"Through the years, I have watched the city of Rome. I have studied, trained and killed within its walls. And in time, I have tamed it...Shaped it...Nowhere in this city have I met a man equal to myself; a soul willing to kill in the name of destiny, capable enough to claim what is rightfully his, cunning enough to stare death in the eye, and charismatic enough to raise an unstoppable army to conquer all of Italia. /.../ If I ever did meet such a man...If that man entered my city...I know exactly how I would welcome him."
A/N: (^with a hug, of course) 'Allos! Thank you for checking out this piece, and do note that this is my first time writing a poem about anything ever. So this is a somewhat special occasion, eh? xD Nevertheless, I'd sincerely like to hear how I did, as I had put a lot of time wording all of the protagonist's deeds, with as much detail as I could swipe, and sometimes, I would even have to strain myself from not saying too much and wondering off into infinity (as I was tempted to do a few times, heh!). Do tell me if I succeeded in this!
Beware, however, that this work also contains criticism and things out of the ordinary course of history in abundance, such as mentioning other sources, particularly those that had defamed the House of the Borgia, and an all out criticism of the Borgian enemies. Do not take this, however, as any aggrindisement of Cesare himself, as that would make me no better than those that had belittled him so shamelessly. No, these are nothing but facts, relying solely on accepted sources and firm evidence on the matter.
Otherwise, Happy Birthday to my dear Cesarino! And a happy Friday 13th to y'all, haha! :D I had tried to perpetuate all of his greatness and beauty in these verses, and of course, much of it is not historically true, because I am writing on the behalf of Assassin's Creed, where he had been done so little justice. I'd like to list these untruths for the purpose of better understanding the matter at hand. Specifically, they are:
- the murder of Juan (it was never verified as to who has committed it, whereas it is thought that it was a noble and a political enemy of his, and Cesare was accused of the deed only eight months after.);
- the poisoning of the Turk, Djem, who was kept in the Vatican, in order to receive a sufficient dowry for Lucrezia's first marriage (precisely 400,000 ducats);
- the siege(s) of Monteriggioni;
- Ramiro's betrayal and death (portrayed here substantially earlier than in actual history. The true purpose for his death was not betrayal, but the will of the people, as his stern nature and cruelty had made him infamous in the eyes of the Romagnuoli. And to satisfy the people, Cesare had done the needed sacrifice. Talk about fanaticism for ideals...Amazing.);
- Vitellozzo and Oliverotto's death (a bit delayed here than in Assassin's Creed, for the purpose of better describing the sieges, et cetera. The location is also changed, as here, I present their death in Sinigaglia rather than in Rome, as they were not the only ones to be killed on that faithful night. "None speak ill of the Borgia," says Lucrezia. And Cesare proves each word. In his own, perplexed way. :D);
- the murder of Alfonso of Aragon (Lucrezia's second husband, as Cesare's guilt is, again, supported only by word of his foes. And most of them, be it noted, did not even inhabit these times, NOR were they present either. So yeah. Fruitful imagination, really.);
- incest between Cesare and Lucrezia (which was, be it noted, an accusation created by Lucrezia's angry first husband, Giovanni Sforza, and we have nothing other but the words of those who have hated the Borgia that this is veritable. To this end, also, I am ignoring the existence of Giovanni Borgia, Lucrezia's son, whose father had never been confirmed, but it is believed that it was either an Assassin, Pietro Calderon, with whom she had an affair (which is a tad more likely), or Cesare (and here, yet again, UbiSoft shows off the infinity of their glorious imagination, LOL.) (sup?));
- Micheletto as a personal assassin of Cesare's (oh c'mon, he was a goddamn captain! How the hell do you turn a captain into a personal assassin?! Probably because they didn't manage to crack him upon interrogation. And FYI, his name was Michele da Corella.);
- Micheletto's death and its overture (as Assassin's Creed preaches, Micheletto had managed to help Cesare out of prison, and as they were hosted at the Lone Wolf Inn, Cesare killed him due to the lack of resources he had presented him with. However, if I may, I will throw on some light here; after Cesare was imprisoned in la Mota, it was not Micheletto that helped him free, but a certain Duke, wherefore Micheletto was captured for the purpose of interrogation by the Borgia enemies and had lived through the most severe torture there is. And as I stated in the previous item, he was probably done the injustice simply for being able to endure it all, and for staying a loyal servant to his master, and not a corrupt dog as all these *sarcasm* poor unfortunate souls that had lost everything because of that preposterous monster who ravaged all of Italia. Ooh.);
- the orgy on the night of Lucrezia's departure to Ferrara (I went through hell translating it, and when I finally comprehended what it said, I decided to respect Sabbatini and didn't dare word it. Here is the Latin version, so if you are inclined, translate it yourself: "Tandem exposita dona ultima, diploides de serico, paria caligarum, bireta ed alia pro illis qui pluries dictas meretrices carnaliter agnoscerent; que fuerunt ibidem in aula publice carnaliter tractate arbitrio presentium, dona distributa victoribus.");
- the death of Alexander, which is, in Assassin's Creed, depicted as the deed of Cesare himself, but it still makes no sense whatsoever, as to kill the Pope was to lose his most powerful ally, and Cesare was not a brash fool. Rodrigo truly died of a foreign disease, brought to Rome by the French, and being over seventy, he could not undergo treatment as Cesare (and this treatment required bathing in an ice-filled tub until all of his skin was debarred, whilst enduring inhumane pains and degenerating oneself. And yeah, it wasn't poison, it was illness, thank you very much, UbiSoft.);
- the death of Cesare, as was performed by Ezio, but what really happened is that Cesare never even got to set foot into the citadel of Viana; on the contrary, he met his end beneath its very walls, as he ordered a frontal assault and rushed ahead on horseback, but his armies did not follow, leaving him alone and exposed. And there, in the heat of battle, dying doing something he loved the most, they had massacred him, and tossed him like a dirty old rug into a pit just beside the walls.
But there is much reality as there is fiction. Nevertheless, I hope I'd given credit where credit is due, and may you rest in peace, renowned General, free of all the human vultures that had impaled their claws into you and still refuse to confute, even after so many centuries of unscrupulous lies and irreverence. In your honor, for you are the Duke of Dukes, the worthiest of them all. VIVA IL PRINCIPE!
P.S. Latin translations are listed at the end of the poem.
~ dedicated to Akh, Claudia, Sith and Jordan ~
Hair brushed and eyes on fire,
He sets forth his life,
Deep within the Pontiff's shadow,
A destiny undesired.
He is a man of steel,
The Art of War he is yet to quench,
But until the time is right,
His fists he must learn to clench.
Graceful in his advancement,
For studying he is in no need of now,
As he plots his dreams and goals,
Ambitious as they are noble.
Alas, destiny, a shameless crook,
Brings before him a play.
His brother claims the military,
Stealing his dreams away.
But oh, there is an answer,
A solution for every mischief.
He provides and sharpens the knife,
And the girl – oh, the flourishing beauty,
Juan's blood taints her palms,
As his wounds blister,
Great and profound.
Juan leaves sorrow to his father with his youthful demise,
As the rumors of the deed spread throughout the world,
And their sister, Lucrezia, gives to betrothal;
The precious dowry, stained with Ottoman blood,
She brings to Milan,
For the Sforza tyrant to claim.
Now assured of his success,
Upon his face a crooked smile;
With the Pope's blessing,
He throws away the Cardinal hat,
And replaces it with steely armor.
Seven devils of Rome so beloved surround him.
He looks, he breathes, he is complacent,
It is his to claim now.
Three figures appear before him,
Each more troubling than the other;
Ramiro d'Orco – a cruel warrior, of loyalty unstable;
Oliverotto da Fermo – a butcher, his wrath feared by all;
Vitellozzo Vitelli – a vengeance-wrought bastard, with a desire for Firenze's downfall.
Together, the four men, the four statues of bloodshed,
They bring forth the Church's crest,
Proclaiming a gory war to the likes of Romagna,
Acquiring it as their conquest.
But the most insolent of treasons is about to surface abroad;
Ramiro breaks loose, and turns his back to his master's road.
Infuriated and bold, he orders his troops to halt,
Earnest to punish as he is to lead.
The path of oblivion he sets upon now;
Ramiro's breaths dissolve before him,
As the rope's grip tightens and he descends to the ground.
The remaining two quiver in awe,
Relinquishing their ruthlessness for but a moment,
Daring not to march a foot astray.
But he, his plans shaken,
He who does not bear being fooled,
He returns back to Rome,
Until his confidence is cured.
The end of the century approaches,
But opportunities grow like grass;
He takes his leave for France,
With a retinue worthy of the Lord Himself,
Eager to please the King.
And His Majesty,
Enchanted by the young General's charm,
Creates a treaty of trust,
And grants him as Duke,
By none other than the honorable Valentinois.
And as the coronation passes,
Another matter catches his eye;
A damsel, no less than the most beauteous in the land,
Gives him her hand, and he snatches.
Now handsomely married,
With the Frenchmen troops gathering by his side,
He is at ease,
The courtesy of France obtained,
As he departs a month after.
Monteriggioni escapes him,
Erring Venezia favors its tyrants.
With a scar across his youthful face,
Fretful yet not despaired,
He brings the bastard Orsini down to his knees,
As the Colonna tremble before him,
Offering, therefore, peace.
Spiteful revenge acquired,
He sets out once again,
Preaching to the French King,
That his troops be brought to his end.
Along with his own men,
Enjoined by the Swiss and French alike,
He marches proudly towards Forlì,
Though turning to Imola first.
There, the most unusual awaits for him to witness;
The people welcome him with loving smiles,
Arms spread wide and minds tired of the current empress' viles.
