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First let a table be sett being foure square upon the stage, a foot or more high, by base servants. Let the same bee covered with Tapestrye or suchelike. Then 3 pillowes laied one upon another at the higher end of the table. Then strow roses and hearbes upon it. Cover the middest of it with a narrow napkin. Then Manneh Saboch and Alkim come upon the stage, having before them first one with a Torch, then one with basen ewer and Towell. Then one carrying a boxe of oyntment of marble or suchlike. Then one with garments and mantles of fine Lynnen called banquet-garb from Sidon. Then another with a dish having in it a sallet of endive and lettice with a sauce. Then one with a napkin and cakes, then one with a cup of wyne and a flagon or suchlike, last of all follow Manneh and the others, Manneh speaking thus.
MAN. Let us observe this festal day according to ancestral custom, and let us pour libations from the cups on our happy table. At the same time, let us celebrate the Feast of Departure. War is now silent, sleeping in peace. The raucous bugle does not alarm the purple toga; the farmer, not quite sober, now turns the earth with his plow, and our weapons, once more neglected, are hung up on the post. The industrious bees make their hive in the helmet, previously spattered by enemy blood, so that they can skillfully assemble their comb in it. Swords are bent into plowshares. Our Tarpeian master forbids the Romans to contend in battle, and the capital of the world trembles before our arms.
But you, stretched out on your couch, should do your duty. First dress yourself in linen.
How they recline at a banquet. First let the base servants put linnen garments on Manneh and the others then pluck of their hose and Shoes and so wash their feet. The manner of their lying on the table wheron they drinke followeth. Let them stretch out, propping themselves up on their left elbows. They extend their lower limbs and, their necks somewhat raised, prop up their heads with pillows. If more than one happens to occupy the same couch, let the first man occupy the head of the couch, his feet outstretched along the next man’s back. And let the second man rest his head by the belly of the first, with a pillow to separate them, and point his feet towards the third man, and let the third man arrange himself likewise (the middle position is the place of honor).When they interrupt their dining or are finished, let them recline their backs, which had previously been elevated for the purpose of eating, and occasionally let them assume a sitting position.
Now take off your shoes and wash your feet in water. Then annoint your head and feet.
Then let them annoynt their heads, their feet being naked.
Bind your forehead with fillets and wreaths. Put garlands on your head and neck to ward off the ill effects of drinking.
Then let a Servant tye a fillet about their foreheads and put a garland about their heads and about their necks. Let ever man wash himself before the rite, according to Jewish custom.
Wash your hands. As master of the revels, I shall pour out an equal amount of water for each man. Let us sing a happy song to the Lord of heaven. He has blessed us with His celestial godhead, and He caused the retreating waters to draw back so that the liquid masses, hanging on either side, did not dare touch the Jews before He had made a way through the uncharted basin of the Red Sea for our dry feet, when at His command our people abandoned the hated fields of the Nile.
Then let him cut the peece and break the Cake into diverse parts to the bignes of an olive and give to eat of the rest a peece. Then let him take the Cup of wyne and say as followeth.
We heap praises on You, almighty Father, since You have created the fruit of the vine for Your servants.
After they have taken and drunk let them leane with their left shoulder upon the pillow, casting out their knees and laying ones head one anothers breast, the top half of their bodies raised up, and after a space let them lye on their back during the time of the song following which is 113 Psalme.
Let us celebrate the Ruler of the universe with festive songs. God’s fame is not to be abolished in any age of the world. Let them sing of Him from the time the sun is first reborn from his prison to his empurpled setting. Oh you who defile His rites with your unholy cult, among all the gods do you know the equal of our God? Although He possesses the precinct of heaven’s court, nothing beneath the earth escapes His eye. He uplifts the pauper from the dunghill so that he might be exalted and attain the highest honor. He blesses childless houses with His happy pledge, so that the gladdened mother may rejoice in the increase of her children [Enter Jehuda.]
JEH. Why do you recline at your leisure, wearing linen and with your heads bound with wreaths? What good does it do to drink, your temples garlanded, while Cestius hastens to surround our walls with a high rampart?
MAN. Does your fleeing enemy dare take up arms?
