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Клермонтский собор (2)

June 11, 2010

Here is what the pilgrim in Maikov’s poem says to those assembled at the Council of Clermont:

He is addressing them because God told him to.  His audience can see the scars of his captivity and forced labor, inflicted on him for believing in Christ.  The tears of sympathy these marks bring irritate him, proving the Western Christians, like doubting Thomas, will react to suffering only if they feel the wounds for themselves:

О, впечатлительные дети!
Как слезы дешевы у вас!
Ужель, чтоб тронуть вас, страдальцам
К вам надо нищими предстать?
Чтоб вас уверить, надо дать

Ощупать язвы вашим пальцам!

He offers a catalogue of the suffering of the millions whose moans go unheard, but who are persecuted by the мусульманин злой.  Then he recalls the blessed moment when he and his fellow captives, while being driven a long distance in chains, saw Jerusalem, and forgetting their plight, praised God.  Brought together by exile, the Latin and the Greek embrace as of one family, and swear to suffer without complaint.

One particular Greek gives the rest of them an example to follow: he sings a psalm and refuses to stop even when he is whipped, his beard is pulled out, and finally he is killed and cut into pieces; the pieces of his body are thrown to the other captives, who keep them as sacred relics.

В куски изрубленное тело
Злодеи побросали в нас:
Мы сохранили их всецело,
И, о душе его молясь,
В темнице, где страдали сами,
Могилу вырыли руками,
И на груди святой земли

Его останки погребли.

This man cannot now come to Clermont and ask for help, and even the living members of the listeners’ faith will not be able to: for he who prays to Christ (Христу молящийся народ) bears the cross and wears the crown of thorns alone, lies helpless and wounded in the steppe.

The pilgrim asks if his audience is waiting for some foreign Samaritan to give him – the Christian suffering in the East – something to drink, while they walk past, blind to his misery?  But no, he concedes, love and truth on earth are still sacred to the councilgoers.

He therefore finishes with this exhortation: go fight the Muslims, Christian soldiers!  And free the captive Christians, who are waiting to kiss the hem of your garment!  Drive the infidels from the temple, like angels of vengeance!  The nations will sing songs of gratitude, and angels will weave wreaths for the fallen martyrs!

Идите! ангелами мщенья,
Из храма огненным мечом
Изгнав неверных поколенья,
Отдайте Богу Божий дом!
Там благодарственные псальмы
Для вас народы воспоют,
А падшим — мучеников пальмы

Венцами ангелы сплетут!…

The pilgrim’s speech ends here, and the poem concludes with a 17-line coda in which those at the council rush to help as they can, internal divisions forgotten.

This summary is long enough that I’ll end this post here, with one more to come that goes a little past summary.  See also these brief remarks on the first part of the poem.

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