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National Romanticism: The Formation of National Movements

 | 
Balázs Trencsényi
, 
Michal Kopecek

Chapter V. National Heroism: Revolution and Counter-Revolution

Rise, O Serbia

Dositej Obradović
Traduction de Vedran Dronjić

Texte intégral

1Title: Vostani Serbie (Rise, O Serbia)

2Originally published: Venice, Pane Theodosios, 1804

3Language: Slaveno-Serbian

4Reprinted in Dositej Obradović, Sabrana dela, vol. III (Belgrade: Prosveta, 1961), pp. 17–19.

About the author

5Dositej Obradović [ca.1740, Čakovo (Banat), (Rom. Ciacova, present-day Romania) – 1811 Belgrade]: Orthodox monk, writer, teacher, and politician. He was born Dimitrije Obradović, but was renamed Dositej in 1757 when he became a monk. In his early childhood his parents died and he was raised by a foster family. In 1760, with the blessing of his abbot, he left the monastery to pursue his education. He went to Zagreb to study Latin and became a teacher in Dalmatia. Soon after, he traveled to Greece, Asia Minor, Italy, Germany, France, England, and Russia. During these travels he learned Greek, German, English, Italian, and French, and enriched his knowledge in the fields of philosophy, the natural sciences and literature. In 1782 he left his monastic order and enrolled at the University of Halle, where he was strongly encouraged to write and publish his own works. In the 1780s and 1790s he wrote a series of works popularizing the philosophical ideas of the Enlightenment, especially in the form of moral tales and parables. During the First Serbian Uprising he gave both financial and moral support to the leaders of the movement. In 1806 he left Trieste and went to Serbia to offer concrete help in building new institutions. He was one of the founders of the first Serbian high school, the Velika škola in Belgrade. Moreover, he became responsible for education in the government of Serbian insurgents and was in charge of the education of the son of Karađorđe, the leader of the Uprising. Dositej is considered the most prominent figure of the Enlightenment in Serbia. His works were mostly free adaptations of foreign texts (‘Advices of sound reason,’ ‘Fables,’ and others). In terms of genre his works are heterogeneous, including anecdotes, moralistic essays, philosophical treatises, fables (Obradović’s favorite form), occasional verses, and even a drama. He also had a considerable impact on Bulgarian and Romanian culture at the turn of the nineteenth century. He has been praised as the first rationalist and modern thinker among the Serbs and a radical champion and propagator of the ideas of the Enlightenment in Southeast Europe.

6Main works: Život i priključenija Dimitrija Obradovića narečenog u kaluđerstvu Dositeja [Life and adventures of Dimitrije Obradović, in his monastic name Dositej] (1783); Sovjeti zdravago razuma [Advices of sound reason] (1784); Sobranje raznih naravoučitelnih veščej [Collection of various moral writings]; Pismo Haralampiju [Letter to Haralampije] (1783); Basne (Fables) (1788).

Context

  • 1 Local Turkish commanders of the Belgrade Pashalik engaged in banditry.

7The First Serbian Uprising (1804–1813) (see Đorđe Petrović (Karađorđe), Letter to Petar Petrović Njegoš) had broken out in defense of the lost rights to administrative self-rule and securing order that had been granted by the central Ottoman authority to the Belgrade Pashalik in the late-eighteenth century but which had been swept away by the reign of terror of the dahiye.1 The impetus, ideological as well as material, for the gradual transformation of the revolt into what later became generally distinguished as a ‘national revolution,’ came to a very large extent from the Serbian diaspora in the Habsburg domains. The far more auspicious political and infrastructural environment from which the Habsburg Serbs profited, especially in the neighboring region of Vojvodina, spurred the movement for the cultural ‘revival’ and national emancipation of the Serbs in Serbia proper.

8The ideas regarding political liberation and a modern national state as well as the bureaucratic personnel for the newly established Serbian principality after 1830 also emerged from the Habsburg areas. The cultural-political heritage of Dositej Obradović can be seen as epitomizing these tendencies. At the moment when the First Uprising started, Dositej was in Trieste. He received the news about its outbreak with enthusiasm, and was engaged in active correspondence with its leaders and prominent Serbs in Austria, with whom he tried to organize help for the rebels. Although Dositej was later accused by his famous contemporaries, Vuk Karadžić and Njegoš, of professing double moral standards, his actions bear witness to his strong devotion to the idea of a liberated Serbia. He donated half of his savings to the Serbian fighters, and offered effective recommendations about the direction which Serbia should take in the event of success in the struggle.

