It turns out that Covid-19, the virus, was not specially attracted to anyone singing Rule, Britannia! or Land of Hope & Glory. The original excuse given last week by the BBC for prohibiting the singing of these tunes at the Worst, sorry the Last, Night of the Proms was that because of Coronavirus only the tune could be played. There would be no singing out loud. There were suspicions that this was complete hokum, a woke excuse to kill off these traditional favourites. Today, there was a u-turn. The Beeb has announced that these patriotic songs will be sung after all.

As a public service, to aid readers who want to sing along on the BBC and in recognition of the awkward reality that no-one, neither woke critic of the songs nor Union flag-waving patriot, actually knows the lyrics to either song, we publish the lyrics in a handy, print off, cut out and throw away format.

The Rule Britannia lyrics are free to read. But the lyrics to Land of Hope and Glory are behind our paywall and only available to Reaction subscribers. Subscribe here. Thank you for your support at this difficult time. Stay safe…

Rule, Britannia! – from the poem by James Thomson, set to music by Thomas Arne in 1740.

Rule, Britannia! Britannia, rule the waves!

Britons never, never, never will be slaves.

When Britain first, at heaven’s command,

Arose from out the azure main,

This was the charter of the land,

And Guardian Angels sang this strain:


The nations not so blest as thee

Must, in their turn, to tyrants fall,

While thou shalt flourish great and free:

The dread and envy of them all.


Still more majestic shalt thou rise,

More dreadful from each foreign stroke,

As the loud blast that tears the skies

Serves but to root thy native oak.


Thee haughty tyrants ne’er shall tame;

All their attempts to bend thee down

Will but arouse thy generous flame,

But work their woe and thy renown.


To thee belongs the rural reign;

Thy cities shall with commerce shine;

All thine shall be the subject main,

And every shore it circles, thine.


The Muses, still with freedom found,

Shall to thy happy coasts repair.

Blest isle! with matchless beauty crowned,

And manly hearts to guard the fair.


Rule, Britannia! Britannia, rule the waves!

Britons never, never, never will be slaves.

Land Of Hope And Glory – music by Edward Elgar and lyrics by AC Benson, 1902.

Land of Hope and Glory,