God Save the King
“God Save the King” is a song we have analyzed before in the form of “God Save the Queen“, which was applicable at the time since the long-standing Queen Elizabeth II (1926-2022) was still in power. But as you’re undoubtedly aware of, more recently her son, Charles, became the monarch of the United Kingdom, thus now being officially known as King Charles III.
Said occurrence has compelled us to revisit this song, even though the words are exactly the same as “God Save the Queen”, with the exception of the terms “king” and “queen” being interchanged.
Lyrics of “God Save the King”
With that noted, this is a piece in which the vocalist, most simply put, is wishing for the prosperity of his king. Moreover, as strongly implied by the title, he perceives overall success in that regard as being such that support from the Most High is necessary.
For example, as illustrated in the second verse, monarchs do have their enemies, which presumably are comparably formidable. Thus, the vocalist is calling for such rivals, both of the foreign and domestic varieties, to be ‘scattered’, ‘confounded’ or what have you, not by the king but by God Himself.
Indeed, it should be noted that the wording of this song dates back centuries, to a time when European music was like Bible inspired. This was during the era in which the West was first really emerging as the leader of the world.
Also, let’s not forget that warfare has been a constant in Europe throughout its modern history. So what’s being postulated is that back then, Englishman were humbler and felt less secure than they do today. So all things considered, these lyrics may not hold as much validity with the British as they originally did.
Indeed by the looks of things, with the recent passing of the Queen the monarchy itself may be set to undergo major ideological changes, or in the very least, it appears to be under more internal scrutiny than ever before.
Characteristics of a True Singer of “God Save the King”
But all of that said, someone who actually sings this song and means it would have to possess three basic characteristics. One would be a general desire for the wellbeing of the king. Second and relatedly, this person would be a patriot. Simply put, someone who desires the success of his nation and perceives the monarch as being an essential figure in realizing that goal. And last, he or she would obviously be someone who is God-fearing. Put simply, they wouldn’t be some type of staunch racist, classist or colonialist but rather an individual who is able to perceive that all of the world’s people can benefit from the “mercies” of the Most High.
But conclusively, of course the emphasis is more specifically on the standing of “Britain”. Being King of England may be an enviable position. However, it’s such that you also have powerful haters, including those who want to take your life.
So the implication is that a blessed and protected monarch, if you will, is essential to the proper upkeep of a people. And therefore, the British narrator is calling for divine favor to be visited upon his own king.
Who wrote “God Save the King”?
“God Save the King” is so old that no one knows exactly when or where it was written. Or more specifically, it appears to have been gradually put together, over centuries and beginning sometime in circa the early 17th century.
The earliest publication of the song that bears strong similarities to the modern version came out in 1744.
John Wesley Harding’s Version
A notable rendition of “God Save the King” was recited by John Wesley Harding, a folk-based singer from England. His version is actually featured on an album rather titled “Song of America”. Harding’s version was released through Split Rock Records and another label called 31 Tigers in 2007.
Something Worth Noting
“God Save the King” is the official national anthem of the United Kingdom. Back in the days it was also so for most of the Commonwealth of Nations. The Commonwealth Nations are countries that were formerly colonized by the UK. But as it currently stands only one of such nations, New Zealand, still uses this anthem officially. FYI, in addition to this, New Zealand also uses their own, “God Defend New Zealand” as a national anthem.