Monday, 26 March 2012

Markopoulos/Solomos: ‘The Free Besieged’

I’ve made available before some songs from Yiannis Markopoulos’ musical interpretation of Dionysios Solomos’ poem The Free Besieged (Ελεύθεροι Πολιορκημένοι), which, as mentioned in my previous post, is about the siege and exodus from Messolonghi and, more broadly, the rebirth of Greece. Now, above, is the entire work, which is brilliant, Markopoulos’ masterpiece, as good as Theodorakis’ version of Elytis’ Axion Esti. Irene Papas narrates, while Nikos Xylouris, Lakis Halkias and Ilias Klonaridis sing. If you want to download the mp3 – and you should – just copy the youtube address of the video (, then go to and follow the instructions to download an mp3.

Exodus: with swords to cut their path
And I see in the distance the children and the brave women
About the flame they have lit and have painfully fuelled
With well-loved articles and modest marriage-beds,
Not moving, not lamenting, not even shedding a tear;
And a spark touches their hair and their worn-clothes;
Come quickly, ashes, so they can fill their hands.

They are ready in the relentless flood of weapons
With swords to cut their path, and in freedom to stay,
On that side with the comrades, on this with death.

Like the sun that suddenly cuts through dense and sombre clouds,
It strikes the mountains on its slopes and there! houses in the verdure.

And from where the sun rises
To where it goes down,

I did not set eyes on a place more glorious than this small threshing-floor.


Anonymous said...

I'm so pleased to have found this blog post. I have been trying to get info on the exodus as research for a novel. Do you know where I could access a copy of the lyrics? I guess an English version is unlikely so it will be a translation challenge, but worth it. I used a poem as the basis of my first novel so I know how valuable it will be. Many thanks. X

John Akritas said...

The Free Besieged has been translated into English, so it should be available somewhere. My copy, from what I remember, has both Greek and English text.