Rule, Britannia!

Album: Rule, Britannia! (1740)

Songfacts®:

  • Britannia was the Roman name for Britain (England and Wales but excluding Scotland) - the name fell into disuse but from 1672, anthropomorphized and adorned with helmet, shield and trident, Britannia came to personify Britain in the same way Uncle Sam would later personify the United States.
  • In 1740, the Scottish-born poet James Thomson (1700-48) wrote Rule, Britannia! as part of a masque (a form of entertainment which included song and dance); the poem was set to music by the English composer Thomas Arne (1710-78). The words are varied slightly, in particular the last verse of the chorus which was written "Britons never will be slaves" is usually rendered "Britons never, never, never will be slaves!" or "Britons never, never, never shall be slaves!"
  • "Rule, Britannia!" or simply "Rule Britannia" is probably second only to "God Save The King"/"God Save The Queen" in the hierarchy of patriotic British songs, and can be viewed as an unofficial national anthem. It is played on various occasions, including on the last night of the Proms, and occasionally finds itself satirized, Noél Coward for example incorporated a few bars into his classic "Mad Dogs And Englishmen." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Alexander Baron - London, England, for above 3

Comments: 1

  • Zabadak from London, EnglandIn the next issue, Britannia will be removed from the nation's coinage for the first time in centuries!
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