably have been more familiar with the Sunday school song book than with the hymnal.

  23. Other Japanese hymns that they don’t include in the English hymnal are “Number One Lucky Good Time” and “Banish Sadness to the Land of Wind and Ghosts.”

  24. The Battle Hymn of the Republic is a second coming of Christ/Judgment day hymn.

    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 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 Succour to the brave,
    So the world shall be His footstool, and the soul of Time His slave,
    Our God is marching on.

    Glory, glory, hallelujah!
    Glory, glory, hallelujah!
    Glory, glory, hallelujah!
    Our God is marching on.

    You can read it as a civil war hymn, but the actual language is something far different than “John Brown’s Body Lies a Rotting in the Grave” from which it drew some inspiration.

  25. Of the 204 hymns listed in the French hymnbook on, eight appear to have no equivalent in the English version:

    35 – Saint, Saint, notre Sauveur, basically a paraphrase of the sanctus, music from the Deutsche messe of Franz Schubert which is used across the world in christian churches as a Sanctus setting.

    45 – L’amour de Dieu, sa force aussi – text is a paraphrase of “When Faith Endures”, by Naomi Randall (128 in 1985 English) – music, however is same as was used for Dans l’Eglise ici-bas (Though in the outward church below) Apparently the francophones loved the tune so much that they found a way to conserve it even though singing about separating the wheat from the tares is too much for the kindler, gentler church of today. Original source of the music is Mozart’s Magic flute (Bei männern…)

    95 – Au Jardin – In the Garden, the Methodist hymn written in 1912 by C. Austin Miles, popular in many denominations, and apparently, among Francophone LDS

    133 and 134, Il est né, le divin enfant and Noël nouvelet, two popular Christmas carols which were also in the old French hymnal

    137 – D’un arbre séculaire, a version of the carol Lo How a Rose e’er Blooming

    149 – Père Nous Sommes Réunis, the baptism hymn, Lo! On the Water’s Brink We Stand (in 1948, but not 1985) – was in old French hymnal although text has been altered to make it a more general use praise hymn, rather than specifically about baptism

    179 – Souviens-toi? – not in previous hymnals, music is largo from Dvorak’s New World symphony, text by french hymnbook committee

    Incidentally, although it appears in Spanish and Portuguese, the Battle Hymn of the Republic didn’t make it in the the French book.

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