But the citadel remains persistent,
And sends forth the one Naldo,
But after a week of conflict,
Capitulation is wrought, de facto.
Preventing further pillage,
Passing lightly through Faenza's fiefs,
He makes his way to Forlì;
But stubborn appears its tyrant,
Locked profound in the depths of her fortress.
Refuses any word of surrender,
As the Sforza crest adorns her splendor.
To this end, he releases the cannons,
Bombarding with no regret,
And after but a week of warring,
He extinguishes the threat.
Barefooted and ransomed,
The Duchessa is brought to kneel,
Imprisonment awaits her,
As her reign reaches a bitter decline.
Then, a line is drawn,
There was no doubt to it now;
His Holiness declares him as Church's Gonfaloniero,
The most esteemed condottiero.
Hereby, nothing digresses him,
His head he holds aloft,
Lorn amongst the dreamy heavens,
Thirsted of his ambitious hallow.
Now in possession of Imola and Forlì,
The Duke continues afore.
Another treaty he makes with the Frenchmen;
When the time has come,
And His Majesty is in requisite,
His forces he shall gather,
And Napoli they shall invade, together.
But many suns and moons would pass,
Quite, until the stakes are risen;
As Cesena gives into coarse submission,
Without much carnage engendered,
Another matter becomes of concerns.
Alfonso of Aragon,
The second of Lucrezia's husbands,
After annuling the malevolent Sforza,
Has his life scarcely terminated,
At the steps of Pietro's Basilica.
All eyes fall on the Duke,
And doubtless are the plaintiffs applied;
They claim, they swear, solemnly,
That it is he who perpetrated the act.
Motives are at first unknown,
But then it dawns clearly enough;
They are dauntingly convinced,
By all means, the truth cannot be elsewhere.
His sister in his embrace he bears,
And plants kisses on her florid lips.
That is the root of all evil,
The most devilish of deeds;
So is preached throughout Rome,
Venezia, Firenze, and even farther,
Soon to become a myth.
But the Duke is not bothered,
He does not strive to confute a thing,
And let's the dogs bark;
Much is before him, much awaits accomplishment,
And therefore, in all of his excellence,
He swells his armies, graceful,
And onslaughts forth.
Unpleasant word reaches him, however,
That there was an attempt on his father's life.
The Pontiff gives him the location,
And a name most notorious as well;
Ezio Auditore, the thane of Firenze,
The one feared by many.
Gathering his men and wasting no time,
He makes his way for the troublesome Monteriggioni once more,
This time, with a vow to raze it to the ground,
As it had given him enough hassle before.
Bis peccare in bello non licet,
As raze it he did,
For it was an Assassin nest more than anything else,
With a burning plight to return the favor.
And as his cannons break the main gate,
The Duke fearlessly sets foot inside,
A gun shining in his clenched fist,
And an angered flicker in his blue eye.
As the city tyrant trembles before him,
He raises the gun aloft,
Proposing a cleansing and an invitation,
If Ezio dares - to Rome.
And so, he concludes the defender's life,
As his gunmen wound the one he addressed;
With this, the Duke retires,
Allowing pillage, larceny and chaos,
To overwhelm the fallen burg.
Venezia, oh Venezia,
Would sell herself for the lowest of prices,
Now awes at the sight of the uprising threat,
And therefore, crawls to his side.
Bathed in the sea of reluctance,
Bonfires of hatred burn in their eyes,
The Senate gives him their citizenship,
Let it be no lies.
However, the shrewd Duke is not moved,
For his preparations are according;
Louis XII, in all his might,
Demands the Republic to throw down her arms,
At the likes of Rimini and Faenza.
Amid conflict with the Turk,
And needy of support,
The Venetian pride was to be swallowed yet again,
And obedience follows in chagrin so bitter.
Delightful festivities ensue as word reaches the Vatican,
Clerics and their head rejoice alike,
And the Duke spares no time.
French and Swiss gift their due,
Whereas the Roman gentlemen are included likewise;
Condottas flourish from every clan,
As adventure-seekers clamor to be part of the ranks.
Painters, literates and sculptors,
All bear part of this magnificent force of discipline;
For the Duke was appealing to all,
And scrupulous were his methods,
And profitable his cause.
The Church, of course,
Did not omit to fulfill its part of the treaty;
Funds were raised and taxes multiplied,
And the Duke's campaign was, in the matter, secure.
As the putrid leaves ebbed from the trees,
And the autumn rains stormed the earth,
The armies were fortified;
In all glory and blessing,
They would make their leave.
Soon, a brief halt at Nepi was made,
From whence they would fearlessly push on.
But the weather was not an ally,
And therefore would turn matters woe;
But none was of importance,
As His Excellency advanced with such speed,
Through Viterbo, Assisi, Nocera,
Making a crossing of the marvel of Apennines at Gualdo.
But then, another stop was made,
As Fossate refused the Duke's demands;
To release the prisoners of its tower,
And as such steal away the calm of his temper.
A notorious but quick battle proceeded forth,
And perilous was the wrath of the Captain General;
Of them, he made an example,
A paradigm to be remembered and feared,
For all of those who dared show him denial.
Pillage and bloodshed overtook the land,
As the Duke resumed to advance;
But the weather, a sly fox,
Spared no expense to weaken him plenty.
His artillery he had lost amongst the ruined roads,
As the march was, yet again, forcefully concluded,
In the territory of Deruta,
Whence those left behind fought to catch up,
Before the heavy rain deems it too late.
Schemes are thrived vigorously for surrender;
The bastard of Malatesta,
Pandolfaccio he was christened by the people,
Not as sly in war as in anguishing his subjects,
Now without Venetian protection,
Retreats in cowardice to the fortress of Sigismondo.
From there, proposals and treaties were sent,
Envoys begged, the Council pleaded;
They want no bloodshed,
Only an ally and a patron to repent.
Much did the Malatesta give up,
For the sake of salvaging his puny life;
Many fiefs and territories he gifted,
Seeking refuge in Ravenna.
And so fell the marvelous Rimini,
Without a single blow struck to its walls;
But quickly, Pesaro, too,
In a manner almost akin,
Enjoins its western brethren,
As its tyrant is rendered thin.
Already is he familiar,
With the wrath and vigor that is Borgian,
For he is still the same Giovanni of the Sforzas,
The one so nefariously pushed away,
Of yore, when Lucrezia he used to crave.
And on that fateful Sunday,
Whence the armies approached the city,
An uprising of those who have had enough was present;
They would clamor,
In the honor of their very conquistador,
Much to the Sforza's squalor.
Gathering his miserable forces,
Aware that he could pose no assault,
Giovanni, ever the brave junker,
Took flight for Ravenna,
Leaving that what he so eagerly claimed as his,
To his half-brother, to do as he pleased.
This was, of course, a merriment,
To the men of His Excellency's forces;
Into surrender Pesaro fell promptly,
With none to defend their fortress,
Another facile victory acquired.
"Cum numine Caesaris omen",
Engraved lies into his noble blade;
His legions of might and valor,
Still await to shine their true bright,
As another campaign is obtained,
Easily as the one of ere.
Faenza he approaches now,
But there, a peculiar play awaits;
Where grown men and lofty of origin,
Had fled with their tails below,
A child proclaims a fight to the death,
Foreign to fatigue or fright.
Only sixteen summers had he seen so far,
But his action is as if this number was double;
Two hundred years had his ancestry spent,
Among the firm ramparts of Faenza.
Astorre Manfredi, braver than any of his kind before;
And yet, for the sake of his loyal vassals,
He trembles before the Duke's valor,
And decides to retreat, oh yes,
But like the thunder out of a clear sky,
From the corner no one would ever suspect,
As he listens for the incoming marches of the enemy,
Astorre receives succor.
All the way from Bologna,
As he grew more anxious by the passing day,
His grandfather, Giovanni Bentivogli,
Sends the one Torella to his door,
With promises of aid and support.
This Count offers, besides,
That Astorre be moved to Venezia,
For the purpose of his own safety;
But the Council declines, however,
Saying that wither the young lord was to go,
The people would feel abandoned, and fall into ruin, for sure.
Therefore, Bentivogli sends forth his army,
Only to be threatened by the Vatican the next day,
Under pain of the most sinister of punishments,
By the quill of Alexander himself,
If he does not refrain.
To this end, the Bolognese appears cunning,
For he gives his disobedience a mask;
The thousand which were sent forth,
Instead of remaining in the Castel Bolognese,
Desert to Faenza in the most secretive of ways.
And now, a problem awaits for the Duke to solve;
Invigorated is the young Manfredi now,
And more than willing to strike back.
Meanwhile, Vitelli sweeps and entails Brisghella,
As the rest of the tyrannies surrender swiftly;
Thence, the Duke himself halts beneath Faenza's walls,
And as they choose to withstand,
He takes shelter to the east,
Between the streams of Lamone and Marzano,
Allowing his artillery free play.
But the castellans are not as honest as they cease to think,
As a possible treachery is uncovered henceforth;
The Judas was taken care of straightaway,
And the bold Councilors prepare to further endure.
But the Duke is not to be underestimated,
And only but ten days later,
The siege prospers,
As one of the towers collapses into the depths of the moat.
The Duke's men, spotting an opportunity,
Quickly frenzied through the breached barricade,
As the Duke himself, caught at breakfast,
Rushed to restrain his impatient folk,
For it was no time for pillage yet.
And so hated was he for the misdeeds of others, again,
For it is probable that his accusers would've done better in his skin;
As he wasted countless words and warnings,
Luring his forces to withdrawal,
With a difficulty that was almost grave.
A narrow escape he made,
As a stone-shot from the castle almost took his life away.
