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A Loyal Song

First line:
God save great George ye king
author of text

A Loyal Song for two Voices or ‘God save great George Ye King’ is an early setting of the British national anthem ‘God Save the King/Queen’ from the Muse’s Delight. It is uncertain who actually wrote this music, although its origins have been atrributed to a keyboard piece by John Bull, music by Henry Purcell as well as to a Scots carol, Remember O Thou Man. The first published version of the present tune appeared in 1744’s Thesaurus Musicus, featuring the familiar first verse. It appeared in the Gentleman’s Magazine in 1745 when it first found popularity, although it was not called a ’national anthem’ or used as such until the nineneenth Century and has never been officially adopted as an anthem by either the Royal Family or Parliament.

In 1745, following the victory by Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites over King George II’s army at the Battle of Prestonpans, a wave of patriotic feeling swept across a Hanoverian and Protestant London. Despite being a Catholic, Thomas Arne, who had previously written Rule Brittania, set a new, extended version of ‘God save great George Ye King’ which was played after evening performances at Drury Lane. Perhaps this put him, with his Catholic faith, in a safer position in London, as certainly English patriotic spirit and Protestant feelings were growing and continued until after the Battle of Culloden and the defeat of the Catholic Jacobites the following year. Various settings of this text appeared and were performed with other loyal songs at Vauxhall Gardens along with Handel’s own ‘God Save the King’ from his coronation anthem Zadok the Priest.

from notes by Bridget Cunningham © 2017


Handel: Handel at Vauxhall, Vol. 2
Studio Master: SIGCD479Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available


Track 19 on SIGCD479 [1'38] Download only

Track-specific metadata for SIGCD479 track 19

Recording date
Recording venue
St Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Christopher Alder & Mark Brown
Recording engineer
Neil Hutchinson & Mike Hatch
Hyperion usage
  1. Handel: Handel at Vauxhall, Vol. 2 (SIGCD479)
    Disc 1 Track 19
    Release date: September 2017
    Download only
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