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Origins: The Marines' Hymn / Halls of Montezuma

DigiTrad:
ANCHORS AWEIGH
ANCHORS AWEIGH (2)
CAISSONS GO ROLLING ALONG
HALLS OF MONTEZUMA (Marine's Hymn)


Related thread:
(origins) Origin: Anchors Aweigh (12)


A Ikeda 30 Aug 98 - 11:10 PM
gargoyle 31 Aug 98 - 01:08 AM
Joe Offer 31 Aug 98 - 02:53 AM
Bert 31 Aug 98 - 02:13 PM
Joe Offer 31 Aug 98 - 02:47 PM
Dale Rose 31 Aug 98 - 03:18 PM
Joe Offer 31 Aug 98 - 03:43 PM
O'Boyle 01 Sep 98 - 03:41 AM
Dick Wisan 02 Sep 98 - 01:35 AM
Pete M 07 Sep 98 - 06:04 PM
O'Boyle 07 Sep 98 - 10:45 PM
Bob Bolton 10 Sep 98 - 06:25 PM
Martin Ryan 10 Sep 98 - 08:08 PM
GUEST,Lighter 01 Aug 08 - 01:12 AM
GUEST,klanch 13 Apr 10 - 05:38 PM
GUEST,Lighter 22 Jan 13 - 08:38 PM
MartinRyan 23 Jan 13 - 04:08 AM
Nigel Parsons 23 Jan 13 - 04:13 AM
Joe_F 23 Jan 13 - 06:20 PM
GUEST,Bobbie W 24 Aug 14 - 06:10 AM
Lighter 24 Aug 14 - 09:39 AM
Lighter 04 Jun 16 - 05:15 PM
Joe_F 04 Jun 16 - 05:44 PM
GUEST,Ebor Fiddler 04 Jun 16 - 07:43 PM
GUEST,Martin Ryan 05 Jun 16 - 04:18 AM
GUEST,Martin Ryan 05 Jun 16 - 06:18 AM
doc.tom 05 Jun 16 - 06:21 AM
Lighter 05 Jun 16 - 09:10 AM
GUEST,Ebor Fiddler 05 Jun 16 - 12:40 PM
Lighter 27 Mar 23 - 06:52 PM
Lighter 27 Mar 23 - 08:55 PM
Nigel Parsons 28 Mar 23 - 07:24 AM
Lighter 04 Jul 23 - 07:43 PM
Lighter 04 Jul 23 - 08:41 PM
Lighter 04 Jul 23 - 08:59 PM
Lighter 06 Jul 23 - 07:34 PM
Lighter 06 Jul 23 - 08:55 PM
Lighter 20 Sep 23 - 02:14 PM
Lighter 20 Sep 23 - 02:14 PM
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Subject: The Marines' Hymn
From: A Ikeda
Date: 30 Aug 98 - 11:10 PM

Couldn't find it in your database!


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Subject: RE: The Marines' Hymn
From: gargoyle
Date: 31 Aug 98 - 01:08 AM

Its there - try "from the halls of"

Marine Hymn


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Subject: RE: The Marines' Hymn
From: Joe Offer
Date: 31 Aug 98 - 02:53 AM

How'd that come out "Marine's Hymn" in the database? Who put that apostrophe-s in there? Send that infidel over to the Pedantry thread for a proper talking-to!
-Joe Offer-

Click here to see what the Marine Corps has to say about the "Marines' Hymn."


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Subject: RE: The Marines' Hymn
From: Bert
Date: 31 Aug 98 - 02:13 PM

We used to sing "Nellie Dean" to that tune.
Bert.


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Subject: RE: The Marines' Hymn
From: Joe Offer
Date: 31 Aug 98 - 02:47 PM

I don't know that one, Bert, and it sounds like it might be fun. Do you remember the lyrics?
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: The Marines' Hymn
From: Dale Rose
Date: 31 Aug 98 - 03:18 PM

Gee, Joe! One slipped by you! Check Nellie Dean thread, last post on August 21. It was the one we were talking about Levy scans. I don't know music well enough to tell if the sheet music is anything like the Marine Hymn, though.


