Himnusz

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Original Sheet Music

"Himnusz" — the song beginning with the words Isten, áldd meg a magyart listen  (God, bless the Hungarian) — is the official national anthem of Hungary. It was adopted in 1844 and the first stanza is sung at official ceremonies. The words were written by Ferenc Kölcsey and the music was composed by Ferenc Erkel. Its original title was officially "Hymnus, a magyar nép zivataros századaiból" (Hymn, from the Hungarian nation's stormy centuries). This is rarely used today.

The poem and song titled "Szózat", which starts with the words Hazádnak rendületlenül légy híve óh magyar (To your homeland be faithful steadfastly, O Hungarian) enjoys a social status nearly equal to that of "Himnusz", even though only "Himnusz" is mentioned in the Constitution of Hungary. Often, Himnusz is sung at the beginning of ceremonies, and Szózat at the end.

Recognition is also given to the Rákóczi March, a short wordless piece (composer unknown, but sometimes attributed to Janos Bihari) which is often used on state military occasions; and the poem Nemzeti dal written by Petőfi Sándor.

The official radio station Kossuth Rádió plays Himnusz every day at ten past midnight when broadcast on AM bands ends.

The words of the Hungarian anthem are unusual for the genre in expressing a direct plea to God rather than proclaiming national pride. Because of the mention of God, the anthem was played but the words were not sung during the period of the strongest Communist rule in Hungary (1949–1956). (Dictator Mátyás Rákosi even asked composer Zoltán Kodály to write a new, Communist-themed national anthem, but Kodály refused, and Rákosi didn't press the matter.)

Two English versions are given below; both are free translations of the Hungarian words.

Hungarian Lyrics

Literal Translation

Poetic Translation

Isten, áldd meg a magyart
Jó kedvvel, bőséggel,
Nyújts feléje védő kart,
Ha küzd ellenséggel;
Bal sors akit régen tép,
Hozz rá víg esztendőt,
Megbűnhődte már e nép
A múltat s jövendőt!

O Lord, bless the nation of Hungary
With your grace and bounty
Extend toward it your guarding arm
During strife with its enemies
Long torn by ill fate
Bring upon it a time of relief
This nation has suffered for all sins
Of the past and of the future!

O, my God, the Magyar bless
With Thy plenty and good cheer!
With Thine aid his just cause press,
Where his foes to fight appear.
Fate, who for so long did’st frown,
Bring him happy times and ways;
Atoning sorrow hath weighed down
Sins of past and future days.

Őseinket felhozád
Kárpát szent bércére,
Általad nyert szép hazát
Bendegúznak vére.
S merre zúgnak habjai
Tiszának, Dunának,
Árpád hős magzatjai
Felvirágozának.

You brought our ancestors up
Over the Carpathians' holy peaks
By You was won a beautiful homeland
For Bendeguz's sons
And wherever flow the rivers of
The Tisza and the Duna
Árpád our hero's descendants
Will root and bloom.

By Thy help our fathers gained
Kárpát’s proud and sacred height;
Here by Thee a home obtained
Heirs of Bendegúz, the knight.
Where’er Danube’s waters flow
And the streams of Tisza swell
Árpád’s children, Thou dost know,
Flourished and did prosper well.

Értünk Kunság mezein
Ért kalászt lengettél,
Tokaj szőlővesszein
Nektárt csepegtettél.
Zászlónk gyakran plántálád
Vad török sáncára,
S nyögte Mátyás bús hadát
Bécsnek büszke vára.

For us on the plains of the Kuns
You ripened the wheat
In the grape fields of Tokaj
You dripped sweet nectar
Our flag you often planted
On the wild Turk's earthworks
And under Mátyás' grave army whimpered
Vienna's "proud fort."

For us let the golden grain
Grow upon the fields of Kún,
And let Nectar’s silver rain
Ripen grapes of Tokay soon.
Thou our flags hast planted o’er
Forts where once wild Turks held sway;
Proud Vienna suffered sore
From King Mátyásdark array.

Hajh, de bűneink miatt
Gyúlt harag kebledben,
S elsújtád villámidat
Dörgő fellegedben,
Most rabló mongol nyilát
Zúgattad felettünk,
Majd töröktől rabigát
Vállainkra vettünk.