Hitherto, the Duke's army bore a foul ordeal,
For the weather became worse as if on a devil's deal;
Rain, fogs, winds of steel,
Posed the biggest obstacle yet.
And thus, this merciless wrath of nature,
Was soon enjoined by a blizzard of white,
And a stone-cold, harsh storm of frost,
Raged day and night.
Deeming this the perfect condition,
To perform a finishing strike,
The warriors of Faenza rally the Duke's camp,
As his men remain unsheltered,
And opened to the likes of the tramp.
And for the first time in his marvelous career,
Defeat taints him, so heavy and foul,
For, a severe loss borne to both sides,
He beholds, recalling his troops.
His Excellency's patience now provoked,
The siege morphs into a blockade;
All roads that lead to the city are closed,
The purpose being to cut off the needed supplies.
With that done, the Duke sends an envoy,
Offering a generous term of surrender,
But the Council, blinded by their newly-attained victory,
With vehemence, declares that they want no peace,
But a deadly struggle, if it need be.
To this end, the Duke makes way to Forlì,
Bringing along some of his forces,
While the rest stayed behind,
Their orders being to give the opposing garrisons no calm.
And thereupon, the play is not done yet,
As the Duke shows off his endless considerateness.
He made sure that the unpleasant consequences of war,
May not be felt in the city afore.
A banner is soon proclaimed, and an edict is swelled too,
That his men may not touch the townsfolk property,
Before they pay what is due.
There were three rebels who dared transgress,
And all three met their end by his hand,
With a rope on their necks,
Hanged from the windows of his own palace.
With all this done, the Duke rides for Cesena,
Which he already enunciated as his capital,
Leaving in Forlì one of his most loyal gentlemen,
Don Micheletto da Corella, respectively.
Whilst in Cesena, the Duke enjoins the festivities in his honor,
For he held the attention of both the Council and the Officials,
Charming them all,
With his marvelous gallantry and a mind to behold,
For he was rumored of being able to take down a bull alone,
And many a village Hercules were slain by his youthful lithe,
In the carnival spirit,
Praised by many, and faulted by the glum.
And on the day of Christ's birth,
With business not completely neglected,
The Duke publishes an important edict,
Where punishments are enlisted,
For all of those who have practiced with the exiles.
And so he remains in winter quarters,
Until spring returns to the Mediterranean,
Whereas the matters of Faenza,
And it's savior from Bologna,
Are far from halt.
The Pope expresses his disapproval of Bentivogli,
To none other but His Majesty of France;
He demands, throughly,
That Bologna be given back to the Church.
Hearing of this, the Bolognese shivers,
Whereas both his reign and French favor are endangered;
And thus, to complete the daunting matters,
In Imola at the time,
The Duke himself demands winter quarters,
In the very Castel of the Bolognese.
So dreaded was Bentivogli by this,
And even more so when French cavalry appears at his door,
Which means he is either to do or die,
And he chose, of course,
To be sly.
To His Excellency's kind demand,
He responds with one even kinder;
Instead of occupying his beloved stronghold,
He sends victuals, artillery, and many more,
And the Duke, reasonable as he is ambitious,
Does not flung the presents he is given,
And accepts them on the highest ground.
And to this end, Alexander appears soothed,
As shrewd Bentivogli receives praise from his behalf likewise.
His winter quarters still in order,
The Duke cannot seem to retain his peace;
Whether it was of political matters,
Or meant to exacerbate his sojourn,
A charge so deliberate and unsavory,
Reaches his noble ear,
And toils him in ignominy.
It was alleged, so to say,
That a Venetian captain, Caracciolo was his name,
Had arranged for his wife to be escorted to Urbino,
And whereas he wanted to operate the deed himself,
The infamous Council of Ten refused,
Forcing him to send for her instead.
And send he did,
A fine group of warriors,
And all was well until Cervia,
Where the sentinels had been mercilessly slaughtered,
And the wife taken, it would seem,
To the unknown.
Later, it was publicized,
Much to the Republic's dread,
That the abductors were Spaniards,
Members of a powerful army,
By none other,
Than the Duke of Valentinois.
They wasted no time on inventing the motive,
And hitherto, it was a mystery no more;
Openly had they accused His Excellency,
As he gasped astonished,
At the opulence of their imagination.
And it is necessary to make an addition,
That is far worse than the arraignment displayed,
For it is a fact,
Veritable as any other;
Whenever an evil deed would occur,
Importless of time or place,
All eyes would fall on him,
So convincingly and spitefully,
That a mere word could trigger guilt.
A desire for his fall was probable,
And jealousy even more so,
But of one we can rest assured,
When we speak of this very crime;
That il Principe, as one discerning cynic would label him later,
Never truly had his Principessa.
And there is no greater truth than this,
For you will never find him influenced by a woman,
Throughout his life;
A cold egoist he was, and it served him well,
Although, many had fallen under his majestic spell.
All in all, by a later date is it revealed,
A concealed love story, perplexed as any other,
Surfaced for him to cleanse his tainted name;
A Captain of his own,
By the name of Ramires,
Had fallen enamored for the abducted mistress,
And therefore, had decided,
To take flight with her, faraway, together.
At first, the Duke is outraged,
And swears that bloody vengeance will be wrought;
But once Ramires was found and captured,
And His Excellency realized, graced be God,
That these were nothing but a couple of lovers.
He sheathed his blade, now consent,
That it was not his to judge them,
Quod amantes sunt amentes.
And so, the two lovers befriended,
They enjoyed his protection afore,
But this was not pleasing to the ears of Venice,
Nor of the husband, who was in fury galore,
For he had sent letters to his beloved runaway,
In multitude, indeed,
That she should return to his embrace,
But her reluctance was grand.
And the Duke, in his reply to the Republic,
In her defense and defense of his own,
States that the lady is free to go if she so wishes,
And that it is not in his interest,
By all means, of whose is it,
To flame and shatter his noble dignity and repute,
For a humble mistress of the Romagna.
He also concludes, gently,
That they don't mark him a desperate fraud,
For, if he wanted any woman of this world,
Such insolence would not be drawn.
In all its marvelous, fruitful glory,
And the weather had finally sided with the Duke,
For a scheme for Faenza was at hand at last.
But loyal were Astorre's followers,
To the point of blind fanaticism;
There were no quarrels about showing an intense oppression,
Whereas both men and women had given their due.
Even the priests,
Those holy beings and shepherds of God,
Had shown rebellion to the Holy Father,
In whose name the siege was waged.
But despite these measures, the end was near,
As the Duke had had enough;
His cannons were loose and a breach was made,
Prompting a terrible assault to ensue.
Upon the smoking ruins of the crumbling citadel,
His men pressed on with such gallantry and vigor,
But the enemy was no less fiery,
Making the aggressors meet death by falling boulders,
Using the very debris as ammunition.
And as twilight endowed the battlefield,
His Excellency orders a retreat,
For it is foolish to war with a lack of light,
And men would be slain needlessly.
But instead of plotting another offensive,
The Duke remains phased,
Phased, by the endurance this Faenza shows,
As he declares, in all honesty,
That all of Italia would kneel at his feet,
Were they to be brought to his command.
Instead, he confines himself,
For the time to be,
As his cannons continued to rage,
Evoking desertions of those who could bear no more.
One such turncoat, known as Grammante,
As he vowed fidelity to the Duke's marvel,
Had given information many would make use of instantly;
On a certain point, this man unveils,
Patronage is so poor, so fragile,
That if the Duke is to strike there,
Faenza would end, crashing.
And of him,
Another paradigm of ruthlessness of the proud Duke was borne;
For he had respected, dearly,
The impassioned defenders,
And since he was no charlatan when it came to the Art of War,
He desired victory,
But in bona fide.
Hanged lied the traitor,
Under the very walls of those he failed;
Merciless bombardment did not cease to stop,
As the citadel slowly began to crumble apart,
But this merry progress came with a price,
For a Captain, regarded in the Duke's eyes,
Became a victim of the enemy guns.
And finally, what was to be done a long time ago,
Occurs in a belated fashion;
Preachers of surrender and peace,
Sent by Astorre himself,
Arrive to beg for salvation.
But to accept their pleas,
With all due respect,
Was mulgere hircum;
To accept something that was no longer for bargain,
The citadel was on the verge of utter perdition.
But even now, the Duke is generous,
And splendidly agrees to meet the envoys at hand.
Not only does he accept the terms proposed,
But he bans his men to enter the city at all;
And whereas he could,
If he would so desire,
Leave the city to pure pillage and chaos,
He had gone so far,
So far does his respect reach,
That he compensates with the city's Council,
And affords them all they preach.
To this end, Astorre,
Accompanied by his men of arms,
Comes to meet the Duke himself,
And as many before him,
Falls under his elusive charms.
And therefore, even if freedom to him and his subjects was granted,
Astorre offers himself, credulously,
To enter His Excellency's service.
And to this, the Duke agrees,
For another vicious affair is in preparation;
As the young Manfredi is brought to Rome,
Enjoined by his brother,
They are settled in the confines of the fortress of Sant'Angelo,
From which they are never to come out of.
Discovered are their remnants,
In the Tevere the next day,
As the culprit is already suspected;
But one we must keep in mind,
When we consider this ugly act,
For it is no more than a mere precaution,
In the eyes of the egoist at hand.
For to let the two lords live,
Was to imperil all the struggle that had been waged for months,
Because, unlike the tyrants of yore,
These rulers were not detested,
Nor were they weakening Faenza in any way;
This, of course, triggers a facile mutiny,
Whenever they might find fit.
And therefore, this possibility is precluded,
With severe brilliance and the Duke's lack of remorse,
But many a libelous pen had seen this as the undermost,
Despicable and the most devilish of deeds,
Eager to show their exaggeration to the world;
And so they did,
Enacting the marvelous infamy we have today.