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Subject: RE: The Marine Hymn
From: Joe Offer
Date: 31 Aug 98 - 03:43 PM

Oh, darn....I checked the database, but not the forum search. Mea culpa.
Click here for Bert's posting of the Nellie Dean lyrics.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: The Marines' Hymn
From: O'Boyle
Date: 01 Sep 98 - 03:41 AM

I learned a parody to the hymn from Mad magazine. I don't know why Ive remembered this for at least 25 years...

Monday night football hymn

From the Oilers in the astrodome
To the Packers in Greenbay
We bring you football every monday night
With remarks on every play
We have Dandyroo and Gifford, too
But what makes our program sell
If you find your favorite team has lost
You can blame it on Cosell

Oh yeah, while on the subject of the Marine Hymn, a fun thing to do when you are playing a room with Marine's in it, especially drunk marines, is to play the hymn and watch them all stand up at attention. I'll play it on 3 or 4 different instruments throughout the night just to mess with their bald little heads. (I'm not being unpatriotic, I am army).

Slainte

Rick


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Subject: RE: The Marines' Hymn
From: Dick Wisan
Date: 02 Sep 98 - 01:35 AM

Umm. There's a sort of irony about writing parodies of the Marines Hymn, because it's a sort of counter-parody, itself. The original is out of an Offenbach operetta, & it's a lampoon of the police. Dunno all the words, but one bit (in translation) sticks in my mind. After explaining how they manage never to actually have to deal with dangerous criminals:

But, when we find a helpless woman
Or little boys who do no harm,
We run them in, we run them in [bis]
To show them we're the bold Gendarmes.


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Subject: RE: The Marines' Hymn
From: Pete M
Date: 07 Sep 98 - 06:04 PM

O'Boyle, You are kidding aren't you? If not I suppose we have to put this down to "American cultural oddities" (old thread) I've never heard of it being done, but I imagine that if you played/sang "A life on the Ocean Wave" in the middle of a gig with an audience containing drunken bootnecks (Royal Marines - bless them) the reaction would you'd be more likely to hurl abuse and / or bottles than stand to attention!

Mind you I did hear that a US marine will always kick a door in before trying the handle - in case it wasn't locked! As you say, must be something to do with the haircut.

Pete M (ex RN)


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Subject: RE: The Marines' Hymn
From: O'Boyle
Date: 07 Sep 98 - 10:45 PM

Pete M.,

Really it's the truth, but it does help to have a close relationship with the doormen/bouncers at various clubs, just in case...

Rick


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Subject: RE: The Marines' Hymn
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 10 Sep 98 - 06:25 PM

G'day Dick Wisan ...

Here's a real bit of pure pedantry.

You point out that 'The Marines' Hymn' could be considered a (counter-)parody of The Gendarmes' Chorus - it is worth remebering that a gendarme is not a policeman but a soldier on police duty (gens d'armes = men of arms).

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: The Marines' Hymn
From: Martin Ryan
Date: 10 Sep 98 - 08:08 PM

Never mind the Marines! In my Boy Scout days (not today nor yesterday) we used to sing:

From Saint Paul's Retreat, Mount Argus, Come the Fighting Forty Fifth.....

I think it's time I went to bed!

Regards


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Subject: RE: The Marines' Hymn
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 01 Aug 08 - 01:12 AM

So far as I can tell, not even the Marine Corps has discovered the name of the writer of the lyrics which, because of the mention of "the Halls of Montezuma" are often assumed to date back to the Mexican-American War of 1846-48.

But all that means is that the words cannot be older than the climactic Battle of Chapultepec in Sept., 1847, in which a storming party of U.S. Marines played a role.

