Scripture Verse

Thou hast given a banner to them that fear Thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth. Psalm 60:4


Words: Ma­ria B. W. Barnes, in Brad­bu­ry’s Gold­en Chain of Sab­bath School Me­lo­dies, by Will­iam B. Brad­bu­ry (New York: Ivi­son, Phin­ney, 1861), page 53, alt. Some hym­nals give the au­thor as Kate Ca­mer­on, Barnes’ pseu­do­nym.

Music: Star Span­gled Ban­ner John Staf­ford Smith (1750–1836). Har­mo­ny by Ar­thur Edw­ard John­stone (🔊 pdf nwc).

If you know where to get a good pho­to of Barnes (head & shoul­ders, at least 200×300 pix­els),


It first was un­furled
Upon Beth­le­hem’s plain,
Where shep­herds their lone
Starry night watch were keep­ing;
And Ju­dea’s hills
Echoed back the re­frain,
While God’s chos­en race
All un­con­scious were sleep­ing,
As an­gel­ic bands
Lifted high in their hands
The stan­dard which yet
Was to con­quer all lands,
O say, does the blest
Gospel ban­ner yet wave
Over al­tars and homes,
And the path to the grave?

Yes! from dark lone­ly tow­ers
It float­ed for years
When dim mists and black sha­dows
Enveloped the ag­es,
At first crim­soned with blood,
And then dark­ened with tears,
With which mar­tyrs re­cord­ed
Their names on earth’s pag­es,
Now hath van­ished the night,
And we hail the glad light,
Which il­lu­mines that ban­ner,
Unfurled to our sight,
’Tis the blest Gos­pel ban­ner,
And long may it wave
Over al­tars and homes,
And the path to the grave.

And thus be it ev­er
With foes of the right,
Who hurl on our cause
Their fierce im­pre­ca­tions,
For God helps to tri­umph
In His ho­ly might,
The men who will serve Him
Through all ge­ne­ra­tions;
And when dust to dust shall
Return, as it must,
We praise Him for­ev­er,
Who now is our trust:
And the blest Gos­pel ban­ner
Its glo­ry shall wave,
Over al­tars and homes,
And the path to the grave!