UK anthem to be revised?
Maybe I should start a tag just for national anthems. They seem to be quite regularly in the news. The BBC reports that there are moves to rewrite some of the lyrics to the UK’s “God Save the Queen”. I must admit that I don’t sing it much myself, so I never noticed that there was a sixth verse. And that verse is a trifle, uh, controversial for a national anthem. I don’t know any other anthem that call for the defeat of one of its own peoples!
The sixth verse is one in which the rebellious Scots are called on to be “crushed”. Check it out:
Lord grant that Marshal Wade
May by thy mighty aid
May he sedition hush,
And like a torrent rush,
Rebellious Scots to crush.
God save the Queen!
Lord Goldsmith is currently advising Prime Minister Gordon Brown on citizenship (already, what does that mean?) and mentioned that several people had raised the issue. I’m not surprised! If I was Scots, I’d be pretty angry to have that in the national anthem. According to the BBC, Lord Goldsmith said, “The review is about different ways of sharing our tradition and national identity… What we have to look at is different ways of saying what it is that links the country together.” Um, is that a euphemism or what?
Little-known facts about the UK anthem
The authorship of “God Save the Queen” is attributed to John Bull, although it is thought to be based on an existing plainsong. What is less well-known is that it is also the anthem of several Commonwealth nations, notably New Zealand (which has another one!).
More remarkably, the same melody turns up in the national anthems of Liechtenstein and Norway, as well as other patriotic songs across Europe.