Monday, April 23, 2007

Cry ‘God for Harry, England, and St George!’

From the quill of William Shakespeare comes the only line in literature which links England with St George. It could not be more appropriate that the Bard’s birthday falls on this day, for it becomes a cause of celebration of England’s (and the world’s) greatest writer. To paraphrase Hamlet: He was a man, take him for all in all; we shall not look upon his like again. That a humble son of a glover, with an education no higher than a grammar school, should tower above the university educated; should have such insight into morals, manners, economy, philosophy, religion, taste, and the conduct of life, is a cause for wonder. That an Englishman was blessed with great knowledge of the greatest mysteries, understood the politics of high office without having held any, and could articulate with profound accuracy the emotions and needs of the common man, is a cause for great celebration – yea, a national holiday.

It is pleasing indeed, on this day, to note that Greg Mulholland MP has proposed this Early Day Motion:

ENGLISH NATIONAL ANTHEM
20.04.2007

That this House believes that it is time that England, when competing as England rather than as Great Britain or the United Kingdom, should adopt an appropriate song to be the English national anthem, in the same way that Scotland and Wales do when they compete as individual nations; further believes that it is quite wrong that England use the British national anthem when competing as England rather than as Great Britain or the United Kingdom, particularly when playing the other home nations who also have God Save the Queen as their British national anthem; and therefore believes that all English sporting associations should adopt an appropriate song that English sportsmen and women, and the English public, would favour when competing as England.

It is strange indeed that ‘God Save the Queen’ becomes the anthem of opposition for the Scots, Welsh, or Northern Irish. It perpetuates the myth that the monarch belongs to England, and England thereby subjugates the rest of the kingdom. It is time for England to assert its identity. It is time for England to gain parity with the other three corners of the United Kingdom. It may eventually mean a national holiday, or an English Parliament, but it should begin with an imperative sporting necessity - an English anthem.

Yet Cranmer is at a loss to know what this should be…

30 Comments:

Anonymous CityBlue said...

There is only one possible solution. Not the mawkish imperial sentimentality of 'Land of Hope and Glory', but the clarion call of 'Jerusalem', both verses with Parry's flourishes at either end and in between the two verses.

23 April 2007 at 08:50  
Anonymous Gingerdave said...

Tongue firmly in cheek . . . I propose "A song of patriotic predjudice" by Michael Flanders and Donald Swann:

The English, the English, the English are best
I wouldn't give tuppence for all of the rest.

The rottenest bits of these islands of ours
We've left in the hands of three unfriendly powers
Examine the Irishman, Welshman or Scot
You'll find he's a stinker, as likely as not.

http://www.nyanko.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/fas/anotherhat_song.html For the rest of it.

Now back to some sensible suggestions.

23 April 2007 at 09:00  
Anonymous Voyager said...

I vow to thee, my country, all earthly things above,
Entire and whole and perfect, the service of my love;
The love that asks no question, the love that stands the test,
That lays upon the altar the dearest and the best;
The love that never falters, the love that pays the price,
The love that makes undaunted the final sacrifice.

And there's another country, I've heard of long ago,
Most dear to them that love her, most great to them that know;
We may not count her armies, we may not see her King;
Her fortress is a faithful heart, her pride is suffering;
And soul by soul and silently her shining bounds increase,
And her ways are ways of gentleness, and all her paths are peace.



OR


Hearts of Oak


OR

Land of Hope & Glory


OR

Rule Britannia


Parry's music to Jerusalem is too solemn and not stirring

23 April 2007 at 09:06  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it's a good idea but please, let's not persue it. Without a doubt it would be decided by a primary school competition or some other headline grabbing insanity. Natasha Bedingfield would be asked to write it etc etc etc. Wait until we have an ounce of sanity in government then pick this up...

23 April 2007 at 10:16  
Anonymous The recusant said...

You know we'd end up with John Lennon's Imagine

23 April 2007 at 12:38  
Blogger Sir Henry Morgan said...

John Lennon's 'Imagine'.

If you have nothing to kill or die for, then perhaps you have nothing much to live for either?

23 April 2007 at 15:19  
Anonymous billy said...

My first thought was 'Jerusalem' but ginger daves offering from Flanders and Swann strikes a chord.
If that was acceptable could we go back to saying Taffy is a Welshman etc., as well?

Voyager's first idea is also excellent but I just can't imagine modern crowds singing it now that love is just an alternative word for fornication.

23 April 2007 at 15:23  
Blogger Sam Tarran said...

Has to be Jerusalem, doesn't it?

23 April 2007 at 16:27  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Hmmm...

Jerusalam...

His Grace once heard this referred to as 'Victorian melodramatic claptrap' from the pulpit. His Grace then felt obliged to inform the vicar of the origin and meaning of the term 'claptrap'.

It's just that Jerusalem, for all its admirable sentiment, is quite a difficult sing - with vocal demands not usually within the tessitura of most men.

