Lucy Vickery

Spectator competition winners: a song for Europe

Spectator competition winners: a song for Europe
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This week you were invited to fill a gap by providing lyrics for the European anthem. The powers that be behind the anthem, which has as its melody the final movement of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, chose to dispense with Friedrich von Schiller’s words. ‘There are no words to the anthem; it consists of music only,’ says the EU website, in bold type.

My request for suitable words elicited an absorbing, inventive postbag. I wondered if anyone might revisit Schiller’s 1785 ‘Ode to Joy’ and repurpose the following lines: ‘Yea, if any hold in keeping/ Only one heart all his own/ Let him join us, or else weeping/ Steal from out our midst, unknown.’ No one did, though there were frequent nods to other parts of the ode. Some entries sung on the page but fell down when I attempted a lusty rendition, which was a shame.

Three cheers for the worthy winners, who pocket £25 each. John Whitworth and Frank Upton were unlucky losers and W.J. Webster takes the extra fiver.

W.J. Webster

Fair Europa’s old, old story —

Innocence seduced by bull:

She was covered, not with glory,

Maid unmade, a trusting gull.

Out of such unnatural union

Came a still-born Eurostate,

Comity without communion,

Rule by distant delegate.

Symbol of this misconception,

Mined from German mother lode,

Sounds an anthem-like deception,

Brussels’ grand symphonic ode.

Joy is hymned as wealth increases

Where good trade for some has flowed:

Others, when the music ceases,

Only know a vast debt owed.

David Silverman

Freud and Schoenberg, Goethe, Foucault,

Cocteau, Faust and Nibelungs;

Overrated Goya, Munch and

Friedrich Schiller, Heine songs!

Who needs Bach or Schubert’s Lieder,

Beethoven, Brahms or Janacek?

Diderot, Descartes, Derrida? —

When you could have Ant and Dec!

How we’ll miss the great tradition

Of our friends across the wave:

Noddy Holder, One Direction,

Chuckle Brothers, Chas & Dave.

Ah! Your Only Fools and Horses,

Benny Hill and TOWIE styles —

What we’ll miss the most, of course, is

You — dear cultured Europhiles!

Paul Carpenter

Brothers of this greater union

Daughters of Elysium

Firm we stand in grand communion

Staving off oblivion

Meeting at our various summits

Shaking one another’s hands

While the euro ever plummets

Shafting all our southern lands

Quislings of the UK funken

Navigate their leaking boat

Clearly they are dead and sunken

By their futile Brexit vote

Leave us to our federating

Underneath this twelvefold star

With one voice communicating

Of our Mutter Angela

Basil Ransome-Davies

Sworn to see all hatreds vanish,

Friends from Portuguese to Balt,

Harmonised but never clannish,

Democratic to a fault.

Other nations try to sell us

Monstrous schemes of government.

Don’t believe them when they tell us

We are the Lost Continent.

We are honest, well-intentioned,

In our union good thoughts reign,

And the war is never mentioned

Lest it trigger members’ pain.

Farewell then to island nations

Who refuse to share our dream.

We shall last for generations,

Europe, mega-state supreme!

Paul Evans

Ten long years she’s pushed her trolley

Down that Brussels corridor;

Serving tea and being jolly,

Joy at Britain’s Euro core…

      Now the Brexit exit’s nearing,

      Joy’s recalled for one mishap:

Prompting universal cheering,

She spilled tea in Nigel’s lap!

London-born, and proudly British,

Joy’s decided to remain;

Her solution may seem skittish,

But she’s keen to stay, it’s plain…

      When the Brexit vote was carried

      She pursued a local boy.

She’s remaining, now she’s married,

This salute is owed to Joy!

Alan Millard

Mighty Europe, wisely guided,

Merkel’s daughter, Juncker’s son,

We, its members, undivided,

Bound in union, bow to none;

Conquerors in tribulation,

Willing slaves to Brussels’ writs,

Friends we’ll be with every nation,

All, except the bolshie Brits.

Blessed with Continental ardour

On we’ll march to pastures new,

And, by working ever-harder,

Lead the world in all we do;

Wars forgotten, wrangles righted,

Freed from ruptures, rifts and splits,

We, with all, shall be united,

All, except the bolshie Brits.

Anthony Lane’s ‘The Book of Jeremy’ appeared recently in the New Yorker (‘And there came from the same country a prophet, whose name was Jeremy. His beard was as the pelt of beasts, and his raiments were not of the finest…’) Your next challenge is to submit your version of either ‘The Book of Boris’, ‘The Book of Theresa’, ‘The Book of Tim’ or ‘The Book of Nicola’. Please email entries of up to 150 words to lucy@spectator.co.uk by midday on 28 June.