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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.
The Library of the World’s Best Literature. An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

Alexandre, Comte de Laborde (1773–1842)

The Departure for Syria

  • (Le Départ 1809, pour la Syrie)
  • [The music of this song, which was composed by Queen Hortense, mother of Napoleon III., became the national air of the French Empire.]

  • TO Syria young Dunois will go,

    That gallant, handsome knight,

    And prays the Virgin to bestow

    Her blessing on the fight.

    “O Thou who reign’st in heaven above,”

    He prayed, “grant this to me:

    The fairest maiden let me love,

    The bravest warrior be.”

    He pledges then his knightly word,

    His vow writes on the stone,

    And following the count, his lord,

    To battle he has gone.

    To keep his oath he ever strove,

    And sang aloud with glee,

    “The fairest maid shall have my love,

    And honor mine shall be.”

    Then said the count, “To thee we owe

    Our victory, I confess;

    Glory on me thou didst bestow,—

    I give thee happiness:

    My daughter, whom I fondly love,

    I gladly give to thee;

    She, who is fair all maids above,

    Should valor’s guerdon be.”

    They kneel at Mary’s altar both,—

    The maid and gallant knight,—

    And there with happy hearts their troth

    Right solemnly they plight.

    It was a sight all souls to move;

    And all cried joyously,

    “Give honor to the brave, and love

    Shall beauty’s guerdon be.”