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COVER ILLUSTRATION :
A wharf in Cadiz: Bartolome's song.
Reprinted from a copy In the collections of the
University of Florida Librairies
Reprinted by permission of
UNIVERSITY OF THE WEST INDIES, Kingston, Jamaica
A Division of
KRAUS-THOMSON ORGANIZATION LIMITED
Printed in Germany
VOL. 7. Nos. 1 AND 2.
CARIBBEAN QUARTERLY SPECIAL ISSUE
DRUMS AND COLOURS
An Epic Drama Commissioned for
the Opening of the First Federal Parliament
of The West Indies, April 23rd 1958.
AUTHOR'S NOTE 2
DRUMS AND COLOURS 3
PRINCIPAL CAST 101
NOTE ON FIRST PRODUCTION 104
List of Illustrations
A WHARF IN CADIZ BARTOLOME'S SONG 21
THE MURDER OF ANTON 70
NOTE ON MANUSCRIPTS
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Africa in West Indian Poetry
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Jamaica Prepares for Invasion, 1779 Robert Neil McLarty
The First Chapter in Caribbean History ... Eric Murray
Frederick Douglass Letters from the Haitian Legation... Benjamin Quareis
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The Teaching of History in the Americas J. H. Parry
Festiials of the Calendar in St. Lucia Daniel J. Crowley
Launching a Schooner in Carriacou Bruce Procope
The Shadow and the Substance Rawle Farley
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The Traditional Masques of Carnival Daniel J. Crowley
The Changing Attitude of the Coloured Middle Class
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Carnival in New Orleans ... Munro S. Edmonson
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Trees His Testament Philip S
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Use and Disuse of Languages int the IJest Indies Douglas
Juan Gualberto Gon z, A ('iCban Portrait Dalen P
Dark Puritan M. G. S
Words for Rnt Derek V
M3erniids and Fairymauids or 1'ater Gods and Goddesses
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The Negro Writer and his World ... eorge
Briti.-h West Indian Immigration to G cat Britain Jolul Fi
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An Anthology of West Indian Verse
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A trip to Nassau, 1882 Smnuel Proctor (Ed.)
A Royal Birthday in Haiti Tcaii Comhaire
Cultural Relations within the Caribhhan ... ... Lou Lichtveld
IT was suggested by the University College of the West Indies Extra-mural
Department that, as a centre-piece for the Federal Celebrations at the Opening
of the First Parliament of the West Indies in Trinidad, in April 1958, a drama
depicting the four hundred years of West Indian history might be enacted.
Our proposal was accepted by the Unit Governments, who agreed in
principle to underwrite this project, and other items, for a Festival of Arts.
The main problem which faced us was what form this chronicle should take.
Should the piece be a history lesson told in a series of tableaux with
commentary-a pageant, in fact, colourful and shifting, but at best a facile
convention with little real significance? Or might it be conceived as a dramatic
'ext with a linked sequence, a saga told by a poet with concern and insight?
After reading scripts by a Trinidadian and two Jamaican authors we soon
realized that to stage scores of little disconnected scenarios, fodder for a dozen
possible films, would be unsatisfactory and well-nigh impossible. Finally, in
August 1957, the Extra-mural Department commissioned Derek Walcott,
poet and playwright to write the "Epic" as it was subsequently called.
His selection and highlighting of certain characters and incidents
fundamental to the whole area of the West Indies, including Haiti for
example, from the beginning to the present day, inevitably meant the
exclusion of others, equally important, but of less significance to his general
pattern. Some readers of this play may feel that the theme of "War and
Rebellion" is not true to some aspects of our history. But the problem,
whatever the choice of theme, remains constant. It is three-fold! That of
reflecting the truth of the facts selected, that of retelling popular fancies of
romanticised fiction calculated to find an immediate audience response, and
that of meeting the requirements of drama in the limited time imposed by
Walcott has a fine sense of the past, but the epic is neither a photostat
nor a microfilm of history. He uses the telescope rather than the microscope
to focus upon the lives of his "four litigious men" Columbus, the discoverer,
Raleigh, the conqueror, Toussaint, the rebel, and Gordon, one of the first
martyrs of constitutional rights-betrayed, corrupted, misjudged or militated
In the last section, from Emancipation to Federation, in which the issues
are touched on lightly, the author deliberately avoids "the sunshine patriot"
and the striking of heroic attitudes. Nevertheless he makes his comment on
nationhood in the poignant speech of Pompey, the little negro shoemaker,
as he dies in the arms of his comrades, and goes on to show our many sided
approach to religion and death in the final burial scene.
\Valcott scizcs upon these disturbed moments of crisis in the lives of his
four protagonists, moments which the history books can rarely evoke and
concentrates and weaves them into the pattern of the play. He defends this
attitude when he speaks in the prologue about raising these ghosts:
"To show the lives of four litigious men,
The rise and ebb of cause and circumstance,
For your delight, I raise them up again,
Not for your judgment, but remembrance."
And in doing so, the play reveals at once the two sides of the coin-the
idealism of endeavour which prompted these pioneers and the irony of
circumstance in which they suffered seeming defeat.
23rd April, 1960.
IN one or two instances, for purposes of thematic cohesion, I have re-arranged
dates and incidents, but the general pattern of discovery, conquest, exploitation,
rebellion and constitutional advancement has been followed. The play, fully
performed, runs well over three hours, however the scenes are so arranged that
interested producers can excise shorter, self-contained plays from the main
work, for example, the story of Paco, the El Dorado theme in the Raleigh
scenes, the betrayal of Toussaint and the relationship with M. Calixte (in
which the young Anton becomes the central figure), and the escapades of
Pompey. I have made a few alterations and several cuts from the acting script.
*L ..---II L" irl~
IHE STAGE IS SET WITH A CENTREPIECE OF REGIMENTAL AND
AFRICAN DRUMS, WITH THE FLAGS OF BRITAIN, FRANCE, SPAIN
AND HOLLAND. IN THE BACKGROUND, A CENTRAL BALCONY
WITH STEPS LEADING UP TO IT FROM EITHER SIDE OF THE
STAGE. A DISTANT BUGLE AND DRUM ROLL, THEN FAINT
SOUNDS OF CARNIVAL MUSIC. THE LIGHTS COME UP ENTER
YETTE, RAM, YU, POMPEY, RUNNING LED BY MANO. THEY
RUMMAGE AMONG SET PROPERTIES AND DRESS.
Ram, Pompey, Yette, Yu, like I hear them coming.
I got a plan boys, we going change round the carnival,
They bound to pass this alley, like I hear them approaching.
Position yourself, we going ambush this roadmarch!
(Enter CARNIVAL MAKERS: dancing)
Arawaks, Ashanti, Conquistadors!
Give them the bugle, Pomps!
We changing the march now to War and Rebellion!
(POMPEY blows bugle: quiet)
(CROWD objects. Shouts)
Ain't that Pompey the shoemaker?
Is Pompey the warrior starting from today,
And I want all you listen to what I go' say
(Climbing on a barrel)
This confusion going change to a serious play!
If anyone contradict what General Pompey said
A bullet from this musket, Pomps, go ahead.
Now you men of every creed and class
We know you is brothers when you playing mass,
White dance with black, black with Indian,
But long time, it was Rebellion
No matter what you colour now is steel and drums,
We jumping together with open arms,
But if you listen now, you going see
The painful birth of democracy.
For in them days it was
CROWD (Singing and dancing)
Bend the angle on them is to blow them down, is to blow 'hem down.
Bend the angle on them is to blow them down, is to blow zhem down,
When the bayonet charge, is the rod of correction,
Shout it everyone, when the bayonet charge,
Is the rod of correction, till rebellion!
All you get the idea, so le' we get organise now,
Now, some Spanish soldiers in a phalanx on the right,
So hoist up them halberds in a mass of steel spikes.
We picking three, four heroes, all in history, look a test
Disguise as Columbus, in the front pardner. Yes, I see
Walter Raleigh, up this side friend
(corLU.arL' and RALEIGH leave the crowd)
Where this man Mano acquire such knowledge?
No Horatio Nelson? He ain't in Mass this year? Well we going take what we
get. Toussaint L'Ouverture and his Haitian Rebellion. In front brother.
No Morgan? No Rodney? Ah I see George William Gordon. Now I want
a test who could spout the Queen English.
(GORDON and TC-USSAINT join COLUMBUS and RALEIGH)
Come up here pardner. Yes you.
(A tall WARRIOR appears from crowd
Now I want two masks, tragedy and comedy.
(Two MASKERS hand over masks to the warrior,
which he fixes to a staff).
As the figure of time and the sea, I giving you these two masks, and speak
the best you could, poetry and all. And everybody going act, every blest soul
going act the history of this nation. And now friend and actors, as the sun been
on his roadmarch all day cooling his crack sole in the basin of the sea, we
starting from sunset, through night to the dawn of this nation. Clear the stage.
Darkness, music and quiet. Right!
(All go off. Drum roll and bugle)
Before our actors praise his triumph, Time
Shows his twin faces, farce and tragedy;
Before they march with drums and colours by
He sends me, his mace-bearer, Memory.
To show the lives of four litigious men,
The rise and ebb of cause and circumstance.
For your delight, I raise them up again,
Not for your judgment, but remembrance.
And now that I revolve his tragic eyes
Upon this stage, I'll show you his device.
This barren height towards which the steps ascend
Is that fixed point round which some issue wheeled,
There our four heroes meet their common end,
There in harsh light, each age must be revealed.
Below them, on this level of the stage
The s)okes of normal action turn their course,
(Enter SPANISH SAILORS)
Just as these sailors, fished from a drowned age
Were simple men, obscure, anonymous.
And where the stage achieves its widest arc
The violence of large action shall take place,
Each sphere within the other leaves its mark,
As one man's dying represents the race.
So turn with me, far as your thought will reach,
By this drum's pulse, through the dissolving foam,
(Enter to drum beats, PRIESTS and
a choir of 4MERINDIAN ACOLYTES)
Time, 1499. A crowded beach.
Columbus leaves on his third voyage home,
Behind him, Governor Bobadilla, whom Isabel, Queen
Of this Castilian colony has decreed
To charge the old admiral with mismanagement.
By his heart's side, Las Casas, the grey friar.
Santo Domingo, while the sun's lamp descends,
Our actions start, the conqueror cracks the whip
A desolate conch sounds from the waiting ship
These ghosts Time raised are given back their speech.
Santo Domingo. 1499. COLUMBUS sent home in disgrace. COLUMBUS; FRANCISCO
DE BOBADILLA, Governor; LAS CASAS, Bishop of the Indies; INDIANS, SAILORS,
SOLDIERS, QUADRADO, Officer of the watch-
This is the ship that takes you back to Spain.
Our bodies are ribbed vessels admiral,
And being fitted thus, shipwreck is certain
Unless Christ is our pilot.
As Governor of the province of Santo Domingo,
I accept in the names of our two Sovereigns
The resignation of your recent office.
Your Excellency, despite the jurisdiction of our princes
Saw fit to contradict their majesties' edicts
Against these Indians who are their native subjects,
Against these add, this province's indiscipline,
The mounting, step, by step, to your great arrogance
And the mishandling of this Christian conquest.
For this, and all the rest, as public remonstrance,
I have seen it fit to send you home in irons.
I wish you a safe conduct to Cadiz. The chains.
(SOLDIERS chain COLUMBUS)
Kneel, for the blessing of the perpetual Church,
Keep in your days, that memorable seal
Of Christopher, who bore Christ to the west,
And let this hand that fights for the Indians' cause
Rest heaven's blessing on your foam white hair.
Jesus et Maria sit nobis in via. God go with you.
(Exit with ACOLYTES)
Vamos, mariners. set the ropes free,
Vamos, vamos, the sun is losing light.
(SAILORS hauling. A sail unfurls)
O Dio! Ayuta noy! 0 que some I Servi soy!
O voleamo! Ben servir 0 la fede I mantenir I
(Drumbeat, exit THE GOVERNOR, SOLDIERS, CROWD)
Excellency, my captain says the chains need not be used.
I'll wear these irons till we fold sail in Spain
Now lead me to my quarters, my good officer.
QUADRADO (to soldier)
You, take the admiral to the captain's quarters.
(Exit, a rope ladder let down from above)
A gentle dusk to thee, Quadrado.
You took us out of the port most commendably
Wilt thou have a biscuit, it appears wholesome,
But worms are mining in it, it should suit
Thy opinion of the times.
He's a poor scholar, lieutenant,
This world is like an orange, not a biscuit.
I have forbidden the use of wine till it is issued,
That is well known to you. Give me the wineskin.
I paid for it. (Hands it over)
Some get so drunk they have a sense of justice.
(Throws away wineskin)
When is your watch Bartolome?
With these two Christians. The cemetery patrol.
See you observe it. Come set the shrouds.
I hate the bloody authority of that officer.
There's not half a skinful of a man's blood in him.
Didn't he use to drink with us before?
Come set the shroud, you're a sailor, a drunk one.
He's changed fidelities, but hasn't lost his temper.
The penitential officer, he troubles me,
Tonight, you'll hear him pace the deck alone.
The fellow is a lizard, whenever the complexion
Of the world's opinion changes, then so does his,
Since Las Casas, apostle of the Indies made his sermons,
He has turned into a subtle hypocrite.
FERNANDO (fixing ropes)
Yet at what cost has this instruction gone ?
