Epilogue: how not to write a national anthem

The book’s final chapter is largely about me trying to write Switzerland a new anthem to replace its far-too-Godly Swiss Psalm:

My entry was called Nous Sommes la Suisse and I should put it up here, but the person who sung it for me would hunt me down with a rusty knife if I did!

Rest assured my entry was appalling, but even if it had been adopted, it wouldn’t have overnight become the world’s worst anthem. That honour probably goes to the United Nations’ song written by the poet W H Auden and composer Pablo Casals.

“Let mortals beware / Of words, for / With words we lie / Can say peace / When we mean war”, it goes at one point. Mortals should also beware that famous poets will produce something totally unsingable if given the chance!

The best anthems are, and will always be, those that have come up from the street: la Marseillaise first among them.

But, please, pick your own favourite. And if you don’t think your own is any good, write a new one. Just don’t follow W H Auden’s example!

Back to the start

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