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[The American National Hymn]

The Illustrated London News, vol. 39, no. 1117, p. 489.

November 16, 1861

The American National Hymn.—It will be remembered, perhaps, that some Americans, sick of "Yankee Doodle," "Hail, Columbia!" and "The Star-spangled Banner," offered a prize of 500 dollars for a new national hymn. Twelve hundred "copies of verses" were forwarded to the committee appointed for selection and judgment, who, being men of some sense and taste, came to the decision—which might have been anticipated—that not one out of the twelve hundred was worthy the prize of £100. The labour of the committee, however, did not end here. They resolved to make a dollar volume out of the rejected hymns, and committed its arrangement to Mr. Richard Grant White, whose name is known on this side of the Atlantic as a painstaking editor and commentator on Shakspeare. This book of hymns has just been published in New York, printed on tinted paper, with an essay by Mr. White on "National Hymns; how they are written, and how they are not written," illustrated by the words and music of the most popular patriotic European hymns. Then follows a selection of the best and the worst of the rejected twelve hundred. The worst, of course, are expected to be the most entertaining, as Mr. White prints them verbatim et literatim, in all their grammatical and rhetorical effulgency.—Critic.

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