A Nation’s Mourning Hymn

Henry C. McCookRepublished 1901

The Abraham Lincoln Foundation of The Union League of Philadelphia

The Abraham Lincoln Foundation of The Union League of Philadelphia

Clergyman Henry C. McCook wrote this hymn in honor of President Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States until his assassination on April 14, 1865, by John Wilkes Booth. According to a note on this printed version of the hymn, McCook states that he wrote the hymn "on the day following President Lincoln’s assassination," but it is unclear if he is referring to April 15 or April 16. McCook’s congregation, located in St. Louis, Missouri, sang this hymn during their service dedicated to the late President. Based on the text, this version of the hymn was likely published in 1901, following President William McKinley’s assassination.

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  • Title: A Nation’s Mourning Hymn
  • Creator: Henry C. McCook
  • Date Created: Republished 1901
  • Physical Dimensions: Height- 9.375 inches, Width- 4.625 inches
  • Transcript: I. O Thou, whose pity marks the plea / When Sorrow lifts her suppliant cry, / A mourning people how to Thee / With burdened heart and tearful eye. / II. Woe, woe to us! Foul murder’s hand / Has struck the Lord’s anointed low! / Slain is the beauty of our land! / Fall’n is the mighty! Woe, ah, woe! / III. Dark is the way Thou call’st us to. / Ye Thou art still the Holy One; / For all Thy judgments, Lord, are true; / And righteous all. They will be done! / IV. O arm of God, awake, awake, / And vindicate Thy righteous cause; / Swift may Thy vengeance overtake; / The proud defiers of Thy law! / V. Keep Thou our Soldiers in the field, / Watch o’er out Sailors on the sea; / Strike with the strength, for they who wield / The sword of right shall honor Thee! / VI. Our father's God, ’tis Thou alone / Whose hand can part the opposing wave; / Safe through the Sea, O lead us on; / Great Lord of all, Thy people save!
  • Type: Document
  • Rights: The Abraham Lincoln Foundation of the Union League of Philadelphia. For questions regarding usage please contact archives@unionleague.org.
  • Medium: Ink on paper


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