Chant du départ
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The "Chant du Départ" (French for "Song of the Departure") is a revolutionary and war song written by Étienne Nicolas Méhul (music) and Marie-Joseph Chénier (words) in 1794. It was the official anthem of the First Empire. It is also the regional anthem of French Guiana.
The song was nicknamed "the brother of the Marseillaise" by Republican soldiers. It was presented to Maximilien Robespierre, who called it "magnificent and republican poetry way beyond anything ever made by the Girondin Chénier."
The song was first performed by the orchestra and choirs of the Music academy on 14 July 1794. 17,000 copies of the music sheets were immediately printed and distributed in the 14 Armies of the Republic. Its original title was Anthem to Liberty; it was changed to its present title by Robespierre.
The song is a musical tableau: each of the seven stanzas is sung by a different character or group of characters:
- The first stanza is the discourse of a deputy cheering his soldiers and encouraging them for the fight for the Republic
- The second stanza is the song of a mother offering the life of her son to the fatherland.
- The fourth stanza is sung by children exalting Joseph Agricol Viala and Joseph Bara, children aged 12 and 13, respectively, who had died for France:
The song survived both the Revolution and the Empire, and is still in the repertoire of the French Army. Valéry Giscard d'Estaing even used it as his campaign song for the presidential election of 1974. As a president of the Republic, he would often have it played by troops, along with the Marseillaise.
|Un député du Peuple||A deputy of the People|
|La victoire en chantant
Nous ouvre la barrière.
Opens for us the gates
|Chant des guerriers (Refrain)||Song of the Warriors (Chorus)|
|La République nous appelle
Sachons vaincre ou sachons périr
|The Republic is calling us
Let's know how to vanquish or let's know how to perish
|Une mère de famille||A mother of a family|
|De nos yeux maternels ne craignez pas les larmes :
Loin de nous de lâches douleurs !
|Do not fear that our motherly eyes should weep
From us begone, cowardly grief!
|Deux vieillards||Two old men|
|Que le fer paternel arme la main des braves ;
Songez à nous au champ de Mars ;
|May the fatherly iron arm, the hand of the braves
Think of us on the Field of Mars (battlefield)
|Un enfant||A child|
|De Barra, de Viala le sort nous fait envie ;
Ils sont morts, mais ils ont vaincu.
|The fates of Barra and Viala fill us with envy
They died, but they prevailed
|Une épouse||A wife|
|Partez, vaillants époux ; les combats sont vos fêtes ;
Partez, modèles des guerriers ;
|Leave, valiant husbands! Battles are your feasts
Leave, models for warriors
|Une jeune fille||A young girl|
|Et nous, sœurs des héros, nous qui de l'hyménée
Ignorons les aimables nœuds ;
|And we, sister of the heroes, we who of Hymenaios [marriage]
ignore the loveable knots
|Trois guerriers||Three warriors|
|Sur le fer devant Dieu, nous jurons à nos pères,
À nos épouses, à nos sœurs,
|On the iron, before God, we swear to our fathers
to our wives, to our sisters
- "Le Chant du Départ". Napoleon.org. Retrieved 2012-02-09.
|Wikisource has the score for::|
- Chant du départ ("la victoire en chantant") on YouTube.