JEH. Why should I make a long speech? After fierce Cestius burned with rage, when this haughty general was unable to tolerate the foul slaughter of his people, he assembled a mighty Roman army. He desired to exact great penalties from the rebellious populace, and Agrippa joined forces with him. Then Galilee saw its towns ablaze, just as when the south wind drives wildfire across the cornfields and lays low the happy crop, or whatever the oxen’s labor has produced. Thus avenging Cestius roamed through the villages, laying waste to everything with his sword, and at last pitched camp in the nearby town of Gabao. He marked down Jerusalem herself for devastation, but the Jews could not stand his arrogance and rushed, headlong, to arms. Their ardent anger was not cooled by the fact that it was the Sabbath. No general drew up their battle-line, but in a chaotic mass they forced a way through the enemy, dashing to a fate they did not doubt. Everywhere were scattered the bodies of the enemy. What a horrible sight of death! Niger of Peraea distinguished himself in the fighting. Monobazus was here, a kinsman of the King of Adiabene. Cenedeus and Silas the Babylonian, a deserter from Agrippa, joined them.
MAN. But is it lawful for Jews to fight on the Sabbath?
JEH. Blind fury and the need for dire retribution compelled them. Whoever fights on behalf of the Sabbath defends the Sabbath, he does not profane it. But look, Niger of Peraea approaches. [Enter Niger and Saboch.]
NIG. O sons of our ancient forefather Abraham —
SAB. What news do you, returning, bring of Cestius?
NIG. He has neither won nor been defeated.
SAB. Your answer is unclear.
NIG. With a valiant onrush, the Jews, incited by their great rage, strove to break through the Roman battle-line in a route carved by the slaughter they created. Thus their foul massacre rebounded on the Romans. Indeed, if our cavalry had vigorously employed its force at full speed to drive on that part of their forces which were reeling, then all of Cestius’ army would have been endangered. But the Jews, routed from the front, quickly retreated to the city. Some Romans made their way to Beth-horon, and there Schimeon, son of Gioras, attacked them. He killed some of their rear guard and captured their pack animals. Finally the Jews occupied the high ground and everyone eagerly observed Cestius’ progress, so that the might immediately attack him with their full forces.
But, alas, Fortune is elusive. She casts down and tramples underfoot the man she has just lifted on high. After Agrippa perceived that our band of soldiers had attained the summit of the mountain, and that the Roman army was now exposed to many dangers, he determined on entering into negotiations with the city. Either let the city break off the fighting, he said, or at least let any man withdraw who was not loyal to their effort. So he swiftly sent two faithful supporters, Borcius and Phoebus, to the Jews as his ambassadors, so that they might convey Cestius’ offer of a truce coupled with an amnesty for the rebellion, if only the Jews would oblige him and lay down their weapons. In order that the wavering populace might not place any faith in these offers, the Zealots immediately ordered violent hands to be laid on these men, and they killed Phoebus before he could open his mouth to say why he had come. Borcius was wounded but escaped. The people were indignant about this murder and drive the Zealots into the city by stoning.
Cestius, pleased by this development and raging with his full army, himself drove the citizens backward into the city. Then he pitched his camp on Mt. Scopus. He declared a three-day truce in the hope that the rebels would surrender. He sent his army into the surrounding villages to reap the crops. The Zealots were nervous about their fellow-citizens and kept a close watch on them. Being themselves terrified by the Romans’ military skill, they abandoned the walls and shut themselves up in the Temple. Thick smoke suddenly covered the city like a billowing cloud. I pray that the Lord of the universe will protect David’s holy city from conflagration. I think it is safer for us to hide ourselves in our home.
Let armed souldiers before Cestius go into the Citty in their array.
<CEST.> Since the Zealots and the rest of the Jews are mutually exhausting themselves with their fighting, I have hoped that Jerusalem could be captures with ease. When I had passed through Bezetha, I set fire to the New City and the Timber Market. When I came to the Upper City, I pitched camp in a safe place opposite the royal palace. Behold, no enemy has come to meet me. I wonder what this means. I scarcely know whether the Zealots are fighting this way out of deceit or treachery. Why hesitate to batter the wall with the ram? Under my pounding, Jerusalem will soon be leveled.
TYR. [To himself.] Priscus, I must keep faith with Florus lest Cestius overwhelm the city at his first attack. Florus has given me a generous bribe for this effort, and I have promised to drag out the war. [To Cestius.] Great-hearted Cestius, what great glory leads you on? Do you imagine that the Jews are lacking in deceit, do you not fear Hebrew tricks? Is this the Eleazer you know? Some deception lies concealed here. Let us retreat while we can. [Enter Agrippa’s steward.]
ST. Noble Cestius, hear me in private.
CEST. Soldiers, retire from my side. [Exeunt Tyrannus and the other soldiers.]
ST. Noble Cestius, let everything be well for you. Anani bar Jonathan, a leading man of his nation, and the other prominent Jews, no longer able to tolerate the Zealots’ misdeeds and wicked insults against their fellow citizens, humbly beg for your trust and your aid. They most dutifully promise to open the gates for you, as soon as the Roman column approaches the walls.
