Flight of the White Eagles: Act 4 Scenes 1-2

dutch-engineers

SCENE 1: Studianka

The French pontonieres are building a bridge across the Berezhina River – they are encouraged by Gourgogne – some are stood in the water up to their shoulders & even their mouths

***

CHANT DU DEPART
Acapella to percussive sounds of bridge building

As the gates of Victory
Open wide for us & sing
Our Liberty all people there shall guide

From the North to the South
Bugle blows are echoing
Out for the battles fought for Gallic pride

Tremble ye enemies of France
& the bad Kings drunk & depraved
As sov’reign commoners advance
Tyrants go down to your graves

The Republic is calling us
Learn to vanquish & to never fly
A Frenchman lives for the Republic
& for her Frenchmen must die
Un Fran ais doit vivre pour elle
Pour elle un Fran ais doit mourir.

 

May their fathers’ blade be placed
In the hands of the brave,
Remember us upon the Field of Mars

Come baptise in the blood
Of the king & of the slave
While shining elders look down from the stars

Tremble ye enemies of France
& the bad Kings drunk & depraved
As sov’reign commoners advance
Tyrants go down to your graves

What wounds & virtues running deep
We shall bring back from the war
Return’d to shut our eyes & sleep
When the tyrants are no more

The Republic is calling us
Learn to vanquish & to never fly
A Frenchman lives for the Republic
& for her Frenchmen must die
Un Fran ais doit vivre pour elle
Pour elle un Fran ais doit mourir.

***

Enter Napoleon & Berthier with two gaurds who are carrying cases of wine.

Gourgogne
Your majesty

Napoleon
General

Pontonierres
Vive L’Empreur

Napoleon
Soldier, you, yes you, come here if you will

Enter a cold, wet, shivering pontonierre

Pontoniere
Your highness

Napoleon
How are you handling the cold

Pontoniere
It is nothing, I am fine, we all are
Allow me to return to my work sire

Napoleon
Of course, but first, distribute these bottles
Of red wine from my personal supply

Ponotonierre
You are most generous

Napoleon
Build me that bridge

Pontonierre
Yes sire

Napoleon
Berthier, help him with a case

Berthier & the Pontonierre take the cases of wine to the pontonierres

Napoleon
Our causeway catterpillars cross the stream

Gourgaud
Indeed, sire with what zest our sappers task
Self-sacrifice engage without limits
In spite of drifting ice & armpit deep
They trestles fix in place ’til capp’d are beams

Napoleon
Your projective platform shows genius
Gourgaud, of priscillian precision,
Your active coolness in the foreseeing
Secures a worthy spot to organise
This feat, some would say miracle, of arms

Gourgaud
Listen sire, not a murmour to be heard
Of discontent in the situation –
They curse the elements, but not the day
For glory still an elevate of hope

Napoleon
Hope, yes we have, yet reality bites
The cavalry secured the western bank
This morning by fording upon horses
But unsupported shall not last the night
We must send reinforcements there, & soon

Gourgaud
Tho’ slow & painful work, we shall succeed

Napoleon
Excellent, but Gourgaud

Gourgaud
Your majesty

Napoleon
Only let troops & artillery cross
The camp followers will only impede
Prevent them all from passage ’til the end
A strong intactive army will prevent
Total annhialation – understood

Gourgaud
Yes sire

Napoleon
Good, carry on this famous work
{to the soldiers}
Pontonierres of France I salute you

Pontonierres
Vive L’empreur, Napoleon will save us

Exit Napoleon & guards

Gourgaud
Our stragglers are a multitude ill-starr’d

Berthier
Just do your work Gourgaud, & duty too


National_Museum_in_Poznan_-_Przejście_przez_Berezynę

 

SCENE 2: Studianka, the French camp

Enter Graingier, Foucart, Leboude, Legrande & Rossi

Graingier
Pandemonia’s principality
Encapital’d upon these troubleslopes
Condensing with with frightful laxydaisy

Leboude
What is that singing?

Rossi
Men cross the bridge
Still gay & careless, death counts for nothing
To the soldiers of France, spirits exalt
For we are all together

Foucart
Raillerie
Rings as if on the eve of great battles
Aromatizing these downtrodden scenes

Legrande
What is pain & destruction & dying
When the matter of the empire at stake
Not melting down our youth in beds of lust
But facing dangers headlong without stir
If such excesses of adversity
Our nation’s honour paramountly reigns

Enter Bourgone

Bourgogne
Lads, start a fire, it will not be till Dawn
Before our turn to cross the bridge has come

Leboude & Rossi begin building a fire

Graingier
How does it stand

Bourgogne
By god’s will I expect
‘Tis a rickety construct of matchsticks
But on its timber we shall soon emerge
From the darkest caverns of misery
Where we have dwelt these soul-exhausting days

Foucart
Are we to see our little homes again?

Legrande
We are, Foucart, I know as much, I feel
These stinking tribulations are a test
Seeking weakness thro’ elaborate traps
When responsive complacencies relapse
& truth’s coalesces to deception
By arrogance our successes consumed
Stimulating ego, made us immune
To squads of malignancies besetting
Cautious steps of glory, let this proud host
Of oceanic natures rejoice in trials,
To spout its tales of conquerors unvex’d,
Valour is the chieftan of our virtues
& dignifies the haver’s panting breast
Stood naked before shunless destiny,
& valour is the force that binds us, boys,
Together we shall spend the night this bank
Together we shall cross aspiringly
Then leave the warp of Russian wilds behind.

Leboude
That’s the fire started, boys

Bourgogne
Good work Leboude

Rossi
Another supper of horsemeat awaits

Foucart
Better than feasting on one another

Graingier
What, like those Croatians encraz’d

Leboude
Curs’d curs
Remember how they dragg’d away bodies
Of men death-barbecued, from that dark barn
Then sliced apart the flesh & gulp’d it down

Legrande
Horrific sights

Graingier
The devil will have them

Legrande
Aye, he will, that is for certain my friend
When that fire became a vast tossing mass
Full of convulsive efforts of wretches
Each one of us observ’d the heart of Hell
& I saw Satan slouch’d within the flames

Foucart
Is it evil to eat our fellow man
When we are starving

Bourgogne
Folly slays the soul
Dooming its eventual destruction

Rossi
Come, let us be noble in suffering
& eat this meat ungarnish’d in silence

Rossi passes the horse meat around – each soldier sits eating in silence, to the cacophony of a camp in chaos


THE CONCHORDIA FOLIO

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

 

Interview: Damian Beeson Bullen

Posted on May 15, 2020, in Conchordia, White Eagles. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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