Feeling a bit homesick for England for some reason; maybe your voice , maybe a discussion I had with a friend over an article I had read ‘the mafia in English school playgrounds’ -no not organised by the children but by their mothers.
Made me think of home as it was, and of my schooldays.
We sang songs in the Aula then .A choir of at least 400 childrens voices did effect you, especially when they sang ‘ I vow to thee my country’. It was my favourit- apparently Princess Diana’s too. (played at her marriage and at her funeral) The words thatCecil Spring Rice wrote in 1918 Gustav Holst set to the music in 1925 of Jupiter,from the Planet Suite.
Today it’s considered a bit too patriotic, if not discriminating. It still gives me goose pimples.
My second favourite was Jerusalem.
”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”.
Not exactly unpredudiced either is it?
We read Shakespeare’s Richard the Second in the upper school. There of course my patriotic education was sealed, and my day made if I was asked to read aloud; (fancied myself on the stage of The Old Vic)
‘This royal throne of kings,this sceptred isle,
This earth of majesty ,this seat of Mars,
This other Eden,demi -paradise
This fortress built by Nature for herself
Against infection and the hand of war,
This happy breed of men,this little world,
This precious stone set in the silver sea…..
This blessed plot, this earth,this realm,this England.”
There was no escaping the influence for the children of my generation .
”For he might have been a Roosian
A French, or Turk, or Proossian,
Or perhaps Ital-ian!
But in spite of all temptations
To belong to other nations
He remains an Englishman!”
Gillbert and Sullivan.-H.M,S Pinafore 1878
Did I hear something about a united Europe?