The Euro National Anthems

Posted on June 22, 2016

Now the Euro 2016 competition is about to enter its latter a stages, I think I must have heard just about all the national anthems, in fact, if you are a lover of ‘God Save the Queen’ you could have heard it six times, as it used by both England and Northern Ireland; both have qualified so you will hear it again but in all probability, only twice more.

Personally, I don’t like our anthem, I think it is dull and uninspiring unlike La Marseillaise (France) or Land of My Father’s (Wales) that are sung with such uplifting gusto, they almost make me jealous.

It has always appeared to me that anthems are either fiercely in support of a monarch or a dictator (same thing?) or proudly demonstrating an ancient uprising and revolutionary call to arms. However, I do not really know the lyrics or their meaning this was merely a guess.

So, as we are now down to the last sixteen at Euro 2016, I thought I would investigate and translate and who better to start with than the French, Euro 2016 hosts and first team to qualify for the knock-out stage.


Arise, children of the Fatherland
The day of glory has arrived!
Against us tyranny’s
Bloody banner is raised, (repeat)
Do you hear, in the countryside,
The roar of those ferocious soldiers?
They’re coming right into your arms
To cut the throats of your sons, your women!

To arms, citizens,
Form your battalions,
Let’s march, let’s march!
Let an impure blood
Soak our fields!

What does this horde of slaves,
Of traitors and conspiratorial kings want?
For whom are these vile chains,
These long-prepared irons? (repeat)
Frenchmen, for us, ah! What outrage
What fury it must arouse!
It is us they dare plan
To return to the old slavery!

To arms, citizens…

What! Foreign cohorts
Would make the law in our homes!
What! These mercenary phalanxes
Would strike down our proud warriors! (repeat)
Great God! By chained hands
Our brows would yield under the yoke
Vile despots would have themselves
The masters of our destinies!

To arms, citizens…

Tremble, tyrants and you traitors
The shame of all parties,
Tremble! Your parricidal schemes
Will finally receive their reward! (repeat)
Everyone is a soldier to combat you
If they fall, our young heroes,
The earth will produce new ones,
Ready to fight against you!

To arms, citizens…

Frenchmen, as magnanimous warriors,
Bear or hold back your blows!
Spare those sorry victims,
Who arm against us with regret. (repeat)
But not these bloodthirsty despots,
These accomplices of Bouille
All these tigers who, mercilessly,
Rip their mother’s breast!

To arms, citizens…

Sacred love of the Fatherland,
Lead, support our avenging arms
Liberty, cherished Liberty,
Fight with thy defenders! (repeat)
Under our flags, may victory
Hurry to thy manly accents,
May thy expiring enemies,
See thy triumph and our glory!

To arms, citizens…

(Children’s Verse)
We shall enter the (military) career
When our elders are no longer there,
There we shall find their dust
And the trace of their virtues (repeat)
Much less keen to survive them
Than to share their coffins,
We shall have the sublime pride
Of avenging or following them

To arms, citizens…

Blimey…you have to hand it to the French, that is a bit more feisty than asking God “Send her (the Queen) victorious, happy and glorious” but I guess that is the difference between adoring a head of state and wishing to cut their throats?

I have never really spoken to a Frenchman about La Marseillaise but when I see it sung at sporting events, it emanates from the speakers with such gusto, one can only assume that they are fiercely protective of their Republican status and you wont see a Monarchy in France again in a hurry, in fact, never again.

So, in the early stages, the Republican National Anthems go 1-0 up on the Monarchies but it is still early days.

Next up Switzerland, with “Land of my Cuckoo Clocks and Toblerones”.

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