"La Marseillaise" is a song written and composed by Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle in Strasbourg on April 25, 1792. Its original name was "Chant de guerre pour l'Armée du Rhin" ("War Song for the Army of the Rhine") and it was dedicated to Marshal Nicolas Luckner, a Bavarian-born French officer from Cham. It became the rallying call of the French Revolution and received its name because it was first sung on the streets by volunteers (fédérés) from Marseille upon their arrival in Paris after a young volunteer from Montpellier called François Mireur had sung it at a patriotic gathering in Marseille. A newly graduated medical doctor, Mireur later became a general under Napoleon Bonaparte and died in Egypt at 28.
The song's lyrics reflect the invasion of France by foreign armies (from Prussia and Austria) which was ongoing when it was written; Strasbourg itself was attacked just a few days later. The invading forces were repulsed from France following their defeat in the Battle of Valmy.
"La Marseillaise" was screamed during the levée en masse and met with huge success.
Général Mireur, 1770-1798, anonymous, terra cotta, Faculty of Medicine, Montpellier, France.
The Convention accepted it as the French national anthem in a decree passed on July 14, 1795, but it was then banned successively by Napoleon I, Louis XVIII, and Napoleon III, only being reinstated briefly after the July Revolution of 1830. During Napoleon I's reign Veillons au Salut de l'Empire was the unofficial anthem of the regime and during Napoleon III's reign Partant pour la Syrie. In 1879, "La Marseillaise" was restored as the country's national anthem, and has remained so ever since.
Allons enfants de la Patrie, Arise, children of the Fatherland,
Le jour de gloire est arrivé ! The day of glory has arrived!
Contre nous de la tyrannie, Against us the tyranny's...