Category Archives: Conchordia

The Flight of the White Eagles: Act 1, Scene 3


Scene 3: The billiards room of a Moscow mansion


Bourgogne, Legrand, Boquet are stretched on animal skins, wearing turbans, drinking & smoking magnificent pipes

Bourgogne, Legrand, Boquet, Graingier, Leboude
{singing in a round}
We are resting in bubble beds of silk furs & feathers
In the nest of the double-headed eagles
We are blest with abundance & the punch does us wonders
As a guest of the double-headed eagle

Enter Rossi, the quartermaster

Rossi
I have prepared a dazzling punch for you

Graingier
Good man Rossi, quartermaster supreme

Rossi
What a sight you forge, like Turkish pashas
Discussing each other’s seraglios
& the passionate merits of your wives

Legrand
At this moment in time I’d take just one,
& ermine call her, skin soft as this fur

Boqet
Mine would be lion,

Bourgogne
Mine sable

Leboude
Mine fox

Graingier
& mine some buxom Siberian bear

Rossi
While you laugh & drink & smoke til you burst
I’ve been all-a-foraging, high & low
Up attics, down cellars, whose keeps disclosed
Rum from Jamaica, most excellent beer
Deep pack’d in ice to keep summer’s fresh
A drop of which ferments this punch newmade,
Its gusto an enthusiast should charm,
Come try a ladle’s worth

Graingier
Quite wonderful!

Leboude
No, not for me, I’ve had my fill of drink

Bourgogne
Then I’ll have his… that kicks like angry mule!

Enter Mother Dubois

Dubois
O what it is to be Cantiniere
To such an idle company as this

Legrand
But you love us Mother Dubois

Dubois
I did
When you were gallant, not lazy sultans

Boqet
What do you cook us today

Dubois
A little
Salted fish sauted in suet butter
& half a ham for supper if you please

Boqet
Such is the conqueror’s prerogative
To regally banquet in royal garb
To dinner as a Duke, & then return
To all the adulations in the town
Aline processions home, where glory waits

Graingier
There is a rumour rife among the ranks
Spiting Britain’s Continental blockade
We are to go to China, ensure there
Transglobal trade for our eaglet empire

Leboude
A few more thousand leages then, Graingier

Bourgogne
All I would need is a new pair of shoes

Boqet
But first we winter in this queenless hive
Where once a beekeper’s tap on the wall
Responded by unanimous humming
Of bees in tens of thousands, such a buzz;
But now, if he would open up the hive
Instead of serried rows aseal each gap
Just complex combs neglected, sickly frail
In the corners old bees languidly fight,
Clean themselves, or feed one another
Unknowing why they do these deeds at all
For in this Hive’s heart, that once was so grand,
The high mystery of generation
Reduced to sleeping shells of listless bees,
Reeking of death, a few move feebly still
Dragging blunt stingers uselessly behind

Enter Foucart & two young Russian women – Mila & Natasha – carrying bundles of clothes

Foucart
Boys, boys, my treasures are most splendid, look!

Legrand
How lucky you for two, you’ll be sharing

Foucart
Not these young haberdasher maids made mine
For six months service, no, but what they bare
The emboss’d costumes of many nations
Mens & womens, look, there are French dresses,
Fashion’d to favour Louis the Sixteenth

Dubois
& even a basket of wigs I see
I say lets shake a make-up & then dance

The party begin to dress up – Dubois becomes a French marquise, Mila & Natasha become brides of Christ – One of the soldiers accompanies the revelry on his flute, another on a drum

***

PARISIENNE SKIES

We will be going to the ball,
We’ll be rolling round the punch bowl
Drinking ambrosia
We shall be quaffing at the ball
We’ll be falling down, stand up again,
Cheeks turn’d rosier

Then when you see stardust come a tumbling down
On the dance floor, she’s a ballerina

Go, to Nepal, to Provence, go to Delhi
New York & Singapore, Berlin & Rome
Feel if its right then decide if Parisienne Skies
Were sent from on high to service our souls
There’s summer inside those cinnamon skies
Which sum up my soul

We shall be dancing at the ball,
We’ll be rolling round the dance floor
Kicking like stallions
We shall be trailing round the ball
We’ll be hail’d by all, regaling,
Sailing like galleons
Then when you see stardust come a tumbling down
On the dance floor, shes a ballerina

 

Go, to Milan, Budapest & Vienna
Dublin & Amsterdam, Tokyo too
Feel if its right then decide if the houses that rise
On Parisienne Skies were sent for our souls
There’s summer inside those cinnamon skies
Which sum up my soul

I heard that life is for living
Laughing & loving & finding the time
To graze on new pastures
Velvet horizons rise up in your mind
Tho’ I’m full of the wanderlust
Why don’t you come home with me
We could go touring the old arrondissiments
Of the empire’s pearl, Paris
So beautiful
She’s so beautiful…

***

Dubois
{drunk}
Temperance & Prudence, Lord, my guides be

Leboude
A march, strike the drum, my soldiers… at arms!
{the drummer starts a march}

*******

ON VA LEUR PERCER LE FLANC

As the soldiers are marching Mila & Natasha begin to dance quiet energetically, jumping like tartars, flying left to right, swinging arms & legs, falling backwards then getting back up again & redoubling the energy of their efforts, much to the amusement of the party

On va leur percer le flanc
Rantanplan tire lire lan
Ah! ce qu’on va rire!
Rantanplan tire lire
On va leur percer le flanc
Rantanplan tire lire lan.

Le petit tondu sera content
Rantanplan tire lire lan
Ca lui f’ra bien plaisir
Rantanplan tire lire
On va leur percer le flanc
Rantanplan tire lire lan.

Car c’est de là que dépend
Rantanplan tire lire lan
Le salut de l’Empire
Rantanplan tire lire
On va leur percer le flanc
Rantanplan tire lire lan.

 

 

***

Enter Captain Vachain / Natasha throws her arms around his neck & kisses him

Vachain
Get off me at once – in the name of God
What is happening, have you all gone mad

Leboude
We were just having a party, Captain

Vachain
Well halt at once, turn sober by the morn
The Emperor orders an inspection
Of the entire army, we its best troops
Apparently, I see such praise a sham

Leboude
Of course sir, company, to attention

Some of the soldiers attempt to stand, but are too drunk

Vachain
I cannot guess how we conquer’d Moscow!
I’ll be back at Dawn, & Madame Dubois

Dubois
Yes Captain Vachain, sir

Vachain
No alcohol
Is to be serv’d at the breakfast

Dubois
Yes sir

Exit Vauchain, the party burst into laughter

Boqet
You heard him lads, drink up your dregs, then shave
We’d hardly want the Emperor’s dispraise

The party begin to tidy up in a state of semi-revelry


THE CONCHORDIA FOLIO

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

Interview: Damian Beeson Bullen

The Flight of the White Eagles: Act 1, Scene 2

SCENE 2: The Kremlin

Napoleon is in the Tsar’s apartments, being entertained by the Italian tenor, Tarquinio, & Martini, a pianist / with him are Berthier, Prince Eugene, General Gourgaud & Caulaincourt

***

PLAISIR D’AMOUR

Tarquinio
Plaisir d’amour ne dure qu’un moment,
Chagrin d’amour dure toute la vie.
J’ai tout quitte pour l’ingrate Sylvie,
Elle me quitte et prend un autre amant.
Plaisir d’amour ne dure qu’un moment,
Chagrin d’amour dure toute la vie.
Tant que cette eau coulera doucement
Vers ce ruisseau qui borde la prairie,
Je t’aimerai”, te repetait Sylvie,
L’eau coule encor, elle a change pourtant.
Plaisir d’amour ne dure qu’un moment,
Chagrin d’amour dure toute la vie.

 

***

Napoleon
A wonderful piece, eternal even
Your dear father, Martini, would be proud
To hear it played so magical abroad,
& Tarquinio how well you sing it,
Choiring as if a young-eye’d cherubim

Did court the gods on lofty Olympus
I wish my officers to hear the same
Promotion to a mental dignity
Could you prepare a concert for Sunday

Martini
Certainly sire

Napoleon
Today I shall decree
To open Moscow’s standing theatres
To see her noble boards restor’d to life
& have them play French comedies – perhaps
Italian – the troops are fond of those,
All actors & musicians shall be paid
Six months advance for each, do you accept

Martini
To furnish your best victory with art
Would be the perfect honour of my life

Napoleon
Good, if you will inform your close colleagues
Of this conversation’s fidelity
You are dismissed

Exit Tarquinio & Martini

Louis-Alexandre Berthier, Prince of Neuchetal

Berthier
Such timescale terrifies me, six months, sire!
When Moscow burn’d your dreams, too, turn’d to flames
I hear full well the warnings of Winter
The planet Saturn broods, by gloomy gaze,
Forebodings of terrible disaster
Shake me to my boots with unborn sorrows

Napoleon
What would you have me do my nervous prince
Seeing you are so wise?

