(VIR): Scenes 3-4

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SCENE 3 – The Roman Senate

The trial of Galba

Magistrate
Good morning senators, the day’s order
Begins with Galba & his recent wars
Fought in Iberia, & the murder
Of nigh nine thousand Lusitanians
Beneath the banner of a Roman peace,
The raiser of this matter, take the floor.

Lucius
Members of the Senate, my thanks are due
In advance, when you to listen to my pleas
For justice at this most scandalous trial,
I am Lucius Libro, plebeian
Tribune, elected to speak, most dismay’d
The good name of the Romans sacrosanct
Our honour more important than is fame,
Yet this, this perfidious Praetor
This ‘Galba’ brings shame upon the Senate,
For when abroad a general of Rome
Must represent our statutory claims
Of fairness wrought from order & from law
Cato! Would you be so kind as to speak,
Inform the senators in more detail
Whom, I feel assur’d, with keenest intent
Will listen well & with a deep respect
For you, truly the wisest among us,
Who steer’d our ship of state so many storms,
What are your thoughts upon this dark affair!

Cato
So many things discourag’d me this day
From coming forward to this hoary shrine
Where my old feet have stood five thousand times –
My years, my time of life, my voice, my strength,
I felt, nevertheless, when reflecting
On such crucial matters, I had to act,
Forsooth, the roots of these desperate wars
Lie with ourselves, not thirty years ago
Iberia was a hive of honey,
Our governors bears pawing at its gold,
Extortions, epidemics, proportion’d
Exploitation grating, so to account
Call’d I Publius Furios Philus
Personally, timely castigation
That did not go unnoticed in the West –
The Lex Calpurnia was introduced
& the whole peninsular bath’d in peace,
Until Galba’s pitiless ambition
Breaking treaties slaughter’d signatories
Of what our Senate deem’d a sacred text,
So he could swim in fallible plunder,
This he distributed to his soldiers
Not very much at all I hear them say,
His friends receiv’d a little & the rest
kept for his guts; Senators, sheer murder
Was done in Lusitania, for gold
Not punishing such criminality
Will send out a devastating message
That the Roman concord mere illusion
& massacres the only terms we deal

Magistrate
Praetor Galba, the floor if you please

Galba
Fellow senators, friends & foes alike,
Whether cherishing, opposing, my deeds
Lusitania primitive remains,
Makes strange pictures to a cool spectator,
They way they live their lives like high treason
To the virtues & values of our times,
We cannot simply allow them islands
Of impish liberty, while to the north
& south & east we press Hispania
Into our satin folds, we must never
Allow their independance poet sung
Else rebellions will sprout up like weeds
In an old man’s garden, his limbs too stiff
To root them out with tools & brutal strength –
Are not till’d plots superior to scrub?
Are fruits not improv’d by cultivation?
I plotted there for progress a glory,
Safe in our sturdy shields we stow the seeds,
The ploughshares of our swords have stirr’d the soil,
& we shall grow a province from the dirt!

Magistrate
How do you plead

Galba’s brother, Gaius, brings out two boys & a girl

Galba
I refuse to answer
I’ll make instead appeals elemental
To the good faith of the people, see these
Three Children; the two youngest share my blood,
The taller boy he is the grieving son
Of Sulpcius Galus, whose dying words,
A Lusitanian spear piercing chest,
Did gurgle to me, ‘look after my boy,’
{to Cassis}
Cassius, come to me, I embrace you
As my son,
{they embrace}
If today I am exiled
Or death-condemn’d, I tearfully bestow
Upon my brother, Gaius, both my sires,
Send to his care Cassius, son of Galus,
& beg him to forever oversee
Their fatherless estates, their future tears!

Cato
Wretched Galba! I shame to hear him speak!
By such sick pretences be not disturb’d,
Exciting pity has no place in law,
Even murderers share family homes

The Senate bursts into uproar

Magistrate
Silence, in the Senate, clear, clear the floor
We shall proceed in common to the vote
Balls, if you please, black guilty, white no fault.

The senators vote by placing a ball in a bag, either white or black

Magistrate
What is the count

Magistrate’s Assistant
Galba by twenty-five

Lucius
This is law debauched, maul’d by bribery

Magistrate
Silence, Lucius, else be in contempt
& find yourself on trial at your turn,
The Senate has spoken, Galba acquitted
You are free, Praetor, take your children,
To superpraise their moral upbringing
While raising them good citizens of Rome,
With that the matter closes, let us stray
Into the streets this Feast of Saturn day!

Exit Senators


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SCENE 4 – A Valley in Lusitania

Surviving chieftans & warriors of the Lusitani meet in counsel.
With them is Arco the soothsayer

Arantonio
We cannot stay much longer in this vale

Minurus
Famine gnawing bellies no way to die

Camalo
But sallying from safety must ensure
Murderous encounters with legionairres

Audax
Over our lives hovers the flag of death
Let us send Vetilius messengers
With olive branches, apologizing
For foraging without the seal of law
& plead a dwelling, promise to obey
Rome in all things

Pisiri
It must be done

Arantonio
What else
Can we do

Camalo
We must submit

Enter Viriathus

Viriathus
We must fight,
The bad faith of the Romans never goes
They pride themselves in violating oaths

Arco
Tell us who he is who speaks so boldly

Viriathus
I am Viriathus, some may know me,
Most will not, I survived the massacre
& warrant not your petty, scowling looks
Whatever pass’d by destiny, mischance,
I am come among you, soldiers, recieve
My presence, while intimating futures
Long mused upon, of murdering Romans,
Vibrant plans of action, Vertilius
No Galba is, his soldiers can be beat.

Camalo
Tho’ words up-bubble with inspiring springs,
We are too weak to fight them, all the same

Viriathus
I disagree, I have studied that swamp
Of whinging invaders, poor imposters,
Each thuggish snout I solemnly defy
There is not a veteran among them,
Valour is difficult in a desert,
While we are nourish’d from that single pool
That urgency of liberty becomes,
Fresh spirit of our precious land distill’d,
Sup from it when misfortune approaches,
Taste the universal Lusitani,
For when all focuss’d under common stars,
Mountains amass from bursts of willpower,
Off whose steep slops torrential troubles pour,
Together we are mountains, let me lead
Whomever here would die for liberty!

Minurus
I am with you Viriathus

Audax
& I

The rest cheer

Arantonio
Your patriotic fever may bright burn
But there remains a dagger at our throats
One false step…

Arco
Let the ancestors decide

Ditalco
Bring out the prisoner

A Roman prisoner is brought on stage – Arco chops off his right hand & raises it to the sky

Arco
Holy Cariocecus – take this hand
& guide his entrails, weave them into truth

The prisoner is covered with coarse cloaks, then a knife plunged into his vitals. He drops to the floor. The soothsayer studies the fall of the cloaks

Arco
From fall of cloaks auspicious auguries,
From trailing entrails unsuspicious truth,
From draining veins futurity pulses,
Our sacred Gods choose you, Viriathus

Arantonio, Camalo, Minurus, Audax, Ditalco
Viriathus!

Camalo
What of those plans you spoke?

Viriathus
Come gather close about me, listen well,
For detail is important – every man
Shall have his job to do, some more than one;
The Romans march like an elephant mare,
Slow, clumsy, ponderous – from armour’s weight
From ignorance of our ancyent trackways,
& from horses’ inferiority –
Why fight a tusker risking ivory,
Better pepper spears from safest vantage
& spring our clever ambushes from rocks
Thro’ rows of rushing tridents, incursions
Made in the dead of night, in heat of day,
Deluding with illusions & with snares,
Corner to corner striking, make them cry,
‘There is no haven in Iberia!’
The very mercy of the law screams out,
‘Iberia rejects its conquerors!’
Carpetania, Bastitania
Rome’s allies now, let us ravage them first
Who’ll join us promptly afterwards, the rest
Will follow soon, protecting precious crops,
While in the north the Numantines should rise
When noticing our spirit has revived
With such conviction, they will not abide
The Roman yoke no longer, out of pride.

Ditalco
Hail Viriathius

Arantonio, Camalo, Minurus, Audax
Hail Viriathius

Camalo
In you Cariocecus is reborn

Minurus
Cariocecus

Arantonio, Camalo, Audax, Ditalco
Cariocecus!

With great noise and barbaric clamor, the warriors surround Viriathus dancing, beating drims & singing “Cario-Cario-Cariocecus”- shaking their long hair, waving weapons & breaking out into ritualised mock combat


(VIR) Scenes 5-6b


Scene 5: Tucca

Astolpas is sat on his palace throne. Enter his daughter, Tongina, & her maid

Tongina
Father… father… FATHER

Astolpas
What, what is it

Tongina
Why do you sit so, in solemn silence,
If I could learn from your quiet what ails
Your thoughts, what troubles your soul, what torments
Your waking hours, aye, what disturbs your dreams,
It would save my askings, & your replies,
It seems such process impossibly drawn.

Astolpas
My darling daughter only you can delve
Into my swampish humour & return
With objects from the murk – Minurus comes
Almost to the door, and with him rides wars
I have intended all along to swerve

Tongina
Minurus, he is a damnable pest,
I hate the way he’s watched me all my life
A little girl should not be eyed that way,
& woman’s be beauty to be respected
Not gawp’d on open-mouth’d by drooling hounds

Astolpas
But he is most handsome, & very rich,
The ladies of Lusitania swoon
When enters he a room

Tongina
I find him vile
In my house his charms are invisible

Astolpas
His house a cornucopia of charms,
His city, Concordia, lovely lies
By Tagus side, I dallied there in youth
A pretty place to raise a family
I know he likes you, Tongina, thinks well
Of you in every aspect

Tongina
He is vile,
Like a piner on the sick bed of love,
For him I hold no interest, erupts
No song of passion imagining him
More some boring funerary dirge

Astolpas
Your mother grew to love me in the end

Tongina
Father this is not the age of Scota
Or Neferubity by Memphis known,
Given to Gaythelos in gratitude
For murdering scores of Numidians

Astolpas
Your young blood blurts out words of foolish mein
Your pride agitates against tradition
Your…

Enter Minurus

Minurus
Astolpas, old cougar, how are you

Astolpas
Welcome Minurus, as always, welcome

Minurus
My gracious respect, our stay shall be short
We only wish to sleep a night & rest
Before we return to Concordia
In glory

Astolpas
In glory you say, why so?

Minurus
We win victories over Vettius,
Aemilianus & Unimaus,
Each legionary send they against us
We send home limbless or leave to the wolves

Astolpas
It sounds a very hideous affair

Minurus
Hideous, perhaps, necessary, yes!
Join us, Astolpas, your Tuccans are strong

Astolpas
I would – but their bloodshed best avoided
If they will keep that strength, not bled to death

Tongina
My father does not speak for his soldiers
Their hearts are bursting to join with the war

Astolpas
Tongina, suspend your contribution

Minurus
No, let her speak,

Tongina
My father has grown old
Wisdom, with long age, dominates one’s dreams
& Tucca dreams of glory by your side

Minurus
Tongina, into quite a woman grown,
Are you married yet at all

Astolpas
She is not

Tongina
I can speak for myself – one day I might
But tell me, you fought with Viriathus?

Minurus
Yes – many times – we left him yesterday

Tongina
Where is he now

Minurus
The Mountain of Venus

Astolpas
Chieftain, we bear witness to your courage,
While you are with us anything claim yours
Food, drink, shelter;

Minurus
Your daughter’s bridal vows

Tongina
They are not his to give

Astolpas
Be at ease, please
Let us not now debate, but celebrate,
Come, Minurus, we shall dine together
Tongina, ready yourself & join us
{Astolpas & Minurus begin to leave}
She will come around, I shall bless the match

Minurus
If only conquering hearts as easy
As beating Romans, as mounting wild mares
& riding them to battle
Exit Astolpas & Minurus

Tongina
Pompous pig

Maid
Your father said to ready for a feast

Tongina
I shall ready myself, but not for them,
Prepare a horse, provisions for three days
& meet me at the gates when rises moon.

Maid
Of course, my lady, but what drives you so
I beg the truth so nights shall find my sleep

Tongina
Promise not to tell?

Maid
Of course, I promise

Tongina
If life is to be lived full of flavour
I go to Viriathus, with my love!


Scene 6a: The Mount of Venus

Viriathus is alone in the mountains


MOUNTAIN SONG

I feel the spirit
Blow like a breeze
Shimmer in rainbows
Skimming the trees
Glimmering waters
Snow in the corn
Glistening teardrops
The day we were born

& the way we are living
As one with the world
Is the first step to feel the divine
While the ocean’s seahorses
& riverside pearls
Are the proof of holy design

I hear the song
Soft-sung by a lark
See wide open spaces
& faces in bark
I got a feeling
I am all things
Something inside me’s
Given me wings

& the way we are living
As one with the world
Is the first step to feel the divine
When watching the wind as she
Whips up & whirls
Is the proof of holy design


Enter Tongina

Tongina
Are you he, the one we call our leader?
The mighty Viriathus as I hear,
Whose heart is fill’d with wonder for his land,
Whose mind is more a meeting place of Gods,
Are you he? I believe it to be so?

