Rent's overdue, my work projects are late, and I need to write a major piece on vote fraud for the blog. So naturally, I've taken this opportunity to translate La Marseillaise
What can I say? I've been going through a Berlioz
phase. And since non-political posts occasionally appear here on the weekends, I am going to afflict you good people with the results.
As it turns out, a proper English translation of the French national anthem has stumped experts for more than two centuries. Literal translations
are unsingable, while free translations
-- including one commissioned by the French president, as well as a version by Percy Bysshe Shelley -- stray far from the intended meaning, and they still
aren't very singable. None
of the previous translations attempted to maintain the original rhyme scheme.
So I decided to have a go at it.
My translation sacrifices exactitude in places, but each line still conveys a sense of the original. The rhyme scheme is there, the meter remains the same, and -- much to the annoyance of my neighbors -- this version can
First, in French:
Allons enfants de la Patrie,
Le jour de gloire est arrivé!
Contre nous de la tyrannie,
L'étendard sanglant est levé
(L'étendard sanglant est levé),
Entendez-vous dans les campagnes
Mugir ces féroces soldats?
Ils viennent jusque dans vos bras
Égorger vos fils et vos compagnes!
Aux armes, citoyens,
Formez vos bataillons,
Qu'un sang impur
Abreuve nos sillons!
Here's the Cannon version:
I call on all who love our nation
The test of glory comes today
When we face a tyrant's predation
When the banners of blood come our way
(When the banners of blood come our way...)
When you hear marching invaders
Come howling for prey in your home
Destroying everywhere they roam
And loved ones are lost to the raiders...
Raise arms unto the skies!
Batallions shall arise!
March on! March on!
We’ll bleed the foe
Until the day is won!
In your face
, Shelley! This calls for a Homer Simpson-esque victory dance...
Of course, six more verses need translating. I probably won't bother you with folks with those. But as I read those verses, they seem to offer an interesting commentary on today's events. Perhaps this has
been a political post after all...