Portrait of Dionysios Solomos


I know you of old
Oh divinely restored,
By the light of your eyes
And the edge of your sword.

From the graves of our people
Shall your spirit prevail
As we greet you again-
Hail, Liberty, Hail!

Long did you dwell
Amid the peoples that mourn
Awaiting some voice
That should tell you to return

Ah, slow broke that day
and no man dared call,
For the shadow of tyranny
Lay over all.

Oh, unfortunate one!
The only consolation you had
were the past glories,
and remembering them you cried.

Long you have awaited
for a freedom-loving call
and in despair one hand
hits the other one.

And you cried:
ah! When do I raise my head
in this desolate land?
and the answer was chains, cries so sad.

Then you shifted your gaze
tearfully, clouded in haze
and on your garment dripped blood
from your children's tortured hearts.

With blood-stained clothes
I know for a fact
that you secretly sought help
in stronger hands of foreign lands.

On your journey you started alone
and alone you came back
doors do not easily open
when YOU need them so bad.

Someone cried on your breast,
but no response at its best;
another promised you help,
but he tricked you no less.

Some, allas! in your misfortune rejoice
and with such a cold poise
"go find your children" said they
as doors were shut in your face.

The foot slips and slides
and in such a haste it steps
on stone, or grass
reminders of a glorious past.

The miserable head shamefully leans
and the image it brings
is of a poor beggar, going door to door
with no interest in life any more.

Yet, behold now the sons
with impetuous breath
Go forth to the fight
seeking freedom or death.

From the graves of our people
shall the spirit prevail
as we greet you again-
Hail, Liberty, Hail!

Σε γνωρίζ' από την κόψη
του σπαθιού την τρομερή,
σε γνωρίζ' από την όψη
Που με βιά μετράει τη γη.

Απ' τα κόκκαλα βγαλμένη
των Ελλήνων τα ιερά,
και σαν πρώτ' ανδρειωμένη
Χαίρε! Ω Χαίρε, Ελευθεριά!

Εκεί μέσα εκατοικούσες
πικραμένη εντροπαλή
κι ένα στόμα εκαρτερούσες
έλα πάλι να σου πει.

Άργειε να 'ρθει κειν' η μέρα
κι ήταν όλα σιωπηλά
γιατί τά σκιαζε η φοβέρα
Και τα πλάκωνε η σκλαβιά.

Δυστυχής, παρηγορία
μόνη σού 'μεινε να λες
περασμένα μεγαλεία
Και διηγώντας τα να κλαις.

Κι ακαρτέρει κι ακαρτέρει
φιλελεύθερη λαλιά
τόνα χτύπαε τ' άλλο χέρι
Από την απελπισιά.

Κι έλεες πότε, α πότε
βγάζω το κεφάλι
Από τσ' ερμιές; κι αποκρίνοντο
Από πάνω κλάψες, άλυσες, φωνές.

Τότ' εσήκωνες το βλέμμα
μεσ' στα κλάηματα θολό
και στο ρούχο σ' έσταζ' αίμα,
Πλήθος αίμα Ελληνικό.

Με τα ρούχα αιματωμένα
ξέρω ότι έβγαινες κρυφά
να γυρεύγεις εις τα ξένα
άλλα χέρια δυνατά.

Μοναχή το δρόμο επήρες
εξανάρθες μοναχή,
δεν είν' εύκολες οι θύρες
εάν η χρεία τες κουρταλεί.

Άλλος σου έκλαψε εις τα στήθια
αλλ' ανάσασιν καμμιά
άλλος σου έταξε βοήθεια
Και σε γέλασε φριχτά.

Άλλοι, ωιμέ! Στη συμφορά σου
όπου εχαίροντο πολύ,
σύρε ναύρεις τα παιδιά σου,
Σύρε, ελέγαν οι σκληροι.

Φεύγει οπίσω το ποδάρι,
κι ολογλήγορο πατεί
ή την πέτρα, ή το χορτάρι,
Που τη δόξα σου ενθυμεί.

Ταπεινότατη σου γέρνει
η τρισάθλια κεφαλή,
σαν πτωχού που θυροδέρνει
Κι είναι βάρος του η ζωή.

Ναι, αλλά τώρα αντιπαλεύει
κάθε τέκνο σου με ορμή,
που ακατάπαυστα γυρεύει
ή τη νίκη, ή τη θανή.

Απ' τα κόκαλα βγαλμένη
των Ελλήνων τα ιερά
και σαν πρώτα ανδρειωμένη,
Χαίρε, ω χαίρε, Ελευθεριά!

"The Free Besieged," however was destined to be Solomos' magnum opus. Although only small fragments are in final form, it still displays the peak his idealism reached and the perfection of expression he achieved in a language that he was not fluent in and actually was not his native tongue. Solomos was inspired by the heroic exodus of the 9 000 individuals who were besieged in the city of Mesolongi. For two months four hundred warriors were defending Mesolongi against a well-trained Turkish army of fifteen thousand soldiers. The Turks were trying to cut off provisions and their contact with the rest of the world. However, their compatriots did manage to provide the besieged with food quite a few times. When reinforcement came to the aid of the defenders, the Mesolongi warriors went on fighting for over two years and the Turks were forced to raise the siege. The inhabitants then built rough fortifications and when the Turks besieged the city again, the Greek force, under the legendary hero Marco Botsaris, defeated them again. In 1825 the city was besieged again, this time by a vast number of Turks and Egyptians who were under the command of the legendary Egyptian Ibrahim Pasha. For over a year the warriors defended their city, but finally, since food and water became scarce in Mesolongi (the enemy had cut off the water supplies), forced by hunger and thirst, they decided to venture out and try to break through the besieging forces. They decided on the exit, they knew their fate and it was the month of April. Hellenic April is a very difficult time to overcome the instinct of self preservation - but the inhabitants of Mesolongi, men, women and children, "The Free Besieged" succeeded in overcoming it through their commitment and dedication to the transcendent ideal of freedom.
Page 1 2 3