God Save Our Gracious King

God Save Our Gracious King (God Save The King, Military Band, 2 or 3 Verses)

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God Save Our Gracious King : Recording

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God Save Our Gracious King : Lyrics

Traditionally played on Remembrance Day in the UK.

1. God save our gracious King,
Long live our noble King,
God save the King:
Send him victorious,
Happy and glorious,
Long to reign over us:
God save the King.

2. Thy choicest gifts in store,
On him be pleased to pour;
Long may he reign:
May he defend our laws,
And ever give us cause
To sing with heart and voice
God save the King.

3. Not on 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 o’er.

Meter: 664 6664. Lyricist unknown for verses 1 – 2, verse 3 by William E Hickson (1817 – 1877) from hymn “God bless our native land” an American hymn to the same tune. Public Domain

History

The British National Anthem, God Save The King in its current form dates to the eighteenth century, however the words and tune may date back to the seventeenth century. It is thought the tune was originally a dance, the rhythm is very distinctly that of a galliard.

In September 1745 the ‘Young Pretender’ to the British Throne, Prince Charles Edward Stuart, defeated the army of King George II in Scotland at Prestonpans, near Edinburgh.

In a fit of patriotic fervour after news of Prestonpans had reached London, the leader of the band at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, arranged ‘God Save The King’ for performance after a play. It was a tremendous success and was repeated nightly.

This practice soon spread to other theatres and continued well into the 20th century even being played at the end of an evening in cinemas and at other public events such as Balls and Dinners.

There is no authorised version of the National Anthem as the words are a matter of tradition. As here, additional verses have been added down the years, but these are rarely used.

Image by Simon J from Pixabay

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