FOR the next installment in my coronation series, I thought it might be a good idea to begin at the beginning. The 122nd psalm has covered “The Entrance into the Church” in every English coronation since 1625, from Charles I to Her Present Majesty. I shall mostly be discussing the text of the psalm as it appeared in the orders of service, of course, so on the left-hand column we have it in the Coverdale translation. But lest any snobs of Biblical Criticism be lurking nearby to rescue us from the inaccurate translations of our forefathers, I reproduce on the right this splendid little hymn of the Hebrews as found in the venerable New Revised Standard Version.
I was glad when they said unto me : We will go into the house of the Lord.
Our feet shall stand in thy gates : O Jerusalem.
Jerusalem is built as a city : that is at unity in itself.
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.
For there is the seat of judgement : even the seat of the house of David.
O pray for the peace of Jerusalem : they shall prosper that love thee.
Peace be within thy walls : and plenteousness within thy palaces.
For my brethren and companions’ sakes : I will wish thee prosperity.
Yea, because of the house of the Lord our God : I will seek to do thee good.
A Song of Ascents. Of David.
I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord!”
Our feet are standing within your gates, O Jerusalem.
Jerusalem—built as a city that is bound firmly together.
To it the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord, as was decreed for Israel, to give thanks to the name of the Lord.
For there the thrones for judgment were set up, the thrones of the house of David.
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May they prosper who love you.
Peace be within your walls, and security within your towers.”
For the sake of my relatives and friends I will say, “Peace be within you.”
For the sake of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek your good.
While Ps. 122 first appears in the service in 1625, it would be wise to start this analysis by looking back one coronation further: the first English coronation conducted in the English tongue, that of James I in 1603. It provides an Entrance Anthem from Ps. 84: opening with verses 9-10 as a kind of antiphon (denoted by Protector Noster , the Latin incipit of v. 9) and followed by the entire psalm from start to finish (denoted by Quam dilecta, the incipit of v. 1).
The King is to bee receaued into the Churche with an Anthem.
Behould O Lord our protector, and look vppon the face of thine Annointed, because one daie in thy Cowrtes is better than a thowsand.
Psal. Quam dilecta. &c.
The King passing vpp the Bodie of the Churche, and so through the Quire, goeth vpp the Staires vnto his Throne of Estate, and there reposeth himself.
At the coronation of Charles I (1625) the surrounding rubrics remain quite similiar, but the first seven verses of Ps. 122 replace Ps. 84, and the Gloria Patri is removed:
The King and Queene are to be received into the Church with this Antheme.
Psalme. 122. Anth. 1.
I was glad when they said unto mee, we will go into the house of the Lord.
Our Feete shall stand in thy Gates ô Jerusalem.
Jerusalem is builded as a Citie that is at vnity within itselfe.
For thither the Tribes goe vpp, even the Tribes of the Lord : to testifie vnto Israel, to giue thankes vnto the name of the Lord.
For there is the Seate of Judgement : even the Seate of the house of Dauid.
O pray for the peace of Jerusalem : they shall prosper [that] love thee.
Peace be within thie Walls : and pleanteousnes within thy Pallaces.
The King and Queene thus passing vp the body of the Church and so through the Quire go vpp the Stayers and are placed in their Chayers of Estate. / (but not in their Thrones), and there they repose themselues.
It seems that “I was Glad” was a late substitution this time, since one manuscript of the order of service “has only the cue for this psalm, but has Quam dilecta… written out in full, but struck through with a diagonal line.”
The coronation of Charles II (1661) drops out verses 2, 3, and 7. Verses 4, 5, and 6 are now taken from the Authorized Version instead of the Prayer-Book Psalter, but curiously verse 1 remains as before.
The Anthem sung was the 1st, 4th, 5th, and 6th Verses of Psalm cxxii.
I was glad when they said unto me,We will go into the HOUSE of the LORD.
Whither the Tribes go up, the Tribes of the LORD, unto the Testi|mony of ISRAEL, to give Thanks unto the Name of the LORD.
For there are set Thrones of Judgment, the Throne of the HOUSE of DAVID.
Pray for the Peace of JERUSALEM, they shall prosper that love THEE.
The KING being arrived at the Faldstool, kneeled down, and used some private Ejaculations, which being finished, he thence proceeded into, and through, the Choir, up to the great Theatre, (erected close to the four high Pillars standing between the Choir and the Altar) upon which the Throne of State was placed, being a Square raised on five Degrees, at the Entrance whereof, were set a Chair, Footstool, and Cushion, covered with Cloth of Gold, whereon he reposed himself.
The Prayer-Book translation of “I was Glad” returns in full at the coronation of James II (1685), as does the psalm’s seventh verse, and there is a concluding Gloria Patri for the first time since James I:
Pſalm 122. Verſ. 1. I was glad when they ſaid unto me, we will go into the Houſe of the Lord.
Verſ. 4. For thither the Tribes go up, even the Tribes of the Lord : To testifie unto Iſrael, to give thanks unto the Name of the Lord.
Verſ. 5. For there is the Seat of Judgment : Even the Throne of the Houſe of David.
Verſ. 6. O pray for the peace of Jerusalem : They ſhall proſper that love thee.
Verſ. 7. Peace be within thy Walls : And plenteouſneſs within thy Palaces.
Glory be to the Father, &c.
As it was in the beginning, &c.
