Rufst du, mein Vaterland

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Rufst du, mein Vaterland
English: When you call, my Fatherland

National anthem of   Switzerland
Also known as Ô monts indépendants
English: Oh independent mountains
Lyrics Johann Rudolf Wyss (Henri Roehrich), 1811 (1857)
Music Unknown composer (uses the melody of "God Save the Queen")
Adopted 1850s
Relinquished 1961

"Rufst du, mein Vaterland" is the former national anthem of Switzerland. It had semi-official status as the national anthem from the 1850s to 1961, when it was replaced by the Swiss Psalm.[1] Its text was written in 1811 by Bernese philosophy professor Johann Rudolf Wyss.

The tune of the anthem was the same as in "God Save the King" (1745), a tune which became widely adopted in Europe, first as the hymn of Denmark (1790), later also as that of Switzerland, and as that of the United States as "My Country, 'Tis of Thee" (1831). The German hymn "Heil dir im Siegerkranz" (1795, adopted as the Prussian anthem after 1815) to the same tune is an adaptation of the Danish lyrics.

As in the American "My Country, 'Tis of Thee", the lyrics replace the image of the monarch with that of the fatherland, and the promise to defend it "with heart and hand" (mit Herz und Hand), the "hand" replacing the "voice" praising the king of the original lyrics. The pact to defend the homeland militarily is made explicit in the first verse,

Rufst du, mein Vaterland
Sieh uns mit Herz und Hand,
All dir geweiht
Heil dir, Helvetia!
Hast noch der Söhne ja,
Wie sie Sankt Jakob sah,
Freudvoll zum Streit!

When you call, my Fatherland,
see us, with heart and hand
all dedicated to you.
Hail unto you, Helvetia!
Who still has such sons
as Saint Jacob saw them,
going to battle joyously!

Yet in spite of the Republican sentiment in the lyrics, the tune remained more strongly associated with royalism and conservativism, and it remained the anthem of the British, the German and the Russian empires.[2] This fact, and the lack of association of the tune with Switzerland in particular, led to the desire to find a replacement, which came in the form of the Swiss Psalm (composed 1841), from 1961 as a provisional experiment, and since 1981 permanently.

The German lyrics were translated into French in 1857, as the result of a competition sponsored by the Societé de Zofingue of Geneva. The competition was won by Henri Roehrich (1837– 1913), at the time a student of philosophy,[3] whose text is less explicitly martial than the German lyrics, beginning Ô monts indépendants / Répétez nos accents / Nos libres chants "O free mountains / echo our calls / our songs of liberty" and comparing the Rütli oath with a Republican Liberty Tree.


German lyrics English Translation of German lyrics French lyrics English Translation of French lyrics Italian lyrics English translation of Italian lyrics Romansh lyrics

Rufst du mein Vaterland
Sieh uns mit Herz und Hand,
All dir geweiht
Heil dir, Helvetia!
Hast noch der Söhne ja,
Wie sie Sankt Jakob sah,
Freudvoll zum Streit!

Do you call, my Fatherland?
See us with heart and hand
All devoted to you!
Hail to you, Helvetia!
You still have sons,
Like Saint Jacob saw them,
Joyfully hasten to the battle.

Ô monts indépendants,
Répétez nos accents,
Nos libres chants.
A toi patrie,
Suisse chérie,
Le sang, la vie
De tes enfants.

O independent mountains,
Repeat our words,
our free songs.
To you, fatherland,
Dear Switzerland,
The blood,
The life of your children.

Ci chiami, o Patria,
uniti impavidi
snudiam l'acciar!
Salute Elvezia!
Tuoi prodi figli,
Morat, San Giacomo,
non obliar!

Call us, our country,
United fearless
bear the sword!
Health Switzerland!
Your brave sons,
Murten, St. Jacob,
do not forget!

E clomas, tger paeis,
iglis ties unfants baleis
an grevs cumbats.
Nous suandagn gugent
igl ties appel gugent
cugl Spiert e cor valent
digls antenats.

Da, wo der Alpenkreis
Nicht dich zu schützen weiss
Wall dir von Gott,
Stehn wir den Felsen gleich,
Nie vor Gefahren bleich,
Froh noch im Todesstreich,
Schmerz uns ein Spott.

There where the circle of the Alps
Does not protect you,
Rampart made by God,
There we stand like rocks,
Never turn pale, facing the danger,
Happy even in the lethal stroke,
Pain be their mockery.

