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CENTRAL VIEW for Monday, July 27, 2020

by William Hamilton, Ph.D.

Rejected: The Battle Hymn of the Republic

Satire: From George Orwell’s Ministry of Truth, Winston Smith writes to Julia Ward Howe.

Dear Mrs. Howe:

Regretfully, we must reject your poem. In quotes and brackets, you will see what we find objectionable: [For example, "Battle Hymn" in your title is way too bellicose.]

"Mine eyes" have seen [Not everyone can see.] the glory of the coming of the "Lord." [Offensive to atheists and agnostics]. "He" [Excludes other genders.] is trampling out the vintage where the "grapes" of "wrath" are stored. [Soma is only drug endorsed by the Party and wrath is not an approved motive.] He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift "sword." [Only the Nomenklatura can have weapons.] His "truth" is marching on. [Truth is subjective, capable of personal misinterpretation.]

"Chorus" "Glory, Glory, hallelujah! Glory, glory, hallelujah! Glory, glory, hallelujah!" His "truth" is marching on. [The chorus glorifies a being who may not exist. See comment about "truth" above.]

I have seen Him in the watch-fires [All watching is done by Big Brother.] of a "hundred" circling "camps,"[One hundred camps suggests a lack of social distancing. Moreover, camping requires a permit.] They have builded [Verb?] Him an "altar" in the evening dews and damps; [Altar building is not a permitted use.] I can read His "righteous" sentence by the dim and flaring lamps: [Righteous is another subjective term.] His day is marching on.

"Chorus" [See above.]

I have read a fiery "gospel" [Gospel used as a synonym for truth is not approved.] "writ" in burnished rows of steel: [Writ assumes everyone can read.] "As ye deal with my condemners, so with you my grace shall deal"; [Offers an illusory promise.] Let the Hero, born of woman, crush the serpent with his heel, [People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) object to the crushing of serpents.] Since God is marching on. [An overly broad assertion.]

"Chorus" [See above.]

He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat; He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment-seat; Oh, be swift, my soul, to answer Him! Be jubilant, my feet! Our God is marching on. [Mrs. Howe, you do have a way with words. I am starting to find them rather evocative, even stirring.]

"Chorus" [See above.]

In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea, With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me. [Mrs. Howe, I know I should be objecting; however, what you write is strangely moving.] As He died to make men holy, let us "die" to make men free, [Suggests needless death when "live" would do as well.] While God is marching on.

Mrs. Howe, please do not take my remarks personally. I am growing to hold you in the highest regard. Nevertheless, your poem cannot be published.

Sincerely,

Winston Smith (s)

Post script

Mrs. Howe, while your poem does not meet Ministry of Truth standards, I personally find your words captivating. They seem to fill a void here at the Ministry of Truth. Perhaps we could meet sometime? Of course, unofficially and privately. I would like to know more about this being you refer to as: Christ. W.

(c) 2020. William Hamilton.

Suggested reading: Nineteen-Eighty-Four by George Orwell (1940), Animal Farm by George Orwell (1945), and Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (1932).

©1999-2020. American Press Syndicate.

Dr. Hamilton can be contacted at:
P.O. Box 2001
Granby, CO 80446

Email: william@central-view.com

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