What are the lyrics to Portugal’s national anthem? And what are the words in English?

18 May 2021, 16:58

What are the lyrics to Portugal’s national anthem?
What are the lyrics to Portugal’s national anthem? Picture: Getty / Cantorion

By Sian Moore

A powerful song heard in Portugal’s military ceremonies and the world’s stadiums, this national song was originally penned as a patriotic protest march.

Born in the late 19th century, ‘A Portuguesa’ came about in fiery opposition to Britain’s ultimatum to Portugal in 1890 regarding territorial control of Africa.

Portugal saw Britain’s response as an “offence” (as seen in the lyrics below), and the ultimatum is now believed to be one of the main catalysts for the Republican Revolution, which also successfully fought to abolish the monarchy.

Romantic composer Alfredo Keil and poet Henrique Lopes de Mendonça worked together to create a protest march – but they had little idea their song would, after monarchy had been replaced by a democratic government at the start of the 20th century, be approved as the country’s official anthem.

Decades later in 1956, the government decided to settle on a final version of the song, as variations in the melody had developed over the years.

The version we hear today was put forward, and approved, a year later on 16 July by Portugal’s Council of Ministers.

Read more: What are the lyrics to Russia’s national anthem, and what do they mean?

What are the lyrics to Portugal’s national anthem in English?

Heroes of the sea, noble people,
Valiant and immortal nation,
Raise once again today
The splendor of Portugal!
Among the haze of memory,
Oh Fatherland, one feels the voice
Of your distinguished forefathers,
That shall lead you on to victory!

Chorus:
To arms, to arms!
Over land, over sea,
To arms, to arms!
For the Fatherland, fight!
Against the cannons, march on, march on!

Hoist the undefeated flag,
In the lively light of your sky!
May Europe cry out to the whole Earth:
Portugal has not perished
Kiss your merry ground
The ocean, roaring with love,
And your victorious arm
Gave new worlds to the world!

(Chorus)

Salute the Sun that rises
Over a gleeful future;
Let the echo of an offence
Be the sign for a comeback.
Rays of this strong dawn
Are like a mother’s kisses,
That keep us, sustain us,
Against the injuries of fate.

(Chorus)

What are the lyrics to Portugal’s national anthem?

Heróis do mar, nobre povo,
Nação valente, imortal,
Levantai hoje de novo
O esplendor de Portugal!
Entre as brumas da memória,
Ó Pátria, sente-se a voz
Dos teus egrégios avós,
Que há-de guiar-te à vitória!

Chorus:
Às armas, às armas!
Sobre a terra, sobre o mar,
Às armas, às armas!
Pela Pátria lutar!
Contra os canhões, marchar, marchar!

Desfralda a invicta Bandeira,
À luz viva do teu céu!
Brade a Europa à terra inteira:
Portugal não pereceu
Beija o solo teu jucundo
O Oceano, a rugir d'amor,
E teu braço vencedor
Deu mundos novos ao Mundo!

(Chorus)

Saudai o Sol que desponta
Sobre um ridente porvir;
Seja o eco de uma afronta
O sinal do ressurgir.
Raios dessa aurora forte
São como beijos de mãe,
Que nos guardam, nos sustêm,
Contra as injúrias da sorte.

(Chorus)