Onward Christian Soldiers manuscript to be sold

A rare manuscript of Onward Christian Soldiers is to be auctioned today.RR Auctions

A rare signed manuscript of the famous hymn Onward Christian Soldiers is to be sold today by a Boston-based auctioneer.

Baring-Gould (1834-94) was an English clergyman and antiquarian who wrote copiously on mediaeval themes, including a well-regarded history of werewolves. He wrote the hymn for a children's processional march in about 15 minutes, later apologising and saying: "It was written in great haste, and I am afraid that some of the lines are faulty." However, though editors have made changes over the years it is his original version that is still most often sung.

The hymn rapidly became popular and was set to music in 1871 by Arthur Sullivan. The Salvation Army adopted it as a marching song and it was played at Dwight D Eisenhower's funeral.

The manuscript is described in the catalogue as "An exceptionally bold, scarce example of this beloved hymn of significant historic importance."

Online bidding before the live auction closed at $2,426.