ballyshannon, donegal, irish newspapers online, ireland, irish history, irish literature, irish famine - Linking Canada and Ireland - Linking Canada and Ireland

Page 7 of 16


Scene 3 (cont'd)

A fount of pride and gratitude wells up
And fills my heart with torrents of delight.
Unmoved I stand and master at the helm
Which destiny has thrust within my grasp.
And you and I will hoist our eager sails
Filled by the breath of heaven, cleaving a course
Whose wake will wash the shores of all mankind.
Let Rome be the star to which our compass sets.
Lo, someone comes ….. ‘Tis Barca.

(ENTER Barca)
Hail Governor! I have urgent news.
Your looks anticipate your words.
Last evening as I made the dusk patrol
Around the Temple precincts, I espied
The leading priests and pharisees file out
And take the road that leads to Caiphas’ house.
Hid in an olive grove I watched their meeting place.
They counselled long. One member of the group
With angry words – I could not clearly catch –
Stamped out into the night. Some time elapsed
And then another figure crept up to the door,
Knocked furtively, and after small delay
Was welcomed in. A lamp shed cautious light
Upon his face, and I do swear the man
Was one of Jesus’ trusted followers.
You mean the priests and Jesus are in league
Against our government?
The evidence is plain.
Was’t long before the fellow left?
One clepsydra would measure all the time.
He slunk away, soft-footed, like a thief.
Good Barca, for this news I give thee thanks.
What further hints of treachery you learn,
With like alertness carry to our ears.
It shall be done, sir.

(EXIT Barca)
These secret negotiations must forebode
Impending evil, and I begin to fear ….
‘Twere surely base ingratitude to fear
A petty scheming band of hothead Jews,
When heaven grants us power to move and mould
The destinies of all mankind.
But this man Jesus is no common sort.
What dost thou know of him?
Four times this spring, while in the evening glow
I sat and sewed upon the balcony,
I saw him pass below me in the street.
His dress was plain, but royal was his gait,
His brow majestic, dignified and calm.
‘Twere hard to tell if such a noble poise
Bodes good or ill for tranquil government.

No evil breath has ever stained his name.
My slave girl Bemba gives him endless praise
For healing in a trice her crippled child.
Infirmities of mind and feeble frame
Obey his touch, his word, his silent wish.

Such power be the seed of proud revolt;
And Barca’s message bids us be on guard.
And still it troubles me --
Enough! Your words are out of tune with prophecy.
‘Twas counted Caesars’s glory to have pleased
By merciful indulgence these proud Jews.
But Caesar displeased Rome and earned her hate.
Tutored by this lesson and by the gods
I shall not compromise with Jewish pride
But bend it ‘neath the yoke of our intransigence.
Your soul, so lately bathed in sounds of love,
Has armed itself in in stern forbidding steel.
Fair justice, clad in toga, suits thee more
Than when she wears the helmet and the sword.
For thee my soul breathes nought but love,
But for these Jews it spews out hateful bile.
I hate their ways, I hate this cursed land.
But destiny has hither cast your lot
And fate has promised you undreamed renown.
The gods speak true and truth can never fail.
"The gods speak true and truth shall never fail"--
I’ll bear these words engraven on my mind.
(To Mindaro) Boy, fetch my writing tablets and my pens And leave them in my chamber.
Kind Claudia,
The cares of Rome withdraw me from your side.
For rumour’s voice, more quickly than our post,
Has told Tiberius what the Jews intend.
Our letters must allay his exiled fears
And charm his ears with pleasant confidence
In our ability.
May heaven guide your hand and bless your words.

(EXIT Pilate Claudia advances to the altar in the centre)
O lord of all, to whom the Hebrews pray,!
Protector of this land. I give thee thanks
For prophecy so fair. In this dread day
Of murmured strife and rising turbulence,
Restrain all evil, fortify the good.
May Roman peace shake out its billowing sail
And in Judea may the truth prevail.


Pilate Navigation
First Page | Previous Page | Next Page | Last Page

Home | About | Canadian Vindicator | Literature | Gallery | History