Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Katherine Jenkins - "I Vow To Thee My Country" (Gustav Holtz/Sir Cecil Spring-Rice )

PhotobucketA British anthem taken from a portion of Gustav Holst's "Jupiter--Bringer of Jollity", from "The Planets, Op. 32."

Holst, born in 1874 in Cheltenham, England--that's his statue (above) in the city park--composed this section of his five planets symphony during the First World War. The synphony was first presented in London in 1918 with Adrian Boult as conductor.

The lyrics came from a poem by British ambassador, Sir Cecil Spring-Rice, who was posted in the United States during the Administration of Woodrow Wilson. Spring-Rice's lyrics were incorporatd to the music in 1921.

Here are the first and third verses, as sung in the video:

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.

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.

(A second, more militant verse, is usually omitted in present day.)


  1. that is of my favorites is and it's (unofficially) Australia's national anthem "Waltzing Matilda"

  2. I totally agree.

    "Waltzing Matilda" is another of my favorites Mike. Odd that its not their National Anthem. It's one I enjoyed singing in primary school and it seems so delightfully informal and earthy, as I imagine much defines Australia's people.

  3. "The Planets, Op. 32, is a seven-movement orchestral suite by the British composer Gustav Holst, written between 1914 and 1916. Each movement of the suite is named after a planet of the Solar System and its corresponding astrological character as defined by Holst. With the exception of Earth, which is not observed in astrological practice, all the planets are represented."

    The videos are lovely, but I doubt Holst would ever have put lyrics to the astrological signs!
    This suite is NOT about nations, not about intellectual things, but expresses the symbolic meanings of the planets. I've posted some of The Planets in a group, of which I'm a member, as they pertained to member's sun signs.

    Just call me a wuz. I have never liked 'popular' song lyrics for movies, taken from the most beautiful music composed. and I have wondered if the long dead composer would approve of it.

    There are many who don't understand the words in Waltzing Matilda, (I'm very fond of it), and I hope I can find the video that explains it so well!

  4. A good point Sigurd. However, I think it was a lovely combination of uplifting music and images. Most lyrics that go to classical themes, etc, don't work out well. This one works for me--a rare exception. Thanks for adding the background information.

  5. Miss Jenkins is a fine soprano who's work I've admired for a long time. It also turns out that she was born in the town where I now live, Neath near Swansea in South Wales.

  6. That is a nice coincidence. Wales is a nation globally renown for great singers and choirs as I'm sure you already know Jim. Hearing this and other songs Miss Jenkins performs via You Tube has made me an instant fan. :-)

  7. The possible wishes of Holst aside, this is indeed very beautiful & I believe stands on its own.

    "Wales is a nation globally renown for great singers and choirs" I know! My husband was a Welshman...

  8. I always enjoy visiting your site. I get to experience 'new' things and the conversation is always stimulating. I had not heard the song before. It was beautifully performed.

  9. Thank you Fred. I'm glad you enjoyed this one!

  10. I've just been told that my Brother in Law has kissed Mis Jenkins!
    I'm so determined not to be jealous! :-(

  11. I am trying, some would say very trying!