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GUEST,Lighter Origins:John Brown's Body/ Battle Hymn of Republic (39) RE: Origins:John Brown's Body/ Battle Hymn of Republic 11 May 16


The first printing of the words to the hymn, "Say, Brothers, Will You Meet Us?" appears to be in "Union Prayer Meeting Hymns, Prepared by a Committee of the Young Men's Christian Association" (Phila.: American Sunday-School Union, 1858), p. 180.

But the form is unusual and perhaps misleading and no melody is indicated:

         SAY, brothers, will you meet us
         On Canaan's happy shore ?
         By the grace of God we'll meet you
         Where parting is no more.

         Jesus lives and reigns forever
         On Canaan's happy shore !
         Glory, glory, hallelujah,
         Forever, evermore!

The first printing with music, however, in "The Sabbath School Hosanna" (N.Y.: G. S. Scofield/ The American Sunday School Union Depository, 1862) p. 13, "Arr. by F. H. Lummus," arranges the lines in four stanzas with the repeats required to fit the familiar tune, whose origin is not indicated.

Whether the "John Brown" tune was associated with the "Brothers Will You Meet Us?" words as early as 1858 remains uncertain - as does the origin of the tune.


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