- La Marseillaise
La Marseillaise English: The Song of Marseille
Rouget de Lisle, composer of the Marseillaise, sings it for the first time at the home of Dietrich, Mayor of Strasbourg (Musée historique de Strasbourg, published 1849, artist Isidore Pils)
National anthem of
Lyrics Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle, 1792 Music Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle, 1792 Adopted 1795 Music sampleLa Marseillaise (instrumental)
"La Marseillaise" ("The Song of Marseille"; French pronunciation: [la maʁsɛˈjɛz]) is the national anthem of France. The song, originally titled "Chant de guerre pour l'Armée du Rhin" ("War Song for the Army of the Rhine") was written and composed by Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle in 1792. The French National Convention adopted it as the Republic's anthem in 1795. The name of the song is due to first being sung on the streets by volunteers from Marseille.
The song is the first example of the "European march" anthemic style. The anthem's evocative melody and lyrics have led to its widespread use as a song of revolution and its incorporation into many pieces of classical and popular music (see below: Musical quotations).
Rouget de Lisle completed the song Chant de guerre pour l'Armée du Rhin in Strasbourg. He dedicated the song to Marshal Nicolas Luckner, a Bavarian in French service from Cham. The melody soon became the rallying call to the French Revolution and was adopted as La Marseillaise after the melody was first sung on the streets by volunteers (fédérés in French) from Marseille. These fédérés were making their entryway into Paris on 30 July 1792 after a young volunteer from Montpellier called François Mireur had sung it at a patriotic gathering in Marseille, and the troops adopted it as the marching song of the National Guard of Marseille. A newly graduated medical doctor, Mireur, later became a general under Napoléon Bonaparte and died in Egypt at age 28.
The song's lyrics reflect the invasion of France by foreign armies (from Prussia and Austria), underway when it was written; Strasbourg itself was attacked just a few days later. The invading forces were repulsed from France following their defeat in the Battle of Valmy.
The Convention accepted it as the French national anthem in a decree passed on 14 July 1795, making it France's first anthem; but it lost this status under Napoleon I, and the song was banned outright by Louis XVIII, and Napoleon III, only being re-instated briefly after the July Revolution of 1830. During Napoleon I's reign, Veillons au Salut de l'Empire was the unofficial anthem of the regime, and in Napoleon III's reign, it was Partant pour la Syrie. During the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, "La Marseillaise" was recognised as the anthem of the international revolutionary movement, and in 1871, it had been adopted by the Paris Commune. Eight years later in 1879, it was restored as France's national anthem, and has remained so ever since.
"La Marseillaise" was arranged for soprano, chorus and orchestra by Hector Berlioz in about 1830.
In Peru and Chile, both the Partido Aprista Peruano and the Socialist Party of Chile wrote their own versions of "La Marseillaise" to be their anthems.
This song was also sung by Mireille Mathieu with some lyrics jump.
Robert Schumann used part of "La Marseillaise" for his 1840 setting (Op. 49, No. 1) of Heinrich Heine's poem "Die Beiden Grenadiere" (The Two Grenadiers). The quotation appears at the end of the song when the old French soldier dies. Schumann also incorporated "La Marseillaise" as a major motif in his overture Hermann und Dorothea, inspired by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, and quotes it, in waltz rhythm, in the first movement of Faschingsschwank aus Wien, for solo piano.
Richard Wagner also quotes from "La Marseillaise" in his 1839-40 setting of a French translation of Heine's poem.
Giuseppe Verdi quotes from "La Marseillaise" in his patriotic anthem Hymn of the Nations, which also incorporates God Save the King and Il Canto degli Italiani. In his 1944 film, the Italian conductor Arturo Toscanini also incorporated The Internationale for the Soviet Union and The Star Spangled Banner representing the United States.
In 1882, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky quoted "La Marseillaise" to represent the invading French army in his 1812 Overture. He also quoted the Russian national anthem he was familiar with, to represent the Russian army. However, neither of these anthems was actually in use back in 1812.
Claude Debussy quotes the anthem in the coda of his piano prelude, Feux d'artifice.
