(SOG): Scenes 7-12

Nicolli Casteletti
Being aware of the news from Malta
The sensation of our security
Replaced has been by one of urgent fear
But as Arch-Priest thy calmness I beseech
For as the hungry wolves seize straggle-lambs
A flock is always stronger together
In times of thorns & danger strength is all
When fortified by Jesus in Heaven
Better, standing firm, one corporeal
Member, bonded by singular spirit.

Don Lorenzo Apap

That is true, & tho’ Galiziano

Is here at the Hospitaler’s behest

Still he represents foreign opressors

Who say they are honour’d to protect us

But, Governor, what has your Order done?
I remember when L’Isle Adam first came

With cannons & provisions & strong men

Where are they now? Why have they been withdrawn?

Gozo, it seems, no partner in their plans.

Enter Barnardo D’Opua with Andreotto Brancato


This is no Janissary cur, this is

Andreotto Brancato of Nadur,

He’d rowed a stolen boat into Mgarr

& told a story fir for fireside tales

Of how he been captur’d by the Turks

On Gozo, & was made a shaven slave

Kept in his galley manacles for months

Until strange fate return’d him to these isles

It is better he tells you the details

Indented with grave warnings as they are

Andreotto Brancato

Remember me, Don Lorenzo Apap,

& you too Friar Bartolomeo,

Who was the soft baptiser of my birth

Escaped I have from Dragut’s very decks

Disguis’d myself a Janissary sword

& sped across all Malta, where I saw

The people of Mdina hold aloft,

A statue of Saint Agatha, in fear

The Corsairs broke their camp & now have turn’d

For Gozo, you must fortify at once!

Galaziano de Sasse

It is I who makes the decisions here,

Young man, Galaziano de Sesse

My name, a Knight of the Hospitalers

& being thus they must repsect my plan

That is to send Gozo’s youngest children

With mothers & grandmothers, to Birgu

By every little boat that we might find

Don Lorenzo shall lead the armarda

Prepare the deed at once, you are dismiss’d

& so, Andreotto, yes? please tell us

More about your struggle in the galleys.

Andreotto Brancato

Galleons & galleasees

A life upon the waves

Was more a mound of miseries

For the whip-well galley slaves.

After a day of picking fruit

In the fields of Marsalforn

I went to sleep under a tree

& I dreamt right thro’ til dawn

I was awoken by three Turks

With sabres, beards & bad breath

Who dragg’d me from this blessed isle

For a life far worse than death

We row’d to Italy & Spain

Sardinia & Djerba,

Shackl’d with a Venetian man

A Swedish & a Berber

Our tongues salt-rough with utter drought,

Were withering at the roots;

We could not speak, just row’d in rows

Of we brutish muscl’d mutes

We slept in our own excrement

& gnaw’d on stale bizcocho

The only thing of slender hope

Was dreaming of dear Gozo

Her fertile fields, her hills, her cliffs

Her villages & her bays

Tis there, on the bottomsea

I would wait to end my days

& glory be to God, I’m home

Those dreams are manifested

& I will pluck my fruits once more

When I am fully rested

Yes glory be to God, I’m back,

My dreams are all-fulfilling

Returning to my farm of weeds

To tend with tender tilling!

Scene 8: Fort Saint Angelo

A number of boats have arrived in the Grand Harbour from Gozo, carrying women & children

Don Lorenzo Apap

Knights of Saint John, we are come from Gozo,

Are you not our protectors, as you claim

Pleading before your chief regality

Grandmaster, take pity on our children,

The youngest of our litter, & with them

Their mothers & grandmothers, who shall care

For all their needs, if only they might pass

Among the safeties of your stalwart keep

Which has already held the Turks aloof

There must be room some underneath your rooves ?!

Grandmaster D’Homodes
Don Lorenzo, that is you, yes, but why?

What a crude foolishness of compulsion

This is a time of war, why men must fight

& men fight better in their wive’s defence

Protecting children, parents, would Gozo

Defend itself when sources of its strength

Sitting in Senglea doing nothing –

You have an hour to leave the Grand Harbour

Else force on me to train a cannonade

Upon your boats, to blow them all apart.

Don Lorenzo Apap

Where do you go Grandmaster D’Homodes

Do you not hear the wailing babies’ pleas

& is your faith not Christian, to care

For any stranger’s fate, with them to share

The bread & the body of Christ, as one,

They should be within, to hide from the swords

Drawn by Dragut, to slay & to enslave,

Tho soldiers of Gozo will still be brave

Where have you gone, Grandmaster D’Homodes

Save our young children, sir, hear their sad pleas!

