La Marseillaise: French National Anthem


The French Revolution was a bloody mess, and La Marseillaise, the song written for this war and then became the French National Anthem, reflects its passion as well as its gore. It’s an epic barnburner of a song, and whether you hear it sung at a soccer match or in that famous scene in Casablanca, you can’t help but be stirred into patriotic action – no matter your nationality.

I’m including the Casablanca scene here, to save you time – because you know you want to watch it!

Lyrics to La Marseillaise in French

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!

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!

Aux armes, citoyens!
Formez vos bataillons!
Marchons! Marchons!
Qu’un sang impur
Abreuve nos sillons!
Amour sacré de la patrie,

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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!

Aux armes, citoyens!
Formez vos bataillons!
Marchons! Marchons!
Qu’un sang impur
Abreuve nos sillons!
Amour sacré de la patrie

*These are the full lyrics; most versions you hear stop after the first “Abreuve nos sillons!”

Lyrics to La Marseillaise in English

Arise you children of our motherland,
Oh now is here our glorious day!
Over us the bloodstained banner
Of tyranny holds sway!
Of tyranny holds sway!
Oh, do you hear there in our fields
The roar of those fierce fighting men?
Who came right here into our midst
To slaughter sons, wives and kin.

To arms, oh citizens!
Form up in serried ranks!
March on, march on!
And drench our fields
With their tainted blood!

Supreme devotion to our Motherland,
Guides and sustains avenging hands.
Liberty, oh dearest Liberty,
Come fight with your shielding bands,
Come fight with your shielding bands!
Beneath our banner come, oh Victory,
Run at your soul-stirring cry.
Oh come, come see your foes now die,
Witness your pride and our glory.

To arms, oh citizens!
Form up in serried ranks!
March on, march on!
And drench our fields
With their tainted blood!

Into the fight we too shall enter,
When our fathers are dead and gone,
We shall find their bones laid down to rest,
With the fame of their glories won,
With the fame of their glories won!
Oh, to survive them care we not,
Glad are we to share their grave,
Great honor is to be our lot
To follow or to venge our brave.

To arms, oh citizens!
Form up in serried ranks!
March on, march on!
And drench our fields
With their tainted blood!

And here’s another awesome live video of the French National Anthem being sung at a Military Medal ceremony at Hotel des Invalides, Paris. It’s definitely worth a look.

Thanks to Napoleon Guide, Video History Today and The Moving Picture Instutute