Vassilis Michaelides' "The 9th of July 1821"

9. The Greek Race

"Bishop, I never do change my mind,
and however much you say don't think that I'll believe you.
My mind is made up, Bishop, to slaughter, and to hang,
and, if I can, to clean Cyprus of the Greeks,
and even more, if I could rove the world,
I would slaughter all Greeks, not a soul would I leave alive."
"The Greeks are a race as old as the world,
noone has lived to annihilate it,
noone, because God shelters it from up high.
The Greek race will vanish, when the world ends!

Slaughter us all and let our blood gush like a river,
make the world a slaughterhouse and the Greeks herds of sheep,
but be warned that when the aging poplar is cut down
all around it three hundred new sprouts shoot up.
The share while ploughing the earth, thinks the earth is wasted,
but it is itself that's always wasted and itself that's worn out.
You are full of malice, and if you want to butcher,
butcher those who are fighting abroad and are armed.
Us who are empty handed, why should you harm us,
us who are unarmed and peaceful?"

Then Mousellim-Aga raised his eyes,
and looked at him with a winsome glance, and then began to say :
"Whatever man suffers it's because of his own head,
the prudent saves his life from the sword,
and you, if you are prudent, can also save your life."
"Say no more, for I've understood before you finished talking,
stop struggling to drain the sea.
Don't waste your words for you'll be late to your work.
Can you put out the sun with a puff?
Call your hangman, get your gallows ready!"

This translation © 1997-1998 Tefkros Symeonides. All rights Reserved.
This translation may not be reproduced in part or in whole and in any form without the explicit written permission of the copyright owner.

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This page was last updated on 5 April, 1998, Lefkosia, Cyprus.

© 1997-1998 Tefkros Symeonides & Constantinos Symeonides

The Ninth logo was designed by Tefkros.
The images were taken from paintings by Giorgos Mavrogenis (Archbishopric Collection, Lefkosia) which were scanned from Volume 4 of "Istoria tis Nisou Kyprou" by Andros Pavlides, published by Philokypros.