Neuchetal
Return at once
To Paris & proclaim a victory
With ashes of Muscovite palaces
In your pockets

Napoleon
Release your ill censure
What frightful series of dangerous wars
Would follow from the first stepp’d retrograde,
Death is nothing, but to live defeated
& inglorious is to daily die
That self-same sun which led us to glory
Brightening our victory each morning,
Shall set not now leading us to darkness,
No, we shall face the rising sun, Moscow
From a pure military point of view
Holds no real value, but its name’s prestige
Remains untarnish’d, thus, if politics
Were a game of chess, the black queen is trapp’d,
Her trembling king helpless behind his pawns
Besides, in politics, one shoud never
Recede, never admit to being wrong

Caulaincourt
Sire, the city is in a dreadful state
The Russians left us nothing but ruin

Napoleon
Well, at least we are quiet among them
Eh, Caulaincourt?

Caulaincourt
That is true, I suppose

Napoleon
We have reduced Mother Russia to rags
Her warcry tongue turn’d stringless instrument
Her commerce set back half a century
Such violent shocks convulsing thro’ his throne
The Tsar, I’m sure, shall certain sue for peace

Eugene
I agree with positivities, sire,
The occupation of his capital
Is hampering aristocratic rents
Their revenues drifting with the peasants
Gone eating up the provinces, until
The whole of Russia gurgles on the blood
Drawn by the blade that was our Moscow march

Gourgaud
By number & by nature, the extant
Buildings & resources throughout Moscow
Offer a military position
Preferable to any other site
This side of the River Nieman, sire

Caulaincourt
But as you said yourself, there is in war
A singular favorable moment,
The great art is to seize it, we should leave

Napoleon
Gourgaud, explain to Caulaincourt, simply,
How well the army has been provided for

Gourgaud
For half a year our larders shall remain
With beets abundant, round as bowling balls,
Plump cabbages gathering like oceans,
Each passing hour discoveries are made
In shops & cellars; foodstuffs, clothes & drink
The deep-detritus of the bourgeoisie

Napoleon
You see, Caulaincourt, if we must remain
We shall do so, quartering in comfort
Designate the order of the season
Forage for furniture & firewood
& bring in all the hay for fifteen miles

Caulaincourt
This is a reckless gamble, if retreat
Will come, we are completely unprepar’d,
With wheat showing scarce, cattle dwindling fast
With no preparation for departure
When cold comes in we dare not take a step
Else lose our feet & fingers in the frosts
& while the horses shooed a pinless smooth
They’ll slip on ice & break their slender legs

Napoleon
Ha – like a fusswife you worry too much,
The ever, over-cautious Caulaincourt

Berthier
But sire, I urge on you heed his advice
Your hopes for peace keeping you prisoner
In this queer, gremlin castle call’d Kremlin

Napoleon
Eugene?

Eurgene remains silent

Eugène_de_Beauharnais,_vice-roi_d'Italie.jpg

Eugène de Beauharnais

Caulaincourt
What harm will come of idle hours
Spent lining coats with fur, or sewing hats
& gloves, constructing sledges just in case

Napoleon
Do what you will if it will ease my ears
This is no time to worry of biscuits
There are more pressing businesses at hand
Prince Neuchetal, you have read the despatch
From Murat

Berthier
I have, sire

Napoleon
What are its bones?

Berthier
The King of Naples full of flattery
Pays tribute to his Cossack counterpart
His linguals spun infloraling with praise
& says how Russian arms are readying
Capitulation, & how the Cossacks,
Embroil’d beneath mourning despondancy,
Could even fight for France, oppose the Tsar

Caulaincourt
But the Cossack could just be blowing dust
Into his eyes, blaming the wand’ring wind

Napoleon
So you see, Caulaincourt, it is only
A time or two before my fate’s fair tide
Oerwhelms this state

Caulaincourt
Do not trust half-accounts
They might be mischievous exaggerations
Look where we are, men of twenty nations
Secure within the city of the Tsars
Emanating European progress
Against this explicit, Asiatic
Barbarianism, this serf-struck land
Of strict taboos & prohibitive chains
Must make a common cause with our reforms

Eugene
Allow me to interject a moment

Napoleon
Of course Eugene, what patterns form your thoughts

Eugene
Like deer enstartl’d by a hunter’s gun
At a pace Petersburg is emptying
They flee to England those who can afford
Already the Tsarina’s jewellry
& royal archives heav’d off to London
With all the strength & purpose of his mind
The Tsar should be eager to make profit
Sire, seize this opportunity, enter
Negotiations, appease the nobles,
For the folly of Moscow’s flameletting
Is one that forms a madman’s boast today
But tomorrrow must end in penitence

Napoleon
I agree – & I thank you for your time
All of you, & now if you could all depart
Except for Caulaincourt, enjoy your day

Exit Eugene, Gourgaud & Berthier

Napoleon
Brandy?

Caulaincourt
I shall refrain your majesty

Napoleon
{pouring out a glass of brandy}
No other issue than peace, fair & prompt
Seems possible, I would hate to destroy
Alexander – I love the man too much
We must make peace – will you go Caulaincourt

Caulaincourt
Go

Napoleon
Yes, go, to Petersburg & the Tsar
Deliver my proposition of peace

Caulaincourt
He will refuse

Napoleon
What makes you so certain

Caulaincourt
He said to me if you’d make war on him
It is possible, even probable
He’d be defeated, but that would not mean
You could dictate a peace, an exemplar
Was made of Spain, tho’ beaten many times
Them no submittance pled, & are not so
Far away from Paris as we now stand,
Lacking recourse to call on resources
& climate, as the Russian calculates

Napoleon
Piffle! I have been proffer’d fairy tales
Upon your Russian climate – it is, well,
Pleasant

Caulaincourt
It is unseasonable sire

Napoleon
Whenever have the vanquish’d set the terms

Caulaincourt
He marvels at your abilities, sire
But not that of your marshalls, he will fight
& take no risk, use his natural room
Telling me frankly about Kamchatka
How he would set his court up in the east
Rather than ceding provinces & sign
A treaty more finite truce expected

Napoleon
Expel those thoughts at once, unhappiness
At all the punishments I’ve dealt your friend
Undermines your loyalty to this crown,
Cramm’d deep within some crannied hole or chink
When pressur’d by a tough reality
A sentence said in safety falls apart
Will you go

Caulaincourt
I will not be received, sire,
For certain, as he knows I know his mind,
To be there on such terms insult would prove
As such would tarnish everything hard wrought
Thro’ all my months in Petersburhg

Napoleon
You fear
Repugnancy to serve this task I ask

Caulaincourt
He will not sign peace in his capital
Until entirely evacuated
From his territories he will not hear
A word of your proposal, your letter
Will not be read

Napoleon
The Tsar is surrounded
By English partisans, who’d cut his throat
Before peace made with France, Alexander
Said to me himself he hates the English
As much as France does
{Napoleon takes Caulaincourt by the arm & paces to & fro}
You must go to him
Solicit peace upon your hands & knees
If it would deign be granted – but if not
We will march on the northern capital
From whose conquest conspiracy must fray
His sacred kingship, rip him from the throne
Thro’ circumstances well avoidable

Caulaincourt
The roads to distant Petersburg are long
Inching thro’ morrasses, impassable
Made by three hundred pitchfork peasants
Barring the advance, what of the wounded
Do we simply leave them for Kutusoff
Who would then snap at our heels all the way
As if we were fleeing to a conquest

Napoleon
Kutosoff is beaten, but I accept
The season for Petrsburg is passing
But if not the whole army, then just you,
Will you go

Caulaincourt
Not willfully to folly
Why would he set his capital on fire
To make peace in the ashes & the char
Only from facing banks of Nieman’s flow
Could understanding come

Napoleon
Where is your faith
It seems the Tsar infects your very thoughts
I ought to strip you of all your titles
Shall I send instead Monsieur Toutalmine
As my plenipotentiary, shall I

Caulaincourt
As you wish, sire, it will be of no use

Napoleon
I must have peace, I absolutely must
I want this peace, my honour must be saved
But if you dare not deliver my words
You can at least inscribe them on the page

