Thematic sections

5.4.2 Marinos Tzanes Bounialis

(The Poet:)

What hand is swift and sure enough to write

of Candia's tribulations and not stumble?

(The city speaks:)

I'm now called Chandakas and "noble Candia",

for I have faced the Ottomans' attacks;

at Martinengo they broke down my walls,

at Jesus too, yet all my gates stay closed.

(The Poet:)

The Turks did likewise, blasting them with bombs,

bombarding them with stones incessantly,

striking at nobles, poor folk, youths and clergy,

soldiery, children, innocent young nuns.

The cannonshots converged within the town

striking the churches, throwing down their towers,

entering narrow streets, destroying houses,

while all went running to defend the walls.

They toppled palaces, crushed humble homes,

sweeping down Broad Street to the city's heart;

from Sand Beach they bombarded nearby parts

and no-one dared to walk there in the open.

The generals stood in cover of the walls,

inside the town, to hear each new report.

These two positions were both near the shore;

he should have shown due care in speaking of it,

but he discussed it openly, word spread,

and Satan thus could breach Barozzi's heart...

from Sand Beach and Saint Andrew's bastion,

for in that sector there was no protection.

That pitiless Barozzi heard it all,

heard their assessments, and made up his mind

to be a Judas, a perfidious traitor;

so he divulged it; he went out one night,

found the Vizier and told him what he knew,

all he'd heard from Monsieur, what would ensue.

The Vizier ordered them to dig close in

to the walls, to hurl bombs in and kill defenders...

They closed in on Saint Andrew's bastion,

while many approached Sand Beach from Maroulás.

All you could see in town was dust and smoke,

from countless shots that came in endlessly.

How many fell, how many people lost

to cannon and musket! Others took their place

to hold the city for the love of Christ,

and all the Greeks came out to give their lives

to a death most pitiless — who could describe

their pains? He'd soak the paper with his tears.

Oh Candia, in your pain, what mighty fire

has turned your town to ash from end to end!

No house remains intact, no door, no window,

no monastery, no bell-tower is undamaged!

The Outer Town destroyed, its people all

scattered about, with wretched holes for homes.

Yet Venice still boasts of her Candia,

because the city walls still stand unbreached.

(The city speaks:)

The stones rain down, the cannonballs like hail,

the cannonfire like thunder, no relief.

My churches he's destroyed, he's felled my towers,

tornado-like he's tried to sweep me up.

All who once knew me would not know me now,

they beat their breasts in grief and weep for me.

I pray you through my tears, Lord, hear me now,

deliver me from all these present torments.

You too, my Lady, Mary, much revered

Bringer of Peace, I beg you, rescue me.

My own Saint Titus and Ten Martyr Saints,

join all together now, come to my aid.

O pitiless Death, stay your advance at last

on the spilt blood, shut yourself in your lair.

You've never tired of ranging to and fro,

cutting down victims with your savage scythe.

Oh jealous, thoughtless, pitiless Death, how many

lives you have seized, yet want as many more

Muslim and Christian souls to send to Hades,

of many nations; still you know no pity.

Insatiable, you've still not seen enough

in this poor city, no, as long as yet

a single life remains, you'll seek to crush it;

you'll only cease when none are left to kill.

Three Martyrs' Church they stripped, and all nearby,

Christ Kefalás', St Catherine's monastery.

They took the Holy Blood and stowed it safe,

they packed the Bringer of Peace, the holy relics,

took down the Ten Saints, took away the icons,

all of them, that adorned Saint Titus' church.

They stripped the churches, took books, ammunition,

collected biscuit, weapons, bells and icons.

Europe, lament this day, tear out your hair!

My end is near, alas, they'll hand me over,

to gain respite, they'll let me be enslaved.

When all terms of surrender were agreed

he gave them eight days to vacate the city.

All night you'd see them loading up the boats,

with women, men and goods to take to Dia.

Weep for me, friends and family, weep for me,

weep for me, all you Christians, in my grief.

Earth, fire and water, weep for me together,

and heaven, draw now a veil across your face.

Let clouds bring lightening-bolts and thunder now

to hide the sun, lest it should shine on me.

Weep for me, springs and rivers, lakes and streams,

hills, mountains, plains, roses and violets all.

Shed tears for me today, you perfumed flowers,

you flowery meadows and you trees in bloom.

Weep for me, stars in heaven, moon and clouds;

planets and Pleiades, come, share my grief.

Sun, turn your light to darkness on this day.

a sign for all to see in East and West,

so they may know that I will be no more,

that all who've ever seen me may lament.

(The poet)

Since time was running out, they could not dally,

at mid-day they began to leave in groups.

They left the town locked up, without a soul,

no living thing remained within its walls;

they even took their dogs, so not to leave them

for the Ottomans to find and to inherit.

It was a Wednesday evening when they left

their noble homeland, sunk in bitter grief.

(The city speaks:)

Alas, who was to blame, what cursèd fortune,

or what blind destiny, what blind device

brought you to me, to seal my evil fate?

What winds assisted you, what waves conveyed you,

what star showed you the way, what evil planet

brought you for my sake to the isle of Crete?

You came, you fought, and you will tell the tale,

but never claim you won me by the sword.

My eyes, what do you see? Be darkened now,

so when the Turks come in you will not see.

Oh glorious Fortress, all those that survive,

do they still weep, do they still pine for you?

1. More

Same thematic section texts (6)

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5. The “Cretan War”
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5.1 The Siege and the Fall of Candia (1648-1669)
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5.2 Cretan War and sank of La Thérèse
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5.3 The evacuation of Candia
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5.4 The Cretan War in the Literature
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5.4.1 Anthimos (Akakios) Diakrousis
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5.4.2 Marinos Tzanes Bounialis