National Poet Space | Mdina Cathedral Museum Archives

National Poet Space

Fr. Carmelo Psaila, popularly known as Dun Karm Psaila, was born in Żebbuġ on the 18th of October 1871.  He was a Maltese writer and poet, and is also the Maltese National poet.  Dun Karm studied at the Seminary between the years 1885 and 1894 and then proceeded to study philosophy in 1888 and theology in 1890 at the University of Malta.

In 1921, Albert Laferla, the director of education, asked Dun Karm to compose some verses to a music score by Robert Sammut. The Innu Malti, “Maltese Anthem”, which assumed the form of a prayer to God, was sung for the first time in 1923. In 1941 it was officially designated as the National Anthem, a status confirmed by the Constitution when the island was granted Independence in 1964.

Lyrics of the Maltese National Anthem

Lil din l-art ħelwa, l-Omm li tatna isimha,
Ħares, Mulej, kif dejjem Int ħarist:
Ftakar li lilha bil-oħla dawl libbist.

Agħti, kbir Alla, id-dehen lil min jaħkimha,
Rodd il-ħniena lis-sid, is-saħħa lill-ħaddiem:
Seddaq il-għaqda fil-Maltin u s-sliem.

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!

In 1921 Dun Karm was one of the founding members of the Għaqda tal-Kittieba tal-Malti, and was later appointed its president and editor of its publication Il-Malti.  Queen Elizabeth II decorated him as Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1956.

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.

Dun Karm died on the 13 October 1961.

The Dun Karm room is reserved specifically for the Maltese National Poet. This room consists of an exhibition of Dun Karm Psaila’s personal possessions, including investments, manuscripts, letters, his typewriter, as well as his piano.  This room is very popular with students who find it both interesting and educational.