For every Arawak converted to a Christian
Thousands of them have perished in the mines,
Surely it will be a terribly steep bill
Which these grey friars will present to God.
One needs the Indians to work the mines. It's facts.
Either Spain gets the gold, or others will.
There's an extra wineskin down in the hold. Fetch it.
Fetch it yourself.
I'll fetch it.
Well as I live and breathe sour wine, a cannibal.
What dost thou want little Indian ?
Senor, I seek the officer of the watch.
Remove thy cap in the presence of authority.
Did'st thou not study the spectacle of the admiral?
There is thy officer meditating on a biscuit.
Kneel before Lieutenant Fernando and be christened.
Leave him alone, Garcia, his lip is trembling.
Senor officer, I kneel only to God.
GARCIA (grabbing him by the hair)
Thou art a cannibal,
Thou art a foul mixture, thou wert misbegotten
Between the mailed thighs of a lecherous soldier, kneel!
I will kneel down, I will kneel down, my officer.
Garcia, Quadrado should complete his his circuit soon,
If he should find thee torturing the boy.
You can't talk to this one, when he's drunk.
I'm not the Indian loving, hypocritical officer.
Swear this as a good Christian. I vow never to eat
White flesh again, be mutinous to a Spanish officer
Go, hang some lanterns up now, all of you, Garcia!
I am giving this barbarian some instruction,
He flouts all discipline, thanks to your good friars.
He's that way when he's drunk lieutenant, we had
A lew on share, he don't mean no harm with the kid,
Come fool, do what the officer has instructed.
I'll drench his head, he'll be alright, lieutenant.
My watch is midnight, and till the appointed glass,
I'll do no other labour for this officer.
This is the best of the Conquest, rebellious trash!
I won't be called filth before an Indian bastard.
Bartolome, Fernando, Go fetch some lanterns for the admiral.
Come, drunkard, let us harvest illuminations.
(Exeunt with GARCIA)
Come nifio, we'll walk the pavement of the deck
And watch the sun go down in the dark sea.
What is thy name, why art thou on this vessel?
These rotting ribs that hold the heart of Spain?
Paco, senor, I am the new grometto.
Thou art a boy of mixed blood, where is thy father?
In Spain, my lord, he was a Spanish soldier.
My mother died with the last moon in the mines,
My brothers would not work, and the dogs ate them.
Of what nation of the Indians art thou?
Of the Tainos, excellency.
The Tainos. Yes the peaceful ones.
How many will be left to slaughter now?
The Chibchas, the Chocos, the Mayas,
The Lucayos, the Tainos.
Many of our warriors were killed, senor,
It was a good thing. They were savages.
Nifio, there are no righteous wars. Listen. (Takes hour glass)
I shall show you the functions of a grometto.
This, Paco, is an hour glass, an ampolleta,
With each half hour, the top sphere of sand
Dwindles into the lower and marks that time.
Now when the lower half fills, reverse the glass,
And do this hourly, your watch is at midnight.
Unless we come too early into white seas,
In which event you must steady the glass.
By this we tell our speed and hourly
Express our thanks to Christ for our safe conduct.
Recite for me The Salve Regina.
Bendite sea luz, y la Santa Vera Cruz,
Y la Santa Trinidad.
With less speed and more faith.
What is the matter, what are you watching?
(COLUMBUS enters above)
The Admiral, my officer, why do his own people
Do him this dishonour, what has he done?
He disobeyed the Queen. Also he harmed your people.
Has thou not killed any savages, my officer?
Why do you ask?
My father also was a Spanish soldier,
I remember him, that he was such like you.
So you have learnt the value of our faith.
(removes a COIN)
Do you know what this is my little disciple?
It is gold, my officer, I have learnt that.
In the old world, that men called civilization,
Acquire it, if you wish to make some mark.
The true stamp of acquistive man is here,
Compounded in his image, not his maker's.
Study this coin, it gathers darkness around it,
And like the sun, brings its own darkness, guilt.
This barbarous metal, which has less iridescence
Now night descends than the star crusted sea,
Induced our country, mercenaries, and gentlemen
To sell their souls, for this, pus coloured metal
It is called money, my officer,
We did not call it that when in the ground.
(GARCIA, enters, unobserved, listening)
We gather this, grometto, with much devotion,
As peaceful Indians harvest yellow maize,
It makes our markets, and controls the state,
And sets up barriers that obscure that view
Where now the Admiral achieves his degradation.
And that is why the Admiral looked for these islands?
You must ask him yourself. Here keep the coin,
Since my own people taught you of its value,
See how it dims in the bewildering dusk,
But though you take it, please remember this,
That gold outlasts the wearer. Here keep our God.
I thank you, my officer, I shall keep it always.
Also, Paco, until this mutinous vessel reaches Spain,
Think of me not as your officer, but as your father.
Now, go fetch the admiral his supper, go.
(Exit PACO, enter FERNANDO)
1 have brought the lantern. It will be a rough night.
It will be different for them as cannot sleep.
But I say envy no man anything but his gold.
Take up the lantern, where's Bartolome?
BARTOLOME (singing in hold)
There is a fount in paradise,
A much distasteful place,
So high indeed that fountain jets,
It touches the far lunar sphere.
I can't see a damn in this wet hell hole, move, move,
Here comes the prince of purgatory with his lanterns.
Be careful with that fire, and plug your bung
FERNANDO (climbing steps to Columbus)
I have brought thee a lantern, grizzle gut,
And there'll be food soon for your stomach.
And a sea high enough to quench the stars.
BARTOLOME (hanging hammock)
0 come with me, across the seas,
To where the gold flown is Cathay
What's in that darkened mind of yours Garcia ?
Gold is the lamp that leads us all to hell,
I saw the remorseful officer, Quadrado
Give the mestizo a coin, his wealth to the poor.
FERNANDO (descends, sets blankets on deck)
Well, God rest us all, and wake us for the watch.
Lower the tongue of the lantern, good Bartolome.
And God give us all good rest, and spare us envy,
And too much rattling of chains.
When you pray, friend
Turn your sour breath away from the wind.
(They settle, GARCIA lounges on steps, awake)
Now I am left to walk the deck alone.
The wind is high, the guards are at their poles,
And on this minute, the ship boy should sing out.
One glass is gone and now the third floweth,
More shall run down, if my God willeth.
These fellows sleep like brutes without a past,
Murders and theft, they shake them off as horses
Twitch flies from flesh, with a quick shudder.
Garcia, Fernando, and Bartolome. And the admiral,
Only our two remorseful souls are vigilant.
You there on the watch, how is the passage ?
An open passage, high seas, please God, lieutenant.
There are flies on the cordage, flies, flies on these dead.
And when I halt I hear their moans again.
Bartolome, look, Quadrado
All of my nights I sweat beads for the slain,
Treading this deck as to a gallows tree,
The frightened moon has scurried into her cave.
The cold quicksilver sweat of fear breaks out
And ghosts creep from the deep slime of the sea.
(MUSIC: figures of slaughtered Indians
emerge from the shadows)
Who cried out there?
Look, now they come, 0 mother of God, prevent them,
As rotten leaves are whirled in a black wind,
I hear the spectres of these slaughtered men
Wail in the wind, the autumn of their race.
One walks there like Sebastian, branched with arrows,
One brings his lantern like a bleeding head.
Mother of God.
(The ghosts descend through trap)
Mother of of God, this is most strange, preserve us.
Get back to sleep. The moon is beautiful.
PACO (running up from hold)
My officer, my officer, what is it ?
Nothing, nothing, I was at my prayers, a custom,
You can put down to nothing and the troubled night.
Is that the admiral's supper? Take it up. Wait!
(GARCIA drops back)
Did you see nothing as you climbed the steps?
Nothing but the shadows from the swinging lamp.
You have not lost the gold I gave you, boy?
No, my officer, I remember your catechism.
Remember you have seen nothing, only a soldier,
Who cannot sleep, and who has certain fears,
That is the way, you will meet your admiral.
I must walk another section of the ship.
(exit. PACO goes up)
Your supper, excellency. I have your supper.
You are half Indian, why are you on this ship?
I am a grometto, I sing the Salve and reverse the glass.
I am not very hungry, boy. I am not well.
Even a god must eat, my admiral.
I am not a God, grometto.
Eat, and I will talk out through the night with thee. (pause)
Dost thou know of an officer called Quadrado ?
I knew many officers of several degrees. Why ?
He was a soldier now he prays for Spain.
I am sea-worthy grometto, I need some sleep,
There will be many nights ahead of this.
Wern't thou afraid of the great sea, my admiral?
I see that you'll have me talk no matter what,
Well, perhaps it is best, than to remember sins.
Yes I had great fear, grometto, but I had trust.
Yes my admiral, in the God who was nailed up.
It's a bad passage. Garcia, go to sleep.
Be quiet; I'll wake you for the watch.
There is a sea the Arabs knew, that scholars called
Mare tenebricosum, the green sea of gloom,
There, pass me the flat plate, and I'll show thee, boy. (holds up plate)
Before me, men thought the world's design
Was of this shape, the horizon, the plate's edge,
And on the rim of the world, was hell, and darkness.
Now assist me with this iron round my ankles,
This nifo, is the certain shape of the world.
Tell of the voyage, the monsters, and the lands.
And this spoon is Columbus beating on the gates
Of the great princes of the world. A coin,
A coin. I need a coin.
Here is one, excellency.
COLUMBUS (holds coin)
Place this gold here, a circle, like the sun.
That daily in its course turns round this iron,
And casts its shadow on one side, the night.
The city I was born in, superb Genoa,
Stares with her white breast southward to the sea,
Into the sun, that at its summer solstice,
Sets like a burning carrack, fierce with fire
Behind the pinnacle of Mount Beguia.
Turn up the lantern, and I'll tell thee more.
(PACO unhangs lantern)
I was a weaver's son, strange how we start.
While I worked patiently at my father's shuttle,
I could not guess the web of destinations,
That I would weave within the minds of men.
So now he has an Indian for his friend, the boy is safe. (Exits)
(GARCIA creeps up steps)
Sefior, now may I have the coin?
Thou art shrewd. Thou shouldst go the distance.
And the distance being from his purse to my pocket.
Sit down senior, sit down, you are not well.
A little after sunset, one of my sailors,
Noticed the phosphoresence of the sea,
And fishing in the glittering waters found,
A twig that had a bunch of withered beiries on it.
And there were other signs. The third day passed
And so the dark descended on the sea.
Sometimes it seemed we caught the scent of land.
We waited, quiet, there was silence like this,
There where the shadow of the steady helmsman
Tosses upon the huge screen of the sail.
Merely to breathe seemed an offence to faith.
An hour before the lantern of the moon,.
Climbed to the stair of heaven where no cloud
Can mantle it, I thought I saw what one might call a light
I called to my helmsman Pedro Gutierrez,
Whose eyes were best in the deceiving darkness.
'What was the light senior? Were you afraid?
COLUMBUS (rises, distracted)
0 all the cruel patience of the long years,
The fawning humiliation before great princes,
The fears and terrors of the whale threshed seas
Broke through my cloud now, with his cry of light!
My admiral, my admiral, sit down, sit down.
Honours now hollow are heaped on my crest,
Admiral of ocean, and a tamer of tides,
What will they make of this world, is my wonder?
Hypocrites and malefactors have wrecked my work.
I had hoped to open the green page of this sea
To be a book cartographers could read,
Let me be buried in the backwash of oblivion,
My bones unmarked, my grave a mystery
And some unlettered seastone be my tomb
Yet, I held a cross before me, O my Christ,
I did all for God, and the lion of Castile,
I did all for God . (weeps)
I shall get help, my admiral
(PACO descends. GARCIA holds him)
There's gold on you which I need grometto,
So pass it to a Christian who can use it.
Help, help, my officer.
What is it, Garcia? Who cried out?
Shut your mouth, fool! Look in his shirt for the gold.
He kicks like an animal.
Drag him here.
Garcia, for God's sake you'll get us all in trouble.
Where's the bright coin, little Indian? He bit me.
That's enough for tonight, in the name of peace,
Let go the Indian, you drunken fool, look, here's the officer.
What is this, why has the admiral been kept in darkness?
They tried to kill me for the coin, my officer.
(runs over to QUADRADO, who draws his sword)
Put up thy trembling sword, cabr6n,
You can kill nothing but defenceless Indians.
What wilt thou do, kill a good Spaniard?
A normal product of the times, Quadrado?
There, here's new blood for thee.
(squirts wineskin in his face)
Well, sure as Christ, we'll all be hanged now.
There's no difference in me and this officer,
This is the one the Indians called Carnicero-the butcher.
Kill him, kill him, my officer.
Before the affliction of his conscience, this one
Spent all his energies subjugating Indians,
Some by torture, some by terror, some in the mines,
He did some service for the Tainos too, Quadrado,
You were not called that then, were you, teniente?
My officer is this true?
Give the boy his coin, Garcia.
PACO (drawing back from QUADRADO)
I want nothing from thee. I know of thee.
Take it nifio, the officer was right.
I have paid for it, I still pay for it now.
I was called the butcher, but I resign that office.
Others will follow who can learn evil better,
These gestures of affection which I attempt,
The evils I endure from all sorts of men,
This hollow armour of my office, all, nifio,
I bear because I sought a change of heart,
If this were blood that streamed now from my eyes,
It would not have shook my pity five years ago,
He knows this, and mocks it, I gave the coin
Because I felt I owed thee some affection,
It may be too late.
