The Marble Plaque depicting the portrait of
Dun Karm and the National Anthem,
at the Cathedral Museum, Mdina
Dun Karm Psaila
author of the verses
of the Maltese Anthem
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Dun Karm Psaila Biography
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Hear Malta National Anthem
Dr. Robert Sammut
composer of the
National Anthem of Malta
Lil din l-art ħelwa, l-Omm li tatna isimha,
ħares, Mulej, kif dejjem Int ħarist:
Ftakar li lilha bl-oħla dawl libbist.
Agħti, kbir Alla, id-dehen lil min jaħkimha,
Rodd il-ħniena lis-sid, saħħa 'l-ħaddiem:
Seddaq il-għaqda fil-Maltin u s-sliem
OF THE MALTESE NATIONAL ANTHEM
Guard her, O Lord, as ever Thou hast guarded!
This Motherland so dear whose name we bear!
Keep her in mind, whom Thou hast made so fair!
May he who rules, for wisdom be regarded!
In master mercy, strength in man increase!
Confirm us all, in unity and peace!
Dun Karm (Żebbuġ, 18 October 1971 — 13 October 1961) was a Maltese writer and poet.
He was educated at the Seminary between the years 1885 and 1894 and then proceeded to study philosophy in 1888 and theology in 1890 the University of Malta.
He was ordained priest in 1894. From 1895 to 1921 he taught various subjects at the Seminary: Italian, Latin, English, arithmetic, geography, cosmography, ecclesiastical history and Christian archaeology. In 1921 he was appointed assistant librarian at the National Library of Malta and in 1923 directory of circulating libraries, a post he held till his retirement in 1936.
In 1921, Albert Laferla, the director of education, asked Dun Karm to compose some verses to a music score by Robert Samut. The Innu Malti was sung for the first time in 1923. In 1941 it was officially designated the national anthem, a status confirmed by the Constitution at independence in 1964.
In 1921 Dun Karm was one of the founding members of the Għaqda tal-Kittieba tal-Malti and on the death of Ġużè Muscat Azzopardi in 1927, he was elected president of the Għaqda and later editor of the official organ, Il-Malti. He carried out these functions till 1942 when he was nominated honorary president of the ghaqda for life. In recognition of his contribution to Maltese literature, he was granted a D. Litt (honoris causa) by the Royal University of Malta in 1945 - the first time the University granted such an honour. A year later he was awarded the Guze Muscat Azzopardi gold medal. Queen Elizabeth II decorated him with the Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1956. In 1957 the Maltese government issued him an ex-gratia pension in recognition of his services to Maltese literature. During his lifetime he was also honoured as the National Poet of Malta.
Before 1912 Dun Karm wrote only in Italian. His first known published poem is La Dignità Episcopale (1889) after which he published Foglie d'Allora (1896) and Versi (1903) another collection of Italian poems.
Dun Karm wrote Quddiem Xbieha tal-Madonna his first poem in Maltese, which appeared in the first issue of the Maltese periodical Il-Ħabib, published by Mgr. Pawl Galea and Ġużè Muscat Azzopardi. His best poems include Il-Musbieħ tal-Mużew (1920).
Dun Karm often found poetic expression in his solitude, which was eventually accompanied by a high degree of spiritual balance. His poetry reflects a background of village life crowned with an atmosphere of family feelings and it also portrays the Maltese countryside with a perspective imagination. It synthesizers the popular culture of the Maltese people, which is quite evident from the rural characteristics that furnish its local identity with the literary culture based largely on Italian romanticism.
His first works in Italian reveal an early life of peace and calm; after the death of his mother, solitude became his companion. When he decided to make Maltese the medium of his creativity he explored poetically the history of Malta to confirm its cultural and national identity. At the same time some of his best poems illustrate an inner journey of sentimental and more experience. His poetry exhibits great subjectivity but it also expresses his country collective aspirations. Both the personal and the national sentiments are treated from a deep religious viewpoint that discusses existentialism The spiritual crisis in Il-Jien u lil hinn Minnu is analyzed in universal human terms that illuminate man's existence and insist on the inexplicability of the relations between God and man, except for the latter's absolute acceptance of the formers hidden power.
A.J. Arberry translated about 37 of Dun Karm's poems into English, Guze Delia translated Il-Vjatku into Spanish and Laurent Ropa translated Il-Jien u lil hinn Minnu into French.
Dun Karm's writings include Żewġ Anġli: Inez u Emilia (translated in 1934 from an Italian novel by D Caprile) Besides these he wrote a few critical works. He also compiled a dictionary between 1947 and 1955 in three volumes, Dizzjunarju Ingliż u Malti.
Robert Sammut composer of the National Anthem L-Innu Malti was born in Floriana on the
17th October 1869. He was a doctor by profession, having studied at the University of Malta from where he graduated in medicine. He followed post graduate studies in Edinburgh and he eventually was
appointed professor of pathology.
Sammut played with an amateur orchestra and wrote the music for a hymn to be performed by it. The King's Own Band of Valletta took up this music and Dun Karm Psaila, the National Poet, set later lyrics to it.
This was the genesis of the national anthem, which was first performed as such in public at the Manoel Theatre in 1919. Sammut died in Sliema on the 26th May 1934.
L-Istorja ta’ l-Innu Malti
Diġa’ fid-dsatax-il seklu (1800 — 1899) kien hemm ix-xewqa li Malta jkollha l-innu nazzjonali tagħha. Fl-1850 Ġan Anton Vassallo kien ikkompona Innu Lil Malta, li ndaqq ta’ spiss matul l-għoxrin seklu waqt ħafna manifestazzjonijiet (meetings) Maltin.
