Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Patriotism is not enough (Nurse Edith Cavell)

( see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edith_Cavell


re Edith Cavell)





As I walked this morning an old English patriotic song came into my mind. I learned to sing it at school.

It reads:


Here's a health unto her Majesty,
With a fal la la la la la la,
Confusion to her enemies,
With a fal lal la la la la la la.
And he that will not drink her health,
I wish him neither wit nor wealth,
Nor yet a rope to hang himself.
With a fal lal la la la la la la la la,
With a fal lal la la la la la.



It was probably written to celebrate the Coronation of Charles II as King of Scotland. He was crowned King of Scots at Scone on 1 January 1651.

Charles was also King of England, but these were the days before the Kingdoms of Scotland and England were joined to form what we now call the “United Kingdom”.

(Remember that Charles was a “Stuart”, those dismal Scottish Monarchs who inherited the English Throne upon the death of the last Tudor Monarch, Elizabeth I. [She was succeeded by James (Stuart) the first James of England, and also the sixth James of Scotland).

But can you imagine that we were singing this ditty three hundred years later.

We were singing them, alongside other British patriotic songs, (see below) when I was a schoolboy of about aged 10 – in 1954.

The British Empire was all but done. Our maps showed all the pink coloured Empire countries, but the deal was already done. India had obtained independence in 1948 (when I was four years old) – but we preferred to ignore that. There was still a “Colonial Office” in London.

The British Empire had ended. It’s fate had been sealed in 1919 when the British Treasury had been emptied by the expenses of the Great War.

But we still postured, and believed in Empire when I was a kid.

So, in school, we sang the old songs.

You can hear some of them at


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=THYgeETrkPs



The British Empire is long gone and forgotten. The American Empire is dying.

And we know that “patriotism” is a false G-d; that Nationalism is a deadly enemy; and that National Security is an illusion.

I am glad that I was born and raised in the United Kingdom.

I am proud of my American citizenship.

But I know that our day is done.

===============================================


And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England's mountains green?
And was the holy Lamb of God
On England's pleasant pastures seen?

And did the Countenance Divine
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here
Among these dark satanic mills?

Bring me my bow of burning gold!
Bring me my arrows of desire!
Bring me my spear! O clouds, unfold!
Bring me my chariot of fire!

I will not cease from mental fight,
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand,
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England's green and pleasant land.

William Blake


==========================================

Land of Hope and Glory, Mother of the Free,
How shall we extol thee, who are born of thee?
Wider still and wider shall thy bounds be set;
God, who made thee mighty, make thee mightier yet.
God, who made thee mighty, make thee mightier yet.

===============================


When Britain first, at heaven's command,
Arose from out the azure main,
Arose, arose, arose from out the a-azure main,
This was the charter, the charter of the land,
And guardian angels sang this strain:

Rule Britania!
Britannia rule the waves.
Britons never, never, never shall be slaves.

Rule Britannia!
Britannia rule the waves.
Britons never, never, never shall be slaves.

The nations, not so blest as thee,
Must in their turn, to tyrants fall,
Must in ,must in, must in their turn, to tyrants fall,
While thou shalt flourish, shalt flourish great and free,
The dread and envy of them all.

(Chorus)
Rule Britannia!
Britannia rule the waves.
Britons never, never, never shall be slaves.

Rule Britannia!
Britannia rule the waves.
Brittons never, never, never shall be slaves.

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