De Valette

The maestro has important work to do,

Our islands are invaded as you know

Our enemy on Malta yet remains

Has not as yet set foot upon Gozo

As you well know, & might not even do,

Time to row this array of rabbledom

Back to their homes, there’s nothing doing here

That weaves in your concern, this is a fort

Of holy warriors, not nursery

I bid you au revoir, good luck, godspeed

Peter Towneley

What a travesty of human conscience

Those knights say they fight for the grace of God

But if  they were they would have sworn like me

Upon the cross to smite all Moslems dead,

I offer you my services instead

Peter Towneley of Lancashire, England,

An ardent Catholic whom God has brought,

It seems, to Malta, where I’m needed most

Before he calls me to his just reward

I’ll honour my religion with my sword

Scene 9: The salt pans opposite the islet of Tal-Ħalfa.

Ioanna is making salt & singing


O sea ! O sea ! I hear you so

This morning I’ve come to see you

Whose flow encircles all the world

What a wondrous thing to view


Ioanna, Ioanna!

It is Andreotto, true

A miracle of God it is

That brings me back to you


Is this an apparition, ghost,

Or is it a living dream

Or light tricking through vapours

From the ocean’s girdling stream


No, I am real, & have returned

For I still love you darling

& have returned to your warm isles

Like the herons in the Spring

& if your heart was wooden cage

I’d be a bird inside it

The waves kept us apart a year

My mind could not abide it


Andreotto! we can’t be seen

In public, else my mother

Will fit & fret & faint in tears

For I have wed another


I heard this news so terrible

It claws my soul in pieces

As all the torments of the soul

In agony releases


I had a heart most sorrowful

Like the clouds that dark the day

First I had someone to love me

Ah! but then he went away

The sweet beloved of my heart

I pined for like the sunrise

My tears did cause the sea to swell

& my heart’s sighs winds to rise

Every shadow was your shadow

Say the angels all above

The worst misfortune in this life’s

Not to see the one you love


& my love for you ne’er falter’d

It could never go away

For it told me in the darkness

We would meet again one day


That might be so, but love can change

Sad tears dried on the pillows

For life goes on, the world still turns,

& a woman’s spirit grows

& I must leave my work & climb

The paths, & I implore thee

Not to follow up to town,

The gossip could destroy me

Exit Ioanna


Planting a fruit tree in thy heart

My love for you did nourish

Now someone else the apples pluck

In this my soul doth perish

At the sound of a musket shop nearly hitting him, Andreotto stops singing & in shock stares out to sea. Another shot is fired & Fransciscus quickly departs. A few moments later a rowing boat arrives at the shore, out of which spill several jannisaries.

Scene 10: Under the Citadella, Gozo

Sinan Pasha

Well here we are, & I have never seen

This citadel before, so impressive,

Sheer, but not at all indomitable

We should make shortling work of those old walls

Mustapha, set a cannonade in place

Six on a breah & three to terrify

The denizens of this mud-rustic isle

All huddl’d in dark chapels as we speak –

On deaf ears falls their supplicating faith.


Terrified is a gross understatement

They fell like chickens from a slav’ring fox

Headbundling women hauling babes by arms

While grain & cattle that we could not catch

Must stench that place like a Cairo market

Their homes we raze, draw in or burn their crops,

They won’t forget the day Dragut return’d

Bourne on avenging wings; when a man’s blood

Absorb’d by foreign soil, on that same spot

A brother might enact as Fate sees fit

Enter Salah Rais with Paulo di Nas

Salah Rais

Blessed Pasha, this is Paulo di Nas

We caught him in the night, he’d tried to land

Upon these shores, his boat full of powder

Now requiesc’d with us  – after tortures

He readily reveal’d his name & rank,

He is one of the jurors of Gozo,

More tortures yielded natures of his task,

& detail’d sketches of the defences

Paulo – tell these men everything you know

Exactly as you told me, now proceed.

Paulo di Nas

My name is Paulo di Nas of Mgarr

My governor had sent me to Malta

To seek assistance from the Grandmaster

Who gave us powder for the one cannon

That works within the central citadel

We are six thousand Gozitans, who feel

A sense of comfort in that rotunda

& well provision’d are, grain & water,

Meat & fruit – all in plentiful & supply

as befits our very Eden on Earth

Sinan Pasha

What mad temerity ! what presumption!

To think you can oppose, whats more withstand,

Suleiman, Sultan, master of the World !

