Photo credit: http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/europe/07/11/ukdeaths.afghanistan/index.html
I Vow to Thee, My Country
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.
I heard my country calling, away across the sea,
Across the waste of waters she calls and calls to me.
Her sword is girded at her side, her helmet on her head,
And round her feet are lying the dying and the dead.
I hear the noise of battle, the thunder of her guns,
I haste to thee my mother, a son among thy sons.
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.
Cut and pasted from Wikipedia:
I Vow to Thee, My Country is a British patriotic song created in 1921 when a poem by Sir Cecil Spring-Rice was set to music by Gustav Holst.
The origin of the lyric is a poem by diplomat Cecil Spring-Rice which he wrote in 1908 whilst posted to the British Embassy in Stockholm. Then called Urbs Dei or The Two Fatherlands, the poem described how a Christian owes his loyalties to both his homeland and the heavenly kingdom. The first verse, as originally composed, had an overtly patriotic stance, which typified its pre-first world war era.
In 1912, Spring-Rice was appointed as Ambassador to the United States of America where he influenced the administration of Woodrow Wilson to abandon neutrality and join Britain in the war against Germany. After the Americans entered the war, he was recalled to Britain. Shortly before his departure from the US in January 1918, he re-wrote and renamed Urbs Dei, significantly altering the first verse to concentrate on the huge losses suffered by British soldiers during the intervening years.
The first and second verses refer to the United Kingdom, and particularly to the sacrifice of those who died during the First World War. The last verse, starting "And there's another country", is a reference to heaven. The final line is based on Proverbs 3:17, which reads in the King James Bible, "Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace."
It is associated with Remembrance Day services all over the Commonwealth of Nations.
Diana, Princess of Wales, requested that this hymn be sung at her wedding in 1981, saying that it had "always been a favourite since schooldays". It was also sung at her funeral in 1997 and her ten-year memorial thanksgiving service in 2007.
The third verse is a possible source for the title to both the play and the film Another Country, where the hymn is sung.