Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Norman Peterkin

Letter No.: 
VWL1846
Jan 1/1944

The White Gates,
Dorking.

Dear Peterkin

As usual the BBC are careless and ignorant.
As you say, the words in my Anthem are not from ‘Recessional’ but from “Puck of Pooks Hill”  I took the words from the text as given in “Songs of Praise” 488.1
I have omitted 2 or 3 verses -
It occurs to me that the people to apply for permission to use the words should be the BBC themselves.  They have done me the honour to ask me to write an Anthem for the celebration of what will be, I suppose, one of the most important events in the history of the world.  I can hardly imagine that Kipling’s executors would face the public scandal of refusing a request by the Governors of the BBC to make use of his words on such an occasion.
If they insist on the whole poem being printed we can print the extra verses with the direction that they are not to be sung.
Would it be worth your while to find out on what terms the O.U.P were allowed to use the words for Songs of Praise.
Yours sincerely

R. Vaughan Williams


1. Thanksgiving for victory, later called A song of thanksgiving, Catalogue of Works 1944/4.

Location of original letter:

Shelfmark of original letter: 
File 2042A
General notes: 

In the hand of AVW, signed by VW.

Format: 
Letter
Citation: 
Cobbe 423
Original database number: 
440101