_Quezox:_ Sire, thy request, or rather thy command Is head but to obey. _(A side)_ Methinks I see A smiling picture which doth clear portray Heads falling, as the bolo sure doth swing _(Aloud)_ Sire, loyalty should ever be the test Of those who feed from out the public trough.
_(All join hands and sing as they dance the Tammany slide.)_ "Loyalty, Loyalty, Loyalty to what?
Why Loyalty to him who ladles out the swill.
Loyalty, Loyalty, Loyalty or not?
If not, go home to Dad and the fatted calf he'll kill."
_Caesar_ . . . . . . _Ruler of the State._ _Francos_ . . . . . . _Governor General of a Province._ _Printus_ . . . . . . _Head of a Bureau._ _Quezox_ . . . . . . _Resident Delegate from the Province._ _Somnolent_ . . . . . _Head of a Bureau._ _McDuff_ . . . . . . _A Publican._
_Scene I. Caesar's Room at the Capitol._
_Caesar soliloquizing:_ Life is a problem intricate to solve: With outstretched arms to grasp, we know not what From out the future hidden by a veil With woof too dense for eye of man to pierce; Yet doth imagination pictures forms Which, when we would embrace, evade our touch And vanish into nothingness; while still We vain pursuit ever persistent make.
Euclid from chaos order did evolve And on the scroll of Fame hath writ those laws Which Time, relentless, ne'er can thence efface.
For Truth, immutable, is there entombed.
But he, in flawless mental armor robed, Did crusade make where Science hath her home, And from her vaults where Truth was close entombed He raped their locks and brought the treasure forth.
Long mankind groped in darkness, nor did dream That laws harmonious could measure s.p.a.ce And count the cycles that should hail return Of each recurring comet on its round.
Thus deep uncertainty enrobeth man: He comes like morning bringing with him light; He goes like evening, ent'ring portals dark Where none can track him to his final doom And know that Immortality's kind arms Shall hug him to her breast and bear him on To Fields whose verdure wears a brighter hue, Or whether Ent.i.ty shall on the wings Of fickle Fate be borne to final rest, Who shall the mystery of being solve?
We see the birdling break from prison sh.e.l.l And dream that we have found the source of life.
Vain thought! the egg were but a cunning mask Which Nature wears to hide her handiwork.
The spark electric issues from its cell Clothed with a pow'r the jealous G.o.ds might crave; But when or how it ent.i.ty conceived, Is hid within creation's caverns deep.
Now, in the realm of pow'r politic, reigns The G.o.d of Chaos anchor'd to his throne, And it remains for one of giant mind, Well disciplined in all scholastic lore, To break the chains which hold that anchor fast, And crush the Pow'r disordered seated there.
Am I the instrument designed by Fate To, Euclid-like, from this anarchic whole Evolve the laws which shall Disorder deep Within the grave entomb and on that throne The G.o.d of Order seat, and in his hand Imperial scepter place, to rule the world Politic, as it on its axis rolls, Unharmed by venomed darts of turpitude?
I dreamed of formulating certain laws Which economic matters would control.
The midnight lamp, companion of my toil, Has burned in vain. Alas, I see it now.
When the great "Commoner," of wisdom full, A plank within our platform did insert That our good s.h.i.+ps which coastwise trade would ply Should float as free as sea-gull on the wing Through that deep channel, by our cunning wrought, Which links Pacific's waters to the Gulf, I, fool-like, did him earnestly applaud!
Again my soul in bitterness doth surge Because from distant Isles the lightning brings Dire words of sour complaint from either clan, Which like to gladiators in the ring Seem but prepared to battle to the death.
I listened to the frail but honeyed words Of one who held a judges.h.i.+p in that clime, Only to find disgruntlement their source; And now it shames me, who have been c.o.c.k-sure, That I should failure see emblazoned there.
How could I prudence thus have cast aside And now my stomach fill with humble pie?
Alas! my dreams that fed on self-esteem Are vanished as the dew before the sun.
_(With energy)_ Another plank I'll wrench with giant hand.
And wreck the platform, "if I bust a gut."
_(Exit to drink an orangeade to quiet his nerves.)_
_Scene II: The Governor's room._
_Quezox:_ My Liege this Printus stands without the door, And seeks admission that he may explain His conduct. Shall I, bid him enter here?
