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Biography

Biography

Meet poet William Blake and composer Sir Hubert Parry, who between them were responsible for England's favourite hymn.

Jerusalem: the basics

Whether sung during school assembly, at a big sporting final or during the Last Night of the Proms, Jerusalem is one of England's favourite hymns. But is it a hymn, as opposed to an anthem or a song? And what does it all mean?

Jerusalem: the basics
William Blake: the Poet

William Blake: the Poet

The hymn we know as 'Jerusalem' began life as a preface to a long epic poem, 'Milton', by William Blake. One of his continuing series of Prophetic Books, the work was composed over four years (1804-8), and was illustrated by Blake with a series of the engravings for which he was by then famous.

Hubert Parry: the Composer

The music to Blake’s words was composed in 1916 by Sir Hubert Parry, specifically for a meeting of the “Fight for the Right” women’s suffrage movement being held at Queen’s Hall in London that year. In the final stages of the suffragette campaign, he conducted it himself at a performance at the Royal Albert Hall, which is when it became known as Jerusalem.

Hubert Parry: the Composer

The Words

You may be one of those people who already know all the words to 'Jerusalem'. But in case you're not, here they are. All together now...