Viriathus
I care not for words, ’tis deeds I adore

Tongina
Then listen to this deed
{Tongina kisses Viriathus}
Your tongue is sweet

Viriathus
Whyever did you kiss me, woman, why?

Tongina
The hidden vent of hearing in touch’d lips,
The wagging tongue compels cheiftans to wive,
Who’ll sooth & balm his thoughts upon duress
Who’ll ease their body when its needs desire
These things shall be my purpose & my joy,
I give myself to you, & to our cause.

Viriathus
But what of love, the laughter-brimming salve
Of wedded union, without its truth,
Defective lives we lead, seeds on the seas

Tongina
Love is an unnecessary fever
The campaigning patriot learns to need
The comfort of his womanly bosom

Viriathus
Desist, temptress, the wise speak of three sorts,
Deprived utterly of better judgement;
Those ambitious of princely preferment
Those concocting poisons only to show
Their skills in the curing, then thirdly they
Whom entrust women with a secret thought.

Tongina slaps him

Tongina
Your words veil insult, take them back at once,
I shall be no fishwife, Viriathus,
Does what you see before you not promote
A certain stirring in your stern resolve

Viriathus
What is your name?

Tongina
Tongina

Viriathus
Tongina!
Your beauty mountain rose, your spirit thorns,
Roots suckling upon ancestral vapours,
I see & hear you, I feel you even,
An unexpected motion in my soul
As if some spectacular meteor
Thro’ planetary bodies starward moved.

Tongina
Then the matter is settl’d, & we too
Compatible enough to now pursue
Our sacred betrothal, we shall wed soon

Viriathus
We shall shall we?

Tongina
We shall

Viriathus
You are some soul
Your power terrifies me, but your smile
Irridiates my being, very well
Your bridal dreams I’ll make as real as this

They kiss

Tongina
I will come to you as with our custom,
Brought by my father

Viriathus
Tell me who is he?

Tongina
His name Astolpas, the wealthiest man
In Lucca

Viriathus
& you his fairest jewel
I suppose

Tongina
What?

Viriathus
I care not for riches, go, leave me now
Our contract seal’d, I wait for you a month,
Then man & wife we’ll be, we might know love,
Tomorrow, tho’, today the Romans send
Three caravans up from the southern coast,
Whom, at best time & place convenient,
We’ll intercept each amphorae in turn

Tongina
Sharpen your sword, fight well, within that month
I shall return in the train of my father

They kiss

Viriathus
Until the vows

Tongina
Until the vows

Exit Viriathus one way & Tongina the other –


Scene 6b: The Mount of Venus

Enter attendants who scatter rich carpets, exquisite workmanship, gold, silver cups, meatstuffs, wine – Enter Arco the soothsayer & several wedding guests – Viriathus enters & leans on a lance – enter Apano

Apano
Viriathus, Lord Astolpas arrives,
Tongina in his trail, her head is veil’d
As have ancestral womenfolk of ours
Since time’s commence, perhaps you should not slouch,
Better ready yourself to receive her

Viriathus
I am ready, on this lance stood steady
Need no cold throne of state to status raise

Enter Astolpas, Tongina & several guests from Tucca

Astolpas
Are you Viriathus, who has conquer’d
My only daughter’s heart, that never false
Her life has felt allured, our families
Enjoin’d forever by its beating bliss?

Viriathus
That is I & that is us, together
We shall sire the second tier of your brood
Welcome Astolpas, Welcome Tongina

Astolpas
This day the noblest I will ever know
All of Lusitania honours you
Our benefactor, saviour, highest man,
Who giveth bounty as does summer’s rain
Valiant in danger, more beloved
Than any leader in an annal’d age

Viriathus
I would like to mention but a moment
Your sending of nuptial luxuries
As if from some anointed majesty
Ceremonially sent, sickens me,
These chests emitting silver over brim
These carpets of exquisite workmanship
These spice-rich dishes of of flavoursome meat
Pure gold & silver cups, these Gaulish wines,
For these I feel only scorn & contempt
Superb, esteem’d possessions such as these
Are simple prey at the point of a spear
Tell me why Romans attending your feasts
Decline to take dominion of these things
Despite the power theirs

Astolpas
Many Romans
Have whistl’d at my wealth, but none have thought
To take, nor ask,

Viriathus
Then why would you forsake
Those who allow your property in peace

Astolpas
I have ask’d my heart a singular thought
Am I Roman or Lusitanian?

Viriathus
And it says…
{Picking up dirt}
My blood is mixed with this soil

Viriathus
That may be so, but thought bends with the wind
We might aim east but sails may bellow west,
Your city’s inconsistencies unsafe
In warfare, without solidarity

Tongina
The citizens of Tucca are with you
Thro’ my person their loyalty pervades

Viriathus
The people of Tucca are like a man
Decades beyond his first dashing dancers
Who wish’d to take two wives, the younger yank’d
His grey hairs out so he might look her age
The elder did the same to his dark locks
& left a fresh-wash’d feast-bowl on his head
Same fate awaits a city just as yours
Rome attacks her enemies, & we ours,
& so your streets deserted soon shall be.

Tongina
Be tranquil, my darling, this not the time

Astolpas
My daughter, his speech is very fitting
His common sense & concise speaking proves
What right & proper husband he shall be

Soothsayer
Then let the vows of matrimony flow

Viriathus
We are two souls more candid than the Gods
E’er granted, empire of my panting heart
Ye conquer’d, take this pledge hewn from deep faith
{Viriathus offers Tongina a love token}

Tongina
I take from your hand the prize of that faith

Viriathus
Your gentle touch inexpressibly soft,
Yet strength there is inside my beloved

Tongina
Your love a rainbow on a storm-set day
My core sings happinesses, as your charms
Brighten my smile like passing meteors

Soothsayer
You promise constancy?

Tongina
I do

Soothsayer
& you

Viriathus
I do too

Soothsayer
Truly you one soul from two

Viriathus & Tongina kiss

Tongina
You will not be sleeping in your armour
Tonight, my love, dream-drifting skin-on-skin

Viriathus
Eat, drink, sing, dance, make merry all the while,
Up into mountains ride I with my bride,
To consummate our union beneath
The gazes of the gods of stars & skies

Cheers from all / Tongina & Viriathus mount a horse

Viriathus
But recall, while you gorge on your corpses
We shall banquet only on milk & bread
When remember, my clear-headed warriors,
One cannot say sorry for grogginess
Rib-pierc’d by spear-tips of alerter foes
Lusitania

All
Lusitania!

Astolpas
& Viriathus

All
& Virathus

Viraithus waves & rides away with Tongina


(VIR): Scenes 7-8

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SCENE 7: The Hill of Venus


The Lusitanians are gathered around Viriathus, including Nicorontes, Audax, Dialco, Minurus, Astolpas, Tongina & Galucias, the sister of Viriathus

Astolpas
Viriathus

Chorus
Viriathus, Viriathus

Astolpas
Watches over us

Chorus
Over us, over us

Aud. Dit. Min
Lusitania’s, Lusitania’s, Lusitania’s sons
Are the Noblest warriors, warriors

Viriathus
No Roman laws
No Roman bread
We live for liberty & justice instead

Chorus
No Roman laws (no Roman laws)
No Roman bread (no Roman bread)
We live for liberty & justice instead

Galucias
My brother dear, my lord & life
This day is bless’d, propitious day
Consul Popilius has come
In a most suppliant way

Enter Popilius, Servilianus & escort

Popilius
Viriathus

Chorus
Viriathus, Viriathus

Popilius
Sir you honour us

Romans
Honour us, honour us

Viriathus
Rome’s emissaries

Chorus
Emissaries, emissaries

Virathus
Welcome among us

Chorus
Among us, among us

Chorus
Welcome, welcome,
Welcome to our home
Welcome! Welcome!
Ye emissaries of Rome

Viriathus
Come & share the simplest fare of our most humble home

Popilius
We bring you gifts, we bring you gifts
We bring you gifts that were sent from the Senate

Viriathus
Let us see, let us see,
Let us see those gifts sent here by your Senate

Viriathus & Tongina inspect the gifts

Tongina
Jewels, delicacies, riches as these
May please the pleasure-eyed people of Rome
Waylaid by treasures of the dullest sort
But in this land our private thought demands
Sobriety & temperance, & rank
Droplets of liberty above dead gold.

Viriathus
We do not live in your decadent sphere,
Think nothing of the trifles you dare gift
Better to leave this place

Servilianus
Harsh seems your tone

Popilius
We meant no insult, only to endow
Best salutations on you both awed
Sealing respect with gifts as is custom

Viriathus
Your gifts mean nothing to us or my wife,
When luxuries & wickedness entwine
What wretched lifetimes sluggishly ensue
Amply destroyed by excessive leisure

Popilius
I ob-

Viriathus
No words, your Latin taints the air
Go, now, go, go tell your noble senate
Viriathus rejects Rome’s vast riches

Servilianus
You might live to regret such utterance

Virathus
Or better that I die debt-shy & free

Exit Romans

Tongina
They forgot their presents

Viriathus
Burn the dresses
Bar one you like the look of best of all
Distribute the food throughout the country
Those jewels let us trade for Gaulish swords

Tongina
What honour in our house, a proconsul
What shame he ever thought he’d be welcome
They wish our flesh fattening in togas
Some citizen of their dismal cities
As servile as an ox-team to their state
Hemmed in by delibitating progress
Which places boxes on another’s tops
& calls them homes

Ditalco
They show signs of weakness
They come to us like decadent lepers

Minurus
They try & bribe us, fearing feats of arms
Now is the time to strike with all our strength

Viriathus
To strike with all our strength we must improve
Double, treble every effort, reject
Defeat even as possibility
Let perseverance imbue extertion
Energize ability, then triumph
Must follow in the footsteps of the bold

Audax
We are with you Viriathus, lead us
To victory

A great cheer

Viriathus
Return, men, to your homes
See your families, rest & love them well
Then on these slopes our brotherhood resume
When next the moon glows full

All
We shall be here!

Astolpas
Viriathus

Chorus
Viriathus, Viriathus

Astolpas
Watches over us

Chorus
Over us, over us

Viriathus
No Roman laws
No Roman bread
We live for liberty & justice instead

Chorus
No Roman laws (no Roman laws)
No Roman bread (no Roman bread)
We live for liberty & justice instead


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SCENE 8 – Sierra Morena

Roman Camp in a narrow pass – Proconsul Popilius in his tent – enter Servilianus in a state of agitation

Popilius
Servilianus, whatever the matter?
Your fluster bubbles up with canker fierce

Servilianus
The siege of Erisana is broken,
That Viriathus somehow snook inside
To sally at our circumvallations
Now we are routed, elephants scatter’d,
Hardly a quarto of the force remains,
The foe in hard pursuit

Popilius
How close

Servilianus
A mile
or less….

Alarum blows

Herald
General, Proconsul, we are
Under attack, the camp is over-run

Popilius
Draw you sword, Servilianus, let us
Die today, together, fighting bravely
As would our ancestors, let the Senate
Speak our names with pride, my friend

Servilianus
It is drawn

They embrace / enter Viriathus & several men / Sevilianus & Popilius are standing back to back

Viriathus
Consul Popilius, we bring you gifts
Even your Jupiter could not refuse
They are the gifts of life, you wish to live?

Popilius
Of course, I have a family

Viriathus
& you

Servilianus
I do

Viriathus
Then lower your keen-edged weapons

Servilianus
How can we trust you

Viriathus
Well I understand
How trust wilts fickle under Roman gaze
But this is Lusitania, our word
Our bond, if Lusitanians offer you
Your lives they are assured, submit your arms
{Popilius & Servilianus hand over their weapons}
This is a precinct of Rome no longer
So say the soldiers of our blood conjoined;
Turdentanians, Bastetanians,
Vettones, Conii, Callaecians
Turduli, Carpetnani, Celticii –
Where there’s unity, there is victory,
Before them your legions were defeated,
The dreadful sounds of slaughter snaking ears,
Escape is impossible, surrender
Unconditional must be, the only
Chance you have to save seven thousand lives
Do you accept

Popilius
What are the terms

Viriathus
{pointing to a map}
You must
Withdraw from here & here & here & here
Then recognize our rule in those places
& everywhere from here to here & here
Return’d to Rome, ratified by senate,
Whenever my country in discussion
Say, ‘amici populi romani,’

Popilius
Such butterfly humility you bring,
Request no extraordinary stretch

Servilianus
Your terms are fair, you could have ask’d far more

Viriathus
My people tire of war, too many scenes
Of blood practicioners, this victory
Denoument deserves, let it be enough
You are surrounded & facing
Certain annhialation, your men
Are hiding under barrack tents in fear
We’re set to burn them down with them beneath
Unless prepar’d surrender is now sign’d
{handing over scroll}
Peruse it please

Popilius
Our defeat so assured
{Popilius reads the scroll}
Excellent Latin, tad colloquial,
But polish’d

Viriathus
Will you sign or will you die

Popilius
I will sign

Popilius signs the scroll

Viriathus
Now we are friends & allies
Tho’ better not to socialise today
You both are free to leave, & all your men,
But none of your possessions may you take
Except the shoes & clothes each wears this hour.

