Let us adorn with laurel the brow of the valiant, in-
vincible Belisarius, the glory of our age.
Through whom Byzantium became the rival of Rome:
His name will be handed down to the remotest ages.
Enter Irene, Eudora and Ladies
Oh! Come - let us hasten to the banks
And greet the brave warrior on his arrival,
Behold! The people flock from all quarters;
Listen to the shouts of the joyous multitude;
The trumpets and drums unite their sounds
With the song of triumph,
Saluting the august banner
Which has spread terror among the enemy.
On the invincible hand of the conqueror,
I shall impring a fervent kiss
And, pressing my noble parent to my bosom,
I shall be the happiest woman that ever lived;
A tender weeping cuts short
The accents on my timid lips;
But these tears - more eloquent
This silence - tells all.
Heaven will grant happy and glorious days
To the inhabitants of the Bosphorus
Enter Antonia and Eutropio
Praise! Joyous voices!
The infatuated people
Hasten to welcome the arrival
Of your husband.
My husband! A parricide!
Oh! What did you say?
Listen, and let my words
Be a pledge of my wrath.
His servant, that wretched man Proclus, dying
Told me that Belisarius ordered him
To kill our son - he took the boy
Far from Byzantium and raised the sword to slay him.
But from his hand it fell,
And struck with horror, he fled,
And left him on the shore
To the wild beasts a prey,
And to the fury of the waves.
What do I hear? Ah, unnatural father!
I pity you.
My grief knows no bounds,
Even the tomb is denied to me -
Even the ashes of my son -
Ah! these eyes with tears
Shall ever as from a living fountain flow!
Oh God! A more miserable mother
The earth does not contain!
Comfort yourself: the cruel man
Shall pay for the excess of his crime;
But, remember, that your hand
Was promised as a reward for my love.
Now tell me: has the plot been contrived?
It has: a faithful and experienced
Hand has forged the writing.
Then I shall be revenged.
I have shed bitter tears,
But others must
Shed the last drop of Blood.
Nevertheless it will be proper
For you to go forward and meet him.
[The imperial Guards range themselves
around the Atrium.]
Antonina and Eutropio exit
Enter Justinian and Guards
O Lord of armies, praised forever, praised
for ever be thy name! Your celestial aid led the
formidable chieftain to the fields of Italy, to the
destruction of the Goths, and added a new jewel
to my crown. [ascends the throne]
[Justinian and Guards. Triumph of Belisarius.
The procession is preceded bya military band, fol-
lowed by the People, Magistrates, and Senate:
the army of Belisarius. Warriors carrying the
trophies and spoils of the enemy, among which are
The crown and mantle of Vitiges, King of the
Let the hymn of victory rend the air,
across the ocean to the Northern shores, and thun-
der these words: `There exists a Belisarius' -
Which name strikes the Barbarians with dismay.
[Belisarius upon a richly ornamented chariot, a wreath of laurel adorns his forehead, and a purple mantle thrown over his golden armor. The Goth prisoners, among whom is Alamiro, surround the chieftain; the veterans close the march.]
Invincible Belisarius, the glory of our age:
Your name shall be everlasting!
Sire, you have conquered:
And Italy, nature's loveliest land,
Is the fruit of victory.
Behold at your feet the rich spoils
And the youthful prisoners,
To whom fortune has been adverse.
If my deeds can claim a reward,
Let me implore mercy for them.
May the conqueror not'sue in vain to you,
In whom mercy is an innate virtue.
O Belisarius, you are formidable in war,
Humane in peace, and ever great!
I deliver them into your hands.
[Pointing to the prisoners and descending from the throne]
Let this be a day
Of universal joy!
[Exit, followed by the Magistrates, Senate, and the Guards. The troops and people leave by the back part of the stage.]
You are free. Farewell. What do I see?
[To the prisoners, who fall on their knees, with the exception of Alamiro. He raises them and they leave.]
Do you reject the boon, Alamiro?
I? I am grateful for it:
And have always told you,
Such strange power binds me to you
That freedom would be irksome far from you.
