Sunday, 19 August 2012

which is the fairest anthem of them all?

Great little discussion in the Independent for a more
representative anthem for the UK and/or England.
I wrote about this issue in my jubilee blogs, below.

"God Save the Queen" is so medieval because it celebrates
exactly one person on thes Blighted Isles, and leaves the rest of the
flora and fauna (including the natives) in the weeds.

4 parts
the letter from Timothy Beecroft of St. Albans (and another guy)
said "Fairest Isle" should be the flag raiser,
and not "Jerusalem", which would seem like a strange choice,
unless London is the new Jerusalem, for some reason.
Anyway, Tim says the answer to verse one of Jerusalem
is 'no' and to the second is 'fetch them yourself'

Let's check those lyrics.
And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England’s mountains green?
And was the Holy Lamb of God
On England’s pleasant pastures seen?
And did the countenance divine
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here
Among these dark satanic mills? ANSWER: NO

Bring me my bow of burning gold!
Bring me my arrows of desire!
Bring me my spear! O clouds, unfold!
Bring me my chariot of fire!
I will not cease from mental fight,
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand,
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England’s green and pleasant land. ANSWER: FETCH EM

the Independent, letters to an op piece 13 August

The opening ceremony of the Olympics will have given the rest of the world an impression of Great Britain as an eccentric if brilliantly creative and imaginative nation. I fear Dominic Lawson's suggestion (7 August) that "Jerusalem" should replace "God Save the Queen" as our national anthem would only increase our reputation for eccentricity.

Why would we choose an anthem whose title is a deeply disputed principal city? And if we try to explain that this is the "new Jerusalem" (Heaven?) we will only add delusions of grandeur to our national characteristics.
And "Jerusalem" is a hymn to England, not the United Kingdom. What does he mean when he says that if a "national vote" were taken an "overwheming majority" would vote for Jerusalem? Not in Scotland and Wales they wouldn't.
Barbara Grodecka Lewis
Wells, Somerset

My old copy of Songs of Praise includes the 1919 Official Peace version of the anthem. Verses two and three read: "One realm of races four/ Blest more and ever more /God save our land/ Home of the brave and free/ Set in the silver sea/ True nurse of chivalry/ God save our land.
"Of many a race and birth/ From utmost ends of earth/ God save us all./ Bid strife and hatred cease,/ Bid hope and joy increase/ Spread universal peace/ God save us all."
I am proud to sing God Save the Queen but also wonder whether, for those of who still believe in a Deity, verse three of the Peace version might be appropriate.
P A Wrigglesworth

England is the problem with the national anthem of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
Of its component parts, Wales (my country), Scotland and Northern Ireland have their own national anthems; indeed Scotland has two and Northern Ireland three.
England has nothing, so it has hijacked "God Save the Queen" for indiscriminate use whether or not Her Majesty is present. Let England agree its own anthem and the problem disappears.
John Crisp
London SW1

The LPO national anthem, as played, was indeed a dirge, conducted, one assumes, by a metronome. Played properly, with sounding brass and rolling tympani, as it should be, especially at Olympic triumphs, it is rousing indeed.
Mr Lawson fails to say that Joseph Haydn, a composer of the highest rank, was so impressed with it that he composed an anthem for his own country.
Our anthem actually addresses a non-denominational God, asking blessings on our country via its representative, Her Majesty the Queen.
Wylie Gibbs
Newport, Isle of Wight
and the Indie article by DJ Taylor "God Save our National Anthem
As the litter is swept up at the Olympic stadium, as the members of Her Majesty's armed forces are returned to their barracks and Lord Coe departs for a well-earned holiday in Frinton, the last rite of the 2012 Olympic Games will begin to be performed. This is the long awaited groundswell of liberal unease over what might be called the paraphernalia of contemporary patriotism.

The Union Jack, a collection of somewhat anguished voices agrees, has been "redeemed" – that is, snatched out of the undesirable grasp of the xenophobic and/or militaristic right and turned into a multicultural symbol. But what of the National Anthem (a "dirge" according to The Independent's Dominic Lawson), which continues to be criticised for its belligerence, religious overtones, neo-imperialism and so on? Should we, as one or two opinion-formers have suggested, commission a new one more sensitive to the realities of life in 21st-century Britain?

Guardian article on the anthem
Give us a new national anthem for Britain and England
With the Olympics and Euro 2012 approaching, let us know the perfect anthems for our 'big society' time
About a quarter of Britons are in the same predicament. We won't sing martial and tribal words that eulogise a woman who would turn in her crown, pay her back taxes and spend the rest of her days in a terraced house in Hastings in any sensible polity. We need an anthem that represents all of us. In fact we need two new anthems – one for Britain and the other for England. And, as we tense ourselves for an unprecedentedly protracted international anthem-athon of a summer – thanks to the Olympics, the European football championships, not to mention August's World Tiddlywinks championship in Sandwich – we need them fast.