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Song of Judas Maccabeus Before the Battle of Maspha

By Mrs. R. Hyneman

On, warriors and chiefs, every step we have trod,
Through blood-stained with carnage and heaped with the slain,
Bear witness we fight for the glory of God,
Whose aid we have asked, nor entreated in vain.

Attest it, ye armies, whose glittering array
At noonday outshone in his splendour the sun,
Attest it, ye proud girded warriors, who lay
Unhonoured and cold when the battle was done.

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They came to subdue us, oh God of the just!
Thy arm was our shield, Thy protection our pow’r;
Still aid and defend us, oh Thou whom we trust,
In prosperity’s pride and affliction’s dark hour.

When we cease to remember the martyrs, whose blood
They have poured out like water, may we be forgot;
When we cease to lament the fierce pangs they withstood,
May our strength be derided, our memory a blot.

Oh falter not when their fierce glittering host
Comes spreading destruction and blight o’er the land,
Remember proud Seran,* how vain was his boast,
And firm be your hearts like the rocks where you stand.

Then on! can we waver when Heaven’s pure light
Smiles approvingly down on the path we have trod?
On! on! be it victory or death! ere the night
We have conquered or died for the glory of God.

* Seran’s army, in itself numerous, was swelled by a crowd of hellenising Jews and renegade Samaritans. But Judas taught his faithful band, “that victory standeth not in the multitude of an host, but strength cometh from heaven.” In his descent from Betharan he leaped suddenly on the enemy; Seran fell, his army was put to the rout.—History of the World.