Remain then Be free. [embracing him]
I feel my heart moved with an unknown affection
And I can hardly guess the cause of
When they dragged you at my feet, loaded
with chains and covered with wounds, on the
Banks of the Trasimerus, your voice found a
response within my breast.
If I can Find a shelter under the rood of
Belisarious, I shall forget the injuries of an ad-
verse fate! I may at last find a tomb where I
Are you a Greek? Have you uttered the truth?
Who were your parents?
It is a mystery to me =96
I was brought up by a barbarian.
Who found me on the
Shores of the Bosphorus.
What induced this man to visit Greece?
A wish for plunder.
You are no longer forsaken and alone upon the earth
A serene day succeeds to a gloomy dawn.
I had a son, and I lost him!
I still lament his death.
Do you replace this child in my affection.
I your son - you, my father!
Ah, my heart overflows with joy!
In your home.
On the field of battle.
Always together. We will always be united ;
We will fight together in the rands of glory:
Let fortune smile or frown, I shall ever be my your side
I will share death or victory with you.
[An apartment in the palace of Belisarius. Irene and
Eudora from the opposite side.]
Have you seen Belisarius?
He has gone elsewhere,
Perhaps to the temple=85
Let us seek him, for with extreme joy
My mother's heart, overpowered,
Remains without feeling.
Now that her mind is quieted,
and love. My soul exults in joy
At length I shall see my beloved father,
After my lengthened sorrows;
Now that, to Greece, has returned
The prince of valiant men =96
To whom the battle might be trusted,
The dread of his enemies,
His trophies, the vanquished proclaim
His prowess and power,
And call him on to triumph.
[Enter Ladies hastily]
Well! What news?
Your father returns towards his house.
Oh happiness! Where is my mother?
What happiness awaits her.
Perhaps in her great impatience
She has gone forth to meet him.
IRENE [to the attendants]
Tender consort, loving mother,
Cease now, cease to weep =96
No more fear, no more danger,
To you are restored husband and son;
Let us all return to joy again..
Let us all return to joy again.
Enter Belisarius, Eudora, Antonina and Ladies.
Father!.. [rushing into his arms]
Irene, Embrace me.
Behold me at last in your arms.
We ran to meet you.
But the heart of your
Consort could not sustain
The violent emotions, weak and faint.
Heavens! If my heart does not deceive me
In your sorrowful countenance I see the marks of grief.
[surprised at Antonina's troubled countenance]
Rather than those of joy?
What vexes you? New misfortunes?
Now =96 be of comfort,
You shall find your home as you left it:
Proclus alone has departed
This valley of tears and guilt.
[in a forcible tone of voice]
(Heaven pardon his faults.)
Enter Eutropio and Guards
The Emperor send me to you: your sword.
Are you serious?
This is no time for bold words!
Bend your haughty forehead
To the will of the Emperor.
And you dare?
Silence! I must needs obey =96 a brave man
Alone shall take the sword of Belisarius.
[he gives it to Alamiro]
Come! [to Eutropius with boldness]
Permit me, sir!
[wishing to follow Belisarius, who bids them to remain,
and exit with Eutropius and Guards.]
EUDORA and LADIES
(My vengeance begins!)
I am struck with horror!. [Leaves] SCENE V The Senate House
[On one side several seats, among which one higher for the Emperor; a table upon which are some papers, the book of laws, and a Sword.]
What can it mean? Why so speedily sum-
moned here? Does any misfortune threaten
Is the emperor's peace disturbed
Or our country in danger?
But the Prince advances in silence, and alone;
A deep grief is written on his countenance, what can it be?
Enter Justinian. [Justinian takes his seat, and by his
desire the Senators do the same.]
Supporters of my throne, a sad event
Has all my joy destroyed - Hither brought
Accused of a horrible crime
Which to hear of - to see - merely to see
Will fill your souls with horror!
Behold, he comes.
[Enter Belisarius escorted by Soldiers, and Eutropio on the
Let the count open its sitting.
[A Senator sits by the table, Eutropio places himself by
I charge Belisarius with high treason.
What do I hear?
On the close of this triumphant day,
The rebellious squadrons,
Which he had bribed and seduced,
Destroying the established law, and taking the life of the
These rebellious squadrons were to adorn his brow with
[the imperial crown]
In support of my charge
I produce his own handwriting.
