Caesar . . . . . . . Ruler of the State.Francos . . . . . . Governor General of a Province.Quezox . . . . . . Resident Delegate from the Province. Page.
Scene: Throne Room at the Capitol
Caesar: Most noble Francos, I greet thee heartily.
A function truly noble falls within thy grasp;
And thou wilt with it deal as only sages can.
The distant Isles are now crushed by the pow'r
Of ruthless tyrants, who on plunder bent,
Oppress a helpless, but a worthy race,
Which groans beneath a yoke of foreign make,
And hence it fitteth not the sable necks
On which it now, relentless, firmly rests.
'Tis well, we know, how, filled with visions vain,
Our predecessor sought to stuff those minds
With mental food fit only for those born
To skins of whiter tint, and hence with grasp
Of firmer structure, built by kindly Time,
Who fashioned us in more ennobled mold;
While power divine to cap the climax grand,
With hand so deft, gave it its final touch.
These men with vision faint who planned so vain
Knew not the knightly thought bred in the south.
The north winds chill and stunt the subtle power
Which flourishes alone 'neath southern skies,
To read unerring from the page of truth
That God has fashioned some to mount aloft,
While others grovel on a lower plane.
Hence we must cherish ever in our hearts,
The thought that pigment marks the subtle line;
And so throw off a burden on us laid
By those who blindly cast their shoulders down,
To bear a load which deep ingratitude
Alone will be the recompense for all our pains.
Francos: My liege, I grasp the thought: a burden dark,
Which now each year a golden tribute calls,
Must be disposed of quickly, but so sly
That watching nations may not fling a slur
Upon our honor as we cast adrift
This alien race to face the world alone.
Caesar: Sweet Francos, truly thou hast quick discerned
The thought which wisdom fathered in my mind.
"Be wise as serpent, harmless as the dove,"
Should be our watchword as we scuttle ship,
For there be those who speak with venomed tongues
Of serpents, as we cast them helpless off.
But if we of politicos make use,
And to their clamour lend approving smile,
We may while coolly thrusting them aside,
Meet with the thoughtless world's approving nod.
Francos: Ha! Ha! methinks I see my path made clear
'Twere wise to fellowship with only those
Who, longing for the flesh pots, lend their aid
To further us in this our deep design.
Caesar: Hold! Francos, hold! The very walls have ears.
Suspicion once aroused our game is up
In silence let our worthy scheme mature;
An utterance unwise may spell defeat.
Francos: Most noble Caesar, thou at wisdom's fount
Hast drunk until the fountain hath run dry.
I ready stand to follow each command
Ignoring every judgment of mine own.
Caesar: When I before the gods did minister,
I learned that strategy cured many ills;
And when Parnassus high I made my throne,
I found it well to wield an iron hand....