The notoriously papist brother of Charles II would have been gladder to go into a house of the Lord in communion with Rome, one assumes, but James II suffered himself to enter this heretical one as the price of a crown, and got to enjoy the Entrance Anthem sung to this setting by Henry Purcell.
At William and Mary’s coronation (1689) verse 2 returns to the Anthem, and there is another odd mixture of translations. Verses 1 and 2 are from the Authorized Version, verse 4 is AV for the first half and BCP for the second half, verse 5 is mostly AV but inserts an “even” and “thrones” from the BCP, verse 6 is BCP, and verse 7 is AV:
The King and Queen as soon as they enter at the West Door of the Church are to be Received with the following Anthem Sung by the Quire of [Westminster]. Who with the Dean and Prebendaries of that Church are before to fall off from the Procession a little to ye left side of the middle Ile, and stay there to attend the Coming of their [Majesties], and then going before them to sing.
Psalm. cxxii . 1. I was glad when they said unto me: Let us go into the house of the Lord.
2. Our Feet shall stand within thy Gates Ô Jerusalem.
4. For thither the Tribes go up even the Tribes of the Lord unto the Testimony of Israel : to give thanks unto ye Name of the Lord.
5. For there are sett Thrones of Judgment : even the Thrones 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 Prosperitie within thy Palaces.
Glory be to the Father &c.
As it was in the beginning &c.
The Queen and Queen the mean time passing up through the Body of the Church, into, and through the Quire, & so up the Stairs to the Theater; and having passed by their Thrones, (The King with part of the Procession on the South side and the Queen with the rest on the North side) they make their humble Adorations, and then kneeling each at the Faldstool set for them before their Chairs, use some short Private Prayers ; and after sit down (not in their Thrones but) in their Chairs before, & below their Thrones, and there repose themselves.
Queen Anne’s coronation (1702) uses the Entrance Anthem of William and Mary, except that “the Lord” reads “our Lord” in one of my sources. George I’s coronation (1714) slightly shortens the Anthem by the omission of verse 2; I presume the text of the remaining verses was as for Anne, but I cannot tell for sure, since I only have an outline of the order of service. With George II (1727), the long-suffering verse 2 returns from exile.
At George IV’s coronation (1821), verse 2 is again removed, as is verse 4. The remaining text now finally conforms to the translation of the Psalter in the Book of Common Prayer again, thus “Let us” becomes “we will,” “are set” becomes “is the,” two instances of “thrones” become “seat,” and “prosperity” becomes “plenteousnesss.” This leaves us with the following Anthem:
Psalm cxxii, verses 1, 5, 6, 7.
I was glad when they said unto me, We will go into the House of the Lord. For there is the seat of judgement, even the seat of the House of David. O pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee. Peace be within thy walls: and plenteousness within thy palaces. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
While the coronations of William IV (1831) and Victoria (1837) used the Entrance Anthem of George IV unchanged, Edward VII’s coronation (1902) subjected the Entrance Anthem to a thorough overhaul. The Gloria Patri was removed, as was the fifth verse of the psalm. No more would we hear about the “seat of the House of David.” (Doubtless disheartening to the “British Israelites” who believe the British royal family is directly descended from said House.) The Anthem’s overall length remains about the same, however, since verse 2 once again returns, and verse 3 shows up for the first time since 1625.
The new text was mated to a new musical setting by Hubert Parry, and both text and music have remained constant through the coronations of George V (1911), George VI (1937), and Elizabeth II (1953)… at least, mostly constant. For the King’s Scholars of Westminster School have an ancient privilege of hailing King and Queen by name (in Latin) as Their Majesties enter the Abbey, and though it does not form part of the official text of the service, Parry incorporated the Scholars’ cry “Vivat Alexandra Regina! Vivat Edwardus Rex!” into the Anthem between “unity in itself” and “O pray for the peace.” The Anthem has accordingly varied for the last four coronations according to the names and sexes of those being crowned.
Here follows the Entrance Anthem performed in 1953, with accompanying rubrics.
The Queen, as soon as she enters at the west door of the Church, is to be received with this Anthem:
Psalm 122, 1–3, 6, 7.
I was glad when they said unto me: We will go into the house of the Lord. Our feet shall stand in thy gates: O Jerusalem. Jerusalem is built as a city: that is at unity in itself.
At this point we hear the Scholars: “Vivat Regina! Vivat Regina Elizabetha! Vivat! Vivat! Vivat! Vivat Regina! Vivat Regina Elizabetha! Vivat! Vivat! Vivat! Vivat!” Since Prince Phillip is only a prince consort, not a king, he sadly does not get any Vivats for himself. And then the psalm resumes:
O pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee. Peace be within thy walls: and plenteousness within thy palaces.
The Queen shall in the mean time pass up through the body of the Church, into and through the choir, and so up the steps to the Theatre; and having passed by her Throne, she shall make her humble adoration, and then kneeling at the faldstool set for her before her Chair of Estate on the south side of the Altar, use some short private prayers; and after, sit down in her Chair.
Sans Vivats, the same Anthem was performed at the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton in 2011 – a wedding which incidentally featured another Parry composition in the hymn “Jerusalem.” The two pieces complement each other quite nicely:
Jerusalem is built as a city :
that is at unity in itself.
And was Jerusalem builded here,
Among these dark Satanic Mills?
Let us hope it someday will be builded there, by a king or queen glad to enter the House of the Lord.