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The New International Encyclopædia/Marseillaise

MARSEILLAISE, mär'sắ'yắz'. The hymn of the French Revolution and anthem of freedom in all European movements of liberation since. In April, 1792, when a column of volunteers was about to leave Strassburg, the Mayor of the city, Diedrich, gave a banquet on the occasion and asked an officer of artillery named Rouget de Lisle to compose a song in their honor. Rouget wrote the words during the night, adapting the music probably from the Oratorio Esther, by Jean Baptiste Lucien Grison, and calling it the Chant de guerre de l'armée du Rhin. On the following day it was sung with rapturous enthusiasm, and instead of 600 volunteers, 1000 marched out of Strassburg. The whole Army of the North soon took up the song. In Paris the song was unknown till the Marseilles battalion brought it to the city and sang it at the storming of the Tuileries. It was received with transports by the Parisians, who — ignorant of its real authorship — named it Hymne des Marseillais, which name it has ever since borne. The last and most pathetic strophe, the stance des enfants, was not written by Rouget de Lisle, but was added later.

The following is the first verse, with refrain, approved in 1887 by a commission appointed by the French Minister of War to determine the exact form of the song:

Allons enfants de la patrie,
Le jour de gloire est arrivé!
Contre nous de la tyrannie
L'étendard sanglant est levé (bis)
Entendez-vous dans ces campagnes
Mugir ces féroces soldats?
Ils viennent jusque dans nos bras
Égorger nos fils, nos compagnes.

See Rouget de Lisle.