“I heard my country calling, away across the sea,
Across the waste of waters she calls and calls to me.
Her sword is girded at her side, her helmet on her head,
And round her feet are lying the dying and the dead.
I hear the noise of battle, the thunder of her guns,
I haste to thee my mother, a son among thy sons.”
“I Vow To Thee My Country” is presented these days as an exclusively English or British hymn. But to mark Anzac Day we took some time to try and find a recording with all the original THREE verses, the first of which is above.
Because the hymn started out specifically including all the young heroes of New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Rhodesia and Canada, and of Ulster and Ireland, who heard England’s call and hastened across the oceans to stand shoulder to shoulder with the ‘motherland’.
The middle verse of this hymn is never used today as it is classed as ‘inappropriate’ by the traitors who have run our countries for so long. Perish the thought that we should be reminded of the bonds between the broken remnants of the greatest and, for all its faults, hypocrisies and crimes, the most decent and well-meaning Empire the world has ever seen.
We were unable to find a complete recording of the verse that has been shoved down the Memory Hole anywhere. That said, this very individual and touchingly quirky version by Beck Goldsmith does use a couple of lines from the forbidden verse, and gives a hint of its power to move and inspire even today.