Friday 6 July 2007


After recently sharing that Handy Hint about scrubbing your mits clean whilst singing “Happy Birthday to You”, I thought I’d pass on another musical tip - this time for use in the kitchen rather than the bathroom.

A famous 'Letter to the Editor' appeared in the Daily Telegraph some years ago with this intriguing item of culinary wisdom…
If you boil an egg while singing all five verses and chorus of the hymn, ‘Onward Christian Soldiers’. it will be cooked perfectly when you come to Amen...

Written in 1865 by the Rev Sabine Baring-Gould (left), ‘Onward Christian Soldiers’ is traditionally sung to the tune ‘St Gertrude’ penned by Sir Arthur Sullivan of Gilbert & S fame.

Now, just in case you’re not utterly au fait with all five verses -- not to mention the chorus -- here they are, all ready for you to try out whilst preparing tomorrow’s breakfast!

Oh, yes, and don’t forget to add in an Amen at the end as per the instructions above!
Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war,
With the cross of Jesus going on before.
Christ, the royal Master, leads against the foe;
Forward into battle see His banners go!

Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war,
With the cross of Jesus going on before.

At the sign of triumph Satan’s host doth flee;
On then, Christian soldiers, on to victory!
Hell’s foundations quiver at the shout of praise;
Brothers lift your voices, loud your anthems raise.

Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war,
With the cross of Jesus going on before.

Like a mighty army moves the church of God;
Brothers, we are treading where the saints have trod.
We are not divided, all one body we,
One in hope and doctrine, one in charity.

Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war,
With the cross of Jesus going on before.

Crowns and thrones may perish, kingdoms rise and wane,
But the church of Jesus constant will remain.
Gates of hell can never ’gainst that church prevail;
We have Christ’s own promise, and that cannot fail.

Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war,
With the cross of Jesus going on before.

Onward then, ye people, join our happy throng,
Blend with ours your voices in the triumph song.
Glory, laud, and honour unto Christ the King,
This through countless ages men and angels sing.

Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war,
With the cross of Jesus going on before.
Maybe that’s why it’s called a boiled egg with SOLDIERS!


Anonymous said...

Oh dear, it gets worse, doesn't it Brian! I wonder how many people are in a fit state to sing that much first thing with croaky morning voices!
By the way, I had a dream about you last night: I introduced myself to you; you had no idea what I was talking about because "your secretary took care of all that", but you were quite charming!

Boll Weavil said...

This reminds me of the happy times I spent in the Methodist Church as a boy.When the hymns came on we amused ourselves by calculating the percentage of the words sung and still to go.As this was obviously ever-changing, it helped us relieve the intense boredom quite nicely.

Brian Sibley said...

SUZANNE - SECRETARY??!! Blimey, that WAS a dream! Anyway, I'm glad I was charming, despite knowing nothing on account of The Secretary (as if!)... Must have been down to my recounting how Ken Russell faked knowing me when I introduced myself...

BOLL WEAVIL - What a brilliant idea! Wish you'd been in MY Sunday School!

SharonM said...

Not an ideal 'recipe' for us non Christians.
Will need to see if I can come up with an opera of the right length to know when the chicken soup is cooked to perfection.

Anonymous said...

How wonderful - a song that combines the notion of being a good Christian with being a soldier engaged in warfare. It's a shame that the word "war" only has one syllable, otherwise we could swap it for "jihad".


Brian Sibley said...

LisaH - Do you think whether or not you actually BELIEVE the words of the song might affect the effectiveness?

Like, if you're an agnostic the egg comes out a bit too runny and if you're an atheist it would be well and truly hard-boiled?!

Oh, well, I won't bother trying it then... ;-)

QENNY - As YOU well know (being a former student priest) the Christian faith has long embraced warlike analogies from St Paul's exhortation to "put on the whole armour of God", via the Crusades to Victorian hymns like 'OCS' and 'Fight the Good Fight'.

As I think you are suggesting, it is worth remembering such things - not just while boiling our eggs, but when accusing others of pursuing warlike manifestations of their religious zeal...

Anonymous said...
A couple of weeks ago I read that asparagus is the
new soldier......!

Elliot Cowan said...

I have discovered an interesting and related phenomenon when singing this song.
If you sing it while making love to your partner, by the time you finish the last verse your loved one should have achieved climax.
I have discovered that singing the song faster or slower does not help, but the volume at which the song is delivered can change the experience significantly.

Brian Sibley said...

ELLIOT - Does it help if your partner joins in??

And, at the climax, does the partner say happily (or, indeed, wearily) "Ah... men!"?

Elliot Cowan said...

No - it's important the shagee concentrates on their own business.

And "Ahmen" or even "Ahwoman" would be entirely appropriate, although "Jeeeeeesus!" would be even better.

Brian Sibley said...

GILL writes...

"It's not that I am shy or a prude, but "shagee"??

There has to be something more elegant, surely...."

Brian Sibley said...

GILL - Possibly not... Elliot comes from Australia! ;-)

Elliot Cowan said...

And my father's Glaswegian.