Category Archives: Siege of Gozo

THE SIEGE OF GOZO: Scenes 1-6

DRAMATIS PERSONAE

Gozitans

Galaziano De Sesse – Governor of Gozo
Nicolli Casteletti – Bishop of Gozo
Don Lorenzo Apap – Parish Priest
Bartolomeo Bonavia – Augustine Friar
Paulo di Nas – Juror
Fredericus Mongebino
Ioanna Brunetto
Andreotto Brancato
Franciscus Frantino
Leonardus Bongibino
Angela Salibe
Barnardo D’Opua
Betta D’Opua
Sonia & Peruna D’Opua – Daughters

Peter Towneley – An English Knight

The Ottomans

Sultan Suleiman
The Grand Vizier
Sinan Pasha
Dragut
Salah Rais

The Knights of St John

Grandmaster D’Homedes
Francesco Lanfreducci
Jean Parisot de Valette
Claude de la Sengle



Scene 1: Qala

Fredericus approaches the window of his betrothed

Fredericus
Darling, dear darling, step outside
Your husband to be is there
To sing of your youthful beauty
Your qualities good & fair

I’d be a bird, fly to your bed
Watching curls & tresses comb
& with my wings would snuff the light
Give you kisses then fly home

Ioanna steps onto the balcony

Ioanna
Fredericus Mongebino!
Why come to my door tonight?

Fredericus
When moon is at its fullest beam
Beauty brightest in its light

Your face is like the fairest rose
Your fragrancies compel me
Were you stood in a flowerpot
Each morning I would smell thee

Ioanna
Tell me am I the only one
Or do you have maidens more
For I saw, passing through the street,
A woman stood at your door.

Fredericus
Be easy, my love, be easy,
People’s eyes see things untrue;
For noble Fredericus swears
She was selling rabbit stew

Tis you who fix an anchor fast
Inside my heart’s quick beating
Go get a knife, open it up
& see my love repeating

You are the only one for me
To fondle with embraces
Turn kisses into passageways
Plant flowers in love’s places

Ioanna
You are so lovely my true love
Who I long to marry so
But you must take me to the feasts
About the isle of Gozo

& we shall fill the carnivals
With dances, songs & laughter
When love shall bless our union
For now & everafter

Fredericus & Ioanna
For now & everafter, love,
Daily let our vows renew
Made sacred with our wedded kiss
I shall end my days with you


Scene 2: Topkapı Palace, Istanbul

Sultan Suleiman is holding court

Grand Vizier
Welcome, Pasha, to the sacred court
Of our majestic ruler, Suleiman
Whom loyal made Belgrade to the Sultan
Whom over Safavid successful fought
Who broke the Muhac hordes of Hungary
Who over swathes of Africa now reigns
Being our noblest lawgiver, ingrains
Our lives with perfect judgement, he shall see
Whatever you shall show him, & shall hear
Whate’er you wish to say, please speak it clear.

Sinan Pasha
Your majesty ! the Ottoman astounds
The world, as is the blessing of Allah,
But sire, whyso our European bounds
Stagnating in the swamps of Vienna
We must ascend a secondary front
Against the Holy League of Christendom
The Hospitalers pull a putrid stunt
Poisoning lips as we were kissing them
With spake words faking peace on leaving Rhodes
So much for Christus worship & its codes

Suleiman
Well spoken, Pasha, thy counsel’s reason
Enough to tilt the balance of my thoughts
Woe to the infernal Knights of Saint John
Who Malta turn’d a perfidious hive
Of galley hornets sallying with stings
Against the ships of golden Africa
Yes, it is settl’d, they must feel the force
Of Sultan Suleiman – Sinan Pasha
An expedition take in thy command
Drive vermin, drowning, from those lonely rocks

Sinan Pasha
You honour me, your majesty, & I
Accept with all the veins which flood my heart
With blood I hold for Allah, & for thee,
But Sultan, grant me one small wish, I plead,
Two Buccaneering warriors I’ll need;
Give me Dragut, the Drawn Sword of Islam,
An admiral at sea, a prince on land,
Give me Salah who fought Formentera
Whom all the ships of Spain could not withstand
Give me those men & triumph, sire, we must

Suleiman
Yes, of course, I shall summon both these men
To puff up your war party, but Pasha,
Remember well to please me when you weigh
Eventualities to decisions
When battle’s won I do not wish to hear
The names of those Grandmasters anymore
Nor bloody reports of losses at sea
Let palmleaf spikes from bare feet be removed
Let foolish flies be wash’d from blinking eyes –
To Arms ! To War! To Sea! To Victory !