No pre-WWI text of the "Hymn" has yet been reported. However, a variant of the famous first stanza was printed in the Syracuse, N.Y.,
_Post-Standard_ of May 19, 1906 (p. 10), without a title:

       From the halls of Montezuma
        To the shores of Tripoli
        We fight our country's battles
        On land as well as sea;
        From the Temple of the Dragon
        To the sunny Philippines,
        Tho' our lot be sometimes very hard,
        Who would not be a marine?

An almost identical version, likewise lacking a title, appeared in the _Aberdeen (S.D.) Daily News_ (Nov. 6, 1908), p. 7.

U.S. Marines were sent to the Philippine Islands in 1898, and the "Temple of the Dragon" must be the Temple of the Dragon King in Tianjin, China. A force of about 300 Marines were sent in operations against the "Boxers" in mid 1901.

Unless some variant text of "The Marines' Hymn" is discovered that was unquestionably recorded before 1901, it seems fairly certain that the song did not appear until the period between 1901 and 1906. Versions published from 1914 to 1929, typically with three or four stanzas, sometimes include one that mentions "the Hell Hole of Cavite" and "the Ditch at Panama." Cavite is a province of the Philippines on Manila Bay; and U.S. work on the Panama Canal began in 1904. This stanza too *may* be part of the original text: it could well be by the same author:

From the Hell Hole at Cavite
                To the Ditch at Panama
        You will find them very needy
                Of Marines – that's what we are;
        We're the watch dogs of a pile of coal,
                Or we dig a magazine.
        Though our job-lots they are manifold,
                Who would not be a Marine?


Its author remains uncertain; it circulated originally outside of mainstream printed sources; its tune was borrowed from an Offenbach opera; and there are various versions of the text. In other words, "The Marines' Hymn" began as a folksong by almost anyone's definition!


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Subject: RE: The Marines' Hymn
From: GUEST,klanch
Date: 13 Apr 10 - 05:38 PM

Mad's version from the 1950s:
    From the neck high mud of foxholes
    To malaria-filled bogs,
    We will march for 90 miles a day,
    Then drop out and die like dogs.
    We will land on mine-strewn beaches,
    And we'll live with snakes and fleas,
    Then we'll all leave Paris Island
    For restful combat overseas.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Marines' Hymn / Halls of Montezuma
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 22 Jan 13 - 08:38 PM

The earliest version of the full "hymn" that I've discovered, nearly five years before the U.S. entered World War I:

From the "San Francisco Sunday Call" (Nov. 17, 1912), p. [16]: "If you know the marines so well that they don't fear you'll think they are boasting, they will sing you their hymn:

From the halls of Montezuma
    To the shores of Tripoli
We fight our country's battles
    On the land and on the sea;
Admiration of the nation,
      We're the finest ever seen,
And we glory in the title
      Of United States marine.

From the hell hole at Cavite
      To the ditch of Panama
You will find them very needy
      Of marines – that's what we are;
We're the watch dogs of a pile of coal,
      Or we dig a magazine.
Though our joblots they be manifold,
    Who would not be a marine?

Our flag's unfurled to every breeze
      From dawn to setting sun;
We have fought in every clime and place
      Where we could take a gun.
In the snows of far-off northern lands
       And in sunny tropic scenes,
You will find us always on the job,
      The United States marines."

Here's health to you and to our corps,
      Which we are proud to serve,
In many a strife we have fought for life
       And never lost our nerve.
If the army and the navy
Ever look on heaven's scenes,
They will find the streets are guarded by
The United States marines.

You don't need to be a professional publicist to see why stanza 2 got the deep-six.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Marines' Hymn / Halls of Montezuma
From: MartinRyan
Date: 23 Jan 13 - 04:08 AM

As a Boy Scout in Ireland in the 1950's, we used to sing:

From St. Paul's Retreat Mount Argus, comes the fighting Forty-Fifth..."

