William Henry Roll

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They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning, We will remember them. --Laurence Binyon,"Ode of Remembrance"

I have gathered a posie of other men's flowers, and nothing but the string that binds them is mine own. --Michel Eyquem de Montaigne

Documenting your family history is a lifelong pursuit, a task of pleasure and research that is never completely finished.

Not to know one's ancestors, is to be a tree without roots, a stream without a source. --Kung-fut-se

The wind whispers through the trees, recalling words and dreams and memories of those who left us long ago. --Unknown

St. Basil of Caesarea, born about 330 A.D., said, "A tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds. A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love."


This website was created the old-fashioned way; it has been hand coded.

keep calm

Het Wilhelmus
The Proud Dutch National Anthem

flag of the netherlands

Flag of the Netherlands

The Dutch national anthem, the "Wilhelmus," has 15 eight-line verses. It was written between 1569 and 1578. Based on older songs, the "Wilhelmus" takes the form of an acrostic on the name of William of Orange, the leader of the Dutch revolt against Philip II of Spain. The lines were probably composed by a Dutch exile in Germany and polished by the poet and diplomat Philip van Marnix, Seigneur of Sint Aldegonde.

The first and sixth verses are usually sung on national occasions. In the first verse, Prince William vows that he will remain true to his country unto death; in the sixth, he prays to God for strength to rid the land of tyranny. In periods of oppression especially, these verses have had a powerful appeal for the people of the Netherlands.


On 10 May 1932, it was decreed that on all official occasions requiring the performance of the national anthem, the "Wilhelmus" was to be played. Before that time, the "Wilhelmus" had been sung on many official occasions and at many important events since 1568: events such as the siege of Haarlem in 1573 and the ceremonial entry of the Prince of Orange into Brussels on 18 September 1578. Trumpets sounded the "Wilhelmus" when Prince Maurice visited Breda, and again when he was received in state in Amsterdam in May 1618. When William V arrived in Schoonhoven in 1787, after the authority of the stadholders had been restored, the church bells played the "Wilhelmus" continuously.

By then, it had come to be called the "Princes' March", having been banned during the rule of the Patriot party. At the celebrations marking the birth of the child who would later be King William II on 16 December 1792, it was sung after High Mass in the Catholic church in Venlo. Following the surrender of 's-Hertogenbosch to the French on 9 October 1794, the garrison withdrew with full military honours to the sound of the "Wilhelmus."

However, by the foundation of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in 1813, the "Wilhelmus" had fallen out of favour. After a contest for a national anthem was held in 1815, a poem by Hendrik Tollens - "Wien Neerlands Bloed" (Whose Dutch Blood) - became popular. The music was by the composer J.W. Wilms. "Wien Neerlands Bloed" was gradually replaced by the "Wilhelmus" during the 19th century; the latter gained ground particularly after the southern Netherlands seceded in 1830. Indeed, the "Wilhelmus" was played and sung when new Acts of Parliament were promulgated. It was also played at the unveiling of the Plein 1813 independence memorial in The Hague in 1869, and again at the inauguration of Queen Wilhelmina in 1898. However, the Royal Netherlands Navy and the National Police Force continued to require a salute to honour both anthems until 1939.


In 1567, Prince William of Orange fled the Netherlands with thousands of other opponents of Spanish rule. The following year, he tried in vain to free his country from tyranny and religious persecution. But his three invasions with mercenaries from the Holy Roman Empire failed completely.

Source: Royal Netherlands Embassy.

William of Orange

William of Orange

Het Wilhelmus
Na de wijse van "Chartres."

Wilhelmus van Nassouwe
Ben ick van Duytschen bloet,
Den Vaderlandt ghetrouwe
Blijf ick tot inden doot:
Een Prince van Oraengien
Ben ick vrij onverveert,
Den Coninck van Hispaengien
Heb ick altijd gheeert.
In Godes vrees te leven
Heb ik altijd betracht,
Daerom ben ick verdreven
Om Landt om Luyd ghebracht;
Maer Godt sal my regeren
Als een goet Instrument,
Dat ick sal wederkeeren
In mijnen Regiment.

Lijdt u mijn Ondersaten
Die oprecht zijn van aert,
Godt sal u niet verlaten,
Al zijt ghy nu beswaert:
Die vroom begheert te leven
Bidt Godt nacht ende dach,
Dat hij my cracht wil gheven
Dat ick u helpen mach.

Lijf en goet al te samen
Heb ick u niet verschoont,
Mijn Broeders hooch van Namen
Hebbent u oock vertoont:
Graef Adolff is ghebleven,
In Vrieslandt in den Slach,
Zijn Siel int eewich Leven
Verwacht den Jongsten dach.

Edel en Hooch gheboren
Van Keyserlicken Stam:
Een vorst des Rijcks vercoren
Als een vroom Christen Man,
Voor Godes Woort ghepreesen,
heb ick vrij onversaecht,
Als een Helt sonder vreesen
Mijn Edel bloet ghewaecht.

Mijn Schilt ende betrouwen
Sijt ghy, O Godt mijn Heer,
Op u soo wil ick bouwen
verlaet my nemmermeer:
Dat ick doch vroom mach blijven
U dienaer taller stondt,
Die Tyranny verdrijven,
Die my mijn hert doorwondt.

