11 September 2009
"Jerusalem" ("And did those feet in ancient time...")
I have heard this music so many times without knowing what it was that I finally decided to track it down. Apologies for my ignorance to those of you across the pond for whom this is virtually a national anthem.
The lyrics -
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 those 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.
- are adapted from a poem by William Blake, which in turn relates a story that Jesus and his uncle Joseph of Arimathea travelled to England to visit Glastonbury. The intention of the reference to "Satanic Mills" is somewhat obscure.
The reference to "Chariot of fire" inspired the title for the 1981 British film, which previously had been tentatively given the decidedly less-lyrical title of "Running."
In part because of its generally nonsecular theme, the hymn has no official status in Britain, but its performance at football, rugby, and cricket matches and the Proms has engendered a popularity and reverence equivalent to that of a national anthem.
More tidbits at the Wiki page.
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