Songs

William Blake's Jerusalem

And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England’s mountains green?
And was the Holy Lamb of God
On England’s pleasant pastures seen?
And did the Countenance Divine
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here
Among these dark satanic mills?

Bring me my bow of burning gold!
Bring me my arrows of desire!
Bring me my spear! O clouds, unfold;
Bring me my Chariot of fire!
I will not cease from mental fight,
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand,
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England’s green and pleasant land
.

The first verse of the National Anthem

God save our gracious Queen!
Long live our noble Queen!
God save the Queen!
Send her victorious,
Happy and glorious,
Long to reign over us,
God save the Queen.


For information on royal involvement with the WI please see:







A Tradition of Singing

Singing in the WI is traditional. At the beginning, William Blake's Jerusalem is sung and at the end the first verse of the National Anthem.  


Singing has always played a part in the WI.  Some people view Jerusalem in a solely religious light, but the WI is non-sectarian.  Jerusalem has been sung by WI members at the beginning of meetings since 1924, when it was first sung at the AGM held in The Queens Hall in London.  


It had been used by the National Union of Suffrage Societies in the 1918 celebrations of women's enfranchisement, and many of the leaders of the NFWI were part of the struggle to win the vote for women.  By singing Jerusalem, the WI marks its links with the wider women's movement and, with the rural imagery of the song, marks its commitment to 'improving the conditions of rural life'.