Mike Hancock posted a question on Facebook recently which was seen and commented upon by thirty-five OCs to date:
Mike Hancock Anyone remember the school song – I Vow to Thee My Country?
Marcus Rumpus In a word NO. When was it sung; what were the words!?
Mick Reed I know the song but have no recollection of it being sung at school, though. Absolutely not my sort of thing, so I may have blanked it out.
I vow to thee, my country, all earthly things above,
Entire and whole and perfect, the service of my love;
The love that asks no question, the love that stands the test,
That lays upon the altar the dearest and the best;
The love that never falters, the love that pays the price,
The love that makes undaunted the final sacrifice.
Richard Dudley Wood-Kneller I may have played truant on the day when it was sung.
Richard John Netherclift I think you dreamed it!!
ChrisandEleni Moorey I remember the “School hymn” as being “To Be a Pilgrim.” Usually sung at the first and last assembly of term.
BTW, “I Vow to Thee my Country” was set to a tune from Holst’s Planet Suite, Jupiter and I don’t think he approved. Similarly, Elgar hated the words of “Land of Hope and Glory” which used one of his Pomp and Circumstance Marches. On a similar theme but from the opposite angle, Blake would be spinning in his grave at the knowledge that his poem “Jerusalem”, a hymn to anarchism, free love and the destruction of the established church, should be converted to an anthem of jingoism and the Women’s Institute.
Or perhaps he’d be laughing hysterically.
ChrisandEleni Moorey Words of “To Be a Pilgrim”:
He who would valiant be ’gainst all disaster,
Let him in constancy follow the Master.
There’s no discouragement shall make him once relent
His first avowed intent to be a pilgrim.
Ralph Lane I’m familiar with “I Vow to Thee” and “To be A Pilgrim” but I don’t remember them nor any other song being especially associated with the school.
Keith Upton I’ll join Marcus with ‘In a word, NO.’
Mike Glue I certainly don’t remember it. St. Richard’s prayer was the school prayer, I seem to remember.
Mike Hancock OK – I stand corrected and will abide by the majority decision, which appears to cast me in the role of school idiot!! But in my head, every time I hear it, I think of the school and school assemblies! Ho hum.
Paul Taylor Never sung at CHSB when I was there. Jingoistic rubbish!
AG Pett I thought the school hymn was “Glorious Things of Thee are Spoken”? to the melody of the “Deutschlandlied” originally written by Joseph Haydn in 1797?
Ralph Lane That is indeed a stirring hymn – number 500 in “Songs of Praise” – and, yes, we did sing it quite often, sometimes using the – er – alternative lyrics.
AG Pett I remember the alternative version better than the real one I’m afraid!
ChrisandEleni Moorey Yes. By the time we were in the 5th form, we were far enough back in the hall to sing “Deutschland über alles.” Once in the 6th form we felt distant enough to sing “Life Presents a Doleful Picture”, a somewhat obscene rugby song to the same tune. 🙂 Happy days.
Trevor Tupper In the 9 years 1951-60 that I was there (4 years in the 6th) I never heard anything purporting to be the school song. I do remember singing “I vow to thee…” when I was in the CHSB Junior choir when we performed at the Esplanade Theatre in Bognor in 1953 as part of the West Sussex school choirs festival – we didn’t win! Oscar Lloyd did teach us the words of Sussex by the Sea and it was sung as an impromptu addition to a school concert also 1953 – Oscar was a great character with stories of his time in India and Kipling – he had been RK’s secretary in the distant past.
Keith Upton Talking about songs at school, the one line that sticks in my mind is ‘Oh hear us when we pray to Thee for those in trouble on the sea.’ This was probably because of the associated tragedy.
I remember KD announcing during assembly that the father of one of the pupils was a fisherman and he had been lost at sea. We then sang this song. There was another occasion too, and although this was another tragedy at sea it wasn’t directly associated with any of the pupils.
“When I arrived in 1947 (the year of the hardest winter ever) the School was musically impoverished. Then George Ayling arrived and introduced us to ‘Jupiter’ from Holst’s tastefully broadcast from an old radiogram placed in the Main Hall beneath the Honours Boards. Suggestions that the School Song was “I vow to thee my country” is a good try, after all, there is a link, Gustav’s ashes lie in Chichester Cathedral.The favoured choice for the School Song must, however, have been “Frère Jacques”, fiendishly slipped into the language curriculum to improve our French. I can still hear those boys sopranos voices’ wafting down the Schools freezing corridors. The plan never worked!