PACO (between QUADRADO and GARCIA)
O, all of you, all of you,
What must I believe? What must I believe?
Grometto, do not judge any country by some persons,
Or what its members have done thee, there is only
One race, grometto. Man. Go now, observe the glass.
FERNANDO (to GARCIA)
Give the boy the coin, borracho, it is his.
There, niflo, I return thy wealth to thee,
Come, it is nothing, just a little incident,
What glass is it? There's nothing like some sport,
To liven up a long and boring voyage, come.
Recite the glass grometto, the watch is up.
(All go out)
One glass is gone, and now the eight floweth,
More shall run down, as my God willeth,
Goodnight, my admiral, my captain, y mariners,
Buenos noches, senor admiral, y maestre, y mariners,
And in the name of Our Father, and His son Jesus,
May God grant us a safe passage back to Cadiz.
e~ ~-~ .,-I
A WHARF IN CADIZ BARTOLOME'S SONG
1510. A wharf in Cadiz. Sign "Casa de la Contraction" SAILORS loading barrels,
&-c. WHORES, IDLERS, PACO a few years older, pimping. A BROKER and HIS
NEPHEW setting up a desk and stool. BARTOLOME, now a beggar on crutches,
You generous burghers, Spanish, Portuguese,
Who warm fat, jewelled hands, with winter near,
Here's a poor soldier who sailed the green Indies,
That broke his hulk, that two poor shanks must bear,
He found you Empires on seaworthy legs,
But now, the winter's coming and he begs.
(to a MERCHANT)
A coin, a coin, sir, for an old sailor who sailed with the great, dead admiral
Columbus, who fought, swore, and regrets the holy wars he fought for an
Ten winters gone he sailed from Cadiz bay,
The admiral cried, its young bucks I desire,
India is rich, but not Bartolome,
Now I break wood to fill my winter fire,
For a wise tropic shark removed my legs,
Columbus died, and now his hero begs.
(to BROKER, as he enters)
O Sir, sir, it's going to be a biting avengeful autumn, and I'd hate to use
these sticks to keep a tropic fever down. (SAILOR rolls barrel near). Watch
where you roll that keg, you greed-blinded young bastard. It's Bartolome,
the beggar, senores, once a sailor for her dead majesty Isabella.
(goes up to BROKER)
There's nothing today man, besides, you'd drink it.
The seed from a sick bull and the spittle from the devil blind both of you
for a pair of furred robbers.
BROKER (to NEPHEW)
Now let that be an example of my preaching,
Tighten your purse strings, invest judiciously,
Now pay attention to the loading sheet, nephew. (reads)
Embarked Cadiz, five sacks sugar cane cuttings,
For the estates in Hispaniola, of Senor Don Fuente,
A snail-cautious settler of accounts, item,
Crate of Venetian glass, have we checked that?
I can't make out this scholarly scrawl, what the hell is this?
It's your handwriting, uncle.
Slaves, Ashanti. It's my eyes,
That's right, cargo of slaves, Ashanti, thirty.
Transhipment from Cadiz, numbering thirty
Twenty warriors, one chief, five female, two boys.
Listen, would you prefer to study for the priesthood?
Then pay attention. Paco! Where's Garcia?
(PACO enters, filthily dressed)
Nowhere on damned wharf, looked inside out.
Went into the bodega, I don't know where he is.
So maybe it's time I get some money?
Listen you get paid when we finished, like the rest.
Where's that Garcia? This cargo is to set out with the tide.
I know you and your tongue. Damn promises,
Went up and down the wharfs, what you expect me,
Look in the gutters too? No pay since breakfast.
You can work somewhere else if you want, anytime.
Alright, alright, look again. (Exit)
What did he just tell you uncle? Who is he?
He's from the islands, half cannibal, half Christian,
A pimp and a thief, but otherwise a quick worker.
How did he get to Spain? What does he do here?
Mother of God, would you like me to call him back,
All I know is, he knows the value of cash.
(Enter JEW with belongings)
There's no necessity to be sarcastic, uncle.
I'm sorry I offend you. What is it senor?
Pardon me, gentlemen, I am going out to the Indies, and
And we, I presume, are directly in your path?
I was seeking information, but I see you are occupied.
Is it permissible to go aboard the ship?
BROKER (brushing the JEW aside)
And at last, quite drenched, comes the reeking quartermaster.
(Enter GARCIA, drunk, with PACO)
Senior, before you forget, I bring senior Garcia.
I should like some direction, I have papers
Is this the vessel, the Cristobal Colon?
Paco, talk to this gentleman, he is going out to the Indies
Sefior, this one was born there, he will answer questions.
Now, Sefior Garcia, if you will sign this list.
What is that country like, my little friend?
I carry your bags to the ship, right now, senior?
Is it a place a Jew can live in peace?
Sure! Las Indias? Fine, plenty sea, sun, green country.
Jew, Tainos, Lucayos, I come from there, beautiful.
Everything fine. You pay me first senior?
Who's the funny gentleman, Sefior Amadeo?
Who cares? Are the loading sheets in order?
He looks to be Jewish, fleeing the persecutions.
The Indian boy, he certainly loves money.
I thought he was a kike.
JEW (apart, praying)
0 God, rib me with thy strength
As I embark across the whalethreshed water,
Because my days are swifter than a weaver's shuttle
And are spent without hope.
What's he saying uncle?
Remind me to ask him. Now bring them out, Garcia.
Sefior Amadeo, I get something to eat now?
Work for you all up and down the damn wharf. Hey, senior.
Can't you wait, boy? Bring them out, Garcia.
PACO (draws knife)
I know you all the time, long tongue, no cash.
I cut your throat off with this.
(BROKER pushes him)
Ole, ole, there Pablo, bring them on for checking.
My son, do not be vile, and put away the knife.
He liar, all the time, since before morning, senior.
Oh shut up, and get out of the way if you can't wait.
(A cargo of negroes, chained, brought on)
What are these people?
They will be travelling with you, excellency.
The stranger that dwelleth with you, saith the prophet
Shall be unto you as one born among you,
And thou shalt love him as thyself.
Amen, amen, Abraham.
Provided he splitteth not the profits too unfairly.
Come on now, line them up there, Amadeo.
Not a bad bunch, where did you get those from?
You know they sell each other after their battles.
Look at this one though, he is some sort of king.
Notice the excellent quality of his sweat, taste it.
And those sinews, I've put him down at three pieces.
But this one, sickly, little. Look at those teeth.
But he has some spirit. What is this one, a scholar?
These the king's sons? You can throw them in as extra.
(They examine slaves)
I can't throw in anything extra, I can't afford it.
What's the king's name?
They haven't been branded yet?
I don't want to brand them here.
I think I have an iron on board. Alright, move them on.
I'll separate them when we get aboard.
You're a hard bargaining bastard, Garcia.
I got a sick mother.
(BROKER pays GARCIA)
NEPHEW (to JEW)
You may go aboard now, senior, and a safe passage.
It is a long voyage, I hope you can endure it.
That is kind of you, I wish you the same.
Goodnight, goodnight my little friend.
Sometimes I wish to go back there myself, the Indies.
But I have bad memories, they say half of my people
Are left, and those are dying. Adios, senior.
(The JEW goes aboard)
Do me a favour once you take charge, Garcia,
Don't treat them like humans, they're more valuable
GARCIA (ascends steps)
I'll treat them like my sick mother. Adios Amadeo.
GARCIA (throwing coin to PACO)
Look after the girls for me, it's a long trip.
Ah, where's Quadrado now eh? And his catechism? (climbing steps)
Where did you get that nephew from?
BROKER (shouting to ship)
It's his first day here, he's my sister's son.
He should be in a monastery, he's very profound
(A MERCHANT passes.)
How is it friend, did you ship anything?
One of my ships, that by some ill luck steered
Out of its course from the Canaries this last week
Ran up against some pirates, Dutch or English,
They say the numbers are increasing, and I know
There's more of the buzzards hanging on the horizon,
And waiting for the fat cargoes to pass by them.
What did you ship today?
Thirty or so negroes
A few, most of them sickly.
Troubles, that's all a man inherits, troubles.
I hope nothing happens to your shipment, Sefior Amadeo.
I have had bad luck, I'll tell you where the profits
Are multiplying now. I have a cousin who's an armourer,
And you should see the trade he gets, its certain
That with this piracy, which the king must resent,
And with this struggle for the possession of the Indies,
There's a war coming with the English, that's where the money is;
The sea is an ungrateful business.
I know, I know. (Exit MERCHANT)
Hey, senior, how about my money?
Here you are Paco, is that enough? (Throws coins, PACO and BARTOLOME
scramble for them)
Come my profound accountant, take up the furniture.
(Exit BROKER and NEPHEW)
Why don't you work another wharf, Bartolome.
Well half of it, friend, half,
Or would you have me clout you with this crutch?
We're both victims of civilisation, little savage.
Go pick up garbage, you sickness.
I earned this fairly, I did work for it,
I'm not a bad singer of vile songs.
WOMAN (Calling offstage from tavern)
Paco, hola Paco, where's the little savage, Paco, come here.
(She enters followed by SOLDIERS, and WHORES)
Inside grometto, or sing us a holy song.
For money ? Then listen. The Song of Conversion.
I linger on the darkened pier when the great ships have gone
And curse the Spanish admiral called Cristobal Colon,
I think of catechisms the grey friars made us learn,
How if I was no Christian child in what great fires I'd burn.
And now that I'm in holy Spain the church may shut its doors,
For we're dancing to the fiddles and
The laughter of the whores.
Dance, dance, we made some money today
The friars in the Indies said that men live differently
I had not met the merchants with their special piety
I cannot doubt the friars' truth but I have bread to earn,
And anyhow the inquisition makes the Jews to burn,
So I left my pagan paradise for civilisation's shores
And now you know the difference 'tween
Unjust and righteous wars.
(music and dancing)
The sailors and the conquerors do homage to a queen
And many a Spanish regiment is rotting on the green,
It takes a hundred niggers now to dig the gold we earn,
And I'm too dumb to understand investment and return,
So keep the jewels in the vaults, and pity out of doors,
While we'll dance to the fiddles and
The laughter of the whores.
(Laughter. Drums beat off)
It's more soldiers, there's a ship in the harbour.
There's war in the air friend.
And tough times ahead for us.
Who are they going to fight? I have seen many soldiers.
They're preparing many years now against the English,
And they have made expeditions against the Dutch
I lost two brothers who fought against the Dutch
This king is preparing a great Armada.
Does a Spanish soldier live well now? How are they paid ?
Well, you are fed and clothed, some of the mercenaries
Can do well, and there is no faith asked of them
While they are paid. Oh I love the thought of war.
(THE SOLDIERS take leave of THE WOMEN and run off)
Well its a better life if a man had both legs
Than scrounging on the piers, begging from merchants.
They're out to conquer England and preserve the Indies,
If I had half of my strength, that's where I'd be.
(Drums sound nearer)
Oh the drums, the drums, colours and the fifes.
My father's profession calls me, Bartolom6, here's a coin,
I'm on the side with the money still, Quadrado!
And I leave you this kingdom of the wharf, adios, adios!
(He runs off)
Come on, let's go into the inn where the drinks are warm
It seems to me I felt there, the edge of the winter.
For a wise tropic shark removed his legs,
And now the winter's coming, and he begs.
(Exit, limping, after WOMEN: Martial music)
Aboard ship. Near dawn. TWO SPANISH SAILORS dicing. In the hold below,
Christ! You've got all the luck in this world.
I'm a good Spaniard. How about another throw? For daybreak?
What's the bet? That the sun won't rise? (rises)
I'd better take a look below the decks.
Sometimes the sick ones kill themselves.
Not your responsibility. How can you stand the stench?
Well for God's sake don't wave the lantern about.
We're in warm seas, and nearing the islands,
And there's Dutch and English privateers about.
Pass me the lantern.
Hey! You can't leave me in the dark!
Dawn is enough to count your profits by.
(moves off with lantern)
Pity you have no luck, amigo.
I don't believe in luck. I believe in God.
It's just faith. Faith in the dice, amigo.
Sure, sure. Your father must have been at the foot of the cross.
(Exit. JEW enters above)
Because they have wrenched my people from the roots,
I am like a shattered timber cast adrift. O God,
The shores of the new lands will soon be known.
Preserve my faith, O Lord, comfort Thy people.
The ship: SLAVES, MEN and WOMEN and TWO CHILDREN, chained in pairs,
emerge from hold. The SICK KING attended by WOMEN.
Iook, though we do not wish it, dawn will break.
We cannot stop the law of time: only the gods.
My gods and yours are different. I am an Ibo.
Were you captured in the battle with our tribe?
MALE SLAVE (laughs)
I was forced to fight, but I am no warrior,
It is comical, I was captured during the confusion.
But as you say it is nothing. Your king is quiet.
I do not think that he will last the long voyage.
He lost his pride in his battle against the Ibo.
I lost two sons when you attacked our village.
My husband is somewhere with the rest, in there.
I think that the fellow chained to me is dead.
Can you help me lug him on to the deck?
Why should I touch the dead, the dead are lucky,
They have caught the happy plague.
O God, my sons.