Nous voulons nous unir,
Nous voulons tous mourir
Pour te servir.
Ô notre mère !
De nous sois fière,
Sous ta bannière
Tous vont partir.

We want to unite,
We all are ready to die
At your service
O our mother!
Be proud of us,
Under your banner
We all will leave

Laddove è debole
dell'Alpi l'egida
che il ciel ci di è,
ti farem argine
dei petti indomiti:
È dolce, Elvezia
morir per te!

Where is weak
From the Alps the auspices
what heaven is for us,
We'll let you bank
the indomitable breasts:
It is sweet, Switzerland
die for you!

Ma noua tg'igl rampar
n'at pò betg ple tgirar,
è igl Signour.
Sot sia protecziun,
davaint'igl pour liun,
stat aint cun persvasiun
per noss'onour.

Nährst uns so mild und treu,
Hegst uns so stark und frei,
Du Hochlandbrust!
Sei denn im Feld der Not,
Wenn Dir Verderben droht,
Blut uns ein Morgenrot,
Tagwerk der Lust.

You nourish us mild and true,
Raise us so strong and free,
You highland's bosom!
So be then in the field of danger,
When destruction threatens you,
Blood us a dawn
Labour of joy.

Gardons avec fierté
L'arbre au Grutli planté
La liberté !
Que d'âge en âge,
Malgré l'orage,
Cet héritage
Soit respecté.

Let us guard with pride
The tree planted in Grütli,
The freedom!
From generation to generation,
In spite of the storm,
This heritage
Is respected

Ma quando l'Angelo
di pace assidesi
sui nostri allor,
Soletta Elvezia,
l'arti e l'industrie,
Oh! Quanto apprestano
nuovo splendor!

But when the Angel
peace assiduous
on our laurels,
Solothurn, Switzerland
the arts and industries,
Oh! As for preparing
new splendor!

O tger paeis an flour,
a tè nous dagn santour
an pietad.
Tè lainsa onorar
igl ties cunfegn salvar,
defender segl rampar
la libertad.

Sanft wie der Alpensee,
Sturmlos am Gletscherschnee
Webt unser Mut.
Graus tobt der See, geschreckt,
Wenn ihn Gewitter deckt,
So wir zum Kampf erweckt,
Wut wider Wut.

Gentle like the alpine lake,
Stormless on the glacial snow
Our courage grows.
Dreadfully the lake rages, terrified,
When thunderstorm overcasts,
So do we, when awakened to the battle,
Rage against rage.

Tu soutins nos aïeux,
Tu nous rendra comme eux,
Victorieux !
Vers toi s'élance
Notre espérance,
La délivrance
Viendra des cieux.

You supported him our ancestors
You make us like them,
Victorious! To you rushed Our hope
The issue will come of heaven.

Und wie Lawinenlast
Vorstürzt mit Blitzeshast –
Grab allumher –
Werf in den Alpenpfad,
Wenn der Zerstörer naht,
Rings sich Kartätschensaat
Todtragend schwer.

And like avalanche's load
Crashes down fast like a flash –
Grave all around –
Throw in the alpine path,
When the destroyer advances,
Bullet's seed all around
Fatally heavy.

Vaterland, ewig frei,
Sei unser Feldgeschrei,
Sieg oder Tod!
Frei lebt, wer sterben kann,
Frei, wer die Heldenbahn
Steigt als ein Tell hinan.
Mit uns der Gott!

Fatherland, forever free!
This be our battle cry!
Victory or death!
Free lives, who is ready to die,
Free, who ascends the hero's path
Ahead like a Tell,
Never withdraw.

Doch, wo der Friede lacht
Nach der empörten Schlacht
Drangvollem Spiel,
O da viel schöner, traun,
Fern von der Waffen Grau'n,
Heimat, dein Glück zu bau'n
Winkt uns das Ziel!

But where peace smiles,
After the raging battles
Crowding game;
O, there be more beautiful in store,
Far from the weapon's horror
Home, to build your fortune,
Be our goal!


  1. ^ Kreis, Georg, (1991), Der Mythos von 1291. Zur Entstehung des schweizerischen Nationalfeiertages. Basel: F. Reinhardt, 67–69.
  2. ^ Estebán Buch, Beethoven's Ninth: a political history, University of Chicago Press, 2003, ISBN 978-0-226-07812-0, p. 23.
  3. ^ Nanni Moretti, Journal Intime, 1979, p. 261

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