Onward, Christian Soldiers

Original Text: 
The English Hymnal with Tunes (London: Humphrey Milford, Oxford University Press; and A. R. Mowbray [1906]), no. 643, pp. 832-33. M 2136 .E554 1906 Trinity College Library.
2  Marching as to war,
3With the Cross of Jesus
4  Going on before.
5Christ the royal Master
6  Leads against the foe;
7Forward into battle,
8  See, his banners go!
9          Onward, Christian soldiers,
10            Marching as to war,
11          With the Cross of Jesus
12            Going on before.
13At the sign of triumph
14  Satan's legions flee;
15On then, Christian soldiers,
16  On to victory.
17Hell's foundations quiver
18  At the shout of praise;
19Brothers, lift your voices,
20  Loud your anthems raise.
21Like a mighty army
22  Moves the Church of God;
23Brothers, we are treading
24  Where the Saints have trod;
25We are not divided,
26  All one body we,
27One in hope and doctrine
28  One in charity:
29Crowns and thrones may perish,
30  Kingdoms rise and wane,
31But the Church of Jesus
32  Constant will remain;
33Gates of hell can never
34  'Gainst that Church prevail;
35We have Christ's own promise,
36  And that cannot fail.
37Onward, then, ye people,
38  Join our happy throng,
39Blend with ours your voices
40  In the triumph song;
41Glory, laud and honour
42  Unto Christ the King;
43This through countless ages
44  Men and Angels sing.
45          Onward, Christian soldiers,
46            Marching as to war,
47          With the Cross of Jesus
48            Going on before.


1] Composed as a processional hymn for children at Horbury Bridge, near Wakefield, Yorkshire, published in The Church Times in 1864, and set to its now-traditional tune, "St. Gertrude," by Sir Arthur Sullivan (1842-1900) in 1871 (Handbook to the Church Hymnary, 3rd edn., ed. John M. Barkley [London: Oxford University Press, 1979], no. 480, p. 174). Baring-Gould originally entitled the song "Hymn for Procession with Cross and Banners," and it is still listed among processional pieces in hymnals. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
RPO 1998.