One wonders if Lord Lloyd Webber might be commissioned...

23 April 2007 at 16:42  
Blogger Cranmer said...

PS

His Grace did not intentionally conceal the traditional Musim/Arabic greeting within his first word.

He of course meant JerusalEm.

23 April 2007 at 16:44  
Anonymous Miss Jelly Bean said...

Glad you clarified that, Cranmer. Invoking peace upon another wouldn't be regarded as the conventional Christian style greeting, now would it?

May peace be upon you Cranmer.

23 April 2007 at 17:19  
Anonymous CityBlue said...

Jerusalem is NOT difficult to sing. If I can manage it then anybody can. I am afraid Heart of Oak is out of the question as it is the March of the Royal Navy - You can't march past to the National Anthem.

My best to you and Master Ridley

23 April 2007 at 17:37  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Invoking peace upon another wouldn't be regarded as the conventional Christian style greeting, now would it?

It is quite common however

Grüß Gott or Grüß Dich Gott

Dia duit

Good Bye = Godbwye = God be with ye

23 April 2007 at 17:46  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Familiarity with English Miss Jelly Bean reveals that Good as used in modern form was formerly Goede or Gode and a derivate of German Gott

So "Good Friday" is God's Friday

"Good Day" - is "God's Day"

Gott zum Gruss

Redewendungen:

[1] Grüß Gott! Gott zum Gruß!
[1] dein Wort in Gottes Ohr
[1] Gott sei Dank!, Gott sei's gedankt!
[1] vergelt's Gott!
[1] Gott segne dich!
[1] Gott sei's getrommelt und gepfiffen
[1] Gott einen guten Mann sein lassen
[1] über Gott und die Welt reden
[1] von Gottes Gnaden
[1] ach Gott! mein Gott! o Gott! großer Gott!
[2] wie ein junger Gott
[1] um Gottes Willen!
[1] so Gott will
[1] Gott mit uns
[1] geh mit Gott
[1] in Gottes Namen
[1] Gott bewahre! Gott behüte!
[1] gnade dir Gott!
[1] von Gott verlassen
[1] so wahr mir Gott helfe
[1] der liebe Gott, (ach) du lieber Gott!
[1] weiß Gott
[3] Götter in Weiß
[1] Halleluja, Gott sei gepriesen
[1] Gottes Segen
[1] Gott der Allmächtige
[1] Gott im Himmel
[1] ach Gottchen
[1] o Gott, o Gott
[1] wie Gott in Frankreich
[1] Gott hab ihn selig
[1] Gott würfelt nicht!
[1] Hopfen und Malz, Gott erhalt´s.

23 April 2007 at 17:57  
Anonymous Colin said...

Sir Henry Morgan,

"If you have nothing to kill or die for, then perhaps you have nothing much to live for either?"

Sounds like the slogans of Nazis and Islamists.

23 April 2007 at 18:09  
Blogger Sir Henry Morgan said...

Well Colin, if existence alone is enough, then we may as well all be slugs.

Wouldn't you live for your children, and if necessary die for them?

Even atheists like me need something to value.

23 April 2007 at 18:25  
Anonymous pbekawfc said...

Dear Mr. Voyager,

Permit me to clarify that your retort to Miss Jelly Bean sounds impressive but is irrelevant.

First, greetings which include the name of God do not necessarily imply the wish of peace.

Second, your long list of German sentences which include the name of God is even more irrelevant. For example, "Götter in Weiß" is a metaphor for medical doctors behaving like Gods. Or "Hopfen und Malz, Gott erhalt´s" means the wish of beer drinkers that God should save the delicious beer. What has this to do with Miss Jelly Bean's claim that wishing peace is not part of the "the conventional Christian style greeting"?

As usual your comments have more to do with displaying your supposedly superior knowledge than with substance.

23 April 2007 at 18:31  
Anonymous Colin said...

Sir Henry Morgan,

"Well Colin, if existence alone is enough, then we may as well all be slugs.

Wouldn't you live for your children, and if necessary die for them?

Even atheists like me need something to value."


This time, I completely agree with you. Your first comment sounded like you were advocating to kill and die for the decisions of political leaders, for example for Mr. Blair's decision to invade Iraq. In my view, the problem is the abuse of the idea by power hungry chaps.

23 April 2007 at 18:35  
Anonymous billy said...

Miss Jelly Bean said...
Glad you clarified that, Cranmer. Invoking peace upon another wouldn't be regarded as the conventional Christian style greeting, now would it?
5:19 PM

It is the normal greeting where I worship but perhaps only amongst Christians. I'm sure that I would not want to offer peace to my enemies. Some people are undeserving of peace.

23 April 2007 at 18:46  
Anonymous Voyager said...

First, greetings which include the name of God do not necessarily imply the wish of peace.

Oh yes they do....

23 April 2007 at 19:02  
Blogger Sir Henry Morgan said...

Colin, thank you for that. It's wonderful to see any misunderstanding cleared up.

