La Marseillaise

La Marseillaise

lah maar-say-YEZZ. Click below to hear this.

Today is Bastille Day, La Fête de la Bastille, le quatorze juillet. What better way to celebrate than with the French national anthem?

La Marseillaise must be one of the most famous and most recognized national anthems in the world. The title, literally, means the woman from Marseille. (Note that the name of the city does not end in s in French. That’s the English version.) I’m sure there’s a story there, but I’ll look it up some other time.

And this may be one of the most famous renditions of La Marseillaise: the one from the movie Casablanca:

Here are the words of the first stanza and the refrain. I doubt there are many French people who know the words to all seven stanzas, so this one will do nicely:

Allons enfants de la Patrie,
Le jour de gloire est arrive !
Contre nous de la tyrannie,
L’etendard sanglant est leve ! (bis)
Entendez-vous dans les campagnes
Mugir ces feroces soldats ?
Ils viennent jusque dans nos bras
Egorger nos fils et nos compagnes !


Aux armes, citoyens !
Formez vos bataillons !
Marchons ! marchons !
Qu’un sang impur
Abreuve nos sillons !

It sounds pretty bloodthirsty, but subsequent stanzas redeem the revenge theme by exhorting the troops to spare the innocent victims and to go after the tyrants.

Okay, now you can grab your French pastries and French wine, go watch the fireworks, and dance in the streets. Oh, wait…some of us aren’t in France. Oh well, do it anyway!

Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.

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