Sunday, September 03, 2006

The National Anthem of El Salvador

September is a month of civic pride in El Salvador leading up to the celebration of independence from Spain on September 15. Today La Prensa Grafica published on its web site a video of various Salvadoran vocalists singing the country's national anthem at locations across the country. As the video shows, the national anthem is both long and difficult to sing.

Here are the lyrics:

Chorus

Saludemos la Patria orgullosos de hijos suyos podernos llamar; y juremos la vida animosos sin descanso a su bien consagrar.

First Part

De la paz en la dicha suprema, siempre noble soño El Salvador; fue obtenerla su eterno problema, conservarla es su gloria mayor.

Y con fe inquebrantable el camino del progreso se afana en seguir, por llenar su grandioso destino conquistarse un feliz porvenir.

Le protege una férrea barrera contra el choque de ruin deslealtad, desde el día en que su alta bandera con su sangre escribió: ¡LIBERTAD!

Second Part

Libertad es su dogma, es su guía que mil veces logró defender; y otras tantas, de audaz tiranía rechazar el odioso poder.

Dolorosa y sangrienta es su historia, pero excelsa y brillante a la vez; manantial de legítima gloria, gran lección de espartana altivez.

No desmaya en su innata bravura, en cada hombre hay un héroe inmortal que sabrá mantenerse a la altura de su antiguo valor proverbial.

Third Part

Todos son abnegados, y fieles al prestigio del bélico ardor con que siempre segaron laureles dee la patria salvando el honor.

Respetar los derechos extraños y apoyarse en la recta razón es para ella, sin torpes amaños, su invariable, mas firme ambición.

Y en seguir esta línea se aferra dedicando su esfuerzo tenaz, en hacer cruda guerra a la guerra: su ventura se encuentra en la paz.

ENGLISH TRANSLATION:
CHORUS:
Let us salute the motherland,
Proud to be called her children.
To her well-being let us swear
Boldly and unceasingly to devote our lives.
(repeat)
Devote our lives! (repeat 4 times)

Of peace enjoyed in perfect happiness,
El Salvador has always nobly dreamed.
To achieve this has been her eternal proposition,
To keep it, her greatest glory.
With inviolable faith, she eagerly follows
The way of progress
In order to fulfil her high destiny
And achieve a happy future.
A stern barrier protects her
Against the clash of vile disloyalty,
Ever since the day when her lofty banner,
In letters of blood, wrote "Freedom",
Wrote "Freedom", wrote "Freedom".

CHORUS

Freedom is her dogma and her guide;
A thousand times she has defended it,
And as many times has she repelled
The hateful power of atrocious tyranny.
Her history has been bloody and sad,
Yet at the same time sublime and brilliant,
A source of legitimate glory
And a great lesson in Spartan pride.
Her innate bravery shall not waver:
In every man there is an immortal hero
Who knows how to maintain the level
Of the proverbial valour of old.

CHORUS

All are self-denying and faithful
To the tradition of warlike ardour
With which they have always reaped fame
By saving the motherland's honour.
To respect the rights of others
And base her actions on right and justice
Is for her, without infamous intrigue,
The constant and most firm ambition.
And in following this line she persists,
Dedicating her tenacious efforts
In giving hard battle for battle;
Her happiness is found in peace.

CHORUS

6 comments:

El-Visitador said...

Interesting translation; goes to show how difficult it is to convey into English a rich and cultured Spanish, though, alas!, so few now have such a good handle on it as any well-educated man of the XIX c. routinely did.

I wonder why did the translator use Motherland for Patria? Hope it wasn't political correctess. A sexist desire to avoid the clearly male noun or willful negation of the –to gringo ears– still uncomfortable sounding Vaterland?

Source, please.

Tim said...

It definitely lost a lot in translation. I would not want to try and sing those English lyrics.

The source was a Wikipedia article. But the article does not attribute the source of the translation. I wasn't brave enough to try my own translation.

El-Visitador said...

Thank you, Tim.

POLYCARPIO said...

I remember when I came to the US as a kid being irritated that my American cousin used to tell me that the intro to the Salvadoran anthem sounded like the theme of the "Lone Ranger." The phrase I remember most vividly from the lyrics is the passage that says that El Salvador has always dreamt of peace, the "supreme" blessing. Kind of ironic, I guess. I remember getting a lump in my throad every time I heard it during those early years of my exile in the U.S. Over the years, I must say it lost its grip over my pride and psyche. At times, it seems like little more than cheap 19th century sentimentalism, like the schmaltzy expression on a Hallmark card, that may have little to do with reality or how a nation's history was pursued by its rulers.

Anonymous said...

¿Día de Independencia? On Sept 15 we can celebrate the fact that one small ruling class took power from anther small ruling class. It did not improve the lot of the average Central American. So why celebrate? Anyways, the National Anthem of El Salvador does not reflect the reality of today. It is a piece of 19th c. bulls**t.

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