Once to Every Man and Nation
Artist & Tune
About the Song
The lyrics to this hymn are excerpted from a lengthy 1845 poem "The Present Crisis" by James Russell Lowell. It was written as a protest against the Mexican-American War. Lowell's was a leading abolitionist and opposed the Mexican-American War in large part because it brought another slave state (Texas) into the union. Decades later, it became the inspiration for the title of The Crisis, the magazine published by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
The most commonly used setting is the Welsh hymn Ebenezer (aka "Ton-Y-Botel")composed by Thomas J. Williams - 1st published in 1897. It was extracted from the second movement of his anthem "Goleu Yn Y Glyn" (Light in the Valley). The title Ebenezer comes from Ebenezer Chapel in South Wales where he wrote the melody.
It has been set to other tunes including "Hyfrydol" (used as the tune for "Blue Boat Home" by Peter Mayer, which can be found in Rise Again) and "Austrian Hymn" by by Franz Joseph Haydn.
The 7th video below is a setting to Hyfrydol. The 8th is still another setting by David Stanley York.