Popilius
You are very gracious Viriathus
I promise to personally assure
This treaty in the Senate, made witness
By Proconsul Popilius

Servilianus
& I
General Servilianus
Shall honour its progression into law
You are an admirable opponent
Fighting like some black panther in the dark
Made pale-faced moon look bloody upon Earth,
I’ve never met a mind as sharp as yours
From Syria out to the Belgic Seas.

Popilius
The day has been decided, & our fates
Servilianus, round up the soldiers
I need to write to Rome…
{exit Servilianus, Popilius turns to Viriathus}
So… would you mind

Viriathus
This tent now ours, Popilius, would you…

Popilius
Of course

Exit Popilius

Audax
You see how swiftly he effects
The old, grating, superior manner
The inks not yet dry on the surrender
Before the Romans thought they held command
We should not sit as timid as a lamb
We should just kill them all

Viriathus
But if we do
Rome will never forget, an eternal
Surge of vengeance will break against our land

Minurus
But they will surely break the oath

Viriathus
Perhaps
But if they do we’ll prove their better match
In adventures catching perilous days
Each fresh defeat inspires the beleagur’d,
Far better to refuse such resurgance
& leave them simmering surrender’s stew

Ditalco
Talk later boys, of boring politics,
We share the greatest victory today,
What are we waiting for, lets celebrate

Viriathus
Yes, of course, to the victor goes the spoils
The Romans say, & give the lion’s share
For them who fought like lions in the fray


(VIR): Scenes 9-10


Scene 9: The Roman Senate

The Senate is discussing the treaty of Viriathus

Magistrate
Senators, the order of the day
Discussion on the Viriathic war
Of how it was concluded, then shall we
Elect by vote appropriate response
First to the floor Popilius…

Popilius
Senate!
Praise Viriathus, that sinewy Prince,
With great sagacity he broke the spears
Namore of our brave soldiers need to die,
Lunging at the Lusitanian lynx
Who wins our gratitudinal respect
For letting us depart him uninjur’d
Upon one point of honour, Rome permits
Hiis peoples an undisturb’d possession
Of native territories, as our friends
& even allies, Servilianus
Was with me, there, when surrender was sign’d
& wishes to speak

Popilius
Popilius
Thank you proconsul
Upon the same terms already mention’d
A treaty was concluded on all sides –
The termination of tedious wars
Such troublesome & tribulating trials
That might have brought a second turgid Troy
But lacking sheer battlements to besiege
For in this age of prosaic spirits
It seems as if Achilles reappears
With Venus weaving godcraft thro’ his deads
A lover & a master of the wars
Fought only for love of gore & glory
Since Viriathus chose to oppose us
Since word of his brutalities return’d
Enrollment in the legions plummets low
Are we to funnel blood & flesh inside
His maw of murder, ’till we bleed no more,
Senators, please greet this treaty fairly,
& vote for Viriathus as a friend.

Magistrate
Galba, stand, you wish to make a statement,

Galba
Senators of our majestic city
& many other cities in the stride,
This treaty is, in the highest degree,
Dishonorable to all we stand for
Staining Servilianus’s career
In short, Viriathus is barbaric
Beheading, disembowels as he please,
A bandit on an unsubsistive soil
For them a border is a line to cross
At will, to empty innocents of blood
While toppling pillars, pillaging purile,
His existence a spider in my mind
For since my childhood games I doted on
Destroying dark daemonicals like him

Popilius
Objection, you paint him as a monster
No, he is human to the high ascent
Owning a unifying spiritus
That never in the axle of this war
Spinning spokes of tribal variety
Was ever sewn sedition; all obey’d,
Render’d fearless in presence of dangers,
Distendent of the pleasures of the world,
As statesman he was neither knelt humble,
Nor leaping overbearing into leagues;
Faithful, exact, aequis, veritable
Vir Duzque Magnus, ancient ideals
Penetrate each atom of his system
& as the adsertor of Hispania
Let us assert our honour to his will
Make good his claims in the eyes of the world
Too many lost already in that place
We owe him our respect

Galba
We owe him death
& retribution for our youthbloom lost

Magistrate
Tranquility & silence! Opposing
Hills where Romulus & Remus quarrell’d,
Or like headlands of the Massillian
Harbours art thou, choose your moor, drop your ball,
The vote is open, senators, the floor

The Vote Begins & ends

Magistrate
What is the vote this day, for war or peace

Magistrate’s assistant
Peace

Lucius
Peace is beautiful

Popilius
Beautiful peace

Magistrate
Then all is settl’d here, & Rome accepts
Completion of the Viriathic war
For like each thing that in its season grows
Peace blossoms to a universal praise
& all may leave these halls more dignified.

Exit all but Quintus Servilius Caepio & Servilianus

Caepio
Brother, what have you done this torrid hour

Servilianus
What do you mean?

Caepio
This terrible treaty
Unworthy of the populace of Rome

Servilianus
What can be done

Caepio
A spot of ruthlessness ne’er goes amiss
I want to lead a legion against him
This Viriathius, who all think a god
If he is human he can be got at

Servilianus
As all men might, but brother pray beware
This human is the rarest specimen,
The legend who has never known defeat,
Unwielding to the starkest privations
Excels he in mind’s powers, & is swift
In planning, accomplishes what’s needful
Does only what he reckons must be done,
While over hills & rough, uneven ways
His men prowl like sleek leopards on the verge,
Observing every movement, skins suntann’d,
Weather’d by wind, harder than ox leather,
Toughest of all their mighty leader sleeps
In armour, every night, ready to prance
To combat a second after waking

Caepio
In warfare, when seeking best success
To know one’s foe the vital pivot forms

Servilianus
Wise Caepio
You have my blessing, you are strong & young
Defeats are defeats, however noble
Come let us dine & talk of my campaign
Learn from its errors, induce fresh insights.

Caepio & Servilianus begin to leave the hall

Caepio
To abandon the war too dangerous
I shall write letter after long letter
Make points like falcons snapping into voles
To lead a legion personally there
In order to procure a treaty-break
Secretly of course, from this we’ll provoke
Viriathus to retributive war
My blame will be buried in the uproar

Exit Caepio & Servilianus


Scene 10: The Temple of Melqart, Gades

Caepio is addressing his legion with Sempronius

Caepio
Sense, soldiers, tutelary spirits
Made welcome at the the temple of Melqart,
We arrive in Hispania at purpose
To render Lusitania servile
As we have tried before, but treaties fail’d,
Dispersing us for we did not present
The destiny-commission’d face of Rome
Distaste instead swept thro’ such enterprise,
& we are here to rectify the shame
Combined together in this famous space
The very spot where Heracles once slew
The snow white bull, before he flash’d beyond
The Pillars – observing familiar rites
We shall emulate him in sacrifice,
As man immortal paragon became
Leap upwards into clouds of Heaven’s vaults,
By brave endeavors of our very own,
The wandering eyes of the goddesses
Make focus on our deeds… men, let us sing
A paean to Heracles, he shall hear
Our voices as we praise his holy tasks.


TWELVE LABOURS

Herakles, Herakles,
Step out of your plaster frieze
Sunder mountain, rip up trees
Herocial Herakles!

Herakles, Herakles,
Come & bless us if you please
Sunder mountain, rip up trees
Herocial Herakles!

Slay, slay the Nemean lion
Hippolyta’s girdle find
Slay, slay, the birds Stymphalian
Capture the Ceryneian hind

The Nine heads of Hydra each decapitate
& Augean Stables decontaminate
& the boar Erymanthian was captured in thick woven snow

Herakles, Herakles,
Step out of your plaster frieze
Sunder mountain, rip up trees
Herocial Herakles!

Herakles, Herakles,
Come & bless us if you please
Sunder mountain, rip up trees
Herocial Herakles!

Steal, steal the golden apples
Of the luscious Hespiredes
Steal, steal the horses dappl’d
Kept by Thracian Diomedes

The Nine heads of Hydra each decapitate
& Augean Stables decontaminate
& the boar Erymanthian was captured in thick woven snow


Caepio
In dangerous times things change in the dirt
Today they bask in a moment of sun,
Like the warm afternoon atween the frosts
But dungeon-days of such a shameful peace
Never writ to exist indefinite,
From unnatural disinheritance
Rome’s progress was always meant to resume,
With one last push Hispania must fall
Our wines of victory fermenting yet
Our enemies are slaver-beasts at best,
Crude, uneducated frugality
No match shall be for well-fed legionnaires
Soldiers, are you with me, are you ready,
For names to be etched in books of fame

The Legion
Aye-Aye-Aye

Caepio
Then let us march together,

The legion cheers – Centurians give commands – trumpets blow – soldiers begin to march past Caepio & Sempronius

Sempronius
Inspiring words, Quintus Servilius,
The men are certainly ready to fight
But how exactly do you mean to win
Upon the heels of deadly disasters
As birds observe & learn each others calls
When danger nears, alarum in the skies,
I urge your upmost caution on campaign

Caepio
This confederation feverish fluke
Or Viriathus conjurer of sorts
The peoples of Iberia possess
No innate inclination to resolve
Their tribal grudges for the greater good,
Maintaining into factions every breath,
But being born backlegged into life
These are mere sheep to be scatter’d at once
When shepherd slain, in timid ones & twos.
{Saluting troops}
I have a plan, Sempronius, we’ll see
If all the Lusitani share the will
To dress the sparse harshness of Spartan lives
Across their naked skins while seeing silks,
Let us isolate mercenary minds,
Find in their greed our triumph was enshrined


(VIR): Scenes 11-13


Scene 11:  Sierra Morena

A meeting of all the Lusitanian chiefs – Viriathus is passing out bread & meat

Viriathus
My generals, my warriors, my friends
You are to me as if another self
Take this meat & bread, tear them into stars
Consume them all before me, while you do,
Mine eyes ensparkling with the brotherhood,
I’ll feed off your warfare’s ferocity
Your loyalty my only nourishment
I trust you all implicitly, whom here
Shall aim straight truth out of rambunctious war

Audax
It is not easy on the ear, my lord

Viriathus
Be frank, tell me…

Audax
We are bruising sorely
My own brother deadslain in train’d battles
The Romans are the strongest I have seen
Reinforced with unheard of frequency
From Africa – it seems they shall not rest
Until we are choken on our own gore

Viriathus
How goes important scorchings of the earth

Camalo
It is as you wish’d, but much suffering
Afflicts the people while Ostia sends
Succorful ships that just keep on coming

Minurus
The sun sets weeping in the seagirt west
Us watching with a wearier espy
Caepio is ruthless, Viriathus,
While country folk down lay their arms all sides
He waters his horses in the Tagus,
& plunders Turdetania for stores

Arantonio
Where all was joy now langour & distress
& anger – our allies’ fields lay wasted
The Vettones, Gallacaeci reluctant
To fight –

Ditalco
Caepio makes war without a conscience
He has turn’d the tide against us harshly

Viriathus
That may be so, but it will turn again
By Hannibal the Romans were themselves
Invaded & their capital besieged
Without those walls they would be Africans
We have walls too, not those of piled up stone
But knowledge of the land, our will to fight
& bonds between us, indestructable
Immovable, like the dog of a house

Astolpas
The heads of all our villages & towns
Are slaughter’d at the point them recogonis’d
Left wild to monster carrion & worms
& any Roman subjects thay they find
Among us, see hands sliced off at the wrist
The rest to living slavery then sold
Beholding daily dwindling meagreness
We are exhausted – we must sue for peace
I am no tyrant listening to pleas
Of reason, no, this is noit the season
For open warfare over such a foes
Audax, Ditalco, Minurs, shall go
As friends & chosen confidantes, einto
The enemy camp, Caepio seek out
& communicate to him my message
I am prepeared to end the war today
On terems yet undecided, but assured
In favour of Rome’s strengthening status
Do you accept the envoy

Audax
Aye

Minurus
Aye

Ditalco
Aye

Arantonio
This is a mistake, do you not sense it

Viriathus
Our women are dying, what can I do
Without them, the Lusitani wither
They must be saved to shelter our seedlings
No, Ditalco, Audax & Minurus
Each one of you I choose for possessing
Indispensible, ambassadorial
Attributes – balance, loyalty, wisdom
Worldly speech – most clever in consulship
Amid foes bellicose, with flawless words
Each of ye three present an olive branch
To Caepio, while echoing my voice.

Ditalco
Together we lay a firm foundation
Of peace on which shall flourish liberty

Viriathus
The future of all Lusitania
Invested in your pivotal success
Go well my friends, the vital hour has come.

Exit Minurus, Audax & Ditalco

Virathus
They will be back tomorrow, until then
We all are still at war – remain alert


Scene 12:
A Mountain Top

Cabruno is railing at a wild & musical storm

Cabruno
O what a storm it is that shakes my soul
The roaring winds aslant old skygates roll
Trees toss their branches, leaves for freedom lurch
At scudding white clouds, in these future lies
In divinations I shall analyze
The reasons in each skysculpt swept in search.

