Till hill and valley gaily, gaily ring

by chuckofish

Back on July 2 I failed to note that “three prophetic witnesses” were recognized with a feast day on the Episcopal calendar. They are Walter Rauschenbusch, Washington Gladden and Jacob Riis.

Washington Gladden (February 11, 1836 – July 2, 1918) you will recall, was a Congregational minister and early leader in the Social Gospel movement, whose ministry “was dedicated to the realization of the Kingdom of God in this world. Gladden was the acting religious editor of the New York Independent, in which he exposed corruption in the New York political system. Gladden was the first American clergyman to approve of and support labor unions. In his capacity as Vice President of the American Missionary Association, he traveled to Atlanta where he met W.E.B. Dubois and he became an early opponent of segregation.” (Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music)


He was also a graduate of Williams College, class of 1859.


While at Williams, Gladden wrote its alma mater song, “The Mountains.”

“I had been wishing that I might write a song which could be sung at some of our exhibitions,” wrote Gladden in his memoirs, “and one winter morning, walking down Bee Hill, the lilt of the chorus of “The Mountains” came to me. I had a little music-paper in my room in the village, and on my arrival I wrote down the notes. Then I cast about for words to fit them, and the refrain ‘The Mountains, the Mountains!’ suggested itself. I wrote the melody of the stanza next and fitted the verses to it. . . . That it would . . . become the accepted College Song, I could not, of course, have imagined.”

The Mountains

O, proudly rise the monarchs of our mountain land,
With their kingly forest robes, to the sky,
Where Alma Mater dwelleth with her chosen band,
And the peaceful river floweth gently by.

The mountains! the mountains! we greet them with a song,
Whose echoes rebounding their woodland heights along,
Shall mingle with anthems that winds and fountains sing.
Till hill and valley gaily, gaily ring.

Beneath their peaceful shadows may old Williams stand,
Till suns and mountains nevermore shall be,
The glory and the honor of our mountain land,
And the dwelling of the gallant and the free.

I have fond memories of singing this rousing song while a student there in the mid-1970s. Check it out:

Have a great Wednesday!