Saint Eustache, Martyr

NOTE ON THIS WORK: It appears that the original manuscript of this early work of Rizal no longer exists and may have been destroyed in the bombardment of the Second World War.  It had, however, been published in installments in a magazine, Cultura Social of Ateneo University.

Rizal produced this play in Spanish poetic verse in 1876 from a Spanish prose translation of an original Italian work when he was fourteen years old as an exercise in composition given by Father Francisco de Paula Sánchez.

The work is taken from a book published by the José Rizal National Centennial Commission: Rizal’s Poems published in 1962.  I have taken the liberty of spelling out the numerous abbreviations in that work sacrificing poetic meter for comprehension by readers whose felicity in the English language may find such words difficult to comprehend.

 

 

 

Saint Eustache, Martyr

Personages

Hadrian . . . . . Emperor

Eustache . . . . Roman General

Titus . . . . . . . Younger Son of Eustache

Flavius  . . . . . Older Son of Eustache

Claudius  . . . . Friend of Flavius

Cornelius . . .  Favorite of the emperor and rival of Eustache.

Metellus . . . . Friend of Eustache

To the Reader

        It was not vanity that impelled me to put in verse this religious and useful tragedy entitled Saint Eustache. My only desire is to learn how to versify, to find out if I could be a child of the Muses, and to be useful to my fellow men.  In this drama, here and there, you will find an inappropriate word to criticize, a verse harsh and poorly constructed, obscure expressions needing illumination, and similar defects characteristic of a new and inexperienced writer.  Moreover, what can I do?  My limited talent, my meager numen [In Roman mythology an indwelling, guiding force or spirit. -- rly] , and my little command of the Spanish language, for it is no my mother tongue, do not furnish me with abundant poetic speech, or rich expressions; because, besides not being endowed with a lively imagination, I also lack good taste and I am very young – fourteen years going on fifteen.

        Criticize my work, kind and indulgent reader, but not the plot.  It is true that the verses are mine, the rhymes are mine, but the plot does ot belong to me.  If its author, whose name I do not know, would learn that his tragedy was put precisely in rhymed verse, and consequently unworthy of the beautiful and appropriately chosen plot, be kind enough to forgive me; because beauty and ugliness, when placed side by side, will form a contrast in which the former will project while the latter will be humbled.

        I have not put in here any thought of mine or any new idea, excepting the sixth scene of Act V, which you may preserve if it pleases you, and if, on the contrary, it displeases you, you are at liberty to reject it.

        Patience, reader; I am nothing but a child, and the work of a child is, in general, nothing but childish; it has nothing good to offer. Moreover, I have seen a tragedy staged only once, and the only one I remember having read in Prometheus, written by Aeschylus, Greek.  Pardon my boldness if, at the age of fourteen, I dare to write and enter the enlightened as well as delicate company of poets, orators, historians, and rhetoricians; and if you do not lay aside your just anger, be informed that I am sufficiently punished by my ignorance.

        I did not do it for presentation to the public and so that I may not be censured, no; on the contrary I wrote it in order to keep it for many years and so that all may correct me who dare to do so, for I agree with Horace who says:

                                   . . . . . Si quid tamen olim

Scripseris, in Metii descendant judiceis aurea,

        Et patris, et nostras; nonumque prematur in annum,

                Meinbrauis intus positis. Delere licebit

                        Quid non edideris: nescit vox inissa reverti.   [01]

DEDICATION

        Hail, oh, Creator of Heaven and Earth, you my dear benefactors, sweet friends of my lost childhood, friends of my present youth, dear relatives: Peace, welfare, and health.

        To you I dedicate my insignificant work; accept it as a token of my sincere and docile love; deplore with me my ignorance; have pity on my limited ability.  This is my first finished work, but perhaps incomplete.  I dedicate it to you, for I have nothing else to give you, besides my affection and my heart.  I hope you will not despise it: Consider the desire of the one who dedicates it to you rather than its value.  And you, my beloved professor, Father Francisco de P. Sánchez, S.J, receive my sincerest gratitude, certainly insufficient to compensate you for your efforts.

        And thou, Martyr of Calvary, my gentle Redeemer accept the life of a martyr, written by thy servant for thy greater glory.

José Rizal

Kalamba, 2 June 1876

X  X  X

SAINT EUSTACHE, MARTYR

(Hall in Hadrian’s Palace [02] with rooms on one side)

ACT 1

SCENE 1

CORNELIUS AND METELLUS

CORNELIUS.  The fatal day came, dismal day,

                For my cruel, fierce adversaries:

                To fear me it is time that they learn;

                Enough of humiliations; has come

The day of vengeance, O Metellus;

                Who can remove you from my hold,

                From my wrath and fury? Your merry glee

                Into weeping sad converted I’ll see.

                Triumphant he approaches the walls:

                My rival Eustache fiercely does approach;

                How costly to him his victory will be;

                Offences and evils in it I’ll avenge!

 

METELLUS. But, why do you kindle hate and discord

                Prepare for him a thousand terrible snares

                Of vengeance and rancor? If from the war

                Victorious he comes; if gratified

                The Senate is of his valor and strength,

                Cornelius dear, his victory,

                Shares also.  Yield, my friend, give way

                To his good luck and happy fate.

 

CORNELIUS. Of laurels which I ought to wear

                He has robbed me; noble honors adorn

                His proud and haughty brow; unjust

                Was Trajan [03] to my valor and deaf

                Is holy heaven to my demands.

                Of the soldiers Eustache has the command

                Because of my fearlessness and strength.

                He ruined my hopes. Exalted the strong

                Walls he has t penetrate. Do you

                Believe I can tolerate the affront

                Avenging not my fame so stained?

                With Titus [03] in the wars, with Trajan

                At all times I was. I rendered to them

                My faithful services, pleasant and sweet.

                I showed my valor, my fame increased

                In these same battles. But Eustache

                Preferred they in this war against

                The rebel Dacians and Parthians [05, 10]:

                To the Danube’s bellicose banks

                The Romans I should lead and show

                My talents and my bravery,

                For they know my zeal many years ago.

 

METELLUS. With your fortune contented you should be;

                To your troops and valor tribute they paid,

                Oh, Cornelius, honors they offered you.

                You enjoy in peace the status rich

                That for your labors the king gave you.

                Don’t envy him then; you’re Romans both

                And for renown you both can long . . .

                       

CORNELIUS. Do you want that triumph be not envied

                When mine it should be? If noble he is,

                More so am I, because I was born

                A Roman; glory I’m sorry indeed to lose,

                The honors and renown desired.

                I ought again to seek new praise

                To ruin my rival, the fiery Eustache;

                Because once ruined, of the army men

                Victorious general I shall be.

 

METELLUS. You can’t destroy him: faithfully

                He served the country; adding

                To his rewards and merits the victory

                He now wins, returning to the Romans peace;

                O tell me, can you use your strength

                To ruin him? Deceits alone

                And calumny. . .

 

CORNELIUS. (Interrupting him) Calumny never

                Wish I to use to cruelly harm

                My enemy. But a great offense

                To eclipse his merits will ruin him;

                And turning into gloomy night

                The light of his victories; infamous

                One day he’ll appear before the eyes

                Of the people that with honors deck his brow.

 

METELLUS. What, are you thinking of finding some crime

                Cruel, shameful, wicked in his nobility

                That can destroy his fortune good?

                (If the crime of Scipio [07] they forgive,

                The Romans then being more cruel Jove [08]

                And severe than they are now, just by

                Recalling his victories; not only from death

                Was he saved, but his fault his honor became.)

 

CORNELUS. I can convert into weeping sad

                The glorious triumph he enjoys;

                But coming here. . . Metellus, keep quiet,

                Don’t tell them by, what we talked about

                A while ago, and if in my plans

                You help be assured of reward for your work.

 

SCENE II

 

CLAUDIUS AND FLAVIUS

 

CLAUDIUS. Share ye with me the happiness,

                Dear friends, for from the war we come

                Victorious.

 

METELLUS. Claudius, you have come?

 

CLAUDIUS. To thank God, I would like,

                Because I see you again, and Luck

                Gave us fair proofs of her friendliness,

                By sheltering the valor of

                The Romans against her foes in wars.

 

CORNELIUS. Oh noble Claudius! I rejoice

                O’er the triumph against the Dacians; [09] our Rome

                Does conquer alone with her name,

                By presenting her unconquered eagles and flags.

                Amongst the timid Parthians [10] she spreads

                Ignoble fear and they flee before them.

                       

CLAUDIUS. What do you say? The valor, do you doubt

                Of our captain the valor of our troops?

                Ask him if at the name our foes (pointing to Flavius)

                Did flee or at the valor they showed.

 

FLAVIUS.    To Jove and the havoc of the sword

                Of our General, is due the victory

                Of our eminent flags.  I saw, I saw,

                Cornelius, in the bitter test

                Of the doubtful fights the Romans

                Turn pail with shameful affront before

                The enemies cruel. Military

                Strength, talent, and valor did maintain

                The impetuous combatant. Exists

                No mortal who could think of how rough

                And blood the fight is if being,

                Effeminate, he lives in pretty abodes.

 

CORNELIUS. Hadrian believes this, and to Eustache

                Such honor he assigns to reward

                Him for the rigors, anxieties,

                And dangers of the fight.

 

FLAVIUS.    All is due to the warlike ability,

                To the valor invincible and strength

                Of the unconquered General who commands,

                The soldiers, controls and encourages them.

                In the combat; he destroys, strikes, and kills.

                And with the left hand clutching the lance

                He makes the blood gush forth from the breasts!

                The dead and wounded are seen everywhere!

                When he is before the enemy troops,

                Over the earth no such fiery fighter Mars [11] saw,

                None greater, delightful combatant.

                Dacians and Parthians render him obedience.

 

CORNELIUS. They would pay him for his victory don’t fear.

 

CLAUDIUS. Do you regret perchance that Eustache

                Deserves the gift our Hadrian would give him?

                He’d give it Cornelius even to you,

                If you had come out victorious.

 

CORNELIUS. I don’t regret it, Claudius: for the gods

                Refused to let me leave for the war;

                But for Eustache to be acclaimed

                Here in this city, it I can’t stand;

                I shall rather try that in the great feast

                Of the sacrifice to Jove. Eustache

                Be there and an immense crowd of Rome,

                And that he receive his desired reward,

                A compensation that his labors deserve.

                I’m going to Hadrian, because one is illuminate

                By his talent.  You, to Metellus

                Accompany me, friend, if you wish.

 

SCENE III

 

CLAUDIUS AND FLAVIUS

 

CLAUDIUS. At last Flavius, in our country, we arrive,

                After we have endured so many mishaps:

                A thousand anxieties during the war we bore,

                And complete peace we now enjoy.

                While from the Danube’s dismal banks

                We fought with constancy in the wars

                Against the Dacians barbarous,

                My gaze did turn back to our homes.

                At last I see you, fortunate land!

                At last with sure feet I tread on you!

                The high walls also you contemplate (to Flavius)

                Surrounding; sovereign Rome also

                You’ll contemplate the opulence

                Of the temples that altars display

                And holy sacrifice you’ll attend,

                For this so complete a victory;

                To which with your soldiers brave you ought

                To attend, their arrogance to see.

 

FLAVIUS.    A Roman you are and pleasantly

                You live in Rome where you find parents dear,

                Motherland, friends, servants true, and kin

                Who sweetly love you with soft tenderness.

                I, Claudius, no, for relentless fate

                From my father separated me;

                Cruel vengeance pierced the wounded breast.

                At all times my heart with intense desire

                Asks Heaven to return my father to me.