Enter Arco

Arco
Hullo Cabruno, quite the serpent gale
I too was summon’d hither with the wail
The voices of the bird host, the very
Syllables they utter, summon’d by storm;
The wren, listen, twitters ominously
Its notes like diamond lights in daemon form

Cabruno
While you the croakings & the calls compute
I too will draw my augurs from the root
Of crooked tree, the skeletons of sheep
Portent naked & murderous mischief
Mine inner ear has heard a widow weep
Her tears are welling deep without relief

Arco
Out to the moonrise run your ruby gaze
Perceive the limits of its waning phase
Follow tight flock of eagles as they fly
Across its face, now blotting out its light,
When life eclipses life one life shall die
Down stricken in the darkness of the night

Cabruno
Who is the one that like that silver sphere
Did brighten our black tapestry of fear
Whom is the one who rose into the stars
The one we looked to for our strength sky-sent
Who is the one who brighter shone than mars
Our one & only true luminescent

Arco
The birds are busy fretting at the earth
The kite is set to claim its talon’s worth
Of flesh, grey-coated scallycrows sighted,
The famish’d falcon screams, the scop owls bark,
While far off & aloofly affrighted
Raven sails across this tremulous dark

Cabruno
Is it Viriathus

Arco
Aye, it is him,
The long light of his star-days growing dim
We still have time for warning if we speed
Down to the valley, steal a pretty steed

Cabruno
Aye, if we hurry we might save him yet

Arco
So let us run & dash & pant & sweat

Exit Arco & Cabruno


Scene 13: The Roman Camp

Caepio & Sempronius are being entertained by belly dancers

Herald
Sir

Caepio
What is it, can’t you see I’m busy

Herald
Three of the savage captains are in camp

Caepio
Were they captured

Herald
No, of their own accord
Weaponless & wielding olive branches

Virathus
I knew they would come, this phalanx of peace
Send them in & fetch my treasury
Silver, spices, furs & silks, let us see
If savages can yet be civilised

Herald
Yes sir

Exit Herald / Caepio dismisses the dancing girls with a wave of his hand

Sempronius
Quintus, you calculating cad
How did you do it

Caepio
I have done nothing yet
But if I know Humanity at all
By love of lucre loyalty lacks weight
& each man has his price,

Enter Herald

Herald
Sir, they are here

Caepio
Bring them

Herald makes a gesture to the tents door – enter gaurds with Audax, Ditalco & Minurus

Herald
Audax, Ditalco, Minurus

Caepio
Welcome brave opponents, are you hungry
There’s meat & wine aplenty, help yourself

Audax
We do not come to dine, but to entreat
A peace negotiated, end this war
This jagged, manifest predicament
That has a decade laid two nations waste
The canker-sorrow eating at the buds
Of handsome youth

Caepio
Two nations, what you say
I’d hardly call them that – one a motley
Collection of tribes, half-starved & bleeding,
Who push against the other, whose bare hands
Grab the blades of my nation of nations,
Whose strong heart pulses blood to every point
Relentlessly, we have much youth to spare…
But… where is the style in such attrition
Where is the honour in guerilla wars
I too would rather end the war today
But on my terms & only those, do you
Understand

Ditalco
There will be no surrender

Caepio
Rememeber, noble chieftans, your houses
& as you mind recalls once rich repose
Look all around you, lands lost, farmers slain,
Your towns deserted – would you not prefer
To be a wealthy landowner of Rome
The choice you possess, as far as I see,
Is that, or some landless desperado
Become, come, glance about this tent, its style
Let slip into your soul with acceptance

Audax
What do you mean

Minurus
What does he want, you mean

Caepio
I shall speak plainly of the occasion
Kill Viriathius

Audax
What

Minurus
It cannot be

Caepio
It is so, I wish you three to conduct
Assassination, amply rewarded
Shall you be – with lands, jewels & respect

Audax
How dare you dare to ask us such a blight

Sempronius
Each day he lives a hundred more are slain
Both sides are bleeding but yours bleeds the most

Minurus
This is outrageous

Ditalco
& quite difficult
On account of his excessive labours
He little sleeps & when he does he wears
Impressive armour, so when him arous’d
Emergencies are tackled instant pois’d

Audax
Ditalco, brother, what

Ditalco
Relax Audax
As the foremost earsmen of his counsel
The gaurds shall be no trouble if at night
We wish’d, with Vitriathus, to converse

Minurus
What is this?

Audax
What madness overwhelms you

Ditalco
Old friends, we must think of our families
Rome is irrepressible, better we
Live under them than die the death futile

Audax
You really would betray Viriathus

Ditalco
I’m ready, yes, to save lives of thousands

Audax
Must it be so

Ditalco
There is not other way

Caepio
Viriathus must die & die tonight
If what I know of him is half a truth
He will see deception in an eyelash

Audax
It seems I cling unto a flimsy branch
With an oak tree below me being fell’d

Minurus
I cannot stand it

Ditalco
There is Tongina

Minurus
Tongina?

Ditalco
Yes, Minurus, made widow, in the grief
You could offer her shoulders to catch salt-tears

Audax
I will do it, I love him, but his life
Endangers all we know

Ditalco
Will you join us

Minurus nods silently in agreement

Caepio
I see
Audax, take these diamonds as a token
Of friendly intent, for Minurus gold
& for you, Ditalco, pure emeralds

Ditalco
How shall you be informed when all is done

Viriathus
Oh, I shall know, there will be an uproar,
But noise to settle soon enough, of course,
Blood flows then dries then dissapears in winds
These matters are forgotten in mere months
& Viriathus’ name a buried bone
Go to it, do not dally in the deed

Exit Ditalco, Minurus & Aulax

Sempronius
They will never carry

Caepio
My thought differs
I saw the twitch for riches, caught the gasp,
Feint to us, but blowing storm within,
For money, men would sacrifice the skins
Of dead grandmothers, no, the act will pass


(VIR): Scenes 14-17


Scene 14: The Tent of Viriathus

Viriathus is sleeping / Audax, Minurus & Ditalco enter quietly / at a given signal Minurus holds Virathus down, Audax yanks back his head & Ditalco stabs him through the throat

Audax
{whispering}
It is passed, Viriathus, he is dead

Minurus
What have we done

Ditalco
We have stilled the slaughter

Audax
His body is a sacrifice to peace

Ditalco
Washing the blood away enables time
Before discovery, by when we shall
Be far-off & safe from this fatal thrust

Audax
But Caepio first, our promise fulfill’d

Minurus
Our murder done, you mean

Ditalco
Please, Minurus
Let it go, the gnawing rat of conscience
Replace with hopes of happier futures
For all of us & all our families

Audax
Tongina’s grief awaits a tender friend

Exit Minurus, Audax & Ditalco – the sun rises – enter Gulucia

Gulucia
Good morming my lord, time to face the day
Such an unusually long repose
Your lovely wife attendance shall make soon
Let me bathe you in fragrant rosewater
Tongina loves her husband to be clean
If you do so permit… Viriathus
Are you awake, master, are you alive?

Gulucia takes off the helmet of Viriathus – he rushes out of the tent & returns a few moments later with Camalo & Arantonio

Gulucia
Awake Viriathus , awake,

Arantonio
Shake him

Camalo
{checking pulse}
He is dead

Arantonio
Dead!?

Camalo
But how

Gulucia
It cannot be

Arantonio
What pungent hail of woes rain upon us
With painful jolts, then melting drench in tears

Camalo
Could this be murder, instinct wrangles thus
At point of greatest danger made bereft
Of our general & his genius

Arantonio
A timely happenstance make no mistake
A poisoning perhaps

Gulucia
Impossible
Each liquid drop, each morsel I prepare

Camalo
Then you our chief focus of suspicion

Enter Arco & Cabruno

Arco
It was not him

Arantonio
Soothsayer, what you say?

Arco
Who else had access to this tent last night

Camalo
Minurus, Audax, Ditalco, yes them
{Cabruno goes to inspect the body}
But

Arco
But what

Camalo
But it could not have been them
Why would they…

Cabruno
Look, here, daggertip punctures
Point deeply where the chinskin folds o’er throat

Gulucia
O day of grief, of weeping of despair
Of Lusitanian lamentations
Whose like shall ne’er be heard

Arantonio
Men, we must try
To hold as noble bearing as befits
The virtuousness of Viriathus
Prepare the pyre, send messengers abroad
The funeral begins tomorrow dusk

Cabruno
We must down hunt these treacherous jcackals

Arco
The gods will find a better fate for them
Than instant death before their guilt consumes
Their living fibres like a wasting plague

Enter Tongina

What is happening, what is the matter
With Viriathus, stand aside at once

Gulucia
Tongina – he is – he is

Arantonio
He is dead

Tongina
{wailing}
No————– But how

Arco
Murder

Camalo
By murderers foul

Cabruno
By Minurus, Audax & Ditalco

Tongina
How do you know

Arco
We know

Tongina
Why would they so

Arantonio
Roman gold?

Gulucia
They met with Caepio on the behalf
Of Viriathus hours before his death

Tongina
Too much, too much! Too little have I loved
This man enough, I shared him far too long,
Go, all of you go, leave us,
I wish to be alone with my husband

Exit all apart from Tongina

Tongina
When I met you I caught a falling star,
Your heart it was, that whisper’d unto me,
‘I love you,’ with a sigh-tempest of breath,
This breath gone now, & like a melt of snow
That make no noise, your silence ends our joys,
For we are ever absent from the sphere
That is the intersuredness of love,
Knock upon its memorial entrance,
I’ll never get back in, my own profess
Of love, like gold to airy thinness beat;
What sadness has descended on my soul!
The firmness of my being now in thrall
To some dark watcher, ever thro’ my days
That stands & haunts me ’till I weep once more!


Scene 15: The Roman Camp

Caepio is reading a scroll / enter Sempronius with Audax, Ditalco & Minurus

Sempronius
Enter, Caepio has been awaiting

Audax
It is done

Caepio
What is done

Ditalco
We have killed him

Caepio
O you have have you

Audax
We did as you asked

Caepio
Did I, O yes I did, but as men might
Change their own minds I seem to have changed mine

Ditalco
You have what

Caepio
Weeelll – I thought about it more
& realised it never pleases Rome
When Generals are slain by her soldiers
No, not at all, as such I cannot deal
with such dishonorable men as you

Audax
But our rewards

Caepio
Will not be forthcoming

Sempronius
We must set an example for the world
Traitors who bounty chiefs shall not be paid

Caepio
But I am not a man who lets distaste
Oertake decision-making, you may keep
Whatever you were given yester-e’en,
Safely, of course

Minurus
This is dark remission
You gave us your word, sworn on your Senate
In the eyes of your gods you must stand true

Caepio
My gods! stand true! this is quite a pickle


YE EAGLES OF ROME

Brothers in arms stick together
In the face of stormy weather
But the clever ones find shelter from the gales
& families of warriors
That shake a spear & roar at us
Are falling side by side in wild travails

Because Rome, Rome!
Rome is the greatest of them all
As we up rise the rest downfall
Because were Rome

Because Rome, Rome!
Rome is the greatest of them all
As we up rise the rest downfall
Because were Rome

Fly fly, ye legions of Rome
Go find a new home, fly, fly

Fly fly, ye eagles of Rome
Go find a new home, fly, fly

Brothers in arms stick together
In the face of all whatever
& we’ll never leave our honour to the crows
& families of warriors
That shake a spear & roar at us
Are falling side by side in crimson rows

Because Rome, Rome!
Rome is the greatest of them all
As we up rise the rest downfall
Because were Rome

Because Rome, Rome!
Rome is the greatest of them all
As we up rise the rest downfall
Because were Rome

Fly fly, ye legions of Rome
Go find a new home, fly, fly

Fly fly, ye eagles of Rome
Go find a new home, fly, fly


Caepio
I tell you what – why don’t you go to Rome
& bring it up with them, yes, they might pay
But me, I’m busy working on the war
Yes, better, that you go to Rome, & soon
Your countrymen will think the case severe
Diminuating names to shame’s disgrace

Audax
Your mind serpentine has mischief’d us

Caepio
No, not at all, your damage wrought by greed
Now leave me, I would not suffer the air
Of traitors creeping into honest lungs.

Ditalco
You scandalous scoundrel,

Caepio
Yes, goodbye… guards!
These murderous rascals throw from the camp

Minurus
This is outrageousness

Caepio
You are dismiss’d

Gaurds excort Audax, Minurus & Ditalco from the tent

Caepio
There is never honour, Sempronius,
In betraying one’s own for money mere


Scene 16:  A Mountain Valley

The body of Viriathus, clad in splendid garments & holding a falcata sword, is lain on a funerary pyre – troops of ssoldiers in armour form a circle around it – Can=bruno is sacrificing an animal

Cabruno
Ye gods of heaven, gods of underground,
What righteous sort has severed from the coil
That binds the universe to its bodies
We offer you this tender sacrifice
To carry Viriathus to the stars
Where he may gaze upon hour lives once more
{Tongina wails}
Our sun of finest magnitude has set
His life an inspiration to the song
Of those his spirit moves thro,’ we who mourn
His name’s elated immortality
To Viriathus

All
Viriathus, huh!

