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Each glad soul its free course winging,
Praise the great and mighty Lord! The Rev. Richard A. Armstrong, of Liverpool, says: "To my mind this is one of the noblest bits of nature. painting in literature. I always give it out to my people after holiday-making in Norway or Scotland, and the
Mighty mountains, purple-breasted,
Peaks cloud-cleaving, snowy-crested, rise up in vision before us again in glory. It is pagan. ism, perhaps, but it is paganism through which thrills the presence of the God of Christ.”
This poem of Blackie is at least not open to the objection taken by Charles Kingsley to many hymns. Kingsley says: “How often is the tone in which hymns speak of the natural world one of dissatisfaction, distrust, almost contempt. "Change and decay in all around I see,' is their keynote rather than all ye works of the Lord, bless ye the Lord, praise Him, and magnify Him for ever.'”.
An anonymous writer, in whose sentiments Kingsley would have rejoiced, wrote a poem entitled “The Voice of Health,” in illustration of the words, “The living he shall praise Thee.” There are six stanzas, one of which will suffice to give the keynote :
'Tis when youth's fervour fills the veins,
And new-born hopes rejoice the heart,"
We best believe Thee as Thou art.
II. — National Hymns.
Send her victorious,
God save the Queen!
And make them fall.
God save us all !
Long may she reign!
TUNE — “THE NATIONAL ANTHEM." It is one of the ironies of history that the first trace that can be discovered of the singing of the English National Anthem, imploring Divine help for the reigning monarch, was an occasion when its petition was most conspicuously refused. In 1688, when William of Orange was busy with his preparations in aid of the conspiracy against the Stuart dynasty, a Latin chorus was sung in the private chapel of James II., which appears to have been the original of the famous anthem. We can well imagine the fervour with which James II. and his devout satellites joined in the petition thus voiced by the choir :O Deus Optime!
Exurgat Dominus ;
In te sit sita spes
O! salva nos.
Salvation, however, was not vouchsafed the Stuart dynasty. Before the year was out, it was King James who was sent packing, and William of Orange reigned in his stead." Then, as if to keep up the irony, the song disappeared altogether until the Pretender in 1745 at. tempted by the aid of his faithful Scots to regain the crown his ancestor had lost. Then the self-same musical prayer, first used, all unavailing, on behalf of James II., was revived in order to serve as the Battle Hymn of the usurper who sat on his throne. Twelve days after the proclamation of the Pretender in September, 1745, at Edinburgh, “God Save the King” was sung with tumultuous enthusiasm at Drury Lane, and from that hour to this it has held the first place among the national anthems of the world.
Twenty-one years later it was adopted as a national air in Denmark. In 1793, as Heil Dir im Siegerkrantz, it became the national anthem of Prussia. About the middle of the present century the air was fitted by C. T. Brooks to the American National Anthem, “America," beginning :
God bless our native land!
Through storm and might.
“God Save the Queen” is hackneyed by too much use, especially by its abuse as the signal for the close of a performance, which is almost as great a profanation as if one should use the Royal Standard as a handkerchief. But no abuse of this kind can impair its magic power when in times of national peril it bursts from the full heart. The singing of the National Anthem, and the way in which it was sung in January, 1896, when England, left in "splendid” but dangerous “isolation," was preparing for war against envious rivals in Europe and America, did more than anything else to impress the foreign observer with the intensity and depth of the national emotion. It was magnificent, almost awful, to hear the swelling notes as they rose from great congre
gations. It was a kind of semi-articulate expression of the deeper feelings usually unexpressed by John Bull. Only when the menace of war rouses the nation is there sufficient force to strike these sonorous chords of patriotic passion. For more than a hundred years, whenever the English people have been really stirred by imminence of national danger, or by exultation over national triumph, the most satisfying expression for their inmost aspirations has been found in the simple but vigorous verses. This is the only war-song of the modern Englishman. For him it has superseded all others, ancient or modern. “Rule Britannia" is not to be compared with it for universality of use, or for satisfying completeness of music and verse. And no part of this Battle Hymn of the British Monarchy is more genuine and hearty than the stanza which offends many pious critics on account of the fidelity with which it reproduces the spirit of the imprecatory Psalms.
It would be idle to attempt to enumerate the occasions when this anthem has been used to body forth in audible form the sentiments that throb in the heart of the nation. Whenever any number of Englishmen find themselves fronting death, or whenever they have experienced any great deliverance, whenever they thrill with exultant pride, or nerve themselves to offer an
nyielding front to adverse fate, they have used “God Save the Oueen” or King, as it has been and will be again, as the natural national musical vehicle for expressing what would otherwise find no utterance. It is the melody that is always heard when our island story touches the sublimer heights or sounds the profounder depths. It is one of the living links which bind into one the past, the present and future of the English race.
There is one quite recent incident that may be mentioned. When Major Wilson with his thirty-three troopers were attacked in Matabeleland in 1894 by a force of three thousand natives, who surrounded them in the forest, they fought from early morning till well on into the afternoon. All their horses were shot early in
the day, and behind their dead bodies the troopers kept up a desperate fight for three hours. Not one attempted to escape. These “men of men,” as the Matabele called them, fought on till their ammunition gave out, and there was not one man left to stand or fire.
When nearly all were wounded or killed, the Induna says, they (Wilson's party) left off firing, and all that could stood up, took off their hats, and sang something, the kind of song that he (the Induna) had heard missionaries sing to the natives. Knowing Wilson as we do, says a friend of his, we are sure it was “God Save the Queen.” They then fired again, until only one man was left, and almost all the ammunition gone. The Matabele had such a dread of them, that even then they did not rush in and assegai them until the last man had fallen, and were so impressed with their pluck that they did not mutilate them in any way, only stripped them. The Induna estimated that the Matabele lost eight to every one of the thirty-four white men killed, and said that Lobengula's warriors lay round the dead white men like grass. After many days Mr. Dawson found thirtythree skulls lying within a circle of fifteen yards, and one skull lying thirty yards outside. He buried them under a wooden cross, inscribed, “ To Brave Men.” Mr. Rhodes afterwards had their remains interred in the prehistoric temple of Zimbabye, which is to be the Westminster Abbey of South Africa. It was of this incident that Mary Georges wrote
They sang - the white men sang
Sang in the face of death,
With their triumphant breath.
11 — GOD BLESS OUR NATIVE LAND. For those who object on religious grounds to pray for the destruction of their enemies, also for those who prefer to pray for themselves rather than for their Sov