Edward Elgar quoted the opening of "La Marseillaise" in his choral work The Music Makers, Op. 69 (1912), based on Arthur O'Shaughnessy's Ode, at the line "We fashion an empire's glory", where he also quotes the opening phrase of "Rule, Britannia!".
Max Steiner weaves quotes from "La Marseillaise" throughout his score for the 1942 film Casablanca. It also forms an important plot element when patrons of Rick's "Café Américain" sing part of the actual song to drown out Nazi officers who had started singing "Die Wacht am Rhein".
In 2009, Thrash Metal band Metallica played their version of "La Marseillaise" as an intro to "Master Of Puppets". This was recorded live as part of their DVD Français Pour Une Nuit ("French for a Night") from Nimes.
Several musical antecedents have been cited for the melody:
- Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 25
- the credo of the fourth mass of Holtzmann of Mursberg
- the Oratorio Esther by Jean Baptiste Lucien Grison
Only the first verse (and sometimes the sixth and seventh) and the first chorus are sung today in France. There are some slight historical variations in the lyrics of the song; the following is the version listed at the official website of the French Presidency.
Allons enfants de la Patrie, Arise, children of the Fatherland, Le jour de gloire est arrivé ! The day of glory has arrived! Contre nous de la tyrannie, Against us of tyranny L'étendard sanglant est levé, (bis) The bloody banner is raised, (repeat) Entendez-vous dans les campagnes Do you hear, in the countryside, Mugir ces féroces soldats ? The roar of those ferocious soldiers? Ils viennent jusque dans nos bras They're coming right into our arms Égorger nos fils et nos compagnes ! To cut the throats of our sons and women! Aux armes, citoyens, To arms, citizens, Formez vos bataillons, Form your battalions, Marchons, marchons ! Let's march, let's march! Qu'un sang impur That an impure blood Abreuve nos sillons ! Waters our furrows! Que veut cette horde d'esclaves, What does this horde of slaves, De traîtres, de rois conjurés ? Of traitors and conjured kings want? Pour qui ces ignobles entraves, For whom are these vile chains, Ces fers dès longtemps préparés ? (bis) These long-prepared irons? (repeat) Français, pour nous, ah ! quel outrage Frenchmen, for us, ah! What outrage Quels transports il doit exciter ! What fury it must arouse! C'est nous qu'on ose méditer It is us they dare plan De rendre à l'antique esclavage ! To return to the old slavery! Aux armes, citoyens... To arms, citizens... Quoi ! des cohortes étrangères What! Foreign cohorts Feraient la loi dans nos foyers ! Would make the law in our homes! Quoi ! Ces phalanges mercenaires What! These mercenary phalanxes Terrasseraient nos fiers guerriers ! (bis) Would strike down our proud warriors! (repeat) Grand Dieu ! Par des mains enchaînées Great God ! By chained hands Nos fronts sous le joug se ploieraient Our brows would yield under the yoke De vils despotes deviendraient Vile despots would have themselves Les maîtres de nos destinées ! The masters of our destinies! Aux armes, citoyens... To arms, citizens... Tremblez, tyrans et vous perfides Tremble, tyrants and you traitors L'opprobre de tous les partis, The shame of all parties, Tremblez ! vos projets parricides Tremble! Your parricidal schemes Vont enfin recevoir leurs prix ! (bis) Will finally receive their reward! (repeat) Tout est soldat pour vous combattre, Everyone is a soldier to combat you S'ils tombent, nos jeunes héros, If they fall, our young heroes, La terre en produit de nouveaux, The earth will produce new ones, Contre vous tout prêts à se battre ! Ready to fight against you! Aux armes, citoyens... To arms, citizens... Français, en guerriers magnanimes, Frenchmen, as magnanimous warriors, Portez ou retenez vos coups ! You bear or hold back your blows! Épargnez ces tristes victimes, You spare those sorry victims, À regret s'armant contre nous. (bis) Who arm against us with regret. (repeat) Mais ces despotes sanguinaires, But not these bloodthirsty despots, Mais ces complices de Bouillé, These accomplices of Bouillé, Tous ces tigres qui, sans pitié, All these tigers who, mercilessly, Déchirent le sein de leur mère ! Rip their mother's breast! Aux