BARING-GOULD, SABINE (1834-1924)
AUTOGRAPH MANUSCRIPT OF HIS FAMOUS HYMNAL POEM 'ONWARD CHRISTIAN SOLDIERS', signed at the end ('S. Baring-Gould'), 40 lines in five eight-line stanzas, 1 page, folio, some professional strengthening on verso, not dated
'Onward Christian Soldiers
Marching as to War,
With the Cross of Jesus
Going on before...'
Baring-Gould wrote about his famous hymn: 'Whit-Monday is a great day for school festivals in Yorkshire. One Whit-Monday, thirty years ago, it was arranged that our school should join forces with that of a neighbouring village. I wanted the children to sing when marching from one village to another, but couldn't think of anything quite suitable; so I sat up at night, resolved that I would write something myself. "Onward, Christian Soldiers" was the result. It was written in great haste, and I am afraid some of the rhymes are faulty. Certainly nothing has surprised me more that its popularity. I don't remember how it got printed first, but I know that very soon it found its way into several collections.'
There does not appear to be a manuscript of 'Onward Christian Soldiers' in a public institution in Britain (Location Register).