Friday, April 22, 2005

Ohhhhhhhhhhhh Canadaaaaaaa

National Anthem

   If you've been to a hockey game or watched the Toronto Raptors when Vinsanity played there, you know the routine. Everybody stands up, the organ music starts, and the lights shine on the big red maple lef flag above the rink. It's O Canada time!!!

   "O Canada" is not some Scot. It's the Canadian national anthem. We take O Canada for granted, but it pays to know everything we can about our chilly friends on the Northern half of our continent. You may trust them....I don't.

   Only those who study military history- and I do so to the point where I catch myself referring to the NFL running back by typing, "Marshall Foch"- understand the true danger the Molsonites pose to us.

   Canada shares a lengthy border with us, and not a lot of it is under any sort of supervision at all. It is an ideal invasion platform, as opposed to the horrific conditions encountered when crossing our heavily-guarded border with Mexico. Many attacks on the United States were launched from Canada. The War of 1812 burning of the White House is only the tip of the iceberg, trust me.

   The day will come when the Canadians abandon the socialized health care stuff. It will break the country... and when that day comes, they'll be looking South. We're fat, rich, complacent, and right there under their border. Hell, they just lost a year of hockey....they're already angry.

   Sure, we have the Stealth bombers and the nuclear well as the gargantuan standing army. We take it to whoever bothers us. Bush can make a phone call, and cities in Iran simply vanish in an unholy irradiated holocaust. The Canadians, with their funny bacon and Dudley-Do-Right looking mounted police, seem like no threat at all. But I'm watching....and not a lot gets by me.


   Oh yeah...the anthem.

   O Canada first rocked the charts in 1880, in Quebec. Sir Adolphe-Basile Routhier wrote the lyrics (in French), and composer Calixa Lavallee came up with the beat. Many English versions have been put forth, with the one you and I know best hitting the paper in 1908.

   It took about 100 years for it to officially become the National Anthem (neither Lavallee or Routhier's obituaries even mention the song), but it's definitely the marching music for a raid on, say, Upper Michigan. Skate right across Lake Michigan, armed with hockey stick rifles, slap-shotting grenades at our lakefront property....I can see it now.

   But I digress. Many people come to me for translations of French stuff they encounter. Now, I return the favor. Here are the unadulterated French lyrics to the Hockey Song:

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,
Protégera nos foyers et nos droits.
Protégera nos foyers et nos droits.

   Catchy, huh? I'm sure many a prom dress has been ankled by those stirring lines. But wait....there's more!

   Here;s the first English translation, from about 5 years after it was performed for the future King George and Queen Mary, thus introducing it to English speaking audiences :

O Canada! Our fathers' land of old
Thy brow is crown'd with leaves of red and gold.
Beneath the shade of the Holy Cross
Thy children own their birth
No stains thy glorious annals gloss
Since valour shield thy hearth.
Almighty God! On thee we call
Defend our rights, forfend this nation's thrall,
Defend our rights, forfend this nation's thrall.


5 years later, a magazine named Collier's Weekly ran a contest for new English lyrics to the song. Mercy McCulloch won it with:

O Canada! in praise of thee we sing;
From echoing hills our anthems proudly ring.
With fertile plains and mountains grand
With lakes and rivers clear,
Eternal beauty, thos dost stand
Throughout the changing year.
Lord God of Hosts! We now implore
Bless our dear land this day and evermore,
Bless our dear land this day and evermore.


That didn't catch on, so a whole bunch of versions started popping up, including the "Buchran Version"...and it goes a little something like this:

O Canada, our heritage, our love
Thy worth we praise all other lands above.
From sea to see throughout their length
From Pole to borderland,
At Britain's side, whate'er betide
Unflinchingly we'll stand
With hearts we sing, "God save the King",
Guide then one Empire wide, do we implore,
And prosper Canada from shore to shore.


   One version finally gained prominence. Written by Robert Stanley Muir, it underwent several modifications before becoming the Canadian National Anthem.

  ]Official Lyrics of O Canada!

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.


In case you can't read, here's a web page that plays the song for you...sans lyrics:


If you didn't you know. If you didn't care, you are free to continue not caring.


geefred53 said...

< smiling..... Ahhhhh Stacey, you do not cease to amaze me with your fact finding abilities :>)

nclrbrt said...

Stacy dear,
Have you seen the 'South Park' movie, 'Bigger, Longer, Uncut'?  Are you familiar
with 'South Park' at all?  If so, you may be familiar with Kyle's mom, Sheila
Kroplowski (or something Polish and Jewish), the "big, fat bitch," the leader of
Mothers Against Canada.  She, too, sees Canada as a clear and present military
danger which ought to be addressed immediately.  She, of course, is a cartoon
character with all the political sense of same.

This is not to say you're a caricature.  I know you're a cute little French girl for real.  But this column is just as silly as the movie.  As to 'O Canada', it's no odder
than 'The Star Spangled Banner' and probably easier to sing.  It's a nice little song
and far less martial.

Nice column, good for a laugh.  Keep on keepin' on, kiddo!