Forward! be our watchword

Forward! be our watchword. Henry Alford* (1810-1871). This is a very long processional hymn of eight stanzas, with twelve lines to each stanza. It was probably one of Alford’s last hymns: it was first sung on 6 June 1871, six months after his death in January 1871, at a Festival of Parochial Choirs at Canterbury, where Alford had been Dean. It was published in the Festival Book in that year, together with Alford’s own tune. Both were subsequently published in Appendix B to the Life, Journals, and Letters of Henry Alford, published by his widow, Fanny Alford, in 1873. It was included in the second edition of A&M (1875), and rapidly became very popular, in the 20th century sometimes...

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