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British National Anthem -- U.S. Version

Post 1


I noticed you posted only the first verse of "America," or "My Country, 'Tis of Thee."

I'll post the other three verses below, but first a little conversation:

It is said that the United States is the only country with three national anthems. This is partly in jest, but there is a germ of truth.

Our official national anthem is, of course, "The Star Spangled Banner," with words by Francis Scott Key.

During my school years (I don't know about today), we were taught "America" and sang it frequently--all four stanzas, or at least the first and final. We loved being patriotic and it is a much simpler song for children than "The Star Spangled Banner." So it might be thought of as the national anthem for U.S. children.

During World War Two, Kate Smith made "God Bless America" very popular, partly because its words had such appeal during those desperate days. Its prayerful nature seemed especially appropriate. So it might be thought of as our sentimental national anthem. It too is easier to sing than "The Star Spangled Banner," which has such a challenging musical range. It doesn't lend itself well to group singing because it ranges far too low for some and far too high for others. Professional singers need it in "their" key to manage its range. "God Bless America" presents much less challenge.

So there you have it, "one country with three national anthems." Not just a joke.

As for "America," there may be more than four stanzas, but these are the ones I find printed, and the ones I remember, with words credited to S. F. Smith and music to Henry Carey:

My country, 'tis of thee,
Sweet land of liberty,
Of thee I sing:
Land where my fathers died,
Land of the pilgrim's pride,
From every mountain side let freedom ring!

My native country, thee,
Land of the noble free,
Thy name I love:
I love thy rocks and rills,
Thy woods and templed hills;
My heart with rapture thrills
Like that above.

Let music swell the breeze,
And ring from all the trees
Sweet freedom's song:
Let mortal tongues awake;
Let all that breathe partake;
Let rocks their silence break,
The sound prolong.

Our father's God, to Thee,
Author of liberty,
To Thee we sing:
Long may our land be bright
With freedom's holy light;
Protect us by Thy might,
Great God, our King!

With no intention to be disrespectful, discourteous, or controversial, may I be permitted to observe that setting these words to the tune of the British national anthem may not have been just a convenience?

Given that the liberty and freedom we thus celebrated was from the British king, the author may have intended setting it to Carey's tune as a poke in the eye.

And the prayer in the final stanza, addressed to Great God, OUR King, might have had more than one intended meaning.

All in all, it's not a bad national anthem for the United States, but perhaps one reason it wasn't adopted is that it was set to the music of the British national anthem. That probably was enough to doom any likelihood just by itself.

British National Anthem -- U.S. Version

Post 2


This is a "footnote" rather than a "reply."

I intended my "conversation" to be posted on the "British National Anthem" site:

I'm new to h2g2, so I don't know how to get things to post where I want them. My original post seems not to have made it there.

But that was my reference when I spoke about "you" posting the verses. That's where I read the posted verses, and that's the message to which I was responding.

So if my original post doesn't make much sense in isolation, connect it to the URL listed above.

Apologies. And thanks.

Key: Complain about this post

British National Anthem -- U.S. Version

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