Letter: Uninspired by 'Jerusalem'

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The Independent Online
Sir: In his article on the Church of Scotland's rejection of the hymn based on William Blake's "Jerusalem", John Walsh seems to completely miss the point ("Bring no spears to 'Jerusalem' ", 18 May). His problem is illustrated very well by his anachronistic paragraph on Joseph of Arimathea.

If Joseph of Arimathea came to this part of the world, it was not England that he visited, but Britain, because "England" did not exist at that time. The Anglo-Saxons were still living in what is now Germany and did not invade Britain for another 500 years or so. Similarly any mention of the tales of the Holy Grail and King Arthur in reference to "England" is extremely misleading. The tales of King Arthur originate in Welsh literature and indicate an early British Welsh king striving to keep his Anglo-Saxon English enemies out of the sacred island of Britain and to prevent them from creating "England".

Mr Walsh's ethnocentric English viewpoint seems to prevent him from realising that neither the Scottish nor Welsh soul is likely to feel very inspired by singing a hymn that excludes them by talking about England instead of Britain. The fact is that, through a use of words which is offensive to the other two nations of the island of Britain, the hymn is limited in its appeal.