Day will break soon, and we are nearing islands,
I can hear the creaking of seabirds this morning. (pause)
We can see his face when the dawn comes up.
You are a funny one. Why do you wish to see it?
He must have died last night. Are you afraid?
Man is a beast. Man is a beast. Believe me.
It is true, I have never understood fighting,
I had a small place, near a river, fishing,
And I had no enemies, I was waiting for a wife.
Yes, bring children into the world, to bury them.
It is how the gods made it. We must bear that.
You women have it hard, daylight is here.
Oh, look at his face, O God.
Why, do you know him e
Yes, it is my husband.
He used to praise all war as honourable,
And boasting always of the beauty of death,
Look at him now, in his beauty of death.
I never had children.
I am not thinking of warriors, but their women.
This is the kind of suffering I would have honoured,
O God, O God, what will happen to my sons?
Be patient. Life is very long.
Africa, Guinea. (weeps)
Life is good, woman.
Africa, the white birds by the river's edge at sunrise,
The clear waters over white stones, the children
Splashing in mud.
(They begin a new chant)
It is strange what the gods allow. Listen,
Your people are singing. The children are frightened.
Do they whip them too?
(a child comes over)
I do not know.
Is this one of the king's sons?
Yes. Man is a beast. Man is a beast.
What will they do this one, at such an age?
They will put the mark on him, as we do beasts. (pause, chanting)
In our country, we thank the Gods for each day.
And so do we. I suppose so do all lucky men.
I do not believe in luck. I believe in God.
Here comes our days long anguish, let us be brave.
(GARCIA, whips in hand, appears)
All right, stir them up there, get them awake.
We'll get them dancing to limber up their muscles,
They must land in a purchasable condition.
How many dead this voyage?
There's one dead here.
That one wasn't worth much anyway.
Pablo, get the drum and start their exercises.
You, take the carcase below, do you hear me?
Get below you bastard, d'you understand?
(He kicks a SLAVE. Drumming starts; no one moves)
I hate to use this, but you'd better start moving.
What's the matter, doesn't the king love music?
Come on, everybody's equal here, your majesty.
(They start to move slowly, wearily; the KING falls)
Wait a minute, stop the drumming, stop it.
Get up, your majesty, get up, and dance.
Take that child away from him. Now come on dance.
(The KING is unable to move)
He's a stubborn bastard.
This might help him.
(Punches KING, he falls, SLAVES stop)
Keep them dancing and drag the body off.
Keep the child from him. Come, tear him off.
(Child is lifted off the KING'S body and thrown near steps)
JEw (coming down steps)
Sefior, the child, I will buy the boy from you.
Get out of the way, this is none of your concern.
You're fumbling up everything, keep them dancing. (To PABLO)
The boy The child. I'll buy him from you.
I can't hea. you, you want to buy the boy?
Yes, yes, how much?
I have only fifteen, will you take fifteen ?
Seventeen. Two more when we land. Fifteen right now.
All right, enough. Take them below and feed them.
Fifteen all right with you, he's a king's son?
Let me tell you you're a damned fool mister.
The boy is sure to die of one thing or another.
Not if I own him. Come, come to me child.
(The boy huddles to him)
Sail, sail to leeward.
What colours you idiot?
(SLAVES herded out through central door, back.
Door is closed. Chanting offstage more urgent
now, wails and screams from WOMEN.)
Tell them there's no gold aboard, only niggers,
Get out of the way sir, with your purchase. (To JEW)
Get out the cannon there, stand by to fire. (Cannon fire)
(MALE SLAVE comes up through the trap, stabs GARCIA)
O Mother of God, get me a priest, I am dying, (falls)...
When did I offend you Jew ?
JEW (bending over GARCIA)
ft was the slave, I could not kill a man. You killed the king.
The darkness comes. O Mother of God
Do not leave me alone, sir.
I have to save the boy
What is it?
I remember Quadrado 0 God Life has gone the dial.
JEW (with boy)
That is a passage you must go alone, poor man.
Come stand by me, perhaps we shall be faken,
But we shall find roots in the new land together.
Come, move out of this danger of the battle,
I will take care of thee, as my own son,
For we are outcasts together in one sorrow.
(Cannon fire. Music)
BOYHOOD OF RALEIGH
MuSIc: Reprise of PACO'S Song. A wintry beach, in England. PACO, an old
PACO (singing BARTOLOME'S song)
You generous burghers English, Portuguese,
Who warm white jewelled hands, with winter near,
Here is old Paco, who sailed the green Indies.
The winter wind blow round his tattered legs
A man may walk on all the broken beaches of this world, and come to the
warmth of an inn in winter, and si, death is the landlord. I've seen the four-
hued seasons the fox-coloured autumn, the broad-leafed summer, and the green
spring, but I'll be damned if I can get used to this English winter, it moulders an
old man's flesh. My purse, where's my purse? The fur from this old Flemish
collar's gone, and my old teeth ache. I need new boots. There's enough
wreckage here to start a fire with. It's cold, winter's coming on like the great
grey wolf, and me with no summer in these swollen veins. Wait, here's some-
thing half hidden in the sand. (Finds stumps of wood). Nothing, only wood.
Still it will make a fire. Count the coins again, count the purse. Here's five
Spanish pieces, two Dutch, and God knows where I lost Quadrado's coin these
last forty years.
(Boys' voices off)
Put the coins away, they're after you. The little dogs are hounding the old bear.
(Enter young RALEIGH and young GILBERT)
RALEIGH (dancing around him)
It's the old Spaniard, Paco, Paco, ay cannibal!
Keep from me, you two, I chew human flesh.
Leave him Walter, he hates to be annoyed.
That's right, you tell him niio, I chew English flesh.
You come near old Paco the cannibal, and see,
I'll split your heads open with this bit of wood.
Look at his eyes, and his hair. Throw it Spaniard.
You're a brave imp, what's your name, boy?
What 're you doing on this beach?
What's your friend's name, then ?
He's Walter Raleigh. I'm his cousin, Humphrey Gilbert.
Well then Master Gilbert, if you're a Christian,
Tell your friend here, I'm a great chewer of children,
My people the Tainos were great eaters of Christians,
But you're grand gentlemen's sons, I can see,
So throw a coin to an ancient sailor, for honestly,
I have no sides but the sharp wind finds holes
Through the ribs of this wreck I am, friends,
Do that, and I'll be off.
Are you cold, Sir?
Ay, ay, boy, cold in three languages.
I've heard of him cousin, he's a great liar,
He tells lies in all the inns, for drink,
And he's a foul old Spaniard.
Half, half, mate.
The rest of this carcass is proud Indian, Tainos, (Hopping around)
Oh it's the biting cold I can't shake off by dancing,
But a coin or two from you Christian boys, I'll tell you.
You've heard tell of the great Admiral Columbus,
I fed the old man his supper once, you doubt it?
Then leave me alone!
Shall I give him a coin cousin ?
Look, do you see this wood I threw at you.
Bring it here mate, and I'll tell you a thing.
Here. (throws a coin)
Thank you, lad. Its a fragment of Spanish ship,
Can you read what's marked on it, Master Gilbert?
Don't go near him, cousin.
PACO (to RALEIGH)
There, you read it then, though there's sea grime
Grooved in the letters, can you read it then ?
RALEIGH (spelling out letters)
El Dorado, El Dorado.
Ah! El Dorado, now, have you heard of that?
Yes, it's in the west, but it's a Spanish legend.
Legend, legend he says, like a sceptical Christian,
I was like you my boy, before I saw the great legend
That Quadrado called Europe, but now what would you say,
If I said, kissing this cross, that I've seen the legend,
Would that provoke a coin from your purse, lad ?
This El Dorado is a golden country,
I showed it once to an officer called Quadrado.
Oh I've tossed like an old cork on the seas of the world.
Seen whales and marvels in my old age, but this,
This bewilders belief. This bit of log, mates,
Tells of a golden city in the green heart of Guiana,
And these two words, they mean the gilded king.
But it'll take another coin to unlock my tongue.
Then if this legend is so certain,
Why haven't the Spanish found the city, sir?
(They draw near him)
Because out of the deep beliefs of their religion,
The cunning Indians kept the secret from them,
For the Spanish, you know, destroyed my people,
There's many Spanish expeditions looked for it,
They're rusting in the emerald jungles now,
Its a far voyage.
How far is it, old man?
Far as I am from home, and the warm islands,
Its a perilous voyage, further than Columbus,
And further than the great conquistadors have found,
Men of the stamp of Cortes and Quesada.
Resilient men. formed in the Spanish temper,
Who conquered Mexico, and Montezuma,
Rut this gold legend on this worm-riddled wood,
They'll never find.
The English will.
Well. when you do remember your old friend Paco.
Look, mates, I'll tell you a dying secret, but,
Would your cousin lend me the price of a jug?
Give him a coin cousin. Now will you show us where ?
PACO (drawing on sand)
Thanks little Christian. Well this here's the whale's bath,
The great Atlantic, where a great city drowned.
Here's a dead wealth of yellow weed, Sargasso,
And these moss covered pebbles at my old boots,
These are the emeralds which Columbus christened,
Salvador, Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola,
Innumerable islands, then the Isle of Trinity,
And there, among the tangle of this seaweed,
Where I put down a gold coin in its tangle,
There is the city of Manoa, El Dorado.
(starts leaps back,
Do you hear the barking of dogs? They're hunting me.
They hunted us with dogs once. Go back from me.
There's a wolf's cry on the wind, they're coming.
There are no wolves in this country. Do you fear dogs?
I've seen them tear men to pieces, all my flesh,
For gold. Christian dogs besides. Go back from me.
RALEIGH (drawing GILBERT aside)
He is mad cousin. Are you sick sir?
Dying on two worn feet son, weary from walking
Thousands of miles, all over the map of Europe.
Tamoussi, Tamoussi, my own gods call me back. (staring wildly)
Would you do me a favour in return my sons?
Sir, you frighten us.
Sir, we'll do what you ask us, if we can.
There is an old wisdom which my tribe possessed,
To tell the season of their coming death, the Tainos,
By some scent in the wind, the altering of a feather,
Or the warm scent of the autumn coloured fox.
This wind carries the stench of rotting flesh.
It's nothing, but the old smell of the sea.
It is the sea that separates me from my gods,
And brought destruction to my simple people.
Come, do you know some high place in this country?
And leave me there, before the first snow comes ?
I know a height, barren with sea rocks, where
You can sit quietly and watch the sinking west,
There's nothing there.
(PACO removes a crucifix)
Then take the crucifix and the coins I gathered,
And lead me to it, for the time of the dog is here.
If you look there, then climb the cleft in the rocks,
It winds its narrow path up from the sea,
There you shall find a place just as you wished.
(leading PACO to steps)
Is it there? Yes, I think I see the track.
And so it goes, whatever track we take
It leads us all to the cold height of death.
I have strength enough to climb to it alone,
That is the fashion in which my people die.
Go, go back. I hear the wolf howling again.
If you go to Manoa, death will find you there.
Goodnight you Christian boys, Paco is gone.
Come cousin, and take up the fragment of the vessel
(BOYS go of reluctantly)
So the grey wolf of death trots after me,
O Quadrado, in all this I have learnt nothing. (Exit)
Those ribs which bulwarked Spain's imperial pride
Lie wrecked and bone white down the English coast,
Wrenched by ungovernable winds that scattered wide
Ships, masts, and soldiers, which the Armada cost.
After twelve years' imprisonment in the Tower,
With two great factions at an unstable peace,
The Stuart monarch, England's James the First
Grants Walter Raleigh conditional release
To find that fable, turreted with gold
That like a coin, gathers the dark around it.
It is 1617 now, Guiana, night. (Lute music softly)
Stillness, a lonely lute plucks at the nerves.
The idling lanterns with their yellow light
Gild every mind from captain to mere sailor,
And now we peer into the unmapped night
Whose stars ride quietly from the anchored fleet,
The ships: The Jason, under Captain John Pennington,
The Confidence, Commander Captain Wallastons,
The Flying Hart, Commander, Sir John Ferne,
The Golden Fleece, the ship of war, Corentyne,
Under Commander Captain Laurence Keymis,
The Destiny, under Sir Walter Raleigh.
1617. The Search for El Dorado. The Deck of the Destiny. Enter RAlEIGH
I have sent for you particularly Captain Keymis,
Not only as my officer but a friend
To tell you my decision concerning tomorrow.
I can guess it.
Come to the rail Laurence, and try to think my thoughts,
For a good friend, here, let me lean on your shoulder,
A good friend's mind should be chameleon like,
And take its colours from opposite affections.
I find that somewhat parasitical, Sir Walter.
Imagine yourself placed in my own position,
Beyond these fireflies of the anchored fleet,
You can discern the black leaves of a forest,
So far translated into no civilized tongue,
So once another admiral years ago,
Saw a prone country, still with its maidenhead,
The virgin sea, through which no prow had entered,
And sealed its nuptials in the name of Spain.
Like me, his own impetuous, rebellious, nature,
Offended monarchs, he died disdained, obscurely,
Above my own head, hangs a thirsty axe;
The king with his limp and lily sinewed wrist,
Can write my vein out, with a flick of the pen.
(Starts down steps, followed by KEYMIS)
The king is more concerned with bargaining with the Spaniard,
Than with your nature, you are of a breed, sir,
Against his policy, who's left in England now?