Those old style walls lack sides & embankments,

It won’t be long before we tear them dwon

Cannons at the church of San Giorgio

& at the royal portway of Rabat

Shall form a criss-cross battery, let loose

Furious noises, angers & bloodshed,

{BOOM} & there it is, the first beat of the march.

The Turkish Warriors perform a Mehler

Scene 11: The Citadella

The bastion is under fire from the Turkish artillery. Leonardus Bongibino is assisiting Peter Townley with a cannon. Enter Castelletti

Nicolli Casteletti

Soldiers ! Soldiers of the Citadella

Our perdition seems inevitable

Those dark, brown clouds have hatch’d a bitter storm

The governor has vanish’d, known not where,

& so am I elected to report

Of most terrible tidings, in the night,

Paulo di Nas was captur’d out at sea

With all the promis’d powder, which now blasts

These cannonballs demolishing our walls,

That seem now more a net, & we its birds !

Peter Towneley

But birds have wings & we are in the sky,

On walls so high & solid to withstand,

Each stone was lain by a Christian hand,

While powder still remains within the kegs

Our will might blow a hole in birds’ nets yet

As Jesus died for you, & for us all,

Come place the ball & I shall light the fuse

Then land a shot upon the foe below

Ready thyselves, step back, & close your ears…


Enter Barnardo


How goes the battle with our only gun

& I’ll contend with fate, why only one?

Abandon’d by the knights who serve Saint John

Who’ve shown tho’ they had sworn our protection

To be nothing but foreign oppressors

Milking the cattle of Melite’s isles

But we are Gozo, long live her people

Dress’d up as soldiers; flejgutas, muskets,

Who’d rather send their citadel to dust

Than claim surrender’d to the infidel

Peter Towneley

Pass me the very last of the powder

& let me end the lives of more heathen

Heretical thro’ every fibre

Only invading Christian nations

To permeate their evil conversion,

Now load the ball, matchlock shall start the flame,

Remember Peter Towneley is my name

Noble scion of noble parents born,

The saviour’s Cross is etch’d with bleeding thorns

Into my heart, til Judgment joins our souls.

A Turkish cannonball slays Peter Towneley

Scene 12 – The Citadella


This is a most unusual

Consiglio Popolare

The Citadel is crumbling down

The situation’s scary


Three days of deadly cannonfire

Has made a breach quite gaping

Thro which the Turks are set to swarm

For murdering & raping


& does our noble governor

Intend to turn protecter

You’re not in Zaragoza now

But with the Knights of Malta


This is a sad scenario

As hourly fade our prospects

Six thousand fates lying prostrate

To whatever happens next

Bartolomeo Bonavia

Dragut is with them & I fear

His vengeance shall be dreadful

Who here recalls the raid where slew

His brother in hot battle

Don Lorenzo

Let calm seas flow within us all

At pastoral insistance

Take out you rosaries & pray

For Heavenly resistance


Lament this awful tragedy

Our homelands plunge in ruin

Dismay ! Dismay ! our lands are lost

With further troubles brewing

Don Lorenzo

Our women, children, elderly

Within houses lock’d inside

& every living one of them

Waits completely terrified


To arms ! To arms ! ket Gozo men!

Defend their isle beloved

With mattocks, pitchforks, rocks & oil

Man the ramparts overhead


O what a cruel choice it is

To fight is to dig our graves

But if we lay our arms aside

It is certain we’ll be slaves

Bartolomeo Bonavia

The heart of every heathen Turk’s

Like the filthy soles of shoes

Better to die on Gozo, free,

Than to labour & amuse


What use is dying if one might

Find money for one’s ransom

The world would soon answer our plight

With benificience handsome


Perhaps they’ll leave the wealthiest

Gozitans unmolested

Who would serve better staying put

For to raise the sums requested


That is a splendid thought, lets send

Bartholomew to ask it

& each of us send precious jewels

With him inside a casket

& promise there’ll be thousands more

If they could save two hundred

Who’ll pay the ransoms of the rest

Whomever they have plunder’d


How can you try to save your skins

To this there’s no complying

I’d rather fight on ’til the end

There’s liberty in dying


No, it is settl’d, we shall send

Bartholomew tomorrow

By ropes down to the Turkish camp

To blow away our sorrow

Bartolomeo Bonavia

Convincing Sinan Pasha’s mind

Our torments shall be ended

& we shall bless the good Lord Christ

Who heavenward ascended


Amen ! Amen ! & thrice amen !

Lets feast Saint Iacamus

& bless again the good Lord Christ

The Son of God, sweet Jesus


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