                Hence followed I the profession of arms;

                In the kingdoms vast of Europe I looked

                For him and in the horrid wars;

                Because in my youth I heard him relate

                About fights, adversaries, death, and arms….

 

CLAUDIUS. Oh Flavius, what a tender heart you have,

                And how exalted your soul has been,

                Who never forgot the author dear

                Of your long life and of your days!

                If your father lives, perhaps he enjoys

                Content with loving children, sweet

                And pleasant fortune!  Poor Flavius of mine,

                Perhaps for your father you look in the wars

                Who has forgotten you already, your name,

                Your love, and has forgotten perhaps

                Your happy memory.  Proud time

                Erases love from the breast, as the dawn

                Dissipates black shadows with its rays!

 

FLAVIUS.    Dear Claudius, perhaps, mistaken you are!

                My heart, as time goes, can forget

                Perchance in adversity the one

                Who gave me being, nobility, and life?

                His countenance, his gestures, and his face

                For sure I have forgotten them;

                But indelibly his love in my soul

                Is engraved!  For see, oh Claudius see;

                Divine peace due to my father’s love

                Compels me to look for him; and if

                I stop, with a clear voice it says:

                “Ingrate! For the noble father, search!

                With new flame and new ardor search.”

 

CLAUDIUS. Your nature sweet, oh Flavius dear,

                Was the closest tie and holy bond

                That united me to you.  That you

                May find him again was also my wish;

                For noble sentiments he must have

                Like yours; but if you do not find him,

                Would you search hard for him everywhere?

                With the country you ought to be satisfied,

                Of the favor that from the troops you get,

                Of the agreeable good luck and peace.

 

FLAVIUS.    With my luck do you want me to be satisfied

                When I know not the fate and paternal home?

                With a thousand bitter difficulties

                Oppressed, my aged father perhaps

                Lives working, suffering miserably!

                Oh! How contented is the dear

                And gray haired father when he finds his son;

                Old age obtains his help; in the strength

                Of the noble and robust sun and strong

                Wall against misfortunes.  For his sake

                I’m resolved, oh Claudius; I will go

                Across the seas; I’ll cross everywhere

                So many rivers wandering in search

                For the author of my days, dear life.

 

CLAUDIUS. To find him, are you sure perchance?

                And you have hope of embracing him?

                And to his cruel fate you will leave

                Your faithful Claudius?  And you forsake

                His fraternal love?  Perhaps Jove snatched

                Away your father so that you

                Reposed and happy may share my home.

                Today to your faithfulness I hoped

                To show in the city my gratitude.

                And you ungrateful without repose

                You abandon Claudius, you forsake?

                And thus you’re showing me your love?

                The hope that confident I harbored you mock?

                If we compare the faithful love

                That you did show your father; I love

                You more.  But, Flavius look: Suppose

                That wandering you find him; that you he sees

                And does not know your lineage: How

                Will you know that he belongs to your race?

                What marks can you give him?  Yes, in vain

                You’re searching for him. . . you’re courting ill luck…

 

FLAVIUS.    Perhaps the gods may some day grant

                My tender prayer, my clamor sad,

                To make me happy my father to see.

                I believe impossible it is not

                What you were thinking; for it’s all

                A sigh what I told you that from him

                Infancy they took me away

                On the riverbank where he put me when

                To cross the muddy waters he tried.

                When I had reached the bank and to see

                Him not being able due to the plants

                Of the neighboring mountains, suddenly

                Came furious much water that did flood

                The river everywhere, and I could

                No longer see him.  Of my mishap

                Perhaps my unhappy father thought

                Either caused by hunger or by the flood!

                That I must have died; but heaven itself

                Propitious did show; for a shepherd kind

                From the water a shepherd did take me inert

                And at once to his cabin he carried me.

                There paternal and tender shelter I found.

                Already vigorous I embrace

                The profession of arms; I eagerly pursued

                The Roman eagles, the flags, in the wars

                Of Ister [12] and the Danube whence

                Victorious to your land I returned.

                Here are my marks that could affirm

                The truth if in the field, in the fights,

                And in the kingdoms him I should find…

 

CLAUDIUS. Hadrian [02] comes by this side… Keep quiet.

 

SCENE IV 

 

HADRIAN WITH LICTORS [13]

 

HADRIAN.  Where is the General?

 

FLAVIUS.    He came from the war.

 

HADRIAN   (Addressing Claudius) To the first room go… Tell him to come immediately.

 

FLAVIUS.    Sir, he himself

                Is coming here to pay your respect.

 

HADRIAN.  You’re lucky, Claudius, for you found

                A model of valor, strength, in Eustache!

 

CLAUDIUS. His example is never seen before.

                With his little Titus has he come now?

 

SCENE V

 

EUSTACHE, TITUS AND METELLUS

 

(When Hadrian says, “Goodbye, Estache. . . everybody leaves except Eustache and Titus.)

 

HADRIAN.  Oh noble conqueror of the rebels

                At last I see you, again, dear Eustache!

                Those Dacians [06] who did dare to rise

                Despicably breaking the treaty of peace,

                Disturbing the Roman’s tranquility,

                Did meet a penalty severe! Hadrian

                Is just and to give the glory knows

                To the soldier who fights for his empire,

                For you knew me in Jerusalem

                When I was still young.  Through your efforts,

                I expected victories and impressive deeds;

                But my expectations you surpass.

                Chiefs and centurions will receive

                My order to follow you toward

                The temple, where sacrifices grand

                To the gods you’ll offer. If Rome and the empire

                Show you their gratitude, oh Eustache,

                For our strength and valor; but to the supreme

                Jove you’ve to be grateful for your triumph.

                If the appreciation you hear from me

                Is just, a greater one you will receive

                From the Capitol before the authority

                Of the august Senate, in my presence.

 

EUSTACHE. Oh Lord, I wish not to expect a reward

                For my victory against the Dacians! [05] I ask

                Only, Lord, that you be satisfied

                With my useless services that to Rome

                I performed.  For your favor I’m grateful to you.

                For my valor and strength that so much you extol

                It’s enough that were vanquished the Parthians [10] fierce

                From Titus [04] and Trajan [03] the art of war

                I learned; and to your noble throne I return,

                As they taught me, warlike are my rewards,

                So many honors, so much fame,

                I believe for my services would be too great.

                But indeed the battlefield, as gift

                I accept where I’ll fight against my foes.

                I never leaned this to refuse

                From my sovereign emperors, for I

                Must do it as a good soldier.

 

HADRIAN.  Well, look here Eustache, I learned from the chiefs

                Who to the camp did follow you

                How your troops your virtue did extol

                And your military ardor no less;

                Neither pride nor ambition did spoil

                Your noble breast with their deceits;

                But you, the honors must accept

                With which Rome reward her warriors.

                See, Titus, how holy Jupiter

                Did give you a father whose deeds you ought

                To follow as a noble Roman brave?

 

TITUS.       To love him, only, Lord, I can.

                For I am still a child!  When the years

                Concede me strength to be adept I’ll try

                To imitate him. . . meantime I

                Do promise loyalty to the throne.

 

HADRIAN.  Metellus, O and tell the priest

                My royal order to execute

                Immediately, and prepare everything

                Necessary for the offerings divine.

                I grant you (to Metellus) Metellus, to rest on the way

                Goodbye, Eustache… Titus… goodbye,

                I leave you…

 

SCENE VI

 

EUSTACHE AND TITUS SEATED

 

TITUS.       Oh, what inexpressible joy!  What glee! 

                My heart impedes what I do feel.

                Just for you, what pleasure great fills my soul!

 

EUSTACHE. Titus, I would be

                Content likewise; for only

                I am not!

 

TITUS.       What are you telling me, father? I

                Believe that I’ve answered our emperor,

                If not as you wish, at least with respect.

 

EUSTACHE. No, my consolation sweet, for pleased

                Was I with our boyish reply. A thought

                Exalted fills my mind, Titus…

 

TITUS.       My God, how I fear to have angered you!

                Oh! Punish, punish, father, my crime,

                For all I want is to please you.

 

EUSTACHE. Oh listen, Titus, Forget vain names

                Of foes, of armies, of rewards,

                Of Hadrian and Rome!  Invoke Jesus Christ

                And obediently follow his precepts.

                You promised obedience to great Hadrian;

                To your God you should have done it first;

                If you have a spirit worthy of

                The name of Christian. For his empire

                How many times did I expose

                My life in the past wars with fierce

                Adversaries of Rome; the same

                At certain occasions, Titus, you must do.

                Now, the Almighty calls me to a fight

                For the honor of his name!  I can’t

                Make the offering to the false Jove… Christ

                Forbids  to do it; and if I protest

                That I’m a Christian, despising the false

                Jove, certain death awaits me, that I

                Wish it, oh Titus, with joy… I long

                To observe fidelity to God!

                An immortal laurel He shows me with joy

                And to heaven calls me with fatherly voice

                But you, do you want to follow me?

 

TITUS.       Oh, father dear!

                Yes, with you I wish to die; I wish

                To join you forever.  Would you want

                Me to live without you in this land gloomy, sad?

                Without a father, unfaithful to God,

                No, fear aught: there’s naught

                No protection!

                That frightens me even penalties rough or death.

 

EUSTACHE. If they should ask you if you adore

                The supreme Jove?

 

TITUS.       I am a Christian, I shall say,

                And that I detest the vile Jupiter.

 

EUSTACHE. Yes; but Hadrian rich treasure will give

                You, thousands of rewards bestow

                On you, if you renounce your cult

                And even pretending Jove you adore.

 

TITUS.       I’ll renounce them, noble father, I swear.

 

EUSTACHE. Oh! Perhaps you can renounce the rewards;

                But, if they threaten you with death?

 

TITUS.       The cruel knife will cut off my tender neck

                For martyrdom only my Christian heart

                Desires, and the Almighty I pray

                That he in his bosom receive my soul,

                And receive with you the eternal reward.

 

EUSTACHE. Being far away you’re not afraid!

                 But being present when a soldier fierce

                Prepares you for the rough blow that

                Will finish you, with blind fear perhaps

                You will escape from the soldiers.

 

TITUS.       Ah! Father, I shall not escape,

                Believe me, I will kneel on the ground;

                With my tongue I’ll say: “O Lord, receive

                My soul, for your love and faith I die.”

 

EUSTACHE. Oh Titus, may Christ preserve your heart,

                Save you, protecting your innocence!

 

TITUS.       Did not you say that Christ encourages

                And strengthens the heart with eternal reward

                So that it can resist the infidel?

 

EUSTACHE. Yes, Titus, yes; to hope in God

                We ought to have valor, strength, constancy firm!

                He promised his faithful servants to help

                In their noble and glorious martyrdom.

                Weak and tender children, women, youths,

                Old men who, armed with the power, I have known,

                Did vanquish hardships and death, with pure faith,

                Like brilliant splendor Phoebus great

                The fills with fright his enemies,

                They saw them surrounded with light divine;

                Constant and mirthful these lands they left

                And to heaven they flew.  But Titus you,

                Lend me your ear as you should: the gods

                To worship we cannot. But we

                Can flee, God it does not forbid;

                To another land, if you wish, we go

                Before to a danger you expose yourself.

 

TITUS.       But, father, why do you always doubt

                My valor? If you inspire me, Oh God,

                With this love for you, he must be sure

                Of this my love. My father, alas,

                What to say to you I don’t know anymore,

                I weep, pray, and offer my life to God…

 

EUSTACHE. My son!

                (To heaven) Receive our life like tender gift,

                That since childhood gladly he offers to you.

