God Save the Queen

This post is much overdue, considering that I heard the tune for God Save the Queen on TV during the World Cup a good two weeks ago. The British should know this very well, but I don't know any Americans who are aware that the tune for "My Country 'Tis of Thee" (you know, "sweet land of Liberty, of thee I sing...") is actually stolen from the tune of the UK national anthem "God Save the Queen". I learned this when I heard a familiar tune on ESPN3 when I was looking away, and turned back to my screen in confusion, because I thought I had been watching the UK-Slovenia game, and not the US game. Never mind that "My Country 'Tis of Thee" isn't our country's national anthem; who remembers which song is our official national anthem anyways? I certainly don't; in fact, I'm trying to think of the tune right now and I can't. I don't think that makes me a bad American, I think that just means that they teach you so many patriotic songs in kindergarten that you can't keep them straight anymore. Like that song about "purple mountain majesties" (which I always thought strange because I never recalled ever seeing purple mountains in my life, but the mountains in the books where the lyrics were written were usually a purple which never existed in the natural world).

But yes! "My Country 'Tis of Thee" didn't originally have words about America. Instead, the words went like this:

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.

See, if you try to sing it to the the of "My Country 'Tis of Thee" it fits perfectly. Funny how our first grade teachers taught us this song every day, but never mentioned that we stole it from the British.

And now, Queen Elizabeth II, in case you forgot who is on the direct receiving end of this British national anthem.

(via Wikipedia)


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