France National Anthem

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Anthem History

La Marseillaise, the French national anthem, was composed in one night during the French Revolution (April 24, 1792) by Claude-Joseph Rouget de Lisle, a captain of the engineers and amateur musician stationed in Strasbourg in 1792. It was played at a patriotic banquet at Marseilles, and printed copies were given to the revolutionary forces then marching on Paris. They entered Paris singing this song, and to it they marched to the Tuileries on August 10th.

Ironically, Rouget de Lisle was himself a royalist and refused to take the oath of allegiance to the new constitution. He was imprisoned and barely escaped the guillotine. Originally entitled Chant de guerre de l'armée du Rhin (War Song of the Army of the Rhine), the anthem became called La Marseillaise because of its popularity with volunteer army units from Marseilles.

The Convention accepted it as the French national anthem in a decree passed July 14, 1795. La Marseillaise was banned by Napoléon during the Empire, and by Louis XVIII on the Second Restoration (1815), because of its revolutionary associations. Authorized after the July Revolution of 1830, it was again banned by Napoléon III and not reinstated until 1879.

Anthem Lyrics

La Marseillaise





Allons enfants de la patrie,


Le jour de gloire est arrivé


Contre nous de la tyrannie


L'étendard sanglant est levé


Entendez vous dans les campagnes,


Mugir ces féroces soldats?


Ils viennent jusque dans nos bras


Egorger nos fils, nos compagnes!





Refrain





Aux armes, citoyens!


Formez vos bataillons!


Marchons! Marchons!


Qu'un sang impur


Abreuve nos sillons!





Amour sacré de la patrie,


Conduis, soutiens nos bras vengeurs!


Liberté, Liberté cherie,


Combats avec tes defenseurs!


Sous nos drapeaux, que la victoire


Accoure à tes males accents!


Que tes ennemis expirants


Voient ton triomphe et notre gloire!





Refrain





Nous entrerons dans la carrière


Quand nos ainés n'y seront plus;


Nous y trouverons leur poussière


Et la trace de leurs vertus.


Bien moins jaloux de leur survivre


Que de partager leur cercueil,


Nous aurons le sublime orgueil


De les venger ou de les suivre!





Refrain

Anthem Lyrics English

Arise children of the fatherland


The day of glory has arrived


Against us tyranny's


Bloody standard is raised


Listen to the sound in the fields


The howling of these fearsome soldiers


They are coming into our midst


To cut the throats of your sons and consorts





To arms citizens


Form you battalions


March, march


Let impure blood


Water our furrows





What do they want this horde of slaves


Of traitors and conspiratorial kings?


For whom these vile chains


These long-prepared irons?


Frenchmen, for us, ah! What outrage


What methods must be taken?


It is we they dare plan


To return to the old slavery!





What! These foreign cohorts!


They would make laws in our courts!


What! These mercenary phalanxes


Would cut down our warrior sons


Good Lord! By chained hands


Our brow would yield under the yoke


The vile despots would have themselves be


The masters of destiny





Tremble, tyrants and traitors


The shame of all good men


Tremble! Your parricidal schemes


Will receive their just reward


Against you we are all soldiers


If they fall, our young heros


France will bear new ones


Ready to join the fight against you





Frenchmen, as magnanimous warriors


Bear or hold back your blows


Spare these sad victims


Who with regret are taking up arms against us


But not these bloody despots


These accomplices of Bouillé


All these tigers who pitilessly


Are ripping open their mothers' breasts





We shall enter into the pit


When our elders will no longer be there


There we shall find their ashes


And the mark of their virtues


We are much less jealous of surviving them


Than of sharing their coffins


We shall have the sublime pride


Of avenging or joining them





Sacred Love for the Fatherland


Lead and support our avenging arms


Liberty, cherished liberty


Join the struggle with your defenders


Under our flags, let victory


hasten to you virile (or manly) force


So that in death your enemies


See your triumph and our glory!

France Flag

Flag Date of Adoption 15 February 1794
Flag Symbolism three equal vertical bands of blue (hoist side), white, and red; known as the French Tricouleur (Tricolor); the design and/or colors are similar to a number of other flags, including those of Belgium, Chad, Ireland, Cote d'Ivoire, Luxembourg, and Netherlands; the official flag for all French dependent areas

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