                You make me happy to soon the reward (to Titus)

                Of God you will receive; my hopes

                You fulfilled and to holy heaven you

                Will follow me!  How joyful will be

                The Saints when they should come to know

                Your sacred oath of dying first

                Rather than worshipping Jove! Less is

                To enter Rome victoriously

                With captives and triumphs than go up with you

                To the firmament where Christ calls us,

                Where happy and contented we shall be!

 

TITUS.       I hope thus, father, and hasten He may

                Our end and up to Heaven we go.

 

(End of Act I)

 

X X X

 

ACT II

 

(The same decoration as in the first act.)

 

SCENE I

 

CORNELIUS AND METELLUS

 

CORNELIUS. See, oh Metellus, how the triumph

                Of Eustache was turned into his own ruin!

                He is a Christian: Hadrian him condemns

                To death.  His valor, victory itself.

                I, friend, exaggerating, a feast

                Great in Rome I prepared, where on altars rich

                Sacrifices he would make to the gods…!

 

METELLUS. But, your life is in danger, don’t you believe?

                       

CORNELIUS. For what reason?

 

METELLUS. Converted he may be

                By offering his first fruits, and if he succeeds

                To save himself from death, he may

                Take vengeance someday on you; he may

                Change perhaps his religion and his life

                Because he can worship Jupiter

                Obeying Rome, though feigning it.

 

CORNELIUS. Don’t expect him to be won to our gods!

                So hardened is my rival’s soul;

                Faith, strength, and valor firm like all                    

                Who follow an impious sect.

                In addition, Eustache loves a thousand times

                More religion and cult than his life.

                Don’t expect him then to worship our gods

                To follow our great Hadrian our pretend

                It, being against his religion and law.

 

METELLUS. Will he condemn him to death if he learns

                He is a Christian? Hadrian will command

                Eustache to choose, sacrifice or death.

                A soldier so fierce will never be

                Subjected to such a test, for it

                Matters little that Eustache take another faith.

 

CORNELIUS. Indeed it matters little to Rome

                The cares that a distinct faith does give,

                For the city now impatiently awaits

                The offering and its essential for Hadrian

                To demand it and Trajan’s sacred laws.

                It’s needed too that they ask it from him…

                By that side comes the great Hadrian.

                Keep still, now, if he demands it.  I’ll speak.

 

SCENE II

 

HADRIAN

 

HADRIAN.  Metellus, for Titus look at the room,

                See that he comes with you alone (Metellus goes).

                At last now I understand why Eustache

                Refuses to make an offering to Jove

                And also the honor; for although of this

                I‘ve only fear, suspicion slight,

                You more than I know it; tell me,

                Cornelius, who’s the god he reveres

                And what’s his belief? Is it true that Trajan

                Forbade by decree this new faith’s worship? [14]

 

CORNELIUS. Such a crime I can never suspect of him.

                To remove every suspicion you             

                Can talk with him.

 

HADRAIAN. I wish them to call    

                Titus who will tell us the truth.

                May he, not guilty, escape from the crime,

                That I cannot absolve, the gods wish!

 

CORNELIUS.  How can you let go unpunished such crime,

                That compelled Nero [15] to shed the blood

                Of many who did follow this sect?

 

HADRIAN.  But that tyrant you make me recall

                Whose crimes you want me to commit?

                He killed his mother with fury mad

                And his noble teacher Seneca, [16] the sage.

 

CORNELIUS. If Nero a monster had been, the great

                Vespasian was good, [17] his memory is still

                Revered, and however this Hydra [18] with his head

                Wounded, nevertheless killed the Pope. [19]

 

HADRIAN.  It was Saturninus [20] who wished his death;

                Vespasian did grant the petition severe.

                Titus was even more pious.

                His mercy was praised and liked by all,

                And he allowed that as regards some cults

                One can adhere to what he likes best.

 

CORNELIUS. If you wish, if you allow me to talk to you

                With utmost frankness and clarity

                As I should speak to you, My Lord…

 

HADRIAN.  (Interrupting him) Cornelius,

                State your intention and advice.

 

CORNELIUS. I know that Titus was really pious,

                For a long time he was at peace with them.

                You know what happened? Many became

                Disciples and brothers in the sect,

                That for the peace of Rome, Domitian [21]

                Of gloomy misery and fury seemed

                To be a child.  Titus [04] was clement,

                But neither justice nor grandeur had he.

                All monarchs want to be merciful.

                It isn’t clemency to let crimes go unpunished

                To those who love justice.  The laws accuse

                Them rigorously and they cry

                To heaven that their kindness is cruelty!

                If Eustache is a criminal, the laws of Trajan

                Condemn him; his worthy successor you’re

                In heaven Jupiter reigns for you,

                And you, for Jove, free and glorious you reign

                On earth!  The world will have peace, if wise laws

                And only one cult of a deity it had.

 

HADRIAN.  Cornelius, tell me, does Jupiter

                Perchance look at us from above where he reigns?

 

CORNELIUS. It is a wholesome thing for Rome

                For all to believe that Jove looks at us.

 

HADRIAN.  But much did Eustache help the empire!

 

CORNELIUS. If he’s against the gods, he gives

                No military services to Rome!

                With his example many will be

                Converted into his Christian faith

                And cult; and adding new proof of his faith

                He will hurt Rome.  If the law of Trajan

                And your strong arm can justly condemn

                Him to death, don’t fear that one would dare

                Rebel against sacred gods, and you

                Will see how every one will respect you.

 

SCENE III

 

METELLUS AND TITUS

 

        HADRIAN.  Wait in the nearby room, and Cornelius, (to Cornelius)

        Come back here after awhile.  (Cornelius leaves)

 

TITUS.       My God! Comfort me with your grace

                And don’t allow me to fail in my oath!

 

HADRIAN.  And your father you love?

 

TITUS.       Lord, very much.

 

HADRIAN.  Do you know that he declined the rich rewards

                And to offer sacrifices to Jove?

                Oh tell me, why did he deprive himself

                Of the honor I did offer him?

 

TITUS.       Your honors he does not refuse;

                But to offer his triumphs to the gods

                He detests…

 

HADRIAN.  What did you say?

 

TITUS.       I don’t believe

                That his victory is due to your Jove,

                For Jove can’t give him any support.

 

HADRIAN.  And to whom then did he owe it?

       

TITUS.       To God the true.

 

HADRIAN.  Is it not Jove perchance?  Don’t you see

                In the temple how many spoils of the enemy

                Are placed as proofs of his great strength?

                You’re young, your scanty knowledge perhaps

                Ignores how Rome was born and how

                The Romans, always ardent in wars

                And victorious, did subject the crowns

                Of Europe, Asia, and Africa;

                And notwithstanding, being martial,

                These peoples are obedient to the gods.

 

TITUS.       The origin of Rome and the wars

                Of her children are not known to me.

 

HADRIAN.  Therefore, you also know, Titus beloved,

                Who are the Scipios and Metellus,

                The Emilius, the Caesars, the Fabius,

                The Sullus, the Calpurnius, and Pompeys.  [22]

 

TITUS.       I know them, Lord.

 

HADRIAN.  Undoubtedly you know very well

                That they recognized Jupiter as god,

                To whom all their victories they owe!

                It’s blindness and error of the mind!

                Why did such famous warriors err?

 

TITUS.       I’m a child and I can’t explain it to you.

                My father, if you wish, can expose

                The blind cult of your belief.

 

HADRIAN.  Not by you nor by your father wish I

                To be instructed about your religion.

                I, Titus, only want obedience.

 

TITUS.       This always, lord,  I owe the throne.

                But not in things our God forbids.

 

HADRIAN.  What are they?

 

TITUS.       To worship your Jupiter…

 

HADRIAN.  By chance, do our gods one another envy?

 

TITUS.       There’s only one immortal God!

                Jove, if he did exist, was mortal.

 

HADRIAN.  Yes, but he was made

                Immortal to mortals superior.

 

TITUS.       And who made him?  Did he have power immense?

 

HADRIAN.  Thus to me you speak and you fear not my

                Revenge?  Don’t you think I can cut off your head?

 

TITUS.       Hadrian, I am prepared right here!

                From your anger I cannot run away,

                And even if I could, I wouldn’t want to!

                To your warriors I offer my head, and you

                Yourself, oh great Hadrian, if you wish!

                Break apart my heart with your sword,

                My tender veins open, and my blood

                Shed, yes, oh shed it on this ground!

                But don’t expect me down to kneel

                Before your mad, imposter gods!

                        You alone, my Lord, only you I adore (Looking up to heaven)

                For you, I’m brave, for you I die.

                And you, you know my trust in this (to Hadrian)

                In my God and in centuries to come!

 

HADRIAN.  For your youth I do forgive your crime.

                Live, Titus, for you can; you’ll be

                A powerful man later in my court!

                Worship Jove.  Do you want to have rewards,

                Honors and riches?

 

TITUS.       Lord, very much.

                Wealth divine I want so much that because

                Of them I detest your frivolous ones.

                I love God who can make me, contented, rich,

                And happy; for that reason I refuse

                All you give me and I venerate not Jove.

 

HADRIAN.  But you pledged to be faithful to my throne.

 

TITUS.       Lord, again I promise it to you;

                Here you have Titus who desires

                His father’s noble deed t’ imitate

                And always ready to obey you.

                May he show you his saber white

                All over covered with enemy spoils!

                And like my father, make you see

                My breast covered with glorious scars…

 

HADRIAN.  And why don’t you fulfill your oath

                To me?  You refuse to worship our gods?

 

TITUS.       God does not want it.

 

HADRIAN.  You’re my soldier,

                As I am of Jupiter; therefore  you’re

                A soldier of my god.

 

TITUS.       Lord, I can’t be

                His vassal, nor you either.

                Don’t speak to me of Jupiter.

                I’m resolved to die if you so wish.

 

HADRIAN.  Good. With torment and torture you will die

                As you deserve, so that the gods

                May be appeased and horror great

                May it cause to the hard heart of mad Eustache.

                Lastly, do you choose death or rewards?

                Choose what you wish; but think of what

                Is most acceptable to your heart.

 

TITUS.       I love God; and things beyond the true God

                I should not be afraid of and love.

 

HADRIAN.  But your father you love?

 

TITUS.       Oh very much.

                With him, true to God, I wish to die.

                And in heaven sweet and eternal peace

                My father and I shall happily

                Enjoy.  Here’s my answer: Jove is naught;

                He is a vain idol.  Thus I refuse him

                The honors due him: there’s only one God.

 

HADRIAN.  Cornelius, come and return him to

                His father; but talk to him first, I am

                Uncertain of their lies, or fate,

                Or hope, if you don’t win, as I wish,

                The father; later to my room withdraw.

 

SCEME IV

 

CORNELIUS AND TITUS

 

CORNELIUS. Oh, Titus, may the great Jove save you!

 

TITUS.       I hope for salvation from our God.

 

CORNELIUS. My good Titus, the god that you must like,

                But… why uneasy are you? I’m Cornelius,

                The faithful friend of your father.

                Alas, Titus, for the danger you are in

                I’m very sorry, and more for your death…

 

TITUS.       What you fear is precisely what I want.

                And what for me is sweet hope, should

                Not be stupid fear for you.

 

CORNELIUS. Speak clearly to me.  My heart with love

                Is bursting and of satisfaction for you.

                Hadrian exalts me with his grace,

                And if you wish, I can still save you.

 

TITUS.       This favor, Cornelius, don’t do for me,

                And heaven grant you just reward

                For the love as you say, you hold for us.

 

CORNELIUS. Of our Hadrian’s wrath aren’t you afraid?

