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Vous n’aurez jamais notre cœur (You Will Never Have Our Heart) Posted by on Apr 3, 2013 in Film, History, Music, People, Vocabulary

 

Last week, while evoking l’Alsace et la Lorraine, and raising the question of whether they were originally French or German, we characterized the temporary loss of these two territories as provoking to many a French person a corresponding “temporary loss of sanity.”

For nearly half a century, a heavy wind of revanchisme (from the word “revanche“, meaning “revenge”) blew all over France.

Freedom had to be recovered at all costs for les Alsatiens and les Lorrains.

In the meantime, the general consensus in France seemed to be summed up in this soothing formula: “Vous avez pu germaniser la Plainemais notre cœur, vous ne l’aurez jamais” (“You were able to Germanize the Plaine [river], but our heart, you will never have.“) 

Curiously enough, however, the same freedom so feverishly demanded to Alsatians and Lorrainers was still deemed out of the question to the millions of indigènes living under an extremely repressive rule in the French colonies of Africa and Asia.

Even worse, a sizable number of the inhabitants of Alsace and Lorraine, who were now left with no homes nor land, headed straight to the French Colonial Empire.

Pourquoi?

To seek compensation, of course.

There, just like the Germans did to them, they took over vast amounts of land that were unjustly expropriated from their rightful native owners.

A terrifying paradox, to say the least.

In any case, a century later, and despite still fresh wounds from the Second World War, revanchisme already seemed like something of the past. To the point that Coluche, the famous French comedian, poked fun at it in his movie “Vous n’aurez pas l’Alsace et la Lorraine” (“You Will Not Have the Alsace and Lorraine”), with a soundtrack music composed by Serge Gainsbourg

L’Alsace et la Lorraine” by Gaston-Louis Villemer. For easily understandable reasons, Villemer, who was accused by some of resorting to ghostwriters, never dared to sign his songs under his real first name: Germain!     

 

France, à bientôt ! Car la sainte espérance

France, see you soon! Because the holy hope

Emplit nos cœurs en te disant : adieu

Fills out hearts by saying to you: Goodbye

En attendant l’heure de la délivrance

Till comes the hour of relief

Pour l’avenir… Nous allons prier Dieu

For the future… We will pray God

Nos monuments où flottent leur bannière

Our monuments where their banner flutters

Semble porter le deuil de ton drapeau

Seem to hold the mourning of your flag

France, entends-tu la dernière prière

France, do you hear the last prayer

De tes enfants couchés dans leurs tombeaux?

Of your children lying in their tombs?

Vous n’aurez pas l’Alsace et la Lorraine

You will not have the Alsace and Lorraine

Et, malgré vous, nous resterons Français

And, willy-nilly, we will remain French

Vous avez pu germaniser la Plaine 

You were able to Germanize the Plaine [river]

Mais notre cœur, vous ne l’aurez jamais

But our heart, you will never have

Eh quoi ! Nos fils quitteraient leur chaumières

So what! Our children left their cottages

Et s’en iraient grossir vos régiments !

To fill the ranks of your regiments!

Pour égorger la France, notre mère

To slaughter France, our Mother

Vous armeriez le bras de ses enfants !

You could arm our children’s arms

Vous pouvez leur confier des armes

You can supply them with weapons

C’est contre vous qu’elles leur serviront

It is against you that they will put them to use

Le jour où, las de voir couler nos larmes

The day when, tired of seeing our tears flow

Pour nous venger, leurs bras se lèveront

To avenge us, their arms will rise

Vous n’aurez pas l’Alsace et la Lorraine

You will not have the Alsace and the Lorraine

Et, malgré vous, nous resterons Français

And, willy-nilly, we will remain French

Vous avez pu germaniser la Plaine

You could Germanize the Plaine [river]

Mais notre cœur, vous ne l’aurez jamais

But our heart, you will never have

Ah ! jusqu’au jour où, drapeau tricolore

Ah! Till the day when, tri-colored flag

Tu flotteras sur nos murs exilés

You will flutter above our exiled walls

Frères, étouffons la haine qui dévore

Brothers, let us stifle the hatred which consumes us

Et fait bondir nos cœurs inconsolés

And makes our uncomforted hearts leap up

Mais le grand jour où la France meurtrie

But the day when our bruised France

Reformera ses nouveaux bataillons

Will reform its new batalions

Au cri sauveur jeté par la patrie

To the salvaging cry uttered out by our nation

Hommes, enfants, femmes, nous répondrons

Men, children, women, we will answer

Vous n’aurez pas l’Alsace et la Lorraine

You will not have the Alsace and the Lorraine

Et, malgré vous, nous resterons Français

And, willy-nilly, we will remain French

Vous avez pu germaniser la Plaine

You could Germanize the Plaine [river]

Mais notre cœur vous ne l’aurez jamais

But our heart, you will never have

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Comments:

  1. andreas:

    Quelle chabson vrriament belle!