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When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again

The lyrics of the song, "When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again," were written by the Irish-American bandleader Patrick Gilmore while serving in the Union Army. For the tune, he adapted an old Irish antiwar folk song, "Johnny I Hardly Knew Ye." However, Gilmore's lyrics express people's longing for the return of friends and relatives in the War Between the States. After its first publication in 1863, the song became quite popular and was sung by both sides during the war. It encouraged the soldiers to look forward to being welcomed home.

Lyrics

When Johnny comes marching home again
Hurrah! Hurrah!
We'll give him a hearty welcome then
Hurrah! Hurrah!
The men will cheer and the boys will shout
The ladies they will all turn out
And we'll all feel gay
When Johnny comes marching home.

The old church bell will peal with joy
Hurrah! Hurrah!
To welcome home our darling boy,
Hurrah! Hurrah!
The village lads and lassies say
With roses they will strew the way,
And we'll all feel gay
When Johnny comes marching home.

Get ready for the Jubilee,
Hurrah! Hurrah!
We'll give the hero three times three,
Hurrah! Hurrah!
The laurel wreath is ready now
To place upon his loyal brow
And we'll all feel gay
When Johnny comes marching home.

Let love and friendship on that day,
Hurrah, hurrah!
Their choicest pleasures then display,
Hurrah, hurrah!
And let each one perform some part,
To fill with joy the warrior's heart,
And we'll all feel gay
When Johnny comes marching home.

Video

The cover image is a scene from the movie Gods and Generals. This version of "When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again" is sung by a Swedish rock band, Ultima Thule. It's one of the most stirring versions I've heard. Click the screen or the triangle at the bottom left to start the video.

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