Tuesday, March 24, 2015
An odd thing
I have watched on video many American patriotic occasions and noted the songs sung. But I have never seen "I vow to thee my country" sung on such occasions. Have I missed performances of it? It is both intensely patriotic and intensely Christian. It basically says how unreservedly the singers love their country but also goes on to say that the Kingdom of God is better still. I welcome email from readers to enlighten me about it. It is of course massively popular in Britain, where it originated just after WWI. Below is a video of a beautiful young British soprano singing it. And the wonderful music was written by Gustav Holst, an eminent British composer.
There is also a choral performance here where just about everybody who is anybody in British politics can be seen.
I vow to thee, my country, all earthly things above,
Entire and whole and perfect, the service of my love;
The love that asks no question, the love that stands the test,
That lays upon the altar the dearest and the best;
The love that never falters, the love that pays the price,
The love that makes undaunted the final sacrifice.
I heard my country calling, away across the sea,
Across the waste of waters, she calls and calls to me.
Her sword is girded at her side, her helmet on her head,
And around her feet are lying the dying and the dead;
I hear the noise of battle, the thunder of her guns;
I haste to thee, my mother, a son among thy sons.
And there's another country, I've heard of long ago,
Most dear to them that love her, most great to them that know;
We may not count her armies, we may not see her King;
Her fortress is a faithful heart, her pride is suffering;
And soul by soul and silently her shining bounds increase,
And her ways are ways of gentleness, and all her paths are peace.
Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).