1 When the call to arms rings loud and clear,
And the banners of war are flying,
Then away with doubt and craven fear,
For our Captain on us is relying!
And the word rings out through the ages past,
From heroes of song and story;
And it nerves each arm, like a trumpet blast,
To fight for the Lord and his glory.
Forward for the right, O soldiers!
Never think the fight is done!
Never sheathe the sword,
Soldiers of the Lord,
Till the last great field is won!
2 And the strongest foes you meet the first,
In the battle you fight within you;
There are Pride and Falsehood, both accurst,
In the strife they must never win you;
There are Hate and Greed, and Selfishness,
Oh never let them bind you!
Smite them down, brave soldier, and onward press,
With sin lying dead behind you. [Refrain]
3 Then you come to fight the great wide world,
With its fever of strife and madness;
And to help your comrades who are hurled
In the prison of sin and sadness;
To strengthen hands that are weak in fight,
Confirming the knees that are weary,
Holding up the message of truth and light
To lives that are dark and dreary. [Refrain]
4 When at last you meet your final foe,
On your death bed though you’re lying,
With faith triumphant lay him low,
And conquer even in dying;
So the last great fight you shall bravely win,
And pass death’s gloomy portal,
By the Captain’s voice to be welcomed in
To peace and joy immortal. [Refrain]
H. Ernest Nichol (b. Hull, Yorkshire, England, 1862; d. Skirlaugh, Yorkshire, England, 1926) had begun a study program in civil engineering when he decided to study music instead. In 1888 he received a bachelor's degree in music from Oxford University. Nichol wrote some 130 hymn tunes and texts, many under the pseudonym “Colin Sterne” (derived from his middle and last name); many were first sung at church school programs.
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