Monday, November 12, 2007

a favourite hymn of mine

Monday, November 12, 2007

expand the post to see the lyrics

I vow to thee, my country

I vow to thee, my country—all earthly things above—
Entire and whole and perfect, the service of my love;
The love that asks no question, the love that stands the test,
That lays upon the altar the dearest and the best;
The love that never falters, the love that pays the price,
The love that makes undaunted the final sacrifice.

And there’s another country, I’ve heard of long ago—
Most dear to them that love her, most great to them that know;
We may not count her armies, we may not see her King;
Her fortress is a faithful heart, her pride is suffering;
And soul by soul and silently her shining bounds increase,
And her ways are ways of gentleness, and all her paths are peace.


X. Dell said...

Interesting. I didn't know Joseph Goebbels wrote hymns.

This really saddens me. Fine performance, though. said...

make fun if you want. i love england.

this hymn reminds me of my father-in-law, who was an RAF pilot in ww2. like so many others, he was too young (16 i think) but lied about his age to get to combat. he piloted a lancaster bomber. combat wrecked him.

he masked it well his whole life - led a successful post war career as an agri-economist for fao/un. the most painful and dibilitating war wounds are those no one sees. back then no one spoke of PTSD. back then no one spoke of night terrors. back then no one spoke of psychiatry.

how many other families suffered, because of combat? many ... i'll bet.

and we say we support our soldiers? bullshit. i saw this story just the other day ... america sounds like a lotta talk and no action. apparently you can only get treatment for PTSD (soldiers, i mean) if you are willing to commit to go back into combat, the very thing that made you crazy to begin with. if you can't bring yourself to commit to combat, no one gives a shit about you. unless, of course you go postal ... or threaten to go postal ... then maybe they might listen. check the link ...

there's not much of the story there ... but if you google him you will find out all about him.

i mention american b/c that's what the story featured ~ PTSD treatment in the us military. i'm guessing canada's no better.

still ... i like the song. and i feel the most for the soldiers who've returned from battle with scars that no one can see.

like i said, the invisible scars are the ones that fucking hurt the most.

piktor said...

Mantissa,I'm a little confused about you liking it really or using the hymn facetiously as a joke.

Anyway, I got to watch another video from the list that appears at the end and it was Di's funeral.

Somber guards attired in blazing red uniforms deposited her at the catafalque before the altar amidst four unbleached wax candles.

So said the staid TV announcer of the proceedings whilst solemn music by Purcell developed. This music was first used on Queen Mary's funeral and also the next year for Purcell's own funeral, at Westminister's Abbey, as well.

Unbleached wax and catafalque. Haven't heard those ones in a long time.

piktor said...

Mantissa, by reading your comment I realize it wasn't a joke, which was my first thought.

I also have a thing for English and American Gospel hymns. Can't really explain why.

This blog has some jokes that will make you smile:

Scroll down to the Wookie gag, it is most excellent.

..................... said...

i don't know to what test i will have to be put to love a country that much..

X. Dell said...

I don't read these lyrics as a homage to soldiers, although they might have been done so initially. What I see in this is as homage to state, and hence an homage to power, the unquestioning obedience to it, the complete submission to it.

I don't mean to tramp on anyone's beliefs, and because of the totalitarian themes of this lyric, I too assumed you were joking when you called this your favorite hymn.

It does sadden me, though.

As for what I think of veterans, I bear them no ill will at all, and I reckon my greatest devotion to them comes not from careless, cowardly and helpless submission to the whims of state that make policies of war convenient, but instead opposing them. It's one thing to die in defense of one's nation. It's another to suffer for the greed or powerlust of others.

It's one thing to honor soldiers. It's another to glorify the conduct of war as policy. Worse yet, is glorifying the passivity of not questioning, and sometimes (probably often) resisting war. And, saddly, many people cannot make that distinction.

World War II is perhaps a good example of what I mean. As you comment, your grandfather survived, but he paid the consequences for the ecomomic, and powerlust from people on BOTH sides of the Atlantic. I understand that your grandfather was defending his nation, and doing his duties in good conscience. And that he masked his pain so not to trouble the ones he loved.

But I find it difficult to reconcile that sentiment with this song.

X. Dell said...

BTW, I apologize for misunderstandig the intent of this post, and for any grief my initial response might have caused. But to be honest, my feelings about this hymn aren't good. said...

it was much closer than my grandfather. it was my father-in-law ~ martin's father. as i see the ww2 vets fade away, i can see how different society has become. we are so selfish ... we would not make the sacrifices the ww2 generation did. that, my friend, saddens me.

i don't see totalitarianism in these lyrics ... i see love of one's country ~ home. who does not love that place ... that country called home? would any 16 year old of the current generation take on the challenge that ww1 or 2 vets did? i doubt it. we're too damned selfish.

i don't see pledging one's love and willingness to sacrifice oneself for one's country as submissiveness. in fact, quite the opposite. those who cling to life out of fear, seem to me weak and submissive. those who will walk the walk seem to me real.

we also appear to have trouble making the distinction between the politics of war and the humanity of pledging one's life for a cause.

does our judgement of the validity of war politics diminish the gesture of one giving one's life?

piktor said...

Anyone can see and read different meanings in the same text or painting.

Some knowledgeable critics see Raphael's madonnas as banal and read Joseph Beuys's lard and fibre piles as culturally relevant.

To me this hymn is written with king and country as ideal concepts sung by people with transcendental aspirations. It is a flight of fancy. The Bible is also a flight of fancy with deaths, murder and betrayals as well as redemption and love tossed in the mix.

I should be so proud of an individual or a society that elevates this hymn as lock, stock and barrel of their stated ideals.

Dear Mantissa, your second comment is beautiful! said...

foam ~ me neither.

x-dell ~ i get you. really, i do. i guess to understand the sentiment of the lyrics i have put myself in that time era ... when they were written. i admire the gesture ... of giving one's life. soldiers who have gone to the great wars were not glory seekers or suicide bombers. they were just regular people like you or me.

my father-in-law ... his dad drove bus for london's public transit. none of these people were ever extraordinary in their social status ... only in their love for humanity. that's something, i think.

i guess i am just saying how today we are all so concerned with what we can get from humanity, society, etc ... not so much what we can give it. and what we already receive. because we do ... even if we don't see it as such.

no hard feelings ... everyone sees this differently. said...

piktor .... thanx