Scene 3: Qala

After the wedding of Fredericus & Ioanna, the party emerge from the Sanctuary of the Immaculate Conception, under a Baldakkin, preceeded by an Id-Dudi band. Their singer is a daqqaq call’d Franciscus Frantino.

Franciscus
The bride & groom are married now
Wide opens the chapel door
Fine food & wine awaits us all
At the Feast of Evermore

Because she loves him he loves her
Then she his love returneth
All Gozo gossips of their love
Eternally that burneth

Her mother made her marry young
& is weeping over there
Since she was born she’d always known
She would spend her life elsewhere

But what a man she’s marrying
As clear as I play guitar
The young girls of this neighbourhood
Sing of how lucky you are

As the wedding party carry on to the square – Franciscus breaks ranks to court Angela Salibe

Angela
My beloved has a guitar
It bears his name & surname
They told me that he was a rake
But behaves he without blame

Franciscus
Your lovely tresses, Angela,
Toss’d streaming over shoulders
Wheree’er you travel in this world
I’ll follow them like soldiers

Angela
My beloved is a bandsman
What a fine figure has he
Whene’er he plays he smiles my way
He’s a bad habit, simply

Franciscus
My heart has entered in your heart
Like a bean into its shell
No new or old sweethearts I’ll seek
For you, darling, I’ll foretell

Angela
My sweetheart sings & plays guitar
How I love to watch his hands
& kiss those lips that ghana sing
When the look of love commands

Franciscus
You beauty travel’d far & wide
I could not believe it true
Then I came to Qala & saw
Now I’m mad in love with you

Angela
And I would fall into your arms
But you hold your instrument
Pray put it down & use those lips
Like a lover’s mouth is meant

Franciscus & Angela embrace


Scene 4: Qala, the central piazza

The wedding party arrive in the main square – a pole has been erected about which the Kumitiva is danced – at the end of the dance Franciscus & Angela burst into the festivities

Franciscus
Stop ! stop your dancing, come & see
A hundred warships flying
The Crescent banner, man your posts
Our coast needs fortifying


Scene 5 : Fort Saint Angelo, Birgu

Grandmaster D’Homedes is in discussion with Francesco Lanfreducci & Jean Parisot de Valette

Lanfreducci
Let us praise the Lord for this salvation
Grave dangers pass, Grandmaster D’Homedes
At least for us in bastion Birgu
Tho’ Turks ten thousand mass’d under bulwarks
Not a singular infidel dared test
The defences of Fort Saint Angelo
But now it seems they march on Mdina
Leaving a guarded fleet at Marsamxett
Such evil time has drawn an ugly veil
Of fear & dark aboding, devil-forged.

Grandmaster D’Homedes
More anguish must ensue, I sense, & soon
The dreadful happenstances of these days
Have always blown a promise to endure
Hindsight is only useful to the seers
We holy Knights were vastly unprepared
To blunt the Crescent scimitar fierce drawn
Against the Holy League of Christendom
With Salan Pasha, Salah & Dragut
Flung like a Cerebus from Inferno
De Valette, you have met the latter, yes?

De Valette
Dragut is the spawn of Barbarosa
In temprament, tenacity & guile
Who deady vendetta has sworn on us
For slaying his brother upon Gozo
cSome sev’ral years ago, he never shirks
From promises like these, full well I know
For I was kept a slave on his galley
When Rahman Kust Aly defeated me
In battle on the seas, a peaceless year
Until the Order barter’d my release

Enter Claude de la Sengle

Claude de la Sengle
Grandmaster, there is word from Mdina
Commander Villeganion muster’d
All able-bodied peasants from the farms
& in their souls assembl’d Christ invoked
To stage a stout defence of rampart walls
With them forty knights & arquebusers
Meanwhile the heathen pillage villages
Burning & raping, devouring all –
The shadow of the Crescent falls on Malta
& Gozo too, their galleys scout its shores.

Grandmaster D’Homodes
We can give to Gozo nothing, alas,
But they possess a fine citadella
That well-equipp’d a long siege should defy
Until the hours help comes from Sicily
But we shold not stand idle, as befits
The warriors of Christ, let us sally
Against their galleys in a night attack
Come brothers all, come & ardently pray
For heavenly success in endeavors
& for Mdina – ‘Ave Marias.’

