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God save our gracious Queen,
Long live our noble Queen,
God save the Queen!
Send her victorious,
Happy and glorious,
Long to reign over us; God save the Queen.

O Lord our God, arise,
Scatter her enemies,
And make them fall,
Confound their politics;
Frustrate their knavish tricks;
On Thee our hopes we fix;
God save us all.

Thy choicest gifts in store
On her be pleased to pour;
Long may she reign!
May she defend our laws,
And ever give us cause
To sing with heart and voice,
God save the Queen!

In recent years there has been much debate about the present National Anthem used in Great Britain. Almost certainly composed and written by a certain Dr John Bull (1562-1628) for an entertainment given to King James I on 16 July 1607, many find it old-fashioned. Obviously, those who believe in neither God nor monarchy find it objectionable. Others would like it to be replaced with the traditional English 'Greensleeves', which is based on a medieval folksong. Others would prefer the stirring hymn 'Jerusalem', written by the visionary eighteenth-century poet William Blake. However, both of these refer to England and can only be seen as National Anthems for England, and not for Britain or the United Kingdom, still less for the British Isles as a whole. The same objection is even stronger with regard to the imperialistic hymn 'Land of Hope and Glory', the triumphalist words of which were to upset the composer of its melody, Sir Edward Elgar.

Whatever the objections to the present British National Anthem, in particular to the second verse, many people would be reluctant to see it disappear. But perhaps there is a solution. Quite simply this is to continue to sing the first verse, but to follow it immediately by the restored three forgotten verses, to which few could object.

Written by the now much-neglected Victorian philanthropist, William Edward Hickson (1803-1870), these words were added to the National Anthem and can be found in many standard books of hymns and song. We would therefore propose that if there is to be a new National Anthem, let it be the old one! The words, singularly appropriate to the times in which we live, when war looms and ancient liberties appear to be at risk, are:

God bless our native land,
May heaven's protecting hand
Still guard our shore;
May peace her power extend
Foe be transformed to friend
And Britain's rights depend
On war no more.

May just and righteous laws
Uphold the public cause
And bless our isle
Home of the brave and free
The land of liberty
We pray that still on thee
Kind heaven may smile.

Not on this land alone
But be God's mercies known
From shore to shore.
Lord, make the nations see
That men should brothers be,
And from one family
The wide world o'er.

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