Archive for July 14th, 2019

Sunday, 14 July 2019

The Marseillaise by Paul Déroulède

Have pity on yourselves and cease that song;
In silence, when the hour comes, march along
Like vanquished heroes whose undaunted breath
Whispers one word: ‘Revenge!’ — or haply ‘Death!’

Yet hear the accursëd story and be stirred:
Or if your ears in bygone days have heard
On many a trembling tongue the twice-told tale
‘Tis well; no need drive home the hammered nail!

You love, no doubt you love, our people’s hymn?
You love its sacred rage, its transports grim:
And, like proud sons, you feel in its song-fires
The quenchless spirit of your puissant sires.
Its rousing voice recalls our flag unfurled,
Floating to the four corners of the world,
Nations struck dumb and kings that looked askance;
You think of that? Our great and glorious France!
Think of this too, the day of our defeat,
Sedan — a name that with bowed heads you greet —
Frenchmen, remember in that surge of woes,
When conquered France surrendered to her foes,
When in crushed souls our soldiers bore unmanned
The mangled ghost of the poor fatherland,
When all was lost and leaving the fought field
Our troops, disarmed, were forced at last to yield —
O unforgotten blow! O worst of evil days!
Loud from the Prussian trumpets shrilled the Marseillaise!

From: Robertson, William John (ed. and transl.), A Century of French Verse: Brief biographical and critical notices of thirty-three French poets of the nineteenth century with experimental translations from their poems, 1895, A. D. Innes & Co.: London, p. 299.
(https://archive.org/details/centuryoffrenchv00roberich/)

Date: 1872 (original in French); 1895 (translation in English)

By: Paul Déroulède (1846-1914)

Translated by: William John Robertson (1846-1894)

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