Like a whirlwind, the Duke rushes ahead,
Swift in his intentions as he is ambitious,
And blesses Faenza with a new vicar.
But as usual,
He leaves nothing to chance,
And takes his leave for Bologna,
To settle the matter of Bentivogli at once.
The Castel Bolognese,
Which dwells between two of his conquests,
Depicts a menace, a thorn in his eye,
As it is held by a power that does not stray to be hostile.
With this in mind,
Before he would come too close,
He sends an envoy forth,
Demanding an immediate capitulation,
Alarming the ruler, vastly.
And Bentivogli is quick to jump,
His pleas echo throughout the holding,
But no can do,
As the Duke is one step ahead,
And Vitelli claims the allies at hand.
To this end, the Bolognese cries in desperation,
To His Majesty, the King of France,
Eager to demand protection,
From this fierce, crisp enemy he had gained.
Thanks to this relation,
Pacification and arms were assured,
As Bentivogli now lies safe and sound,
Locked in his fortress profound.
But premature is his rejoice,
For his shrewd scheme yielded no fruit in the Duke's mind;
A condottiero rides to the stronghold with his men of arms,
With a request to raze it to the ground.
And raze it he did,
Sternly and with mercy in lack,
So much that there was barely any remnants,
To bear witness of the fort's existence.
And as this deed meets conclusion,
His Excellency receives a letter.
The Pontiff, ever diligent,
Calls him back to the holy home,
And thus, has a strange proposal to make;
That the Florentine territory should,
For he fears for Vitelli's crooked passion for revenge.
The Duke, lukewarm on the matter,
Had never had schemes for Tuscany anyway,
Targets now the citadel of Piombino,
But as soon as he'd ordered retreat,
As if the Pope had beaten the fog of future,
Vitelli flung to his knees, and implored,
Supported by the bastard Orsini,
That they pay a visit to the Republic's door.
And thus, the Duke gave way,
Sending an envoy to ask permission,
For his troops to march afore.
But the Signory's greatness, could, by all means,
Not find any vindicate in this demand;
Except, if the Duke complies,
That neither Orsini nor Vitelli could accompany him through,
And that he should keep to the country strictly.
But before news of this could reach him,
He was already on the Republic's frontier,
With the said two condottieri,
Present in his lines.
And robust was the consequence,
He would suffer for this belated confession;
Yet, the Duke remains in his shrewd mood,
Declaring that Firenze had already offended himself,
As she sent her due to both Forlì and Faenza alike,
In a matter to resist him,
He didn't lie,
There existed no trust in him for the current government,
For their faith too had been shattered aloft.
His recognition he would supplement,
To an envoy in the likes of Barberino,
Wherein he'd announced, loud and clear,
That he bore no ill will to the Republic's domain,
And that some esteem be given to his two captains.
To fasten Firenze's decision,
The Duke pushes his armies forth,
All the way to the Forno dei Campi,
Almost at her very ingress.
The Florentines were astound by the young General's nerve,
As they quickly disposed of whatever little armies they had left,
Due to the prolonged war with Pisa;
And as such,
They were neither in deliverance nor denial,
As the atmosphere began to fray.
It is later deemed, however,
That the Signory had been indeed impolitic,
In this rather peculiar matter;
For as weakened as her status was,
She should have lent pass,
For neither did the Duke have time to waste,
Nor Firenze a pomp to spill blood.
And further, the two of his condottieri remained stubborn,
Prompting the hinder of his patience to break loose,
As he threatened, fervently,
That his blade would be turned against them,
Should they not sustain their temerity.
And at last, a treaty is signed,
Whereas the Republic promises a condotta and a stipend,
Of which quarter he shall receive before he takes his leave;
But the truth of this treaty is mustered,
Only two days later,
And it is bitter to behold.
In realization of the treaty's real purpose,
Which was to drive him away as soon as affordable,
The Duke is displeased to a fault;
For to swagger such ludicrous audacity,
Against such ruthless a man,
Would be to incur the undermost of risks,
Especially at times so impure,
On Firenze's behalf.
But before His Excellency could express his outrage,
The Holy Father forwards another letter,
Prompting the most urgent of retreats for his son,
And therefore, his hands appear tied,
And the reckless Republic's luck loyal.
But even so, the Duke is cold,
And not a single flicker of resentment does he betray;
Whereas he could give penalty forthwith, modest in regret,
But he could also wait for the perfect opening.
And now, he waited,
Silent and mystic,
As another matter catches his tireless eye;
A clever, flourishing artist,
No less than Leonardo di Ser Piero da Vinci himself,
In search of fortune in the Republic of flowers,
Stumbles across him,
And a quick bargain is crafted.
Leonardo enters the Duke's forces,
As a key engineer to his future hardware,
And few repairs of castles and strongholds,
Were also dealt by the hand of this Artium Magister.
And finally, Firenze is behind him,
As he marches upon the city of Piombino;
But gallantry and resistance await him there,
Inducing a delicate siege to embark aloft.
As Piombino tends to rely,
Upon its pelagian position in war,
The Pontiff himself intervenes in the matter,
Sending his navy and opulent reinforcements abroad.
And as Elba and Pianosa soon lay flat underneath the Duke's reign,
He is finally able to give proper assault to the citadel,
And after two long months of bloodshed and gore,
Piombino falls into his hands;
But he had already left,
As Louis ultimately charges at Naples,
And as the Duke's obligation dictates,
He is to enjoin,
And provide his part,
On the contract made of yore.
To Rome he hustles with the speed of light,
Leaving most of his forces behind,
As he locks himself away in the chambers of the Vatican,
Into a complete exile,
From the outward so vile.
Many would try to reach him,
For tasks both important and trivial,
But none could pierce the heavy passage to his quarters,
As he turned day into night,
And night into day.
And finally is he coronated,
With the title he desired so much;
The Duke of Romagna they address him as now,
As five citadels stand in his enterprise.
And while he occupies the likes of Rome still,
A loyalist of Astorre's for a vicar in Faenza he'll appoint,
From the very Council that intrepidly opposed him,
Evincing the incredible breadth of mind,
In such an age, and such a time.
And this deed was not yet forlorn;
The peasantry were granted their due as well,
As redemption for a bloodbath so bold.
And as our Duke often has a habit,
Of taking matters wherewith they are to his according,
Envoys are dispatched with immediacy,
To Fano, another citadel to claim.
But none of this is as pertinent,
As the incoming strike of the French;
Alexander is told of the treaty of Granada,
As Spain intervenes and requests her due,
Wherefore, he publishes a bull,
Against the Neapolitan sovereign,
For contumacy shown to the likes of he,
And to this,
The unfortunate Federigo flouts his menace with impunity.
But the final draught is implied,
As a French officer receives assistance,
From both the Duke and His Holiness,
And blesseth are the aggressors by the Pontiff's manu sancta,
As they depart from Rome,
Off to war.
Before the Duke would enjoin their cause,
That marvelous, early July,
Calabria collapses under the Spanish press,
And days of the Aragon,
But to Federigo's aid comes the bastard of Colonna,
Fabrizio by term,
As he is sent to Capua with his men of arms,
Along with one Marciano,
A bitter enemy of Vitelli's.
The allies march their way afore,
And find themselves at Capua at once;
But there, the two Neapolitan assistants,
Stand their ground against the approaching army,
And to this end, His Excellency extends his blade,
And leads the onslaught,
In the heart of the battlefield,
Doing what he does best,
The acumen his ally,
And pure valor his crest.
So influential was he,
So deep did his sword cut,
That there was nothing but corpses and broken armor,
Left of the Neapolitan underdog.
Still, few remained scattered alive,
And ran all the way to the shelters of Capua,
In fear of their destroyers,
But not even holy water could help them now;
The cannons were brought and the fire open,
And lest than a week was needed,
For the bombardment to do its trick.
The bastions fell, their defenders too,
Into a hollow ruin, they paid their due,
With blood and gore, but all was forgotten,
As Capua fell,
Obliterated and shattered,
And none were spared,
Irregardless of sex or age.
The sanguine fluid of thousands of victims,
Flowed down the streets like water,
As the besiegers had butchered everything human,
Or anything that mounted their way at that.
And also, as any deed throughout his life,
The Duke's dignity is not forlorn in this matter at all;
It is stated, with nimble wickedness and words so obnoxious,
That he, yet again, abased the female kind,
Picking the forty most beauteous survivals,
And importing them to Rome,
For him to please,
As a harem.
This grotesque lie is repeated shamelessly,
To many an innocent generation,
But the jealous souls are yet again to blame,
But none matters to the magnificent Duke,
For he is a lion unseen;
But to return from this uncanny falsehood,
Back to the minuteness of fact,
The couple of erring Neapolitan tutors,
Promptly die by the hand of the bloodthirsty vindicator,
The one they had crossed of slate.
Gaeta bequeaths the line of the fallen,
And but seven suns after,
Naples, too, meets its ruin,
Under the command of the very Cardinal,
That had once come to crown the holder in the past,
And had now come to depose him as well;
But that was neglected,
Like a memory sealed for centuries,
As another successful conquest lays obtained.
And to this end,
The House of Aragon is concluded forever,
And malicious are plots formed by the newly-gained enemies,
Their hearts nightly and hatred sore,
For the one so excellent, so superior to them now;
They cannot bear, they do not want to share,
And presently, their uprising will rear.
The autumn rains spatter the soil,
As the Duke returns to the holy home,
To find his sister wedded once again;
This time, to the noble of Ferrara,
Alfonso d'Este as he is known,
In an act of trade more than one of love.