9In a letter from 1805 Dositej warned the rebels not to trust Austria, and expressed his concern for the survival of the Serbian nation due to its smallness. He claims that the most important values for any state are security and peace, but recommends a more callous treatment of the dahiye and the Turks. In the same letter he gave some advice as to the establishment of a new social and political order in liberated Serbia, concentrating on reforms in the military, le-gal, financial, juridical areas. In his appeal for recognizing Karađorđe as the central figure of the new regime, his bent is towards a strong centralized authority, although with a clear modernizing character, and support for a strong leader can be detected. In this respect, he was most probably influenced by the theoretical considerations of ‘enlightened absolutism’ and the actual threat of secession by local voivodes (military leaders) undermining the envisioned unitary state. Dositej’s support for the ‘uprising’ and its leaders was strongly emotional as well. He dedicated a poem to Karađorđe and the insurgents, entitled ‘A poem for the Insurrection of the Serbs’ (Pjesna na insurekciju Serbijanov) and included it in one of his letters to the Supreme Commander of the insurgent army and his military associates. Later, it became known by its first verses: “Rise, O Serbia!” In Dositej’s song, Serbia is pictured as a ‘sleeping Beauty’, asleep for centuries. The verses call upon her to wake up and give an example to her ‘sisters’, Bosnia, Herzegovina and Montenegro.

10While, in general, Obradović’s intellectual formation places him into the category of late Enlightenment, this poem features a number of topoi which can be considered precursors of the Romantic cultural-political discourse. Most importantly, the motif of ‘awakening’, of national revival, has become crucial for the next generations. In the twentieth century, the poem has been canonized, and it is still sung at solemn national celebrations, serving as an unofficial anthem.

11IE

A poem for the insurrection of the Serbs

12Dedicated to Serbia and to its brave knights and children and to their Duke by the will of God, Mr. Đorđe Petrović

Rise, O Serbia! Rise, O empress!
And let your children see your face.
Turn their hearts and eyes unto you,
And let them hear your sweet voice.
Rise, O Serbia!
You fell asleep long ago,
You lay in darkness.
Wake up now
And stir up the Serbs!

You raise your imperial head up,
Let the earth and the sea know you again.
Show Europe your beautiful face,
Bright and cheerful like the appearance of Venus.
Rise, O Serbia!
You fell asleep long ago,
You lay in darkness.
Wake up now
And stir up the Serbs!

  • 2 District of Belgrade.

Remember, O our mother, your first glory,
Shame the heads of your enemies!
Expel the wild janissary from Vračar2
Who now does not obey his very emperor!
Rise, O Serbia!
You fell asleep long ago,
You lay in darkness.
Wake up now
And stir up the Serbs!

You are now aided by heaven’s will
And are now facing a better destiny.
All your neighbors wish you well
And remote nations rejoice at your well-being.
Rise, O Serbia!
You fell asleep long ago,
You lay in darkness.
Wake up now
And stir up the Serbs!

Rise, O Serbia! Rise, O our dear mother!
And become once more what you used to be.
The sincere Serbian children,
Who are fighting for you now call for you.
Rise, O Serbia!
You fell asleep long ago,
You lay in darkness.

Wake up now
And stir up the Serbs!

Bosnia, your sister, looks at you
And wishes you no harm.
He who hates you, fears not God.
From whom many an aid descends unto you.
Rise, O Serbia!
You fell asleep long ago,
You lay in darkness.
Wake up now
And stir up the Serbs!

Herzegovina and Montenegro,
Faraway countries and islands in the sea,
All of them wish you heavenly assistance,
All good souls rejoice at you,
And say in unison:
Rise, O Serbia!
You fell asleep long ago,
You lay in darkness.
Wake up now
And stir up the Serbs!

Notes

1 Local Turkish commanders of the Belgrade Pashalik engaged in banditry.

2 District of Belgrade.

Auteur

Vedran Dronjić (Traducteur)

© Central European University Press, 2007

Conditions d’utilisation : http://www.openedition.org/6540

Acheter

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