The admirals, earls and boisterous captains
Who shivered all the strength of Spain, her provinces,
They are buried now, some in strange parts of the sea.
And do you know by what he weighs us? Gold.
He spared me for that purpose. What time is it?
KEYMIS (moving towards table)
It must be almost eight o'clock. And so I take it,
Since we have burnt the town at Trinidad,
An act that certainly should incense the King,
And since we stand outside Guiana, full of doubts,
That tomorrow we attack the fort at San Thome ?
We must not fail this time to find Manoa,
I want my son to come with us tomorrow, Keymis,
I feel a dewy sweat, I have caught the fever.
If I should be too weak to go, you will command.
But it should pass. First let us study the map.
(KEYMIS unrolls map on table)
It's not changed much since the last time, my lord.
What is it, Sir Walter?
No. As I stood here, and you unrolled the map.
With my life in the balances tomorrow,
I remembered my boyhood and an old dim sailor,
An old man with two worlds mixed in his blood,
And a strange prophecy which he made to me.
How sovereign death controls Guiana's green,
And that my voyages there would bring me death.
(Enter RALEIGH'S SON, unobserved with a lute)
I saw in my condition of this giddy fever
How the sea's jaws swallowed Sir Humphrey Gilbert,
And bones of Spanish conquerors mixed with vines.
Think of your reputation, father.
Welcome. I heard you on the lute. (to KEYMIS)
Some days my mind is clear and crystal green,
And perfect as a summer of the sea, and them,
A cloud of my uncertainty mantles it.
It's nothing but the fever, father.
Yes, but the gilding fever known as greed,
Come, study the map boy, you go with Captain Keymis,
When I am absent, consider him your father.
KEYMIS (showing young RALEIGH)
This lake here is the Rupunini, lying between
The river Essequibo, and the Rio Branco.
There is Canelos, a land of cinnamon trees,
These are the tributaries which I charted,
And this is the fort which we assualt tomorrow.
We are sure, our prisoner, Governor de Berrio,
Knows something of the site of this great city.
(Clock strikes eight)
It has struck eight, shall I bring in the Governor?
Yes, bring in the hypocrite.
You see the sad trade of conquest, study it well.
Father, are you afraid?
I feel so hollow, boy. Yes, I am afraid,
But for you too, long memories disturb me,
Know that I would not give your life, my son,
For a roomful of all the jewels in Manoa.
Why should I die, my lord? Am I a bad soldier?
No, you do well, you do well. And here's the governor.
(Enter BERRIO, KEYMIS)
Sefior de Berrio, my son who carries my name,
My friend and captain Laurence Keymis,
Be seated sir, and have some Spanish wine.
Excellency, we will get down to business straight.
Your excellency has for some years been governor of Trinidad
Which is the door and gateway to the west.
It is my confirmed impression, contradict me
That despite the pressing duties of your office
On occasions you have conducted expeditions
To find the legend that hides in the darkness there.
This is good Spanish claret, senior admiral.
Do you recall a Captain Whiddon, excellency?
Yes, I know this English soldier, Whiddon.
I also know our countries are at peace,
And that he broke our compact, that English ships
Attack our provinces in these islands, against the peace.
Yes, I know Whiddon, and why you ask me that,
To explain your sacking of the town of San Jose
And justify the death of my own nephew.
Perhaps your excellency might find it awkward
To recall your treacherous, pardon me, surprising
Entertainment of this English Officer.
Is this why I am brought before your excellency?
To exchange memoirs? A week ago my men were massacred,
The city I administered sacked and burnt.
Much like your treatment of the Indians, senior.
We all did it once. Now they do it with negroes,
Unfortunately that is how one starts an Empire.
You still consider Spain a power, senior?
There is no Spain here now,
It is a different thing to Europe, these are the Indies,
With a different climate and a policy that must change.
I think that despite Whiddon, whose death I sanctioned,
That I was compensated, as you might say, enough
All that I built was burnt. We are at peace.
Perhaps. But then why should I savour of an ass,
With your honourable Spanish army at my back ?
When I must force my passage through Guiana.
Why must, sefor?
Why must you pursue this fable of Guiana?
Will that not mean a slaughtering of Indians?
I am not a Spaniard, man.
No, I am a Spaniard and responsible to my country.
And, you are English, your star in the ascendant,
But to me you are a finished phenomenon, my friend,
In that this pursuit of wealth, of personal glory,
Is of a finished age, the age of conquest, cruelty.
The gold is veining out.
Is that why you preach?
As Governor, I pursued my Catholic precepts
Brought here by our first admiral and Las Casas
That what men take away out of a country
They must restore by something else.
Our mines are finishing and the more profitable pursuits
Of growing cities, establishing Christian culture,
Is now the general concern, not avarice,
The individual reputation must be dimmed,
For the establishment of commerce, justice,
I am the proconsul of a new Empire, senior.
Now will your excellency look at this map?
RALEIGH (to BERRIO)
You tell me not to pursue my search for El Dorado,
Must I presume, before the discoveries,
Before Cortes, Pizzaro, Bilbao, Alcazar
There was no Montezuma, nor Peru, in fact no gold.
No massacre of natives, no Spanish imperialism
Under you Christian conquerors? Let us be honest.
I'm ageing. I believe in the existence of this city,
And so do you. I know, and Keymis, but you
Exhibiting that familiar Spanish arrogance
Sefior, I am too tired to bear arrogance (rises)
If you please!
Think all the world the property of Spain.
But Spain is shattered, her wealth will be ours,
I am not an even tempered man, senior.
Father, there is no need to be so angry with him.
RALEIGH (turning on SON)
I am your admiral, not your father now. (pause)
Sefior Berrio, do you recognize certain names here?
I see a map whose drawings are as haphazard
As any I have done concerning this fable.
And where is the best direction to this fable?
I have a fatal statement for you gentlemen.
Which is? (sits)
There is no El Dorado.
There is a story devised for malice by the Indians.
It is a vicious fable, it is like Atlantis, it is like
Columbus' Cipango, like your own John Mandeville,
The more you pierce Guiana and explore it,
Pages of pages part before you, volumes of forest,
But El Dorado has no meaning, there are the bones
Of ruined Spanish expeditions, and nothing else.
Yet you yourself have made cynical expeditions
Of this nature.
That is why I speak.
I cannot warn you of the terrible expense
When men or nations turn to beasts for gold.
RAI.EIGH (rises angrily)
Very well then, to be considered a beast!
Issue this order to the captains, Keymis.
Despite the orders of the King of England,
Despite the hypocrisy of this cunning Spaniard,
Raleigh now risks his life, his soldiers lives,
His son's, and all the weight, experience
Of his life, to find this fool's gold and be king of it!
Burn down the Spanish fort, and find Manoa,
And now senior, I wish you a goodnight. (Exit RALEIGH)
I have not seen him so angry for some time.
He has a tongue that wounds his friends.
He is a sensitive, but a dangerous man.
If he is your friend, then I say, look again.
He uses people.
And you know nothing?
Oh, you persistent English, I know nothing
I should like some rest. I wish him luck.
But I know this will bring some terrible price.
My father is no coward Seiior de Berrio.
Si, nifio. No coward. But a frightened man, Goodnight.
(Exit BERRIO, KEYMIS)
YOUNG RALEIGH (picks up lute and sings)
Gather ye money, while ye may
Old Time is still a-flying,
And that same price you raised today
Tomorrow will be dying.
That yellow coin of heaven, the sun,
The higher he's a-getting.
Pursue him still and you may run
A profit ere his setting.
So be you wise and be you bold
But let this keep you bonny.
Joy is a thing that's bought and sold
So sing hey money, money.
(RALEIGH, cloaked, enters above, listens
to end of song and descends)
Go, get to bed boy, there's soldier's work at sunrise.
Excuse my anger. Know I love you. Now get to bed.
How is your fever? You should rest, father.
I have the fever and I cannot rest,
I think of my responsibility, and each man's life,
Of your sweet mother, of how greed makes men mad
And that dull ache of absence called a wife.
(Lights fade as RALEIGH exits. Slow drum beats start.
Trumpet calls. To suggest passage of time-spot on
CHORUS at left and spot on RALEIGH motionless.
The lanterns of the fleet die one by one,
The wandering moon rides through a foam of clouds,
As Raleigh walks the deadened deck alone.
The false grey of daylight fills the east,
He waits with a few soldiers, alone, aboard, (spot on RALEIGH)
Through morning to the dead dial of noon.
The hours pass, till a far drum is heard.
(Lights up slowly)
Smoke, sir! It's the fort, they've burnt the fort.
And that drum's pulse means failure and defeat.
Lower the longboat there for Captain Keymis.
Can you shout what you see there, fellow?
Aye, Aye sir. It's the expedition, they're launching the skiffs, and it seems
they've got a couple wounded, though I can't make out who sir. They're down
to the brown shallows of the river, and there's some getting into the boats by
the jungle's edge.
Get ready to brace them aboard, I'm coming down.
It's Captain Keymis' boat sir, and there's two dead.
Who are they?
I can't rightly tell sir. They're dead is all I know.
Give them a shout again!
(BERRIO enters below)
Alloa there! Alloa off there!
Now the hot wind haunts the abandoned armour,
The wild bees build in the rusting Spanish helms,
The armoured cricket nests in the empty shield.
Allo, allo there? Who got it this time, mate?
Jeremy Ford, Carpenter. Walter Raleigh, squire.
BERRIO (moving forward)
What is it now man? Do you come to mock me?
It's the boy, sir. They're coming aboard.
(THE PATROL Boards,
KEYMIS enters, behind, SAILORS
bearing HIS SON'S body.)
Come, rest him on the table, I'll shift the lute.
Your son is dead, my lord.
And gold outlasts the wearer. Remain here Keymis.
(ALL exeunt but BERRIO and KEYMIS)
Will you not go into your quarters?
Suffering binds men together, excellency.
Not long ago I mourned my nephew's death.
How did this happen?
He fell in the skirmish with another sailor
When we attacked the fort of San Thome.
I placed the boy in your particular care.
So late I heard thee playing on the lute,
Now these poor fingers, that should pluck a viol,
Are cold as this sword that I place in them.
There he lies, on the unknown world, my son.
We must return to England now, Sir Walter.
I weigh this body of my finished son
Against, sweet Christ, a little mound of gold,
But God, who sacrificed Thy Son Thyself,
Temper my grief, rib me with fortitude,
O death that takes a little piece of me,
When one man dies, the only empire is yours,
All mockery carved in that marble stiffness
Wrapped in the reputation of a shroud,
A mirror clouded by the breath of time.
A broken sword laid at the foot of war,
A cold meat for the whimsy of a king (pause)-Keymis!
I share your sorrow, Walter, I am with you.
(turning on him)
With me? I wish you were with him there dead.
And I. Believe me, as his friend and captain.
Or to speak the truth, his captain and his butcher.
Butcher? I know the quantity of your suffering,
But I was his friend when he lived. You know it.
Take him away, the lute, map, everything, but Keymis,
If you are as honest as you say you are, then look,
And take his murder as your own negligence.
Come back here, man!
(Body borne away. KEYMIS moves off)
Do you call me back to abuse me then, Sir Walter,
Here in the full view of the common sailors
To the contempt and pity of the enemy?
Yes, yes, and more, death is a common thing,
And it is you who are the enemy.
Your mind is feverish.
It was you, with your cupidinous, common fawning,
Who drew me by the sleeve away from God
When I was locked in darkness in the tower,
And whispered gold and empire in this ear.
Whatever fever you may have, Sir Walter, I tell you,
That is a weak and cowardly lie, sweet Christ. Remember,
We searched for Guiana many times before this,
Then it was dear Laurence, friend, exchanger of my love,
It was your fever that infected mine. We have failed,
And execution waits for us in England, But God,
I had preferred to slaughter Indians uselessly
Than to endure this malice from a gentleman.
Gentlemen, senores. I lost a nephew to your soldiers.
I'll tell you De Berrio, the contagion of madness
Makes snakes of friends when profit is involved (points)
There is the leech Keymis who fed on me,
Who crawled on green Guiana like a leaf,
Murdering men's sons, and fattening on my friendship,
Do not cross my sight till we return to England.
O God pluck down the star of selfish men!
Break the proud shaft on which they hoist their colours
The man has burst my heart. I loved them both.
I could not hold the boy back, I swear to God,
I roll the map up, where the stain of his life
Marks red for conquest. I will not live with this.
Again and again, the plot of conquest follows
rhe hollow carcass of the drum of reputation,
Who weeps for Jeremy Ford?
(Enter TWO SAILORS)
If you please, Sir. Come, mate give us a hand.
What is the matter now?
[f you please, sir. Captain Keymis has just killed his self.
There's some takes things too hard. Excuse us, Governor.
(BERRIO bends his head over the table. The SAILORS wait)
POMPEY (rushing out on stage)
Mano! Hey, Mano. Where this man gone now?
I bet you he with them big shot in the five dollar seat.
What happen now pardner? You ain't tired harass me?
You know what I wanted to tell you pardner?
I don't want to hear nothing.
Don't vex nuh pal. Is this. That last sailor there who carry off the table,
the second one.
You mean the squinge faced fellow?
Yeah, he self, well-
You ain't find lie talk like a Bajan?
Oh God, is that you call a man out here for, and people looking?
POMPEY (sitting on barrel)
Looking at this fellar, you know, remind me of a old joke once about a
Look nuh man, we ain't have time for that now.