The Duke would also play his part,
Appearing at the festivities in his full renown and fairness,
Bearing the dewy laurels on the temple of his head,
Gained in his latest victory.
Aside from this,
Another matter is dealt with by the Holy See;
For contributing to their enemy,
And showing such courageous oppression,
The Colonna face excommunication,
Along with Savelli and a tad more,
Their possessions deducted from them likewise,
And are given to Lucrezia's offspring.
But before the freshly nuptial bride,
Could take her leave to her new home,
Another odious slander surfaces abroad,
Quilled by the hand of one Savelli,
You will remember, hitherto unholy,
In the eyes of the Papacy,
Publishes a letter in the likes of Germany,
It is probable, to jeopardize the d'Este relation;
But when studying this abomination,
This disgrace for everything human and righteous,
The sane mind must be excluded,
And stomach braced for impact.
The event itself is unspeakable,
Presented at a grand Borgian supper,
And the mind that brewed it beyond demented,
Wherefore, the deed itself should not dare be described.
However, this orgy of a sort,
Alleged to had contained Alexander's presence as well,
Was how some would daringly enhance,
The way practiced in Rome of Cinquecento.
And yet, do these restless, ever-envious critics imply,
That the rest of the noble folk of this age did not apply,
By all means,
This ugliest of deeds?
How is it that the sins of others,
May be ignored and discarded of fault,
Whereas the most benign,
The most cleansed in this earthly repulsion,
Burn in the flames of a thousand suns?
But all aside, there is one more thing,
Remaining to gasp and quake upon;
Why, ad iudicium,
Would an accusation that came out of the mouth of an angered mutt,
Be considered truth,
And valued as much?
Thus, it shall be added in the end,
That when this scandalous document reached the Duke's hands,
He would be generous, contained for the umpteenth time,
As so many infamies he had already endured;
But his father, however,
Was not of the same, dreary nature.
Daring libelers were seized, imprisoned,
And either tortured or killed,
Liberated of their tongues,
So they would preach poorly of no one no more.
As Lucrezia abandons Rome for good,
A merry matter was about to ensue;
That Easter, he had been told,
His Duchess, along with their young bantling of two,
Is to visit her husband,
After years of her lonesome marriage.
To this, the Duke is rejoiced,
And excites to accompany his family to Rome,
But fortune fails him,
As Charlotte falls ill at the very last minute,
And from whence he will never hear of her again,
His daughter forever abandoned of fatherly love.
And the plotter,
Later to be blamed, among else,
Swiftly rises from the ashes of his fallen fortress,
Eager to spill blood for blood spilled.
A few years had he already spent in Rome,
Hidden beneath his mystic hood,
And taking life in the name of the Brotherhood.
Revenge robs him of fatigue,
As he mercilessly craves downfall,
Of the Pope, and all that is his own.
The Templar agents throughout the city,
Meet their end by his hollow blade,
But what this avenger is scheming for the rulers of Rome,
Is far worse than anything so far;
And soon, he will make his move,
As the greatest threat to be faced yet.
Notwithstanding such matters in Rome,
The Duke busies himself with different cases;
Along with His Holiness,
He sets out for the newly-attained Piombino,
For political purposes and some useful avail.
After four days spent in the Civita Vecchia,
And prospering from the Duke's ever-growing dominion,
They cross Elba,
And take a ship back to the holy home,
Leaving the most faithful of servants to govern behind;
Micheletto, we remember him from earlier,
Famous in his vast fidelity to his master and his cause,
And thus, the most loyal captain in the Duke's service,
Later accused, as many,
To have committed the most disgusting of crimes,
Under Borgian influence,
Thus deemed their personal angel of death.
Enough of this, though,
As elsewhere, prettier matters were implied;
A printing press,
The very first of its kind in Italy,
Is funded and brought to Fano,
By the one they called an underbred bloodsucker,
You will guess,
His Excellency of Valentinois.
Bargains are made and schemes plotted,
But the greatest one only now brews in the General's mind;
As he conquers the center farther and farther,
He might well turn it a kingdom,
Under one monarch and one judge,
Whose reign would be consummate, stark.
Moreover, every institution is held under a thick lay of control,
As they all bow down,
In awe and consternation,
And he shall bear the crown,
And shift it the most powerful a nation,
Bathing it in glory and renown.
Thus, he studies this Apple of Eden,
Fascinated by its might and riddle,
Deeming it the perfect utensil,
That will bring his kingdom to life.
But long before this dream of his was to be perpetuated,
There lay still three more strongholds that require his untiring heed;
Camerino, Urbino, and the Sinigaglia,
Just where could he begin?
As if by order,
A conflict embarks southern,
Whence France and Spain are the main entrants,
Quarreling to whom Naples should belong.
But this recontre was not held there only,
As it spread in the north likewise,
Firing a warring torch,
In Firenze, for one.
And whereas this had nothing to do with the Duke directly,
He took no measures to end it either;
It suited his ends, and afterwards, he'd pleaded,
That he did not wish for any bloodshed at all,
Whereas a punishment for a falsehood a priori,
Was planned thoroughly and only awaited execution,
Gathering all of the Duke's concealed spite,
For he does not bear being fooled.
Meanwhile, Vitelli, ever overwhelmed with his vengeance,
Welcomed this with arms spread wide,
And made the most delicate preparations for the Republic's pyre,
That he himself will ignite.
His Excellency observed this vindicator,
And would lend him no help in the affair,
Even so, he would not strive to restrain a thing either,
For reasons that are obvious.
Already allied with the exiled Medici,
A Sianese tyrant Petrucci,
And enjoined by his brother as well,
Vitelli announces an open conflict,
Providing at Arezzo and alarming the Republic.
Soon, the strongholds of the Val di Chiana,
All fell in Vitelli's hands,
As Firenze dispatched urgent envoys to the Vatican,
With grave complaints of this new stir.
Alexander responds negatively,
Even launching a Bull,
Saying that it is far from his concern to aid any belligerent.
And while the Republic weakened indies,
Pisa, ever the Florentine enemy,
Offers herself to the Duke's reign,
An offer a hasty man would snatch instantly.
But from all the attributes that may be assigned to the Captain General,
Whims were not one of;
Cold plainness, foresight and calculus,
All adorned this decisive, ruthless,
He saw through the offer right away,
And the dangers that acceptance might bring,
So he declines,
Forwarding the matter to the Holy See,
To find a solution, if they may.
And as Vitelli continues his overbearing rampant,
The Duke moves along,
Encamping his forces at the city of Spoleto,
The conquest of Camerino finally at hand.
Ever the shrewd opportunist,
He had seized just the correct moment to strike;
For as Cesare Varano, the citadel tyrant,
An old war-dog that owed his prestige to his brother's murder,
Was intending to befriend the Republic of flowers,
But now stood dejected,
As the Duke began arming himself for further renown.
His army already being fourteen thousand in size,
An edict is published and the demand was,
That every house in the Romagna,
Gift at least one man of arms.
And as he waited for the people to comply,
News reach him of a tyrant who thinks himself sly;
Guidobaldo da Montefeltre, the holder of Urbino,
Sends arms and raises funds,
For the sake of defense of Camerino.
Nevertheless, it does not settle at this,
For a horrible treachery is stirred likewise;
A messenger from Urbino,
Is caught and brought to his camp,
Bearing a conspiracy,
To ambush the incoming artillery,
That was sent to the Duke to further his cause,
At a small town by the name of Ugubio.
And at once would the Duke prepare to endure this,
Focusing, therewithal, on Camerino as well;
He disposes his forces towards the citadel at hand,
As this is not the first time he wanted it his insignia to bear;
Already was Varano troubled,
Due to his debt to the Holy See,
And at last, his hour is near.
Two gentlemen were sent for his case,
One the Orsini,
The other Eufreducci,
Better known for his infamy,
As Oliverotto da Fermo,
And no less bloodthirsty than his companion in the matter.
As such was the cause of Camerino,
Urbino was tended to likewise;
Elaborate was the stratagem of the Captain General,
But Guidobaldo had remedy of his own.
His subjects held him in high regard,
An esteem grander than of any tyrant in all of Italy;
He was, by all means,
A peaceful man,
Most happy concealed in his library,
Where he would spend most of his time.
But unlike his vintage fathers,
This patron had no heir,
And to this end,
He had adopted another tainted bastard,
To play a role of protection and flare;
A nephew of della Rovere,
That spiteful, greedy hound that performed in the Sacred College,
And a long time adversary,
Of Alexander, before he became Pope.
But this would not prove the tyrant's salvation;
The Duke prepared a stratagem of brilliance,
Whereas an ounce of everything was allowed in war,
And the Duke would use this to turn matters to his reason;
He retreats for Nocera and writes a letter,
Requesting that Urbino should enjoin him in Camerino's fall,
And grant him a thousand braves.
From this Guidobaldo frets,
And replies, overwhelmed with his own dread,
That he would not move a finger,
Unless the Pontiff himself asks him for such.
And this term the Duke fulfills,
Thoroughly, as his ambition imposes;
Thus, he goes even farther,
Soliciting brotherly love as a kiss of Judas himself.
And finally is the restless tyrant put at ease,
Unsuspecting and naive,
Unaware of the incoming requis aeterna.
Finally matters turning his way,
The Duke pushes his forces through Urbino's state at once,
And takes hold of the citadel of Cagli,
So swift that the townsfolk had not noticed his approach,
Nor the overtake of their home either,
Before it was already settled.
And to this end a messenger rushed,
Alarming Guidobaldo with the turnover in abundance;
He realized, late indeed,
That enemy forces had surrounded him from every side.
Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide,
Only anticipation of the ugliness to ensue.
