The lyrics were composed by Andrei Mureşanu (1816-1863) and the music by Anton Pann (1796-1854). It was written and publicated during the 1848 revolution, initially with the name "Un rasunet" (An echo). It was first sang on June 29 of the same year in the Râmnicu Vâlcea city, it was immediately accepted as the revolutionary hymn and renamed "Deşteaptă-te, române" (Wake up, O, Romanian!).
Since then, this song, which contains a message of liberty and patriotism, was sang during all major Romanian conflicts, including during the 1989 anti-communist revolution, since then it became the national anthem.
Deşteaptă-te, române, din somnul cel de moarte,
În care te-adânciră barbarii de tirani!
Acum ori niciodată croieşte-ţi altă soarte,
La care să se-nchine şi cruzii tăi duşmani!
Acum ori niciodată să dăm dovezi în lume
Că-n aste mâni mai curge un sânge de roman,
Şi că-n a noastre piepturi păstrăm cu fală-un nume
Triumfător în lupte, un nume de Traian!
Priviţi, măreţe umbre, Mihai, Ştefan, Corvine,
Româna naţiune, ai voştri strănepoţi,
Cu braţele armate, cu focul vostru-n vine,
"Viaţă-n libertate ori moarte!" strigă toţi.
Preoţi, cu crucea-n frunte! căci oastea e creştină,
Deviza-i libertate şi scopul ei preasfânt,
Murim mai bine-n luptă, cu glorie deplină,
Decât să fim sclavi iarăşi în vechiul nost' pământ!
A somewhat literal translation:
Wake up, O Romanian, from your deathly sleep
Into which you've been sunk by the barbaric tyrants
Now, as at no other time, create yourself a new fate,
For all others to accept, even your cruelest enemies.
Now, as at no other time, lets send proof to the world
That blood of Romans still flows inside these hands.
That in our chests we still maintain our pride in a name
The victor in his battles, the name of Trajan!
Priests, lead with your crucifixes! Because the army is Christian,
The motto is Liberty and the goal is holy,
Better for us to gloriously die in battle,
Than to once more be slaves upon our ancient ground!