This joke happen way back in about 1618 or so, the year Raleigh dead. Or some
time around there (Mano moves away). Wait nuh man, I sure you going enjoy
this joke. It have history in it. (Mano comes back). They had this Bajan fellar
during the early days of slavery when some of the British Islands was being
settled, you know, like St. Kitts, Antigua, St. Lucia and so on and so on.
I gone, yes.
Well this feller, he get a work. This wasn't no ordinary kind a work you know.
He wasn't no negre jardin, no plantation nigger. He was a steward-a wine
steward on a big estate.
You ever give a short joke yet?
Well one night he bounce up wid a drunken sailor.
MANO (moving away)
Look nuh, like you planning to sleep here tonight.
Alright, alright. But stop! You think I was lying? Look the two of them
there! You going see if I was lying.
(Exeunt MANO and POMPEY)
Night. A wharf-enter a SAILOR, jug in hand-Barbados.
It's midnight, and I can't find the way to the ship, and I wouldn't like to be
stuck in the Barbadoes for nothing. Its pitch black and I've too much rum
in me drum to move further. Hup boys, hup boys! Its no use, me legs
is buckling below me like a shivered keel. Perhaps, and I'm lucky, I'll get
a passerby to pick me up. It's a pitch dark alley. Ah! (A prim Negro steward
passes with a small crate, sees the sailor sneers; then passes on. Sailor rises).
Hey, you nigger. Give us a hand there mate.
Hey, you, come back here. You, buck, Give us a hand.
STEWARD (long pause, sneers)
Talking to me?
Yes mate. I'm on me way to the ship, aren't you a nigger?
I can't hardly make out complexions in this obscurity.
Give you a hand? You should be ashamed of yourself. (moving off)
Hey you can't go off, I compel you to give me a hand.
STEWARD (setting down cask carefully)
Now look, You see here yourself, mister man! If you can't ack like a gentleman
in a respectable British colony, then "all I could say to you, is you should
be ashamed of yourself. A sailor of his majesty's navy, a Englishman, and
drunk as a lord on the demon rum. And look here too besides, friend. I not
one of these common nigger men you see working down by the carenage hauling
spiders, and getting on like they ain't got self respeck for their owners, yuh!
I works at Sir George Somers' cousin as house, food and wine steward, so hence
the uniform which I intends to respeck! A Englishman like you cavorting in
this public alley on a Sunday night!
(sailor recoils from the outburst)
Look mate, its late and I'm due aboard
I don't care what time it is, this is the year sixteen hundred and eighteen, and
this is a British colony, and Barbados is not one of them loose living other
colonies in these islands with their riotous living, like Jamaica and the
buccaneers and the other places, this is a decent self respecking colony with a
sense of justice and decency. You not in St. Kitts, Antigua or St. Lucia, or one
of them nasty French places, and I consider you should be ashamed of yourself!
You have a responsibility to protect these British colonies with vessels, and
so discharge them according to your service, before I take your name and
number! Imagine, shouting my name out in the middle of the night like some
bewildered alley cat. 1 am a steward, in a decent conducted plantation, and
houseproud. Why, you getting on like one of them convicts and indentured
Englishmen that they send out to work in the colonies. Now get up and march.
You villain. Get up I say, and remember the flag you fly under, you wicked
thing you, and give me that bottle. On, get on. You villainous thing you,
The ship is yonder. Now garn, garn (pushes sailor off) A sailor of His
Majesty and drunk! (exits).
THE DEATH OF RALEIGH
1618. Cold dawn. The Tower of London. Enter RALEIGH. Behind him A PRIEST
and AN EXECUTIONER. Drum beat.
The wind is sharp, keen as an axe's edge.
Sir Walter, now is the time
When you must fit you: vessel for that fatal sea,
To that Virginian voyage, death's New Foundland,
Yet Christ shall guard you.
Do you hear that, executioner?
Make no arrangements for my supper tonight,
Come, lead me to the summit of all endeavour.
God keep you on that long voyage Sir Walter.
I had forgotten God too long, my age is finished
Just as De Berrio said, a; the old sailor warned
At my son's cost, and b-oken Laurence Keymis.
I'll tell you this, father, although my hermit's voice
Will be drowned in the roar of wars and politics,
The only wisdom, whether of single man or nation
Is to study the brevity of this life and love it,
That's the poor wisdom I bequeath to soldiers,
It I sound unreasonable sir, it is because again,
I have lost my head. Look, I get not even a dry laugh.
(They climb steps. RALEIGH places his head on block)
DRUMS TO CRESCENDO
BLACKOUT (enter Chorus in single spot)
The blood that jets from Raleigh's severed head
Lopped like a rose when England's strength was green,
Spreads on the map its bright imperial red
To close the stain of conquest on our scene.
So Time turns now from Europe and the sea,
Revolves its gaze and shows the land itself,
Hundreds of battles past the discovery,
To the slaves' suffering and the settlers' wealth,
Until an exiled people find release,
Through revolutions of despair and love,
As human suffering presages peace.
How shall we love, till we have known love's cost,
How praise our liberty, so lately earned,
How shall our brothers love, till we forgive?
And so to Haiti now, our theme is turned,
How shall we live, till these ghosts bid us live?
HAITI. GENERAL LE CLERC'S mansion. M. ARMAND CALIXTE: HIS NEPHEW. ANTON,
apart. GENERAL LE CLERC, GENERAL and MADAME DE ROUVRAY. LIVERIED NEGRO
LACKEYS. Night. The Garden. Wine is Served.
It's not quite as terrible as one had imagined,
This heat, I mean, general. In France, one had heard
That Haiti was a plague of fevers and sweltering heat,
Yet your garden is cool, and the view is excellent.
GENERAL DE ROUVRAY
You will find it almost wintry later, in the mountains.
You can imagine what terrain it is for a revolt,
I have very little sentiment in surrendering my command.
And you, Madame de Rouvray?
MADAME DE ROUVRAY
You know wives, General Le Clerc
This is what I shall miss, the supervision of my gardens,
I hope Madame Pauline will look after these lilies
Monsieur Calixte, I know, will understand my misery,
Being himself the paragon of planters.
I can understand, madame.
I comprehend completely your devotion to lilies.
MADAME DE ROUVRAY
And since Madame Pauline is absent, general,
Perhaps you can tell us of the situation in Paris.
GENERAL DE ROUVRAY
She probably means the fashions, but my dear Emilie,
General Le Clerc is more proficient at uprooting rebellions
Than in describing Paris couture, and the qualities of flowers.
It has altered considerably since the birth of the republic.
But Calixte's nephew has returned, full of enthusiasm,
So perhaps Monsieur Anton, it is Anton, is it not Monsieur?
Perhaps this silent gentleman is the best one to ask.
MADAME DE ROUVRAY
Haiti has also altered. Things are terribly unsettled,
Is there much similarity, in your opinion, Anton?
(ANTON moves away)
When Anton drinks too much wine as he did here at dinner
The boy falls into an unshakeable melancholy.
MADAME DE ROUVRAY
Do you think Madame Le Clerc may have met with an accident?
It is dangerous to be riding these roads at night alone.
THE GENERAL (smiles)
My wife is not alone. I think she should be safe.
GENERAL DE ROUVRAY
You see there is always the danger of runaway slaves,
Then, there are serpents
MADAME DE ROUVRAY
And so many other dangers Monsieur.
There are hazards much more subtle in a colonial society.
I resent that word, excuse me, colonial.
MADAME DE ROUVRAY (fanning)
Oh quite innumerable hazards.
The danger, though concealed of a mixed aristocracy,
The ambushes that wait for one under glittering candles,
The serpents in the smiles of the most charming hostess,
Arrows of eyebrows, and artilleries of slander
Behind the barricades of those fluttering fans
You don't like the word colonial?
This, I presume then, is the birth of a nation?
Generals, who were slaves, each one a black Spartacus
You know, Napoleon calls them gilded Africans.
They are becoming quite formal in their conduct of this war.
THE GENERAL (impatiently)
This is not a war, De Rouvray, it is a large scale civic action.
I am employed to subjugate a province of France.
Do not be so sure,
One must never under-rate the authority of the people.
Slaves are not people, they are intelligent animals.
MADAME DE ROUVRAY
Gentlemen, please, let us not lose our tempers.
Madame, I am simply saying this is not a revolt.
So at last we grow eloquent. You say the will of the people.
Let us tell you Monsieur, that that expression is a fallacy.
Remember it was the people who demanded Barabas.
This is the philosophic corruption of power.
Anton, you are a guest.
It is a fact, nevertheless, despite your enthusiasm,
The people have always chosen theii particular demon,
They created their Caesar as they created Napoleon.
But you have been reading Rousseau and Montesquieu,
They are romantics overcome by the odours of the mob.
This is Caesarism.
Anton, it's discussion.
That is monarchy. And you, a Republican.
You sound angry, young man. I am a cynic who worships order.
I doubt such things exist as liberty or good marriages,
Don't you consider yourself superior to your uncle's negroes?
ANTON (controlling himself)
Monsieur, you are a general, and your industry is death,
But there is a new spirit that walks over the earth.
I know, I was part of it. Liberty, dgalitd, fraternity,
And what has this turned into, but democratic despotism?
Then you believe in the monarchy? Or are you testing our allegiance?
Show me a good man and I will show you a good nation.
Do you know what will happen if your revolution succeeds?
There will not be liberty but mere patterns of revenge.
The history of man is founded on human nature, and
We cannot exorcise the guilt of original sin.
Does the First Consul know what opinions you hold, general?
What does it matter? I am an excellent general,
And then I am fortunate, my wife is Caesar's sister.
And here in good time, she arrives with a new province.
(Enter PAULINE LE CLERC with YOUNG OFFICER)
Now I shall not say anything dull or unpredictable,
But that I forgot all about it, or say I remembered
How monotonous the conversation of generals can be,
I have a haphazard memory, and so all is forgiven.
This is Lieutenant Foujade, my husband General Le Clerc,
Your Commander General de Rouvray, Madame de Rouvray.
This is Monsieur Calixte, Oh, this is so absurd,
And this (before ANTON)
My nephew Madame. Monsieur Anton Calixte.
Oh yes, yes indeed, can I have a drink with you ?
Lieutenant Foujade is an authority on Haiti,
We toured a few estates, including yours, Monsieur Calixte.
He knows all about factories, we toured the compounds,
So if I reek a little of the parfum d'Afrique
Endure it gently. There seems to have been trouble.
It is normal, they shake the chains a little.
It seemed worse than that Monsieur.
A few seem to have escaped.
There are ways of retrieving them,
It is an industrial hazard. There are dogs, you observe.
1 THE WIFE
How was dinner, Madame de Rouvray? I am so sorry, forgive me?
MADAME DE ROUVRAY
Not at all.
If you will excuse me, messieurs, madame.
Please accept my apologies, sir, but we were delayed.
(Exit THE LIEUTENANT)
Now if Monsieur Calixte will accompany us,
We can talk out these problems with a tour of the garden,
And leave your eloquent nephew to chat with the ladies.
Nothing is more monotonous than the small talk of soldiers.
You say then de Rouvray, that the most efficient generals,
For want of a better term, are this fellow Boukmann,
Dessalines, and the other what's his name?
Christophe Monsieur Calixte knows all about this also,
He has helped me enormously, he knows the country thoroughly
I hate mountain country, you never finish a war
(Exeunt GENERALS and CALIXTE)
Then are you packed and ready for Paris, Madame?
MADAME DE ROUVRAY
Yes, but I feel so archaic, so dated in the fashion,
I trust Haiti will not bore you, it is different from Paris
There is little to do that one can call civilised,
It is rich, but vulgar, as you may well have observed.
Oh one creates one's pleasures to suit every country.
But what does one do, that is different from Paris?
I have grown so tired of false dukes and society.
MADAME DE ROUVRAY
What does one do in fact, that is not imitation?
Perhaps Anton could tell us. Men have all the liberties.
Is Madame in search of something exciting and different?
It begins to sound exciting before you even describe it.
Then I must have another glass before I proceed,
But as a general's wife, I am sure you have seen much.
Industrial hazard, as my uncle observed
MADAME DE ROUVRAY
Anton is still sullen,
He has just lost an argument to your husband.
Do not mind my husband, he is cynical and dispassionate.
But tell us, monsieur.
Well quite recently, madame
We have devised a spectacle of epic proportions, (pauses, studies their faces)
There is a place in the city, designed like an arena,
Half shadow in the afternoon, say, on some boring Sunday,
Sunday afternoons are the same in every part of the world,
Where a carnivorous spectacle is gaining popularity.
MADAME DE ROUVRAY (agitatedly)
Anton, please. Madame Le Clerc did not mean that.
The negroes you know, are punished in public.
They are led into his arena, as in a public circus,
And then, with some brief ceremony, the theatre commences
MADAME DE ROUVRAY
If you will excuse me, I must finish my packing,
It is getting late, and there are things I must do.
Goodnight madame, goodnight Anton.
(Exit MADAME DE ROUVRAY)
You were saying, monsieur?
The most popular scene in this comic spectacle;
Gunpowder is poured into noses, ears, and mouths.
Then the actors are fixed into farcial positions,
Then the powder is lit, and the victims are exploded, (laughs)
Of course no one is permitted to act his role twice.
Is that sufficient?
If you have finished.