 

TITUS.       No; Hadrian can only give me death;

                But I long only for crude death,

                How then will you want me to face his wrath?

 

CORNELIUS. Oh worthy descendant, noble, sublime,

                Of parents brave and enlightened!

                In your virtuous heart I contemplate

                The firmness and valor of your sires,

                Noble ancestors and warriors; I laud

                Your constancy, free your heart, obey

                Your God and your desire;

                Achieve glory you who nothing fear,

                You strong, intrepid, surpass all.

 

TITUS.       You counsel well, but poorly you argue;

                Your opinion I follow, but I detest

                Your arguments. To my father send

                Me back. Perhaps he’s looking for me.

 

CORNELIUS. He is coming now; I leave you.

 

SCENE V

 

EUSTACHE AND TITUS

 

TITUS.       Dear father!

 

EUSTACHE. What are you doing, my son?

                Why are you with Cornelius? Why

                Are you walking ‘round these places?

 

TITUS.       My father,

                I’ll tell you all, our Metellus has called

                Me, and he has left me alone

                With the great Hadrian.

 

EUSTACHE. Alone with Hadrian?

 

TITUS.       Only he was there; but Jesus Christ

                Was accompanying me; his holy name

                I invoked on presenting myself before

                Our emperor.

 

EUSTACHE. Beloved Creator,

                Oh guide his heart on the rugged, dark

                Path where he walks!

 

TITUS.       He asked me why a sacrifice

                You refused to offer to supreme Jove;

                I replied that your victory was due

                To the great God of the Christians.

 

EUSTACHE. What did he tell you?

 

TITUS.       Me he wanted to convince

                That the impudent Jove is sovereign

                And numberless gods there are who are

                Propitious.  I denied it, and he

                With death in the end did threaten me.

                I expected it joyfully; however, I was

                Sorry to die without your embrace,

                Without giving you my last breath, Now

                I would not be unfortunate,

                For with your tender entreaties

                And prayers God will give me lucky reward.

 

EUSTACHE. Let not Lord Jesus permit that I be

                Separated from you, dear Titus, without

                Embracing you.  Nothing more did he ask?

                At last, son, Hadrian left you placid and safe?

 

TITUS.       Dear father, look, it seems to me

                That pensive and disgusted you are.

                My sins may prevent me, I’m afraid,

                From entering the sacred place

                Where does reside celestial joy,

                Where wretched weakness is not felt…

 

EUSTACHE. Don’t fear; to Jesus offer as gift

                Your pleasant life, and chaste breast for

                Your father, sad who does repent.

 

TITUS        May God accept my childish gift…

                Ah! Father, why is your face disturbed,  

                Sad tears are running down your cheeks?

                The heavens above are witnesses

                That I behaved with spirit strong

                In the presence of Hadrian.

 

EUSTACHE. My heart

                Is disturbed by memory of the years,

                When I lived in a dark and gloomy night,

                Wrapped up in wretched falsehoods of blind

                Paganism.  Dark night that covered Rome

                With its mantle black.  I too fatal ways

                Did follow bowing to false gods.

                Oh holy God, a wretched man’s

                Senseless infidelity forgive…

                In the meantime receive my humble heart

                That now is changed.  Forgive, oh God,

                Your unfortunate son who’s innocent

                Of his father’s crime sunk in error blind!

                And stupid falsehood!  You yourself

                Do promise us that kindly you would

                Forgive a penitent man who repents,

                And that oblivion eternal will

                Cover the sins that tears erase.

 

TITUS.       Oh father, I hope, that the kind Jesus

                Will receive me in the glory of the saints.

                He himself kindles placid hope

                Within my innocent Christian heart.

 

EUSTACHE. Oh, my Titus, his most holy will, be done

                In our lives: Perhaps Hadrian hopes to bend

                My valor firm… But to his faith

                Eustache will be faithful and to his God.

 

(End of Act II)

 

X X X

 

ACT III

 

SCENE I

 

FLAVIUS AND CLAUDIUS

 

FLAVIUS.    Alas, Claudius; alas, my friend

                You don’t know the acute pain that vexes my breast!

                I beg for your advice: your words

                Perhaps would be able to drive away

                The horrible struggles that the fate

                Of my father weaves.  Claudius know that

                        Oh gods, help him!

 

CLAUDIUS. What are you saying to me?

                By chance today your father you find,

                The father you’re looking for o’er the seas!

                Oh heavens!  Where’s he that I may see him?

 

FLAVIUS.    Alas! You’ll not believe it; he’s Eustache…

                My father, and I’m his son… what do

                You advise me? Perchance reveal myself

                That I’m his son?  Or forever avoid

                His presence?  It is rumored in

                The city that a Christian he is,

                And Hadrian knows it.  Sure death

                Awaits my father, unfortunate and sad.

                For such resplendent nobility

                And for having a martial father, I’m glad…

                And unhappy, for death does him surround.

                Exposed I see his glorious life:

                Alas!  Why, oh cruel ill-luck, do you

                Torment me?  Your heavy hand have I

                Not already tolerated? But alas!

                And if he dies?  But Hadrian would not

                Condemn him.  Is it just to put him to death

                When his generous blood he shed in war

                In defense of our imperial diadem?

                And worthy is it for an emperor

                Perchance such a silly reward to give

                Eustache?  No; and a thousand times no!

                My brother is Titus!  Oh how in the breast

                The torment roars that the deaf fate hurls

                Inexorably!  Instead of joy, bitter pain

                Devours the heart.  Oh father, why,

                With terrible punishments do you torment me?

                Did I not love you?  Did I offend

                You?  Tell me, Titus cruel, what did

                I do to you that you want to be

        A Christian?  Can I hope that when

        Eustache should know he would worship

        Jove?  Ah!  If I could save him!  I

        Don’t see it clearly, Claudius.  Gods!

        What should I do?  What do you advise

        Me, friend?

 

CLAUDIUS. What do you want me to tell you?  Have               

         You perchance sure proofs and the signs cannot

        Deceive you that little recall the fleeting past?

 

FLAVIUS.    List, Claudius, and you judge yourself

                If I ought to know him.  Don’t you recall

                That on the bank of a river sad,

                After crossing a forest wild that I

                From my dear father was separated?

                Do you remember well that my

                Very tender age was not over five years?

                Well then, Claudius with acute pain Eustache

                Relates this to Faustus about his son,

                Faustus too tells it to me, leaving no

                Doubt: his account, his memory his deeds

                That he is my father clearly prove

                To me and his past life remembering

                The noble Faustus with sadness did

                Relate to Titus the past events.

                Can I still doubt, Claudius, that this hope

                Is true which now devours my breast?

 

CLAUDIUS. If Faustus tells you the pure truth,

                And he too, you will certainly be

                His son.  But, Titus is thinking now

                And trying to save him.  I understand

                What affections are awakened in your breast

                Which disturb you.  But listen: I would like you

                To control yourself by hiding yourself.

                In this, friend Flavius, only can

                Be found his sweet salvation.  Eustache

                I believe will love life when he learns

                Of the existence of his son.

                You ought to reveal that his son lives –

                And is found in Rome; but he must obey

                The mandate of Hadrian and then he’ll see

                His son.  Heart and heroic strength he’ll lack

                To bear the weight of the paternal love

                And immense desire will oppress the sweet

                And noble breast of a father and

                His hardness bent with pleasure he will

                        Our gods worship.  This is what my soul counsels

                                     you.            

 

FLAVIUS.    Alas, how heavy, Claudius, is your

                Advice and harder than steel and stone!

                How do you want me, unhappy, to hide

                That I am his son?  Alas!  In vain

                You expect that from my filial love

                I should get so much.  Flavius conceal that he

                Be his son, when his prayers’ object he finds?

                That his paternal love, not my soul,

                Defeat in such danger a dear father’s love?

 

CLAUDIUS. His danger ought to curb your love

                And of the internal affection’s harsh.

                Conflict we shall support ourselves.

                That conquered by love the noble Eustache

                Will be, my heart constantly awaits.

 

FLAVIUS.    Your advice I’ll follow, and Claudius, I

                Prepare myself for such cruel and rough

                Undertaking, as you wish.  If to yield

                He objects, remaining stubbornly firm

                In his opinion, oh, Claudius, tell

                Me: What will be my mournful hope?

 

CLAUDIUS. I don’t fear this.  Of that I’m sure;

                Have courage, recover virtue and strength.

                Look your valiant father, is coming to

                This place soon; he is already near.

 

SCENE II

 

EUSTACHE

 

EUSTACHE. Perhaps this is the last day… but

                I have had the pleasure of seeing you.

 

FLAVIUS.    What do you say, Lord?

 

CLAUDIUS. This I don’t fear,

                For in this city are with you

                Your faithful servants.  But what do you want

                To do? Why do you want a harm so wordy?

                What compels you to disobey Hadrian’s

                Commands?  I have known you as prudent and why

                You act in this way I do not know.

 

EUSTACHE. I, Claudius, ought, if same judgment I have

                Not to obey him and constantly tolerate

                That happy penalty until death.

 

FLAVIUS.    And it’s constancy to arm yourself

                Against Rome, Caesar, and the gods

                Who showed propitious always to men?

                You don’t want the august sacrifice,

                And of Hadrian’s ire you’re not afraid?

                Ah! Pardon my love, my general…

                You who are adorned with a thousand gifts,

                An ungrateful son you want to show

                Yourself to Jupiter; a rebel

                To the mandate of our emperor,

                Cruel to yourself? And can I tell

                You what to Faustus you’ve retold

                Of your history sad? Perchance are you

                Not sorry for the misfortunes that have

                Befallen you for having believed

                In a new god unknown in Rome? Did it

                Save you from the fierce penalty

                With which the indignant Jupiter

                Oppresses you? Your paternal wealth

                Has been lost; to leave your country condemned,

                In another place where the frightful he

                You wielded wandering you went]

                As sweet wheat you did offer to men,

                I also don’t ignore how your

                Dear son you lost in a distant woods…

 

EUSTACHE. Enough,

                Flavius!  Why so painful a memory

                Do you remind a grieving father of

                That accident more cruel than death?

                Do you want to be cruel to me, when I

                Have loved you as a father loves

                His dear son? But alas! With your name

                Alone I remember my son.  But my

                Ill-luck was no punishment of your

                False gods. Thou, my God, thou Jesus Christ,

                Thou punished my past sins, because I at

                Another time blind, wretched I did

                Not know thy powerful being; but in

                Thine ire Thou were benevolent,

                Benign.  I was also a worshipper

                Of false gods of impious cult.

                I don’t refuse to remind myself

                Of the errors that hurled me into that abyss

                Of dense fog and covered with horror.  God

                Showed me his light of brilliance clear

                And I embraced his doctrine, off

                I pulled the repugnant veil that covered me.

                I knew Him then and with the name

                I changed my customs; and treasures rich,

                Fat cattle, fertile fields, God took

                Away from me.  A long time wandering

                Faraway from Rome I was.  A dear

                Son, six years old, on the riverbank –

                Cruel memory – I abandoned; I did

                Want to ford the river wide and I

                Was dragged by the current.  I could not

                Help him.  Of what use is it for me

                My dear one to remember, if God

                Expedites the day when I shall see

                Him in the happy asylum?

 

FLAVIUS.    This son whom you think is dead, is alive

                And lives in Rome.  For he himself

                Recounts the sad event that you

                Tell us; there’s no doubt that he’s your son;

                That a shepherd saved him from death the will

                Of God wished to be propitious.  He

                Is also called Flavius, him we know

                If you wish to see him, you offer great

                Sacrifices and reverence to the gods.