***

RECITATIVO TO THE DEAD

All
Viriathus (Viriathus, Viriathus)
You were glorious (glorius, glorious)
We ask you special spirit to watch over us

Repeat in a series of key changes until reaching the orginal key


Scene 17:  The Roman Senate

The Closing of the Viriathic War

Magistrate
Senators, the war of Viriathus
Is over, we have word from Saguntum
The same city Hannibal overthrew
& named New Carthage, just as Roman arms
Ensured to it Saguntum soon return’d,
So have the Lusitani surrender’d
To Caepio on favour’d conditions
They shall be simply subjects under Rome
Not friends, nor allies, as our former pact,
We vote today upon two positions;
The first – do we honour Caepio’s change
To the status of Lusitania
& if so, do we honour his return
With a glorious triumph into Rome,
Senators, your balls, let reason speak

The vote

Magistrate
How go the counts

Magistrate’s assistant
On the matter of law
Caepio’s conquest has been ratified
But there shall be no triumph for the coup

Magistrate
Very well, let these be struck on record
But there is one last appertanation
In reccomendation to your judgement,
The death of Viriathus wholly caus’d
By three of his own chieftans, they here seek
Renumeration, one of them shall speak
His name Ditalco, fetch him to the floor

Magistrate’s assistant brings in Ditalco

Magistrate
Well, you are here, what wish you to impart

Servilianus
Do not let him speak

Labaecus
He’s a murderer

Popilius
Barbarian

Senator 1
Regicide

Senator 2
Assassin

Ditalco
Let me speak

Servilianus
Rome will never pay traitors,
Who slay their chiefs

Ditalco
But we cannot go home
Caepio’s promise

Labaceus
Is not the senates’
Your leader was a noble man & you
Slew him for enrichment – you, the most vile

Magistrate
It seems the Senate does not wish to hear
Your case, this is a brain’d predicament,
Which we shall solve hen best course sprung to mind –
You are welcome to stay in the city
& work for your living – or better still
Join with the legions, their ranks depleted
Since Viriathus rose among your kind,
We need good soldiers, yes, this course is best,
Your case dismissed, please leave the Senate floor,

Enter Romans singing, Fly, Fly, Ye eagles of Rome……..’ / The Roman soldiers change the clothes of Ditalco to that of a Roman legionary


STARS & STRIPES: OVERTURE / SCENES 1-2

DRAMATIS PERSONAE

George Washington
John Adams
Samuel Adams
Benjamin Franklin
Martha Washinton
Betty Judge
Ona Judge
Dolly Madison
John McGraw
John Souissat
Paul Jennings
Charles Carrol
Bridget Turner
Nat Turner
Ceasar Jones
Zack Edgefield
Francis Key
Bridget Turner
Nat Turner
Ceasar Jones
Zack Edgefield
Andrew Jackson
Chief Junaluska
John Ross
Hiawasee
Oukonunaka
Bart Boone
Logan Morgan
Wesley Wyatt
Busty Adams
Preacher Virgil
Presiding Officer of the Senate
William Lloyd Garrison
Moses
Alexander
Julius
Evelina
Abraham Lincoln
William H Seward
V.P. Hannibal Hamlin
Salmon P Chaise
General Robert E Lee
Stonewall Jackson
Thomas
James
Walter H Taylor
James Longstreet
Joseph Rodman Drake

MUSIC

Stars & Stripes Forever
Amazing Grace
Yankee Doodle
Star Spangl’d Banner
Nobody Knows The Trouble I’ve Seen
The Arkansas Traveller
A Native American Pow-wow
Banks of Sacramento
Wagon Wheel
Dear Evelina
The Southern Wagon
The Battle Hymn Of The Republic
Dixie
The Star-Spang’d Banner


OVERTURE
Instrumental: The Stars & Stripes Forever


SCENE 1: The Founding Fathers

The Stars & Stripes are flying high / Enter George Washington holding the Declaration of Independence

George Washington
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved

Enter John Adams

John Adams
Yesterday the greatest question was decided which ever was debated in America; and a greater perhaps never was, nor will be, decided among men. A resolution was passed without one dissenting colony, ‘that these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States. The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more. You will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not. I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will tryumph in that Days Transaction, even altho We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not.

Enter Samuel Adams

Samuel Adams
General Washington, my cousin, John Adams, & all the Americans gathered here under the eyes of God. Who among you, my countrymen, that is a parent, would claim authority to make your child a slave because you had nourished him in his infancy? No man had once a greater veneration for Englishmen than I entertained. They were dear to me as branches of the same parental trunk, and partakers of the same religion and laws; but when I am roused by the din of arms: when I behold legions of foreign assassins, paid by Englishmen to imbrue their hands in our blood: when I tread over the uncoffined bones of my countrymen, neighbors and friends: when I see the locks of a venerable father torn by savage hands, and a feeble mother, clasping her infants to her bosom, and on her knees imploring their lives; when I behold my country, once the seat of industry, peace, and plenty, changed by Englishmen to a theatre of blood and misery.

We have now no other alternative than independence, or the most ignominious and galling servitude. To unite the supremacy of Great Britain and the liberty of America, is utterly impossible. So vast a continent and of such a distance from the seat of empire will every day grow more unmanageable. The people of this country have formally and deliberately chosen a Government for themselves.

Enter Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin
George, John, Sam, Countrymen & Brethren. Does thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of. Our revolution against a great power is well underway. The struggle is great but it is with little strokes that we fell great oaks. The axeman, General George Washington, leads our brave troops & I enjoy today what posterity will say of him. For a thousand leagues have nearly the same effect with a thousand years.

George Washington
Excuse me, gentlemen, I must take leave & rejoin the army

Exit Washington

Benjamin Franklin
We have now in the field armies sufficient to repel the whole force of our enemies. The hearts of our soldiers beat high with the spirit of freedom – they are animated with the justice of their cause, and while they grasp their swords, can look up to heaven for assistance.

Samuel Adams
Our Union is now complete; our constitution composed, established, and approved. You are now the guardians of your own liberties. We may justly address you, as the Decemviri did the Romans, and say – “Nothing that we propose can pass into a law without your consent. Be yourselves, O Americans, the authors of those laws on which your happiness depends.

John Adams
God Bless America

Samuel Adams & Benjamin Franklin
God Bless America

All
God bless America, land that I love
Stand beside her and guide her
Through the night with the light from above
From the mountains to the prairies
To the oceans white with foam
God bless America, my home sweet home

Exit Adams, Samuel Adams & Franklin / Enter the Spirit of America

Spirit
As rivers whirr with bloodshed’s thick-red flow,
As wide plains ring with chivalry of sorts,
A monarch obstinate is made to know
America has flung him from the ports,
When since the surrender of Cornwallis,
No longer heel-kept subjects forced to be,
Grown citizens, not of the Colonies,
But thirteen states combin’d especially,
In state, in peace, whose, happy hearted zeal,
Has left old England’s egoistic heel.

All sides Jackflag of union down-torn,
Another crowns the steeples, hangs in bars,
A thing of beauty, Philadelphi born,
Of thirteen stripes; & in the canton, stars
Also thirteen – they’ll ever represent
A curlecued republic wrought anew,
Whose dedication plants a nation’s bed
That one day half-a-continent shall spread,
Whose sceptre’d glory, always, heaven-sent,
America’s commander-President.

Enter Washington

Spirit
E Pluribus unum, out of many
Comes one, one came, still burns the perfect flame
His Excellency lit, unlike any
Before, or since, pprogenitor of fame
Who swears solemnly, with regal reserve,
To… “maintain with faithful execution
The office of President; to preserve
Protect & defend the constitution!”
As thirteen cannon flatter with salvos
George kiss’d his Bible as if sniff’d the rose.

Washington
I address you all today with the most ardent love that a Country can inspire in a man. The magnitude and difficulty of the trust to which the voice of our young nation called me, has instilled within me a duty to form just appreciations of every circumstance, by which we might be affected. It would be peculiarly improper to omit in this first official Act, my fervent supplications to that Almighty Being who rules over the Universe, who presides in the Councils of Nations, and whose providential aids can supply every human defect.

No People can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand, which conducts the Affairs of men more than the People of the United States. Every step, by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation, seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency.

Since we ought to be no less persuaded that the propitious smiles of Heaven, can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right, which Heaven itself has ordained: And since the preservation of the sacred fire of liberty, and the destiny of the Republican model of Government, are justly considered as deeply, perhaps as finally staked, on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people.

Having thus imported to you my sentiments, as they have been awakened by the occasion which brings us together, I shall take my present leave; but not without resorting once more to the benign parent of the human race, in humble supplication that since he has been pleased to favour the American people, with opportunities for deliberating in perfect tranquility, and dispositions for deciding with unparellelled unanimity on a form of Government, for the security of their Union, and the advancement of their happiness; so his divine blessing may be equally conspicuous in the enlarged views, the temperate consultations, and the wise measures on which the success of this Government must depend.

Exit George Washington


SCENE 2: Mount Vernon

Martha Judge & her daughter Ona are working in the kitchen – they are singing Amazing Grace

AMAZING GRACE

Amazing grace, How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now I am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved.
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed.

The Lord has promised good to me
His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.

Amazing grace, How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now I am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease
I shall possess within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.

Amazing grace, How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now I am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

Enter Martha Washington

Martha
Betty, what did I tell you about singing those common negro songs in my kitchen

Betty
I’m sorry Mrs Washington

Martha
Just carry on as you were, but in silence – my husband, your master, & your president, will be home any minute –

Betty
He’s gonna be needing a good feeding, ma’am

Martha
That’s right, now get to it

Ona & Betty get to work / Enter The Spirit of America

Spirit
Up in the Big House, far from gloomy rooms,
Good mistress, Martha Washington, commands
The best domestics, Betty at the looms
True seamstress was, a needle in her hands
Conducted Verdi like swans on water;
Between them both, with eyes of beaming bronze,
Sits Ona Judge, Betty’s pretty daughter,
Who’s tying on the hat her master dons
For presidential meetings, ‘Look at me!’
She giggl’d, ‘I am noble, I am free!’

Enter George Washington, who sits down for his meal with Martha

Martha
I’ve sensed a certain slackness on their part,
If duty is not given by fair means
We must apply coercion, steel our heart
If trusted force be used, those brutal scenes
Deem rather proper, such impertinence
Should prosecuted be by public eye,
I’ll never trust a nigger – such pretence,
They’ whip each other softer than a fly –
But hand no more the whip to Hyland Crow,
He hates the negro & he lets them know.

George
My love, be sure, I’ll pass on your concerns,
But there is something else needs must attend,
In Pennsylvania most Blacks are free
& if a slave resides in that strange state
A full six months, they’ll earn their liberty,
An owner’s rights shall then lawfully end,
I heard that impudent huzzy, Betty,
Has been hollerin’ a storm of vain hope,
Thinkin’ Philadelphia is her fate –
I’d rather see her danglin’ from a rope.

Martha
The solution, as I plainly see it,
Always advise excuses to return
To our beloved homestead, so be it
Good & just for those wretches to learn
We own their fates, & if a slave believes
In six months freedom, let us leave in five,
I have no pity for these rogues & thieves;
Our apples, corn & meat here used to thrive,
While every time they serve a glass of wine
Those vultures guzzle two by shrewd design.

George
If you insist, my dear, but deep inside
I’m fluster’d by an ineffective sense
Of something waspish, this I can’t abide,
I see the white man by his picket fence,
Facing rough fields where black men labor long
In grating chains of slavery, rough-slapp’d,
I listen to the beauties of their song
& feel in them the soul of freedom trapp’d –
Our Union, & human dignity,
Depends on rootin’ out brute slavery.

Martha
There is a life to which the babe must yield,
My love, by fate or fortune, from its birth –
Tight-rooted wolfsbane, twisted in a field,
Or rhododendron of an arcade earth;
Ours was run plantations in Virginia,
Theirs, help us to run them by best means,
Let us unwaver from the linear,
Remembering to grow our maize & beans,
Leaving these problems to a future age
Whose abolitionists they’ll assuage.

Spirit
As adolescence sweetens & matures,
The ragged hedge seems less persistent cage
For one young lass, struck by the world’s allures
Prepares the flit, & dares the bold outrage,
Prepares to make the river run uphill
Tonight’s the night she’ll escape Mount Vernon,
Out slip’t she thro’ the moonlit window sill
Her heart was poundin’, her fate was burnin’ –
Meanwhile, downstairs, the Washington’s did dine,
On lovely supper with a Bordeaux wine.

No more cotton snows of summer, no more
The snapping whip, no more the sodden hay
Soak’d thro’ with tears as men wept on the floor,
No more the dawnings of the Devil’s day,
Soon Ona Judge is crown’d a chain-free wife!
A mother & a child of God remade,
Happy to lead the lapse of her long life,
Without the threat of yet one more tirade –
She is American, her rights upstand,
To live by law, free worship, & buy land.

Stars & Stripes: Scenes 3-8

SCENE 3: The Canadian Border

Enter the Spirit of America

Spirit
This stage in the age of global affairs
Sends Washington three substantial rivals;
The Mexicans strewn thro’ the arid South,
While East of Mississippi indogenes
Diminish in the folly of the peace
Extended them once happily, & find
Lands of an ancient sacredness desired
By greed-eyed hawks, while to the open north
The mystery of Canada extends,
Where Britain’s battle banner flutters free.