Do not miss the meaning, there are other diversions,
For'there is this ballet of putting them into holes.
De grands irous, c;;nme ca.
They are buried in the ground to their necks in these holes,
Fhey are then smeared with honey and the ants erode them,
There is some species of ant that can strip human flesh,
Then often there are dogs, which are trained for that purpose
That is our theatre, but it is rather repetitious.
It is not worse than war. Have you watched it yourself?
That is why I can describe it, I am torn apart also.
My head is reeling, and I feel very drunk. It is horrible.
Then why do you watch it?
Why madame? I will tell you why.
Because I am torn to pieces with them, I am myself a division.
By the fact that I am half African and half French,
I must become both spectator and victim. It is amusing.
Don't you understand what I am telling you madame?
I am not the nephew of Monsieur Armand Calixte, I am
His son, illegitimate, all society knows this, but
It is not said, directly.
Who is your mother then?
She was a slave of his mansion.
He recognized her in darkness, in that republic
And that act, in which complexions do not matter,
What do I do? Many years ago, I was tempted to admit it,
To be what I am and not be ashamed, a Haitian,
Then I saw our two delegates to the French General Assembly,
Oge and Chavannes, broken on the wheel in public,
I do not know why I am telling you all this.
You are upset, monsieur, come and sit down a little.
And you do not understand why you are telling me this?
Should I speak the truth to you, Madame Le Clerc?
Yes, it is still the best thing, to follow one's impulses
To avoid hurting others and destroying one's sanity.
Look, we own an excellent coachman, his name is Toussaint,
He is a negro of a most remarkable docility,
I know he loves my father, he loves me as his son,
But since such cruelty and this new liberty of man
Has made Haiti a crisis in the history of this age,
I have seen his black face tormented with division,
Between duty to his people and the love of our family.
How am I better than Toussaint, greater than his anguish?
Compared to him I am nothing. Do you know what I should do?
I should hate all this elegance, to sit among the slaves,
Be mocked for an ape, be torn apart by dogs,
Than to be choked to death with these silks (struggles with his collar)
Anton, please, please
Is that all you wish to tell me?
You know it is not all. How can that be all? (pause)
Since the first night I saw you, the centre of attention
In the glittering ballroom at Madame de Rouvray's mansion.
Barricaded by lieutenants, and then once again tonight,
White and lovely as the moon, and equally remote,
My body trembled at the minute of your entrance.
(THE GENERAL appears on the balcony above)
You talk too much, Anton.
I must talk of these things.
No, let them go, as women do, take life as it comes.
And yes, and this destroys me, I try to understand things,
But it is sad, it is sad, the whole thing is sad,
It is sad to see belief contradicted by necessity,
It is sad to see new countries making old mistakes
One could hope from the past the present would be simple,
But it is sad to see only the repetition of desire.
THE WIFE (taking his head to her bosom)
It is like the first years of love, understanding is hard
There, now, let me kiss you; forget the hate of this world.
Learn to love one person, and your view will be mellowed.
(They kiss. THE GENERAL descends, unseen)
Monsieur Anton. Ton pere te demand.
This is our coachman, Toussaint. What is it?
THE GENERAL (emerging)
It appears there is some trouble again on his estate,
The slaves are burning the canes, you can see the glow.
There behind the mountains. He is rather anxious, he wants
You to help him with a hunt, I'll lend him soldiers.
I cannot help him sir. Dites lui ma kai venir Toussaint.
I am not going. I shall walk back to the estate. Allez.
Allez, allez. I am not hunting tonight.
It is not far, I know a path through the fields.
Do you think that you are in any condition to walk?
I can lend you a horse if you insist on returning.
No, I am going alone. I thank you. Goodnight, goodnight madame.
A remarkable young man, very stubborn, very passionate.
I presume that you saw us kissing from the balcony.
We retain our understanding, I am your brother's general,
And you remain his ambassador for foreign affairs. (They go off)
GLARE OF FIRE-DRUMS
Night. ANTON, drunk in the canefields, walking alone. A glare in the sky.
0 the moon may be a silver coin,
And the sun is a sovereign light,
The moon, the moon, it was that remarkable metaphor of the moon that
startled her. Anton, you are a fool. She slaughters men as her husband does
battalions, Well, she has uprooted me also. You are drunk, and a fool.
0 let me thank my fool of a father, Monsieur Armand Calixte, otherwise how
should I have met her? Ah well, I have done this before, only I will not
hunt men like animals, I am not a hunter of men. What was that sound? It
seems as if the whole country is on fire. I think I must be lost. Think,
If I were not of this complexion now, she and that fat Madame de Rouvray
and her stupid husband, would have been amused to see me exploded with
saltpetre, ripped by hounds. Ha. Life is ironic.
(During this speech, three black figures creep near ANTON)
VOICES (softly, like the wind)
Anton Calixte! Anton Calixte! Anton Calixte!
Who was that?
Yes, yes, I am Anton Calixte, what do you want?
You are the son of Monsieur Calixte?
I am his nephew. His nephew! I know these voices!
I am one of you, believe me. My mother was black, my mother was black.
VOICES (like wind as they circle him)
You have the blood of your father, for that you will die.
When the moon hides in a cloud, for that you will die.
Let me see who you are. I have done nothing to you.
O God. I have your blood in me. (The moon hides in a cloud)
(They murder him. A SLAVE screams in triumph.
The drums of revolution begin).
The Bois Cayman, drums enter SLAVES running with flambeaux towards the
body. Silence. Enter BOUKMANN.
Jour sang rivd!
Jour negre rivd!
C'est moi Boukmann qui dit ca!
BOUKMANN (holding up cross)
Ca c'est croix n'hommes blancs, pas croix Damballa!
C'est pas croix Damballa!
Crasez croix Dieu blanc. (breaks cross)
You wishes to know why Boukmann break the cross?
This is the white God cross, not the god of this colour.
Alors, crasez croix Dieu blanc
Hosez serpent Damballa (drums)
(serpent brought in)
Damballa, Damballa! (White rooster brought in by FEMALE SLAVE)
Red blood will flow from the white throat I say'
Burn the canes, kill the enemies,
Kill everything white in Haiti today!
(Ritual dance begins, with flambeaux)
We forget our gods when we leave Africa'
We make Shango vex, we forget Damballa!
Brulez, brulez, brulez!
(Exeunt, led by BOUKMANN, with torches)
The dead body is left abandoned. TOUSSAINT as a coachman enters, finds
Monsieur Anton! Anton, Monsieur Anton? (over body)
Monsieur Anton! Drunk again. Come on, levez.
O God. My other life is finished. Love is dead. (takes up body)
This poor boy hated nothing, nothing.
(A SLAVE-WOMAN enters, passes TOUSSAINT)
That's a heavy burden you're carrying black man.
IT IS THE LATE AUTUMN OF THE FIRST YEAR OF THE NINETEENTH CENTURY.
REBEL HAITIAN ARMIES UNDER TOUSSAINT SACK THE CITY OF LES CAYES.
BANDS OF MARAUDERS. TORRENTIAL RAIN FIGHTS WITH THE FIRE OF THE CITY.
DESSALINES SOAKED WATCHES THE SCENE. A SHED. SOLDIER PASSES.
You there, soldat!
Yes, my general.
Under what army are you, me, Christophe, which, hein?
With General Toussaint, General Dessalines.
I your cloak there, rum, non? Bring it here nigre and give your general a
rink. Look at it bur, look. Remember this, this is the turning of a century,
nWgre. Oh, it pleases me. I could wash my face, sergeant in the handful of its
ashes. Tell me, I love to hear it, what city is that? (drinks).
That is Les Cayes, mon general, and we have scattered the forces of the
mulatto Rigaud. The worst enemy of our new black republic.
There must be one hundred thousand slaughtered there.
Burn, burn, city of contagions, consume it all,
Though God poured out the whole basin of this sky
He could not drench that fire. Go, leave the bottle.
You, there, you soldiers. In what quarter of the town
Is General Christophe?
Here he comes now, my general.
(Enter CHRISTOPHE muddy, tired)
Put up the general's tent to break this rain, (an awning is added to balcony)
Look at it general. It is art, is it not?
Vi 5 i
MURDER OF ANTON
CHRISTOPHE (collapses on stool)
Poor country. This is not a war.
So, it is not war. But it will do for now. Here, drink!
I understand you had a difficult assault?
You said assault?
This butchering of mulattoes you call assault?
You'll catch a chill there, sitting in the rain,
Lend me a cloth, my own is soaked with blood.
Here, have this shirt, I sent for dry boots and linen.
Well, where is our excellent commander L'Ouverture?
I thought that he was working close to you.
No, I had an easy quarter.
A cowardly segment of Rigaud's mulatto army, 0 Look!
There must be one hundred thousand dead out there,
Listen to the cries.
Yes, they smell wonderful, don't they?
Burnt flesh and trampled muck and sweating rain,
It is only two o'clock, and dark as an eclipse.
The pot is overturned, up in the north, the news is this,
That bloody, murderous slaughterer Sonthonax,
Boukmann, the Jamaican, and other rebellious regiments
Have burned the plains into a smoking shambles.
They burn the crops, but when peace has returned
And which of them has yet conquered Le Clerc?
Up in the north, two thousand whites are slaughtered,
The flame is catching in the unharvested canes,
Not only in this island, but through the Antilles,
We have sent agents to stir up this violence. Drink, drink.
Here, two hundred estates destroyed. The black wolves
Of our marauding soldiers, swollen by famine
Have sacked the indigo and coffee fields. It will spread
Even in the British territories. In Martinique, Guadeloupe.
I only wish I had your sense of theatre. And Le Clerc,
What has he offered us for the capture of Toussaint?
The yellow fever has wrecked the French battalions.
The time has come, with Le Clerc's forces weakened
For us to strike some temporary pact. As you remember,
He offered to withdraw his forces of occupation,
If we hand over Toussaint to Napoleon. Oh this Napoleon,
He is such an egotist; He thinks that Toussaint's capture
Would weaken us. Oh Mon Dieu, mi blague, I could laugh, laugh.
There is no one the Corsican hates more than this ape,
This, what does he call him? "This gilded African" We sell him?
One thing perturbs me, pass me the bottle, friend.
One thing perturbs poor Dessalines, we are four armies,
And all assembled under distinctive generals, you, me,
Toussaint, Maurepas. But of all of us, Toussaint
Has grown most power drunk. He has monarchic aims, I know.
Let us not lie to ourselves. We are betraying him.
A transaction of exchange, let us not excuse it, hein?
You think he'll set himself up as Emperor?
How do you know?
I have a parrot that speaks to me in my dreams. Lookl
Napoleon thmks of the whole world as his empire, yet
This ape has beaten him, outwitted his best generals,
And since Napoleon thinks in terms of a late Caesar,
He thinks this ape, encaged, will resolve the war.
Even Le Clerc who is a cynic, and no fool, believes it.
And as you say, this is not war. Yet how I love it,
Look at it burn. Tis is more than war, it is revolt,
It is a new age, the black man's turn to kill.
Then we are no better, revenge,
Is very tiring. Please do not hug the bottle.
Where does all that leave the mulatto, Dessalines?
There, out there dead in the stinking rain.
(A drum beat. Enter TOUSSAINT)
Speak parrot. Here comes our bill of sale. The meat we dice for.
TOUSSAINT (to officers)
We have scattered Rignaud, but we still have enemies
Here on the soil of our beloved Haiti, Le Clerc, his armies;
Yet we have allies also, the fever, and our great zeal
To make this country greater than it was. Revenge is nothing,
Peace, the restoration of the burnt estates, the ultimate
Rebuilding of those towns war has destroyed, peace is harder.
We strike our march in the next hour. Collect your troops.
(Bugle blown. OFFICERS exeunt)
Your lungs are iron, to still have breath to speak, Some rum?
These clothes are stuck to me with filth and blood, a basin.
No, I must keep a clear head, though my generals do not.
How many did you butcher of the yellow ones?
(SOLDIER brings basin and cloth)
I do not have my ledgers with me.
The cavalry is cutting the last troops on the plain,
There is nothing between our mercy and their death,
But a vast swamp of stinking mud. It is dark
Dark as a portent at this turn of the year, the birth
Of a new century. What come at the end of it, my friends?
This is a new age, born like us, in blood.
Yes, yes, but I hate excess (washing hands)
DESSALINES (roars with laughter)
Ho, ha He kills ten thousand or more defenceless citizens,
Who did him no harm, but that their colour was wrong,
And shrugs his shoulders and says he hates excess, 0, 0,
I love, I kiss this hypocrite!
I am not a hypocrite, Jean Jacques,
I hate this now it is all finished. I remember
The body of the first mulatto I ever saw. The son
Of a stupid planter called Calixte. Multiply that.
I come from an exhausting expedition, and I find
My two best generals getting drunk like sergeants.
Go, collect your forces, I want to think a little.
(Exeunt CHRISTOPHE, DESSALINES)
O God, that I should find the centre of this whirlwind
Those leaves of yellow bodies whirled in wind.
(Enter TWO SOLDIERS. CALIXTE in rags, between them)
We found this one hiding in the ruins, general.
What shall we do with him?
I do not know the man who
Calixte? Is it Monsieur Calixte?
CALIXTE (shaking free from SOLDIERS)
And it is general Toussaint, is it not?
The conqueror of Haiti I want to talk with you,
Unless the general must go back to his butchering.
