Supplementary Appendix: La Carmagnole

La Carmagnole

In a letter to her daughter Therese on 3 September 1803 (letter 380h), Therese Huber maintained that Meta Liebeskind had once recalled an “orgy” in Mainz where Caroline had danced La Carmagnole with the French occupiers. [1]


See the following contemporary definition: [2]

Carmagnole, s. f. a patriotic dance and song so called. It owes its rise to the violence which broke out amongst the people, occasioned by the late king’s right of veto, the massacre of the Swiss, and the knights of the poniard. It was called the carmagnole of the royalists, that is to say, a dance and song made to incense the royalists. It is since become a common phrase in familiar speech. (On dit que nous dansons la carmagnole partout sur la même air; pour dire, que les armes des carmagnols ont du succès partout. — It is said that we dance the carmagnole every where to the same tune; which implies that the carmagnols have every where the same success.)

Carmagnole was the name at first given to the particular tune and dance before mentioned; afterwards to a particular kind of coat, and to the soldiers who wore it, or who sang the song; lastly, to the reports made in the national convention by the framers of them. The word carmagnole is probably borrowed from the name of a town so called in Piedmont, from whence came a number of diminutive fellows who served in the capacity of lacqueys in Paris, and, as is usual, were called after the name of the place from whence they came.

Here a 1792 musical score of the first verse: [3]


English Words [4]

Great Madam Veto swore one day
The folks of Paris she would slay:
Our cannoniers so stout,
Soon put my lady out.
We'll dance the Carmagnole:
Brothers rejoice, — brothers rejoice.
We'll dance the Carmagnole;
Hail to the cannon's voice.

Great Monsieur Veto swore one day
His country he would ne'er betray;
His promise he forgot,
So he shall go to pot.
We'll dance the Carmagnole, &c.

The people, Marie Antoinette
Thought on their nether ends to set;
She made a sad mistake,
And chanced her nose to break.
We'll dance the Carmagnole, &c.

Her husband thought he was in luck,
He had not learn'd a Frenchman's pluck;
So, lusty Louis, so,
You'll to the Temple go.
We'll dance the Carmagnole, &c.

The Swiss, too, had a great desire
Upon our brotherhood to fire;
But by the men of France
They soon were taught to dance.
We'll dance the Carmagnole, &c.

When Madam saw the tower, no doubt,
She gladly would have faced about;
It turn'd her stomach proud
To find herself so cow'd.
We'll dance the Carmagnole, &c.

When Louis, who was once so big,
Before him saw the workmen dig,
He said,—how hard his case
To be in such a place.
We'll dance the Carmagnole, &c.

All honest folks throughout the land
Will by the patriot surely stand,
As brethren firmly bound,
While loud the cannons sound.
We'll dance the Carmagnole, &c.

All royalists throughout the land
Will by the base Aristos stand:
And they'll keep up the war,
Like cowards as they are.
We'll dance the Carmagnole, &c.

The gens-d'armes swear they'll firmly stand
As guardians of their native land;
They heard the cannon's sound,
And backward were not found.
We'll dance the Carmagnole, &c.

Come, friends, united we will be,
Then we shall fear no enemy;
If any foes attack,
We'll gaily beat them back.
We'll dance the Carmagnole, &c.

A gallant sans culotte am I,
The friends of Louis I defy;
Long live the Marseillois,
The Bretons and the laws.
We'll dance the Carmagnole, &c.

The Faubourgs' valiant sans culotte,
Oh, never be his name forgot:
But jovially fill up
To him the other cup.
We'll dance the Carmagnole, &c.

French Words

Madam Veto avait promis (bis)
De faire egorger tout Paris; (bis)
Mais son coup a manqué,
Grâce à nos cannonié.
Dansons la Carmagnole,
Vive le son! vive le son!
Dansons la Carmagnole,
Vive le son du canon!

Monsieur Veto avait promis (bis)
D'être fidèle à sa patrie; (bis)
Mais il y a manqué,
Ne faisons plus cartié.
Dansons la Carmagnole, &c.

Antoinette avait résolu (bis)
De nous faire tomber sur le cul (bis)
Mais son coup a manqué,
Elle a le nez cassé.
Dansons la Carmagnole, &c.

Son mari, se croyant vainqueur, (bis)
Connaissait peu notre valeur. (bis)
Va, Louis, gros paour,
Du temple dans la tour.
Dansons la Carmagnole, &c.

Les Suisses avaient tous promis (bis)
Qu'ils feraient feu sur nos amis; (bis)
Mais comme ils ont sauté,
Comme ils ont tous dansé!
Chantons notre victoire, &c.

Quande Antoinette vit la tour, (bis)
Elle voulut fair' demi-tour; (bis)
Elle avait mal au coeur
De se voir sans honneur.
Dansous la Carmagnole, &c.

Lorsque Louis vit fossoyer, (bis)
A ceux qu'il voyait travailler, (bis)
Il disait que pour peu
Il était dans ce lieu.
Dansons la Carmagnole, &c.

Le patriote a pour amis (bis)
Tous les bonnes gens du pays; (bis)
Mais ils se soutiendront
Tous au son du canon.
Dansons la Carmagnole, &c.

L'aristocrate a pour amis (bis)
Lous les royalist's a Paris; (bis)
Il vous les soutiendront
Tout comm'des vrais poltrons.
Dansons la Carmagnole, &c.

La gendarm'rie avait promis (bis)
Qu'elle soutiendrait la patrie; (bis)
Mais ils n'ont pas manqué
Au son du canonnié.
Dansons la Carmagnole, &c.

Amis, restons toujours unis, (bis)
Ne craignons pas nos ennemis; (bis)
S'ils viennent attaquer,
Nous les ferons sauter.
Dansons la Carmagnole, &c.

Oui, je suis sans culotte, moi, (bis)
En dépit des amis du roi, (bis)
Vivent les Marsellois,
Les Bretons et nos lois.
Dansons la Carmagnole, &c.

Oui, nous nous souviendrons toujours (bis)
Des sans culottes des faubourgs. (bis)
A leur santé, buvons.
Vivent ces bons lurons!
Dansons la Carmagnole,
Vive le son! vive le son!
Dansons la Carmagnole,
Vive le son du canon!


[1] Contemporary illustration: “Refrains patriotiques” : [estampe] / [non identifié]. 1792–1794 (Bibliothèque nationale de France). Back.

[2] William Dupré. Lexicographia-neologic gallica. The Neological French Dictionary, containing words of new creation not to be found in any French and English vocabulary hitherto published (London 1801), 40–41. Back.

[3] La Carmagnole des royalistes (à 1 v.) no. 47. (1792) (Bibliothèque nationale de France). Back.

[4] The lyrics to La Carmagnole differ somewhat from version to version. English and French words here from The Illustrated Book of French songs from the sixteenth to the Nineteenth Century, trans. John Oxenford (London 1855), 132–36. Note on “Monsieur Veto” from ibid.: “The nickname of Monsieur Veto was popularly given to Louis XVI. on account of his refusal to sanction the decree against the non-juring priests.” Back.

Translation © 2014 Doug Stott