Monday, March 14, 2005

The Internationale (MP3)

The Internationale, originally French, was written by Eugène Pottier in Paris 1871. Pottier was a socialist and was also a participant during the Paris Commune, which the Internationale was written to celebrate. Pierre Degeyter put the song to music in 1873.

In the years 1918 through late 1943, It was the official anthem of the Soviet Union. For obvious reasons, it is also the anthem of many Communist parties and socialist movements worldwide.

Many times since 1871 the Internationale has been the song of mass protests around the world. Poignantly, the students during Tiananmen Square drew comfort from the song during their ill-fated rebellion. Like them, I find the words and the music very inspirational.

Billy Bragg has released an version of the Internationale, which is admirable and I commend him for it. Bragg's version is very good, however, the sheer poetic imagery of the Pottier's words remind me of some of Poe's better work. "Criminals of want", "reason in revolt now thunders", "servile masses", "drive the indolent from the soil", "farewell the spirit craven", "strike the iron while its hot!" Nothing is watered down, the lines are drawn clearly as is the call to action, all in vivid colour.

The Internationale:

Arise! ye starvelings, from your slumbers;
Arise! ye criminals of want.

For Reason in revolt now thunders,
And ends at last the age of cant.
Now away with all superstitions.
Servile masses, arise! arise!
We'll change forthwith the old conditions,
And spurn the dust to win the prize.

Then comrades, come rally,
And the last fight let us face.
The Internationale
Unites the human race.

We peasants, artisans, and others
Enrolled among the sons of toil,
Let's claim the earth henceforth for brothers,
Drive the indolent from the soil!

On our flesh too long has fed the raven;
We've too long been the vulture's prey.
But now farewell the spirit craven:
The dawn brings in a brighter day.

Then comrades, come rally,
And the last fight let us face.
The Internationale
Unites the human race.

No saviour from on high delivers;
No trust have we in prince or peer.
Our own right hand the chains must shiver:
Chains of hatred, greed, and fear.
Ere the thieves will out with their booty
And to all give a happier lot,
Each at his forge must do his duty
And strike the iron while it's hot!

Then comrades, come rally,
And the last fight let us face.
The Internationale
Unites the human race.



This page has the Internationale in many languages available for free download.

2 comments:

  1. cool that you got picked up by alphonse

    ReplyDelete