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Jerusalem: England’s National Anthem

By David Boyle

‘Jerusalem’, penned by the radical poet William Blake in 1804, has become one of the best-known poems in the English language. But Blake had no idea that these few stanzas would hold such national importance two hundred years on. Set to music, it became the unofficial English national anthem. What is the story behind its strange words? And how did it come to strike such a powerful chord with the nation, uniting left and right, republicans and monarchists alike? ‘Jerusalem’ is the compelling story of that song, and the men who created it.

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