Regards


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Marines' Hymn / Halls of Montezuma
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 23 Jan 13 - 04:13 AM

Martin:
Someone else made the same statemement further up the page, in 1998.


Oh, it was you! :)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Marines' Hymn / Halls of Montezuma
From: Joe_F
Date: 23 Jan 13 - 06:20 PM

My mother used to sing "They will find the streets are guarded" as "They will find that country occupied". I imagine she learned that from one or more of her brothers. It seems never to have had any official standing.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Marines' Hymn / Halls of Montezuma
From: GUEST,Bobbie W
Date: 24 Aug 14 - 06:10 AM

Help! Anyone know of a song that begins: From The Halls of MonteZuma to the shores of Timbuctoo, There's an ever spreading rumour about the sailor with the eyes of blue"? I can remember performing this song, with a dancing troupe, when I was 10 (1946) but can only recall this intro & it's driving me crazy!I'd be so grateful if someone can end the misery!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Marines' Hymn / Halls of Montezuma
From: Lighter
Date: 24 Aug 14 - 09:39 AM

Something tells me it would have a different meaning today than it did then....


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Marines' Hymn / Halls of Montezuma
From: Lighter
Date: 04 Jun 16 - 05:15 PM

Here's an even earlier appearance of a variant of the first stanza:

San Francisco Chronicle (Aug. 7, 1898), p. 3:

From the halls of the Montezumas
To the shores of Tripoli,
We have fought our country's battles
On the land and on the sea.
For our duty ever ready,
We are the bravest ever seen,
And we glory in the title
Of United States Marine.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Marines' Hymn / Halls of Montezuma
From: Joe_F
Date: 04 Jun 16 - 05:44 PM

When I was in college, one might annoy a marine by singing the real words to the tune of "The Ghost Riders in the Sky", with the chorus

Gung ho, gung ho!
The United States Marines!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Marines' Hymn / Halls of Montezuma
From: GUEST,Ebor Fiddler
Date: 04 Jun 16 - 07:43 PM

When did the Yanks go in to Tripoli in the nineteenth century?Wasn't it a bit out of their usual way just then?

Chris B.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Marines' Hymn / Halls of Montezuma
From: GUEST,Martin Ryan
Date: 05 Jun 16 - 04:18 AM

When did the Yanks go in to Tripoli in the nineteenth century?Wasn't it a bit out of their usual way just then?

Didn't keep them out of Vietnam, did it? ;>)>

More seriously, I have a vague memory of the US Navy getting embroiled in incidents in North Africa, late 19C. Must check...

Regards


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Marines' Hymn / Halls of Montezuma
From: GUEST,Martin Ryan
Date: 05 Jun 16 - 06:18 AM

Beginning of the 19C. rather than the end... Check out Admiral Bainbridge.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Marines' Hymn / Halls of Montezuma
From: doc.tom
Date: 05 Jun 16 - 06:21 AM

And there's Cyril Tawney's Grey Funnel version - sung by the Navy when the Yanks were in the mess-room:

From the halls of Montezuma
To the shores of Tripoli
There's a buzz goin' round the harbour
That the Yanks are off to sea
With a gallon of Coca Cola
And a bloody great tub of ice cream
Oh, they're damn fine kids in harbour
But Oh, by Christ, at sea!

Cyril said there was a second verse, but the fighting usually stopped it getting that far!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Marines' Hymn / Halls of Montezuma
From: Lighter
Date: 05 Jun 16 - 09:10 AM

Pirates of the Barbary Coast were preying on European and American shipping in the early 19th century, rather like Somalian pirates today, except that the Barbary pirates would often enslave the crews.