CEST. But come, tell me more candidly what are the new developments within the city and what they mean.
ST. After the people grew angry about the murder of the ambassador, and a hostile mob routed the Zealots with clubs and stones, the Zealots conceived a great fear of the citizens’ power, and they suspected the populace to be opposed to hem. Not thinking the surrounding city to be a sufficiently safe place for themselves, they immediately sheltered within the Temple walls. If, in the midst of this commotion, you plant your standards on the wall, the city will fall into your hands and you will have the honor and distinction of bringing the war to a conclusion. General, do not timidly throw away this victory that has fallen into your lap.
CEST. Tell Anani bar Jonathan that I approve the citizens’ loyalty to myself, nor shall I allow this opportunity to be snatched from my hands. [Exit the steward, leaving Cestius alone.]
What now? How my sore heart swells with anger. I am wholly boiling with rage, just as the Sicilian strait rages. To let victory thus escape? For me thus to be cheated? But great promises scarcely deserve trust, and often an agreeable promise is not lacking in deceit. It is never proper to accede to an enemy’s pledge, and popular sentiment is fickle. Alas, what tyranny does Fortune hold over us? Always harsh to those who exhibit the greatest virtues, she fosters men with no discrimination.
But why do I manufacture false fears? Can anything prove impervious to Virtue? Let us adopt her as our leader. An active mind creates its own luck. I shall vigorously press the fleeing Jews, shut up the Zealots in their very Temple, and batter their walls with my machinery.
ALK. City, city ! Anani, Anani! The Romans have occupied the city!
Then let the other two Saboch and Manneh and diverse citizens come running into the stage from all corners with Steaves, Bills and such like creating a tumult.
SAB. The Zealots are failing to keep watch on the citizenry.
MAN. The Zealots dare not look their enemies in the face.
ALK. Cestius is besieging his enemies in the Temple.
SAB. Let the dear safety of our nation fight on his side!
ALK. Fearing for the city, the Zealots are fleeing.
ST. [Alone.] Mighty city of David, object of envy, governing the mail-clad nations with your will, to your misery now learn your woes. Behold, our Latin enemy now possesses Jerusalem. But why speak of the Romans? Alas, you cherish to your bosom a greater domestic enemy. Or, if the Roman is a foe, it is better to die by hostile hand than for the cruel sword to sport with our citizens’ kindred blood. But who comes running? [Enter Alkim.]
ALK. Oh our unhappy fates! Oh God, so harsh to us!
ST. Your misguided imagination makes God seem harsh, since He is a righteous judge Who punishes our crimes. But what news do you bring about Cestius?
ALK. While the robbers were keeping a sharp eye on the people, who still were unwilling to follow them, Cestius made his way from the wasted suburbs into the city. Anani, with the connivance of a few individuals who chanced to be privy to his plan, sent a secret message to him that he should attack the city: they would allow him complete control of the city, since life under his rule would be preferable to tolerating the shameful orders of such depraved fellow-citizens. But Cestius, enraged with anger, spurned the leading citizens’ promises since he mistrusted their loyalty. In the interim the brigands perceived Anani’s scheme and, attacking his followers with stones, drove them off the walls, forcing them to take cover in their homes. Then they resisted the invading Romans. [A commotion is heard.]
ALK, What’s this? The Zealots are fleeing their enemies.
ST. Now we must avoid danger by flight. [He starts to flee. Enter Saboch.}
SAB. Where are you fleeing? Our defeated enemy is abandoning the city.
ST. Who is the victor?
SAB. Fear, terror, paralysis.
ST. So chill dread won out?
SAB. As long as one fear is conquered by another.
ST. Did the Zealots flee?
SAB. At the same time as Cestius.
ST. Explain this to me.
SAB. When our Roman enemy had surrounded the Temple with his forces, behold, the Zealots thought about flight. They could scarcely withstand the sight of their foe. Cestius struggled to seize the Temple, while an easy way lay open for him. But sudden fear stuck his timorous heart and he was afraid for the victory he had already won, both victory and loser, nor thereafter did he remain at the Temple walls. Flight alone pleased him. Neither his enemies’ panic nor the support of our upright citizens encouraged him. The Zealots are preparing to pursue their enemies with the sword. But here comes the armed Zealot. [Enter Eleazer.]
