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Baring-Gould, Sabine
AUTOGRAPH MANUSCRIPT OF "ONWARD CHRISTIAN SOLDIERS"
1 page (11 11/16 x 6 1/2 in.; 297 x 165mm). 40 lines in five eight-line stanzas, signed "S. Baring-Gould" at end; strengthened at fold, a few instances of minor bleeding or smudging.
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Autograph manuscript of one of the most popular hymns of all time

The now iconic lyrics of "Onward Christian Soldiers" predated its tune, with Baring-Gould originally setting his verse to the slow movement of Joseph Haydn’s Symphony in D, No. 15. This early version of the hymn was printed in 1871 in the 'Church Times', where it was not met with popularity. It was not until Arthur Sullivan wrote the tune "St. Gertrude" for it that the piece achieved wide acceptance, becoming a mainstay of Christian services and hymnals. Baring-Gould wrote the lyric as a processional hymn for children walking from Horbury Bridge, where he served as curate. He penned the verses in about 15 minutes, later apologizing: "It was written in great haste, and I am afraid that some of the lines are faulty" (Centre for Church Music). 

Fine Books and Manuscripts Including Americana Online

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