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Songs

General William Booth Enters Into Heaven

by Charles Ives

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Text

General William Booth Enters Into Heaven
English source: Vachel Lindsay

Booth led boldly with his big bass drum
(Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?)
Hallelujah!
Saints smiled gravely and they said, “He’s come”
(Washed in the blood of the Lamb?)
Walking lepers followed rank on rank,
Lurching bravoes from the ditches dank,
Drabs from the alleyways and drug fiends pale
Minds still passion ridden, soul powers frail:
Vermin-eaten saints with mouldy breath,
Unwashed legions with the ways of Death.
(Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?)
Ev’ry slum had sent its half a score
The round world over. (Booth had groaned for more.)
Ev’ry banner that the wide world flies,
Bloomed with glory and transcendent dyes.
Big-voiced lassies made their banjos bang,
Tranced, fanatical they shrieked and sang:
“Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?”
Hallelujah! Hallelujah, Lord, Hallelujah!
It was queer to see
Bull-necked convicts with that land make free.
Loons with trumpets blowed a blare
On and upward thro’ the golden air!
(Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?)
Jesus came from the courthouse door,
Stretched his hands above the passing poor.
Booth saw not, but led his queer ones,
Round and round,
Yet! In an instant all that blear review
Marched on spotless, clad in raiment new.
The lame were straightened (Hallelujah!), withered limbs uncurled
And blind eyes opened on a new sweet world.
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?

Composer

Charles Ives

Charles Edward Ives was an American modernist composer. Read more here.

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