A Conversation for The British National Anthem
We'll have no....
Zantic - Who is this woman?? Started conversation Aug 29, 2002
We'll have no....
prettyrppppp Posted Dec 7, 2007
As is well known, at least to scholars, and sometimes concealed by those who should know better, the song ‘God Save the King’ is originally a Jacobite prayer for the success of the ’45 Rising.
The original is;
God save the King, I pray;
Long live the King, I pray;
God save the King!
Send him victorious, happy and glorious
Soon to reign over us.
God save the King.
The composer of the music is known almost certainly to have been Thomas Arne who was a Catholic and about the only reason for the anonymity was the riskiness of the obvious support for the King Over the Water. It was far from just Catholics who supported the Stuart dynasty, and pretty much only the political elite who wanted the Hanoverians.
The Jacobite song was hastily adapted by the Hanoverian regime’s supporters who controlled the London theatres due to its popularity and general singability.
The proof that it is a mere adaptation is that the title is still ‘God Save the King’ whereas the hanoverian version’s first line has always been something else. It was first changed to ‘God save great George, our King’ since they needed to be more specific, and later on, to the present, “…our gracious King.”
The more conclusive proof is in that direct petition in the fourth and fifth lines, ‘Send him victorious, …’ that now reads ‘Long to reign over us’ but in the Jacobite version ‘Soon to reign...’. Only the latter makes sense here. If ‘Long to reign…’ referring to the monarch in possession, had been the original, it would not have said ‘Send’ which clearly implies some movement, but something like ‘Grant…’ which would have fitted. This proves the adaptation was hasty.
(The phrase ‘long to reign’ existed already, but not with the line before it, and if that had been the original version of the song would not have been made without the difference mentioned).
The choice of adjectives reinforces the point. ‘Victorious’ and ‘glorious’ are appropriate to a military victory, and ‘happy’ can really only apply to one who was then not that because he was in exile. They can be adapted to a Hanoverian candidate, but probably not thought of in the first place.
You could have fun putting the Marshal Wade verse into a version that would have been acceptable to Jacobites, even in 1745. This version has as many bad rhymes as the Hanoverian verse – which is the original in this case.
“Lord grant that Marshal Wade
Repent the ill he made
‘Gainst his true King.
May he forgiveness seek,
And with repentence meek,
Words of contrition speak.
God save the King”
I think that is bad enough.
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