Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > France
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
France: Vols. IX–X.  1876–79.
 
Introductory
The Marseillaise
Rouget de Lisle (1760–1836)
 
Translated by John Oxenford

  COME, children of your country, come,
    New glory dawns upon the world,
  Our tyrants, rushing to their doom,
    Their bloody standard have unfurled;
  Already on our plains we hear        5
    The murmurs of a savage horde;
    They threaten with the murderous sword
  Your comrades and your children dear.
Then up, and form your ranks, the hireling foe withstand;
March on,—his craven blood must fertilize the land.        10
 
  Those banded serfs,—what would they have,
    By tyrant kings together brought?
  Whom are those fetters to enslave
    Which long ago their hands have wrought?
  You, Frenchmen, you they would enchain;        15
    Doth not the thought your bosoms fire?
    The ancient bondage they desire
  To force upon your necks again.
Then up, and form your ranks, the hireling foe withstand;
March on,—his craven blood must fertilize the land.        20
 
  Those marshalled foreigners,—shall they
    Make laws to reach the Frenchman’s hearth?
  Shall hireling troops who fight for pay
    Strike down our warriors to the earth?
  God! shall we bow beneath the weight        25
    Of hands that slavish fetters wear?
    Shall ruthless despots once more dare
  To be the masters of our fate?
Then up, and form your ranks, the hireling foe withstand;
March on,—his craven blood must fertilize the land.        30
 
  Then tremble, tyrants,—traitors all,—
    Ye, whom both friends and foes despise;
  On you shall retribution fall,
    Your crimes shall gain a worthy prize.
  Each man opposes might to might;        35
    And when our youthful heroes die
    Our France can well their place supply;
  We ’re soldiers all with you to fight.
Then up, and form your ranks, the hireling foe withstand;
March on,—his craven blood must fertilize the land.        40
 
  Yet, generous warriors, still forbear
    To deal on all your vengeful blows;
  The train of hapless victims spare,
    Against their will they are our foes.
  But O, those despots stained with blood,        45
    Those traitors leagued with base Bouillé,
    Who make their native land their prey;—
  Death to the savage tiger-brood!
Then up, and form your ranks, the hireling foe withstand;
March on,—his craven blood must fertilize the land.        50
 
  And when our glorious sires are dead,
    Their virtues we shall surely find
  When on the selfsame path we tread,
    And track the fame they leave behind.
  Less to survive them we desire        55
    Than to partake their noble grave;
    The proud ambition we shall have
  To live for vengeance or expire.
Then up, and form your ranks, the hireling foe withstand;
March on,—his craven blood must fertilize the land.        60
 
  Come, love of country, guide us now,
    Endow our vengeful arms with might,
  And, dearest liberty, do thou
    Aid thy defenders in the fight.
  Unto our flags let victory,        65
    Called by thy stirring accents, haste;
    And may thy dying foes at last
  Thy triumph and our glory see.
Then up, and form your ranks, the hireling foe withstand;
March on,—his craven blood must fertilize the land.        70
 
 
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