As America began its empire-building in the 19th century, Mark Twain wrote an parody of the Battle Hymn of the Republic. Now that the Empire has passed its peak and is entering a decline impelled by its own imperial overreach it may be time to sing it again
Mine eyes have seen the orgy of the launching of the Sword; He is searching out the hoardings where the stranger’s wealth is stored; He hath loosed his fateful lightnings, and with woe and death has scored; His lust is marching on.
I have seen him in the watch-fires of a hundred circling camps; They have builded him an altar in the Eastern dews and damps; I have read his doomful mission by the dim and flaring lamps- His night is marching on.
I have read his bandit gospel writ in burnished rows of steel: “As ye deal with my pretensions, so with you my wrath shall deal; Let the faithless son of Freedom crush the patriot with his heel; Lo, Greed is marching on!”
We have legalized the strumpet and are guarding her retreat; Greed is seeking out commercial souls before his judgement seat; O, be swift, ye clods, to answer him! be jubilant my feet! Our god is marching on!
In a sordid slime harmonious Greed was born in yonder ditch, With a longing in his bosom-and for others’ goods an itch. As Christ died to make men holy, let men die to make us rich — Our god is marching on.