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Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander introduced a resolution today joining in the hyperventilation over the Spanish-language version of "The Star Spangled Banner". In the press release announcing his bold action, he references a Washington Post article from 28 April that says "musicologists cannot name another foreign-language version."

Well, I'm not a musicologist, but it took me about 5 minutes to find a Google reference that wasn't about someone bewailing the fact that the national anthem had been translated into Spanish. I found it in the Library of Congress, and although there's no date listed on the document, it looks like it's been around a while. From the printing style, the outfit on the soldier, and the dusky fellow in shorts, I'd hazard a guess that this might have been circulated among German-speaking recruits in the Union army during the Civil War (if I've copied any of the text incorrectly, please let me know, the scan's a little fuzzy on some of the serifs and my German's not what it should be after three years back in college).

Das Star-Spangled Banner

O! sagt, könnt ihr seh'n in des Morgenroth's Strahl,
Was so stolz wir im scheidenden Ubendroth grüßten?
Die Sterne, die Streifen, die Wehnend von Wall,
Im tödlichen Kampf uns den Unblick verfüßten?
Hoch flattere die Fahne in herrlicher Bracht,
Beim Leuchten der Bomben durch dunkle Racht.
O! sagt, ob das Banner, mit Sternen befä't,
Ueber'm Lande der Freien und Braven noch weht?


Originally posted to darrelplant on Tue May 02, 2006 at 12:23 AM PDT.

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