You soldiers, stand in easy distance from this tent.
What are you doing in Les Cayes. You live in the north?
There is no north. They have burnt the good land.
You should know that, it is you who guide this war.
TOUSSAINT (holding out bottle)
Here, have a drink of rum. I do not know what savour,
You may remember how one improved its vintage
With an occasional slave tossed in the vats?
CALIXTE (hanging his head)
I was never cruel. It was the times, the thought.
I am not cruel either. It is also in my case, the times.
The compulsion of opinion, I did not begin it.
You call this compulsion this slaughtering of children,
This dedicated erasure of any complexion?
I have walked through the smoking fields, through the burnt land
That we all loved, destroyed, that was once. green,
Racked by a rabble, turned savage as wild pigs.
They are my soldiers, not pigs, not animals.
I stepped across hacked citizens in these streets,
Blind in a stream of tears, I moved through fire,
O God in heaven, Toussaint, hell is not worse.
War is not a drawing room minuet.
Do not call this war, you hypocrtical liar!
Since the day Anton died, and you abandoned him
On the white columned steps of Mal Maison
I have pursued your great career with diligence,
1 heard of how you joined the marauding armies,
Who burnt our lands and shambled the green north,
Your rise in the field of battle, how you wrecked Maitland,
And drove the English down to the sea. Until today,
You are blood drunk, since that first boy you murdered.
My son, my son Anton, that was so far,
You have forgotten it. You have seen so many dead,
Now that war makes your butchery legimate.
Put down the pistol Monsieur Calixte. Your son? What son?
He was your nephew then. Look man, have you forgotten,
Is it because you're ruined you have turned pious?
O God, give me the strength to shoot this monster.
And do not speak to me of God Monsieur, right now,
I cannot think of God. Where was God in those years
When we were whipped and forced to eat our excrement,
Were peeled alive, pestered with carnivorous ants,
Where was God? All of a sudden from your nephew's body,
You have grown a delicate orchid called a conscience.
And blame the times. I have learnt to pick up a child
Limp on my sword's edge. as you would lift an insect,
I have to learn this. I love this land as well as you,
But when we tried this. When we tried to love you,
Where, 0 chaos, where was your heart?
Toussaint, What, what is all this?
What is happening to the world, to Haiti?
O God, I do not know, Monsieur Calixte. I do not know,
I am pushed forward, lifted on the crest of the wave,
Then I am abandoned among the wreckage, while
The mass of guilty men say, oh Toussaint, he is gentle, good,
Leave him to clean it. Listen the bugle blows the march.
We are striking out .
(Enter DESSALINES, CHRISTOPFIE)
Who is this filthy white? A spy? (seizes pistol)
I was his coachman once. Give me the pistol General Dessalines.
His coachman? Is he offering your old employment back?
I will search him for letters. Jacques, keep the pistol.
You see how my generals trust me, monsieur. (Bugle again)
There are no gentlemen in Haiti now.
He has no letters. Come, It is time to march.
You have become three mad dogs all of you,
So these are the great generals. Is this Dessalines?
DESSALINES (gripping CALIXTE)
Yes, white man, this is Dessalines, the general,
Who ripped the white heart from the flag of France.
Tell them you saw him when you get down to hell.
Come, general, we are giving this one too much privilege.
I still command here, Dessalines, Release him!
The armies are assembled, and ready to march.
Well, Is this a parliament now?
Look, you, both of you; I will not be pushed, I will not!
He hates excess. I remember.
Did you kill my son? Answer me that? (pause)
Take him away sergeant.
And shoot him, hang him, anything you fooll
We have an army waiting for this ruin.
Shoot him. Monsieur Calixte, it is the times.
General, blame man, and not the times, no God
(Exit SERGEANT with CALIXTE)
Eh, all this argument for a white
Jacques, in the name of God! Enough!
(TOUSAINT is weeping, shoulders shaking. A long pause)
Peace will be full of sour memories
(Sound of gunfire)
Eh, qui ca, memories. Life is very long. (pause) (TOUSSAINT exit)
You see? He is crumbling. We sell him to Le Clerc.
Why do you study me so carefully my good friend?
I see that parrot on your shoulder, like a crow.
You are growing sick in our own mind, Jean Jacques.
Once we have sold him to Le Clerc, peace is assured.
And we will share our power to restore the peace.
Now, come, it looks suspicious to be here alone.
The tent is struck now. Yet, if all were known,
The parrot Jacko screams in Jacques' black ear,
Trust men as far as I can throw this stone.
(exit, trailing bottle)
BUGLE, MARCHING SHOUTS, DRUMS
Jamaica 1830. Martial drums change to merry Jamaican mento. A WHITE
PLANTER chucks his 'HOUSEKEEPER' out of his great house, throwing her
possessions after her.
PLANTER (hurling baggage)
I don't want to see any more of you on this estate, unless you learn to keep
your thieving hands off my gold and silver!
YETTE (picking up baggage)
All Jamaica know bout you, you good for nothing rascal! You and your self-
righteousness, I going tell them about you, mister! They should call you
Calico, you offcolour planter, you!
Now go on down the road and into Kingston where you belong. Before I set
the dogs on you. And here your things! I should never have encouraged you,
away, go on.
One day the sugar market going collapse, and don't come weeping on my
shoulder then. I'm not any ordinary slave yuh. I got good blood. You can't
ruin Yette. Don't mind I have coloured'blood in me, at least I respectable. My
father never come here as no convict.
You better get out. (exit)
(YETTE gathers up her bundles grumbling)
(The first of several who have entered for the next scene)
Wey wrong mi love?
You jes' clear out of me way, hear? (exit)
Jamaica, 1833. Secret meeting of a Christian Mission. TWO SLAVES hold up
A banner marked: DWELLING TOGETHER IN UNITY: SOCIETY FOR
THE PROPAGATION OF THE GOSPEL IN JAMAICA AND THE
INDIES. SLAVES gathering. DEACON SALE enters.
The coast is clear brothers and sisters.
Come brother Aaron give me a hand with this banner,
The meeting go start just now.
AARON (helping with banner)
You aint hear bout brother Pompey, brother Elijah?
De soldiers chasing him for scattering pamphlets
Bout emancipation, and riots, but don't let Deacon know.
You mean Pompey the shoemaker? Ain't he was a pacific man ?
Well him rougher than Atlantic now. Pass out the hymn-books?
What's the damn use passing hymn-books,
And oonoo cyant read?
Why you don' hush you' mouth?
Good evening, Deacon.
Any sight or sound of brother Pompey, brother Aaron?
He has never been absent from a secret meeting before.
Him spreading righteousness right and left, deacon,
Like white doves on this countryside, him scattering pamphlets.
We best hurry the meeting, Deacon. Aaron, hush!
You know is against the law, I going watch for soldiers.
Thank you brother Elijah.
(DEACON SALE climbs up steps)
Brothers and sisters assembled in Christ, I will read you the text of this
banner. Repeat it after me, and try and remember it, as if it were embroidered
forever on your hearts. To dwell
To dwell ..
You talking too loud deacon, thi3 place crawling with militia.
Thanks, vigilant brother Elijah. Together
To dwell together in unity ..
DEACON SALE'S SERMON
Moses is anointing the head of his brother Aaron in this text. How sweet and
how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity, it is like the precious
ointment upon the head that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard,
that went down to the skirts of his garments. O my poor, naked, abused
brothers in Christ, today there are many in England, who pray and work
for your emancipation. What was that moaning in the night, brother Elijah?
Nothing Deacon. The canes in the wind.
As a woman in her labour, brethren, so does a nation conceive. Through blood
and agony, freedom is born. This suffering which we pass through in Jamaica
now, is the tossing of a country that shall bring forth a new world. There are
midwives to this labour, preachers and patriots, who know that love and not
revenge is the meaning of mankind.
Deacon. how you could love somebody that whipping you ?
The man who whips you cuts his own flesh, Aaron. For you are a piece of that
man. Do not hate him. Twenty years ago, in Haiti, the slaves turned on their
masters, and butchered them. When the great Generals of the Haitian revolu-
tion came to power, their cause was corrupted by greed. Even that great
General, Toussaint, caught the contagion of hate. But those that followed him,
Dessalines. Christophe, from free slaves turned to insane emperors. Toussaint
died in a cold tower in France, his dream ruined. Betrayed by his own
Generals, sold to his enemies. Do not hate Aaron, however hard it seems.
Revenge is easier than love. That is why we tell you to pray continually, for
God delivers us from evil and from hatred in the end. And now, in honour of
our absent brother Pompey, who is secretly spreading the gospel of peace over
Jamaica, up in the mountains, in secret gullies, let us sing the hymn "THERE
WERE NINETY AND NINE" starting at the last verse but one
Lord whence are those blood drops all the way
That mark out the mountain track.
SLAVES (singing softly)
Lord whence are those blood drops all the way
That mark out the mountain track,
They were shed for one who had gone astray.
Pray for brother Pompey, scattering pamphlets of peace ...
Ere the shepherd could bring him back.
(shots in the distance)
Lord whence are thine hands so rent and torn,
They were pierced tonight with many a thorn
They were pierced tonight with many a thorn
(POMPEY sneaks in quickly)
But all through the mountains thunder riven,
And up through the rocky steep
(POMPEY hides among CROWD)
There arose a cry from .
(enter SERGEANT, SOLDIERS)
Quiet! Alright, alright, here we are again Deacon. Now don't mind me,
Deacon, I'd just like this little illegal meeting to stand still and be normal.
It's a tune I always like meself, but don't any one of you protestants move.
We're looking for a little fellow, name of Pompey who's been preaching riot
round the compounds. Now, where was we, Deacon? The last verse I believe
(sings). But all through the mountains, go on from there And keep
the muskets cocked, men sing!
But all through the mountains, thunder riven,
And up through the rocky steep,
There arose a cry from the gate of heaven,
(SERGEANT spots POMPEY)
There's the black sheep we're looking for! Hold him!
Rejoice I have found my sheep
And the angels echoed around the throne,
Rejoice for the Lord brings back his own,
Rejoice for the Lord brings back his own.
(POMPEY is held, struggles, is clubbed)
You've killed him Sergeant, there's a law against this.
Resisting arrest, and inciting violence. Deacon,
I can't fight the law, can I? I got a call same as you,
And mine was protecting the interest of justice.
Now herd them along, you're all heading for court.
I didn't mean to do him half the damage he invited.
(All are almost offstage, when POMPEY rises)
Ay! you there, Sergeant. Look, Pompey resurrected!
Come on, after him!
(General confusion: Whistles, shots, blackout.)
Jamaica. GEORGE WILLIAM GORDON, rehearsing a speech which he reads from.
ELIJAH (a servant, enters)
Mr. Gordon, Mr. Gordon, we're ready to leave now.
I'll be down in a moment.
Your excellency, gentlemen of this assembly, fellow Jamaicans.
In the history of nations, the birth of their spirit,
There can be no last battle. For the history of man
Is continual conflict, with himself, with his enemies,
The potential of a country is the mass of its people
That torrent may be poisoned by the discolouring intellect
Of ambitious conquerors, and the blame is theirs.
Your excellency suggests patience, to be satisfied with progress,
The evolution of our society, the dissolution of prejudice,
But human truths cannot be concealed in a pact.
The history of these islands has been tragic from birth,
Their soils have been scoured, their peoples forgotten,
While the powers of Europe struggled for possession,
And when that wealth has been drained, we have been abandoned.
Your horse is ready Master Gordon.
I am coming down. Gentlemen,
I am not satisfied with the form of the constitution,
This may flout the government, result in rebellion,
But I am prepared for this also, we must not be satisfied,
I risk my life for this, if we ask for these liberties,
We are seeking what is natural.
Mister Gordon, you going be late, suh,
Dem have plenty people gathering round the courthouse.
And is a long ride to Kingston. You best come now.
If one last battle, which remains to be fought,
Means the absolute freedom of those who have suffered
With patience, faith, and humour, I shall incite that battle.
I am compelled, at the risk of hanging for that truth,
To tell this country, and these islands the meaning of liberty
That it must be fought for, regardless of its price.
Does it sound good to you, Elijah?
Sound good enough sir,
For them to put a rope round your neck.
Come sir, Kingston.
And certain execution.
On one side of the stage, enter POMPEY, he carries a breadfruit and a dented
b,:gle. On the other side CALT o enters both grimy.
What a blow this sergeant ;eal me on me crown! I been in flight for six days
now, through hill and gully, trying to reach the rebel Maroon camp in the
mountains behind God's back. It must be somewhere bout here, though since
the rifle ;utt daze me, I can't read no map. I like a black, lost sheep, and
Oh Lord, what's going to happen now? The bottom fell out of the sugar market.
I'm ruined, all I have in my pocket is this heirloom of a golden Spanish coin.
I'm ruined that's the truth. I wish I could find Yette now, but I hear she's
joined the Maroons. Some fellow called Mano, or something. Oh what's the
I, Mano, Mano, what a name for a general, why it could be anybody.
How a man could have a name so anyhow, Mano? Mano whom, Mano what?
I best give a, blast on the bugle, this bush full of enemies. Oh God, I eh even
got breath for that yet.
I'd better get out of sight, there are wild slaves who make no distinction
about a man's skin.
POMPEY (backing towards CALICO)
You can't trust these white fellars, like that sergeant, God, me head!