This is, it seems, the first appearance of what we now know as La Marseillaise on the streets of London. It probably dates from 1792, the year that the song was composed and first sung, or not long after.
The Marseillaise was written by Rouget de Lisle at a time when revolutionary France was facing attack from the Prussian and Austrian armies. The song's initial name translates as 'War Song from the Army of the Rhine'. It took its more familar name in the early summer of 1792 when the song was sung by volunteer fighters from Marseilles.
In 1795, the National Convention made this stirring song France's national anthem. It still is - though there have been times in the intervening years when it has fallen out of favour.
This handsome sheet music was printed in London with the song described as 'Marche des Marseillois or French Te Deum, Ordered by the National Convention to be Used by the Army to Excite them to Battle & as Sung at All the Theatres in Paris'. The words were printed in the original French.
This is a lovely early copy of one of the most internationally acclaimed of progressive anthems, and in stellar condition. 'Marchons, marchons ...'
Can't hum the Marseillaise? Here's a rendition from 1907
Andrew Whitehead's blog
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