armes, citoyens... To arms, citizens... Amour sacré de la Patrie, Sacred love of the Fatherland, Conduis, soutiens nos bras vengeurs Lead, support our avenging arms Liberté, Liberté chérie, Liberty, cherished Liberty, Combats avec tes défenseurs ! (bis) Fight with thy defenders! (repeat) Sous nos drapeaux que la victoire Under our flags, shall victory Accoure à tes mâles accents, Hurry to thy manly accents, Que tes ennemis expirants That thy expiring enemies, Voient ton triomphe et notre gloire ! See thy triumph and our glory! Aux armes, citoyens... To arms, citizens... (Couplet des enfants) (Children's Verse) Nous entrerons dans la carrière We shall enter the (military) career Quand nos aînés n'y seront plus, When our elders are no longer there, Nous y trouverons leur poussière There we shall find their dust Et la trace de leurs vertus (bis) And the trace of their virtues (repeat) Bien moins jaloux de leur survivre Much less keen to survive them Que de partager leur cercueil, Than to share their coffins, Nous aurons le sublime orgueil We shall have the sublime pride De les venger ou de les suivre Of avenging or following them Aux armes, citoyens... To arms, citizens... English versification, public domain 
Ye sons of France, awake to glory, Hark, hark! what myriads bid you rise! Your children, wives and white-haired grandsires. Behold their tears and hear their cries! (repeat) Shall hateful tyrants, mischiefs breeding, With hireling hosts, a ruffian band, Affright and desolate the land, While peace and liberty lie bleeding? To arms, to arms, ye brave! The avenging sword unsheath, March on, march on! All hearts resolv'd On victory or death! Now, now, the dangerous storm is rolling Which treacherous kings confederate raise! The dogs of war, let loose, are howling, And lo! our fields and cities blaze! (repeat)
alt: And lo! our homes will soon invade!
And shall we basely view the ruin While lawless force with guilty stride Spreads desolation far and wide With crimes and blood his hands embruing? To arms, to arms, ye brave!... With luxury and pride surrounded The vile insatiate despots dare, Their thirst of power and gold unbounded, To mete and vend the light and air! (repeat) Like beasts of burden would they load us, Like gods would bid their slaves adore, But man is man, and who is more? Then shall they longer lash and goad us? To arms, to arms, ye brave!... O Liberty, can man resign thee Once having felt thy generous flame? Can dungeons, bolts or bars confine thee Or whips thy noble spirit tame? (repeat) Too long the world has wept, bewailing That falsehood's dagger tyrants wield, But freedom is our sword and shield, And all their arts are unavailing. To arms, to arms, ye brave!...
These verses were omitted from the national anthem for unknown reasons.
Dieu de clémence et de justice God of mercy and justice Vois nos tyrans, juge nos coeurs See our tyrants, judge our hearts Que ta bonté nous soit propice Thy goodness be with us Défends-nous de ces oppresseurs (bis) Defend us from these oppressors (repeat) Tu règnes au ciel et sur terre You reign in heaven and on earth Et devant Toi, tout doit fléchir And before You all must bend De ton bras, viens nous soutenir In your arms, come support us Toi, grand Dieu, maître du tonnerre. You Great God, Lord of the thunder. Aux armes, citoyens, To arms, citizens, Peuple français, connais ta gloire ; French people know thy glory Couronné par l’Égalité, Crowned by Equality, Quel triomphe, quelle victoire, What a triumph, what a victory, D’avoir conquis la Liberté ! (bis) To have won Freedom! (repeat) Le Dieu qui lance le tonnerre The God who throws thunder Et qui commande aux éléments, And who commands the elements, Pour exterminer les tyrans, To exterminate the tyrants Se sert de ton bras sur la terre. Uses your arm on the ground. Aux armes, citoyens... To arms, citizens... Nous avons de la tyrannie Of tyranny, we have Repoussé les derniers efforts; Rebuffed the final efforts; De nos climats, elle est bannie ; In our climate, it is banished; Chez les Français les rois sont morts. (bis) In France the kings are dead. (repeat) Vive à jamais la République ! Forever live the Republic! Anathème à la royauté ! Anathema to royalty! Que ce refrain, partout porté, That this