The U.S. Navy (including the Marines) played a major role in their defeat.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Marines' Hymn / Halls of Montezuma
From: GUEST,Ebor Fiddler
Date: 05 Jun 16 - 12:40 PM

Thanks Lighter - I've often wondered about that.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Marines' Hymn / Halls of Montezuma
From: Lighter
Date: 27 Mar 23 - 06:52 PM

Update:

Sioux City Journal (May 1, 1898):

"Key West, Fla....The magnificent record made by the marines in the Mexican war is remembered by every member of the corps in Admiral Sampson's fleet, and the old ballad of the corps, which begins

    From the halls of the Montezumas
    To the shores of Tripoli

is sung with renewed fervor."


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Marines' Hymn / Halls of Montezuma
From: Lighter
Date: 27 Mar 23 - 08:55 PM

The fact that nobody's found a text of the song before 1898 suggests the lack of public interest the Marines in the late 19th century. During the Civil War, for example, the Corps numbered roughly 2,000 men; in contrast, the Army had 1,000,000 in 1865.

The tune of the "Hymn" was inspired by the "Galop" added by Offenbach in 1867 to his 1859 operetta "Genevieve de Brabant":

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WzfYqLmD5Yk


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Marines' Hymn / Halls of Montezuma
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 28 Mar 23 - 07:24 AM

Of course the tune is often confused with "The Bold Gendarmes"


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Marines' Hymn / Halls of Montezuma
From: Lighter
Date: 04 Jul 23 - 07:43 PM

From The Trident Society's The Book of Navy Songs (1926):

"Col. Henry C. Davis, U. S. Marine Corps [1877-1929], writes as follows:
"'I have never been able to trace the origins of the song beyond the words of the first two lines,'"From the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli,"' which was inscribed on the corps colors from a date of many years ago.

"The following verse I wrote at Camp Meyer [at Guantanamo Bay] in 1911 when on an expedition."

The Book of Navy Songs gives three verses, and from the presentation it isn't clear which one Davis wrote, or whether he wrote both verse 2 and verse 3.

Verse 2 is the one beginning, "Our flag's unfurl'd to every breeze," and verse 3 begins, "Here's health to you and to our corps."


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Marines' Hymn / Halls of Montezuma
From: Lighter
Date: 04 Jul 23 - 08:41 PM

OK, the copyright date is 1926, but that was the 1935 printing - with no indication that anything had been altered.

The 1930 printing gives five stanzas, the second being the one about Cavite, which was dropped in subsequent editions.


The 1930 (and 1926?) printing also includes the following jocular stanza, which was also soon deleted. (The U.S. Navy Subic Bay Naval Base on the island of Luzon was established in 1899.):

From the school of application
To the shores of Subig [sic] Bay.
We've avoided exertation [sic]
In the most ingenious way;
Admiration of our mattresses
Is the finest thing we've seen,
For it answers to the question,
Why the hell is a marine?

The 1930 text also quotes Davis a little differently: "The two following verses I wrote at Camp Meyer in 1911 when on an expedition."

Thus (unless an actual 1926 printing shows something different!) Davis was pretty clearly claiming the Cavite stanza besides "Why the hell is a marine?" Neither has been sung for many decades.

The 1930 volume (and 1926?) also includes a "Navy Version":

It was out there on the Albany
In the Asiatic fleet.
The marines were so damn lazy
They could only sleep and eat.
From eight bells to the dog watch,
On deck they're never seen.
Oh, the question that we ask you is,
"Why the Hell is a Marine?"


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Marines' Hymn / Halls of Montezuma
From: Lighter
Date: 04 Jul 23 - 08:59 PM

Another twist:

Dorothea York reprinted the four-stanza hymn, including the Cavite stanza, in "Mud and Stars" (1931) with the following acknowledgment:

"Reprinted by permission of Doubleday, Doran, and Company, the publishers [of The Book of Navy Songs]; of the Trident Society, of Annapolis; and of Mrs. Henry C. Davis, whose late husband, Col. Davis, U.S.M.C., was the author of all but the first stanza. The origin of the first stanza is unknown."

So go figure.

The earliest discovered example of the four-stanza hymn dates from 1912 (see above).