Armand-Augustin-Louis de Caulaincourt

Caulaincourt
Yes Sire… they will be considered but proof
Of the poor state of your embarassment

Napoleon
Enough – remember, I am emporer,
Who thinks & acts in realms unknown to all
Except for those who lord oer millions
I shall begin

Caulaincourt
Sire

Napoleon
Dear Alexander
Russia’s emperor, I wish you no harm
This superb city exists no longer
Its governor had given the order
To burn the ornate work of centuries
But fires, at last, appearing to have ceas’d
Only a quarter of Moscow remains
Such conduct is uselessly atrocious
That leaves to ghosts each village from Smolensk
Since Moscow was exposed by Russian arms
In the interests of your majesty,
Humanity & its inhabitants,
Its care to me was confided in trust
Administration, magistrates & gaurds
Are set in place as to plans adopted
In Vienna, Madrid & Berlin twice
I know well your majesty’s principles
For justice, without animosity
While we were waging war a single note
Would have halted my march at any time
Sacrificing the advantage at once
Of entering Moscow – if you retain
Some remains of your former sentiments
You will take this letter in a good part
By this, my dear sir, my brother, I pray
To God he will preserve your majesty…
Is it neat

Caulaincourt
Yes

Napoleon
Then I shall sign straightways
{Napoleon signs the decree}
Have it despatched to Petersburg today
With Moseiur Toutalmine & twenty gaurds

Caulaincourt
Yes, your majesty

Napoleon
O, & Caulaincourt
Do not ever, ever, doubt ,me again

Exit Napoleon / Caulaincourt reads through the letter shaking his head


THE CONCHORDIA FOLIO

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

 

 

Interview: Damian Beeson Bullen

The Flight Of The White Eagles: Overture – Act 1, Scene 1

OVERTURE

ACT 1, SCENE 1: Above The Chernishini River

Enter Murat & Miroladovitch. Murat is dress’d as a Spanish general, sporting a sable hat & silk brocades. Miroladovitch is wearing three shawls of different cloth.

Miroladovitch
I am happy you attended in peace
My petit pourparler, as Frenchmen say

Murat
We say so many things but never quite
As well as what leaps brightly from your tongue

Miroladovitch
One tries, for after all, the French possess
The first of all cultures, bursting finesse
Far from the wolfish wildness of my world

Murat
So good of you to say so – the silence
Of this strange, tacit armistice of sorts,
A miracle beyond thematic woes,
Allures a certain sense of the tourist,
On which I state your country might be wild
But beauties of your women quite refined.

Miroladovitch
High praise indeed from a Latinist king
With all of Naples bevvy to admire
But what are fair women without fine wine,
This bottle imported from Aquitaine
Would you share?

Murat
Why certainly, I admire
Your taste for French vines

Miroladovitch
Of course, the world’s best

Miroladovitch pours out the wine, which is used in a toast

Miroladovitch
To both our Emperors

Murat
The Emperors

Murat2

Joachim Murat: King of Naples

Miroladovitch
May they return soon to fraternity
An amity which made great nations friends
Injurious wasps we swarm no more
At Taurantino eighty-five thousand
Are waiting, daily, Petersburg’s reply
To messengers urging the Tsar to peace
Leave days of blood & battle in the past

Murat
Napoleon wants peace, for him enough
To come to Moscow, not to burn it down,
The governor uncaged its criminals,
Vile worms who wert oerlook’d even in birth
& gave them flames & powder, what a waste
of wond’rous worksmanship centuries old

Miroladovitch
The hour of conciliation transpires
There are many Muscovites in the army
Who boot-by-boot are stepping from the mist
Wishing to see the campaign’s termini
Them eager more for peace than Bounaparte
Believe me, King Murat, if you attack’d
The Cossacks will not answer & may join
With France in common cause

Murat
How say you so?

Miroladovitch
The surly peasant scrapes with discontent
No better now than when the Golden Horde
Enslaved them, they crave emancipation

Murat
I credit you for honesty, my friend
If I may call you so

Miroladovitch
Of course, we are

Murat
Then please accept this watch, with my jewels
But, as gifts are seldom altruistic
Plesae visit me in Paris in return
Next summer, in our peacetime, as I hope

Miroladovitch
Your overkindness wrings adoring tears
With all my heart accepted – I worship
Your opera, the Comedie Francaise
I long to see, there hear cantatas sung

Murat
A good song is to the woes, elixir

Miroladovitch
I know a very good song, will you hear

Murat
Why yes, what is its name?

Miroladovitch
It is The Sable Raven, an old tune

 

 

THE SABLE RAVEN
To the tune of Chornyy Voran

O Sable raven, black guest of our homestead
So unexpected are your wings,
Why bring this white hand to my bedside
Raven, what message from the kings

I recognized the white hand oer my bedside
Dropp’d by the raven in my own
It was the white hand of my precious brother
Raven, tell me why you here are flown

He said, ‘your brother, slain in the battle,
Naked, unburied on the strand;
He is now lying with a thousand horsemen
Dead in that far-off foreign land

***

Murat
A splendid song sung splendidly, there is
Parnassus in the pitch, Orpehus
Might have penn’d it, perhaps you’ll send the score

Miroladovitch
On one condition – you sing me a song

Murat
A song?

Miroladovitch
Why yes!

Murat
A song… ah yes… but first

Murat takes a drink of wine to clear his throat

 

 

MARLBROUGH IS GOING TO WAR

Marlbrough’s going to war
Marlbrough’s going to war
Marlbrough’s going to war
Don’t know when he’ll come back
Don’t know when he’ll come back

Marlbrough s’en va-t-en guerre
Mironton mironton mirontaine,
Marlbrough s’en va-t-en guerre
Ne sait quand reviendra
Ne sait quand reviendra.

Marlbrough’s going to war
Marlbrough’s going to war
Marlbrough’s going to war…
Don’t know when he’s coming back

***

Miroladovitch
That wins the brilliancy prize my friend
To think but yesterday we might have met
As soldiers in the field, with sabres drawn,
Slashing life from lives, bereft of hearing
Sweetnesses sweeping thro’ each others’ souls

Murat
Thank fate such awful bloodshed ne’er befell
& hope to God & Emporers ne’er will

Miroladovitch
I concur, now come, a village nearby
Stands home to some particular beauties
Like nosegays to smell & sweetmeats to taste
All their talk is of some handsome monarch
& how they are dreaming silky pleasure
He never could have tasted in Paris

Murat
If they would desire the meeting so much
One must respect all customs when abroad

Miroladovitch
Good man – Captain Akhlestyshev, bring up
King Murat’s horse & mine… your majesty
Please step this way

Murat
Tho’ very far from home
I feel at home with unremitting joy

Exit Murat & Miroladovitch


THE CONCHORDIA FOLIO

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

 

Interview: Damian Beeson Bullen

Viriathus: Scenes 14-17


Scene 14: The Tent of Viriathus

Viriathus is sleeping / Audax, Minurus & Ditalco enter quietly / at a given signal Minurus holds Virathus down, Audax yanks back his head & Ditalco stabs him through the throat

Audax
{whispering}
It is passed, Viriathus, he is dead

Minurus
What have we done

Ditalco
We have stilled the slaughter

Audax
His body is a sacrifice to peace

Ditalco
Washing the blood away enables time
Before discovery, by when we shall
Be far-off & safe from this fatal thrust

Audax
But Caepio first, our promise fulfill’d

Minurus
Our murder done, you mean

Ditalco
Please, Minurus
Let it go, the gnawing rat of conscience
Replace with hopes of happier futures
For all of us & all our families

Audax
Tongina’s grief awaits a tender friend

Exit Minurus, Audax & Ditalco – the sun rises – enter Gulucia

Gulucia
Good morming my lord, time to face the day
Such an unusually long repose
Your lovely wife attendance shall make soon
Let me bathe you in fragrant rosewater
Tongina loves her husband to be clean
If you do so permit… Viriathus
Are you awake, master, are you alive?

Gulucia takes off the helmet of Viriathus – he rushes out of the tent & returns a few moments later with Camalo & Arantonio

Gulucia
Awake Viriathus , awake,

Arantonio
Shake him

Camalo
{checking pulse}
He is dead

Arantonio
Dead!?

