The Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star doesn’t think the bill that would make “Our Great Virginia” our Virginia state anthem — set to the tune of “Shenandoah” and sponsored by Speaker Bill Howell — should be passed into law. To wit:
If Virginia is indeed in the mood to revisit the matter of its musical representation, it should consider its options.
The eight finalists from the old subcommittee remain on its website. They include an old Carter Family song, “Longing for Old Virginia.”
Its merits include a lack of offensive lyrics.
No offensive lyrics? I mean, if that’s a hurdle to jump then great start, I suppose…
But I digress. I’ve long argued that there are excellent alternatives, “Shenandoah” being one of them. Eddie From Ohio’s “Old Dominion” is a close second and a shop favorite here.
But for a really chest thumping anthem? One that really screams Virginia? You couldn’t do worse than “Jefferson and Liberty” could you?
The full lyrics:
The gloomy night before us flies,
The reign of terror now is o’er;
Its gags, inquisitors, and spies,
Its herds of harpies are no more!
Rejoice, Columbia’s sons, rejoice!
To tyrants never bend the knee,
But join with heart, and soul, and voice,
For Jefferson and Liberty!
No lordling here, with gorging jaws
Shall wring from industry the food;
Nor fiery bigot’s holy laws
Lay waste our fields and streets in blood!
Here strangers from a thousand shores
Compelled by tyranny to roam,
Shall find amidst abundant stores,
A nobler and happier home.
Here Art shall lift her laurelled head,
Wealth, Industry, and Peace, divine;
And where dark, pathless forests spread,
Rich fields and lofty cities shine.
From Europe’s wants and woes remote,
A friendly waste of waves between,
Here plenty cheers the humblest cot,
And smiles on every village green.
Here free as air, expanded space,
To every soul and sect shall be —
That sacred privilege of our race —
The worship of the Deity.
Let foes to freedom dread the name;
But should they touch the sacred tree,
Twice fifty thousands swords would flame
For Jefferson and liberty.
From Georgia to Lake Champlain,
From seas to Mississippi’s shore,
Ye sons of freedom loud proclaim —
“The reign of terror is no more.”
Now that’s a state anthem! Though one could suppose that mentions of “streets in blood” and “worship of the Diety” might be just a tad offensive for some more tender sentiments…