Fl-1922 il-Kulunell Professur Robert Samut ikkompona biċċa mużika qasira. Din il-biċċa mużika ġiet f’idejn A. V. Laferla. Dik il-ħabta Laferla kien id-Direttur ta’ l-iskejjel primarji, u kien qed jaħseb biex iqabbad lil xi ħadd jagħmillu innu qasir biex ikantawh it-tfal fl-iskejjel tal-gvern.
Meta sema’ l-biċċa mużika ta’ Samut, Laferla laqtitu ħafna u ħaseb li kienet tajba għall-iskop tiegħu. Talab lill-Monsinjur Karmenu Psaila, il-poeta nazzjonali, biex jiktiblu xi versi li jmorru mal-mużika.
Il-poeżiji ta’ Dun Karm huma magħrufin ħafna għax-xejra reliġjuża u patrijottika tagħhom, u l-versi li kiteb għall-mużika ta’ Samut ma kienu xejn inqas. F’qasir żmien kiteb il-versi. Kienu versi qosra, madankollu kienu juru ż-żewġ elementi importanti ta’ l-ispirtu tal-poplu Malti.
L-innu beda jitkanta f’Diċembru ta’ l-1922, fl-iskejjel tal-gvern. L-ewwel darba li ndaqq fil-pubbliku kien fis-27 ta’ Diċembru 1922 u fis-6 ta’ Jannar 1923, waqt żewġ kunċerti li ngħataw mit-tfal fit-Teatru Manoel.
Madankollu, waqt dawn iż-żewġ rappreżentazzjonijiet, xi ħadd biddel xi kliem mill-innu. Dan irrabja lil Dun Karm, li bħala protesta kiteb artiklu fil-gazzetta. Minn dakinhar ‘l hawn ma tbiddel xejn mill-verżjoni oriġinali tal-versi.
Fit-3 ta’ Frar 1923 reġa’ ndaqq f’kunċert ieħor fit-Teatru Manoel, din id-darba mtella’ mit-tfal ta’ l-iskola ta’ Tas-Sliema, u bil-versi oriġinali kif kien kitibhom Dun Karm. L-innu ndaqq mill-Banda tad-Duka ta’ Edinburgh, ta’ Vittoriosa.
Il-Gvern Malti għaraf l-innu bħala l-innu uffiċjali ta’ Malta fit-22 ta’ Frar ta’ 1941. Il-Kostituzzjoni ta’ l-Indipendenza (1964) kkonfermatu bħala l-Innu Nazzjonali ta’ Malta, u tista’ tgħid li issa huwa wieħed mis-simboli ta’ identita’ tal-poplu Malti.
Ġrajja interessanti seħħet fil-25 ta’ Marzu 1945, fl-istadju tal-Gżira qabel il-logħba futbol bejn l-Ingilterra u l-Jugoslavja. Dak iż-żmien Malta kienet għadha taħt l-Ingliżi, u l-Gvernatur Ingliż kien preżenti. Qabel il-logħba il-banda daqqet l-innijiet tal-Jugoslavja u ta’ l-Ingilterra. Hekk kif il-Gvernatur kien se joqgħod bil-qiegħda, il-folla tal-Maltin baqgħu bil-wieqfa u bdew ikantaw l-Innu Malti. Malli ra dan il-Gvernatur baqa’ bil-wieqfa sakemm spiċċa l-Innu.
l-Innu Malti nistgħu niddeskrivuh bħala talba li ħierġa mill-qalb. L-innu jindaqq kuljum fuq il-medja (radju u televiżjoni) u waqt kull funzjoni li jattendu għaliha il-President ta’ Malta, il-Prim Ministru u personalitajiet oħra importanti fil-gvern. Jindaqq ukoll kuljum fl-iskejjel u waqt okkażjonijiet nazzjonali importanti.
From the mid nineteenth century up to the early 1930s, Malta was passing through a national awakening. With the increased national awareness, it was felt by many thinkers that Malta should have its own National Anthem. In 1850 Ġan Anton Vassalli composed Innu Lil Malta, which used to be played during many Maltese political manifestations and meetings. In 1922, Professor Mro. Robert Samut composed a short melody. A year later, Dr A.V. Laferla, Director of Primary Schools in Malta, obtained possession of this composition, as he wanted to have a hymn which could be sung by students in Malta's schools. Laferla asked Dun Karm to write lyrics that would fit with Samut's short and dignified melody. The poems of Dun Karm are well known for their religious and patriotic currents, and so are the verses written for Samut's anthem. The hymn was already being sung in December 1922, mostly in governmental schools. The first time it was heard in public was on the 27th December 1922 and again on the 6th January 1923, during two concerts at the Manoel Theatre. However, during its two first appearances, someone had changed some verses from the first stanza. This angered Dun Karm, who protested by writing an article in a local newspaper. Eversince that day, not a single word has been changed. On the 3rd February 1923, another concert was held at the Manoel Theatre, performed by children from Sliema, with Dun Karm's original verses. The hymn was played by the Duke of Edinburgh's Band, of Vittoriosa.
In 1922-23, Dr A.V. Laferla, Director of Primary Schools, obtained possession of a piece of music composed by Dr Robert Samut. He handed it to Dun Karm Psaila, a well-known priest and poet, to write the lyrics for it as a school hymn. As Dun Karm began writing, he suddenly conceived the idea of writing a hymn in the form of a prayer to the Almighty.
Dun Karm, who was later to become Malta's National Poet, wanted to bridge the gap existing between the political parties and to unite all with the strong ties of religion and patriotism. L-Innu Malti was first played on the 3rd February 1923. In 1945 it was declared to be the official Anthem of Malta.