 

EUSTACHE. Are you telling the truth? My dear son is

                Alive? You know him? Can I believe you?

 

CLAUDIUS. The truth he tells you, and thus I say

                That he’s your son, if Faustus repeat

                Faithfully your words.

 

EUSTACHE. Benign God!

                What do I hear! Heavens help me! And

                He’s alive… tell me where, beloved! In what place

                Is my son?

 

FLAVIUS.    Sacrifice to sacred Jove, and we

                Shall show him to you. Since the punishment

                That threatens you would hurt his fate.

                How do you want to see your child?

 

EUSTACHE. I would like him also to share my death

                In the future and my destiny.

                If he was educated in

                The Christian life… Alas! Perhaps

                He worships impious Jupiter,

                Forgetting his early ideas

                And the only God.

 

FLAVIUS.    He has promised

                To follow and honor our sacred gods,

                Because Rome honors them. We resolved

                For our love not to reveal him. Eustache,

                If you do not profess divine fear

                Toward the gods: You will succeed

                To save yourself and him in this way.

 

EUSTACHE. Alas!

                Friends, if you knew the torment harsh

                That my heart suffers… Be merciful…

 

FLAVIUS.    We pity you and due to this

                You son is even hiding from us.

 

EUSTACHE. For a father, it is not pity, friends.

 

FLAVIUS.    And you pity is not for your poor son!

 

EUSTACHE. I love him more than you do. For sure

                He must have pretty habits and ways,

                As in his tender infancy he showed!

 

FLAVIUS.    And they still are. But you yourself

                By saving yourself, you ought to save him,

                And together with your little Titus.

 

EUSTACHE. Ne’er shall we be safe without leaving

                The wretched asylum of this life

                Without consecrating to God our life…

 

CLAUDIUS. But, what do I see?

 

FLAVIUS.    I beg you my lord…

 

SCENE III

 

HADRIAN AND CORNELIUS

 

HADRIAN. Quickly be gone, and let Eustache remain! (To Flavius and Claudius.)

              Look, Cornelius, in what situation I am,

                The boldest champion of Rome denies

                The offering to the exalted Jove.

 

CORNELIUS. Lord, I know your clemency and his crime.

 

EUSTACHE. I’ve committed no crime, sin or mistake

                For which his mercy he ought to use.

 

HADRIAN.  Obey the command and the fragrant incense

                With pleasure offer to sacred Jove.

 

EUSTACHE. If it’s a crime to refuse to do

                So as I wish, let your laws condemn

                Me to death. I have lived enough, and my wish

                Is to rest after hardships and toils and for

                A tranquil peace. Only your sword can grant

                It to me, In my life I showed myself

                A soldier of the noble throne;

                In peace and in war, unwearied severe

                I prepared my breast for the hostile steel.

                If in the battle I exposed my life,

                Under the scepter of Titus and Trajan,

                With valor fighting and in the wars

                Foot-soldiers and warriors knocking down;

                If with unconquered strength my wounds

                Shed blood in this war whence I return

                Triumphant conqueror; for the faith

                That I swore to my God, God infinite,

                Wise, omnipotent, I ought to arm

                Myself with the same fortitude

                To suffer death for shedding blood.

                Lord, where is Titus, that soldier whom

                In my early young years I served

                So much with my swords?  August Emperor,

                Where is Trajan? That Spaniards who

                From my exile chose me to subdue

                The Parthians, [10] to come out of Latium, [23] strong

                And remarkable to overcome

                Distressing rough voyages to traverse

                Hot deserts, to live in repulsive lands.

                Exposing life to hazards cruel

                Of such a difficult war? Where, Lord,

                Are they? Can I expect a reward

                Or some help in my wearied years?

                And you Lord, whom in Rome I find

                A glorious successor of the great

                Trajan, to whom barbarous Monarchs I

                Present with ignominious iron

                Well guarded; peoples which knew not

                The empire of the Roman eagle, are now

                Of your throne tributaries and prisoners;

                What reward in the future life can you

                Promise me? Since knowing that my life

                Is short, I seek peace. Can you grant

                Me a worthy reward? If for my triumphs you

                Are grateful, can you promise to

                My valor eternal honor, which

                To your throne was so faithful? A sacrifice

                Of the incense profane with which you wish

                Me to outrage my faith, to your impure

                Jupiter I deny. God omnipotent

                Immortal honor dos promise me

                And eternal kingdom. How can I

                Invoke in your Capitol a vain

                Name that in the fiery voice of wars

                Was not propitious to me? I invoked

                My God and instantly he was with

                Me against the Parthians fierce; and wherever        

                I did go victory followed soon.

                In his name I conquered your enemies!

                With incense on top of the capitol

                This Lord alone I will invoke;

                Not being he I despise Jupiter…

 

HADRIAN.  Of what God are you thinking? It

                Is well know that the man you adore

                Was a criminal, and the Jews themselves

                Killed him.  Jerusalem indeed saw him dead.

 

EUSTACHE. You can’t understand in what way He

                Was mortal, if your dark mind divine

                Light does not illumine well. But

                Don’t you know that the Eternal Father avenged

                His name in the wretched Hebrews with such

                Revenge that the whole world as filled with fright?

                And Lord, we, if you don’t know it,

                And our soldiers were the fury and ire

                Of his vengeance.  Remember, sir, that

                Event, that battle which with terror was filled

                With which that kingdom we laid waste….[24]

                One million, one hundred thousand Jews

                Unhappy suffered harsh death: some

                By hunger, some by the sword, the rest

                By the beasts did perish.  Avenger of

                The divine rage so many dead did serve

                The faith enough.  This same Lord Christ

                Himself, predicted such lugubrious event.

                You, sir, and I were with Titus [04] in

                That ever memorable siege… not of

                Roman cruelty or fury mad but it is

                Of justice and example great.

 

HADRIAN.  This was in the past, and not proper it is

                To recall a war that I believe

                The memory of Titus offends very much.

                A Roman you’re and it’s Rome’s desire

                That you honor or gods.

 

EUSTACHE. A Christian I am.

 

HADRIAN.  Therefore you’re destined to unhappy death

                And Trajan’s law does condemn you!

 

EUSTACHE. I wish to conform to the sentence; I

                Am ready to die and my gentle son.

 

HADRIAN.  As an intrepid warrior you knew how to give

                Death to others with terrible bravery,

                And with valor you will suffer the same…

                For cruel revenge…

 

EUSTACHE. I’m not afraid

                I am a kind father to my son.

 

HADRIAN.  From my palace so soon you’ll not get out,

                In the last days that remain to you,

                Except to offer soft incense

                Or to die. To your soldiers and to you (to Cornelius)

                I entrust him; Cornelius, watch him.  But

                You in the meantime deliberate,

                And worthy of your virtues, take

                An advice. You go and come back changed

                To be able fulfill very soon my wish.

 

EUSTACHE. From what I am in vain you can expect

                To find me different Hadrian, in a way

                So violent. No, you’ll not find Eustache

                Unfaithful to God, one who knew how to

                Subdue many warriors; nor will you see

                Me at the altars impure of your

                False gods offering incense to Jove

                For villainous fear.

 

HADRIAN.  Go away now, and

                Think for a moment that you owe

                Me obedience and submissiveness;

                Your bold mad thoughts with which you insult

                The gods and Caesar, for your valor

                Unconquered, I am forgiving you;

                But if you are tenacious, my

                Clemency is equal to my rage.

 

EUSTACHE. I’m not afraid. No, neither your

                Rage nor your compassion I implore.

 

HADRIAN.  Soldiers, guard him immediately.

 

EUSTACHE. Fear not that I’ll escape; God guards

                Me more than the soldiers the empire. (He leaves)

 

SCENE IV

 

HADRIAN AND CORNELIUS

 

HADRIAN.  (Aside) With laurels girded is Hadrian,

                With flowers and seated on a throne;

                Faced with the hard choice to condemn or set

                Free his soldier dear, appearing lax.

 

CORNELIUS. I know not the reason, sir, why on

                The culprit you delay the death

                Sentence! His reply so haughty as well

                As rash perchance your valor does not

                Vouchsafe, for such madness

                Is unworthy of so sensible a man.

 

HADRIAN.  In the city how many know that he

                Adores a different imaginary god?

 

CORNELIUS. The whole city knows it.

 

HADRIAN.  To his valor I

                Ungrateful would not like to appear

                And to his loyalty, for which I reign.

 

CORNELIUS. (With anger) His present impiety is enough to eclipse

                His fidelity and valor false!

                Eustache destroys your mandates and

                The law he follows Rome abhors.

                The fathers of the empire, the Romans, who

                Attribute to Jove their triumph high,

                Will neither call you cruel nor ungrateful king,

                For in the august deities they believe

                Not in that Christ whom Eustache adores…

                You see that the more you threaten him

                The less that wicked man fears you.

                And in the meantime Rome awaits

                With impatience to see if you’ll defend

                The sacred edits of the great Trajan

                And what respect contains your noble breast

                For our divine gods. Rome believes hat Jove

                Protects her and defends her in

                The vast empire; thus obediently loves our gods,

                And loves and respect the gods so much…

 

HADRIAN. Hence, I have forbidden Eustache to leave

                My palace grand, if he does not

                Acknowledge, Jove as responsible for

                The hundred glorious honors of war.

 

CORNELIUS. He’ll never do it; but I’ve only one

                Means, your mandates to make him obey.

 

HADRIAN.  What?

 

CORNELIUS. Condemn to death the boy Titus, and

                With great fright he will fear your ire,

                For blinded and mocking you, he believes

                That he will never be condemned,

                And then he will be afraid when he

                Sees the effect of your rage.

 

HADRIAN.  Execute your own

                Advice and let him die today. (He leaves)

 

CORNELIUS. He misunderstood my advice; meanwhile

                I’ll execute it. Upon seeing his death

                On his opinion Eustache will hold fast.

 

X X X

 

ACT IV

 

SCENE I

 

CORNELIUS AND METELLUS

 

CORNELIUS. No, no more subterfuge remains to Eustache,

                For the more Hadrian does threaten him

                More firm is his determination,

                And with his haughty speech to insult

                Us and our gods; wishing for death

                He accuses men of delaying it.

 

METELLUS. But when he sees that the furious threats

                Of Caesar are not in vain, perhaps

                The death that he wishes for himself

                Would infuse him with fear on seeing it.

 

CORNELIUS. To put Titus to death I induced Hadrian;

                Perhaps very opposite thing

                Will come out; frankly I’ll tell you my

                Opinion, to explain it when there’s time.

                By now, it’s not convenient for me

                To be late; Titus to furious beasts

                I’ll give, because these spectacles please

                The people, and perhaps for them

                Their author obtain new merit and

                Laurels. The hope of the father once dead,

                With new longings he will seek death

                More he will blame him if it is delayed.

 

METELLUS. Does Eustache know the death of his Titus?

 

CORNELIUS. He does not know it; death he does

                Not repel. From his prison, Metellus, I’ll get

                Him; on his father I’ll take revenge,

                And in this way I will insult

                The father’s ever suspicious vigilance.

 

SCENE II

 

FLAVIUS ALONE

 

FLAVIUS.    Oh cruel destiny!  Oh ungrateful Rome!

                That you thus torment the unvanquished warrior who

                For your welfare excel on the battlefields.

                Why have I deserved your wrath?

                Ungrateful nation!… Wretched people!...

                If your rule, supreme gods, the destinies

                Of mortals on this earth, why am

                I unhappy with the punishment?

