Translated from the Czech by Radoslav (Ray) Zavrel
FIFTH OF MAY 1921
THE THIRD ODE
Look, the Earth is drowning again
In an orgy of intoxicating blossoms,
And the merciless sun
Is deceiving the world
Just like a hundred years ago
While a witness at your passing.
Perhaps the world does not recall
The man, who was a real Hero,
The strongest of them all,
Who actually created Europe's womb,
Now in betrayal, its blossoms
Sunk into the Inferno.
A human being is heartless,
But now in astonishment
Ponders about the Man,
Who grabbed the Lioness by her meager mane,
And went on to drag her forward.
A never ending chaos was destructive,
Europe was in a total madness,
He stepped up, looking decisively
And set his eye on her.
Then the chaos suddenly placated
Into a quiet, dancing star.
A real Hero. Like nobody
Ever before or after - he stepped
Over the crown glitter and the glory of thrones
And the mounds of guns and bodies.
Europe denounced him. In turn, he yelled:
En avant! En avant!
The establishment conspired
Against the only maverick,
And Russian tzars' creatures alike.
He easily knocked them down
Like a wind gust brings down a leaf from tree.
Hail Victory! Oh, the glorious battles
Will be forever remembered!
Oh, the troops attacking
For glory of the Demigod!
Your deeds will live forever,
Just like from the first day!
Your own Pyramids are still alive,
Your victories at Austerlitz, Jena, Wagram &endash; are they gone?
No, they are forever alive!
One hundred years passed them by,
Just like a living dream!
Although possessed by demons
But still victorious at the end!
Who was then equal to you, ever?
Nobody! Limitless was
your merciless Triumph of the will,
and it became your slave and the executioner of yours.
You were destined to die,
Because you crossed the borders,
Created by the treachery of gods,
You honored and kept your word,
But not the Russians, or Prussians, or your foes,
You, yourself caused your own downfall!
The sick, rotting Europe
Only then heaved herself,
To shamelessly kill
The half unconscious Demigod,
Tried to cast him into the sea,
Which was actually his true friend.
You stood there quietly
Your eyes staring into the distance,
The white foam of the sea waves,
Was forming at your feet,
While all the chaos disappeared.
What did remain? Only your soul!
You saw once more
Your proud rise to the top,
You heard the glory trumpet,
And also saw banners flying high,
And the sound of your victorious battles
Was only music to your ears.
Face to face with the ocean,
Which became now part of you.
Why did you cross your hands,
Where did your glance aim?
Your great gesture of a conqueror,
What does it all mean now?
Is it the gratitude or the challenge,
Or the damnation after all?
In your burning eyes,
The tears have now appeared.
You think of your forlorn lover or about your heir?
Who will ever know? Without protest
You are returning to your shackles,
Guards and guns, on your behest,
One cannot even make a single move,
Hudson Love is menacing indeed,
And so is the damn entourage.
So you fell, our greatest Hero,
While the trumpets of revengers shrieked.
The battle dress you wore at the Marengo battle,
Will cloak you now, at the End.
A group of your comrades shed their tears
In the twilight of a wretched cell, at St. Helene Island.
Greater than all of those,
Who governed over the world before,
But you did not die -
Your determination was most maddening.
You will be immortal - above the judgement
of pitiful creatures in this world.
Your eternally loyal Old Guard
During the sounds of victorious trumpets,
Will always, always salute you
And rush into the fearsome attack.
The entire Christian world at your disposal,
Still clamors: Vive L'Empereur!
I came to spit into your face
You poisonous, dirty harlot.
In a huge, sad graveyard,
You are counting only meager gains.
Look! But can you truly see
Through your treacherous stare?
I would fetch you a reflecting mirror,
Before killing you myself.
Years ago you committed crime,
You nasty, rotten harlot.
Everywhere mongrelized, fat creatures,
That you have mated with.
What did the animals do, drunk by the giant's fall?
Why are you silent, you harlot?
Without pause I will remind you.
The most tragic of all heroes,
The soil that was trampled all over.
He, who fought hopeless battle
Against a pack of mad bastards.
He, who countlessly defeated
Opponent's forsaken columns.
He suddenly realized something went awry
With his recent calculated risk.
The fate, ugly as you are yourself,
And the same achievement in the tow.
Interfering in already lost battle,
Just to save traitors.
Thus the giant falls.
What's next you lowly whore?
What will they do, those who are basking in the shadow
of your banner fleeting glory?
The beaten hero whom you exiled to the arid desert,
where inevitable death awaits him
in the midst of the red hot furnace.
Starving, in misery, watched by guards,
Sickened by rotten food laced with English poison.
Among rocky hills that teach the sky limit,
The greatest Caesar is now dying
You bastards, what have you done
to the exhausted true giant!
Today, a hundred years later,
how dearly you behold in endearment,
the new, very mediocre king,
You became weak. Your weakness can excite only the scum
But the king, whom you now so feebly guard
Is no genius, after all
No, he is not a genius . Only a monarch.
And also a big, habitual drunk.
He, whom the servants publically call a bastard,
is a caricature of his forebears,
Yes, he exists only because of his pedigree,
He, looking actually for crumbs to eat
after being kicked away from the trough.
