Lyrics ~ 3 verses
British National Anthem – traditionally played on Remembrance Day
Meter: 664 6664
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.
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 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.
Original lyricist of verses 1 and 2 is unknown and generally these are the only two verses used. For a more Christian conclusion verse 3 has been added in some hymn books which is by William E Hickson (1817 – 1877) and taken from the hymn God Bless Our Native Land an American hymn sung to the same tune.
- Tune: National Anthem, composer unknown but attributed to Henry Carey (1689 – 1743)
- Music and Lyrics Copyright Public Domain.
- Performance © 2011 Richard M S Irwin. All rights reserved.
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The British National Anthem, God Save The Queen 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.