Viriathus: 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


THE CONCHORDIA FOLIO

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

 

Interview: Damian Beeson Bullen

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

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