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The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
VOLUME XVIII. Later National Literature, Part III.

XXVI. Patriotic Songs and Hymns

§ 13. Fling Out the Banner; Day is Dying in the West

With this mid-century group arrived a new set of composers, such as Barnby and Dykes and Bradbury, whose music is a departure from the sturdy four-four rhythms of Lowell Mason’s “Laban” or “Uxbridge” or “Hamburg.” Their newer melodies tend to the use of three-four and six-four measures, and to consequent sweetness rather than vigour. They are attuned to the emotional appeals of the non-conformist pulpit rather than to the stately traditions of Rome or England. They mark the difference between Longfellow and Newman, or between Calkin’s “Waltham” for Bishop Doane’s Fling out the Banner and Sherwin’s “Chautauqua” for Mary A. Lathbury’s Day is Dying in the West, each a high example of its kind in the seventies. In other words, the new hymns, both text and music, were at one with the theology and the secular poetry of the day—fervent, aspiring, confident. The period could produce such triumphant songs as the Doane-Calkin Fling out the Banner or the Baring-Gould-Sullivan Onward, Christian Soldiers (the latter, of course, English), and such hymns of tenderness and serenity as those of Whittier and Lathbury already alluded to; but the pursuit of these inclinations led to the edge of a precipice.