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O Canada

O Canada is the national anthem of Canada. The music was composed by Calixa Lavallée, and the original French lyrics were written by Sir Adolphe-Basile Routhier[?], as a French-Canadian patriotic song for the Saint-Jean-Baptiste Society[?].

It was first performed on June 24, 1880 at a Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day banquet in Quebec City, but did not become Canada's official national anthem until July 1, 1980. The official English version is based on a poem written by Robert Stanley Weir[?] in 1908; it is not a translation of the French. Changes to the English version were made in 1968 following recommendations made by a Special Joint Committee of the Senate and House of Commons. The National Anthem Act of 1980 added a religious reference to the English lyrics.

"God Save the Queen" was used as a national anthem, prior to the adoption of "O Canada." It is now Canada's royal anthem.

Official English Lyrics

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.
 
The line "The True North strong and free" is based on Alfred Lord Tennyson's description of Canada as "That True North whereof we lately heard."

Official French Lyrics

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 trempé
Protégera nos foyers et nos droits;
Protégera nos foyers et nos droits.
O Canada! Home of our ancestors,
Your brow is wreathed with glorious garlands!
Since your arm can bear the sword,
It can bear the cross;
Your history is an epic
Of the most brilliant feats.
And your valour steeped in faith
Will protect our homes and our rights;
Will protect our homes and our rights.

Occasionally, singers mix the lyrics across languages in various patterns.

In recent years, the English version of the anthem has been criticized, by feminists such as Senator Vivienne Poy, for being sexist ("true patriot love in all thy sons command"); alternate lyrics ("in all of us command") have been proposed but are not widely used.

However, if one sings the first two lines in French, the next four in English, and ends the song in French, one avoids both sexist language and religious references (except for foi "faith", which some would argue could be interpreted as faith in one's country and fellow citizens), expresses national unity, and remains unimpeachable on grounds of revisionism, as both versions are just as official.

The Original Poem by Adolphe-Basile Routhier (1880)

CHANT NATIONAL

O 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,
Protègera nos foyers et nos droits.

Sous l'œil de Dieu, près du fleuve géant,
Le Canadien grandit en espérant.
Il est né d'une race fière;
Béni fut son berceau.
Le ciel a marqué sa carrière
Dans ce nouveau monde:
Toujours guidé par sa lumière,
Il gardera l'honneur de son drapeau.

Dans son patron, précurseur du vrai Dieu,
Il porte au front l'auréole de feu.
Ennemi de la tyrannie,
Mais plein de loyauté,
Il sait garder dans l'harmonie
Sa fière liberté,
Et par l'effort de son génie
Sur notre sol asseoir la vérité.

Amour sacré du trône et de l'autel,
Remplis nos coeurs de ton souffle immortel.
Parmi les races étrangères
Notre guide est la loi;
Sachons être un peuple de frères
Sous le joug de la Foi;
Et répétons comme nos pères
Le cri vainqueur: Pour le Christ et le Roi!

NATIONAL SONG

O Canada! land of our ancestors
Your brow is wreathed with glorious garlands!
Since your arm knows how to bear the sword,
It knows how to bear the cross;
Your history is an epic
Of the most brilliant feats;
And your valour steeped in faith,
Will protect our homes and our rights.

Under God's eye, near the giant river,
The Canadian grows with hope.
He is born of a proud race;
Blessed was his cradle.
Heaven has marked his career
In this new world:
Always guided by its light,
He will keep the honor of his flag.

In his patron, precursor of the true God,
He carries to the front the halo of fire.
Enemy of tyranny,
But full of loyalty,
He knows how to keep in harmony
His proud liberty,
And by the effort of his genius
On our soil to establish the truth.

Sacred love of the throne and the altar,
Fill our hearts with your immortal breath.
Amongst the foreign races
Our guide is the law;
May we know to be a people of brothers
Beneath the yoke of Faith;
And let us repeat like our fathers
The victorious cry: For Christ and the King!

External links

  • MIDI File (http://www.copsrus.com/anthems/canada.mid)
  • History, audio, sheet music (http://www.canadianheritage.gc.ca/progs/cpsc-ccsp/sc-cs/anthem_e.cfm)
  • History II (http://www3.sympatico.ca/goweezer/canada/cananhist.htm)
  • Sheet music II (http://www.905tory.com/ocanada.htm): with two audios: a regular version and a guitar rendition



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