refrain worn everywhere, Brave des rois la politique. Defies the politics of kings. Aux armes, citoyens... To arms, citizens... La France que l’Europe admire France that Europe admires A reconquis la Liberté Has regained Liberty Et chaque citoyen respire And every citizen breathes Sous les lois de l’Égalité ; (bis) Under the laws of Equality, (repeat) Un jour son image chérie One day its beloved image S’étendra sur tout l’univers. Will extend throughout the universe. Peuples, vous briserez vos fers People, you will break your chains Et vous aurez une Patrie ! And you will have a Fatherland! Aux armes, citoyens... To arms, citizens... Foulant aux pieds les droits de l’Homme, Trampling on the rights of man, Les soldatesques légions soldierly legions Des premiers habitants de Rome The first inhabitants of Rome Asservirent les nations. (bis) enslave nations. (repeat) Un projet plus grand et plus sage A larger project and wiser Nous engage dans les combats We engage in battle Et le Français n’arme son bras And the Frenchman does not arm himself Que pour détruire l’esclavage. But to destroy slavery. Aux armes, citoyens... To arms, citizens... Oui ! Déjà d’insolents despotes Yes! Already insolent despots Et la bande des émigrés And the band of emigrants Faisant la guerre aux Sans-Culottes Waging war on the unclothed (lit. without-breeches) Par nos armes sont altérés; (bis) By our weapons are withered; (repeat) Vainement leur espoir se fonde Vainly their hope is based Sur le fanatisme irrité, On piqued fanaticism Le signe de la Liberté The sign of Liberty Fera bientôt le tour du monde. Will soon spread around the world. Aux armes, citoyens... To arms, citizens... À vous ! Que la gloire environne, To you! Let glory surround Citoyens, illustres guerriers, Citizens, illustrious warriors, Craignez, dans les champs de Bellone, Fear in the fields of Bellona, Craignez de flétrir vos lauriers ! (bis) Fear the sullying of your laurels! (repeat) Aux noirs soupçons inaccessibles As for dark unfounded suspicions Envers vos chefs, vos généraux, Towards your leaders, your generals, Ne quittez jamais vos drapeaux, Never leave your flags, Et vous resterez invincibles. And you will remain invincible. Aux armes, citoyens... To arms, citizens... (Couplet des enfants) (Children's Verse) Enfants, que l’Honneur, la Patrie Children, let Honour and Fatherland Fassent l’objet de tous nos vœux ! be the object of all our wishes! Ayons toujours l’âme nourrie Let us always have souls nourished Des feux qu’ils inspirent tous deux. (bis) With fires that might inspire both. (repeat) Soyons unis ! Tout est possible ; Let us be united! Anything is possible; Nos vils ennemis tomberont, Our vile enemies will fall, Alors les Français cesseront Then the French will cease De chanter ce refrain terrible : To sing this fierce refrain: Aux armes, citoyens... To arms, citizens...
Historical use in Russia
In Russia, La Marseillaise was used as a republican revolutionary anthem by those who knew French starting in the 18th century, almost simultaneously with its adoption in France. In 1875 Peter Lavrov, a narodist revolutionary and theorist, wrote a Russian-language text (not a translation of the French one) to the same melody. This "Worker's Marseillaise" became one of the most popular revolutionary songs in Russia and was used in the Revolution of 1905. After the February Revolution of 1917, it was used as the semi-official national anthem of the new Russian republic. Even after the October Revolution, it remained in use for a while alongside The Internationale.
In popular culture
- Django Reinhardt used the theme in "Échos de France"
- The Beatles used the song as an introduction to "All You Need Is Love"
- The anarcho-punk band Crass used the main theme and other extracts in both unaltered form and variations in their song "Bloody Revolutions".
- Thunderclap Newman incorporated the song into their 1969 single "Something in the Air".
- Neil Hannon used the primary melody for The Divine Comedy's 1996 single "Frog Princess"
- Jimi Hendrix during an 1967 Paris concert, played a psychedelic version of the anthem. A video recording of the concert was immediately confiscated by the French government due to the perceived insult to national heritage.
