Ring the bells of Heaven, there is joy today

Ring the bells of Heaven, there is joy today. William Orcutt Cushing* (1823-1902). This hymn was written ca. 1866 to fit the tune by the composer George F. Root* for his Civil War song ‘Glory! Glory! or, the little Octoroon’, beginning ‘Near the old Plantation/ At the close of day’. It was published in Root’s Chapel Gems for Sunday School (Chicago, 1866). In it the mother urges her little girl to flee to the Union camp where she will be safe, and where she is indeed looked after by the ‘brave old gunner’. Cushing wrote that ‘The melody ran in my head all day long, chiming and flowing in its sweet musical cadence. I wished greatly that I might secure the tune for use in the Sunday-school...

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