A favourite hymn sung by St Gabriels Camp every summer for more than 100 years. It is now quite rare, but wonderfully stirring especially when sung with gusto. It was traditionally accompanied by a honky tonk piano in the middle of a field, but also sung to a packed church each weekend of the boys and girls camp at a local church in Healey Northumberland. When I've accompanied the singing, the middle bouncing section between refrain and chorus is usually sung using the words rumpty dumpty dum.
Over the hills and the sea girt coast
Over the billows of blue,
Rings out a call from a Lord of Hosts,
Sent to the brave and true;
Now like the whisper clear it comes,
Now like a clarion cry,
Now like the roll of the war like drums,
When hearts beat high.......................
Forward then O comrades true and tried
Tread where Christ has trod
Flinging ev'ry fear and doubt aside,
Looking up to God
Forward on the straight and splendid way;
Never let your footsteps roam;
Set your face to meet the dawning day,
Christ shall lead you home.
Over the town with its busy noise,
Over the ways of the world,
Still you can hear that commanding voice,
Still is the flag unfurled;
Hearts that are fixed with purpose true
Thrill to the call of love,
Finding a strength and a courage new
That nought can move.
This is the message it gives to you
All through the work of the day,-
Soldiers of Jesus! be brave and true,
Fight on and watch and pray;
Be not to paths of sin enticed,
Stand for the truth and right;
Wake, thou that sleepest! arise! and
Christ shall give thee light
Hark to the sound of the ringing voice,
Calling our hearts to decide!
Now is the time of the test and choice,
Who takes the Master's side?
Ours be the heart felt answ'ring word
Sent to the mighty call,-
One in the service of Christ our Lord,
With God o'er all.
Words by Colin Sterns