France Meddling with the Marseillaise

A proposal to bowdlerize France's barn-burning anthem provokes an indignant Mon Dieu! from traditionalists

If ever there was a song to quicken the blood of the living and raise the spirits of the dead, surely it is France's national anthem, the Marseillaise, whose music once inspired the men of the Midi to boot out invading Prussians, march on Paris -- whistling the tune as they went -- depose the King and fire the imagination of all Europe. That was 200 years ago. Today the song's robust words, which bristle with righteous anger at la tyrannie and enjoin the children of revolutionary France to "drench our fields" with the "tainted blood" of the enemy, are under...