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HomeSportsFrench national anthem lyrics in English: France's La Marseillaise translation

French national anthem lyrics in English: France’s La Marseillaise translation

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Football fans know the national anthem of France only too well by name after Les Bleus reached four of the last seven World Cup finals, but have you ever wondered what the song itself is all about?

As Didier Deschamps’ men prepare themselves (and their vocal cords) for the match of their lives against Argentina at Lusail Stadium, some of them may need a recap on the lyrics to La Marseillaise.

If that’s you Antoine, Olivier or Hugo, don’t worry — we’ve got you covered.

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French national anthem lyrics in English

The French national anthem, entitled La Marseillaise, was composed by Claude-Joseph Rouget de Lisle during the French Revolution, and its upbeat tune belies some rather disturbing lyrics!

France had declared war on Austria at the time it was written, so it is perhaps no surprise that the lyrics focus heavily on the battlefield.

Allons enfants de la Patrie
(Arise, children of the Fatherland)

Le jour de gloire est arrivé!
(Our day of glory has arrived)

Contre nous de la tyrannie
(Against us the bloody flag of tyranny)

L’étendard sanglant est levé
(is raised; the bloody flag is raised)

L’étendard sanglant est levé
(is raised; the bloody flag is raised)

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 vos bras
(They’re coming right into your arms)

Égorger nos fils, nos compagnes!
(To cut the throats of your sons, your comrades!)

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 their impure blood)

Abreuve nos sillons!
(Should water our fields)

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What is the French national anthem about?

Rouget de Lisle was a captain of the French army engineers and in April 1792 he was garrisoned at Strasbourg.

He felt moved to compose a piece of music after then mayor of Strasbourg Baron Philippe-Frederic de Dietrich lamented France’s lack of a national anthem at a dinner for officers of the garrison.

He composed a piece originally entitled ‘Chant de Guerre pour L’armee du Rhin’ (War Song for the Army of the Rhine), with lyrics reflecting the violence taking place in France at a time when Prussian and Austrian armies were invading.

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French national anthem music

Rouget de Lisle’s song was taken up by the people of France, and after volunteers from Marseille sung it in the streets of Paris later that year, it came to be known as La Marseillaise.

The song’s revolutionary links saw it banned by various French leaders from 1804 to 1830, but it was reinstated as the national anthem of France in 1879, ensuring generations of Les Bleus footballers would have the chance to sing it!

Credit: sportingnews.com

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