Van al die mijn beswaren,
End mijn Vervolghers zijn,
Mijn Godt wilt doch bewaren
Den trouwen dienaer dijn:
Dat sy my niet verrasschen
In haren boosen moet,
Haer handen niet en wasschen
In mijn onschuldich bloet.

Als David moeste vluchten
Voor Saul den Tyran:
Soo heb ick moeten suchten
Met menich Edelman:
Maer Godt heeft hem verheven,
Verlost uut alder noot,
Een Coninckrijk ghegheven
In Israel seer groot.

Nae tsuer sal ick ontfanghen
Van Godt mijn Heer dat soet,
Daer na so doet verlanghen
Mijn Vorstelick gehemoet,
Dat is dat ick mach sterven.
Met eeren in dat Velt,
Een eewich Rijck verwerven
Als een ghetrouwe Helt

Niet doet mij meer erbarmen
In mijnen wederspoet,
Dan dat men siet verarmen
Des Conincks Landen goet,
Dat u de Spaengiaerts crenken
O Edel Neerlandt soet,
Als ick daet aen ghedencke
Mijn Edel hert dat bloet.

Als een Prins op gheseten.
Met mijner Heyres cracht,
Vanden Tyran vermeten
Heb ik den Slach verwacht,
Die by Maestricht begraven
Bevreesde mijn ghewelt,
Mijn Ruyters sachmen draven
Seer moedich door dat Velt.

Soo het den wille des Heeren
Op die tijt had gheweest,
Had ick gheern willen keeren
Van u dit swaer tempeest:
Maer de Heer van hier boven
Die alle dinck regeert,
Diemen altijt moet loven
En heeftet niet begheert.

Seer Christelick was ghedreven
Mijn Princelick ghemoet,
Stantvastich is ghebleven
Mijn hert in teghenspoet,
Den Heer heb ick ghebeden
Van mijnes herten gront,
Dat hij mijn saeck wil reden
Mijn onschult doen bekondt.

Oorlof mijn arme Schapen
Die zijt in grooten noot,
U Herder sal niet slapen
Al zijt ghy nu verstroyt:
Tot Godt wilt u begheven,
Sijn Heylsaem Woort neemt aen,
Als vrome Christen leven,
Tsal hier haest zijn ghedaan.


Voor Godt wil ick belijden
End zijnder grooter Macht,
Dat ick tot gheenen tijden
Den Coninck heb veracht;
Dan dat ick Godt den Heere
Der Hoochster Majesteyt,
Heb moeten obedieren
Inder gherechticheyt.


The Wilhelmus
To the melody of "Chartres."

Wilhelmus van Nassouwe
I am of Dutch blood.
Loyal to the Fatherland
I will be until I die:
A Prince of Orange
I am, and unafraid
The King of Spain
I have honoured always.
To live in fear of God
I always have attempted
That's why I was banned
From Country and from my Folk
But God will govern me
his proper Instrument
So I may then return
To my own Regiment.

Suffer ye, my underlings,
Your nature is devout
God will not desert you
Though you may feel down:
Attempt to live just
Pray to God night and day
That he may give you strength
So I may support you.

My life and goods and chattel
I have not spared for you
My High Esteemed Brothers
I did not tell you this:
Count Adolff stayed behind
In Friesland in the Battle
His Soul is in Eternal Life
Expecting the New Day.

I was born High and Noble
Of Regal Offspring twas
Chosen as the Kingdom's Royal
As a devout Christian Man
For Praise the Word of God
I have, free and fearless
As a Hero not spared myself
Taken care of my Regal blood.

My Shield and Trust
You are, O God, my Lord
I will build on you
Do not abandon me:
Make me devout forever
All ways being your servant
Drive out the tiranny
That cuts right through my heart.

From all those who oppress me
Those persecuting me
My God, will thou spare me
Who is your loyal servant:
May they not surprise me
With their evil will
May they not wash their hands
In my innocent blood.

Like David had to flee
From Saul and his tiranny
So I have had to sigh
With many Nobleman:
But God did elevate him,
Lift him from that place
Give unto him a Kingdom
In Israel in high esteem.

After bitter comes my sweet
Sweet things from God my Lord
I so long for this
With all my Regal mind,
That I desire to die
With honour in this Field
And so receive eternal Reign
Like a Hero worthy.

For nothing I grieve more
In my disappointments
Than when I see decay
To King's Country and Lands,
Than that the Spanish ravage
You Noble and Sweet Netherland
When I consider this
My Noble heart, it bleeds.

Like a Prince with head up high
With the strength of my Lord,
At a distance from the Tyrant
Did I expect the battle,
Those buried at Maestricht
Caused fear into my Fury
My Horsemen's valets hurried
With courage through that Field.

Would it have been God's will
In that time, I would have been
Well pleased to turn away
From you this heavy storm:
But the Lord who from above
All over things reigns
He must always be praised
He has not desired so.

My Princely mind was very
much driven as a Christian
My heart, in disappointment
Has remained its steadyness,
I supplicated the Lord
From the grounds of my heart,
That he would save my reason
And proclaim my innocence.

Hear ye, my poor flock
Who are in a great need,
Your Shepherd will not slumber
Though you may be shattered:
Dedicate to your God
And ye accept His Word,
Live as a devout Christian
Here time is almost neigh.

The Prince:

For God may I confess
Seeing His endless Might,
that never at no time
dismay I did The King;
That I for God the Lord
his Highest Might and Power
Obey I did allways
In justice and in truth.