Camalo
But how

Gulucia
It cannot be

Arantonio
What pungent hail of woes rain upon us
With painful jolts, then melting drench in tears

Camalo
Could this be murder, instinct wrangles thus
At point of greatest danger made bereft
Of our general & his genius

Arantonio
A timely happenstance make no mistake
A poisoning perhaps

Gulucia
Impossible
Each liquid drop, each morsel I prepare

Camalo
Then you our chief focus of suspicion

Enter Arco & Cabruno

Arco
It was not him

Arantonio
Soothsayer, what you say?

Arco
Who else had access to this tent last night

Camalo
Minurus, Audax, Ditalco, yes them
{Cabruno goes to inspect the body}
But

Arco
But what

Camalo
But it could not have been them
Why would they…

Cabruno
Look, here, daggertip punctures
Point deeply where the chinskin folds o’er throat

Gulucia
O day of grief, of weeping of despair
Of Lusitanian lamentations
Whose like shall ne’er be heard

Arantonio
Men, we must try
To hold as noble bearing as befits
The virtuousness of Viriathus
Prepare the pyre, send messengers abroad
The funeral begins tomorrow dusk

Cabruno
We must down hunt these treacherous jcackals

Arco
The gods will find a better fate for them
Than instant death before their guilt consumes
Their living fibres like a wasting plague

Enter Tongina

What is happening, what is the matter
With Viriathus, stand aside at once

Gulucia
Tongina – he is – he is

Arantonio
He is dead

Tongina
{wailing}
No————– But how

Arco
Murder

Camalo
By murderers foul

Cabruno
By Minurus, Audax & Ditalco

Tongina
How do you know

Arco
We know

Tongina
Why would they so

Arantonio
Roman gold?

Gulucia
They met with Caepio on the behalf
Of Viriathus hours before his death

Tongina
Too much, too much! Too little have I loved
This man enough, I shared him far too long,
Go, all of you go, leave us,
I wish to be alone with my husband

Exit all apart from Tongina

Tongina
When I met you I caught a falling star,
Your heart it was, that whisper’d unto me,
‘I love you,’ with a sigh-tempest of breath,
This breath gone now, & like a melt of snow
That make no noise, your silence ends our joys,
For we are ever absent from the sphere
That is the intersuredness of love,
Knock upon its memorial entrance,
I’ll never get back in, my own profess
Of love, like gold to airy thinness beat;
What sadness has descended on my soul!
The firmness of my being now in thrall
To some dark watcher, ever thro’ my days
That stands & haunts me ’till I weep once more!


Scene 15: The Roman Camp

Caepio is reading a scroll / enter Sempronius with Audax, Ditalco & Minurus

Sempronius
Enter, Caepio has been awaiting

Audax
It is done

Caepio
What is done

Ditalco
We have killed him

Caepio
O you have have you

Audax
We did as you asked

Caepio
Did I, O yes I did, but as men might
Change their own minds I seem to have changed mine

Ditalco
You have what

Caepio
Weeelll – I thought about it more
& realised it never pleases Rome
When Generals are slain by her soldiers
No, not at all, as such I cannot deal
with such dishonorable men as you

Audax
But our rewards

Caepio
Will not be forthcoming

Sempronius
We must set an example for the world
Traitors who bounty chiefs shall not be paid

Caepio
But I am not a man who lets distaste
Oertake decision-making, you may keep
Whatever you were given yester-e’en,
Safely, of course

Minurus
This is dark remission
You gave us your word, sworn on your Senate
In the eyes of your gods you must stand true

Caepio
My gods! stand true! this is quite a pickle


YE EAGLES OF ROME

Brothers in arms stick together
In the face of stormy weather
But the clever ones find shelter from the gales
& families of warriors
That shake a spear & roar at us
Are falling side by side in wild travails

Because Rome, Rome!
Rome is the greatest of them all
As we up rise the rest downfall
Because were Rome

Because Rome, Rome!
Rome is the greatest of them all
As we up rise the rest downfall
Because were Rome

Fly fly, ye legions of Rome
Go find a new home, fly, fly

Fly fly, ye eagles of Rome
Go find a new home, fly, fly

Brothers in arms stick together
In the face of all whatever
& we’ll never leave our honour to the crows
& families of warriors
That shake a spear & roar at us
Are falling side by side in crimson rows

Because Rome, Rome!
Rome is the greatest of them all
As we up rise the rest downfall
Because were Rome

Because Rome, Rome!
Rome is the greatest of them all
As we up rise the rest downfall
Because were Rome

Fly fly, ye legions of Rome
Go find a new home, fly, fly

Fly fly, ye eagles of Rome
Go find a new home, fly, fly


Caepio
I tell you what – why don’t you go to Rome
& bring it up with them, yes, they might pay
But me, I’m busy working on the war
Yes, better, that you go to Rome, & soon
Your countrymen will think the case severe
Diminuating names to shame’s disgrace

Audax
Your mind serpentine has mischief’d us

Caepio
No, not at all, your damage wrought by greed
Now leave me, I would not suffer the air
Of traitors creeping into honest lungs.

Ditalco
You scandalous scoundrel,

Caepio
Yes, goodbye… guards!
These murderous rascals throw from the camp

Minurus
This is outrageousness

Caepio
You are dismiss’d

Gaurds excort Audax, Minurus & Ditalco from the tent

Caepio
There is never honour, Sempronius,
In betraying one’s own for money mere


Scene 16:  A Mountain Valley

The body of Viriathus, clad in splendid garments & holding a falcata sword, is lain on a funerary pyre – troops of ssoldiers in armour form a circle around it – Can=bruno is sacrificing an animal

Cabruno
Ye gods of heaven, gods of underground,
What righteous sort has severed from the coil
That binds the universe to its bodies
We offer you this tender sacrifice
To carry Viriathus to the stars
Where he may gaze upon hour lives once more
{Tongina wails}
Our sun of finest magnitude has set
His life an inspiration to the song
Of those his spirit moves thro,’ we who mourn
His name’s elated immortality
To Viriathus

All
Viriathus, huh!

***

RECITATIVO TO THE DEAD

All
Viriathus (Viriathus, Viriathus)
You were glorious (glorius, glorious)
We ask you special spirit to watch over us

Repeat in a series of key changes until reaching the orginal key


Scene 17:  The Roman Senate

The Closing of the Viriathic War

Magistrate
Senators, the war of Viriathus
Is over, we have word from Saguntum
The same city Hannibal overthrew
& named New Carthage, just as Roman arms
Ensured to it Saguntum soon return’d,
So have the Lusitani surrender’d
To Caepio on favour’d conditions
They shall be simply subjects under Rome
Not friends, nor allies, as our former pact,
We vote today upon two positions;
The first – do we honour Caepio’s change
To the status of Lusitania
& if so, do we honour his return
With a glorious triumph into Rome,
Senators, your balls, let reason speak

The vote

Magistrate
How go the counts

Magistrate’s assistant
On the matter of law
Caepio’s conquest has been ratified
But there shall be no triumph for the coup

Magistrate
Very well, let these be struck on record
But there is one last appertanation
In reccomendation to your judgement,
The death of Viriathus wholly caus’d
By three of his own chieftans, they here seek
Renumeration, one of them shall speak
His name Ditalco, fetch him to the floor

Magistrate’s assistant brings in Ditalco

Magistrate
Well, you are here, what wish you to impart

Servilianus
Do not let him speak

Labaecus
He’s a murderer

Popilius
Barbarian

Senator 1
Regicide

Senator 2
Assassin

Ditalco
Let me speak

Servilianus
Rome will never pay traitors,
Who slay their chiefs

Ditalco
But we cannot go home
Caepio’s promise

Labaceus
Is not the senates’
Your leader was a noble man & you
Slew him for enrichment – you, the most vile

Magistrate
It seems the Senate does not wish to hear
Your case, this is a brain’d predicament,
Which we shall solve hen best course sprung to mind –
You are welcome to stay in the city
& work for your living – or better still
Join with the legions, their ranks depleted
Since Viriathus rose among your kind,
We need good soldiers, yes, this course is best,
Your case dismissed, please leave the Senate floor,

Enter Romans singing, Fly, Fly, Ye eagles of Rome……..’ / The Roman soldiers change the clothes of Ditalco to that of a Roman legionary


THE CONCHORDIA FOLIO

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

Interview: Damian Beeson Bullen

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

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

Viriathus: Scenes 7-8

roman-consul-costume--mw-107549-1.jpg


SCENE 7: The Hill of Venus


The Lusitanians are gathered around Viriathus, including Nicorontes, Audax, Dialco, Minurus, Astolpas, Tongina & Galucias, the sister of Viriathus

