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Partant pour la Syrie

The national air of the French Empire. The words were composed by M. de Laborde in 1809; the music by Queen Hortense, mother of Napoleon III. It is a ballad, the subject of which is as follows:- Young Dunois followed the count, his lord, to Syria, and prayed the Virgin “that he might prove the bravest warrior, and love the fairest maiden.” After the battle, the count said to Dunois, “To thee we owe the victory, and my daughter I give to thee.” Moral: “Amour à la plus belle; honneur au plus vaillant.”

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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