Your King and Country Want You

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This song should not be confused with Your King and Country Need You (Pelham)
This song should not be confused with Your King and Country Need You (Trevor)

Original sheet music from 1914.

"Your King and Country Want You" was a British popular song, with both words and music by Paul Rubens. It was published in London in 1914, at the start of the First World War, by Chappell Music.[1] It was written as a "Woman's Recruiting Song" to be sung with the intention of persuading men to volunteer to fight in the War. The profits from its sale were to be given to "Queen Mary's Work for Women Fund".[1] The song raised over half a million pounds for the fund.[2]

Lyrics[edit]

The song lyrics were written to be sung by a woman, but alternative words could be used (listed in brackets) if sung by a man or by a mixed ensemble. The following complete set of lyrics are taken from the original sheet music:[1][3]

Verse 1:

We've watched you playing cricket And every kind of game
At football, golf and polo, You men have made your name,
But now your country calls you To play your part in war,
And no matter what befalls you, We shall love you all the more,
So come and join the forces As your fathers did before.

Refrain (to be sung after each verse):

Oh! we don't want to lose you but we think you ought to go
For your King and your Country both need you so;
We shall want you and miss you but with all our might and main
We shall cheer you, thank you, kiss you When you come back again.

Chorus (to be sung after each refrain):

Oh! we don't want to lose you but we think you ought to go
For your King and Country both need you so;
We shall want you and miss you but with all our might and main
We shall cheer you, thank you, kiss you When you come back again.

Verse 2:

We want you from all quarters So, help us, South and North
We want you in your thousands, From Falmouth to the Forth,
You'll never find us fail you When you are in distress,
So, answer when we hail you, And let your word be "Yes"
And so your name, in years to come Each mother's son shall bless.

Encore Verse:

It's easy for us women (people) To stay at home and shout,
But remember there's a duty To the men who first went out.
The odds against that handful Were nearly four to one,
And we cannot rest until It's man for man, and gun for gun!
And every woman's (body's) duty Is to see that duty done!

Recordings[edit]

Below is a list of artists who have recorded the song, record company (where known) and the recording date (where known):

Listen to the song[edit]

You can use the following links to listen to "Your King and Country Want You" being sung:

References and notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Your King & Country Want You", Sheet music, Chappell & Co., Ltd., 1914.
  2. ^ Pegler, Martin, Soldiers' Songs and Slang of the Great War Osprey Publishing, 2014, ISBN 9781427804150, page 254.
  3. ^ Copyright Status: Paul Rubens died on 5 Feb 1917, so the lyrics for this song have been out of copyright in the UK since 1 Jan 1988.
  4. ^ a b c d The AHRC Research Centre for the History and Analysis of Recorded Music. Accessed 4 May 2013
  5. ^ a b First World War.com – Helen Clark and Edna Thornton. Accessed 4 May 2013