Astolpas
Viriathus

Chorus
Viriathus, Viriathus

Astolpas
Watches over us

Chorus
Over us, over us

Aud. Dit. Min
Lusitania’s, Lusitania’s, Lusitania’s sons
Are the Noblest warriors, warriors

Viriathus
No Roman laws
No Roman bread
We live for liberty & justice instead

Chorus
No Roman laws (no Roman laws)
No Roman bread (no Roman bread)
We live for liberty & justice instead

Galucias
My brother dear, my lord & life
This day is bless’d, propitious day
Consul Popilius has come
In a most suppliant way

Enter Popilius, Servilianus & escort

Popilius
Viriathus

Chorus
Viriathus, Viriathus

Popilius
Sir you honour us

Romans
Honour us, honour us

Viriathus
Rome’s emissaries

Chorus
Emissaries, emissaries

Virathus
Welcome among us

Chorus
Among us, among us

Chorus
Welcome, welcome,
Welcome to our home
Welcome! Welcome!
Ye emissaries of Rome

Viriathus
Come & share the simplest fare of our most humble home

Popilius
We bring you gifts, we bring you gifts
We bring you gifts that were sent from the Senate

Viriathus
Let us see, let us see,
Let us see those gifts sent here by your Senate

Viriathus & Tongina inspect the gifts

Tongina
Jewels, delicacies, riches as these
May please the pleasure-eyed people of Rome
Waylaid by treasures of the dullest sort
But in this land our private thought demands
Sobriety & temperance, & rank
Droplets of liberty above dead gold.

Viriathus
We do not live in your decadent sphere,
Think nothing of the trifles you dare gift
Better to leave this place

Servilianus
Harsh seems your tone

Popilius
We meant no insult, only to endow
Best salutations on you both awed
Sealing respect with gifts as is custom

Viriathus
Your gifts mean nothing to us or my wife,
When luxuries & wickedness entwine
What wretched lifetimes sluggishly ensue
Amply destroyed by excessive leisure

Popilius
I ob-

Viriathus
No words, your Latin taints the air
Go, now, go, go tell your noble senate
Viriathus rejects Rome’s vast riches

Servilianus
You might live to regret such utterance

Virathus
Or better that I die debt-shy & free

Exit Romans

Tongina
They forgot their presents

Viriathus
Burn the dresses
Bar one you like the look of best of all
Distribute the food throughout the country
Those jewels let us trade for Gaulish swords

Tongina
What honour in our house, a proconsul
What shame he ever thought he’d be welcome
They wish our flesh fattening in togas
Some citizen of their dismal cities
As servile as an ox-team to their state
Hemmed in by delibitating progress
Which places boxes on another’s tops
& calls them homes

Ditalco
They show signs of weakness
They come to us like decadent lepers

Minurus
They try & bribe us, fearing feats of arms
Now is the time to strike with all our strength

Viriathus
To strike with all our strength we must improve
Double, treble every effort, reject
Defeat even as possibility
Let perseverance imbue extertion
Energize ability, then triumph
Must follow in the footsteps of the bold

Audax
We are with you Viriathus, lead us
To victory

A great cheer

Viriathus
Return, men, to your homes
See your families, rest & love them well
Then on these slopes our brotherhood resume
When next the moon glows full

All
We shall be here!

Astolpas
Viriathus

Chorus
Viriathus, Viriathus

Astolpas
Watches over us

Chorus
Over us, over us

Viriathus
No Roman laws
No Roman bread
We live for liberty & justice instead

Chorus
No Roman laws (no Roman laws)
No Roman bread (no Roman bread)
We live for liberty & justice instead


unnamed.jpg

SCENE 8 – Sierra Morena

Roman Camp in a narrow pass – Proconsul Popilius in his tent – enter Servilianus in a state of agitation

Popilius
Servilianus, whatever the matter?
Your fluster bubbles up with canker fierce

Servilianus
The siege of Erisana is broken,
That Viriathus somehow snook inside
To sally at our circumvallations
Now we are routed, elephants scatter’d,
Hardly a quarto of the force remains,
The foe in hard pursuit

Popilius
How close

Servilianus
A mile
or less….

Alarum blows

Herald
General, Proconsul, we are
Under attack, the camp is over-run

Popilius
Draw you sword, Servilianus, let us
Die today, together, fighting bravely
As would our ancestors, let the Senate
Speak our names with pride, my friend

Servilianus
It is drawn

They embrace / enter Viriathus & several men / Sevilianus & Popilius are standing back to back

Viriathus
Consul Popilius, we bring you gifts
Even your Jupiter could not refuse
They are the gifts of life, you wish to live?

Popilius
Of course, I have a family

Viriathus
& you

Servilianus
I do

Viriathus
Then lower your keen-edged weapons

Servilianus
How can we trust you

Viriathus
Well I understand
How trust wilts fickle under Roman gaze
But this is Lusitania, our word
Our bond, if Lusitanians offer you
Your lives they are assured, submit your arms
{Popilius & Servilianus hand over their weapons}
This is a precinct of Rome no longer
So say the soldiers of our blood conjoined;
Turdentanians, Bastetanians,
Vettones, Conii, Callaecians
Turduli, Carpetnani, Celticii –
Where there’s unity, there is victory,
Before them your legions were defeated,
The dreadful sounds of slaughter snaking ears,
Escape is impossible, surrender
Unconditional must be, the only
Chance you have to save seven thousand lives
Do you accept

Popilius
What are the terms

Viriathus
{pointing to a map}
You must
Withdraw from here & here & here & here
Then recognize our rule in those places
& everywhere from here to here & here
Return’d to Rome, ratified by senate,
Whenever my country in discussion
Say, ‘amici populi romani,’

Popilius
Such butterfly humility you bring,
Request no extraordinary stretch

Servilianus
Your terms are fair, you could have ask’d far more

Viriathus
My people tire of war, too many scenes
Of blood practicioners, this victory
Denoument deserves, let it be enough
You are surrounded & facing
Certain annhialation, your men
Are hiding under barrack tents in fear
We’re set to burn them down with them beneath
Unless prepar’d surrender is now sign’d
{handing over scroll}
Peruse it please

Popilius
Our defeat so assured
{Popilius reads the scroll}
Excellent Latin, tad colloquial,
But polish’d

Viriathus
Will you sign or will you die

Popilius
I will sign

Popilius signs the scroll

Viriathus
Now we are friends & allies
Tho’ better not to socialise today
You both are free to leave, & all your men,
But none of your possessions may you take
Except the shoes & clothes each wears this hour.

Popilius
You are very gracious Viriathus
I promise to personally assure
This treaty in the Senate, made witness
By Proconsul Popilius

Servilianus
& I
General Servilianus
Shall honour its progression into law
You are an admirable opponent
Fighting like some black panther in the dark
Made pale-faced moon look bloody upon Earth,
I’ve never met a mind as sharp as yours
From Syria out to the Belgic Seas.

Popilius
The day has been decided, & our fates
Servilianus, round up the soldiers
I need to write to Rome…
{exit Servilianus, Popilius turns to Viriathus}
So… would you mind

Viriathus
This tent now ours, Popilius, would you…

Popilius
Of course

Exit Popilius

Audax
You see how swiftly he effects
The old, grating, superior manner
The inks not yet dry on the surrender
Before the Romans thought they held command
We should not sit as timid as a lamb
We should just kill them all

Viriathus
But if we do
Rome will never forget, an eternal
Surge of vengeance will break against our land

Minurus
But they will surely break the oath

Viriathus
Perhaps
But if they do we’ll prove their better match
In adventures catching perilous days
Each fresh defeat inspires the beleagur’d,
Far better to refuse such resurgance
& leave them simmering surrender’s stew

Ditalco
Talk later boys, of boring politics,
We share the greatest victory today,
What are we waiting for, lets celebrate

Viriathus
Yes, of course, to the victor goes the spoils
The Romans say, & give the lion’s share
For them who fought like lions in the fray


THE CONCHORDIA FOLIO

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

Interview: Damian Beeson Bullen

Viriathus: Scenes 3-4

0e24fd1b9b2df27f6e074e8b6b0bfa77.jpg

SCENE 3 – The Roman Senate

The trial of Galba

Magistrate
Good morning senators, the day’s order
Begins with Galba & his recent wars
Fought in Iberia, & the murder
Of nigh nine thousand Lusitanians
Beneath the banner of a Roman peace,
The raiser of this matter, take the floor.