                Was I expecting another reward

                For my labors! Unhappy father of

                A brother of mine! Tender tears, make soft

                Eustche’s heart of marble and granite!

                Oh! He comes now: propitious, divine

                Heavens, pity a wretched warrior!

 

SCENE IV

 

EUSTACHE AND FLAVIUS

 

EUSTACHE. My Flavius, ere, here I am… What do

                You want of me? Why aren’t you contented?

 

FLAVIUS.    You want to die and drag along

                With you Titus! Why do you ask me about

                The cause of my sadness? Are you firm

                In your decision wretched and sad!

                You want to lose little Titus;

                That glory that with effort great

                And with unconquered arm you’ve won

                From your military adversaries…!

                Tears are not for a brave man;

                But crying conquers an iron heart!

 

EUSTACHE. Alas! If you love me, you would not want,

                Dear Flavius, to torment my paternal heart!

                Leave me in peace, let victory

                End in pacific calmness.  How

                I would like you to follow my steps

                You, who with warlike valor in

                The fights did follow the waving of

                The flags and the sound and noise of arms!

                If in search of cities you followed me

                To the eternal kingdom you too ought to come with me…

 

FLAVIUS.    I love you with the love of a loving son;

                But, you wish me to die with you?

 

EUSTACHE. Don’t tell me you love me, ‘cause you aggravate

                My grief!  While I guard you as poor

                As goodness you lack eternal and pure…

                But do not pretend you love me.

 

FLAVIUS.    I am not pretending sir.  Sublime

                Jupiter witnesses the purity

                Of my breast which the fire of love consumes.

                But if you have no pity for

                Yourself; just for your cruel wish Titus

                Will die.  Your older son too will perish who,

                If you wish, I can reveal to you.

                But so that he may not die I hide

                Him from your eyes.

 

EUSTACHE. And, is it love?  No; for it’s torment. And

                Deceit fabricated by you in order

                To mitigate my paternal heart.

                Your valor I sufficiently know.

                And Flavius, I appreciate your pious love.

 

FLAVIUS.    Neither is it deceit or do you know yet

                The love for only your person I have.

                But do you want to die without seeing

                Your son, or saying naught or the last

                Goodbye?  If you truly love him and me,

                Show it to me and you will see my thought…

                You cry?… Why do you turn away your face?...

                Tell me… Father dear! Hear in my sad

                Breast you find filial love.  I’m Flavius!

                I’m the one who suffers torment not

                To be equaled! Lose me or save me with you,

                Eustache! if you wish to save me, I

                Shall go content… To Titus take

                Me, to my brother dear for I want

                To convince him and embrace

                Him since your heart is inflexible…

 

EUSTACHE. Oh! God, your loftiest secrets who

                Can fathom? You returned to me

                My son, and to your heavenly decrees

                I owe it.  But if he comes to his

                Father’s bosom, eternal God, lead him

                To a good end; in order to enjoy          

                Happy glory. Change his heart and sentiment

                So that Flavius also may become your son.

                Oh! Your face reminds me of objects,

                Tender objects, pleasing to my mind.

 

FLAVIUS.    Oh my father! As I find you, I lose

                You also at the same instant…

                Can you bar it?  Faustus without knowing it

                United us; and now would you want to die?

                You want to stay away from me again?

 

EUSTACHE. It was God who united us

                Dear Flavius, in my last peaceful days,

                And you can be always united to

                Your brother and me in Heaven.  For

                In this vain and fleeting life you have

                Forgotten that in your tender breast

                The sweet sentiments of Christian religion

                You’ll live happily contented and

                If you would follow the heavenly doctrines

                Of our holy religion.  I confess

                That in my robust age I left the gods,

                Believing in the Eternal doctrines.

                Your mother dear was a Christian too…

 

FLAVIUS.    Where’s my mother, because I want to see her?

               

EUSTACHE. Her life did happily end, to God

                Eternal giving faithful proof.

                She dwells in Haven and she invites

                Us to her happy and joyful abode.

                Do you remember how much she loved

                You?  Soon I’ll see her at the gates

                Of that kingdom more beautiful than the sun,

                Than the moon, extending her pleasant arms

                To me, embracing and kissing happy             

                Titus and asking me with painful tone:

                “Espouse sweet, where is Flavius?” But son,

                Tell me: what can I answer her? He is

                A cruel foe of our Creator, who

                Worships and serves perfidious gods;

                Who lacks light because of cruel deceptions

                And of dreadful fires a prisoner will be

                And avengers of sacred faith. To that

                Lord, to God immense, I offered that

                From childhood you would worship him (to Flavius).

                And for this I expected to have a reward;

                But to her I shall say that on leaving the world

                I spoke to you, showed you the happy path;

                But you were obdurate to my ors.

                Then the Avernus [25] you’ll be disjoined

                From God, from her, from Titus dear:

                Then that Flavius, her tender son, will not

                See the delights of Heaven; that

                Flavius who was her first love. Since you

                Who, sadly weeps, anxiously (to Flavius)

                Seek her maternal bosom, so yielding

                To the entreaties of her sons, She is

                Waiting for you, Flavius, in heaven.

 

FLAVIUS.    I love my father and he ought not

                To leave me plunged in my sorrow and weeping

                Extremely. He ought not to die, for he sees

                In Flavius an unhappy son.

 

SCENE V

 

CLAUDIUS

 

CLAUDIUS. Where’s Titus?... Where, sir, is he?

                You see him led to harsh death

                To lions and beasts delivered! And you

                Don’t look for an asylum for you son?

 

EUSTACHE. What do you say? Poor me! My son

                Is in danger! But, what? They have not yet

                Given us the punishment… But, have

                You seen him?  How do you know?

                Why? Tell me, tell me, my Claudius!

 

CLAUDIUS. Led by perfidious soldiers I have seen

                Him near the amphitheater: the mob

                Was running to the spectacle

                To look at the unhappy child.

                Confusedly repeated the populace:

                Look at Eustache’s son, at Titus look

                Thrown to the beasts; a Christian he is!

 

EUSTACHE. Omnipotent Creator, God benign (looking at the sky)

                Comfort gently his tender heart. Lord support

                Him, to Thee I entrust him; be gentle

                To him at the hour of his death!

                Lord, triumph, over all enemies

                There are in the world. Exalt the glory

                Of your name so that you may be feared.

                Let Rome see that you, Lord help her. Receive

                His soul… But now gentle Titus, my son,

                Gladly offer your blood for your brother, son dear.

 

FLAVIUS.  What do you say, father, Oh! How my breast oppresses me!

 

CLAUIUS.   Oh, my Flavius, a good reason you have

                For weeping… in the eyes… on the face…

 

EUSTRACHE. But my Claudius, how did he look to you?

 

CLAUDIUS. Like rising Phoebus, [26] radiant, joyful.

                He scarcely did see me when to me he said:

                “Goodbye, and tell my father to hasten

                 The happy day to be with me.”

 

FLAVIUS.    Alas, little brother of mine, alas

                Unhappy one!

 

CLAUDIUS. You know that he is also your son

                And you don’t save him from the pain

                He’s suffering?

 

EUSTACHE. Alas, I would

                Like to save him… but what do I see?

       

SCENE VI

 

TITUS

 

CLAUDIUS. How? Well... you saved yourself? I don’t understand. (To

                        Titus)

 

TITUS.       Alas, Father… alas, friends…

 

EUSTACHE. Beloved son,

                Did you remain faithful to God?

 

TITUS.       Yes, father.

 

EUSTACHE. How did you flee from the desired reward?

                 

TITUS.       Don’t think that I fled, father dear.

 

EUSTACHE. Oh, God! I fear some perfidious deceit.

 

TITUS.       Don’t fear, no, for I was prepared

                Death to receive like a Christian.

 

EUSTACHE. What happened to you then? Tell me quick.

 

TITUS.       Hardly have you left me, Cornelius fierce

                Got into my room and took me out.

                To his perfidious soldiers entrusting me.

                Because to death I was condemned

                By order of the illustrious Hadrian.

                From there they brought me right away

                To the amphitheater spacious and wide.

                On the arena I instantly

                Saw myself surrounded by people and walls.

                Roars from the closed caves I did hear

                From countless lions.  I knelt on the ground

                And I thought of my Lord.  His holy name

                With fervent clamor tearfully I

                Invoked… I cheered up, for near

                I saw the asylum of the just.

                “Take your servant,” – with fervor I exclaimed –

                “And accept the sacrifice of my life.

                My beloved father, Lord, I commend

                To Thee and kindly receive my last breath.”

                I said this, and the soldiers instantly

                To two lions opened the barriers which

                Furiously hurled themselves into

                The center; angered their long manes they move

                And frightfully their tails they agitate;

                And roaring like horrible thunder

                Hungry o’er the patio immense they pass

                Showing me their teeth and claws; but when

                They reach me their havoc they put aside

                And with tenderness extreme they caress

                Me. And becoming placid and tame [27]

                And with tenderness extreme they cares

                Me. And becoming placid and tame

                Their reddish loin thrice they rub

                Against my right side lightly. And

                They look at me as quietly they rest

                And on the arena lengthwise they lay.

 

EUSTACHE. Oh the inscrutable counsels of God! You make

                Lions tame; you soften their heart with your word

                And likewise you harden the unjust!

                For such prodigy bless your Lord and give (to Titus)

                Him thanks for saving you.  Blind Rome!

                Your clouded eyes open and recognize

                The God of the Christians.  But tell me,

                How did you come?

 

TITUS.       All the populace

                Rose in admiration of the event

                And instantly also up I rose,

                To the guards of the entrances I went

                Who, for your sake, perhaps, let me pass.

                And through the straight road I went to you.

                Do, Lord, whatever please you (looking to Heaven)

                For I offer the sacrifice of my life.

 

CLAUDIUS. Your God wants to see you safe and sound

                So that you may placidly obey Jove.

 

EUSTACHE. For such purpose He doesn’t want me to be safe.

                Nor can he wish it.

 

CLAUDIUS. Why can’t he?

 

EUSTACHE. Because to his faith He doesn’t want us to

                Be perfidious traitors.  Oh! Titus,

                In Flavius the warrior look thee at

                Your brother whom I mentioned to you.

 

TITUS.       Dear!... Gentle brother! (He goes to embrace Flavius but

                        Eustache stops him.)

 

EUSTACHE. Don’t embrace him!

                He is an adversary of our God!

 

TITUS.       Luckless Flavius!  Brother unfortunate!...

                Oh, conquer, Lord, his iron heart!

 

EUSTACHE. Look, ungrateful son, how cruel you are (to Flavius)

                Titus with his example ought

                To win you and on knowing that

                The beasts were tamed.  Look God has tamed

                The savage impetus of the fierce

                Lions to let you know that He is Supreme.

                With valor as soldier you followed me

                Without fearing the specter of death…

                To martial glory true, you respect

                The leader of the Roman arms

                And do follow the mandate of

                My voice.  And upon my wish you expose

                Your noble breast to the arrows dense

                Of the Parthians, [04] valorous and bold

                As always… and now of you I need, Flavius,

                That valor, that fidelity owed to

                God, the Creator, potent and supreme.

                As your father you recognized me

                And you want to change, Flavius ingrate?

                But, why do I try to bend a soul

                Who is deaf to my sane counsels?

                Unhappy son, of my presence get out,

                In order not to hear m ultimate will,

                Your father’s painful complaints that wound

                The heart. Depart, Flavius, go far

                Away from your father whom you disobey.

                And say at least: “Father… brother, goodbye.”

 

TITUS.       Alas! Flavius…

 

EUSTACHE. You’ve courage enough

                To say so? You don’t have so much.

