Viriathus: Scenes 1-2

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SCENE 1 – Lusitania / The Roman Camp

Galba is studying maps outside his tent – a group of Roman soldiers march on stage singing

EAGLES OF ROME

Fly, fly
Ye eagles of rome
Find a new home
Fly, fly

Fly, fly
Your wings are unfurled
You’ll conquer the world
Fly, fly

Enter herald with Labaecus & Talabus

Herald
The Lusitanian leaders are here
As you requested of them yesterday
Nine thousand of their subjects flood the vale
Warriors, women, old ones & children.

Galba
Praetor Servius Sulpicius Galba
at your service

Labaecus
We come in peace
Leaving mountain strongholds at your promise
Of better lands to settle on the plains
Beyond the River Durius

Galba
Welcome
Receiving acceptable submissions
Of deditio in potestatem,
Like sweet music across enamell’d stones,
Rome’s enmity soon amity becomes

Talabus
We had no choice, your enginery of war
Wrought ruin thro’ our towns as if the Gods
Colossal grains of sand shook from their suits

Labaecus
Galba we praise you, halter of carnage

Galba
Twas the simplest of conclusions to make
You were robbers only from compulsion,
Poverty & the poorness of your soil
Forcing unneccessary penury,
A needless swamp in a civilized age,
& we in Rome the height of advancement,
A blessed sunstar blest by all the gods –
Our family of nations welcomes thee.

Labaecus
We compliment your noble piety
Your generosity & your counsel;
Your name shall live forever in our songs
In them the bards our histories record
Our lineages, our greatest battles,
Our heroes, & now you ride among them
Upon the dovewhite steed we call world peace.

Enter Centurion

Centurion
It is done, we possess all their weapons

Galba
Not all – I trust you two will too comply

Labaecus
We shall

Talabus
Of course, our swords we give to Rome

Galba
Well here we are, a mighty martial race
But what force arms without a blade to wield,
Or sticks, or rocks, whate’er you primates use
When Atilius conquer’d Oxthracae
You sign’d a treaty just as this today
Alas, as soon as my predecessor
Home in Rome, your people raved as rebels
Attacking tribes we counted as allies;
Despicable, plunderous behaviours,
When they had been protected by your word.

Talabus
We protest

Galba
You protest! What? Your disgrace,
Transgressing that fair & equal treaty?
No – you were, & are yet Rome’s enemies,
For treachery to honour & to peace
You force on Rome recourse to ancyent law,
All men of military age must die,
& slaves make of the rest
{to the Centurion}
You may begin

Centurion
Sound the horns

Labaecus
O hideous perfidy

Galba
Sieze them

Talabus
Run, run Labaecus

Galba
Kill them

A fracas – Talabus is slain, Labaecus is corner’d

Galba
Wait, bring him here, I want this hound to see
His people die, open your eyes you dog
Why do they stand heroic statue still
Waiting to die

Labaecus
They cry aloud the names
of all our gods, readying to greet them,
When death grips firmly, fleeing him futile
Better to wait the fatal stroke head high

Centurion
Not all

Galba
What?

Centurion
Look, sir, some have leapt the ditch
Waving weapons preconceal’d as they steal
Horses…

Galba
Well charge them down

Labaecus
Dont waste your time
You will never catch the Lusitani
When riding bareback racing for their lives
& see the man upon that chestnut mare
His name is Viriathus, you will find
Him like a viper in your feather’d nest

Galba
Silence

Labaecus
He will avenge us

Galba
Silence him

Labaecus
Long live Lusitania

Centurion
Curse your tongue
Better that it be ripp’d out from the root

Centurion cuts out the tongue of Labaecus

Galba
Take him away, my friend in Capua
Prefers mute slaves, they do not answer back

Exit all excepting Galba, who watches the slaughter from afar


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SCENE 2 – The Mountains

Viriathus is camping in woods – enter a soothsayer, Cabruno, with a crack of a stepped on branch

Viriathus
Who goes there?

Cabruno
Be tranquil, I am of you
In spirit if not blood

Viriathus
What do you mean
Old hag?

Cabruno
I am one of the Vaccaei
& you are Viriathus, I can see,
The augurs spoke as much,

Viriathus
You read the birds
Are you soothsayer?

