Land of Hope and Glory

"Land of Hope and Glory" is a British patriotic song, with music by Edward Elgar and lyrics by A. C. Benson, written in 1901.

"Land of Hope and Glory"

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.


The music to which the words of the refrain "Land of Hope and Glory, &c"[1] below are set is the "trio" theme from Edward Elgar's Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1.[2] The words were fitted to the melody on the suggestion of King Edward VII who told Elgar he thought the melody would make a great song. When Elgar was requested to write a work for the King's coronation, he worked the suggestion into his Coronation Ode, for which he used words provided by the poet and essayist A. C. Benson.[2] The last section of the Ode uses the march's melody.

Due to the King's illness, the coronation was postponed. Elgar created a separate song, which was first performed by Madame Clara Butt in June 1902. In fact, only the first of the seven stanzas of the Ode's final section was re-used, as the first four lines of the second stanza below. This stanza is the part which is popularly sung today.


  Dear Land of Hope, thy hope is crowned,
  God make thee mightier yet!
  On Sov'ran[3] 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.


"Wider still and wider"

The writing of the song is contemporaneous with the publication of Cecil Rhodes' will—in which he bequeathed his considerable wealth for the specific purpose of promoting "the extension of British rule throughout the world", and added a long detailed list of territories which Rhodes wanted brought under British rule and colonised by British people. The reference to the extension of the British Empire's boundaries may reflect the Boer War, recently won at the time of writing, in which the United Kingdom gained further territory, endowed with considerable mineral wealth.[4]


Proposed anthem for England

England currently has no agreed national anthem, with "God Save the Queen", the national anthem of the United Kingdom, often being used in sporting events in which England competes separately from the other Home Nations. However, there are calls for this to be changed,[5][6] and a 2006 survey conducted by the BBC suggested that 55% of the English public would rather have "Land of Hope and Glory" than "God Save the Queen" as their national anthem.[7]

Commonwealth Games

"Land of Hope and Glory" was the England team's victory anthem at the Commonwealth Games until 2010, when the public rejected it in a poll in favour of "Jerusalem".[8]

BBC Proms

The Proms began in 1895: in 1901 Elgar's newly composed ‘Pomp and Circumstance’ March No. 1 was introduced as an orchestral piece (a year before the words were written), conducted by Henry Wood who later recollected "little did I think then that the lovely broad melody of the trio would one day develop into our second national anthem". It was played as "Land of Hope and Glory" in the last concert of the 1905 proms, and at the first and last concerts of the 1909 Proms, which also featured Wood's "Fantasia on British Sea Songs". The two pieces were played one after another at the closing concerts in 1916, 1917 and 1918. From 1927, the BBC began supporting the Proms, with radio broadcasts bringing the music to an increasingly wide audience. "Land of Hope and Glory" featured in the final concerts for 1928, 1929, 1936 and 1939. By then, audience participation in the second half of the programme had become a ritual, and from 1947 a boisterous "tradition" was created by the conductor Malcolm Sargent, making "Land of Hope and Glory" part of a standard programme for the event. The "Last Night of the Proms" was broadcast annually on television from 1953 onwards, and Promenaders began dressing up outrageously and waving flags and banners during the climax of the evening. In some years "Land of Hope and Glory" and the other favourites were left out of the programme, but reinstated after press and public outrage. In an exception, for the 2001 Last Night concert following the September 11 attacks, the conductor Leonard Slatkin substituted a more serious programme, featuring Samuel Barber's "Adagio for Strings", but despite the success of this occasion, the now traditional pieces returned the following year.[9]


At international rugby league matches, England often sang "Land of Hope and Glory" as their national anthem. While their anthem changed to "God Save the Queen" after the dissolution of the Great Britain side in 2007, it is still tradition for the team to use "Land of Hope and Glory" as their walk-out theme.


Supporters of Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club (the team Elgar supported) sing a version of the song with the lyrics changed to We will follow the Wanderers over land, sea, and water.[10] Their local rivals West Bromwich Albion sing We will follow the Albion over land, sea, and water. Supporters of Huddersfield Town sing 'We're all following Huddersfield, over land and sea'.[11] Derby County and Chelsea football club supporters sing "We all follow Derby, over land and sea (and Leicester)", similarly Blackburn Rovers fans sing "We all follow the Rovers, over the land and sea (and Preston!)". In Wales Aberystwyth Town supporters sing a version of the song, 'We all follow the Aber, over land and sea and Bangor! we all follow the Aber, on to victory'. Leeds United supporters sing a version of the song that goes as follows; 'Land of hope and glory, Yorkshire shall be free, We all follow United, onto victory'. In London, Spurs fans have been heard to sing "We hate Nottingham Forest. We hate Arsenal, too. We hate Manchester United, but Tottenham we love you."


"Land of Hope and Glory" was sung by Jeanette MacDonald in the 1941 MGM film, Smilin' Through.

Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange uses Elgar's version to herald the arrival of the Minister of the Interior in Alex's story.

The song inspired the rather ironic title of John Boorman's 1987 film Hope and Glory, depicting World War II through the eyes of a 10-year-old boy.

The song is sung at the end of BBC TV World War II comedy series It Ain't Half Hot Mum.

The song is also used in the 2012 Japanese film Little Maestra. It is set in a small fishing village in Shikamachi, Ishikawa Prefecture, who depend on the local amateur orchestra as their favorite source of entertainment. When the conductor dies unexpectedly, the townspeople recruit the man's granddaughter, a high school student with a talent for conducting. The song is heard three times throughout the movie.

It is also used at one point during the climax of the 2014 spy film Kingsman: The Secret Service. The song was featured in the 1937 film Nothing Sacred.

United States, Canada and The Philippines

In the United States, Canada and the Philippines the instrumental version of this song is traditionally associated with high school and college (university) graduation ceremonies. It is played as a processional or recessional. During ceremonies for larger schools this piece is played repeatedly. It may be played for as long as the graduates are walking, which can be longer than some symphonies.

Professional wrestler "Macho Man" Randy Savage was famed for using "Land of Hope and Glory" as his entrance music.

See also


  1. It is only the music of the refrain that is in the first Pomp and Circumstance March. The words and music for the two solo verses was written and composed specially for the published song and is not in the Coronation Ode.
  2. "Land of Hope and Glory, British Patriotic Songs". Retrieved 10 December 2013.
  3. The original "Sov'ran", sometimes (for better understanding) printed "Sov'reign" = "Sovereign"
  4. Frederik S. Wilson, "The Culture of Colonialism", p. 135
  5. "Anthem 4 England". 14 September 2005. Retrieved 10 December 2013.
  6. "Comment & Analysis". Republic. 29 October 2011. Retrieved 10 December 2013.
  7. "BBC survey on English national anthem". Retrieved 10 December 2013.
  8. Archived 7 May 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  9. Cannadine, David (2008). "The 'Last Night of the Proms' in historical perspective". Historical Research. Wiley-Blackwell. 81 (212): 315–349. doi:10.1111/j.1468-2281.2008.00466.x. ISSN 0950-3471.
  10. "Wolves Songs". Archived from the original on 26 January 2014. Retrieved 10 December 2013.
  11. "WBA Baggies World - Songs from the stands". 24 October 2005. Retrieved 10 December 2013.
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