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THE BRITISH NATIONAL ANTHEM

 

Like "Rule, Britannia" the National Anthem of Great Britain "God Save the King / Queen " was composed by Thomas Augustine Arne (1710-1778) and first sung in 1745 during the Jacobite invasion of England. It was performed after the staging of Ben Jonson's play The Alchemist at the Theatre Royal, London.

In an attempt to restore the Scottish House of Stuart to the throne Jacobite forces, under the leadership of Charles Edward Stuart, also known as Bonnie Prince Charlie or the Young Pretender, invaded England in 1745. They managed to defeat George II's army at Prestonpans. Bonnie Prince Charlie was proclaimed king in the market square of Preston and eventually reached the city of Derby.

The invasion constituted a serious threat to the monarchy at that time and this explains why the words of the National Anthem have the form of a prayer of petition for the safety and well-being of the monarch. The Jacobites were later defeated at Culloden 16th April 1746.

The invasion of England also explains the following anti-Scottish words that had also been inserted into the song:

Lord, grant that Marshal Wade,
May by thy mighty aid,
Victory bring.
May he sedition hush and like a torrent rush,
Rebellious Scots to crush,
God save the King.

Marshall Wade, referred to in the above lines, was an officer in the army sent to halt the advance of the Jacobite troops in the north. The lines were appropriately omitted when the song was adopted as the British National Anthem.

 

GOD SAVE THE QUEEN

God save our gracious Queen,
Long live our noble Queen,
God save the Queen!
Send her victorious,
Happy and Glorious,
Long to reign over us;
God save the Queen!

O Lord our God arise,
Scatter her enemies
And make them fall;
Confound their politics,
Frustrate their knavish tricks,
On Thee our hopes we fix,
Oh, save us all!

Thy choicest gifts in store
On her be pleased to pour;
Long may she reign;
May she defend our laws,
And ever give us cause
To sing with heart and voice,
God save the Queen!

Not in this land alone,
But be God's mercies known,
From shore to shore!
Lord make the nations see,
That men should brothers be,
And form one family,
The wide world over

From every latent foe,
From the assassins blow,
God save the Queen!
O'er her thine arm extend,
For Britain's sake defend,
Our mother, prince, and friend,
God save the Queen!

 

Rule Britannia
 

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latest update: 11/2/03