He suits you, this mediocre king
He, the poor drunken sod.
You have beaten to death Napoleon, the greatest one,
and now you promote your stupid protege.
But watch for the difference between the prisoner at St. Helene,
And the Madeira's false gleaming!
Europe, your face is so pitiful.
You cunningly knocked down the powerful Demigod,
But today you can only pet a despicable flea,
She is your obvious darling, a pet
Because you understand her the best.
The Emperor's greatness has since vanished,
But your useful idiot still lives. Can you hear?
Hear the damnation I am throwing into the face
of the nasty, shallow, and sinning creature,
Tearing off the hollow mask,
That so cleverly conceals the cheeks.
But as terrible as you are,
You are not entirely guilty,
Because it is the ever controlling God
whose largess is killing off the greatest ones,
but aids the lowly, useless beasts!
(Frantisek Zavrel, Prague, Czech Republic, 29 January 1922)
Not the lips of my beloved woman,
That intoxicate for a moment,
Not the undertaken deeds,
That turned into empty illusion.
Not when facing a heartless rival,
Who attacks you,
Not bound by sorrow, at your side
Staring you in the eyes.
Not during miserable surrender
Of your rival who suffered a strong blow,
Not then, when the sky's burning indigo,
Is threatening to devour you.
In those moments I don't feel being alive,
As something inside me is numb like a chilly spell.
Face to face with my rival, a woman, and the sorrow
I can remain quite unmoved.
Seeing your mysterious features,
I can only then be revived,
The word you uttered will reawaken me,
As it really brings my blood to boil.
Only you, the man of steel,
Can truly awaken me: What a legend!
The Austerlitz legacy is an intoxicant, once again,
And so is Jena, Wagram, and Montmirail.
In those moments I live intensely,
Than when resting on womens' breasts.
Your eagle's wings are attacking, smothering me
I feel them as if being half frozen.
I see your steely, watchful eyes
Can feel their stealth that knows no European border.
I fathom the upcoming legendary battle's opus:
Your white gloved hand in a famous gesture
Will indicate you are victorious .
You are beloved as a European Godsend,
Having been quiet for a hundred years while ignoring the mediocre men,
Through times that are flush with opulence.
Despite the opposition by today's idiots, do hear out my own gratitude!
I am grateful for the Grandeur that is melting me,
Thank you for my fate, which conspired in vain,
The fate, which I know am fighting again,
For the Victory, that still awaits: Thank you!
(Frantisek Zavrel, Paris/Prague, 1925)
The passing females resemble a midnight shadow,
They are sweet, capricious, and will you get you smitten,
I kneel at their feet like a man of a gone by era,
But my proud heart does not feel a remorse.
A different power is in charge now, the demons seemingly all tied-up.
In vain they try shaking unbreakable shackles,
Above them, the morning is already breaking,
Like a light of distant star fighting its extinction.
I refused the tragic fate while defeating demons,
The world ridden of devils made me only laugh,
I saw the world as pathetic, without value and without a screen,
My glance dissolved its nasty grimace.
The morning sunrise which I so much treasured,
The fire burning forever in my chest,
Is growing faster as I continue walking,
And will live forever in my heart.
My Credo is my only real possession,
That strengthens me while suffering among the imbeciles,
It is Him, the precious shadow, a defeated Hero,
Who transforms me every time I think of Him and of his ego.
My journey is long and is aimed toward the Sun,
Oh yes, I will counter my opponents as well as the peaceful doves,
Because I admire the real Hero in my steely heart.
Do as you wish but I am destined to reach my goal.
Where is the rabble that wore Him out,
Where are those merchants of perfidious Europe,
Where is that pack of mad, envious currs,
Where are those schemers, the imbeciles?
They all disappeared without a trace. Above old Europe,
Above the tired world that is ready to rot,
Above the lunacy of the riff raff, above the deluge of scum,
The only one light will burn, a shooting star.
Who is not blind, will see Him. His deeds truly shine,
His quick hand gesture indicates a Victory,
His followers fighting everywhere, from Rome to Moscow,
His war against all is now shaking the European ground.
He was Europe's fate and became her way of thought,
A flash in history, resembling wrinkles on his brow,
Europe, though trembling, will remember Him forever,
Like an old woman reminiscing fondly about a lover from her youth.
No, I have not grasped the substance of the Moment,
When I held my lover in my arms,
The Venus's hot lips, red hair and white breasts
That I was allowed to kiss and enjoy
No, I did not touch that Moment,
When the victory seemed within the reach
Of the undefeated combatant,
Who succumbed to his defeat only when totally exhausted
Not even when rising above the alluring ancient Rome
While kneeling at my beloved lady's feet,
Intoxicated by the youth, fame and the fullness of red wine,
Under the eternal Roman sky madness.
Not even then, when I saw my enemy,
Being defeated and crumpled into the dust
He gave me an evil eye which brought me to ecstasy,
as I fully enjoyed the damnation by my rival.
Now speechless I am while grasping tight
The Moment, a legendary topcoat without decorations.
I glare at Bonapart's hat adorned only by the French tricolor:
"Emperor! By your tomb I so deeply grieve!"