Cabruno
I prefer to say
A seeker & a speaker of the truth
I was found by the limitless silver
Starcoated waters of the Tartessis
In hollow of a river-rock was found
& raised by an old hunter near the dunes
By Carvoeiro’s Cape, out there was rais’d
The least proportion of Humanity,
Until I saw the light that guided me

Viriathus
Please accept my ancestral reverance

Cabruno
As you survived the Galban massacre
What will you do today

Viriathus
I do not care
For anything but air, & grass, & streams

Cabruno
Let me deliver you your destiny
Twas written in the innards of a stag
A shepherd from Cape Nerium would rise
To raise the thirty tribes which occupy
All the lands between Artabria
& Tagus, taking back what was taken
Harness eclectic Lusitania,
Prefer her own opinions to yours,
For as you tam’d wild horses in your youth,
Beneath your thighs they felt immortal steeds,
If you so ride the Lusitanians
They too shall feel noblesse & fight for you!

Viriathus
This is a path unsuited to my core,
I am a secret, solitary soul,
The woods prefer to wide-eyed drinking bouts,
I love the mountains more than woman’s looks,
Watch meteors instead of mortal tales –
No leader am for tasks you thus descry.

Cabruno
As sun appears a small disc in the sky
Yet beams out floods of light to wake all things
In golden glow, its warmth doth permeate
All fibres of existence, so can you
Inspire your people, smile & sieze the day


CARPE DIEM

Cabruno
Life is the reason for this song,
Ya won’t know anyone for too long,
Some grow rich & some stay strong,
Some are good & some go wrong,
Some men work & some men play,
While others take the time to say
Carpe Diem, seize the day…

Viriathus
If I could lead my life again I would try not to lie,
I’d care about all of my friends until the day I die,
If people thought the worst of me then I would ask them why
& then all of my dreams could be some special place to fly…

Life is the reason to my rhyme,
Yer don’t owe anyone for your time,
Some men fade & some men shine,
Some men lead a life of crime,
Some men taste the salt & pray
While others take the time to say,
Carpe Diem, seize the day…

Cabruno
Only the lonely, lonely, lonely rovers really true
& if you reach that special place I’ve saved a place for you

Viriathus
I’m tryin hard & I’m burnin real hard, I’m learnin’ how to try
So when I reach that special place I’ll elevate & fly


Cabruno
Carpe Diem, my bold youth, sieze the day

Viriathus
Why praise a phrase in Latin

Cabruno
Know you foe

Viriathus
If what you feel is truth then I shall try
If what you say is written, let me fight,
Who am I to obsticate the spirits,
With them I crave, with effective intent
My people’s paramount deliverance,
When banishing invaders forever,
This terrible delirium must end!

Cabruno
You will need training in patience, statecraft,
Strategums, study Rome’s alien thoughts,
But when vital responsibilities
Controll’d by one mind only, then these minds
Must rest in healthiest bodies possible
Else sickness denigrates the conjur’d deed

Viriathus
I am a healthy man

Cabruno
You could improve
Constitution vigorates clarity
Think of those Spartans at the famous springs
Of Thermopylae, each a thousand worth,
Sons of a strict regime, like them you’ll form
Armour impenetrable, heat & cold,
Untroubl’d be by hunger & hardship,
No match shall find thro’ all Iberia;
You shall spare no indulgence, even food
You’ll eat to live, not feed your belly’s greed,
& only with fatigue find hours to sleep,
From egotism purify your heart
& in that pearl such atmospheres arise
To witness wisest courses, exist they
At all times, awaiting to be reveal’d;
With all of this you shall obtain the crown
Of nature, far from foreign crudeties,
When all the rude waves of the roughest sea
Could never wash the laurels from your brow
Become the captain undeposable,
Become Rome’s royal antithesis, curse
That decadent pit of pedantic souls,
Grasping at pleasures that, like fetid slime,
Oozes thro fingers, grazes foul faces,
Devouring pock-marks, as heavenly Gods
Trace dissapointments in scarlet sunsets,
Left wondering how Humans lose their way.

Viriathus
I shall return our People to the modes
Of life on which our People were nurtured
When begins my training?

Cabruno
It has begun!


THE CONCHORDIA FOLIO

“Its worth a pop, right, to try & knock that Shakespeare
Off his feffin’ perch!”

Interview: Damian Beeson Bullen

Posted on February 10, 2020, in Conchordia, Viriathus. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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