The Knights pray in Latin


Scene 6 : Marsamxett Harbour

A Parata is performed. The two sides are comprised of Turkish sailors & the Knights of St John. At the end of the battle several galley slaves escape including Andreotto Brancato.

(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

Barnardo

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

Ioanna

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

Andreotto

Ioanna, Ioanna!

It is Andreotto, true

A miracle of God it is

That brings me back to you

Ioanna

Is this an apparition, ghost,

Or is it a living dream

Or light tricking through vapours

From the ocean’s girdling stream

Andreotto

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

Ioanna

Andreotto! we can’t be seen

In public, else my mother

Will fit & fret & faint in tears

For I have wed another

Andreotto

I heard this news so terrible

It claws my soul in pieces

As all the torments of the soul

In agony releases

Ioanna

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

Andreotto

& 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

Ioanna

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

Andreotto

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.

Dragut

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…

{BOOM}

Enter Barnardo

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

Castelletti

This is a most unusual

Consiglio Popolare

The Citadel is crumbling down

The situation’s scary

Bongibino

Three days of deadly cannonfire

Has made a breach quite gaping

Thro which the Turks are set to swarm

For murdering & raping

Barnardo

& does our noble governor

Intend to turn protecter

You’re not in Zaragoza now

But with the Knights of Malta

Galaziano

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

Bongibino

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

Barnardo

To arms ! To arms ! ket Gozo men!

Defend their isle beloved

With mattocks, pitchforks, rocks & oil

Man the ramparts overhead

Castelletti

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

Galaziano

What use is dying if one might

Find money for one’s ransom

The world would soon answer our plight

With benificience handsome

Castelletti

Perhaps they’ll leave the wealthiest

Gozitans unmolested

Who would serve better staying put

For to raise the sums requested

Galaziano

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

Barnardo

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

Galaziano

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

Castelletti

Amen ! Amen ! & thrice amen !

Lets feast Saint Iacamus

& bless again the good Lord Christ

The Son of God, sweet Jesus

(SOG): Scenes 13-18

SCENE 13: The Turkish Camp

Sinan Pasha, Dragut & Salah Rais are watching Bartolomeo Bonavia being lowered in a basket form the Citadella.

Salah Rais
Who could fathom this comical moment
As in a basket conical descends
A man who represents their able minds
But seems as frighten’d a little mouse
Under the harvest blade, but we shall hear
His offers of surrender, as is due
Defenders of a siege in these rich days –
We are not savages, but men of God
That is of course our God, for theirs is false
Despite his cross, his crucifix, his hymns

Dragut
I recognize that man, his face has sear’d
Fierce imprints on my mind, he stood among
Those who saw me plead my brother’s body
Beslain by Giovanni Ximones
& gunfire underneath those tragic stones
After his body appropriated
I begg’d it back, but they laugh’d in my face
Stake-burnt upon the bastion behind
But I swore on the day I left Gozo
Such dastard derring shall their downfall bring

Enter Bartolomeo Bonavia

Bartolomeo Bonavia
Commanders of the Ottoman Enpire
I, Bartolomeo Bonavia
Of the Augustine Order on Gozo
Emissarize on our Noble’s behalf
Educated men, well-bred for wisdom,
& masters in the world of wealth acrued
Who state it might be better if they stay’d
Two hundred of them, organise ransoms
For all the others Gozitans enslaved

Sinan Pasha
You ask a lot considering your plight
The breach I’d say a day or two away
& not a whimper of help from your Knights
But there is something in the offer made
Alas, two hundred? too many… forty
Could serve the transactions so suggested
If this is found acceptable, the gates
Shall opened be with only one delay
That is the emptying of treasure vaults
Of gold & grain, of silver & of salt

Bartolomeo Bonavia
Your graciousness our consolation, sir
& on your kindness we can but concur
& of your temper none could criticise
Await the white flag rising on the skies
This is the signal that the citadel
Has opened its great gates, & has yielded
Before the forces of your awesome fleet
& forty nobles shall be there to meet
Yourselves on your victorious entrance
With all their treasures piled in riches there


Scene 14: The Citadella

Fredericus & Ioanna are alone on the battlements

Fredericus
O ! what a beautiful moonrise
For loved ones in the evening
My heart so glad I married thee
& to my wear my husband’s ring

Your eyes are luke ruby jewels
In silvery caskets lain
As sweet as raisins taste your lips
& your tongue like sugar cane

