Lives Journal 8

Milosh Crnjanski 

COMMENTARY ON THE POEM ABOUT PRINCIP

(To the poem »In Memoriam of Gavrilo Príncip«)

 

( ... )

 

The news that in Sarajevo was killed the Austrian heir to the throne has come to us on that sunny day in Vienna – the day had woke up without a single cloud – after lunch. It arrived in our cafeteria (Caffé »Meinl«), near the tower of St. Stephen, during the game of billiards.

It is interesting that the message was communicated to us, at first, as if in Sarajevo had been killed the Serbian heir to the throne. The waiters got such news. In such sense said it to them our prota (Orthodox priest) by phone. In contrast to the opinion valid today, this message has not provoked any consternation neither among us nor among the Viennese, and the music was played in Vienna until the evening. Until late someone remembered to stop it. Waltz era has ended.

Consternation among Viennese was provoked only by the coffins of heir to the throne and his wife, the Countess Kotek (Princip has killed her unintentionally, shooting into the governor of Bosnia – General Potiorek).

 

All station was shrouded in blackness.

The locomotive has arrived with red eyes.

The coffin of Archduke was much larger and with much more wreaths than the coffin of his wife, who was just a regular Countess. In Austria, there was no equality in the courts and not among the dead persons, and there was all, even coffins, calibrated according to the Spanish Habsburg ceremony. In my ears, sometimes in a dream, even now I hear the noise of steps of Austrian generals in that funeral. They walked with the steps of dolls, rocking to the rhythm of Chopin's funeral march, with double-horned hats on their heads, the hats were trimmed with green feathers of cocks' tails. It was heard the tramp of horses. Such silence has been created.

Franz Ferdinand's coffin was covered with the flag of Habsburg, yellow one, with a black two-headed eagle, about a thousand years old.

Son of a poor man, proletarian, farmer, from Herzegovina, yet not full age, took off him down of the sky, with the revolver shots.

Assassin had a weird name.

Compound of the name of a Prince and Archangel.

 

Europe today celebrates in its school textbooks (ad usum Delphini) two killer of Athenian tyrant Peisistratid: Harmodios and Aristogeiton. It glorifies the Roman senators who killed Julius Caesar. But for the assassins from Sarajevo it hadn' nice word, never. As well as the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes was not impressed with these citizens of its own. It also long refused to allow a transfer of the bones of these assassins.

In addition, even here among us, some of the Serbs modified Príncip into provincial, fanatic, chauvinist, who was, apparently, mere a toy in the hands of the chief of Intelligence Department of the Serbian General Staff – Colonel Dragutin Dimitrijevich Apis.

But the assassin has spoken to us, clearly, also from the other side of the grave.

 

As it is known, the assassin was closed in the prison in Theresienstatd, and there, supposedly due to bone tuberculosis, was amputated his right arm.

In the meantime, during these terrible moments, he was interrogated about the motives of his assassination. About this exists a diary of a physician.

Princip has, of course, admitted that he wanted unification of Bosnia and Serbia, but openly recognized also that this was only a step to the next target of the assassin and his companions.

This goal was revolution.

»We all were Bakuninians,« were the words of Princip.

 

Even after the war, Princip, between us, hasn't been a popular theme.

His action has been only approved by our the poor and youth. The bourgeoisie did not approve the action of Princip. At the end of the war, among us all have been talking only about the need to raise the magnificent temple of Kosovo according to plan by Mestrovich.

Our great poet Duchich, at that time, in Serbia saw the emperor. She cried out: »Ave Serbia!« (Morituri te salutant). I've written this poem to the glory of killing and Príncip.

 

(1959)

 

 

Translated from Serbian by Ivo Antich

 

 

 

Slovenian (bohorichica)

Slovenian (gajica)