Oh Canada

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RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture
Oh Canada


RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

Apparently some would like to discuss the lyrics of "Oh Canada".  Thought I'd help them by starting a thread.


The French or English lyrics?

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

The lyrics in question


O Canada!
Our home and native land!
True patriot love in all thy sons command.
With glowing hearts we see thee rise,
The True North strong and free!
From far and wide, O Canada,
We stand on guard for thee.
God keep our land glorious and free!
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

Ô Canada!
Terre de nos aïeux,
Ton front est ceint de fleurons glorieux!
Car ton bras sait porter l'épée,
Il sait porter la croix!
Ton histoire est une épopée
Des plus brillants exploits.
Et ta valeur, de foi trempée,
Protégera nos foyers et nos droits
Protégera nos foyers et nos droits.

[O Canada!
Land of our forefathers
Thy brow is wreathed with a glorious garland of flowers.
As is thy arm ready to wield the sword,
So also is it ready to carry the cross.
Thy history is an epic of the most brilliant exploits.
Thy valour steeped in faith
Will protect our homes and our rights
Will protect our homes and our rights.]



I'm sorry, RP!  I was the bad thread drifter in the other thread.  Maybe I should move my post and the other posts there to this thread now that I can do that!  :D


Goodness gracious, is that song ever bad on so many levels.  Can't go too many lines without finding something cringeworthy.  Now there's a good school exercise, as a class project take the song apart line by line and see how many words and phrases are problematic.

Also, musically it's pretty indifferent, but that's just my opinion.



Ya want a national anthem?


THIS is a freakin' national anthem.


Listen to all 8:40.  Jessye Norman doesn't do anything small.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

O Canada is the most depressing, pedestrian piece of yuck I've ever heard. But, then again, most jingoistic nationalistic anthems are.


Wouldn't a National Anthem by definition be jingoistic?


Are their any enlightened "National Anthems"?

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Maybe not, but are any as bad as "O Canada"?


Yep, the American anthem. Holy patriotic silliness batman!


O! say can you see by the dawn's early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming.
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming.
And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
O! say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:
'Tis the star-spangled banner! Oh long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion,
A home and a country should leave us no more!
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps' pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

O! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: 'In God is our trust.'
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave![9]


Land of the free? Home of the brave? Ha! 



The French version is generally clerico-nationalist stuff common in the 1880s when it was written. Then again, it was never meant as an all-inclusive anthem- only for the Canadiens and was written for la Saint-Jean Baptiste which is both religous and nationalist in nature. It is also a sign of the times, when the Church began to control everything in French Canada. I find the anthem rather boring, especially compared to the Russian or the French anthems which at least musically are much more interesting but they have their own jingoistic lyrics.

The Second verse of the English version (Robert Stanley Weir's) is much less jingoistic:

Oh Canada! Where pines and maples grow,

Great Prairies spread and lordly rivers flow

How dear to us thy broad domain,

From East to Western Sea!

Thou land of hope for all who toil!

Thou True North Strong and free!

O Canada, glorious and free!

O Canada we stand on guard for thee (bis)

Speaking of second verses, I have been told that while we listened to/sing the first verse/official version in French Public schools, in the Catholic counterparts they would also sing the second verse which is on a whole new level of clericonationalist jingoism:

Sous l'oeil de Dieu, près du fleuve géant

Le Canadien grandit en espérant

Il est ne d'une race fière

Béni fut son berceau.

Le ciel a marque sa carrière

Dans ce monde nouveau.

Toujours guide par sa lumière

Il gardera l'honneur de son drapeau (bis)

Rough and quick translation:

Under the watch of God, near the giant river

The Canadien grows with hope.

Born of a proud race,

His craddle was blessed.

The heavens have marked his carreer

in this new world.

Always guided by its light,

he will keep the honour of his flag (bis).

The remaining verses in French are likewise written and actually get worse. The last line of the Routhier's poem is "Le cri vainqueur "Pour le Christ et le roi"!!!

Weir's original version (before it was adapted by the senate) only included the words God in its last verse, and is the only outright religious verse.


EDIT: Changed Muir to Weir. Muir wrote Maple Leaf Forever.