Ioanna
O ! what a beautiful evening
Calm ocean’s hugging the shore
Please never part from me either
For I love you even more

Fredericus
Your face is like a rose in bloom
Your lips like a juicy peach
Each night I sleep thinking of you
When I wake, for you I reach

Fredericus & Ioanna
Like twinking stars & winking moon
Paint the canvas of the night
O ! what a beautiful evening
When spirits as one unite

Enter Bongibino

Leonardus Bongibino
Ioanna, Fredericus, listen, please,
Our elders flap about like flightless birds
& some of us, about three hundred strong,
Unwilling to capitulate our lives,
Shall risk the ropes, the Citadel this side
Sees not one Turkish tent, Fredericus, help,
Secure the ropes, in fifteen forty-eight
I left the Hell on Earth that is a slave
Under the Ottomans – never again!

Enter Andreotto

Andreotto
Ioanna, Fredericus, my old friends
Let us go together into the night
& find a place to hide as we did once
When we were children, in the rubble walls
Scampering paths thro’ crevices & shrubs
There’ll be bushes to hide in, there’ll be shacks
Ten thousand Turks could never search them all
The most important moment of our lives
Has come; to stay is folly, to go life

Fredericus
But what is life, & moreso what’s the source
But family, closest of them the pair
Of lovemates your parental spirit join’d,
The day our human destinies met God,
& so I must remain beside the hearth
While they yet live there – they protected me
When I was but a stripling yelp of bones
& so I shall protect them both in turn
Such is the way of life, those who bore us
We shall bare back when infirm or afear’d

Ioanna
If Fredericus stays, than so stay I
A wife’s place is beside her husband fix’d
Cemented by the marital conjoin
For where such love is strong, no storm, no strain,
No spite nor spike could ever seperate
My love for Fredericus shines the same
& I intend to stay here come what may
To put myself first is most ignoble
For I am a true Gozitan woman
But wish you well, goodbye, old friend, farewell

Andreotto
Old friend ! Old friend ! we were much more than that
As well you know, the love we shar’d did seem
Imperil’d only by Apocalypse
But as I was born Gozitan also
We must respect all wishes lady-wrought
Tho’ fill’d with calamaties & sorrow
As if Death had come to haul me away –
Beloved, I am about to leave you
May God preserve you, but grant me one wish
Let me look upon your face… it… is… so…

Exit Barnardo via the rope over the battlement

Ioanna & Fredericus
Like twinking stars & winking moon
Paint the canvas of the night
O ! what a beautiful evening
Two spirits as one unite


Scene 15: The Citadella

De Sesse & Nicoletti are waiting with the nobles of Gozo / the gates to the citadella are opend / enter Sinan Pasha. Dragut & Salah Rais with guards

Galaziano
Sinan Pasha, Salah Rais, Dragut
On the day of this solemn surrender
Our ancient fortress to your forces falls
With all these heap’d up jewelries & chests
Fill’d with silver scudi & talents
& platters etch’d with Viking runerie,
I am Galaziano de Sesse
The Governor, with forty hope to go
With honour for to quantify our lands
& raise whatever ransoms you require

Sinan Pasha
I never stipulated who shall stay
Not you, or these, no, he’s not even grey
I meant forty elders most decrepit
Old men doddering who can barely perch
Up in bed, it is these who shall remain
The dribbling dregs of your island race
Their mourning time shall nature fizzle short
When all Gozitans shall be forgotten
Else for the shadow-walkers on the hills
Who’ll wail your names in hours of savage storms

Castelletti
What is this? We are Gozo’s noblest lords
Men of most ancient names & families
& each one of us at one time has been rank’d
Hakem & Juror, why let this happen?
This wealth you see a fraction we could get
If we were free… if worship Mahomet
& Holy Allah, thro’ our conversion
Is what you want, I will do it gladly
What are you doing, unhand me at once!!
Tis folly to enact so foul a deed

Salah Rais
Folly! it was but folly to resist
Chain him, & everyone, down to the ships
Make them carry all these treasures with them
Annhialate this island of its host
If it burns set alight, smash the churches
Trash the palaces, rage like a torrent
Devastates woodland thro’ wild floodwaters
Deplete the people of all possessions
Set every annal’d document ablaze
Of those destin’d to lie in nameless graves

Sinan Pasha
Brother Bonavia, as custom deigns
To those brave enough to negotiate
With armies victorious, your fair fate
Is to remain at perfect liberty
To remember in the name of Allah,
To the prophet Muhammad propitious,
Your conquerors remain’d magnaminous –
Now hoist the Crescent from teh highest point
So any ship that sails about these shores
Can celebrate our victory with song!


