French Language Blog

La Marseillaise (and “la réintégration de l’histoire”) Posted by on Jul 19, 2010 in Culture, Vocabulary

Last week, la France a fêté “la prise de la Bastille” (France celebrated “the storming of the Bastille.”) Apart from the symbolic value that this iconic day has acquired over the past two centuries, it is now important for the French, who are still rediscovering and “debating” their identité nationale, to reconsider the évènements cruciaux (crucial events) that took place in that year of 1789, and “re-integrate” them back into their true historical perspective.

Far from being similar to a date de naissance (the birthday) of Hichem -as Jennie said in her last post, understandably because she didn’t have time to read my extra-long post, being probably busy with the celebration of her own birthday: Joyeux Anniversaire Jennie !– or even the birthday of the authentic French Revolution, which is in fact to be traced back to the courant of great major French figures such as Lafayette, Beaumarchais, and Lavoisier, whose lofty and determined efforts culminated with the first French Assemblée Nationale — the 14 jullet (July 14th), on the contrary, is more to be viewed -just as the magnifique Chateaubriand observed, as a day marking a coup d’état againt the Assemblée Nationale, and in favor of its sworn ennemis, namely the shadowy group dominated by the ever-intriguing Duc d’Orléans, together with his “cohort étrangère” (see below “la Marseillaise”) of les 3 SUiSSES(The three Swiss: Necker, Marat, and the Baron de Besenval.)

In other words, seen within its accurate historical perspective, it is the triumph of Lafayette’s and the people of France as a whole, on June 20th (the birthday of the Assemblée Nationale following the historical Serment du Jeu de Paume), which ought to be celebrated as une fête nationale in France, instead of the “3 SUiSSES” and the Duc d’Orléan’s (temporary, of course) “jour de gloire“, which took place three weeks later, on a July 14th.

For more details, I invite you to read -or as the French like to say, “relire” (re-read)- the post titled Le 14 juillet and “les 3 SUiSSES

As for another closely related topic, that of the Marseillaise, which is une autre pair de manche (a whole different story), we’ll leave it to another day.

Aujourd’hui (today), we will only go through its paroles (lyrics), in French and English!


Allons enfants de la Patrie, Come, children of the Fatherland,
Le jour de gloire est arrivé ! The day of glory has arrived!
Contre nous de la tyrannie, Against us, tyranny’s
L’étendard sanglant est levé, Bloody banner is raised,
Entendez-vous dans les campagnes Do you hear, in the countryside,
Mugir ces féroces soldats ? Wailing of those ferocious soldiers?
Ils viennent jusque dans vos bras They are coming right into your arms
Égorger vos fils, vos compagnes ! To slay your sons and wives!
Aux armes, citoyens, To arms, citizens,
Formez vos bataillons, Form your bataillons,
Marchons, marchons ! Let’s march, let’s march!
Qu’un sang impur May an impure blood
Abreuve nos sillons ! Water our furrows!
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