Sounding Childhood

Wave the flag

The Temperance movement was an ongoing, vital movement of the Victorian era, as citizens realized the social problems created by the "demon drink" to children and families of alcoholics.  Songs and marches were written to sing at rallies.  Children were pulled into the movement through the Bands of Hope, created in 1847 in Leeds by Rev. Jabez Tunnicliff and Mrs. Anne Jane Carlile (Clapp-Itnyre, British Hymn Books for Children, 1800-1900, p. 197; for more, see pp. 196-209).  This song, "Wave the Flag," was not written specifically for children: it was published for an Exeter Hall Meeting through the Church of England Temperance Society in 1898.  Nevertheless, it was fun for our youthful singers to sing as we marched around the sanctuary to its invigorating tune and rhythm by Clementine Ward!  I could almost imagine children of the 1890s marching through the streets, carrying the  message to all who might hear:

"Marching bravely forward, 'Neath the Temp'rance flag
May our hearts ne'er falter, Or our footsteps lag!
Pressing ever onward, Driving back the foe,
We like valiant soldiers On to vict'ry go!"

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