Julia Ward Howe – shaping words

“Arise all women who have hearts, whether your baptism be of water or of tears! Say firmly: Our husbands shall not come to us reeking of carnage for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy, and patience…
“We, the women of one country, will be too tender of those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.
From the bosom of a devastated Earth a voice goes up with our own. It says: “Disarm! Disarm! The sword of murder is not the balance of justice.” Blood does not wipe out dishonor, Nor violence indicate possession…”
— Julia Ward Howe, “Mother’s Day for Peace Proclamation,” 1870

945653_10200301091023750_151209309_nPictured here in 1908.

Howe also wrote “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” in 1861, which seems to me a lot less pro-peace than the above piece. Perhaps the carnage of the Civil War softened her a bit.

“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, his truth is marching on.”

November 18, 1861, of the writing of the lyrics, Howe remembered:

“I went to bed that night as usual, and slept, according to my wont, quite soundly. I awoke in the gray of the morning twilight; and as I lay waiting for the dawn, the long lines of the desired poem began to twine themselves in my mind. Having thought out all the stanzas, I said to myself, ‘I must get up and write these verses down, lest I fall asleep again and forget them.’ So, with a sudden effort, I sprang out of bed, and found in the dimness an old stump of a pen which I remembered to have used the day before. I scrawled the verses almost without looking at the paper.”

2 responses to “Julia Ward Howe – shaping words

    • I’ve never been there. Will have to plan a trip someday. I do find Lincoln one of the most interesting characters in history and can’t get enough information about him.

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