(Frantisek Zavrel, Paris, 3 September 1925)
2017; translated from Czech by Radoslav (Ray) Zavrel; RayZavrel@gmail.com
Copyright 2017 Radoslav Zavrel
The translator was not aware of Dr. Frantisek Zavrel's existence until 2012 when he read about him on the internet. The translator's family tree, however, pertains to the same geographical area in 1600's in Bohemia. By coincidence, the translator visited the haunts of Frantisek Zavrel in Prague, Paris, and Rome and plans for the translations of his literary works to French and Italian with the intent to resurrect the legacy of this great Czech writer, who was said to have the "Napoleonic complex." Dr. Zavrel also had excessive praise and admiration for Napoleon Bonaparte, Nietzsche, and Mussolini in the 1920's. The translator intends to visit Palermo and Taormina in Sicily following in the footsteps of the author from 100 years ago while he admired the ideas and ruins of ancient Rome and Greece.
HONORING BOHEMIAN CZECH PLAYWRIGHT FRANTISEK (FRANZ) ZAVREL, BORN 01 NOVEMBER 1884, IN THE AUSTRIAN EMPIRE, DIED 04 DECEMBER 1947, PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC), AN ATTORNEY WHOSE DRAMAS WERE PROMINENT IN THEATERS IN PRAGUE AND BRNO, 1930-1945 AND WHOSE LOVE FOR PARIS AND ITALY AS WELL AS DEEP ADMIRATION FOR NAPOLEON BONAPARTE, THE HERO OF THE BATTLE AT AUSTERLITZ, AUSTRIA (NOW KNOWN AS SLAVKOV NEAR BRNO, SOUTHERN MORAVIA, CZECH REPUBLIC).
AT TIMES, THE THEATERS IN BRNO PLAYED ZAVREL'S THEATER DRAMAS BEFORE THEATERS IN PRAGUE APPROVED THEM, SEEMINGLY AS A RESULT OF ANIMOSITY BETWEEN CZECH WRITER KAREL CAPEK (A PROTÉGÉ OF THEN-PRESIDENT MASARYK AND THE CZECH PRIME MINISTER EDUARD BENES) AND THE AUTHOR.
ZAVREL'S OPPOSITION TO COMMUNISM RESULTED IN HIS EVENTUAL DESTRUCTION BY THE REINSTATED CZECH REGIME IN 1945. ZAVREL,
FLUENT IN BOTH CZECH AND GERMAN, DIED DESTITUTE AS A RESULT OF ACTION BY CZECH PRESIDENT EDUARD BENES, THE MAN RESPONSIBLE FOR THE "BENES DECREES" THAT RESULTED IN THE GENOCIDE OF THE INGENIOUS ETHNIC GERMAN POPULATION THAT LIVED IN THE PROTECTORATE BOHEMIA AND MORAVIA, WHICH IN 1945 BECAME "CZECHOSLOVAKIA", TODAY KNOWN AS THE CZECH REPUBLIC.
This translation was undertaken to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the death of Dr. Frantisek Zavrel, a talented playwright who authored more than 50 dramas, comedies, plays, and poems that were never translated to English. Zavrel's name was expunged from Czech literature during the communist era (1945-1989) and he was erased from history.
Zavrel's prominent works were: "My country" (1904), "Returning Home" (1920), "Fortinbras" (1930), "Heroika" (Christ-Hus-Nietzsche) (1937), "Wallenstein" (Valdstejn) (1940), "Poems about Love and Death" (1941), "Buried Alive" (Za ziva pohrben) (1942), "In Memoriam" (Christ; Forever Young) (1945). Some of his plays were on the program of the National Theater in Prague.
In 2016, Dr. Frantisek Zavrel and his literary works were once again brought to the attention of Czech readers by Eduard Burget, PhD in the remarkable, detailed, and most remarkably detailed and well-researched book (written in Czech) "Dramatik na Pranyri" /Persecution of a Playwright/, 2016, Prague, Czech Republic.
"To gain a right estimate of a man's character, you must see him in adversity."
"A man cannot avoid his own destiny."
"They will tell you that I came to destroy your religion; believe them not. The answer is that I came to restore your rights, to punish the usurpers, and that I respect God ."
"I made war, of course; no doubt about it. But in every instance I was either forced to do so or I had a great political objective in my sight."
"One good spy is worth 10,000 men on the battlefield ."
"The English are lovers of liberty but one day they will regret winning the battle at Waterloo "
Frantisek Zavrel wrote his poems 100 years ago to mark Napoleon's anniversaries and as a result of his profound admiration of Napoleon Bonaparte, either in Austerlitz, Prague, or Paris .
Czech readers have read his poems a hundred years ago .Today, we bring the poems back to life Tomorrow, we will resurrect them in French and Italian . As the author would have yelled: "Forward march, over the graves " ("Ueber the Graeber vorwaerts"), the same as Johann Wolfgang Goethe said during his intellectual encounter with Napoleon Bonaparte .
Copyright 2018 Prometheus
PROMETHEUS, Internet Bulletin for Art, News, Politics and Science, Nr. 242, January 2018