Britain: Knavish Tricks

Knavish Tricks

No one would dream of tampering with the majestic music of Britain's national anthem, familiar to Americans as the tune of My Country, 'Tis of Thee. But the words are another matter, in particular the assertive second verse, which calls on the deity to scatter the monarch's enemies, in phrases much admired by Queen Victoria: "Confound their politics/ Frustrate their knavish tricks." Last month the Church of England's Liturgical Commission suggested substituting a kindlier version, written by a London shoemaker in 1836, for use when the anthem is sung at Remembrance Day services for the dead of the two World Wars....

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