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Fans tuning in to watch the Premier League this weekend will hear something different at the stadia this weekend. Premier League chairman Richard Scudamore announced earlier this week that ‘La Marseillaise,’ the French national anthem, would be played after the coin toss before the opening whistle of matches.

The move is an ‘act of solidarity and remembrance’ after the terrorist attacks last Friday killed 129 people in Paris.  The anthem was played prior to the England vs France international friendly at Wembley on Tuesday with both French and English fans singing.

72 French players play in the Premier League.  The second largest number of players from any nation behind only England.

Arsenal’s French manager agreed it was the right thing to do saying; “I think it’s a nice gesture of solidarity. It’s not an obvious one for the fans, just like it would not be an obvious one for fans in France to sing God Save the Queen, because they don’t know the words. Symbolically it’s a very nice gesture.”

The words of ‘La Marseillaise’ will be shown on stadia bigscreens so fans can sing along even if they do not know the words.  Usually only the first verse is sung at public events (sometimes the 5th and 6th are sung as well).

What are the words to La Marseillaise?

Allons enfants de la Patrie,
Le jour de gloire est arrivé !
Contre nous de la tyrannie,
L’étendard sanglant est levé, (bis)
Entendez-vous dans les campagnes
Mugir ces féroces soldats ?
Ils viennent jusque dans vos bras
Égorger vos fils, vos compagnes !

Aux armes, citoyens,
Formez vos bataillons,
Marchons, marchons !
Qu’un sang impur
Abreuve nos sillons ! (bis)

Que veut cette horde d’esclaves,
De traîtres, de rois conjurés ?
Pour qui ces ignobles entraves,
Ces fers dès longtemps préparés ? (bis)
Français, pour nous, ah ! quel outrage
Quels transports il doit exciter !
C’est nous qu’on ose méditer
De rendre à l’antique esclavage !

Aux armes, citoyens…

Quoi ! des cohortes étrangères
Feraient la loi dans nos foyers !
Quoi ! Ces phalanges mercenaires
Terrasseraient nos fiers guerriers ! (bis)
Grand Dieu! Par des mains enchaînées
Nos fronts sous le joug se ploieraient
De vils despotes deviendraient
Les maîtres de nos destinées !

Aux armes, citoyens…

Tremblez, tyrans et vous perfides
L’opprobre de tous les partis,
Tremblez ! vos projets parricides
Vont enfin recevoir leurs prix ! (bis)
Tout est soldat pour vous combattre,
S’ils tombent, nos jeunes héros,
La terre en produit de nouveaux,
Contre vous tout prêts à se battre !

Aux armes, citoyens…

Français, en guerriers magnanimes,
Portez ou retenez vos coups !
Épargnez ces tristes victimes,
À regret s’armant contre nous. (bis)
Mais ces despotes sanguinaires,
Mais ces complices de Bouillé,
Tous ces tigres qui, sans pitié,
Déchirent le sein de leur mère !

Aux armes, citoyens…

Amour sacré de la Patrie,
Conduis, soutiens nos bras vengeurs
Liberté, Liberté chérie,
Combats avec tes défenseurs ! (bis)
Sous nos drapeaux que la victoire
Accoure à tes mâles accents,
Que tes ennemis expirants
Voient ton triomphe et notre gloire !

Aux armes, citoyens…

English Translation of La Marseillaise

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
Water our furrows! (Repeat)

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 Bouillé,
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…

La Marseillaise was written by Claude-Joseph Rouget de Lisle, a captain in the French army, after Austrian and Prussian armies invaded France in 1792.  The anthem is of and for the people urging them to march against the invaders.  It was made the French national anthem in 1795 but was suppressed under Napoleon I.  It was once again made the national anthem in 1870.

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