The National Music of America - online book

The Sources & Factors Influential In Forming America's Music.

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178 The National Music of America.
We can now examine the American usages of the tune, and it is important to our pur­pose to show that even in the eighteenth century the melody was known to almost every one in the United States. Its first patriotic setting was made by Robert Treat Paine, in 1798. Mr. Paine seems to have previously devoted his attention to the Ameri­can employment of English melodies, and in 1794 he had set "Rule Britannia," altering its sentiment into " Rise Columbia." As this was one of the earliest of the patriotic plagi­arisms, we append a fac-simile from an edition dated 1798.1
1 " Who wrote ' Rule Britannia ?' The discussion is raging rather fiercely in Scotland, and it bids fair to be as endless as the question, who composed ' God Save the Queen ?' Arne, of course, wrote the music of ' Rule Britannia,' but the words of the masque of ' Alfred ' (first performed in 1740 at Clieveden, then the residence of Frederick, Prince of Wales) were attributed jointly to David Mallet, a Perthshire poet, and James Thomson, the poet of ' The Seasons.' No one knows how much each wrote of the six lyrical pieces which the masque originally contained, but Mallet, when he rearranged
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