Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Red Flag (R.U.S. Bonus)

Melody: Lauriger Horatius (O Tannenbaum)
Words by Jim Connell, 1852-1929
Information from

The chorus is "Then raise the scarlet standard high...." and that should follow every verse. I didn't know that, so I sang it only once, but I'm sure you'll be able to imagine the difference. You must have heard "O Christmas Tree" before after all...

The people's flag is deepest red,
It shrouded oft our martyred dead,
And ere their limbs grew stiff and cold,
Their hearts blood dyed its every fold.

Then raise the scarlet standard high. (chorus)
Within its shade we'll live and die,
Though cowards flinch and traitors sneer,
We'll keep the red flag flying here.

Look round, the Frenchman loves its blaze,
The sturdy German chants its praise,
In Moscow's vaults its hymns are sung
Chicago swells the surging throng.

It waved above our infant might,
When all ahead seemed dark as night;
It witnessed many a deed and vow,
We must not change its colour now.

It well recalls the triumphs past,
It gives the hope of peace at last;
The banner bright, the symbol plain,
Of human right and human gain.

It suits today the weak and base,
Whose minds are fixed on pelf and place
To cringe before the rich man's frown,
And haul the sacred emblem down.

With heads uncovered swear we all
To bear it onward till we fall;
Come dungeons dark or gallows grim,
This song shall be our parting hymn

Although Jim Connell intended his words to be sung to the tune of The White Cockade, today this setting is more common, although both are still sung.

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