- Frank Sinatra, as part of French Foreign Legion
- In 1978, Serge Gainsbourg recorded a reggae version, "Aux armes et cætera", with Robbie Shakespeare, Sly Dunbar and Rita Marley in the choir in Jamaica, which resulted in him being threatened by members of an association of former paratroopers, who wanted to prevent him from singing it in a public concert.
- The Slovenian industrial/techno music group Laibach’s album Volk features a version, with Laibach’s own lyrics. The album Volk (album) is entirely composed of songs which are based on various national anthems.
- Allan Sherman, You Went the Wrong Way, Old King Louie begins with a parody of the Marseillaise before heading into a recitative and then settling into a parody of You’ve Come a long Way from St. Louis. His version begins, “Louis the Sixteenth was the king of France in 1789 / He was worse than Louis the Fifteenth, he was worse than Louis the Fourteenth, he was worse than Louis the Thirteenth/He was the worst, since Louis the First!”)
- There are various versions of the music. Sheet music can be found at
marseillaise.org. An official version from the website of the French President can be found at the wayback machine's archive here: Wave File (660 KB).
- The German industrial band Einstürzende Neubauten use a piece of the Beatles' introduction to All You Need Is Love in their song Headcleaner I on the album Tabula Rasa which also contains lyrical references to the earlier mentioned Beatles song.
- The Finnish Cello Metal band Apocalyptica incorporated the song into their live performance of "In the Hall of the Mountain King" in Paris, 31 October 2010.
- Hong Kong singer Hacken Lee integrated the anthem as an opening to his World Cup 1998 theme song "The Strange Encounters of a Soccer Fan."
- Opera and theatre
- "La Marseillaise" is quoted in Rossini's 1813 opera, L'italiana in Algeri during the choral introduction to Isabella's 2nd act aria "Pensa alla patria." This quotation, as well as the patriotic subject matter of the aria, caused the aria to be heavily censored in pre-unification 19th century Italy.
- The song's theme was used by Jacques Offenbach in his Opera "Orpheus in the Underworld" to illustrate a revolution amongst the Olympic gods and goddesses with the lines "Aux armes Dieux et Demi-Dieux".
- The song occurs in the Monty Python's Broadway musical Spamalot" when confronted by French knights in the song "Run Away!"
- The song was also sung by Mireille Mathieu
- Films and television
- "La Marseillaise" was famously used in Casablanca at the behest of Victor Laszlo (Paul Henreid) to drown out a group of German soldiers singing "Die Wacht am Rhein".
- "La Marseillaise" was used in the film, Escape to Victory, also known as Victory.
- In the autobiographical movie La Vie en Rose, chronicling the life of Edith Piaf, ten-year-old Edith is urged by her acrobat father to "do something" in the middle of a lackluster show and she amazes the audience with an emotional rendition of "La Marseillaise".
- The introductory theme in the film Carry on Abroad includes the first few seconds of "La Marsellaise", despite the fact the film is set in Spain.
- The tune is used for the Anthem of Springfield in The Simpsons Movie. It is played behind the end credits with the words "Springfield doesn't have an anthem, We thought we had one, but we don't ... The tune we stole from the French..." It was supposed to be played when the bomb has just came but it was cut.
- The song is featured in the Monty Python sketches, "A Man with a Tape Recorder up His Nose" and "A Man with a Tape Recorder up His Brother's Nose"
- The British comedy series 'Allo 'Allo! spoofed Casablanca by having the patriotic French characters start singing "La Marseillaise", only to switch to Deutschlandlied when Nazi officers enter their cafe.
- In the cartoon I Am Weasel, when the character I.R. Baboon tries to make a transatlantic bridge from the United States to France, he mistakenly builds it to Mexico. When he reaches the end, he sings a song with a similar tune.
- In the Mr. Otis Regrets episode of Cheers, after Sam lies about a tryst with Robin Colcord's French mistress enough to make Rebecca insecure enough to get Sam to teach her, he says he's going to "invade France!" in turn Cliff, Norm, Frasier, and the rest of the bar line up, humming "La Marseillaise", as he marches in front of them then into Rebecca's office.
