release the harbor chains! All hope has disappeared!
Nowhere billows a sail for rescue! Surrender Nurse your wounds!
Genoa, yours is forgotten! Peer from the fissures!
Search the sea. Strain your eyes! Nowhere, nowhere, Genoa’s ships!
I hear you children whimpering, your women, weak from hunger,
Gaze with the vacancy of night specters and you yourselves stagger like shadows!”
the deck of the ship there ascends King Alfonso’s
To Bonifazio’s ramparts, but all are silent above.
These brave Corsicans would never give themselves to the oppressors,
Be it for an individual, be for it their boys’ young lives!
darkly downward to themselves, they congregate in whisper –
The enraged eyes of a monk bolt lightning, hurl flames.
dogs! Thou art not Corsicans! To hell with you traitors!”
“Silence monk! We have hearts. We are spouses, we are fathers!”
The monk kneeled in wild grief on the relinquished pillar.
“Loan me Thy hands, God! Give me your strong arms!
I come today, calling for reward. I have given everything. Nothing
For me except my pillar. But I must love something.
God, thou canst increase powers of men with thy powers!
What you did for your Jews, you can deny no Corsican!
will seek Genoa’s ships. Grab them on their beaks!
I want to give the sails full breadth and let them slacken
His muscles begin to tense, his pulse a-pounding
To drag his ships through the sea, to raise sails on the tide.
Aroused transcending time and space with his God,
He points vehemently at the sea: “There! I see there the fleet!”
there are no sails blinking in the sea’s colored vista.
Devoid of populace flows an unbounded water’s breadth.
The sun only wanders higher, its rays burning warmer,
Nothing but sea and nothing but heaven. Alfonso smiles: “Poor devils!”
On a margin of sea a tiny point…barely visible…
The second and third
Point and now a fourth and fifth and a sixth in the middle!
Winds blow, waves surge. Sea and heaven are confederates.
Sails, more and more sails arise from the blue background.
Turn your ships, King! For otherwise all praise and honor is
lost to you!
Surge, Genoa, surge, thou mistress of the seas!
All the bells of Bonifazio begin to shudder and peal,
Jubilance wafts through the air above the shattered towers.
And the monk, who reinforced his mortal arm with powers from
On the earth he lay dying, by their touch, the consumed.
©English version by Alan