Viriathus: 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


THE CONCHORDIA FOLIO

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

Interview: Damian Beeson Bullen

Posted on March 6, 2020, in Conchordia, Viriathus. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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