A Dictionary of Music and Musicians/Carmagnole
CARMAGNOLE. The French song called 'La Carmagnole' is a popular tune originating in Provence. Grétry (Mémoires, iii. 13) thought it was originally a sailor-song often heard in Marseilles; it is more probably a country roundelay or dance-tune, adapted to a patriotic military song which was written either at the end of August or early in September, 1792. The four stanzas of this national song are known to a very few historians only; we transcribe the first couplet:—
'Le canon vient de résonner:
Guerriers, soyez prêts à marcher.
Citoyens et soldats,
En volant aux combats,
Dansons la carmagnole:
Vive le son, vive le son,
Dansons la carmagnole,
Vive le son
The unknown author of these lines was probably some brave soldier, whilst the bloody 'Carmagnole des Royalistes' may be attributed to the worst of demagogues. The original eight stanzas of the latter began as follows:—
'Oui, je suis sans culotte, moi,
En dépit des amis du roi.
Vive les Marseillois,
Les Bretons et nos lois!'
But this new song was soon enlarged, and when published by Frère it contained thirteen stanzas, the first of which ran in the following manner, to the tune of the Carmagnole:—
[ G. C. ]