On the very night of the treachery unveiled,
Guidobaldo decided to desert,
Together with his feigned heir,
To the fortress of Saint Leo,
Rumored to be impregnable to any known army;
But it was already too late,
As all passes were soldier swarmed,
Guidobaldo sent della Rovere to Bagno,
As he himself won to Ravenna,
That untried home of dethroned princes.
Capitulation, whereof, came as swift as morning dew,
And the very next day, the Duke was hosted,
In the splendor of the very palace,
That belonged to the fled tyrant but a day ago.
But considerate as ever,
The Duke brings aloft an edict,
Proclaiming, and making doubly sure,
That no pillage may be taken in the citadel of Urbino,
As the rest of the strongholds in the area,
Threw themselves at his feet.
While he enjoys the neatness of Urbino,
The Duke once again returns himself to Florence,
This time demanding that ambassadors be sent to him,
And that together, they meet agreement on the matters of yore.
The Republic, subpoena, forcefully complies,
Sending him one Soderini,
And with him,
A man destined for immortal fame;
Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli,
As his study of this remarkable Captain General,
Begins here, and ends never.
And here, as always before,
The Duke shows off his marvel at utmost,
Saying the following to the ambassador:
Strand is abundant for the broken treaty,
And the affair of Vitelli widens it above,
And thus shall the Signory express itself,
With friendship, where peace is guaranteed,
Or, should they so wish, a diverse deed,
Wherewith if they do not wish to label him a friend,
A prominent foe shall he become then.
And so impressed are both Soderini and Machiavelli,
Quite, that only praise reaches Firenze,
Of the Duke, his intellect and ambition to behold,
And it is preached of his policy and his ability,
Treated as omnipotent in plethora,
As of the Holy Scripts themselves.
To argue with him, as is stated in Soderini's letter moreover,
Would be a loss of time and patience,
And reticence is advised to termination at once,
For no harm, it is promised,
Shall be brought to Florence.
And to further encourage the Republic's decision,
Louis XII sends epistles to both sides,
Demanding that the Duke wages no conflict,
And that Firenze comes with him to terms.
Furthermore, the Republic accepts this,
But one more she requests before the treating begins;
That Vitelli and the rest of his associates,
Should retreat from Arezzo at once,
And deliver all the conquered strongholds,
As well as anything they may have achieved so far.
But this, the Duke confutes,
As to restore Vitelli would be to lose his superiority in the matter.
But ever lucky is the Florentine Signory,
As if the Lord Himself makeshifts their destiny;
His Majesty of France marches toward Naples,
To end the fray with Spain,
Forever and ever.
And as his vanguard approaches Florence,
Soderini is instructed to elongate the negotiations,
And time them with the French income.
And whereas His Excellency was,
In the end, forced to submit,
His eyes were not smeared by the smoothness of Soderini's tongue;
But the ambassadors would take their leave soon enough,
As they deemed it safe,
With this turn of events.
But merriment he shall find elsewhere,
As news reach him of the conquest of Camerino;
The septuagenarian hound Varano,
Had shown quite a resistance to the Duke's forces,
And keeps doing so day by day,
With the help of his sons,
And, of course,
That infidel Republic of Venice.
And even though the aid was achieved,
Through sending one Venanzano to the rescue,
The same cliche from before,
That happened so much in His Excellency's sieges,
Occurs once again,
And conveniently as well.
No matter how stubborn Varano inflated himself,
He was nothing but scapegrace in the eyes of his subjects;
And this would serve a marvelous end,
Of the tyrant's downfall,
And the citadel's present.
A strong faction rises in the city,
And demands surrender to the Duke of Valentinois,
Whereas they go so far,
As to open the gates for his troops.
And so the Varani meet their doom;
The old Cesare dying a filthy, captive death.
And as the Duke was hosted in Camerino,
With all the honor that is due,
He writes a letter to his beloved sister,
Who falls dangerously ill in her tragic delivery,
Of a still-born child,
As he ponders his dreams are at hand.
Now a proud master of two more citadels,
The Duke is finally at ease;
But now comes the ludicrous part of the story,
A blasphemy, a tease,
Whose entrants will be rewarded with what they're due,
On the coincidental arrival of Louis's forces,
Rumor has it,
For he started seeing the Duke as a peril to himself,
He orders an immediate withdrawal of his own,
Striving to compel Vitelli,
With a threat of raising arms against him,
And depriving him of his most beloved fortress.
Elsewhere, his enemies gather in the court of Milan,
Literally all of those that he had offended,
These poor, abused, dethroned princes,
So sickened by this vigorous opponent.
And as he retreats from the likes of Arezzo,
Vitelli despises his master,
So much, so resentful is he of the Duke,
For nothing is allowed to stand between him and his reprisal;
He is open in the matter,
And soon makes his way for Milan as well,
To enjoin the displeased tyrants,
Whereof the first revolt of the condottieri commences.
To this end,
His Excellency travels,
With four attendants,
And disguised in the garb of Saint John of Jerusalem,
Making way for Forlì and then Ferrara.
There, he soothes his ill sister,
As an announcement of his arrival to Milan rushes forth;
Without further wait,
And with Alfonso to his side,
The Duke resumes his odyssey.
But before he sets foot in Milan,
The tongues of his foes are already loose,
Among them the Sforza, Varano's son, Montefeltre, and many more,
As they are eager to taint him as much as manners allow,
To His Majesty,
Who expected the Duke endowed.
And thereupon, as Louis has a diligent sense of humor,
He keeps the league a secret until the very last moment,
Whereas he had shattered the hopes of the pleaders,
With the welcoming embrace,
He had given to His Excellency upon arrival,
Furthermore addressing him as cousin, the dearest of relatives.
Lofty in chagrin and determined in rancor,
The tyrants departed one by one,
Save Gonzaga, the lord of Mantua,
As requested by Louis to come to good terms with Valentinois,
For he had not wronged him in any way;
And a betrothal was made to engage this friendship,
Of their two, still infant children:
Junior Gonzaga and Princess Louise,
The Duke's abandoned bairn,
Whom he will never get to appease.
And as such cases stood,
Lots was won and little lost;
Vitelli had drew back his claws,
And both Louis and a counsellor of his,
By the name of d'Amboise,
Would serve the General's ends for a better morrow to themselves.
All was well,
Fine and without quarrel,
Until Vitelli began howling once more;
He threw pitiless accusations,
One after another,
That he had been disgraced, disapproved and abused,
That his captains labored for nothing,
And, lastly, that His Excellency was thankless,
As Vitelli's only aim, he preaches,
Was to make him King of Tuscany.
And since it is known for a fact,
That the Duke calmly sat on the fence,
And did nothing to confute the terror upon Florence,
Why would he have, by all means,
Strived to extinguish it at all?
For those were people who were resentful from the start,
Who had crossed him,
And continue this work without excess,
Notwithstanding the penalty they had received.
It was not heroic, this behavior of his,
It was not as noble either;
It was, simply,
A cold hallmark of an egoist,
Who reaps advantages and avoids scathe,
It was, above all, humanus extremus.
But to return to the present;
As the Duke went thither with Louis to Genoa,
And they departed, in good bearings,
Early that September,
Rendering all those who would oppose the Borgian son,
With even more grief than before.
But this did not mean that their revolt was not at hand;
No, on the utmost of contrary,
They prepared forcibly for the schemes to ensue.
Bentivogli, the hated princeling of Bologna,
Did not aspire to capitulate,
Given the proposals of an alleged odium Valentinois bore,
Towards himself and the Bolognese.
And even though, we remember,
Bentivogli was detested by his people,
He had won him the amity of such as Fileno della Tuate,
Who indeed despised him,
But held a grander grudge for the Church;
Wither his people would treat with the devil himself,
Against the Holy See and all that is theirs,
As they hated it more than the portae inferni.
Beside this, gossip flowed,
That Vitelli and Baglioni,
The two condottieri at odds,
Would be depraved of their tyrannies,
Perugia and Città di Castello in this case,
And scourged properly,
For defection and disregard.
This and a violation of a Treaty,
Signed way back at the demolition of the Castel Bolognese,
Demanded examination of allegiance,
Of one more among the gentlemen;
The Orsini, a paid hunch of mercenaries,
Had no clear reason of enjoining the league of revolt,
For they were in no affray with their benefactor.
But in the end, join it they did,
Covering their actions with a foul pretext;
They solicited, outspoken,
That while in Rome, Cardinal Orsini had been told,
That Alexander VI grooms an affair,
A blasphemous scandal, embowered in blood,
For the ruin of the Orsini clan.
Moreover, they believed,
That lances were levied to this end,
Notwithstanding the Pope's utter denial of this,
By all means, unscrupulous lie,
When word had reached him of the latter.
Afterwards, two meetings were held,
One at Todi, the other at Magione,
Whence the allies came to discuss how matters stood,
For their time of strike.
Among these, the dethroned were present,
Enjoined now by the Orsini and the infamous Petrucci of Siena,
While of course, the ones of yore were present too.
And all of them swore, solemnly,
That His Excellency of Valentinois,
Shall be slain by their hands,
Before the year is done.
And certainly were they in an opportunity to fight,
With enough arms to reconquer all they had lost;
They would even invite Firenze and Venezia,
To merge into their frivolous schemes,
Whereas one would dreadfully decline,
And the other comply,
With such incredible, vehement joy,
Going so far as to address Louis XII himself,
Of the dishonor the Captain General brings,
To the French crown,
And in the process, mentioning their own man of renown,
Of course, the captain d'Alviano.
Finally, to our delight,
We reach the comedic part of the drama;
Were these confederates brave enough as to even trust one another,
The Duke would be in toil already.
