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.
And there's another country, I've heard of long ago,
most dear to them that love her, most great to them that know;
we may not count her armies, we may not see her king;
her fortress is a faithful heart, her pride is suffering;
and soul by soul and silently her shining bounds increase,
and her ways are ways of gentleness and all her paths are peace.
Words by Cecil Spring-Rice (1859-1918), sung to the stirring cantabile tune in the Jupiter movement from The Planets by Gustav Holst. The tune when extracted for this purpose is called Thaxted (the name of the Essex town where he lived 1914-1925), though the hymn as such (words + music) is called I Vow to Thee, My Country.
It was played at the wedding of Lady Diana Spencer to The Prince of Wales at her request, a favourite hymn of hers. It was also sung at her funeral on 6 September 1997.
* Thanks to our hymn expert Tiefling for explaining the different between the name of the hymn and the name of the tune of the hymn; no wonder Alice got confused by the White Knight.
Thanks also to a scar faery for the note from her hymnbook, saying "The author, at the end of his service as Ambassador in Washington in 1918, and at a dark hour of the First World War, sent these verses to an American friend, adding that 'the greatest object of all -- at the most terrific cost and the most tremendous sacrifice -- will, I hope, at last be permanently established, Peace."