XXXIII. THE NATIONAL ANTHEM.
It is alleged by some (fn. 1) that the words of this Anthem were
written by Ben Jonson, and the music composed by Dr. John
Bull for the Merchant Taylors' Company, in honour of King
James the 1st, A.D. 1607, set forth in the last Memorial.
It is undoubtedly true—
1. That James I. (with Prince Henry), was entertained in
Merchant Taylors' Hall on the 16th July 1607.
2. That Ben Jonson was engaged by the Company "about
a speech to be made to welcome His Majesty, by reason that
the Company doubt their Schoolmasters and Scholars be not
acquainted with such kind of entertainment."
3. That Dr. John Bull "did play all the dinner-time, and
the children of the King's Chapel did sing melodious songs at
the said dinner"; "after which His Majesty came down to the
great Hall—did hear a melodious song of farewell by three
rare men in a ship, being apparelled in watchet silk like seamen:
which song so pleased His Majesty that he caused the same to
be sung three times over."
4. That Dr. Jno. Bull was admitted to the Livery (though
not sworn) "for his love and kindness in bestowing the music
which was performed in the King's Chamber gratis," and the
Company "mean not that this calling into the Livery hath
any burthen or charge to him further than as shall stand with
his own good liking."
5. That Dr. Bull went out of this kingdom in 1613, and of
this world in 1622, leaving a song entitled "God save the
|| See Clark's account, printed and published in 1822 by W. Wright (London).
Others have insisted that the song dates only from 1745.—See Gentleman's Magazine,
vols. xcv. (p. 206); and xcvi. (p. 440).