Favorite Songs and Hymns For School and Home, page: 0322

450 Of The World's Best Songs And Hymns, With Lyrics & Sheet music for voice & piano.

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Marseilles Hymn.�The authorship of this soul-rtirring war song, so often prohibited by despotic rulers, and now the national air of France,�the Marseillaise, as it is called,�has frequently been disputed. In his recent work on Strasburg during the Revolution, M. Seingerlot, an authority upon these historical questions, has brought to light a number of old family papers of this era, from which it appears that Rouget de Lisle, at the time of writing these verses, was an army officer contributing occasionally to the columns of a leading newspaper of Strasburg, owned by the Mayor of the city. The wife of this gentleman, a lady of musical taste, regarded this poem a masterpiece, and urged that it be set to music by the author and published. It accordingly appeared in this form, probably in
April, 1792, entitled, "A war song for the Army of the Rhine." In a letter yet extant, from Madame Deit-rich, the Mayor's wife, she says: " The occupation of copying music has enabled me for some days to shut my ears to political wrangles. Politics only are now discussed here. To invent something new for the en�tertainment of our numerous guests, my husband has hit upon the expedient of having a song composed for the times, which embodies the patriotic feeling of the town. A captain of engineers, Rouget de Lisle, who is a very amiable poet and composer, has rapidly done for him the song and the music. It is spirit-stirring [entrainment), and not wanting in originality. It is in the feeling of Gluck, but more lively and alert, and has been performed at our house to the satisfao
Thomas Moore.
tion of all who have heard it." Capt. Rouget de Lisle was asked to draw his inspiration from passing events and the dominant sentiment of the town, which was a frontier stronghold, and no doubt tremendously aroused by the news from Paris and by the declara�tion of war. Strasburg would probably have to bear the brunt of the invasion, and, in any case, would be the centre of military operations. Political discussion went on, therefore, to the exclusion of other topics. The fact that the Deitrichs kept the harpsichord going, and had Capt. Rouget de Lisle compose this new thing for it to create a diversion amid stirring politics, is a curious example of the power " that shapes our �nds, rough-hew them how we will." It would be interesting to know how the song got to Marseilles
without going through Paris. A regimental band may have taken it to the South. The first time it was heard in Paris was the day the Revolutionary depu�tation of Marseilles, which had come on foot, singing what was ever afterward to be known as their " hymn," entered the capital. It was caught up at once, and spread like wildfire through the nation. The entrain, which the Mayor's wife said was one of its character�istics, so roused the Parisians that nothing could with�stand their fury. Under the monarchical governments in France, the song has always been held seditious, because of its extraordinary influence upon the French people. The first time since the Revolution that it was not regarded treasonable by those in au�thority, was at the opening of the World's Fair, in 1878.
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