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Le Chœur des Girondins; Mourir pour la patrie

vers/verse, pub:1847




From A Bibliography of Alexandre Dumas père by Frank Wild Reed:
     Two regular six-line stanzas, rhyming a, b, a. b, c, c, the two last forming a refrain common to both verses.
     They are to be found in the drama, but not in the romance of "Le Chevalier de Maison-Rouge." The first verse is in Act V., Scene i., the second in the same act and Scene v. The music was by M. Varney, as regards the first four lines, but that for the refrain was borrowed from Rouget de l'Isle.
     As foretold by Dumas, this was the song to which the Revolution of 1848 marched.
     Though the drama was the joint composition of Dumas and Maquet, it seems certain that these verses were by the former. Such has always been asserted, never denied, and M. Glinel definitely includes them in his MS. collection of Dumas' verse, which he continued to gather until 1902. The lines of the refrain are borrowed (perhaps unconsciously) from a piece of verse entitled "Roland," by Rouget de l'Isle. In the Reed Dumas Collection is a copy of these verses in the beautiful and somewhat ornate hand of the young Dumas, showing that he was attracted by it in his youth. Charles Maurice states that this same refrain was used for a stanza composed by the Girondin, Girey-Dupré, which he sung on his way to the scaffold.
     Evidently the play was re-staged at a somewhat later date, at the Porte Saint Martin Theatre, where a change was made in the verses, perhaps owing to an altered political atmosphere ; Dumas' first verse was retained, but for the second were substituted two others claimed to be by Auguste Maquet, for which, however, the refrain was still used. This three-verse piece, with music by A. Varney (without the use of Rouget de l'Isle's music for the refrain), was published by M. Labbé, dedicated to Lamartine, and entitled : "Chœur des Girondins : Mourir Pour la Patrie, Chant National, Chanté au Théâtre de la Porte St. Martin dans le Chevalier de Maison-Rouge, Drame en 5 Actes par MM. A. Dumas et A. Maquet." On the inside page, only, is printed "Paroles de Mr. A. Maquet."

         English Translation :—
     In "The Illustrated Book of French Songs," translated and edited by J. Oxenford, National Illustrated Library ; London, Ingram. post 8vo., 1855. The same work was reprinted, London, Ward Lock, 1856.

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