Boston-born and Harvard-educated Unitarian minister William Channing Gannett, composed these lyrics in 1894:
From Sinai’s cliffs it echoed,
It breathed from Buddha’s tree,
It charmed in Athens’ market,
It hallowed Galilee;
The hammer stroke of Luther,
The Pilgrims’ seaside prayer,
The oracles of Concord,
One holy Word declare.
This is the second verse of “It Sounds Along the Ages,” Hymn No. 187 in the Unitarian Universalist hymnal, Singing the Living Tradition. The phrase “oracles of Concord” is usually understood to refer to Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and Bronson Alcott. Gannett was an ardent supporter of women’s rights, so he doubtless counted among his oracles Margaret Fuller, a frequent visitor to Concord and an influential voice in the Transcendental Club.
Gannett’s regard for the Transcendentalists was practically a birthright. He was named after his godfather, William Ellery Channing, whose liberal theology helped define American Unitarianism and laid the groundwork for the Transcendentalist movement.
(Image source: Conjubilant with Song)