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Jerusalem

Jerusalem
© TopFoto.co.uk/UPPA Ltd

It’s sung at the Last Night of the Proms, it’s the hymn of choice for the Women’s Institute and to English expatriates around the world. Lately it has been adopted for international sporting events too as an unofficial national anthem.

But some people feel it may be an expression of the wrong sort of nationalism. So where did Jerusalem come from, and how did it earn its place among England’s most loved traditions? And, for that matter, what does it actually mean? Dark satanic mills? The words are by William Blake, the fairly crazy visionary Romantic poet; the tune is by the Edwardian composer Charles Hubert Parry, who wrote it in support of the suffrage campaign – quite a pair. So how did it happen?

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