HE IS A SAINT, OUR DEY!

Song
Seferli-Oglu

J. Deny. “Chansons des Janissaires turcs d’Alger (Fin du XVIIIe siecle)” in Melanges Rene Bassett: Etudes nord-africaines et orientales (Rabat: L’Institut des hautes-etudes marocaines; Paris: E. Leroux, 1923-25) v. 2, pp. 33-175.

The songs are in honor of Dey Gazi Mehmet Pasha (ruled 24 Feb. 1766 – 11 July 1791). Song 21 [on p. 100] treats the incursions of Denmark and Spain against Algiers between 1770 and 1784.

Translated from the French of J. Deny, “Chansons des janissaires turcs d’Alger (Fin du XVIII siècle)” in Mélanges Rene Bassett, v. 2, pp. 33-175, esp. p. 100  by C. A. Kennedy

This is Song XXI of a series of Turkish songs composed for the Janissaries in service of Gazi Mehmet Pasha, Dey of Algiers.

The Dey has been informed of everything,
At the approach he has laid the foundations of a fort well-gunned,
The King of Denmark has come with his warships [July, 1770].
He is a saint, our Dey!

The King of Spain has come to attack us [1775],
He has marshalled 550 legions on foot,
Our warriors have sharpened their swords, gone forward.
He is a saint, our Dey!

The infidels have debarked their troops,
The Muslim warriors rush forward, firing their muskets,
[The infidels] flee, leaving their cannons, their mortars.
He is a saint, our Dey!

The third time the infidels come under a ruse [Spain, 1783];
They have cut down trees and built gunships [like ours].
They are beaten, as by Khair ed-Din Pasha [Barbarossa in 1519].
I swear he is a saint, our Dey!

The fourth time the infidels came full of fury [Spain, 1784],
Our Dey heeded the pleas of Muslim countries,
The fleet of the infidels has been destroyed.
By God, he is a saint, our Dey!

Seferli-Oglu extolled the Dey greatly,
Commanders, commoners, all have been wounded,
He is another Khair ed-Din Pasha.
By God, he is a saint, our Dey!

HE IS A SAINT, OUR DEY!