April 19, Birthday of Dame Ethel Mary Smyth (1858 – 1944)

Dame Ethel Mary Smyth is probably best known for her work, “The March of Women” (1911), which was composed for the Women’s Social and Political Union, and which became the anthem of the women’s suffragette movement in Great Britain and elsewhere.

The song was sung by suffragettes during demonstrations and to show solidarity in prison after they were arrested. Supposedly, thre is a picture of Smyth conducting the song with a toothbrush from the window of her prison cell, but I can’t find it.

Here’s a link to the video, below it are the words, and below that are four works for orchestra, choirs, and string quartet.

The March of Women (words by Cicely Hamilton):

Verse 1

Shout, shout, up with your song!
Cry with the wind, for the dawn is breaking;
March, march, swing you along,
Wide blows our banner, and hope is waking.
Song with its story, dreams with their glory
Lo! they call, and glad is their word!
Loud and louder it swells,
Thunder of freedom, the voice of the Lord!

Verse 2

Long, long—we in the past
Cowered in dread from the light of heaven,
Strong, strong—stand we at last,
Fearless in faith and with sight new given.
Strength with its beauty, Life with its duty,
(Hear the voice, oh hear and obey!)
These, these—beckon us on!
Open your eyes to the blaze of day.

Verse 3

Comrades—ye who have dared
First in the battle to strive and sorrow!
Scorned, spurned—nought have ye cared,
Raising your eyes to a wider morrow,
Ways that are weary, days that are dreary,
Toil and pain by faith ye have borne;
Hail, hail—victors ye stand,
Wearing the wreath that the brave have worn!

Verse 4

Life, strife—those two are one,
Naught can ye win but by faith and daring.
On, on—that ye have done
But for the work of today preparing.
Firm in reliance, laugh a defiance,
(Laugh in hope, for sure is the end)
March, march—many as one,
Shoulder to shoulder and friend to friend.

 

Serenade in D Major
Cello Sonata #2
Mass in D
The Wreckers Overture
Concerto for Violin, Horn and Orchestra
String Quartet in E Minor
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About kurtnemes
Writer and Education Professional. Specialties include Ethics, Personal Memoir, Classical music, Tai Chi, Stress Reduction, Meditation, Coping, Classical Music, Aging, Love, Joy, Compassion and Equanimity (& what interests me.)

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