Once a Week (magazine)/Series 1/Volume 5/Mark Bozzari

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Translation of "Mark Bozzari" (1823). Illustrated by John Tenniel.

MARK BOZZARI.
FROM THE GERMAN OF WILHELM MÜLLER.

Open wide, proud Missolonghi, open wide thy portals high,
Where repose the bones of heroes, teach us cheerfully to die!
Open wide thy lofty portals, open wide thy vaults profound;
Up, and scatter laurel garlands to the breeze and on the ground!
Mark Bozzari’s noble body is the freight to thee we bear,
Mark Bozzari’s! Who for hero great as he to weep will dare?
Tell his wounds, his victories over! Which in number greatest be?
Every victory has its wound, and every wound its victory!
See, a turban’d head is grimly set on all our lances here!
See, how the Osmanli’s banner swathes in purple folds his bier!
See, oh see the latest trophies, which our hero’s glory seal’d,
When his glaive with gore was drunken on great Karpinissi’s field!
In the murkiest hour of midnight did we at his call arise,
Through the gloom like lightning-flashes flash’d the fury from our eyes;
With a shout, across our knees we snapp’d the scabbards of our swords,
Better down to mow the harvest of the mellow Turkish hordes;
And we clasp’d our hands together, and each warrior stroked his beard,
And one stamp’d the sward, another rubbed his blade, and vow’d its weird.
Then Bozzari’s voice resounded: “On, to the barbarian’s lair!
On, and follow me, my brothers, see you keep together there!
Should you miss me, you will find me surely in the Pasha’s tent!
On, with God! Through Him our foemen, death itself through Him is shent!
On!” And swift he snatch’d the bugle from the hands of him that blew,
And himself awoke a summons that o’er dale and mountain flew,
Till each rock and cliff made answer clear and clearer to the call,
But a clearer echo sounded in the bosom of us all!
As from midnight’s battlemented keep the lightnings of the Lord
Sweep, so swept our swords, and smote the tyrants and their slavish horde;

Mark Bozzari.png

As the trump of doom shall waken sinners in their graves that lie,
So through all the Turkish eaguer thunder’d this appalling cry:
Mark Bozzari! Mark Bozzari! Suliotes, smite them in their lair!”
Such the goodly morning-greeting that we gave the sleepers there.
And they stagger’d from their slumber, and they ran from street to street,
Ran like sheep without a shepherd, striking wild at all they meet;

Ran, and frenzied by Death’s angels, who amidst their myriads stray’d,
Brother, in bewilder’d fury, dash’d and fell on brother’s blade.
Ask the night of our achievements! It beheld us in the fight,
But the day will never credit what we did in yonder night!
Greeks by hundreds, Turks by thousands, there like scatter’d seed they lay,
On the field of Karpinissi, when the morning broke in grey.
Mark Bozzari, Mark Bozzari, and we found thee gash’d and mown;
By thy sword alone we knew thee, knew thee by thy wounds alone;
By the wounds thy hand had cloven, by the wounds that seam’d thy breast,
Lying, as thou hadst foretold us, in the Pasha’s tent at rest!

Open wide, proud Missolonghi, open wide thy portals high,
Where repose the bones of heroes, teach us cheerfully to die!
Open wide thy vaults! Within their holy bounds a couch we’d make,
Where our hero, laid with heroes, may his long last slumber take!
Rest, beside that Rock of Honour, brave Count Normann, rest thy head,
Till at the archangel’s trumpet all the graves give up their dead!

Theodore Martin.