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Chouans

A song of the French Counter-Revolution

As Robespierre's Reign of Terror gripped France in its deadly embrace, segments of the French countrysides of Vendée and Bretagne rallied together to protest against the King Louis XVI's death. Although the heroic fighters of the Vendee were crushed by Robespierre's Infernal Columns many of the survivors escaped to nearby provinces where they would organize further Counter-Revolution. One of the leaders of this movement was Jean Cottereau. Cottereau was nicknamed Jean Chouan (chouan is the French for owl) for the rally signal he and his men used imitated the call of an owl. His followers were called Chouans and their movement became known as Chouannerrie.

This song is one of the many militant songs of the Chouannerrie. It reminds the listener of the destruction and horror spread through the French countryside by the French Revolution. While the Convention calls for the annihilation of the Chouans, deep within their forested hideouts the Chouans sharpen their swords and prepare to fight for their King and their Faith, no matter the odds! Chouans here is sung by Jean Pax Mefret



French Lyrics:

A l'horizon,
Le ciel est encore rouge.
Sans sommation,
Ils tirent sur tout ce qui bouge.
On les appelle les colonnes infernales,
Du général.

Ils ont brûlé nos fermes et nos églises,
Ils ont noyé nos prêtres par surprise.
La Loire n'est plus qu'un long fleuve de sang.
Chouans. Chouans.

Ils disent que nous sommes une race maudite.
La Convention veut que la Vendée soit détruite.
Ils rêvent d'en faire un grand, un immense cimetière.
C'est le voeu cher de Maximilien Robespierre.

Au fond des bois,
Nous aiguisons nos lames.
Face à la Croix,
Nous prions pour nos âmes.
Soyez présents aux cris des chats huants.
Chouans. Chouans.

Les longues faux brillent
Aux reflets de la lune,
Et en Bretagne nos hommes
Avancent dans les dunes.
Des groupes se forment
De Normandie jusqu'à la mer,
Ils viennent aussi du fond
Des marais de Mayenne.

Debout, Chouans.
Peuple des forêts et de légendes!
Près des étangs,
Les feux follets dansent sur la lande.
Toute la force du Saint Esprit,
Nous accompagne.
A vos fusils.
La Foi soulève les montagnes.

Même si l'Histoire,
Enterre notre propre passé,
Notre mémoire,
Continue d'exister.
Et, par Saint Jean.
Toujours nous resterons.
Chouans. Chouans.
Chouans. Chouans.
Chouans.
Translation:

On the horizon,
The sky is still red.
Without warning,
They shot on everything that moves.
They are called the infernal columns,
Generally.

They have burned our farms and our churches,
They have drowned our priests by surprise.
The Loire is nothing but a long stream of blood.
Chouans. Chouans.

They say we are a cursed race.
The Convention wants the Vendee to be destroyed.
They dream of making of it an immense cemetery.
This is the vow of Maximillian Robespierre.

Deep in the woods,
We sharpen our blades.
Before the Cross,
we pray for our souls.
Come to join us at the hooting of the owl.
Chouans. Chouans.

The long sickles shine
Under the light of the moon,
And in Brittany men
Advance over the dunes.
Groups forming
From Normandy to the sea,
They come also from
The swamps of Mayenne.

Stand up Chouans.
Forest people of legends.
Close to the pools,
The will o the wisp dance on the moorland.
All the force of the Holy Spirit,
Is with us.
To your rifles.
Faith can move mountains.

Even if history,
Buries our past,
Our memory,
Will continue to exist.
Par Saint Jean.
We always will remain.
Chouan. Chouan.
Chouan. Chouan.
Chouan.



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Henri de Larochejaquelin


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