                You don’t show so much ingratitude.

                Alas! Respond, respond, unfortunate man.

 

FAVIUS.     You won, my father, at you feet

                See me! (He kneels). I worship your Creator,

                I adore and love Him. I know the Supreme

                God of my childhood; if His loving arms

                Receive me, I’ll love Him more. Can I hope,

                Though I am wicked, to be received?

 

EUSTACHE. Yes, Flavius, I promise you that He’ll

                Admit you to His sacred abode

                If you’d love Him with the love of a son.

 

FLAVIUS.    I was blind and unhappy ten years ago!...

 

EUSTACHE. The infidelities you did commit

                Repentance does erase, Flavius.

                Now arise and rest well content.

 

FLAVIUS.    With you I await the longed-for reward.

                That you promise me… Titus, come embrace me!

 

EUSTACHE. Embrace him and embraced let us die!

 

ACT V

 

SCENE I

 

CLAUDIUS AND FLAVIUS

 

CLAUDIUS. And lastly, Flavius, what can I

                Expect from your life?

 

FLAVIUS.    I think, dear friend,

                That there in Heaven a fine place awaits

                Me and enduring peace; but with me,

                You’ll not be!

 

CLAUDIUS. I see that paternal ideas

                Could guide your understanding along

                Paths where you will detest your life.

 

FLAVIUS.    Not any more for love I seek death.

                To such opinion reason leads me.

                If my father (may fate wish it not)

                Would obey the mandates of Hadrian,

                I would be firmer than a rock.

                And I do charge them as ingrates

                I’d continue in what God teaches me.

 

CLAUDIUS. But… Flavius, does this faith demand your blood?

 

FLAVIUS.    Now it demands it; but, Claudius, look:

                If I, as I told you, would like to fight

                For the monarch who wretchedly does sigh

                And for Rome I would offer gladly myself

                Did I get any fitting reward?  Therefore

                Much more I ought to die and fight

                If this I owe to a wretched man,

                For my God who with His glory invites

                Me, ore do I owe the enlightened God!

                And moreover my body from the tomb

                Now unremembered Hadrian cannot raise

                Nor could I dwell in so happy a place

                As that which God already concedes to me.

                To our apartments let me go

                To discuss our religion beloved…

                The remaining moments of my life…

 

CLAUDIUS. (Interrupting) the remaining moments of your life?

                Think, Flavius, and with reason decide.

 

FLAVIUS.    I do think and I’m very sorry, dear friend,

                That you’re not lucky to share with me

                In the enjoyment of goodness divine,

                In holy heaven let us seek peace!

 

CLAUDIUS. I don’t want heaven. Know that I

                Esteem you more than what you believe.

                What a loss! I’ve esteemed you, and sadly I moan!

                Oh pitiless heart, ingrate and hard!

 

FLAVIUS.    It’s not so hard that for you it doesn’t feel

                An acute pain that sadly I endure

                The past restlessness that torments me.

                Alas! For your obstinacy I die

                Uneasy! Perhaps you’ll do what you now

                Refuse and then enchanting joy

                Will be mine for your religious change.

                And if your ardent heart loves me

                Quench the fire that inflames my breast.

 

SCENE II

 

FLAVIUS AND CORNELIUS

 

CORNELIUS. Go way from here and you get to Hadrian (to Flavius);

                I order you to go to him right away…

 

FLAVIUS.    Why!... Our sovereign is calling me!

                (A threatening gesture I see on his face.)

 

CORNELIUS. And you ask? Do you know that a Roman should

                Not vex a ruler? Flavius, go,

                And in a moment you will know;

                And you, also depart and follow him (to Claudius they go.)

 

METELLUS AND CORNELIUS

 

CORNELIUS. Do you know that Flavius now follows and adores

The God of the Christians and that he’s the son of a

        criminal?

 

METELLUS.         I’ve just found it out:

                But what will befall the unfortunate youth?

 

CORNELIUS. Removed from his father’s side he’ll live,

                And to the cult of the deities he’ll

                Return through Hadrian’s flatteries;

                And besides, an Athenian Hadrian has,

                A man of learning and talent rare,

                Of reasons persuasive and eloquent

                That they can hardly contradict,

                And he will dissuade him from his speech,

                In such a way that gladly he will yield…

                And far from his father it’s not possible

                That the entreaties he will resist and death

                He will seek; with such a desire, he is mad.

 

METELLUS. Will Flavius live?

 

CORNELIUS. I don’t care at all!

                For little he opposes my designs.

                Eustace, yes, he shows himself my foe,

                With Titus he will die and in a short time

                If Hadrian carries out his designs.

 

METELLUS. For them, in truth, compassion I feel!

                And of wretched criminals you hasten the death?

 

CORNELIUS. Why delay death, if criminals they are?

               

METELLUS. The Christians Heaven does defend!

 

CORNELIUS. Heaven!

 

METELLUS. In that Titus did not you see it?

                Who can restrain the hunger of beasts

                Except One with an infinite power?

 

CORNELIUS. Why do you defend his cruel crime

                When such crime indicts and does hurt them?

 

METELLUS. You incriminate them with such defense.

 

CORNELIUS. And don’t you know that magical arts

                Do often serve the profane?  And still

                Rarer marvels you will see? Besides,

                Our Hadrian wishes it. Despite

                His slowness, I have induced him to leave

                Them to me to decide what to do with them…

 

METELLUS. But that they’re guilty you believe?

 

CORNELIUS. He wants it thus: I know what I .

                Here they are coming now with chains.

 

METELLUS. Alas, you’re shedding innocent blood!

                Oh, how horrid! Rome, what laws you have!

 

SCENE IV

 

EUSTACHE AND TITUS CHAINED

 

CORNELIUS. The emperor orders that I tell you

                His last exceedingly powerful will,

                And carefully decide on your fate:

                Do you want the sacrifice or death?

 

METELLUS. Think that your victory dies with you,

                Together with Titus, young glory!

 

EUSTACHE. I thank you for your pity and love (to Metellus).

 

CORNELIUS. Your misfortunes, friend, pain me very much!

 

EUSTACHE. Fulfill your duty… don’t say things

                That your deceitful soul does not feel.

                I know you, Cornelius; I forgive you.

                I choose death that the throne offers me.

                Say, Metellus, is Flavius here?

 

METELLUS. In front

                Of Hadrian he is. Not always wrong

                For a decision Flavius will adopt

                Deserving of youth so discreet and wise.

                He will leave erroneous customs of

                Our religion o surmises. And

                You live for Rome, for us, for your

                Dear friends and for others who love you.

                Go then to the sacred temple of

                Jupiter and show an example grand

                Of religiosity.

 

EUSTACHE.  I will sin, friend,

                Against my God if I take your advice.

 

METELLUS. Don’t you want to see Flavius?

 

EUSTACHE. I would like

                To see him before with Titus I die.

                Cornelius, be more human, for pity’s sake!

 

CORNELUS. Eustache, your wish will be in vain.

                You know that I obey the crown.

 

TITUS.       O Father! Flavius now deserts us,

                And returns to the cult of Jupiter.

 

EUSTACHE. Alas! What fierce and cruel affront!

                To present myself with my children dear raising his eyes)

                I thought of joining them, oh Lord,

                And at your most exalted feet

                Lay myself, before your throne I long

                For that felicity for my breast!

                And if you would like to probe my heart,

                That with your justice you strike a soul.

                You can sustain me with your grace

                Against my bad luck’s ferocious weight…

                Forgive my sorrow, I distrust

                My unhappy Flavius, in you I trust.

                What force can change him who is sad.

                At heart if your favor he enjoys?

                For Thee I die and some solace I hope

                To find him glorious in heaven above.

                Your wishes permit then, for my fault,

                To take away my dear Flavius from me.

                Can I not in that way speak to him? (To Cornelius).

 

CORNELIUS. You ask it for naught!

 

EUSTACHE. I’ll suffer it all!

                The biter sorrow in sacrifice

                He accepts and the punishment of my days.

                Let’s fulfill his wish and Titus, let’s go;

                Let death come and up to Eden we go.

                Your tender heart raise thee to God;

                Endure death which the guilty alarms.

 

TITUS.       Let’s go, oh father, gaily to death.

                Receive me!  For Flavius I give my life;

                For Flavius my gift I offer to God;

                And suffer any affront to God.

 

TITUS.       Let’s go, oh father, gaily to death.

                Receive me! For Flavius I give my life;

                For Flavius my gift I offer to God;

                And suffer any affront to God.      

 

EUSTACHE. If you have a heart stout and merciful (to Metellus)

                Tell my Flavius that in cruel death

                I’m sorry he is not with us,

                For with Flavius contented I would die.

                And merciful God while he implores

                To forgive my sinful soul,

                Remember Christ the King,

                Mother, father ad brother who,

                In Heaven impatiently wait for him

                Titus, courage rest your aching feet.  (He carries him and walks)

 

SCENE V

 

FLAVIUS

 

FLAVIUS.    Oh father… stop… Why do you walk

                In joy with chains? Where are you going?

 

EUSTACHE. To Heaven.

                And to where are you bound, my solace sweet?

 

FLAVIUS.    I’m going with you to suffer death.

 

EUSTACHE. Dear, is it true?

 

FLAVIUS.    What a dreadful attack

                Of rewards, of promises, flatteries,

                Of reasons, terrible looks and acts,

                They think I would desist from the good!

                But God has won for me and instantly

                To die with you my soul desires;

                In calmness, pleasantly and in joy

                To dwell singing praises to the Just Gd.

 

EUSTACHE. You inundate my breast with joy,

                Dear Flavius, just for you, Eustache feared.

                My breast now trembles with fervent delight,

                For seeing you resolved with ardor to die.

 

CORNELUS. You don’t worship the gods?

 

FLAVIUS.    The gods of Rome?

                The Eternal Creator of the earth

                I adore, God sovereign of peace and war;

                I’ll serve Him faithfully and die for Him.

 

CONELIUS. Put him in chains oh soldiers, come -- they come.

 

FLAVIUS.    How sweet I feel them! So soft are these chains!

 

EUSTACHE. At last, my dismal woes they removed;

                With sweetness and honey my breast overflows.

                I shall surely see you, oh God, with my sons…

                For God converted my seeping sad

                Into copious joy of heavenly charm,

                Which fills with glee the lucky heart.

 

TITUS.       Now we are happy!

 

FLAVIUS.    Lucky we are!

 

CORNELIUS. Take them, soldiers, and put them to death.

 

EUSTACHE. Come and let us suffer with the stoutest heart,

                For God invites us to His eternal home.

 

SCENE VI

 

CORNELIUS AND METELLUS

 

METELLUS. Such virtue is not know in Rome,

                For the sentence gladly the receive

                And are contented to leave the world…

                So resigned they look at the ultimate hour,

                That a deity leads them it is possible

                A superior deity in power and force.

 

CORNELIUS. You feel yourself. The Christians valor show

                Because they long to be know as intrepid.

                If they know how to die, in ruling I am wise…

                At last I have triumphed over the beast

                Who wished to snatch from me the crown.

 

METELLUS. “Soon falls one who rises so rapidly.”

                Luck’s voluble and from on high

                It drops into the cistern mortal man.

 

CORNELIUS. Next to Hadrian, I shall be the first,

                And I shall command in the war begun.

 

METELLUS.         If your enemy fall, you who’ll ascend,

                Think of and believe in your future fall.

 

CORNELIUS. As so much fortune I do not have,

                I fear not they’ll hurl me down by force.

 

METELLUS.         I believe it is the way humans talk

                Who wretched are blinded by themselves.