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Marines' Hymn / Halls of Montezuma
From: Lighter
Date: 06 Jul 23 - 07:34 PM

That four-stanza version was published anonymously a few months later in the semi-official "Army and Navy Register" (Feb. 8, 1913) under the title "Marine Corps Ode," suggesting that it was new to the editors and possibly assumed to be a poem only.

Confusing the issue further is an interview given by former Marine Band director John Philip Sousa to the Grand Island [Neb.] Daily Independent, Oct. 24, 1927. Sousa, then 73, recalled that he had composed the official march of the U.S. Marines, "Semper Fidelis," "one night while in tears after my comrades of the Marine Corps had sung their famous hymn at Quantico."

"Semper Fidelis" appeared in 1888. However - and it's a big however - Marines weren't stationed near the small town of Quantico, Va., until 1917. Sousa's recollection cannot be trusted. He composed at least 15 marches in 1917-18, but "Semper Fidelis" wasn't one of them.

As of now there's no reliable evidence whatsoever that the "Marines' Hymn" existed in any form before 1906 or that the three current stanzas (with some verbal differences) were sung before 1911 or 1912.

Lieutenant Colonel Henry C. Davis certainly had some connection with the lyrics, revising or adding to them in 1911, but exactly what he wrote is not clear.

It may not be coincidental that the four-stanza version didn't appear in print (so far as is known) until 1912-13.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Marines' Hymn / Halls of Montezuma
From: Lighter
Date: 06 Jul 23 - 08:55 PM

Army and Navy Journal (March 3, 1928), p.529:

       "SEEK ORIGINAL WORDS OF FAMOUS MARINE CORPS HYMN.

"MAJ. GEN. JOHN A. LEJEUNE, U. S. M. C., Commandant of the Marine Corps, is anxious to secure the original words of the Marine Corps Hymn. Headquarters, U. S. Marine Corps would be delighted to hear from anyone who can furnish the original version and letters are now being sent out to various retired officers who are believed to have information on the subject. The original hymn verses were composed around 1900 in the Philippines and China by members of Major Waller’s command."

This comports exactly with what I've been posting, though the specific reference to the command of Maj. (later Maj. Gen.) L. T. Waller (1856-1926) is new and seemingly definitive.

Waller served in the Boxer Rebellion, at Cavite, and then in Panama - precisely the sequence of place names in the "Hymn." In 1911, he was at Guantanamo Bay with Henry C. Davis, who wrote additional lyrics.

It's thus conceivable that Waller himself wrote the original verses, though how they were set to Offenbach's music is still a mystery.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Marines' Hymn / Halls of Montezuma
From: Lighter
Date: 20 Sep 23 - 02:14 PM

The Marine Band presumably had Offenbach's composition in its repertoire before it was associated with either the "Hymn" or with the Marines.

The Marine Band website suggests that the Offenbach piece was introduced to the organization by Leader of the Band Francis M. Scala, who retired in 1871.

The expanded "Genevieve de Brabant" premiered in the U.S. in New York on Oct. 22, 1868 (N.Y. Daily Herald, Oct. 23, 1868). Sheet music of the Gendarmes' Duet was available from Oliver Ditson of Boston by Dec. 6 (Omaha Herald, Dec. 6).


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Marines' Hymn / Halls of Montezuma
From: Lighter
Date: 20 Sep 23 - 02:14 PM

The Marine Band presumably had Offenbach's composition in its repertoire before it was associated with either the "Hymn" or with the Marines.

The Marine Band website suggests that the Offenbach piece was introduced to the organization by Leader of the Band Francis M. Scala, who retired in 1871.

The expanded "Genevieve de Brabant" premiered in the U.S. in New York on Oct. 22, 1868 (N.Y. Daily Herald, Oct. 23, 1868). Sheet music of the Gendarmes' Duet was available from Oliver Ditson of Boston by Dec. 6 (Omaha Herald, Dec. 6).


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