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Forward Through the Ages

Representative Text

1 Forward through the ages,
In unbroken line,
Move the faithful spirits
At the call divine.
Gifts in diff'ring measure,
Hearts of one accord,
Manifold the service,
One the sure reward;

Forward through the ages,
In unbroken line,
Move the faithful spirits
At the call divine.

2 Wider grows the kingdom,
Reign of love and light;
For it we must labor,
Till our faith is sight.
Prophets have proclaimed it,
Martyrs testified,
Poets sung its glory,
Heroes for it died. [Refrain]

3 Not alone we conquer,
Not alone we fall;
In each loss or triumph
Lose or triumph all.
Bound by God’s far purpose
In one living whole,
Move we on together
To the shining goal! [Refrain]

Source: Hymns for a Pilgrim People: a congregational hymnal #502

Author: Frederick L. Hosmer

Hosmer, Frederick Lucian, B.A., was born at Framingham, Mass., in 1840, and educated at Harvard, where he graduated B.A. in 1869. Entering the Unitarian Ministry in 1872 he has held charges in Quincy, Ill., 1872-77; Cleveland, Ohio, 1878-92; St. Louis, 1894-99; and since 1899, at Berkeley, Cal. His Way of Life, 1877, was a compilation of Prayers and Responsive Services for Sunday Schools. Of Unity Hymns and Carols, 1880, he was joint editor with W. C. Gannett and J. V. Blake. His hymns were published jointly by him and W. C. Gannett (q.v.), as The Thought of God in Hymns and Poems (Boston: Little, Brown & Co.), 1st Series, 1885; 2nd Series, 1894. Of his 56 hymns in this work the following have come into common use, for the most part during… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: Forward through the ages
Title: Forward Through the Ages
Author: Frederick L. Hosmer (1908)
Meter: D with refrain
Language: English
Refrain First Line: Forward through the ages
Copyright: Public Domain



The popularity of this hymn is partly due to ST. GERTRUDE, the marching tune that Arthur S. Sullivan (PHH 46) composed for this text. The tune was published in the Musical Times of December 1871 in an advertisement for Joseph Barnby's (PHH 438) forthcoming Hymnary, which published both text and tune…

Go to tune page >

ONWARD (Barrington)



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The Cyber Hymnal #1599
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The United Methodist Hymnal #555
  • Bulletin Score (melody only) (PDF)
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Instances (1 - 9 of 9)
TextPage Scan

Hymns for a Pilgrim People #502

TextPage Scan

Singing the Living Tradition #114

Page Scan

The Covenant Hymnal #465


The Cyber Hymnal #1599


The New Century Hymnal #377


The United Methodist Hymnal #555


The United Methodist Hymnal Music Supplement II #159


The United Methodist Hymnal Music Supplement II #160


Worship in Song #258

Include 74 pre-1979 instances
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