EL. (To his soldiers.) As long as the Jewish people are afraid of their own strength and with downcast spirits dread the Latin menace, then Romulus’ city will rule far and wide as the capital of the world. Our unhappy holy city tolerated her master’s orders. But if you put up a brave resistance with your strong right hand and recognize your strength, great-hearted seed of Abraham, arrogant Rome will begin to fear your sight and will no longer withstand it in battle. The victorious Romans have previously laid waste to your towers and seen the holy city’s suppliant hands outstretched. But God has scarcely borne lightly this disgrace to His Temple. For no reason you fear the Roman eagle. This two-headed eagle looks in two directions, avoiding danger, spreading its wings as it plans escape. So do your part to expel these refugees with the sword.
With what flames of rioting does Jerusalem burn! Wretched city, understand the wound you have received, you who are accustomed to defeat your enemies without battle and who rout armed men, unarmed yourself. Lest you have no foe, you have been made your enemy, and you have cruelly armed your hand against your own citizens. I was disposed to help a friendly city with my arms. But in my unhappiness I am attempting to flee to the King, since it is not safe to remain in the city. [Exit. Enter Costobar and Saul.]
COST. Beloved city, now I choose to abandon you, since I anticipate a disaster I have already recognized. Proud city, what manner of war are you preparing? Why do you freely offer yourself to the enemy for trampling underfoot? You are attacking Rome. You are injuring the capital of the world. They fear the power of this fierce nation. Jerusalem has made you too arrogant and warlike. The city’s spirit should have been broken, since even great things can be overthrown in a short moment. Our eternal Father whirls everything on His swift wheel. Jerusalem has made us arrogant. She should likewise make us fearful, since Pompey has already laid her low.
SAUL Oh Costobar, you who derive your pedigree from the royal stock, cease your delay. Saul, born of the same parent, now joins you as a faithful comrade. Just as a sailor abandons the angry sea, if he is able to escape the heaving ocean as the raging north wind strives to wreck his boat, so we are escaping the end of our collapsing city. [Exeunt. Then let diverse Mutes runn over the stage also. Enter Jehuda.]
JEH. When the Zealots saw that Cestius had fled, they regained their courage, no longer allowing themselves to be pent up within the walls like caged beasts. They were ready for battlefields, for fighting, and for dire slaughter. As when the Nemean lion is shut up in some woodland cave, if by chance he breaks his bars with his strength, with gaping maw hunts the man responsible for his suffering and fills the glade with his roaring, so did the Zealots furiously leave Jerusalem. They followed Cestius’ furtive trail, so that the the conquered now harried the conqueror, putting stragglers to the sword. The Romans did not dare look behind themselves or drive off the enemy. Chill dread gripped their minds, as they imagined huge numbers of the enemy to be upon them. Nor did they dare break ranks, weighed down by their heavy equipment. But the Zealots, being enthusiastic and lightly armed, could easily attack their enemy. Here Cestius saw many of his men fall.
Why say more? The Zealots killed Priscus, commander of the sixth legion; they cut down Longinus and Aemilius, who commanded a cavalry squadron. If you had been there you could have seen the roads drenched with Roman blood. Then the Italians, vexed by such great hardships, assaulted the air with their lamentations and the army gave out piteous cries. Bereft of any plan, it filled heaven and earth with its complaints. The Jews attacked, giving the refugees scarcely any respite. When Cestius saw the place filling with Jews and the number of his enemies increasing, and when he perceived that delay was fatal and that, in sum, there would be no end to his losses, he was frustrated of any hope and thought of flight. He feared to march openly, and so sought to save his life by a ruse. Selecting four hundred of his bravest men, he stationed them atop the walls with orders to sound the sort of signals that watchmen customarily use in camps at night, and to kindle fires to deceive the pursuing enemy into thinking that his entire forces remained there. Meanwhile he and the rest of the army fled. When the sun lifted his head up from the lap of dawn, routing night’s shadows with his radiant beams, the Jews saw how thinly the place was guarded. They perceived the general’s trick and hurled their spears from afar. The men who had been ordered to remain in the camp soon fought to catch up with their fellows, but they followed after Cestius in vain. For he did not slow down the retreat. He killed all of his pack-animals and abandoned all his siege artillery, his catapults and machines. Then the wretch hastened on his flight. The Jews turned back, despoiling the corpses, and brought back a huge amount of booty. [The approaching soldiers are heard.] Listen, they sing a joyous victory song. (Then let Eleazer with his victorious Army come onn the stage singing the song. One Souldier the verse the rest of the Army ho triumph.)
Cestius sought safety in flight, ho triumph! With greedy beak the vultures pick at his soldiers, ho triumph! Cestius sought to save his life by a trick, ho triumph! Cestius purchased his life at the cost of his men, ho triumph! Cestius laments their sad fate, ho triumph! Galilee now refuses him a safe haven, ho triumph!