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Alfred H. Miles, ed. The Sacred Poets of the Nineteenth Century. 1907.

By Hymns. I. “The Son of God goes forth to war”

Reginald Heber (1783–1826)

(St. Stephen’s Day)

THE SON OF GOD goes forth to war,

A kingly crown to gain;

His blood-red banner streams afar!

Who follows in His train?

Who best can drink his cup of woe,

Triumphant over pain,

Who patient bears his cross below,

He follows in His train!

Thy martyr first, whose eagle eye

Could pierce beyond the grave;

Who saw his Master in the sky,

And called on Him to save:

Like Him, with pardon on his tongue,

In midst of mortal pain,

He pray’d for them that did the wrong!

Who follows in His train?

A glorious band, the chosen few

On whom the Spirit came;

Twelve valiant saints, their hope they knew,

And mock’d the cross and flame.

They met the tyrant’s brandish’d steel,

The lion’s gory mane:

They bow’d their necks, the death to feel!

Who follows in their train?

A noble army—men and boys,

The matron and the maid,

Around the Saviour’s throne rejoice,

In robes of light array’d.

They climb’d the steep ascent of Heaven,

Through peril, toil, and pain!

O God! to us may grace be given

To follow in their train!