- In the Irish comedy Father Ted, Father Jack Hackett stands up and puts his hand on his heart any time that he hears it played.
- In Two and a Half Men, Alan clucks (like a chicken) in the tune of La Marseillaise, after Charlie flees from an ex-lover's husband. Charlie insultingly called Alan 'French' when he called fighting pointless.
- The Brisbane Lions Australian rules football (AFL) team theme song "The Pride of Brisbane Town" is sung to the music of "La Marseillaise". This song was adapted from the Fitzroy Lions song, also sung to the same music, used since the 1950s.
- An English language "rugby song" version exists, as known in France among rugby fans.
- Pro wrestler Dino Bravo used it as his entrance theme in the WWE.
- It is used in the Punch-Out series, as the French boxer Glass Joe's intro music
- At the end of Guy de Maupassant's novella Boule de Suif, which is set against the backdrop of the French defeat in the Franco-Prussian War, the character Cornudet whistles and sings "La Marsellaise" for hours during a long carriage ride in order to torment his fellow passengers, who have revealed themselves to be cowards and hypocrites, unworthy of the high ideals expressed in the anthem.
- It is also featured in Isaac Asimov's short science fiction story Battle-hymn about how the national anthem is used as a subliminal advertising ploy.
- The carillon of the town hall in the Bavarian town of Cham plays "La Marseillaise" every day at 12.05 p.m. to commemorate the French Marshal Nicolas Luckner, who was born there.
- The 19th-century Labour movement used a "Worker Marseillaise" (written 1864 by Jakob Audorf) that was later replaced by The Internationale. It was famously sung on the way to the gallows by those sentenced to death after the Haymarket Riot.
- In the game Populous, when a map is played on the Française landscape it opens with the first ten or so seconds of La Marseillaise.
- On the Belgian national holyday asked by a Walloon journalist, if he knew his national anthem in French, former Prime Minister Yves Leterme, a native speaker of Dutch, without giving it a moment of thought, fluently sang the first line bestknown in France instead of the "Brabançonne". His televised confounding was funny to Flanders, but reactions by Walloon media and politicians required Leterme to make a public apology.
- "Marche Henri IV", the national anthem of the Kingdom of France
- "La Marseillaise des Blancs", the Royal and Catholic variation
- Ah! ça ira, another famous anthem of the French Revolution
- "Belarusian Marseillaise", a patriotic song in Belarus
- "Onamo", a Montenegrin patriotic song popularly known as The "Serbian Marseillaise"
- ^ Modern History Sourcebook: La Marseillaise, 1792.
- ^ "Marseillaise". The American Cyclopædia. 1879. See also Geschichte eines deutschen Liedes at German Wikisource.
- ^ "Marseillaise". New International Encyclopedia. 1905.
- ^ La Marseillaise, l’Elysée.
- ^ The seventh verse was not part of the original text; it was added in 1792 by an unknown author.
- ^ Library of Congress
- ^ Соболева, Н.А. 2005. Из истории отечественных государственных гимнов. Журнал "Отечественная история", 1. P.10-12
- ^ Marseillaise.org
- ^ Youtube.com
- ^ The Simpsons Season 9 disk 4 extras
- ^ Francerugby.fr
- ^ Cham.de
- ^ "De lijdensweg van de regering-Leterme" (in Dutch). VRT web site deredactie.be. 19 December 2008. http://www.deredactie.be/cm/vrtnieuws/archief/2.1222/politiek/1.438580. Retrieved 2011-08-29. "Op 21 juli, de nationale feestdag, giet Leterme dan nog eens ongewild olie op het vuur door de Marseillaise te zingen in plaats van de Brabançonne".
- French Presidency website
- Instrumental Version of the French National Anthem
- Mireille Mathieu sings La Marseillaise
- La Marseillaise performed by Roberto Alagna
- La Marseillaise - Iain Patterson's comprehensive fansite features sheet music, history, and music files. A full length six verse version of the anthem performed by David Zinman and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra & Chorus can be found in the Berlioz page.
- Texts on Wikisource:
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