Enter a company of America Soldiers marching to war

YANKEE DOODLE

Yankee Doodle went to town
A-riding on a pony,
Stuck a feather in his cap
And called it macaroni.

Yankee Doodle keep it up,
Yankee Doodle dandy,
Mind the music and the step,
And with the girls be handy.

& YankeeI saw a swamping gun
Large as a log of maple,
Upon a deuced little cart,
A load for father’s cattle.

Yankee Doodle keep it up,
Yankee Doodle dandy,
Mind the music and the step,
And with the girls be handy.

And every time he’ll shoot it off,
It took a horn of powder,
And made a noise like father’s gun,
Only a nation louder.

Yankee Doodle keep it up,
Yankee Doodle dandy,
Mind the music and the step,
And with the girls be handy.

And there was Cap’n Washington,
And gentle folks about him;
They say he’s grown so ‘tarnal proud
He will not ride without ’em.

Yankee Doodle keep it up,
Yankee Doodle dandy,
Mind the music and the step,
And with the girls be handy.

Yankee Doodle went to town
A-riding on a pony,
Stuck a feather in his cap
And called it macaroni.

Spirit
Election year, of course, had come around,
The President was losing in the polls
What better than a military jaunt
To rouse indifferent voters for him,
Upon his chest pin Washingtonian
Glory – upon some mercantile pretext,
To Canada he marches mobile arms,
Wasting the properties of Britishers,
So savage act has painted scarlet lines,
Of battle-harden’d veterans of war.

A battle scene between The Americans & the British sees an American retreat.


SCENE 4: The Executive Mansion, Washington

The First Lady, Dolly Madison is with the gardener, John McGraw, John Souissat & her manservant, Paul Jennings

Paul Jennings
I’ve never heard a noise like I’ve just heard,
It seems the Devil’s stepp’d out of his den
& hurl’d his fire & brimstone at our boys,
Strange, infernal, terrifying rockets
Flew at our lines, men dropp’d their muskets, ran
Faster than when a storm’s burst overhead
& you might be one half-mile outta home,
Knowing if you’d sprint back you’d keep best dry –
Faster than that – sweet life was in account;
Ah Carrol comes, he’ll add to my telling.

Charles Carrol
Mrs Madison, Mrs Madison,
I bring ya’ll tidings, with a weeping heart;
The British are coming, a regatta
Of frigates, sloops & schooners; they have fought
A battle up at Bladenburg, they’ve drove
Our legion from the field, twas like a race –
But flight has grown essential, you should flee
The capital, who knows what they’ll enact?
I’ve heard they’re furious at poisonous
Whiskey folks left when emptying the farms.

John McGraw
I say we should sing rally songs & fight,
All thro’ this war we’ve whipp’d the Old Country,
How dare those confounded sarpants anchor
In these fair waters, barges of arm’d men
Frighten good families, all tarnations
To them & their Tory machinations,
I might be Scots-bred but I dare not care
For London’s turpid guile, aye, long erewhile
The Jacobites were brutally repress’d,
Let’s fight, I say, these insults pay with blood.

John Souissat
The city is abandoned by soldiers,
Most ignominiously, officers
Have simply vanished; a sauve qui pert
Situation has arisen, & I
Do not intend to fight these men alone;
I urge you, Mrs President, no sense
There is in staying put, with graceful air
Greet enemies with fineries of state –
Risk grows too great, they might be gentlemen
But you are our First Lady, Heaven sent.

Dolly Madison
Oh! Very well, we’ll go, but not before
The Landsdowne portrait safely pack’d away,
It would become an Eagle of the French
Fallen in English hands, to be uphung
In some captain of Surrey’s sitting room,
No! Break the frame, the screws too tight to move
Within this tiny time, boys break the frame!
Get to it, & then roll the canvas smooth,
Boys, whisk it up to New York ’til the day
We’ll stand back in this room, & unafraid!


SCENE 5: Washington

Enter the Spirit of America & British Redcoats

Spirit
Into the place where this strange war began
By jeers, & cheers, & strokes of inky pen,
A place of magnificent distances,
March the British, whose sharpshooter surprise
Ensures an onset of grim destruction
That has begun already, blazing glow
Floats oer an empty city, in whose streets
Flames surge up doors & windows; nothing spar’d
Whose noblest part, tho’ gutted, parch’d & black,
Defiant stands to dreadful damages!

Arise yon Phoenix palace from the flames,
Emulsion’d in purest absolution,
A promise heaven-sworn in every heart
That beats American; ‘never again
Shall foreign sov’reigns & their armies lord
Among our sacred capital,’ a song
Erewhile composed by captive, Francis Key,
Watching by Baltimore Fort Henry fall,
But soak’d in British blood, him very first
To sing ‘Star Spangl’d Banner’ from the heart.

Francis Key is composing a poem while imprisoned in the belly of a British ship

Francis Key
Let me see that start again… hmmm, yes, By the dawn’s early light, lah-de-dah-de we hailed, at the twilight’s first dreaming – No ! – last… gleaming, yes, that has the ring

STAR SPANGL’D BANNER

Oh say can you see,
By the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hailed,
At the twilight’s last gleaming?

Whose broad stripes and bright stars,
Through the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched,
Were so gallantly streaming.

And thy rocket’s red glare,
Thy bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through thee night,
That our flag was still there.

Oh say does that star spangled banner yet wave,
O’er the land of the free, and the home of the brave.

Spirit
Just before Christmas the Treaty of Ghent
Free sign’d; dwindle shadows of man’s ravage,
Reason prevails, an unwinnable war,
Suspended was uti possidetis,
Territory mutually restor’d,
As each side of a Continental line
Two nations branding landage eternal,
Americans, Canadians, at peace
For evermore, ancestrally allied,
Like sisters settl’d on their mother’s street.


SCENE 6: A cottonfield in the Southampton.

The slaves are singing as they work

NOBODY KNOWS THE TROUBLE I’VE SEEN

Solo
Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen
Nobody knows my sorrow
& Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen
Glory hallelujah

All
Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen
Nobody knows but Jesus {my sweet Jesus}
Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen
Glory hallelujah
{Nobody Knows}

Sometimes I’m up, sometimes I’m down
Oh, yes my lord
Sometimes I’m almost to the ground
Oh, oh yes lord

A voice in me is going on slow
Well yes, my lord
& I’ll have my trials heal’d below
O yes lord!

Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen
Nobody knows but Jesus
Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen
Glory hallelujah

Oh, every day to you I pray
Oh, yes Lord
For you to drive my sins away
Oh, yes Lord

Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen
Nobody knows but Jesus
Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen
Glory hallelujah

Well yes the devil asked me so
Why & why
Cos he asked me once & he let me
Let you go

Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen
Nobody knows but Jesus
Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen
Glory hallelujah

Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen
Nobody knows but Jesus
Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen
Glory hallelujah

Solo (slow)
Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen
Nobody knows my sorrow
& Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen
Glory hallelujah

The workers in the field transform into slaves, chained in the hold of an Atlantic ship – to one side the young Nat Turner is listening to his grandmother, Bridget

Bridget
The drums, the dancing, the songs, the singing
Were gone – neck-rings, thumbscrews, clinking chains
Were all – hands full of diamonds here wringing
Flesh in dreadful compacts, & as we fused
Pandemonium unveil’d; tears, disease,
Thirst, coughs & curses, far from soft embrace
Of family, kept by smugging mantis,
‘Must keep the Cargo fit,‘ up to seabreeze
Them set to dance, passionless, lacking grace,
To strangest strains of Arkansas shanties.

Several slaves are made to dance to the music of the ill-mannered sailors – the piece is the ARKANSAS TRAVELER by Joe Clark

Sailor
Dance, nigger dance! move them dirty feet or I’ll hack ’em both right off

Enter the Spirit of America

Spirit
Nat Turner sat dumbstruck as granny told
Amazing stories of Africky youth,
Of sailing endless ocean in the hold
Of some spice-ship; into the dark, uncouth
Chains of slave-living, of ravens & scorn,
Nat loved to hear of the lion’s roaring
Watch granny’s right arm swinging like a trunk,
He yearn’d to see the land from which them torn –
Then, when the whole plantation was snoring,
He read his Bible, silent as a monk.

Nat, into major manhood burns each day,
But brutal barbs of slavery all hearts
Have penetrated deep, the cruel flay
Of beatings; as Nat’s bedstead curtain parts
An overseer drags him from his bed
& kicks him with contemptuousity,
Like drunkards booting mutts across the floor;
“Master,” says Nat, “tho you may beat me dead,
My dying breath shall bring eternity,
& Jesus all my liberties restore.”


SCENE 7 : Southampton County

Nat Turner is gather’d with several fellow slaves

Nat Turner
Men, hear me now, this step once wonder’d at,
Flung irreversible twyx steep & lane,
Shall fly just like a leaping thundercat
Namore shall we be forced to work in rain,
Half-starv’d, half-naked, backs cowskin-shredded,
Life drain’d by immental bloodhounds who’ve made
Organised conspiracies to oppress
Our freedom’s right; God in me’s embedded
A sulling soul no beatin’ could degrade,
Willing to burst its physical duress.

Ceasar Jones
Ah aint so sure, ah’ve heard most grievous tales
Of those up in the North, of runaways’
Deplorable conditions, mischievous
Thieves; angst & angry hunger blight their days;
My master told me so, the same I heard
From Little Obie, who last year return’d,
Long complaining that a cold potato,
Was all he ate all day; Nat, its absurd
To risk such sufferance, when I have learn’d
Rough fate awaits us, thus I cannot go.

Nat Turner
Such lies have thread the rope that binds thy mind,
The truth is very different, they cuff
& beat us, keep our hungers close behind,
Til buried doglike in the scour-box rough –
They’ll drip the boiling porkfat on our backs,
They’ll dare not feed us well, nor clothe us warm,
Just gruel & trousers coarsely hack’d from sacks,
Else dreams of comfort, freedom, might intrude –
Atrocity accepted is the norm,
When each day find they barbary more crude.

Zack Edgefield
I hear ya Nat, let us not be like beast;
Hunted, penn’d in some inglorious spot,
While round us barking, slaverdogs releas’d,
Have made a mock at our determin’d lot;
I’m with ya man, we fight a common foe
I’d die for just one moment to be brave,
With battle join’d, by ye on the attack,
Sound, sound the horn & I shall gladly go,
Better to settle in a rebel grave,
Than spend my life serving a maniac

Nat Turner
The White Man preaches he be Christian,
Believe me when I say they live in Hell,
From slavery, nothing but corruption,
All-pervading comes, some licentious spell
Shall vitiate slaveholders & their sons
In lusty visitations thro’ the night,
While mistresses pretend a pantomime
All dwell in dire dens of dead illusions
Which ravages our soul, our children blight,
Aye fight we must, each day no better time.

Spirit
The morning sun is burning bluish-green,
A signal for the slaughterworks to come,
Large hoard of Danite slaves charge to a scene
Where Free Blacks also beat the Akan drum,
As Turner quotes good scriptures & the psalms,
From field-to-field men set their brethren free,
Hatchets, knives & axes send wounds to work,
No paleskin spared, not even babes-in-arms,
As from the mental depths where torments lurk
With righteous, violent fury vengeance rose.

Nat Turner’s soul flew free for sixty days,
As if him angel vapours in a glade,
But like a wee mouse mither’d by a maze,
They dragg’d him from the hole, him swift displayed
On trial, tho’ the verdict all well knew,
When ask’d did he regret things Nat replied
‘Was Christ not crucified,‘ then he did hang,
His corpse was flay’d, beheaded, axes drew
Flesh-bloody quarters, then the knife applied,
As oer Jerusalem the Angels sang!

“The mad dog is dead,” white folks triumph’d home
To irreligious brothels of that vice
Quite wicked, like the civic stain of Rome,
Lusting to enslave all the world’s races;
Shaming progressive lands of libertie,
A country’s fabric bulging at the seams,
The mantra, ‘All made equal,‘ most forget
& yet, as Nat did strike his blameless blow
He’s show the Negro shares a nation’s dreams,
When one of them may walk the West Wing yet.


Scene 8: A sacred pow-wow dance by native Americans

Stars & Stripes: SCENES 9-14

Scene 9 : Washington

Andrew Jackson’s office / enter Cherokee elders with the Spirit of America

Spirit
I’ll tell you the tale of the Trail of Tears
& the guile of action-minded Jackson,
The Cherokee proclaim him Big White Chief,
Who calls them ‘Children’ with paternal words,
‘As the Cherokee tribe of Indian,’
Are living east of great Mississippi,
In the midst of a white population,
Your dwelling places & your people poor, Hungry, your game dissappeared, your young men
All turn’d to drink, to go… not if but when’

Chief Junaluska
Your seven thousand troops of cruel blue
Came in a friendless, condescending raid,
It was the end of all they ever knew,
Limitless horizons block’d by stockade;
By emigration depots like Fort Cass
& Ross’s landing at Chattanooga;
I weep, I weep, I weep at how things pass,
I had fought at Horse Shoe like a cougar,
From tomahawks I sav’d your life that day,

Andrew Jackson
Your fate is seal’d is all that I can say.