[pointing to the papers on the table.]
Let me see them - it is true, it is my own handwriting.
[after having read] A horrible inexplicable treachery!
These are the papers I sent from the field of battle
to my wife, but an infernal fury
Added other words
To the affectionate ones which love suggested.
My wife can explain the truth
But justice will clear the dark calumny.
The sentiments of love and hatred are known to me.
Let her come.
[Enter Antonina followed by Irene and Alamiro]
Daughter, consort,, you can hardly believe it..
A contrary fate ledb me through
The path of triumph to death.
Behold! On these papers,
Which you must have mislaid:
Some enemy has written in my hand
These traitorus words =96 read!
[gives the letters to Antonina]
Say if you received,
Lady, in this state, from me.
Yes! [encouraged by a look from Eutropio]
[Thunderstruck; Irene, Alamiro, Justinian
and Senators expressing their suprise
Is he guilty?
I have uttered the truth.
Wife,and you dare attest?
Belisarius is a Criminal
[except Antonian and Eutropio]
By whom am I betrayed?
I yield to my excess of grief.
Does not the glorious sun shudder
At such wickedness?
(My maternal grief will give me courage
Let the wretch be punished, and then may I die at once.)
(My tortured heart
Is too overpowered with sorrow,
May the bright sun withdraw it rays
From such a scene of horror!)
(Tis a monstrous unheard of crime =96
It fills me with wrath and grief,
May the bright sun withdraw!)
(May her maternal grief inspire her with courage.)
(Alas! The sun will set dim and dark for us!)
You are a mother and a wife
[leading his daughter before Antonina]
But this infamous accusation robs me at once of life
And honor, and my daughter of a father!
If conjugal affection was silent for me in you breast
Could nature stifle its feeling in your treacherous heart?
[Turning to the Senators] He appeals to nature,
And that impious man trampled it under his feet!
Proclus disclosed the horrible mystery at his death bed.
[He staggers, and covers his face with the expression
of utmost terror.]
He shudders with horror!
He covers his face=85
That monster murdered his own son.
A parricide also!
Irene, Alamiro, Justinian, and Senators
Oh miserable day!
[Justinian and the Senators get up from their seats and
surround Belisarius, expressing their horror of him:
Belisarius is so far overpowered as to be unable to speak:
He entreats, by his gestures, the Emperor and Senators
to repress their feeling of horror, and to hear him:
Then he addresses them with a faltering voice.]
I dreamt of a formidable warrior among the barbarous nations
Threatening to overthrow the foundations of the Grecian
I asked who he was, and I heard the name of my son.
My blood ran cold through my veins, my hair stood on end!
A man endowed with the gift of prophecy, interpreted the
And predicted that my offspring would prove fatal to the east
Danger made me cruel
Nature raised a cry, and my son fell a corpse.
Oh horrible day!
Death to the monster who offended nature =96
Heaven and Earth cry down vengeance on his head!
It is not the consort, but the cruel parricide
Who alone can appease by his death my just fury!
Alas! Wherever I turn my looks, Wherever I direct
I behold the unrevenged shade of my son =96
His voice, his last groans,
Pierce through my heart!
The fatal hour is approaching,
Cruel consort, prepare the axe!
Do you at least, oh my daughter,
Shed a tear over my tomb, throw a flower on your father's grave
If offended nature proclaim me guilty, [to the Senate]
If deemed worthy of death,
Let Greece be silent, the holy love of my native country
Made me a parricide!
(Nature has overthrown its laws
A wife calls him guilty of death!
Alas, my father's star is setting
All is consternation and horror!)
(The rigor of the law
Is now depending over the devoted head:
His crime led him to the grave,
Love and vengeance hurled him into it.)
The tempest is approaching, the sky is lowering!
The clashing of the thunderbolt is heard
And in the midst of the storm, the star of the East grows dim
All is grief, fright, and horror!)
[Belasarius is carried away by the Guards; Irene and Almiro follow him mournfully, Antonina and Eutropio exit on the opposite side. Justinian and the Senators remain in the attitude of the deepest sorrow.]