But as they were all an immoral, preposterous,
Weak-kneed pack of traitors,
They would all soon withdraw,
Breaking the alliance,
As well as what little esteem we could honor them,
Concluding, acta non verba.
But another scheme they would ideate presently.
Where impulsive men would seek revenge,
And wrought bloodshed not yet seen,
The Duke contains the calm of his temper,
Not at all shaken by the crumbled esteem,
He had been given from his gentlemen.
A new army is erected ablaze,
Whereas many rush to his hour of need;
And this fresh army, consisting of mercenaries and adventure-seekers alike,
Still but supplementary when it comes to the faithful,
Loyalists of the Romagna,
Is to be used to raid the Bolognese,
And drive out the bat Bentivogli,
Once and for all.
So influential had the Duke become,
Quite, as many famous a name would clamor to join his rank;
By the half of October, all was set,
Except for the lances of French,
Which were now expected daily.
And as the forces at Imola gathered in six thousand,
The turncoats were making a pause;
Forcefully, they would ask themselves,
Had the opportunity to crush the Captain General,
Slipped under their very nose,
As they stood undecided?
And then, cooling their heads a bit,
The brave gentlemen begin crawling cautiously one by one;
First, the Sianese bastard Petrucci,
Who sends forth a belated testimonial,
Claiming that he would never carry his sword against the Duke's marvel.
And surely, with this,
He earns a smile on His Excellency's face,
For this sympathetic,
Irrational yelp from the sparrow to the hawk.
Notwithstanding this being a fatal blow to the alliance,
The next act would prove a funeral;
The Cardinal Orsini, sometime after,
Comes to terms with His Holiness,
Forcing, therefore, his bastard Paolo,
To almost engage to treating with the Duke.
And whereas the place was perfect,
For a final crashing of this disgraceful order,
Another surprise jumps out of the open,
A resurrection in totality,
Filling them with new hope once more.
The Borgian men were holding repairs,
At the impregnable fortress of Saint Leo,
And with them, a weary group,
Of those left loyal to the Duke of Montefeltre,
An exception that had escaped the Captain General's notice.
Using a sly stratagem and pure annihilation,
They would win the stronghold in Guidobaldo's name,
And immediately, an all out riot was prompted,
As fortresses fell into their hands,
One by one.
And this being done, they found themselves in Urbino,
Obliterated its defenders and flung the governor into prison,
Ultimately reconquering it,
As their own.
And this sudden overturn at Urbino,
Would make the tyrants pause once again;
But before they would declare themselves, however,
They eyed the actions of the Venetian court,
And they were sure,
Or so they hoped,
That they would befriend Guidobaldo,
And righteously insert him back to his throne.
The Duke, gravely anxious of Venice,
And already in exhaust of preparing his new army,
Still finds the time for diplomatic manners;
There existed a danger, insolent and under every law,
Of Venezia claiming Rimini and Pesaro,
But the Duke was faster,
And had dispatched his most loyal, among others,
Micheletto da Corella,
To tend to these measures.
And as Florence had seemingly expressed herself,
As a friend to Valentinois,
He sends an envoy, demanding further confer,
With another ambassador,
From the likes of the Signory.
And they had sent him, with consent,
No less than the, now,
Very Secretary of the State;
That same Niccolò of the Machiavelli,
Whom was already used for a similar task,
Not so long in the past.
And it is during this time,
That a noble, arguably the best,
Political doctrine, an immortal work,
And with it, the very philosophy it preaches:
Exitus acta probat.
This marvelous mastermind,
Due to the time he had spent with the Duke,
Had left, in his dispatches to Florence,
More merit than any historian of that time;
It is an invaluable view of a true eye-witness,
And not just a petty odium of a barking mutt.
Here, we deal with a man with an extraordinary talent for politics,
Analysis, and a mind to behold.
And through Niccolò's work, be it noted,
All these inspired evangelists,
The Borgia detractors,
Are highly contradicted and the abominations of their lies cleansed;
For many a word was wasted,
Unto sole purpose of belittling the Duke entirely.
It was uttered,
By many a mindful artist,
Let us not trigger any names,
That the Romagna trembled before His Excellency,
Dreaded of his bloodthirst and greedy ambition,
Whereas, in the following paragraph,
We see a completely different story;
Now, the artist must turn to fact,
And condemn the deliberate fiction for but a flicker.
Afore, it is stated,
That during this brigand-chief's reign,
The lawsuit of Central Italy was nothing but benign,
And the most righteous in all of its time;
And from this, insidiously,
The real matter is extracted,
The very hound that wrote it checkmating his own self.
And for confuting all of this,
And giving the pilgrims of history what they really ask for,
Truth lies in gratitude to Machiavelli forever.
Another such smeared flam,
Allows itself to go so far,
Telling you, preposterously,
That this Machiavelli,
This most acute a mind in all of Cinquecento,
Who daily saw and spoke with him,
Also, in a time of crisis,
Where people best show who they really are,
He does not present to you the real Duke of Valentinois in his doctrine,
But a feeble, creative fragment of his fancy,
That he would admire almost to the point of worship.
Let us leave, however, these desperate plaintiffs,
And return ultimately to the matter of importance;
In all honesty, the crafty Florentine,
Had nothing but empty praise to offer to the Duke,
He would do all to avoid committing his Government,
And His Excellency yet again complains,
Of Firenze's insolence of biting his hand,
And declares the rebels of Urbino and those of his own men of low intellect,
Labeling them fools,
For not captivating a better moment to strike him,
As he had not forgotten how to win the citadel of Urbino back,
Speaking of which, these audacious rustics,
Felt safe behind the walls of Urbino;
Whereas they would try and recklessly wage war,
With the Borgian garrisons again.
But illness strucks them unpleasantly,
An illness by the name of Micheletto,
Who had cut his travel to Pesaro,
And had ventured astray to put the hounds in their place.
And as word reaches the Borgian son,
Of this fresh turnover and bloodshed perpetrated,
He smiles cruelly to Machiavelli,
In the silencing of the warring bells,
"The constellations this year seem unfavorable to rebels."
A combat of wits is prolonged,
Between the Secretary and the Duke of Valentinois;
As whenever the topic of Firenze's loyalty would be touched,
Machiavelli rushed to smear the matter.
Ultimately, His Excellency shows a hint of impatience,
Saying that the Republic should hurry,
As when the Orsini reaches pacification with him once again,
He would turn in arms against them.
Somewhat convinced, Niccolò frowns,
Informing the Signory how cases stood,
As he pleads, shiftlessly,
That the Duke may offer his terms.
But yet again, the General keeps shrewd,
Implying that Firenze should begin the negotiations,
As Orsini, in the meantime,
Reenters his service,
While Vitelli, around the same time,
Announces his return likewise,
'Honest security' to his cause.
And during all this,
It might have pleased Valentinois,
And would have better served his consciousness,
To oblige the Orsini,
And give Florence a lesson in straight-dealing,
For pecking such insolence and sending him a nimble-witted Secretary,
To keep before him a sweet-worded play,
With meaning and opus clouded.
But also, France's wishes were there to be conceded as well,
So a chance of redemption is given to the Republic and his condottieri;
Forces they should swell,
And repair to Urbino,
Claiming it in his name.
And it would seem, peculiarly,
That the recovery of the runaways was now absolute;
They dedicated themselves,
And in a few day's time,
Vitelli had his clutches on the Castel Durante,
Baglioni his own on the citadel of Cagli,
Whence Orsini marched upon Calmazzo at Fossombrone.
And so seemed the situation at hand,
As the yesterday rebels huffed in the safety they enjoyed,
A barrier they would so diligently take for granted,
As Guidobaldo, now backed by Venice,
Hurries to surmount Urbino back to himself.
And as quickly as they hurled back,
The rebellious lot switched sides so traitorously once more,
As they would receive what they're rightfully due,
Presently, but not yet.
To this end,
Orsini marched upon Calmazzo,
Micheletto da Corella,
Who had at that time,
Made flight for Fossombrone itself,
Away from the income of Orsini's strength.
And some days later,
The rebels stood in Urbino,
Writing to the Venetian Senate,
Of the victory acquired.
And three days later,
Accompanied by his nephew and a bastard of Varano,
And they are now rejoiced by this newly-gained enthusiasm,
Acclaimed by them.
Vitelli and Oliverotto,
That infamy of Fermo,
Did what was in their might to overthrow Cagli,
Pergola and Fossombrone,
Still idly held for His Excellency of Valentinois.
A scheme for Camerino was also in process,
But they would find it a difficult task,
Whereas it was wholeheartedly protected for its patron.
Thus, fired by their examples,
Bentivogli of Bologna dares to raise his head;
He quills complaints and forwards them to Louis XII,
Claiming, ever diligently,
A dishonor which is the Captain General to France.
Still, there was a small, itty-bitty detail,
These brave traitors lacked;
As they slowly came to realize,
The ruin that awaited all of them,
Should the Republic faint.
And faint she did,
As His French Majesty advised them,
Not to turn up their arms at the likes of Valentinois,
For if they show any objection to the Church's causes,
They would be labelled his enemies.
The rebels lay in pure horror inside the walls of Urbino now;
Again, proving their courage,
They send forth the Orsini,
To request forgiveness for the folly of their actions,
Thus offering themselves back,
To the papal forces of the Borgian son,
And bring back all that was foolishly lost.
And here, a marvelous play begins,
For the naivety of them reaches the sky;
Not betraying a single tinge of bate,
The Duke prompts a treaty,
Which they greet in igneous spirit.
For a special convention was to be hosted in the near future,
A one, it is probable,
That will stay carved in the parchments of history,
Until the very end of time.
Even as the Orsini was still negotiating,
The condottieri stayed determined,
To set their score as heavy as possible,
Continuing the arms held against the Duke.