Exit the elders

Spirit
As Andrew Jackson skims the morning news
In stately home, overlooking water,
His conscience takes good care to not confuse
These vital relocations for slaughter;
Lament the Delaware, the Ottowa,
The Creek, the Chickasaw, the Cherokee,
The Potawatomi, the Iowa,
The Shawnee, the Fox & the Miami –
Persuaded by men of high distinction
Reservations better than extinction!

Such was the birth-lay of America,
Eugenics knocks mercy from its garments
& kicks it beyond the tectonica,
Like toothless hobos shooting at varmints,
Vultures hover over ancient nations
The spirits of the shaman flee the fate
Brutal cultural obliterations
Six hundred wagons, roofless, rude, await
A thousand miles of misery, a trail
Of tyranny if pregnant, ageing, frail.


SCENE 10: Little Rock Arkansas

Upon the Trail of Tears, the Cherokee elders are deep in conversation

Chief Junaluska
Dear John, Mysterious Little White Bird,
Your wife is with the Spirit of the Sky,
Creator Unetlanuhi has heard
Good woman was she, tears divine he’ll cry,
To hear how Old Man Winter’s rearing head,
Outblew the freezing sneeze like sleet & snow,
The paths of pain were raining with the dead,
A sick child lacking blanket from the blow
Your wife did witness, passing on her cloak,
She froze to death & on the ice did choke.

John Ross
My love I buried in an unmark’d grave
Beside the bitter road, I curse him named
Bad Jackson, tho’ his better men did save
Our soveriegnity, that reptile shamed
His race, his word, his country & his law;
Whose false treaty’s sacred appellations
Us overwhelms, however we implore,
Re-iterated with protestations
That Worcester versus Georgia, ‘Thirty-Two,’
Annuls the Lo Va Sa, what can we do?

Hiawasee
The dark of night nears midpoint of the sky,
By dawn we’ll all be stars lost in fabric,
I’ve asked the Thunderboys the reason why
Life bedevils us torrid & tragic,
Diminish’d by Europe’s greedy vices,
Whose spirits only dance to drunken jigs,
When camst the Sioux we painted our faces,
But now the Judge of Battle’s wearing wigs,
Reducing us into this sorry state,
Too tired, too hungry am I them to hate.

John Ross
They came to us like locusts on the breeze,
Despoiling fields ancestors never spoil’d,
So many more shall cross the many seas
With all their hunger & their hates uncoil’d;
Alone, beside the moon, my spirit cries,
The graves of all our fathers leave behind,
But let us not regret this, lets devise
A better future fit to keep our kind,
If west of Mississippi must we be
Let us lead there, at least, our dignity.

Oukonunaka
The spiritwind our guide has always been,
From Galunlati blowing thro’ our hearts,
Just yesterday an Eaglesflight I’d seen –
A memory of when we lived apart,
But then I’d heard gunshots slay an eagle
& watch’d the possums gnaw it to the bone –
This dream replicated an illegal
& crude theft – posterity must atone
When an elected president shall be
Like me, at least, a portion Cherokee.


Scene 11: A ship – the crew are on deck singing

BANKS OF SACRAMENTO

A bully ship and a bully crew,
Doo-da! Doo-da!
A bully mate and a captain, too,
Doo-da! Doo-da-day!

Then blow, ye winds, hi-oh,
For Californ-i-o,
There’s plenty of gold, so I’ve been told,
On the banks of Sacramento!

Oh, heave, my lads, oh heave and sing,
Doo-da! Doo-da!
Oh, heave and make those oak sticks sing
Doo-da! Doo-da-day!

Then blow, ye winds, hi-oh,
For Californ-i-o,
There’s plenty of gold, so I’ve been told,
On the banks of Sacramento!

Oh, around the Horn we shipped to go,
Doo-da! Doo-da!
Around Cape Horn, through ice and snow
Doo-da! Doo-da-day!

Then blow, ye winds, hi-oh,
For Californ-i-o,
There’s plenty of gold, so I’ve been told,
On the banks of Sacramento!

Oh, around the Horn the mainsail set
Doo-da! Doo-da!
Around Cape Horn, we’re wringing wet
Doo-da! Doo-da-day!

Then blow, ye winds, hi-oh,
For Californ-i-o,
There’s plenty of gold, so I’ve been told,
On the banks of Sacramento!


SCENE 12: Busty’s Saloon Bar, Independence, Missouri

Bart Boone
Hey Boys! My Boys! They’ve found Eldorado,
Coloma soils be sparkling & aglow,
There’s so much gold the mules can hardly move,
The mines seem inexhaustable, they’ll prove
Enough there is for everyone’s desire,
One morning’s work & then we might retire,
A place call’d Sutter’s Mill I heard them say,
Across the West in Californ-I-A
I go tomorrow, boys, who’d like to share
The road by me, two’s better to beware.

Logan Morgan
America, land of our teeming dreams,
Her treasures lying open in the streams,
I read a letter only yesterday
That said as much, my old friend Thomas Grey,
Describin’ gold glitterin’ in sandbars,
As if the sky was wonderwick with stars,
There’s gold-dust drifting like the desert dunes,
He scoop’d up with his jack-knife & his spoons,
Tho’ dangerous & distant one might dare
A monetary miracle out there.

Wesley Wyatt
I’d love to go but, damn, how could I go?
I lost a leg with Lee down Mexico,
Your mining’s but a dog’s life, not for me
That hard, unrewarded monotony;
No letters comin’ in or goin’ out,
After a week yer mind’s w just spins with doubt
Of ever seeing womankind again,
Then one’s come sixty miles away, by train –
& so you’ll hike all day like mountain goats
To see her pretty-sitting petticoats.

Busty Adams
In that case boys I’m comin’ down as well,
A clever woman is the feather’d belle
That keeps such things together day-by-day,
Those men will need to eat, & they’ll right pay
Good money for a proper meal, & hot,
& other things I know that might be got;
& boys, ye’d better hurry to the feast,
For Chinamen & Hindoos from the East
Are sailin’ the Pacific as we speak,
Great fortune comes for those whom fortunes seek!

Preacher Virgil
The madness of our nation dost begin,
I urge ye not to join that ship of sin,
Such chaos offers caflugality
Via greed’s insatiable insanity,
As fathers & fiances leave the flock
Unguarded, evil here must run amok,
While far away tour menfolk retrograde
Thro’ gambling, drinking, swearing: a parade
Thro’ all the circles Dante did descend,
T’where Satan calls the sinner ‘only friend.’


SCENE 13: Philadelphia

Enter the Spirit of America

Spirit
As eighty thousand find a fresh abode
Out in the West, they’ll need a civil code;
Extending, there, Missouri’s compromise;
South of the Thirty-Six & Thirty lies
A lunacy of evil men in rows,
Perpetuating slavery, oppose
All poison to the life-blood of the South,
Who’d rip the tongue out of baby’s mouth
To stop it crying freedom; while they hold
The Senate, slaves in southern states are sold.

Enter Southern senators

“This is the long-postpon’d attack on rights
& property, with all its scurvy sleights,”
Drawl big mouths of the south, in unison,
America’s entangl’d opinion,
Says reckoning’s a-coming, high ideals
Clash with a stubborn business, which reveals
Hypocrits preaching in Jesus’s name
While keeping human cattle, whom to tame
Would beat to death, despite the sacred page
That urges universal love each age !

Presiding Officer of the Senate
The American Anti-Slavery Society will hear Mr William Lloyd Garrison

William Lloyd Garrison
Senators of America – you take your seats in this house under the flag of our great nation – but wherever our jurisdiction extends, wherever our flag floats, it is the flag of slavery. The stars are the chains & the stripes are the scourge. In truth, our flag should have the light of the stars & the streaks of the morning red erased from it; it should be dyed black, & upon it paint the whip & the fetter

More than fifty-seven years have elapsed since a band of patriots convened in this place, to devise measures for the deliverance of this country from a foreign yoke. The corner-stone upon which is founded the Temple of Freedom was broadly this—that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, LIBERTY, and the pursuit of happiness. At the sound of that trumpet-call, three millions of people rose up as from the sleep of death, and rushed to the strife of blood; deeming it more glorious to die instantly as freemen, than desirable to live one hour as slaves.—They were few in number—poor in resources; but the honest conviction that Truth, Justice, and Right were on their side, made them invincible.

But those, for whose emancipation we are striving,—constituting at the present time at least one-sixth part of our countrymen,—are recognised by the laws, and treated by their fellow beings, as marketable commodities—as goods and chattels—as brute beasts;—are plundered daily of the fruits of their toil without redress;—really enjoy no constitutional nor legal protection from licentious and murderous outrages upon their persons;—are ruthlessly torn asunder—the tender babe from the arms of its frantic mother—the heart-broken wife from her weeping husband—at the caprice or pleasure of irresponsible tyrants;—and, for the crime of having a dark complexion, suffer the pangs of hunger, the infliction of stripes, and the ignominy of brutal servitude. They are kept in heathenish darkness by laws expressly enacted to make their instruction a criminal offence.

The right to enjoy liberty is inalienable. We ust strive with every sinew of body & mind to overthrow the most execrable system of slavery that has ever been witnessed upon earth—to deliver our land from its deadliest curse—to wipe out the foulest stain which rests upon our national escutcheon—and to secure to the colored population of the United States all the rights and privileges which belong to them as men and as Americans—come what may to our persons, our interests, or our reputations—whether we live to witness the triumph of Justice, Liberty, and Humanity, or perish untimely as martyrs in this great, benevolent and holy cause.


SCENE 14: A Virginia Plantation

While slaves purify cotton in the kitchen, their overseers are playing a song

WAGON WHEEL

Heading down south to the land of the pines
I’m walking the coast into North Caroline
Staring at the road in the shadow of faeire farmlights
As I made it all the way thro’ wind, sun & showers
I pick me a bouquet of dogwood flowers
I’m a-hoping for Raleigh, I can see my baby tonight

So rock me mama like a wagon wheel
Rock me mama any way you feel
Hey mama rock me
Rock me mama like the wind and the rain
Rock me mama like a south bound train
Hey mama rock me

Running from the cold up in New England
I was born to be a fiddler in an old time string band
My baby plays guitar, I pick a banjo now
Oh, north country winters keep a-getting me down
Lost my money playing poker so I had to leave a-town
But I ain’t turning back to living that old life no more

So rock me mama like a wagon wheel
Rock me mama any way you feel
Hey mama rock me
Rock me mama like the wind and the rain
Rock me mama like a south bound train
Hey mama rock me

Moonshine running on Virginian sand
Stars lie dotted on the promised land
Now she’s been heading East since the Cumberland gap
From Johnson City, Tennessee
I got to get a move on ‘at the fall of the sun
My baby call my name an’know she’s the only one
And if I die in Raleigh I will die free

So rock me mama like a wagon wheel
Rock me mama any way you feel
Hey mama rock me
Oh rock me mama like the wind and the rain
Rock me mama like a south bound train
Hey hey mama rock me…

Enter the Spirit of America

Spirit
Where backwoodsmen croon songs in bad Saxon
A good gooselocker plucks tight fibres full,
Else face abundant lashings, score-on-score;
Rogue pickaninnie days bore long & dull,
Spread thirteen in a circle on a floor
‘Til corn-mush setting sun,
When owners’ damnable proclivity
For perfum’d, so velvety, soft-black skin –
Down Virginia way Negro rape’s no sin –
Conducted with strange sensitivity.

A baby, Evelina, is born to the cotton farmer & a female slave

The necessity of our biracial
Instinct for vital cross-pollination
Brings whites & blacks together, from them born
Beauties of Our future Human Nation,
Them call’d Mulatto! Hid from social scorn
‘Til dies her palatial
Father, she’ll soon discover she’s a slave,
Given to bottle-quaffing overseers
Unholiness, unhappiness for years,
‘Gan cutting sugar-cane until the grave.

Stars & Stripes: SCENES 15-17

SCENE 15: Virginia

Moses, a northern gentleman, is visiting an old student friend, Alexander, in the south. They are touring a plantation with another southern gentleman called Julius

Alexander
Welcome to my Lake Prasias, & I
Am Alexander, master of my mine,
Only a thousand acres of good land,
About a manor-house, situated fine,
A hundred negroes, & a spritely band
Of friends to pass time by
With a large lib’ry all I’ll ever need –
Down here slavery’s indispensable,
I find your ways incomprehensible,
My friend, we think it better to secede.

Julius
Aye, look at how the Cuffees smile & wave
Whenever we ride by them; ‘Nigger Jones
& Nigger Solomon, a fine morning
To y’all…’ Moses, the North’s propp’d up by loans
But all we hope for here, every dawning
Is work, freeman & slave;
Easy it seems to criticize our ways,
But this is how it works down here, & work
It definitely does, for who dare shirk
Beneath the sphinx that is their master’s gaze.