Lucius
Members of the Senate, my thanks are due
In advance, when you to listen to my pleas
For justice at this most scandalous trial,
I am Lucius Libro, plebeian
Tribune, elected to speak, most dismay’d
The good name of the Romans sacrosanct
Our honour more important than is fame,
Yet this, this perfidious Praetor
This ‘Galba’ brings shame upon the Senate,
For when abroad a general of Rome
Must represent our statutory claims
Of fairness wrought from order & from law
Cato! Would you be so kind as to speak,
Inform the senators in more detail
Whom, I feel assur’d, with keenest intent
Will listen well & with a deep respect
For you, truly the wisest among us,
Who steer’d our ship of state so many storms,
What are your thoughts upon this dark affair!

Cato
So many things discourag’d me this day
From coming forward to this hoary shrine
Where my old feet have stood five thousand times –
My years, my time of life, my voice, my strength,
I felt, nevertheless, when reflecting
On such crucial matters, I had to act,
Forsooth, the roots of these desperate wars
Lie with ourselves, not thirty years ago
Iberia was a hive of honey,
Our governors bears pawing at its gold,
Extortions, epidemics, proportion’d
Exploitation grating, so to account
Call’d I Publius Furios Philus
Personally, timely castigation
That did not go unnoticed in the West –
The Lex Calpurnia was introduced
& the whole peninsular bath’d in peace,
Until Galba’s pitiless ambition
Breaking treaties slaughter’d signatories
Of what our Senate deem’d a sacred text,
So he could swim in fallible plunder,
This he distributed to his soldiers
Not very much at all I hear them say,
His friends receiv’d a little & the rest
kept for his guts; Senators, sheer murder
Was done in Lusitania, for gold
Not punishing such criminality
Will send out a devastating message
That the Roman concord mere illusion
& massacres the only terms we deal

Magistrate
Praetor Galba, the floor if you please

Galba
Fellow senators, friends & foes alike,
Whether cherishing, opposing, my deeds
Lusitania primitive remains,
Makes strange pictures to a cool spectator,
They way they live their lives like high treason
To the virtues & values of our times,
We cannot simply allow them islands
Of impish liberty, while to the north
& south & east we press Hispania
Into our satin folds, we must never
Allow their independance poet sung
Else rebellions will sprout up like weeds
In an old man’s garden, his limbs too stiff
To root them out with tools & brutal strength –
Are not till’d plots superior to scrub?
Are fruits not improv’d by cultivation?
I plotted there for progress a glory,
Safe in our sturdy shields we stow the seeds,
The ploughshares of our swords have stirr’d the soil,
& we shall grow a province from the dirt!

Magistrate
How do you plead

Galba’s brother, Gaius, brings out two boys & a girl

Galba
I refuse to answer
I’ll make instead appeals elemental
To the good faith of the people, see these
Three Children; the two youngest share my blood,
The taller boy he is the grieving son
Of Sulpcius Galus, whose dying words,
A Lusitanian spear piercing chest,
Did gurgle to me, ‘look after my boy,’
{to Cassis}
Cassius, come to me, I embrace you
As my son,
{they embrace}
If today I am exiled
Or death-condemn’d, I tearfully bestow
Upon my brother, Gaius, both my sires,
Send to his care Cassius, son of Galus,
& beg him to forever oversee
Their fatherless estates, their future tears!

Cato
Wretched Galba! I shame to hear him speak!
By such sick pretences be not disturb’d,
Exciting pity has no place in law,
Even murderers share family homes

The Senate bursts into uproar

Magistrate
Silence, in the Senate, clear, clear the floor
We shall proceed in common to the vote
Balls, if you please, black guilty, white no fault.

The senators vote by placing a ball in a bag, either white or black

Magistrate
What is the count

Magistrate’s Assistant
Galba by twenty-five

Lucius
This is law debauched, maul’d by bribery

Magistrate
Silence, Lucius, else be in contempt
& find yourself on trial at your turn,
The Senate has spoken, Galba acquitted
You are free, Praetor, take your children,
To superpraise their moral upbringing
While raising them good citizens of Rome,
With that the matter closes, let us stray
Into the streets this Feast of Saturn day!

Exit Senators


Caractacus.jpg

SCENE 4 – A Valley in Lusitania

Surviving chieftans & warriors of the Lusitani meet in counsel.
With them is Arco the soothsayer

Arantonio
We cannot stay much longer in this vale

Minurus
Famine gnawing bellies no way to die

Camalo
But sallying from safety must ensure
Murderous encounters with legionairres

Audax
Over our lives hovers the flag of death
Let us send Vetilius messengers
With olive branches, apologizing
For foraging without the seal of law
& plead a dwelling, promise to obey
Rome in all things

Pisiri
It must be done

Arantonio
What else
Can we do

Camalo
We must submit

Enter Viriathus

Viriathus
We must fight,
The bad faith of the Romans never goes
They pride themselves in violating oaths

Arco
Tell us who he is who speaks so boldly

Viriathus
I am Viriathus, some may know me,
Most will not, I survived the massacre
& warrant not your petty, scowling looks
Whatever pass’d by destiny, mischance,
I am come among you, soldiers, recieve
My presence, while intimating futures
Long mused upon, of murdering Romans,
Vibrant plans of action, Vertilius
No Galba is, his soldiers can be beat.

Camalo
Tho’ words up-bubble with inspiring springs,
We are too weak to fight them, all the same

Viriathus
I disagree, I have studied that swamp
Of whinging invaders, poor imposters,
Each thuggish snout I solemnly defy
There is not a veteran among them,
Valour is difficult in a desert,
While we are nourish’d from that single pool
That urgency of liberty becomes,
Fresh spirit of our precious land distill’d,
Sup from it when misfortune approaches,
Taste the universal Lusitani,
For when all focuss’d under common stars,
Mountains amass from bursts of willpower,
Off whose steep slops torrential troubles pour,
Together we are mountains, let me lead
Whomever here would die for liberty!

Minurus
I am with you Viriathus

Audax
& I

The rest cheer

Arantonio
Your patriotic fever may bright burn
But there remains a dagger at our throats
One false step…

Arco
Let the ancestors decide

Ditalco
Bring out the prisoner

A Roman prisoner is brought on stage – Arco chops off his right hand & raises it to the sky

Arco
Holy Cariocecus – take this hand
& guide his entrails, weave them into truth

The prisoner is covered with coarse cloaks, then a knife plunged into his vitals. He drops to the floor. The soothsayer studies the fall of the cloaks

Arco
From fall of cloaks auspicious auguries,
From trailing entrails unsuspicious truth,
From draining veins futurity pulses,
Our sacred Gods choose you, Viriathus

Arantonio, Camalo, Minurus, Audax, Ditalco
Viriathus!

Camalo
What of those plans you spoke?

Viriathus
Come gather close about me, listen well,
For detail is important – every man
Shall have his job to do, some more than one;
The Romans march like an elephant mare,
Slow, clumsy, ponderous – from armour’s weight
From ignorance of our ancyent trackways,
& from horses’ inferiority –
Why fight a tusker risking ivory,
Better pepper spears from safest vantage
& spring our clever ambushes from rocks
Thro’ rows of rushing tridents, incursions
Made in the dead of night, in heat of day,
Deluding with illusions & with snares,
Corner to corner striking, make them cry,
‘There is no haven in Iberia!’
The very mercy of the law screams out,
‘Iberia rejects its conquerors!’
Carpetania, Bastitania
Rome’s allies now, let us ravage them first
Who’ll join us promptly afterwards, the rest
Will follow soon, protecting precious crops,
While in the north the Numantines should rise
When noticing our spirit has revived
With such conviction, they will not abide
The Roman yoke no longer, out of pride.

Ditalco
Hail Viriathius

Arantonio, Camalo, Minurus, Audax
Hail Viriathius

Camalo
In you Cariocecus is reborn

Minurus
Cariocecus

Arantonio, Camalo, Audax, Ditalco
Cariocecus!

