The music for "Rule, Britannia" was written by the
English composer Thomas Augustine Arne (1710-1778) and performed for the first
time in his masque Alfred in the presence of Frederick Prince of Wales.
The performance took place on the parterre of Cliveden House in 1740, which at
that time, was leased to the Prince of Wales. The words were written by the
Scottish pre-Romantic poet James Thompson (1700-1748) author of The Seasons
When Britain first, at heaven's command,
Arose from out the azure main,
Arose, arose, arose from out the azure main,
This was the charter, the charter of the land,
And guardian Angels sung this strain:
Britannia rule the waves.
Britons never, never, never shall be slaves.
The nations, not so blest as thee,
Must in their turn, to tyrants fall,
Must in their turn, must in their turn, to tyrants fall,
While thou shalt flourish, shalt flourish great and free,
The dread and envy of them all.
Still more majestic shalt thou rise,
More dreadful, from each foreign stroke,
More dreadful, more dreadful from each foreign stroke
As the loud blast that tears the skies,
Serves but to root thy native oak.
Thee haughty tyrants ne'er shall tame;
All their attempts to bend thee down,
Al their attempts, all their attempts to bend thee down,
Will but arouse thy generous flame,
But work their woe and thy renown.
To thee belongs the rural reign,
Thy cities shall with commerce shine
Thy cities shall, thy cities shall with commerce shine
All thine shall be the subject main,
And every shore it circles thine.
Muses, still with freedom found,
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Shall to thy happy coast repair,
Shall to thy happy coast, thy happy coasts repair,
Blest isle! with matchless beauty crowned,
And manly hearts to guard the fair.
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