_Francos:_ In sooth, good Quezox, doth my spirit yearn To quick despatch my business with this man.
_(Quezox retires and fetches Printus)_ _Quezox:_ Most n.o.ble Sire, this gentleman attends?
_Francos:_ Sir, from thy mouth I explanation ask As to the import of a message sent To high officials of some labor bund Voicing complaint anent my conduct here.
_Printus:_ In truth, I little know of this affair.
These men a grievance feel, for they did come At my behest on weighty promise made To fill positions which experts alone Are proper occupants; and now they fear Their stipends may be cut with pruner's knife, Which to them each important loss portends And dire discomfort work on those they love.
_Francos:_ Hold, Printus, hold! Thy words were idle chaff.
Dost thou deny the allegation made That to the message thy consent wast had?
_Printus:_ I no partic.i.p.ation in it took!
_Francos, (severely:)_ Thy words do seem to have a double ring.
But hie thee hence, while I investigate.
The Democratic creed doth only know Complete submission on the henchman's part To him who momentary at the helm Doth guide the s.h.i.+p of state through calm and storm.
To think in words, disloyalty proclaims; But act subservient fealty do prove.
_(Exit Printus)_ _Quezox:_ Most n.o.ble Sire, thy courage I admire But Somnolent doth wait without the door.
_Francos:_ Ha! He doth quickly to my call respond, But bid him enter. I will quick despatch The matter which thy urgent hopes demand.
_(Enter Quezox and Somnolent)_ _Quezox:_ Sire, here is he who holds our wide domain Within the hollow of his cunning hand.
_Francos:_ Sweet sire, an era new we usher in, And knowing well that thou dost entertain Oposing views upon a vital point, Twere best for thee to cast the mantle off.
_Somnolent:_ In sooth, good sir, I find our minds as one.
If Quezox's methods shall perchance obtain, 'Twere better that some henchman of his choice Should do untieing of his fiscal knots.
_(Exit Somnolent)_ _Quezox:_ Sire, in the anteroom doth stand McDuff, With bearing like a criminal of state, Sustained by stubborn pride as he doth walk With measured, kingly step unto the block.
_Francos:_ Go bid him enter, and on thy return, Take precedence; twere well to demonstrate The high esteem which Caesar for thee feels And give his party pride a parting dig.
_(Enter Quezox and McDuff)_ _Quezox:_ My Liege, McDuff, who fills a council seat Within the party which has long controlled Affairs politic in these tropic Isles, Would fain resign the office he now holds.
_Francos, consolingly:_ Events march on, and as the whirligig Of time revolves, so 'tis with politics.
To-day one soars aloft on Vict'ry's wings; Tomorrow Fate those pinions proud may clip.
'Tis here Philosophy a cooling draught Kindly present to him who, from his seat, Is thrust by Fortune's hand, which killeth not, But only girds our loins for battles new.
_McDuff:_ Sir Governor, thy words with wisdom teem.
I threw the gauge of battle in the ring, And for each thrust the enemy did give I parried, and with vigor did return Each lunge in kind, and now my Medicine I gulp and whimper not.
But look ye, sir! the wheel that now hath turned May grind us all between it cruel cogs.
_(Exit McDuff)_ _Quezox to Francos, exultingly:_ A mighty day! a glorious day is here!
But, Sire, the cleansing work is but begun.
A joyful paean swells within my breast, And I must mouth it, else this heart will burst!
_(Sings)_ We'll smite the grafters; smite them hip and thigh; Our motto shall be ever, "Do or die."
We've got 'em on the run, And with every rising sun, We'll oil the new machine; Its blade we'll sharpen keen.
Revenge shall fill the goblet to the brim, And "Pleasure saturnine" shall be our hymn.
_Francos, applauding:_ 'Twere well, sweet Quezox! Thou in happy tone Hast voiced a n.o.ble sentiment in rhyme.
But lurking in my mem'ry it doth seem That I recall in part those words so apt.
_(Francos and Quezox embrace and retire.)_
SIR WINDBAG SEEKS ADVICE OF COUNT LUIE
_Scene: A room at No. ... A. Mabini._