With great noise and barbaric clamor, the warriors surround Viriathus dancing, beating drims & singing “Cario-Cario-Cariocecus”- shaking their long hair, waving weapons & breaking out into ritualised mock combat


THE CONCHORDIA FOLIO

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

Interview: Damian Beeson Bullen

Viriathus: Scenes 1-2

1510429308_sons_of_ares_by_ethicallychallenged-d6kx22u.jpg

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


sig-lambrento-the-soothsayer-by-aranthulas-d9ary4f.jpg

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

Composing Conchordia: Provence

received_1039007066465346.jpeg

At the teddy bear shrine of Elizabeth Drummond

Just as Shakespeare toured Italy as a prelude to the writing of his Italian plays, when deciding to compose a conchord on Gaston Dominici, I thought a story-hunting trip to Provence in order to commune with the ghosts of that most famous of 20th century crimes would surely help my craft. The crime in question is the 1952 roadside murder of nutritionist Sir Jack Drummond, his wife & their 10 year old daughter. They had camped for the night near a farmhouse owned by Gaston Dominici, a 75 year old patriarch in whose barn was kept the WW2 carbine which shot Sir Jack & his wife, & then clubbed to death little Elizabeth. A shocking case which brought the world to the Durance Valley & also sucked to the surface old family quarrels & familiar local feuds which in the end saw Gaston sentenced to death. In the clear light of seven decades it seems likely that the perpetrator was Gaston’s grandson, 16 years old & probably drunk at the time, Roger Perrin.

unnamed (1).jpg

Last Thursday myself, Spud, Victor Pope & ex-Tinky Disco bandmate Al Roberts all made our bleary-eyed ways to Edinburgh airport for a 9.45 AM flight. Me & Spud always get wound up by Al leaving his house in a slow-shabby fashion, so opted to get to the airport ourselves – I took a tram & he the shuttle bus. Vic & Al shared an Uber without any mess-ups, which surprised us & proved a good omen to our week together on the road. As we stepped onto the tarmac to board our plane, the Scottish chill was fully raging & I was very much looking forward to a respite from the seemingly endless Caledonian winter.

ob_0c1e19_les-noces-de-protis.jpg

Gyptis choosing Euxene

A handful of hours later we were in Marseille & checking into our Air B&B right beside the Old Harbour, or Vieux Port. This was the spot where in 600 BC a guy called Euxene arrives from Phocae (an ancient part of Turkey) just in time for the local king’s daughter’s ‘choosing ceremony.’ In short, among a group of gathered suitors, Euxene was the one given a goblet of wine by princess Gyptis, who would later change her name to Aristoxenus. Euxene & Aristoxenus, now that’s already got the hallmarks of a conchord, I thought to myself, in the same way I thought that Gaston Dominici has a Motzartean ring about it. Looking at the Gyptis story at that point, tho, it unfortunately seemed a bit weak to make a conchord out of…

84415204_10159215774313776_845121449273327616_n.jpg

Marseille with the lads was fun. Kicking back with a smart TV & cheap beer in the hypermodern flat or on the balcony overlooking the harbour, with the pointed cathedral rising on the central Marseille hill beyond. On the smart TV, we watched Netflix, played all our music videos, while Al could send to it our recent recordings – an album called the New Truth. I couldn’t help but notice the technological advancement of the species – the last time I was in Provence was 20 years ago & for fun me & my pal, Bryn, ended up making a chess board out of paper & stones. Here’s an extract from my journal of that time.


May 10th, 2000

img_20160322_084400272-e1540464316477.jpg

We woke up proper spangled, but a quick dip in the exquisitely cool pool proved enough of a respite from our frail noggins & we were able to pack & head out to Cannes. It was the first day of the festival & full of noisy Yanks, so we soon got out of dodge, striking inland on a bus to Grasse, a lovely town stacked high against the hillside. We had a couple of hours to kill so wandered around a bit & to our delight found it very swell, with lovely narrow streets & great prospects of the Cotes d’Azore in the distance.

After sending off our postcards we hopped on a bus north along La Route Napoleon. The view was spectacular as we climbed & wound thro’ the mountains, each one clad in trees giving a baize effect, & I could imagine Napoleon & his column following the same road. A rapid mist descended, however, followed soon after by heavy rain which showed no intention of letting up as we were unceremoniously dumped in the wee hamlet of Seranon. We dived into the only bar around for shelter & refreshment, obtaining a few funny looks off the funny looking locals.

img_20181028_122655834.jpg

In the days before group emails & blogs

Eventually we found out the bus north didn’t leave til the morning, so we were stuck. We didn’t fancy putting the tent up in the rain so opted for a hotel. A friendly couple drove us a half mile down the road to their mate’s hotel, which was closed. Luckily the mustached madame opened it up for us (a whole hotel to ourselves), but we were forced to share a double bed (with pants on obviously). As soon as we paid our 15 francs the sun came out & we heaved a table up to the roof, bought wine, cheese, bread & sausage & had a most pleasant supper among the mountains. It was cool, me musing & Bryn sketchin’ & it felt nice to be doing spot of real travelling, the only sound being the constant chuckle of crickets. Bryn very correctly brought up the point we were stuck in a one horse dive & had less than two days to get to Venice, but I re-assured him all would be reyt. We made a chess-board out of paper & stones & played to the setting of the sun, before all the wine & well-thought-out moves took their toll & sent us both a-slumbering.


IMG_20200131_134305.jpg

At a monument to Rimbaud, Marseille seafront

Fastforward to 2020, on our first full day in France – Brexit day as it so happened – we enjoyed a daytime riviera stroll, followed by a wicked night out at bohemian La Plaine – a very funky part of Marseille. Drinking & dancing & downing tequilas, we met an English busker called Charlie, & his Slovakian girlfriend. The gods had answered our pleas, & he actually had 3 guitars. ‘Don’t worry, we won’t steal them – it’ll be too expensive to check them into our flights back,’ put him off from coming round for a jam, but he agreed to meet us the next day for a wee busk.

IMG_20200201_180739.jpg

83561599_10159215776428776_1291774017715306496_n.jpg

84292382_10159221106468776_2314000337519771648_n.jpg

It was more than a joy the following afternoon to find ourselves all jamming together by Marseille harbour to the infinite delight of the locals. Our immediate audience consisting of an annoying kid who kept banging the guitars, a Czech street lassie & a Parisenne rock-chick who finds Marseille a cheaper place to live. Before then, I’d taken a solo morning mission up to Allauch, a hilltop village right on the edge of the Marseille conurbation. It was at the old castle, even higher still, that I filmed the following Pendragon Poetry post, talking all about Conchordia.

IMG_20200201_113444.jpg

Allauch

IMG_20200201_130246.jpg

I was up in the hills as I’d read that a possible Gyptis object had been found in a hillside cave nearby. The curator of the slick local museum begged to differ, but I said I’m a poet & I didn’t want the truth to get in the way of a good story. Yes, a conchord was being born & on the way back to the appartment I googled a few Greek myths & found one, which I felt I could use – Alcyone and Ceyx. Basically, they offended the gods by calling themselves Hera & Zeus, & ended up being drowned & then turned into birds. A little creative furnace-burning later & I’d transmorped the myth into Euxene & Aristoxenus being turned into the the islands of Pomègues and Ratonneau which lie off the mouth of Marseille harbour. Like the Phaecean ship which carried Odysseus to Ithica being turned to stone.

900_Ceyx and Alcyone

Alcyone & Ceyx

unnamed (2)

Pomègues and Ratonneau

Compositionwise I only managed a few speeches from VIRIATHUS in Marseille – the second Senate scene – in the early morning before the boys woke up, mainly at a cafe by the harbour. I usually compose on my morning East Lothian walks with Daisy, accompanied otherwise only by nature and the essential headspace needed to really zone out. Not so easy in a busy city as ever. There was no way I was going to achieve my goal of finishing Viriathus on this trip & then starting ‘The Flight of the White Eagles, ‘ – my conchord about the retreat from Moscow – the notes for which I worked intensively on before I set off. Still, they are all in the bank & Viriathus should be finished within days. I’ll be recreating the antics & dashing chit-chat of Seargant Bourgogne soon enough!

Capture

We left Marseille the next day, the sunshine heating up, arriving by train at the Durance valley & the station which serves La Brilliane & Oraison. The River Durance patches its way between them on a hugely wide stony river bed, with hills framing the scene on either side, & the snow-capped Alps closing the vista far to the north at Digne. Public transport round these parts is pretty neglible, & with it being Sunday afternoon no shops were open. Of that first of the two matters, we soon hit paydirt. After walking over the bridge to Oraison, beyond the frustratingly closed intermarche, we came to a carpark where I asked a lovely fella could he take us to Dabisse, & he agreed gladly.

IMG_20200202_180849.jpgDabisse is a wee village with a bar & a bus stop kinda thing. The bar was well busy, tho, its car park full of temporary pebbledash for a meeting of the region’s petanque teams. It was a really serendiptous, masonic, monastic moment listening to the clink-clinks & murmours of the play. Getting a carry-out together we went back to our villa & gorged on the food previous Air B&B-ers had left behind – a severe stroke of luck for a hungry bunch on a Sunday. I’d reminded Victor Pope of that time in Calcata, Italy, on another day we couldn’t buy food – the Day of the Dead. Here’s the account from my ‘Marching on Parnassus‘ blog.


