Viriathus: 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


THE CONCHORDIA FOLIO

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

Interview: Damian Beeson Bullen

Posted on February 25, 2020, in Viriathus. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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