Wednesday, October 11, 2017

A Single Sailor who was Worth an Entire Navy..

             The weather suddenly changed form
                       and our ship was struck by a terrible storm,
                       shortly after leaving the Skagerrak calm,

                       toward the land discovered by Magellan, 
                                                             [the island of Guam.  
                       It caused a lot of damage to the ship ...
                       Our engine was working with 
                                       [much difficulty, and the trip
                       was altered, it was decided to stop at a port for repairs.

                       The radio operator went running down the stairs

                       holding the telegram and shouting "we're going to France"
                       A place we all want to go, the place of romance....

                Several poems of Hugo's collection
                which caused an international meditation,
                directly allude to the Greek War,
                the War of Independence that had ended in 1827
                and the delighted Greeks were in seventh heaven ..

                I had received a letter very recently
                in which it was written that frequently,
                poems of Victor Hugo, often praised an ancestor of mine,
                Kanaris, whose reputation has passed the immortality line.

   Once our ship anchored at Brest,
    I went to the most updated bookstore
                                      [in town the best,

    (although the temperature was below zero)
    and I bought Hugo's poems and books 
                                        [on Canaris, the hero.

    So I learned that he lived by the sea since he was a baby.
    Kanaris... a single sailor who was worth an entire navy..

    He achieved the greatest military feat.
    With a torch, gunpowder and a small boat, 
                                 [chased an entire fleet ..

    At that time the fire boat was an unusual weapon,

    and became synonymous with disaster, with Armageddon..

    After successive explosions in several enemy vessels,
        terror into the hearts of the Turkish crews nestles.

        The entire naval fleet leaves the Aegean Sea...

        My ancestor, Kanaris, forced them to flee.

Texts and Narration: Odysseus Heavilayias - ROTTERDAM //
Language adjustments and text adaptation: Kellene G Safis - CHICAGO//
Digital adaptation and text editing: Cathy Rapakoulia Mataraga - PIRAEUS

No. 13


  * Guam : An unincorporated territory of the United States, the largest and most southerly of the Mariana Islands in the western Pacific Ocean. Inhabited since ancient times by the Chamorro people, Guam was visited by Magellan in 1521 and ceded by Spain to the United States in 1898. Agana is the capital.
   The first known contact between Guam and Western Europe occurred when Ferdinand Magellan, a Portuguese explorer sailing for the Holy Roman Emperor King Charles I of Spain, anchored his small 3-ship fleet in Guam on March 6, 1521
 * Kanaris : At Chios, on the night of June 6/June 7, 1822 Kanaris destroyed the flagship of the Turkish admiral Nasuhzade Ali Pasha (or Kara-Ali Pasha) in revenge for the Chios Massacre. The admiral was holding a celebration, while Kanaris managed to place his fire ship next to it.
   When the flagship's powder store caught fire, all men aboard were instantly killed. The Ottoman casualties comprised 2000 men, both naval officers and common sailors, as well as Kara-Ali himself.
   Constantine Kanaris after the Greek War of Independence served as Minister in various governments and then as Prime Minister, in the provisional government, from March 11-April 11, 1844. He served a second term (October 27, 1848 – December 24, 1849), and as Navy Minister in Mavrokordatos' 1854 cabinet he served as a prime minister for a third term (March 17 – April 28, 1864), fourth term (August 7, 1864 – February 9, 1865) and fifth and last term (June 7 – September 14, 1877).

To Canaris, The Greek Patriot
Author: Victor Hugo
             ("Canaris! nous t'avons oublie.")
[VIII., October, 1832.]

O Canaris! O Canaris! the poet's song

Has blameful left untold thy deeds too long!

But when the tragic actor's part is done,

When clamor ceases, and the fights are won,

When heroes realize what Fate decreed,

When chieftains mark no more which thousands bleed;

When they have shone, as clouded or as bright,

As fitful meteor in the heaven at night, 
And when the sycophant no more proclaims 
To gaping crowds the glory of their names,-- 

'Tis then the mem'ries of warriors die, 
And fall--alas!--into obscurity, 
Until the poet, in whose verse alone 
Exists a world--can make their actions known, 
And in eternal epic measures, show 
They are not yet forgotten here below. 

And yet by us neglected! glory gloomed, 
Thy name seems sealed apart, entombed, 
Although our shouts to pigmies rise--no cries 
To mark thy presence echo to the skies; 
Farewell to Grecian heroes--silent is the lute, 
And sets your sun without one Memnon bruit? 
There was a time men gave no peace 
To cheers for Athens, Bozzaris, Leonidas, and Greece! 

And Canaris' more-worshipped name was found 
On ev'ry lip, in ev'ry heart around. 
But now is changed the scene! On hist'ry's page 
Are writ o'er thine deeds of another age, 
And thine are not remembered.--Greece, farewell! 

The world no more thine heroes' deeds will tell. 
Not that this matters to a man like thee! 
To whom is left the dark blue open sea, 
Thy gallant bark, that o'er the water flies, 
And the bright planet guiding in clear skies; 
All these remain, with accident and strife, 
Hope, and the pleasures of a roving life, 
Boon Nature's fairest prospects--land and main-- 
The noisy starting, glad return again; 
The pride of freeman on a bounding deck 
Which mocks at dangers and despises wreck, 
And e'en if lightning-pinions cleave the sea, 
'Tis all replete with joyousness to thee! 
Yes, these remain! blue sky and ocean blue, 
Thine eagles with one sweep beyond the view-- 
The sun in golden beauty ever pure, 
The distance where rich warmth doth aye endure-- 
Thy language so mellifluously bland, 
Mixed with sweet idioms from Italia's strand, 
As Baya's streams to Samos' waters glide 
And with them mingle in one placid tide. 

Yes, these remain, and, Canaris! thy arms-- 
The sculptured sabre, faithful in alarms-- 
The broidered garb, the yataghan, the vest 
Expressive of thy rank, to thee still rest! 
And when thy vessel o'er the foaming sound 

Is proud past storied coasts to blithely bound, 
At once the point of beauty may restore 
Smiles to thy lip, and smoothe thy brow once more.

Translated by G.W.M. REYNOLDS.
 Victor Hugo's poem: To Canaris, The Greek Patriot


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