                About others’ fate we are sensible;

                And blind about ours. I, Cornelius,

                I am a culprit of his blood, and with it

                I would not want to stain myself.

 

CORNELIUS. That is how it seems to you, for his death

                Does make your soul feel compassion.

                I also felt some sense of guilt…

                But it’s Hadrian who is to blame.

 

METELLUS. But if you’ve a crime and fear it not,

                Of Hadrian are you not afraid?

 

CORNELIUS. Oh, what do you think?

 

METELLUS. The Ruler, I say, doesn’t order you

                To put him to death without his nod.

 

CORNELIUS. He spoke in a way I don’t fear anymore…

                He was in doubt as then he shows,

                To condemn them or set them free;

                But, won at last by my eloquence,

                He said, “Cornelius, I give them to you”…

                What can you reply?

 

METELLUS. Just one moment, wait

                For it seems that somebody is coming near.

 

CORNELIUS. Go quickly take away the gods… Alas!

                What sorrow my desperate heart feels!

                Cruel remorse takes hold of my villainous soul.

                The angered furies revengeful surround

                My heart.  It seems to me I see

                Ghosts silently wandering asking for

                An accounting of my wickedness

                Naught! Nothing!  It is late.

                No salvation!  Nothing remains to me!

 

METELLUS. Hadrian comes with a troubled face!

 

CORNELIUS. I fear that Claudius… the verdict I fear!

 

SCENE VII

 

HADRIAN WITH LICTORS [12] AND PRIESTS

 

CORNELIUS. Oh, at last the Trajan Law is saved

                Together with the honor of the gods.

 

HADRIAN.  But Not the Cornelian word

                Or his loyalty. Precisely all

                The band of the Roman eagle gives

                For sure the lie to his calumnies;

                For hardly did the chiefs know it

                The promised to persuade Eustache.

 

CORNELIUS. Great Emperor, I swear by Jove

                That they accuse you of being slow

                In condemning Eustache, and I assure you

                They will be glad to see him die…

 

HADRIAN.  You’ve been hasty, perfidious perjurer,

                That such condemnation they did ask

                As you do say by your own hands

                The laws of Trajan you execute;

                But, nevertheless in doubt I remain…

                I want to see how wisely you served me.

                When Titus, the brave, I gave to you.

                To his father to deliver him.

                My order did you obey?  Ah! Cruel,

                Deceitful, can you recall what I said

                To you? How truly you served me then?

                Have you contradicted my commands?

 

CORNELIUS. Sir… What doubt is this?  I don’t understand…

                I talked to him as you ordered me…

                But, how could I remember it?

 

HADRIAN.  If it is not engraved in your mind,

                Recall to your mind such horrible crime

                Encouraging Titus, unfortunate,

                Against Jupiter and Rome to rise,

                Since you think you can de it from me!

                And I saw your crime, and nevertheless

                Your pallor too betrays it to me.

                You ought to feel it the moment you

                See the crime already weighting on you

                Titus did not tell me, a loving judge

                He was of such a luckless life

                That you have just cruelly sacrificed

                On the altar of a bloodthirsty god.

                And you feign to be loyal to me as you excite

                Them to deny the power of the gods.

                When many leaders were hoping to obtain

                Forgiveness from my clemency.

                You rise alone as you contrive

                That I hurry up the judgment on them…

                This is caused by your feigned jealous

                Which give to the emperor anxieties great;

                The ship and power of the vast state

                And resplendent and magnificent

                You by my side would stand…

                But, for your daring I’ll allow you now

                To leave for Ostia [28] for your grievous mistake

                To suffer forever cruel exile.

                Never to leave it for being ingrate;

                Relief you will not enjoy but torment.

                Step thee not in Rome, grateful city,

                Nor rich food will you taste therein

                For disobeying my command.

 

CORNELIUS. Sir, forgive me… I appeal to your clemency.

 

HADRIAN.  Envious man, out of my presence, go away…

 

METELLUS. You are sir, just and kind,

                For you act as a sovereign should.

 

HADRIAN.  And, Metellus, think, do not let jealous desire

                And human ambition encourage you.

                Look at Cornelius who consents to kill

                The loyal ones with his own hand,

                Flee from the temple of disloyalty.

 

METELLUS. With your example, Hadrian, I shall learn.

 

LAST SCENE

 

CLAUDIUS

 

HADRIAN.  From where do you come? What news do you bring me?

 

CLAUDIUS. Eustache, oh Hadrian, died with his sons

                After a hard strife and pains prolonged.

                I cannot give you a faithful account.

                So moved the people wept with copious tears

                Seeing the boys who merrily laughed

                And placid the face for contented they died

                By sweet emotion my breast was moved.

                As he prayed the candid Titus gave

                His neck, laughing softly, to the executioner…

                Off went his head that prettily was raised

                From the impact of iron by the ferocious hand.

                His father instantly picked it up

                And kissed the marked face with tender love.

                …………………………………………………………….

                In a placid voice of Flavius, my friend,

                At same moment from the torso was disjoined.

                I cried as I saw such a bloody event,

                That also made the people weep.

                Eustache pleased and merry followed them

                And with spirit strong he offered his life,

                Awaiting the same fate from iron and fire

                For seeing in heavenly Eden his sons.

                To see them so faithful I would die I thought,

                On seeing them with smiling, contented face

                Courageously suffering the torture fierce.

                What an image so tender, happy submission!

                Extremely touched I was as Flavius, as Titus

                With affectionate voice did say to me:

                “Oh Claudius, we shall pray for you”.

                An arrow sharp did strike my heart.

 

HADRIAN.  The law of Trajan and Cornelius fierce

                Derived Rome of a valiant man.

                Of the Christian faith that hated the law.

                Most sorry I was that my rule compelled him

                In a powerful deity to believe,

                A wish that deprived me of a leader brave

                Who left scattered his bellicose flock.

 

CLAUDIUS. Of pity for certain not worthy they were.

                We are… A very powerful God

                Exists who with clemency governs and rules…

                There also is a future life.

                How strong so many Christians we see

                Who gladly suffer, tolerate death:

                Thus they do it honoring the just God

                The God of the Christians who Eden made!

 

E N D

______________

[01]                                   . . . . . Si quid tamen olim

Scripseris, in Metii descendant judiceis aurea,

        Et patris, et nostras; nonumque prematur in annum,

                Meinbrauis intus positis. Delere licebit

                        Quid non edideris: nescit vox inissa reverti.   

 
[But if you mould hereafter write, the verse
To Metius, to your Sire] to me, rehearse.
          Let it sink deep in their judicious ears!
                    Weigh the work well; and keep it back nine years!
                               Papers unpublished you may blot or burn:
                                         A word, once uttered, never can return.

An Epistle to the Pisos by Horace. English translation by George Coleman. NOTE: In the English translation the words in brackets were not quoted by Rizal.

[02] Hadrian was the emperor of Rome from 117 to 138 A.D.

[03] Trajan was the Roman emperor ruling from 98 to 117 AD and predecessor of the present emperor, Hadrian.

[04] Titus Flavius Sabinus Vespasianus) A.D. 39-81; Roman general & emperor (79-81): son of Vespasian.  He is not to be confused with Titus the son of Eustache, who is featured in the script.

        [05] The Dacians were a conquered people who lived in the land of what is now Romania.  The Parthians were people who once belonged to an important ancient and pre-Roman empire which was southeast of the Caspian Sea in what is now north-eastern Iran.

        [06] Actually a synonym for the Danube River.  Perhaps Rizal had heard of the poem Der Ister by Johann Christian Friedrich Hölderlin, a late 18th and early 19th century German poet. Rizal did not know the German language at this point in his life.

        [07] The crime of Scipio may refer to the assassination of the Roman general Scipio Aemilianus supposedly by a follower of a slain rival, Gracchi, who Scipio had publically vilified before a hostile crowd prior to his murder that evening.  The Roman poet Cicero wrote The Dream of Scapio.

        [08] The Roman god also known as Jupiter.

        [09] Inhabitants of Dacia, a Roman province which is approximately the area of modern Romania.

        [10] Parthia, also known as the Arsacid Empire was an ancient civilization in what is now north-eastern Iran.  It was weakened in warfare with the Roman Empire in the 2nd century A.D.  Also see footnote 23.

        [11] Mars is the ancient Roman god of war.

        [12] Ister refers to the Danube River.

        [13] Lictors: In ancient Rome, any of a group of minor officials who carried the fasces (ceremonial axes) and cleared the way for the chief magistrates.

        [14] In a letter to Pliny the Younger, the Emperor Trajan instructed that Christians should be left alone unless they openly practiced their religion.  Those proven guilty could also be restored if they denounced the faith and worshipped the empire’s gods.  (Pliny, Letters 10.96-97)

        [15] Nero was the Emperor of Rome from 54-68 AD.  He persecuted the Christians for the alleged crime of arson in the burning of Rome.  He was noted for being cruel and depraved.

        [16] Nero reputedly ordered his mother, Agrippina, killed and commanded that the Stoic philosopher Seneca who was his teacher to commit suicide.

        [17] Emperor of Rome from 69-79 AD.

        [18] In Roman mythology, a nine-headed serpent.  If one serpent head was cut off, two more would appear.  The Hydra came to be associated with persistent and increasing evil.

        [19] Saint Peter, traditionally the first Bishop of Rome, is purported to have been crucified head down during the persecutions under Emperor Nero.

        [20] The reference is perhaps to Saint Saturninus who was martyred in 203 AD.

        [21] Emperor of Rome from 81-96 AD. 

[22] Scipios = Publius Cornelius Scipo Africanus.  A general in the Second Punic War and a statesman of the Roman Republic.

Metellus = Quintus Caecilius Metellus Macedonicus.  A brilliant general who fought in the Fourth Macedonic War.

Emilius = There are a number of Roman figures of historic import with he name Emilius or (preferably) Aemilius.  The Aemili were an old clan supposedly descendents of Pythagoras.  The most notable was Lepidi who lived at the end of the Republic.

Caesars = Emperors of Rome

Fabius = A Roman general and statesman who defeated Hannibal in the second Punic War.

Sullus = Lucius Cornelius Silla (138-78 BC) was a Roman General and Politician serving as Consul.  He also became a Dictator over Rome.

Calpurnius = Lucius Calpurnius Piso Caesninus was a statesman in ancient Rome and father-in-law of Julius by his daughter Calpurnia Pisonis.

Pompey = A Roman general

[23] Also see Footnote 10.  Latium: The Parthian empire began around 250 BC from Iranian speaking people in a tribal confederacy.  It’s location was what is now southern Turkmenistan.  Attempts to subdue the empire by Rome were always unsuccessful including some of the most remarkable military battles of history.  The Parthians defeated the Roman General Crassus in 53 BC and Mark Anthony in 36 BC which ultimately led to his downfall and death along with his lover Cleopatra.  Ultimately the ceaseless wars with Rome and the revolts by vassal territories led to the demise of the empire in the third century BC.  Interestingly enough Latium refers to the coastal plain from the mouth of the Tiber to the Circeian promontory, and its adjacent foothills.  It was actually considered the cradle of Rome.

[24] The siege and destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in 70 A.D in the first Jewish Roman War.

[25] Avernus = Hades or Hell.

[26] Phoebus = Apollo, the god of the sun.  In this case a reference to the rising, radiant and joyful sunrise.

[27] This section mirrors the familiar story of Daniel condemned to a den of lions (Daniel 6, especially verses 14-23).

[28] Ostia was an ancient city in Latium, at the mouth of the Tiber, that was the port of Rome.

 

   

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