St. James Music Press

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Gustav Holst I Vow to Thee, My Country

James Kirkby
Keyboard [organ/piano]
Original Publication
Service of Remembrance
Moderately Easy
Suggested Uses(s)

SATB choir and Organ. A great, easy, and incredibly stirring piece for a service in which a patriotic anthem is desired.

In 1921 Gustav Holst adapted the music from a section of Jupiter from his suite The Planets to create a setting for the poem. The music was extended slightly to fit the final two lines of the first verse. At the request of the publisher Holst made a version as a unison song with orchestra. When the poet, Cecil Spring-Rice, wrote this text in 1921, the first verse refered to England, and the sacrifice of those who died during the First World War. Now this first stanza can easily refer to any of those who sacrificed their lives for their country. The last verse, starting "And there's another country", is a reference to heaven. The final line is based on Proverbs 3:17, which reads "Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace."

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.


Mark Schweizer
P.O. Box 249
Tryon, North Carolina 28782
Phone 828.859.0323
Toll Free 877.822.0304


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