Document from Apr. 16, 1865

A Nation's Mourning Hymn

  • Full Title

    "A Nation's Mourning Hymn," by Henry C. McCook

  • Description

    Clergyman Henry C. McCook wrote this hymn in honor of President Lincoln. As noted in the passage below the hymn, McCook wrote the text the day following Lincoln's assassination. McCook's congregation, located in St. Louis, Missouri, sang this hymn during their service dedicated to the President.

  • Transcription

    A Nation’s Mourning Hymn.


    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.


    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!


    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!


    O arm of God, awake, awake,

    And vindicate Thy righteous cause;

    Swift may Thy vengeance overtake;

    The proud defiers of Thy law!


    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!


    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!

    The above hymn was written on the day following President Lincoln’s assassination, and was sung at a service conducted by the writer in his City Mission in Biddle Market Hall, St. Louis, Mo. It was again sung September 26, A.D. 1881, at the Memorial Service for President Garfield held in the Tabernacle Church then at Broad and Penn Square, with the congregation and the 2d Regiment, N.G.O., of which the writer was and is the Chaplain. It seems fitting to ask my people to join in singing at this service commemorative of the life and death of WILLIAM McKINLEY, our Third Martyr President.


  • Source

    The Abraham Lincoln Foundation of The Union League of Philadelphia (Object ID: XI.2.001)

  • Rights

    Use of this item for research, teaching and private study is permitted with proper citation and attribution, as “Courtesy of The Abraham Lincoln Foundation of The Union League of Philadelphia.” Reproduction of this item for publication, broadcast or commercial use requires written permission. For permission, please contact The Abraham Lincoln Foundation.

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  • Cite this Item

    Henry C. McCook . ""A Nation's Mourning Hymn," by Henry C. McCook ". Remembering Lincoln. Web. Accessed July 3, 2022.