Song of the Day

“La Marseillaise”:

“Arise you children of the motherland,

The day of glory has arrived!

Against us tyranny

Has raised its bloodied banner,

Do you hear, in the fields

The howling of these fearsome soldiers?

They are coming into your midst

To slit the throats of your sons and consorts!

To arms, citizens!

Form your battalions!

Let us march, let us march!

May impure blood

Soak our fields’ furrows!”

(French and English lyrics — all seven verses’ worth — here.)

The U.S. Navy Band plays it here. And the French Embassy to the United States relates the song’s story — minus the detail that the composer/lyricist, Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle, was a moderate who supported the French monarchy and was thrown into prison after he penned the anthem — here.

2 Replies to “Song of the Day”

  1. I always liked “La Marseillaise.” The music is very stirring. The French to English translation seems a bit cumbersome though. Don’t get mad at me here, but it reads like something Saddam might have wished he’d penned. I’m sure the French has a better flow to it.
    Another very stirring melody–with political overtones–is “The Internationale.” Too bad it was probably a favorite of the happy workers during the Cultural Revolution, sung as they rounded up intellectuals and various capitalist roaders. Was it also the national anthem of the USSR? I could JFGI, but I thought I’d toss it out there.
    The words (motto?) Liberté Egalité Fraternité appear on most (all?) French currency. It is a good sentiment that is probably practiced better on some days than others. They are good ideals to aim for though. Hope you are well.

  2. In reading up on the song, I came across a mention of the connection between “La Marseillaise” and “The Internationale.” Originally, “The Internationale” (written just before the Paris Commune) used the tune to “La Marseillaise.” Later (1888), another French composer set the words to the tune used today (and yes, it did become the Soviet anthem; there’s a stirring scene in the Bolshie epic “And Quiet Flows the Don” where Red troops trapped and outnumbered by White Russian forces fight to the deaths singing “The Internationale.”

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