NOVEMBER 1ST, 2011

We reach’d Calcata from Rome on a train & a bus (paying a euro each in total) & they both immediately fell in love with the place. There is a certain magic to the wee town & its citizens, & our arrival could not have been timed better. Twenty years ago the town was practically deserted, but suddenly a bunch of hippies & artists moved in, opened galleries & restaurants & the place is now thriving. I’d met an American here last time, the dance teacher of Greta Garbo among other famous Hollywood dignitaries, who I was sad to hear had passed away last year at the age of 88. I’m not surprised, tho’, he was smoking & drinking wine like crazy when I met him. I got the news by popping round to his house to borrow the same guitar that I used to borrow, from another American, Pancho. Being American he’d instigated some Halloween festivities in the town a few years ago, a festival not normally celebrated by the Italians, but one they have taken to like crazy in this wee pocket of the world.

img_20181028_112151247.jpg

Pancho told me to see Bruno, the long-haired owner of the only bar in town, where we were intercepted by an English photographer called Stephen, who took charge of the situation & led me off through a world slowly Halloweening up with ghoulish decorations. At Bruno’s the magic of Calcata kicked in, & an hour or so later, being passed around from house-to-house & person to person, we had a fuckin’ gig for Halloween in the piazza! The Saraswati reunion was on! Our main help came from Terril, a thirty-ish New Yorker who’d shacked up with an older Italian guy called Oswaldo.

PA300035.jpg

She found us guitars & a place to practice in this Dutch ladies theatre-cum-gallery complete with a beautiful grand piano on the stage. Waiting for the gig we spent our days lazing outside the 2,500-year old Etruscan caves we were camped by. I’d even found a bed & moved into one of them, while a much larger affair had been turned into something like a Hobbit-house, where we cooked on an open fire, the smoke billowing from a chimney somebody had hewn from the rock.

It was time for the gig itself. The warm up was cool, watching the kids in fancy dress trick or treating while I consumed copious amounts of red wine: you can get a litre of the stuff – that’s a bottle & a third – for 65p. After blagging guitars off the main band – a cover-chomping rockathon all in the English tongue – we went on stage to about 3000 people, who were all wandering through the narrow streets or bustling in the main piazza.

Somehow we pulled it off, with Victor dancing about like a hippy-Bez, blowing wild notes through his melodica. Up front Paul rattled confidently through a great set which had the piazza jumping, driven on by a drummer – Allessandro – who’d joined us half way through the set. It was there that I felt another of those cycles grow to a close. I guess I began my singing career on the streets of Burnley when I was about 8, plucking up the courage to knock on some old granny’s door to sing a rendition of ‘Halloweens coming.’ Roll on twenty-odd years & I had to do the same again, only this time the crowd was 3,000 rowdy & random Italians.

At the end of the gig a few folk even gave us cash – which as I write today is proving hard to spend. It’s All Souls Day, y’see, & Halloween derives from All Hallows Eve. To the Protestant traveler that means all the shops are shut & the restaurants are charging £30 for a seven course meal. Not expecting this, after we raved it up last night, including a wicked djembe session where I tamborined myself into wine-soaked bliss, we came back to our caves & gorged all the food, except for a bag of pasta & an apple.

Improvising, however, in proper Bear Gryls style, I cooked us some nettle-pasta, beefed up with the apple. Honestly, it was pretty tasty, spiced up with pepper & oregano it went down a treat. It was at this moment that Victor showed his middle-class roots, & had already made his mind up that anything with nettles in just had to be awful. I dont think he realised that up until about 100 years ago, nettles were an important part of the British diet. Anyhow, he sampled one pasta tube, declared the whole thing tasteless & plumped for a ten-pound chicken dish later in the day… which was so meagre & unsatisfying for him I even gave him a quarter of my later-day takeaway pizza to fill him up! He should have had the pasta methinks!

PA3000381-1024x768.jpg


83513840_10159223707613776_6212182684811132928_o.jpg

Ah, the good old days! Roll on a nigh decade & I found myself composing Viriathus, drinking wine by the pool of a plush villa in Provence. We had a look at the pool, but soon covered it up again – early February means a bit of algae & no need for pool-use, I guess.

IMG_20200203_143535.jpg

The fridge was now full. We’d hitched a lift to Oraison in the morning off the lovely John Christmas (real name Jean-Noel), stocked up at the supermarket, then caught a taxi back to Dabisse for the day. And what a day, far from the Scottish chill and ended by a walk with Al for a sunset view over the Durance valley.

Some of those 21 degree sun-soaked, Senate-based Viriathus lines composed by the pool read like this ;

84407100_499709420733453_7975519110622609408_n

Galba
Senators of our majestic city
& many other regions in its stride,
This treaty is, in the highest degree,
Dishonorable to all we stand for,
Staining Servilianus’ career,
Viriathus is a craved barbaric,
Beheading, disembowelling at will,
A bandit on an unsubsistive soil –
To him a border is a line to cross
To empty beaten innocents of blood
& topple pillars, pillaging obscene.

Lupius
Obscene? Objection! You paint him monster,
Humanity, his high ascendency,
Distributes unifying spiritus
That never in the passage of this war,
In armies of tribal variety,
Was ever spill’d sedition, all obey’d,
All fearless in the presence of danger –
As statesman he was neither humble-knee’d
Nor overbearing in leagues & treaties,
Faithful, exact, aequis, veritable,
Vir Duxque Magnus, ancient ideals
Penetrated atoms of existence,
& as the adsertur of Hispania
Let us assert our honour to his will
Make good his claims to the fame of the world,
Too many lost already in that place
We owe him our respect

Galba
We owe him death
The retributive slew for youth hard lost.

IMG_20200203_172523.jpg

IMG_20200203_173506.jpg


So to yesterday – the ultimate object of this mission & a trip to La Grand Terre, the farmhouse of the Dominicis. It began in fine fashion with me & Spud arguing about how to get to Lurs – it was a case of his gammy leg versus my abundant energy & in the end the lads got a taxi & I walked the muddy Durance-side fields down to the bridge & back up the other side. I got to Lurs scrambling up its rocky slopes & arrived at its medieval core to see the lads waiting at the entrance. Once reunited we hit the old goat tracks down to the road, & using a little satnav orienteering came out at the very spot where the Drummonds were murdered. The poignant teddy bear shrine is testament to the locals’ indignation at the death of a child.

IMG_20200204_115538.jpg

IMG_20200204_115915.jpg

IMG_20200204_140554.jpg

IMG_20200204_140810.jpg

Looking back from Lurs Terrace on the way I had walked – Dabisse is the village middle left & I walked by the Durance to the right of the photo

IMG_20200204_140818.jpg

Oraison is the town in the middle distance – I crossed the bridge there & walked to this point

IMG_20200204_140856

IMG_20200204_140919.jpg

IMG_20200204_142531.jpg

IMG_20200204_143819.jpg

received_467187994170755.jpeg

Approaching La Grand Terre

After La Grand Terre, I’d got it in my head that we could ford the Durance – Dabisse was more or less facing us on the other bank. The lads humoured me & watched me make tentative efforts on a scouting mission in the shallower bits – but the plan was soon aborted & we caught a taxi back. That night I ruminated in a Pendragon fashion on the Drummond murders & got a pretty plausible idea of what went on that night – which I’ll use in my composition.

IMG_20200205_143046.jpg

The next day we chilled in the sun til 2PM, caught a taxi to the station, then a train to Saint Antione, conducted a wee walk to our Air B&B off La Pennes Mirabeau, then caught the Rangers-Hibs game over beers. At 6AM we hired a lift off our landlord to the airport & we were finally in Edinburgh by 9.30 AM. On the flight I pretty much worked out the structure of the Dominic conchord – 4 acts with a cliffhanger ending each one – & began sketching it out on the inside cover of an Agatha Christie book I was reading on the holiday- A Pocketful of Rye. Just like Agatha I was going backwards from the ending, & there’s a chance I could have a wee Mousetrap on my hands if I get mi ‘ead down. With bangin’ tunes & Shakespearean blank verse, of course!

IMG_20200206_093553.jpg


THE CONCHORDIA FOLIO

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

 

35062508_10156430365647520_5136386788406853632_n.jpg

Interview: Damian Beeson Bullen