The narrator pledges to donate 50% of his proceeds to The Royal British Legion Poppy Day Appeal - please support. This World War I poem by Henry Newbolt exhorts the British people to face the onset of war with the belief that God will defend their efforts in a righteous cause, exhorting the nation to "Pray that God defend the Right". The Vigil was published in 1914, in "Poems of the Great War", the net profits of which were donated to the Prince of Wales' Fund.
Public Domain (P)2014 Phillip Mather
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"Pray that God defend the Right"
I am continually astonished by the range of emotion that Philip J. Mather can bring to a poem. Having listened to more than 10 of his war poems I find that he has the uncanny ability to match tone and pace to the emotional message of a poem. Well done.
The poem itself was beautiful. It had a classic tone to it, as the poet calls on England to go forth to war and recalls past commanders and glories. It is a call to arms, a call for struggle, and also a prayer, for the poet is by no means certain that England shall prevail.
With the line ending each stanza being, "Pray that God defend the Right", there is a clear religious undertone to the poem and I wonder how soldiers these days would view it.
"True British spirit"
The classic war poems cannot be compared to other audiobooks and to hear them narrated by the wonderful true British voice of Phillip J. Mather is a real pleasure.
The last verse sums up wonderfully how the English think of their country, and how at the beginning of WW1 people believed England was God's chosen country.
"So shalt thou when morning comes
Rise to conquer or to fall,
Joyful hear the rolling drums,
Joyful tear the trumpets call,
Then let Memory tell thy heart:
"England! what thou wert, thou art!"
Gird thee with thine ancient might,
Forth! and God defend the Right! "
Being a poem it was very enjoyable to listen to in one sitting, indeed I shall enjoy this wonderful rendition of it for many years.
I suppose the classic British war poems hold a special place in my heart, being British.
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