I've worn the uniform. But I think I'd commit suicide before I'd kill or die on behalf of that creature and its ilk.

There are moral grounds for killing, as there are for dying, and for the latter at least I'm sure His Grace would offer agreement.

I'll never be a Nazi, and I'll never embrace Islam. Opposition to both those things I would be prepared to kill and risk dying for. That does not cover the - in my view illegal - war and occupation in Iraq.

And not for a politician. Certainly not for the breed as it has evolved into today.

For the sake of future generations, and to defend a way of life: yes to both (though as I'm a former serviceman, I'm sure you'll understand that I would say let the other man die for his values rather than let him make you die for yours).

23 April 2007 at 19:28  
Anonymous mens sana said...

An ode to BSE and the CAP:

When mighty Roast Beef
Was the Englishman's food,
It ennobled our brains
And enriched our blood.
Our soldiers were brave
And our courtiers were good
Oh the Roast Beef of old England
And old English Roast Beef

But since we have learnt
From all-vapouring France
To eat their ragouts
As well as to dance,
We're fed up with nothing
But vain complaisance
Oh the Roast Beef of Old England
And old English Roast Beef


But now we are dwindled to,
What shall I name?
A poor sneaking race,
Half-begotten and tame,
Who sully the honours
That once shone in fame.
Oh the Roast Beef of Old England
And old English Roast Beef

In those days if fleets did
Presume on the Main,
They seldom, if ever,
Returned home again,
As witness the vaunting
Armada of Spain
Oh the Roast Beef of Old England
And old English Roast Beef

Oh then we had stomachs
To eat and to fight
And when wrongs were a-cooking
To do ourselves right.
But now we're a . . . .
I could, but goodnight!
Oh the Roast Beef of Old England
And old English Roast Beef.

23 April 2007 at 23:15  
Blogger Cato, author of www.toryheaven.com said...

cityblue is surely right Your Grace: it must be Jersualem. It was the school anthem my mother sang at her London school, and doubtless many other schoolchildren of her generation. It's really not that hard to sing (I'm sure Your Grace could manage it!).

Voyager's suggestion of Rule Britannia really rather misses the point that is made in the Early Day Motion, namely that appropriating an anthem with references to Britain for purely English purposes is somewhat monopolising.

24 April 2007 at 10:24  
Anonymous Voyager said...

namely that appropriating an anthem with references to Britain for purely English purposes is somewhat monopolising.

Not at all. Once Yeltsin withdrew the RFSSR from the USSR the Soviet Union collapsed leaving Gorbachev in the same position as the Yugoslav President after Croatia withdrew from the federation.

Without England "Britain" is meaningless, and so were England to withdraw from the United Kingdom or the Commonwealth it becomes meaningless too.

The nature of "Britannia" is from Roman times covering the country up to Hadrian's Wall. The symbol is akin to Marianne in France, and could be seen to belong to England more than any other constituent part of this polity. Coins carried Britannia in 1672 - before any Act of Union with Scotland or even defeat at Culloden

24 April 2007 at 16:18  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I couldnt agree more. God save the queen is the national anthem of the United Kingdom. I can remember hearing it at waitangi, Bay of islands New Zealand when it was the anthem of New Zealand, Australia , Canada too.

For sporting occasions I would go for Jerusalem

Make it so!

24 April 2007 at 16:25  
Anonymous billy said...

Voyager said...
Without England "Britain" is meaningless, and so were England to withdraw from the United Kingdom or the Commonwealth it becomes meaningless too.
4:18 PM

England before union was not meaningless and it would not be so after withdrawing from the union. Even less so if the Scots withdraw and leave us alone.
If it happens under this goverment, with its many Scots, the terms and conditions allowed for the break up could be crippling for the English.
Where is the English leader who is proud of his Englishness? Where is our modern day Drake?

24 April 2007 at 16:28  
Anonymous Voyager said...

You misunderstand and I wrote it with hindsight ambiguously.

My point was analogous to the RFSSR that without England the Commonwealth and Britain and United Kingdom was itself meaningless.......England does not need them, and that Britannia itself as a symbol has nothing to do with the Celtic fringe

24 April 2007 at 20:44  
Anonymous CityBlue said...

Perhaps the last word in favour of Jerusalem - It has a genuinely wide appeal as being one of the few cultural phenomena which finds favour with both left and right. If its OK for both Billy Bragg and Boris Johnson it will probably do for the rest of us. Pax Vobiscum.

26 April 2007 at 08:02  
Blogger MichaelBates said...

Why not, "There'll Always Be an England"?

5 May 2007 at 01:27  
Blogger ScurvyOaks said...

I'm an American, of East Anglian ancestry. In the US, we sing our national anthem to the tune of The Anacreontic Song, which is much more difficult than Perry's tune for Jerusalem. I find the lyrics of Jerusalem powerfully stirring every time I revisit them, no matter how often. It's a great choice.

8 May 2007 at 20:08  

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