Scene 16: The House of Barnardo D’Opua

Enter Barnardo, wounded. His wife, Betta, & their two teenage daughters are in fear.

Betta
Darling, darling, you bleed, your wounds
Let me dress them, Peruna
A pan of water boil at once
Sonia prepare the dressing

Barnardo
There is no time, the Turks are here
& mean to turn enslaver
& you, my girls, I must protect
From deed that must not waiver

I will not see my darling ones
Before me violated
By such impious infidels
The heathen ever-hated

Your face a fate for worse than death
Of rapes in lightless prison
Far better now to end your lives
Slain by a painless poison

Come here my wife, my daughters too
Come bite a sprig of hemlock
You’ll meet again at Heaven’s gates
Where the holy angels flock

& I will join you soon enough
But while blood thro’ me will flow
I’ll kill an Ottoman or two
For Christendom & Gozo

Barnardo gives his family a sprig of hemlock each – which they take in solemn silence

Barnardo
Goodbye my darling princesses
Goodbye my beautiful wife
Farewell to happinessess sweet
Which enrich a married life

As his family lies dying Barnardo loads an iron crossbow and an arquebus / the Turks arrive at the door – Barnardo fires his weapons, slaying two – more enemy rush in & in the fighting Barnardo is killed


Scene 17: The Garigue of Gozo

The Gozitans are in chains, carrying treasures to the shore

Fredericus
Over garigue I go, Gozo
I love you so, with a wrench
Of breaking heart I must depart
By the tall cliffs of Ta Cenc

Farewell ye perfume-heavy trees
Goodbye Sicilian shrew
To all you rock roses abloom
Saddest farewells bidden too

Farewell to ruby tiger moths
To swallowtails & lizards
No more shall Gozo’s sorceries
Enchant us like wild wizards

To my olive-leaf germander,
My orchids, my narcissi
My spiderfly, my Maltese spurge
You are gorgeous, all, goodbye

& I shall miss you St John’s Bread
Asparagus, Bear’s Breeches
I’ll miss the Ceifa on these cliffs
The Petrels by the beaches

Goodbye, farewell, my darling Isle
Goodbye dear, darling Gozo
When shall I see your face again
Only God above does know


Scene 18: Mgarr Ix-Xini

Rowing boats are ferrying the Gozitans to the Turkish galleys at the ras in-Newwiela promontory.

Sinan Pasha
Children of Gozo, you are faceless now
This is the place of your handing over
In this increasing pile leave your riches
It is time to forget about your lives
Your families, your animals, your fields
This inlet puncture’d by Titan’s dagger
The place you’ll ever leave your past behind
You are to spend indefinite futures
In service to our Sultan, Sulamein,
Seraglios & galley-slaves you’ll go

Dragut
There is a satisfaction in this scene
My brother was a good man to his core
Who died in heat of battle with honour
But did this cursed people recognize
The cool integrities of martial death
The ancient rights of noble burials
Awarded to a warrior in arms?
No ! this they did not do,& for that day
All here shall suffer the retribution
I swore that day upon the Rock Of Vows

Salah Rais
Consider this the gateway to empire
& we torchbearers of resplendent beams
Think not this is your catastrophic fall
But more your soul salvation, you might see
Tripoli, Callipolis, Sofia,
Algiers, Odessa, Damietta,
Atranto, Sarajevo, Trebizond,
Pristina, Damascus, Ioaninna,
Jerusalem & Azov, & of course
For the luckiest, holiest Mecca

Franciscus Frantino
Goodbye my lovely island, til the day
I’ll sit again high over Ramla Bay
& on my jangling tanbur there compose
A tender ghana slender as a rose
Before it blooms, then to fair Angela
I’ll tie our sighing heartbeats together
By letting petals open on the notes
I’ll sing upon the pleasant breeze that floats
In from the seas, & hear her song reply
Of love bonded forever, she & I

Sinan Pasha
& so the Siege of Gozo is ending
We to our lands & families return
But unfinish’d business is portending
Still in our Sultan vengeant spirits burn
Tho’ Gozo has been render’d desolate
Depopulated, made a burning waste,
For to honour the brother of Dragut,
The isle of Malta’s as yet undefaced
Unwither’d yon that slither of water
When back we come it shall sink in slaughter…