I was glad

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I was glad (Latin incipit, Laetatus sum) is an introit commonly used in the Anglican church, and also used as an anthem traditionally sung at the coronation of the British monarch. Its most famous setting was written in 1902 by Sir Hubert Parry, which sets only verses 1–3,6,7.

The text of the anthem consists of verses from Psalm 122, from the psalter found in the 1662 Book of Common Prayer:

  1. I was glad when they said unto me : We will go into the house of the Lord.
  2. Our feet shall stand in thy gates : O Jerusalem.
  3. Jerusalem is built as a city : that is at unity in itself.
  4. For thither the tribes go up, even the tribes of the Lord : to testify unto Israel, to give thanks unto the Name of the Lord.
  5. For there is the seat of judgement : even the seat of the house of David.
  6. O pray for the peace of Jerusalem : they shall prosper that love thee.
  7. Peace be within thy walls : and plenteousness within thy palaces.
  8. For my brethren and companions' sakes : I will wish thee prosperity.
  9. Yea, because of the house of the Lord our God : I will seek to do thee good.

Most of the content of the psalm is a prayer for the peace and prosperity of Jerusalem, and its use in the coronation service clearly draws a parallel between Jerusalem and the United Kingdom, as William Blake had in his poem Jerusalem (which Parry set to music later, in 1916).

Use at coronations[edit]

Settings for earlier coronations were composed by Henry Purcell and William Boyce, among others. Thomas Attwood's setting was written for the coronation of King George IV in 1831.[1] Parry's version was composed for the coronation of King Edward VII in 1902, and revised in 1911 for that of King George V, when the familiar introduction was added. This setting employs antiphonal choir effects and brass fanfares. Apart from the imperial splendour of the music, the chief innovation is the incorporation in the central section of the acclamations "Vivat Rex ... " or "Vivat Regina ... " ("Long live King/Queen ...") with which the King's or Queen's Scholars of Westminster School have traditionally greeted the entrance of the monarch since the coronation of King James II in 1685.[2] This section, which has to be rewritten every time a new monarch is crowned - because the Sovereign (and his Consort) is mentioned by name - is generally omitted when the anthem is performed on other occasions. At the coronation of a king and queen, the vivat for the queen precedes that for the king. Parry indicated in the score scope for an improvisatory fanfare between the two, should the length of the procession and timing require it: the Scholars shout their greeting as the Sovereign (and his Consort) pass through the Quire and up into the Theatre.

Use at other events[edit]

Parry's setting of "I Was Glad" was performed on 29 April 2011 at the Westminster Abbey wedding of Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge (formerly Kate Middleton) as the processional music for the bride and her father and the bridal attendants.[3] It had previously been performed at the wedding of the Duke's parents, Charles, Prince of Wales and Diana, Princess of Wales in 1981.

Notable musical settings[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Gatens, William J (1987), Victorian Cathedral Music in Theory and Practice, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-26808-7 (p. 84)
  2. ^ Tanner, Lawrence E (1934), Westminster School: A History, Country Life Ltd, London (p. 36)
  3. ^ "Balcony kisses seal royal wedding". BBC News. Retrieved 24 March 2014. 

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