'Land of Hope and Glory': what are the lyrics and what do they mean?
It's a staple at coronations, sporting events and the last Night of the Proms. Here are the lyrics to 'Land of Hope and Glory'
'Land of Hope and Glory' is a familiar tune from big events, such as the Last Night of the Proms and major sporting occasions. But who wrote it, and what are the lyrics?
Who wrote 'Land of Hope and Glory'?
The music for 'Land of Hope and Glory' is an excerpt from Edward Elgar's Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1, written in 1901. The lyrics were written for the tune by essayist, poet and academic A.C. Benson, written a year later in 1902.
What's the history of 'Land of Hope and Glory'?
The song ‘Land of Hope and Glory’ came first in orchestral form. It was originally the trio theme from Elgar’s Pomp And Circumstance March No. 1. The first of five Pomp and Circumstance Marches completed by Elgar (a sixth was later completed by the composer Anthony Payne), the March No. 1 was premiered in 1901.
The March No. 1 immediately acquired a unique honour: it was the only piece in the history of the Proms to receive a double encore. That feat drew it to the attention of the monarch, King Edward VII, who suggested that the trio section of the March would work well as a song. Elgar duly engineered the music into the last section of his Coronation Ode, which would be performed at King Edward’s coronation on 9 August 1902.
In fact, 'Land of Hope and Glory' is something of an oasis of tranquility in the middle of the boisterous Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1. All around it there are noisy, rousing brass and timpani-led sonorities, but this section is more like a quiet, devotional hymn.
Is Land of Hope and Glory English or British?
Elgar is sometimes thought of as a quintessentially English composer. However, because it was written to be performed at the Coronation of King Edward VII, who ruled over Britain, 'Land of Hope and Glory' is very much a British piece of music.
Is 'Land of Hope and Glory' the British national anthem?
Not currently. The de facto national anthem of Britain is 'God Save the King', and this is also used in sporting events in which England competes separately from the other Home Nations.
However, some English people would like to have 'Land of Hope and Glory' as an English national anthem.
You will hear it at the Last Night of the Proms, as well.
- Why is 'Land of Hope and Glory' at the BBC Proms?
- Everything you need to know about the Last Night of the Proms
What are the lyrics to 'Land of Hope and Glory'?
Dear Land of Hope, thy hope is crowned,
God make thee mightier yet!
On Sov'ran brows, beloved, renowned,
Once more thy crown is set.
Thine equal laws, by Freedom gained,
Have ruled thee well and long;
By Freedom gained, by Truth maintained,
Thine Empire shall be strong.
Land of Hope and Glory, Mother of the Free,
How shall we extol thee, who are born of thee?
Wider still and wider shall thy bounds be set;
God, who made thee mighty, make thee mightier yet,
God, who made thee mighty, make thee mightier yet.
Thy fame is ancient as the days,
As Ocean large and wide:
A pride that dares, and heeds not praise,
A stern and silent pride;
Not that false joy that dreams content
With what our sires have won;
The blood a hero sire hath spent
Still nerves a hero son.
Steve has been an avid listener of classical music since childhood, and now contributes a variety of features to BBC Music’s magazine and website. He started writing about music as Arts Editor of an Oxford University student newspaper and has continued ever since, serving as Arts Editor on various magazines.