The Mexican National Anthem

Himno Nacional Mexicano

flag of mexico
La bandera mexicana. (The Mexican flag.). Photo by Alvaro_qc; licensed via Creative Commons.

One of the most impressive choral performances I've heard was when I was part of a crowd of hundreds of thousands one Sept. 15, the eve of Mexico's Independence Day, on Mexico City's main plaza, known as the Zócalo. Late in the night, the crowd sang this song, the Mexican National Anthem, known officially as el Himno Nacional Mexicano.

The anthem was written in 1853 by poet Francisco González Bocanegra, although it didn't become official until nearly a century later.

It was originally written with 10 verses and a chorus, although only four verses are typically sung. The anthem is usually sung starting with a chorus followed by the four stanzas, with the chorus sung between each stanza and at the end.

Estribillo: Mexicanos, al grito de guerra
El acero aprestad y el bridón,
Y retiemble en sus centros la tierra
Al sonoro rugir del cañón.
Chorus: Mexicans, when the war cry is heard,
Have sword and bridle ready.
Let the earth's foundations tremble
At the loud cannon's roar.
Estrofa 1: Ciña ¡oh Patria! tus sienes de oliva
De la paz el arcángel divino,
Que en el cielo tu eterno destino,
Por el dedo de Dios se escribió;
Mas si osare un extraño enemigo,
Profanar con su planta tu suelo,
Piensa ¡oh Patria querida! que el cielo
Un soldado en cada hijo te dio.
Stanza 1: May the divine archangel crown your brow,
Oh fatherland, with an olive branch of peace,
For your eternal destiny has been written
In heaven by the finger of God.
But should a foreign enemy
Dare to profane your soil with his tread,
Know, beloved fatherland, that heaven gave you
A soldier in each of your sons.
Estrofa 2: Guerra, guerra sin tregua al que intente
¡De la patria manchar los blasones!
¡Guerra, guerra! Los patrios pendones
En las olas de sangre empapad.
¡Guerra, guerra! En el monte, en el valle
Los cañones horrísonos truenen
Y los ecos sonoros resuenen
Con las voces de ¡Unión! ¡Libertad!
Stanza 2: War, war without truce against who would attempt
to blemish the honor of the fatherland!
War, war! The patriotic banners
saturate in waves of blood.
War, war! On the mount, in the vale
The terrifying cannon thunder
and the echoes nobly resound
to the cries of union! liberty!
Estrofa 3: Antes, patria,
que inermes tus hijos
Bajo el yugo su cuello dobleguen,
Tus campiñas con sangre se rieguen,
Sobre sangre se estampe su pie.
Y tus templos, palacios y torres
Se derrumben con hórrido estruendo,
Y sus ruinas existan diciendo:
De mil héroes la patria aquí fue.
Stanza 2: Fatherland, before your children become unarmed
Beneath the yoke their necks in sway,
May your countryside be watered with blood,
On blood their feet trample.
And may your temples, palaces and towers
crumble in horrid crash,
and their ruins exist saying:
The fatherland was made of one thousand heroes here.
Estrofa 4: ¡Patria! ¡Patria! tus hijos te juran
Exhalar en tus aras su aliento,
Si el clarín con su bélico acento,
Los convoca a lidiar con valor:
¡Para ti las guirnaldas de oliva!
¡Un recuerdo para ellos de gloria!
¡Un laurel para ti de victoria!
¡Un sepulcro para ellos de honor!
Stanza 4: Fatherland, oh fatherland, your sons vow
To give their last breath on your altars,
If the trumpet with its warlike sound
Calls them to valiant battle.
For you, the olive garlands,
For them, a glorious memory.
For you, the victory laurels,
For them, an honored tomb.