Alas, but for our sins
Anger gathered in Your bosom
And You struck with Your lightning
From Your thundering clouds
Now the plundering Mongols' arrows
You swarmed over us
Then the Turks' slave yoke
We took upon our shoulders.

But, alas! for our misdeed,
Anger rose within Thy breast,
And Thy lightnings Thou did’st speed
From Thy thundering sky with zest.
Now the Mongol arrow flew
Over our devoted heads;
Or the Turkish yoke we knew,
Which a free-born nation dreads.

Hányszor zengett ajkain
Ozmán vad népének
Vert hadunk csonthalmain
Győzedelmi ének!
Hányszor támadt tenfiad
Szép hazám, kebledre,
S lettél magzatod miatt
Magzatod hamvvedre!

How often came from the mouths
Of Osman's barbarian nation
Over the corpses of our defeated army
A victory song!
How often did your own son agress
My homeland, upon your breast,
And you became because of your own sons
Your own sons' funeral urn!

O, how often has the voice
Sounded of wild Osman’s hordes,
When in songs they did rejoice
O’er our heroes’ captured swords!
Yea, how often rose Thy sons,
My fair land, upon Thy sod,
And Thou gavest to these sons,
Tombs within the breast they trod!

Bújt az üldözött, s felé
Kard nyúlt barlangjában,
Szerte nézett s nem lelé
Honját e hazában,
Bércre hág és völgybe száll,
Bú s kétség mellette,
Vérözön lábainál,
S lángtenger fölette.

The fugitive hid, and towards him
The sword reached into his cave
Looking everywhere he could not find
His home in his homeland
Climbs the mountain, descends the valley
Sadness and despair his companions
Sea of blood beneath his feet
Ocean of flame above.

Though in caves pursued he lie,
Even then he fears attacks.
Coming forth the land to spy,
Even a home he finds he lacks.
Mountain, vale – go where he would,
Grief and sorrow all the same –
Underneath a sea of blood,
While above a sea of flame.

Vár állott, most kőhalom,
Kedv s öröm röpkedtek,
Halálhörgés, siralom
Zajlik már helyettek.
S ah, szabadság nem virúl
A holtnak véréből,
Kínzó rabság könnye hull
Árvák hő szeméből!

Castle stood, now a heap of stones
Happiness and joy fluttered,
Groans of death, weeping
Now sound in their place.
And Ah! Freedom does not bloom
From the blood of the dead,
Torturous slavery's tears fall
From the cold eyes of the orphans!

‘Neath the fort, a ruin now,
Joy and pleasure erst were found,
Only groans and sighs, I trow,
In its limits now abound.
But no freedom’s flowers return
From the spilt blood of the dead,
And the tears of slavery burn,
Which the eyes of orphans shed.

Szánd meg Isten a magyart
Kit vészek hányának,
Nyújts feléje védő kart
Tengerén kínjának.
Bal sors akit régen tép,
Hozz rá víg esztendőt,
Megbűnhődte már e nép
A múltat s jövendőt!

Written by: FERENC KÖLCSEY (1823)

Redeem, O Lord, the Hungarians
Who are tossed by waves of danger
Extend toward it your guarding arm
On the sea of its misery
Long torn by ill fate
Bring upon it a time of relief
They who have suffered for all sins
Of the past and of the future!

Translated by: LASZLO KOROSSY (2003)

Pity, God, the Magyar, then,
Long by waves of danger tossed;
Help him by Thy strong hand when
He on grief’s sea may be lost.
Fate, who for so long did’st frown,
Bring him happy times and ways;
Atoning sorrow hath weighed down
All the sins of all his days.

Translated by: WILLIAM N. LOEW (1881)

[edit] Himnusz sculpture

On May 7, 2006, a sculpture was inaugurated for Himnusz at Szarvas Square, Budakeszi, the village then adjacent to Budapest where the composer of the melody, Ferenc Erkel, was born. It was created by Mária V. Majzik, an artist with the Hungarian Heritage Award, depicting the full text of the poem in a circle, centered around a two metres high bronze figure of God, with 21 bronze bells in seven arches between eight pieces of stone, each four and a half metres high. The musical form of the poem can be played on the bells. Its costs, 40 million forints (roughly 200,000 USD[1]), were collected by public subscription.

[edit] External links


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Himnusz

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