Moses
I beg your understanding my brothers,
But traveling the South my soul is strain’d
You say these men contented with their lot
But how can one seize change when one is chain’d?
I’m seeing, it seems, a Gordian Knot –
Me & worried mothers
Who fear the woeful sword-arm words of War,
Fearing betrayal of Christian feelings
Are hoping Senatorial dealings
All natural equalities restore.

Alexander
That may be what they’re thinkin’ with the frosts,
But struggle Blacks up there for rooves & food,
While here, in these Christian plantations,
The spirit from the savage is unglued,
Allowing its moral elevations;
Shining, living ripostes
To the sneerings of your superiors,
Unfortunately heavily misled,
A negro’s happy working & well fed,
Befitting intellect’s inferiors!

Moses
Alex, your peculiar institution,
I never can praise, if it does persist,
A fight there’ll be ’til slavery is drain’d
Of all its force (those lips they must be kiss’d,
Those peachy cheeks vermillion ingrain’d
My soul’s absolution!);
Brothers, who’s that fascinating slave-girl
With eyes of leaping deer? (Luminous rich
In me I feel that rampant red-hot itch
To see her hair’s long gloss without a curl!)

Spirit
‘Neath celestial gaze was Moses bent,
Begs his host to take home Evelina,
Of course this was refus’d in jiffin flash,
But when the man that all the world dost comb
Then soulmate finds, they’ll rabid be, & rash,
That night to her he went –
The door is open, the master away,
As Samson from his Gazan whore departs
At midnight, & the waiting trap outsmarts,
Let liberty flee from the barns today!

They eloped all night, Northerner & Slave,
He lustful, she sensing ends of despair,
Whose crime was race, her perfect facial hue,
To some a blatant shade more dark than fair,
As thro’ the swamps a fugitive she flew,
Down pathways wild & brave
Into the rugged space that loves the soul
They fled by night, by day they doss like mice,
With free & onward impulse flight did roll
Towards the Big North Star that leads to Paradise.

She steps into a blaze of sight & sound,
Bearded bounty hunters crawl every kerb,
New Bedford’s abolitionist stronghold
The machinations of the South perturb,
Whose graduates no longer can be sold,
Stood on this holy ground,
Diplomas etch-scarr’d in their very backs –
Just an hour since stepping off the carriage
A lady & her rescuer seal marriage
With sterile kiss, for now, til daylight starr’d.

They woke up lovers in a handsome bed,
He drew the flaxen curtains back, & wide,
Celebrating thrice, they’d outwitted
The South, will all its puerile poison pride;
& now them married, she manumitted,
So many tears were shed
Last night as she made love to him & love
It was, tho’ less desire & more to please
A ‘friend’ who’d saved her life… soft summer’s breeze
Indrifts thro’ large bay windows, from above.

DEAR EVELINA

Moses
Way down in the meadow where the lily first blows,
Where the wind from the mountains ne’er ruffles the rose;
Lives fond Evelina, the sweet little dove,
The pride of the valley, the girl that I love.
Dear Evelina, sweet Evelina,
My love for thee shall never, never die.
Dear Evelina, sweet Evelina,
My love for thee shall, never, never die.

She’s soft as a rose, like a lamb she is meek,
And she never was known to put paint on her cheek;
In the most graceful curls hangs her raven black hair,
And she never requires perfumery there.
Dear Evelina, sweet Evelina,
My love for thee shall never, never die.
Dear Evelina, sweet Evelina,
My love for thee shall, never, never die.

Evelina and I, one fine evening in June,
Took a walk all alone by the light of the moon.
The planets all shone, for the heavens were clear,
And I felt round the heart most tremendously queer.
Dear Evelina, sweet Evelina,
My love for thee shall never, never die.
Dear Evelina, sweet Evelina,
My love for thee shall, never, never die.

Three years have gone by, since the day that I saw her
& still every day I’ll do anything for her
Shes pretty & savvy, she’s cunning & clever
I’ve sworn that I’ll love her for ever and ever.
Dear Evelina, sweet Evelina,
My love for thee shall never, never die.
Dear Evelina, sweet Evelina,
My love for thee shall, never, never die.

Spirit
Fruit falls from flowing orchards, this nation
Bless’d with abundance, broad bays full of fish,
There are fiddles, music, there is dancing,
But there is future’s mad convulsive coil
Wrapp’d about a bulbous, prime-for-lancing
Boil, desperate to burst;
Parisians applauded Libertie
As we have too, but as a man begats
A child upon a woman, bureaucrats
Determine if that child enchain’d or free!

A storm is coming & the hour is late,
Lincoln’s stove pipe flung gladly to that ring,
Where clear majorities of each free state
Thro’ Electoral College crowns him king;
Inauguration day feels very wrong,
Sharpshooter rooves, groove cannons guard the grounds,
While raucous New Yorkers, one million strong,
Await the next day’s daily, as newshounds
Down-scribble Lincoln’s verbal bravery
“I’ll stand by my duty to end all slavery!”


SCENE 16: Washington DC

President Abraham Lincoln assembles his first cabinet meeting

Lincoln
Sate stoic in heroic cabinet,
A fine welcome gentlemen, each solid stone;
Like the schisming sons of Mahomet
Our country inharmonious has grown,
So let us ban all states from secession
Tho’ bloodshed leaves a streak’d red in its drag,
I would embrace my assassination
Before a single star torn from this flag –
The question of the slaves lets leave for now,
Until the South is muzzl’d – but, men, how?

William H Seward
Yes, Mr President, live up to we must
The requirements of these higher stations,
Held with grave honour & the nation’s trust,
Push rivalries aside, & pretensions,
Press thro’ the resulting referendum
That set ye first among us to unseat
Dark princes of bondage, we shall send ’em
Back to Hell, daemon rebels in defeat,
When nothing short of total victory
Shall set this nation’s future truly free

V.P. Hannibal Hamlin
Gentlemen, gentlemen, be careful please,
The South’s fighting spirit mighty vicious,
Their politicians ruthless with real ease,
Cold as lizards, Lucifer ambitious,
Determin’d to found future settlements
More than lily-white, each stagnating pool,
For this lets stand, at last, like statesmen hence,
Drag fickle, eager mischief to life’s school,
From lounging on verandas in the shade
Perpetuating slavery’s dog-craz’d trade.

Salmon P Chaise
Tho’ nations may off-tangent time to time
Are strain’d vendettas better to avoid?
When understanding duty flows sublime
Thro’ dangerous intensities employ’d,
The South’s fire-eating nationalism
Doth hurry them for wars in golden glee,
Happy to contend a cataclysm
From whose sure slaughter all the old ghosts flee,
Whom each midwinter Valley Forge convene
In phantom conversations flesh unseen.

Lincoln
This union perpetual – it is so!
No state has any right to self-withdraw,
Let our stern protestations melt the snow
Which covers up the South’s unsacred flaw,
That is to make a newborn babe a slave –
For this they’d carve the land’s vivisection
Let passions rage on heart’s shore wave on wave –
Better that mystic memories’ affection,
Patriot-forg’d on battlefields so young,
Compose a common chorus, by all-comers sung.

Enter the Spirit of America

Spirit
There’ll be no going back, this damag’d land
A mad experiment gone badly wrong,
Must push some reset button – understand
There’ll be no slave-hymns in its unborn song,
Now enter Lee, a general by name,
Pacing Arlington’s corridors perplex’d,
A Union command was his for fame,
To take it, tho’, his soul grows heavy vex’d,
& knows his sword could never draw in arms
Against native Virginian towns & farms.


SCENE 17: The Front

Enter General Lee at the head of the Confederate Army

THE SOUTHERN WAGON

General Lee
Come, all ye sons of freedom, and join our Southern band,
We are going to fight the enemy and drive them from our land.
Justice is our motto and providence our guide,
So jump on the wagon, and we’ll all take a ride.

Wait for the wagon! The dissolution wagon!
The South is the wagon, and we’ll all take a ride.
Wait for the wagon! The dissolution wagon!
The South is the wagon, and we’ll all take a ride.

Secession is our watchword, our rights we all demand;
To defend our family, we pledge our hearts and hands;
Jeff Davis is our president, with Stephens by his side;
Brave Beauregard, our General, will join us in the ride.
Wait for the wagon! The dissolution wagon!
The South is the wagon, and we’ll all take a ride.
Wait for the wagon! The dissolution wagon!
The South is the wagon, and we’ll all take a ride.

Our wagon is big enough, the running gear is good;
Stuffed ’round the sides with cotton, and made of Southern wood.
Carolina is the driver, with Georgia by her side,
Virginia holds the flag up, and we’ll all take a ride.
Wait for the wagon! The dissolution wagon!
The South is the wagon, and we’ll all take a ride.
Wait for the wagon! The dissolution wagon!
The South is the wagon, and we’ll all take a ride.

There are Tennessee and Texas also in the ring;
They wouldn’t have a government where cotton wasn’t king.
Alabama and Florida have long ago replied;
Mississippi and Louisiana are anxious for the ride.
Wait for the wagon! The dissolution wagon!
The South is the wagon, and we’ll all take a ride.
Wait for the wagon! The dissolution wagon!
The South is the wagon, and we’ll all take a ride.

North Carolina and Arkansas are slow,
They must hurry or we’ll leave e’m and then where would they go?
Kentucky and Maryland each won’t make up their mind,
So I reckon after all we’ll have to take e’m up behind.
Wait for the wagon! The dissolution wagon!
The South is the wagon, and we’ll all take a ride.
Wait for the wagon! The dissolution wagon!
The South is the wagon, and we’ll all take a ride.

Tennessee Missouri are eager for the fray;
They can whip the Yankee boys three to one, they say;
And when they get in conflict with Davis by their side,
They’ll pitch into the Yankee boys and then you’ll see them slide.
Wait for the wagon! The dissolution wagon!
The South is the wagon, and we’ll all take a ride.
Wait for the wagon! The dissolution wagon!
The South is the wagon, and we’ll all take a ride.

Exit the Confederates / Enter the Union army led by Stonewall Jackson

THE BATTLE HYMN OF THE REPUBLIC

Stonewall Jackson
Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord;
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword;
His truth is marching on.

Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
His truth is marching on.

I have seen Him in the watch-fires of a hundred circling camps;
They have builded Him an altar in the evening dews and damps;
I can read His righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps,
His day is marching on.

I have read His fiery gospel writ in rows of burnished steel!
“As ye deal with my contemners, so with you My grace shall deal!
Let the Hero, born of woman, crush the serpent with his heel,”
Since God is marching on.

He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat;
He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment seat;
Oh, be swift, my soul, to answer Him; be jubilant, my feet!
Our God is marching on.

In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me;
As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free!
While God is marching on.

Spirit
The stumbling, fumbling Union advance
To meet the foe in blood’s effusion cold,
Upon the field men take a handsome stance,
With limbs & hearts so beautiful & bold,
But stop! What is that sound that stuns the soul,
Like feedback from a concert’s microphones,
The rebel foxhunt yell, the banshee squall,
Driving corkscrew sensations up backbones,
Enhastening the deaths of razzl’d youth,
Via carnage raging, chastening, uncouth.

Enter the charging Confederates / battle begins

Spirit
The national edifice is on fire,
At last the past is heap’d upon a pyre
Those utterances of grief & despair
First heard at Manassas’ murderous maul
Transmorph into clarions everywhere,
“Fight for your country, boys, men heed the call!”
Up in the North the Stars & Stripes are flown
From home to home, ‘the flag that makes you free,’
Sing epauletted brothers to the zone
Of war, fateful days face futurity,
As manacle still into human bites
God’s truth filling with anima of knights
At Shiloh fandango daffodillies,
One hundred thousand cramm’d in tension taut,
Tennessee’s dense, tense, teocallic woods
Explode with unexpected confrontations,
Sickening spectacles, kill or be kill’d,
Until Night’s onset halts halts this cranage crude
Hawks schnibbling into mangl’d death-bed flesh.

Enter Thomas, a Union Soldier, who finds the body of James, his comrade, on the field

Thomas
I am a soldier and my speech is rough and plain
I’m not much used to writing and I hate to give you pain
But I promised I would do it and he thought it might be so
If it came from one who loved him it perhaps would ease the blow
& by this time you must have guessed the truth I fain will hide
And you’ll pardon me for rough soldier words while I tell you how he died

It was in the mortal battle, it rained the shot and shell
I was standing close beside him and I saw him when he fell
So I took him in my arms and laid him on the grass
It was going against orders but they thought to let it pass

James
“This day I wanted so to live, I seemed so young to go.
This week I passed my birthday. I was just nineteen, you know.
When I thought of all I planned to do it seemed so hard to die
But now I pray to God for grace and all my cares gone by.”

Thomas
And here his voice grew weaker as he partly raised his head
And whispered

James
“Goodbye, mother,” and your soldier boy was dead

Thomas
I carved another headboard as skillful as I could
And if you wish to find it I can tell you where it stood
I send you back his hymn book and the cap he used to wear
The lock I cut the night before of his bright, curly hair
I send you back his Bible. In the hour before he died
I turned its leaves together and read it by his side
I’ll keep the belt he was wearing, he told me so to do
It had a hole upon the side just where the ball went through

So now I’ve done his bidding, there’s nothing more to tell
But I shall always mourn with you the boy we loved so well