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Pirate Narratives 1
1684: Note to the English Reader
Impressions of pages 42 to 48 of “The Buccaneers and Marooners of America.”
The translator of the 1682 Dutch original text writes at a time when an unprecedented number of journals and pamphlets were being published concerning the adventures of men and women in the New World and on the Ancient Seas. He describes the doings of the buccaneers as “revolutions in human affairs,” and so they were, as man after man sought to claw his way sometimes up, sometimes through and for those lucky few, beyond the deathly embrace of Plantation America. 1600s America and the West Indies were the muddy graves and watery tombs of hundreds of thousands of poor orphaned boys, youth and men, condemned to death by whatever means most practically served his master.
The translator points out that though the book was written by a Dutch hand, over half of the exploits contained therein were committed by heroic Englishman, and that these renegade acts should serve as examples of the courage that should be shown when in service to the English king. In our own modern day, any act that does not serve the State is regarded as wholly evil with no redemptive value. However, despite the cruelty and avarice of the Age, its characters lived and strived and died before the Lie Divine had become the law of our addled collective mind. To the mind of the 1600s, a great deed was a great deed weather it was pure or dastardly. An evil act, if committed at great risk, was not wholly evil, but contained seeds and aspects of virtue. The modern reader might scoff at the inconsistent and archaic spelling of the translator. But the translator, if he were alive today, would surely marvel at the anti-heroic morality of our age, in which any man who acts against the system orthodoxy is entirely evil, incompetent and unworthy of mention other than to be vilified for an absolute lack of quality.
Hence, the reading of the acts of the pirates might go some way towards rescuing us from the idiocy of our age, in which we suck our thumbs in the cushy cocoon crafted by better men, in a harsher age and for whom the only sentiment we can muster is a jealous rage.
Of tumults and alarms and valour and Fortune the translator waxes, as examples of how men might conduct themselves in the future, to better purpose than those of the past. Rather than our cult of negation the ancient translator speaks of tales of daring adventure as a celebration.
The most salient point made by the prefacing translator was that the principle protagonist refused, despite even the pleas of his wife and daughter that he “beg” on “bended knee” like some craven cunt of 2020 America, and fought for his very name.
So chants the man in hand-written script, that the courage of the pirate should not be dismissed, a translator who neglected even to sign his own name.
What follows is the story of John Esquemeling.
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