But this would only serve to straighten the severe odium,
That he would give them,
When the time is due.
But their schemes could not be stopped,
For even if they wanted,
They were in too deep now.
Urbino and Camerino were seized almost effortlessly,
Their butcher evoking an unseen bloodshed;
Da Capranica, the Duke's valued man,
And a brother of theirs from yesterday,
Meets his end by the sharp edge of Vitelli's blade,
Whilst Micheletto suffers oppression in Pesaro.
But Orsini returns with the treaty he'd won,
As signatures of the condottieri are the only thing anticipated;
But only Petrucci agrees to retire,
And together with Orsini he is divided,
As the courage of the rebels will soon expire,
For another brilliant treaty surfaces abroad.
The son of Bentivogli,
By the name of Antonio,
Decides to end the ongoing affairs between Bologna and Ferrara,
And thus he visits the Duke's residence,
To form an agreement,
Between the Borgia, d'Este and their own.
And this would only make matters worse,
For the turncoats and their vicious decay,
Upon which they would do anything to escape now,
But chances were low,
For like a crow,
Orsini reaches the now abandoned Guidobaldo,
In his own duchy,
Where his govern finally withers in wane.
Early that December,
After reclaiming Fano and a few smaller sways,
Orsini flaunts his troops into Urbino's territory,
Whence the loyalists of Guidobaldo were giving their all,
To save the old man,
But all in bitter vain,
As a gout had already tore him apart,
And he would make his subjects, nor himself,
Suffer no more.
A proper surrender is given to His Excellency's forces,
As Guidobaldo, with God's grace,
Enters a fathomable exile,
Which he would enjoy to his final hour.
During this time,
Back in Imola,
Machiavelli continues to procrastinate,
As when the Duke asks of Florence to grant him a condotta,
He is denied, vehemently,
As he is declared not as a Lord,
But a fresh potentate to all of Italy,
And as much as they laud his intellect and good faith,
The Signory would still feel unsafe,
With a part of her armies secluded in his hands.
The General keeps his calm,
As he replies, ruthlessly,
That he does not know what to perceive,
Of a private friendship offered to him,
When neither benefit,
And whose first tenet is to deny him.
Thence, he relinquishes the matter,
Deciding to focus onto Sinigaglia now,
A city which will stay famous for more than just his reign,
As will presently be revealed.
With Machiavelli to his side,
He makes ride for Cesena,
Where, inter alia,
The people had started feeling the consequences,
Of the merciless war that had been on for so long,
And for this purpose,
His Excellency, straight from Venice,
Purchases thirty thousand barrels of wheat,
And of this event,
Niccolò leaves sufficient record,
Saying, whether in humor or in breathlessness,
"The very stones have been eaten."
And as the Duke resides in Cesena,
He orders dismissal of the French force,
By doing so, smearing some eyes,
As he summons his puny angels of death,
To face to the sacrilege that they had incurred.
Vitelli holds the parchment in his hand,
His fist shaking as he passes it to the Duke,
His very bones are quaking,
As his soul withers under these driven, malevolent,
Endless skies in his eyes.
And even more dreaded will he be,
As Doria falls, and the faithful meeting is near,
Nearer than any of them could even suppose,
As the year will reach bequeathal along with themselves.
They all assemble at the fortress of Sinigaglia,
Awaiting the one they had abused so carelessly,
The one whose demise they dreamed,
Thus, now, the peril itself,
That could crush them all,
In one glorious, precise,
Cut of his sword.
Rumor had it,
They applied desperation,
Paying a Crossbowman to shoot the Duke upon his entrance;
But none dared show contumacy to this man,
This very vigor of all powerful in one being,
They dared not take a breath,
Dared not to steal,
For the very air,
Belonged to this pure awe of appeal.
And now, they stand before him,
Each more dreaded than the other:
Oliverotto da Fermo,
Ever the insolent coop,
Whence the ones in absence,
To which pretexts they should pray to instead of the Holy Script,
Had escaped, narrowly,
What Machiavelli christens, no less,
Than "Il Belissimo Ignanno,"
Prompting us to trust him instantly,
As a tale he provides is intriguing,
And his judgment of it worthy.
To return to them, however,
Their premonitions urge them to take flight,
But the Duke,
Upon his face a sly smile,
As he greets them all,
Like seraphs themselves.
Like nothing had ever occurred,
They were given,
And such words of audacity likewise.
Opulent was the praise,
Opulent the smile,
Opulent the banquet which had been prepared for them.
And so blinded where these men,
So captivated by this unexpected fondness;
And to think that they would obtain such easy forgiveness,
From a man so ambitious and grave.
In the trap they had descended effortlessly,
Crawling like mice around the cat's superior,
As he holds the door for them to enter,
And witness the promised splendor that awaits inside.
The destination was diligent,
And the Duke was ever generous when it came to zest;
For as the soldiers, marvelously hidden inside,
Like a Trojan Horse,
Erupted out of the dark,
Bloodying the wielded crest,
As the traitors flung to heaven,
Whatever may suit your fantasia.
And to complete their misery,
The Duke reveals yet another planned treachery,
By the fingers of the Orsini.
And this time, he would lack all remorse,
As they had crossed a certain line he drew;
For dispatches were issued on that January morning,
To the powers of Italy, and their eyes to behold,
That not only had the Orsini played out his trust,
Notwithstanding the pardon they were gifted,
For their first uprise.
Thus, the matters of this were settled,
And only gasps were left to be heaved,
At how effectual this act was,
As Machiavelli is happy to explain in time,
But for now,
To Florence he retreats.
And as for the Duke of Valentinois,
Not much is there left to tell;
His subjects are satisfied, his conscience clear,
And his armies, day by day, swell.
For now, he holds Italy in the palm of his hand,
As his dominion, his very playground;
If it pleases him to crush it,
Crush it he would,
For this was no less than the very zenith,
Of the might of Cesare,
Cesare of the Borgia,
The one whom all did fear.
A boundless soul he is now,
And finally, to Rome he returns,
To thus appease the vacant eyes,
Of his father,
That scrutiny-filled man of old.
He eyes his parent with buried augury,
But not a word escapes the man's mouth;
Not a single sign,
A hint or warning,
Of what lays afore for their home.
And during this, men would fall,
One by one, faster and faster,
As murder became a daily ordeal,
And a sensation to anyone no more.
The Assassins were ever dedicated to their cause,
Winning the hearts of the Roman underground,
A one most diligent among them now a Mentor.
He tirelessly wanders the streets of Rome,
Afraid of none, and asking for nothing,
But the blood of his enemies,
Fresh on his blades.
His name is Ezio Auditore,
And like his father before him,
He is an Assassin.
And for so long had his relentless carnage of a revenge go on,
That, even if he wanted,
He could never let go.
Thus, he conceives a sly scheme,
To end the Borgian regime in the walls of Rome;
While Cesare is busied with his own portion of matters in the Romagna,
Ezio would seek men of most importance.
And by order, they would fall.
First the Banker, through the help of one Egidio,
A wild grandsire who lives of wine and wasting coin,
Also a brother of Alexander's chamberlain,
Who would pay the receipt for them both.
So, excused for his debt with the help of Ezio,
Egidio runs loose,
Whereas the Florentine seeks the lavish Cardinal,
The first pillar to Cesare's collapse.
Peculiarly, the Captain General was present,
On the prestigious celebration held in his honor,
And he gives audience to the applauding crowd,
Briefing a speech of Italy's unison,
An even loftier festivity promised upon its success.
Retreating back to his father's side,
The Duke receives the most stern scold,
For it is implied by the Pontiff,
That balance should not be disturbed.
But Cesare bites back,
Confessing with certainty,
That whose the military, his the decisions.
And hereby, he can be no less correct,
As so much was already done,
So much waited for him to take effect,
In correspondence to his dream,
Which he craved now more then ever,
To truly bless the maps of history.
An odious knife is butchered into his back,
For as Juan the Elder now lies dead,
Ezio's errand beginning to take shape.
As the French forces are purged out of Rome,
Along with the malevolent Baron de Valois,
With the help of d'Alviano,
The mercenary of Venice,
The Auditore sets his eyes upon another target;
But here, he witnesses a difficulty,
For a suspicious eye is thrown at Machiavelli.
The man's mouth is ever full of praise,
For Cesare, and all that he's done,
Whereas La Volpe,
The leader of Roman thieves,
Declines Ezio further help,
And demands the appease of his doubts,
Of Machiavelli's apparent treachery,
To their sacred order.
But the Florentine remains unconvinced,
And therefore pays him no due,
Concentrating, finally, onto one most loyal,
Most devoted in the whole Borgian service;
Of course, Micheletto,
Valentinois' right hand,
As he attributes in Francesco Troche's death,
For the latter had sinned most gravely,
For crossing the Duke,
And periling the delivery of his kingdom.
A perfect chance, however,
Surfaces for Ezio to take,
And he so does,
Notwithstanding the fact,
That his face became more and more notorious,
In the eyes of the citizen and the Borgian guard.
Though still, he is able to achieve his goal,
As Micheletto is caught with his defense completely absent,
But even so, the Florentine spares him,
And rather tracks down Lucrezia's lover;
The one Pietro Rossi,
Poor an actor as his love interest is poor on spite,
As by helping him out of a baneful situation,
Ezio requests a benefit in return,
A benefit, carved in the shape of a key,
To a secret door,
At the Castel Sant'Angelo.
His Excellency hears of the detriment caused in the capital,
And rushes to meet with His Holiness at once;
And anything but support and succor he shall find,
Amongst the concealed apartments,
Of the holy home.
To his entail for news,
Cesare is given a fogged reply;
To his entail for money,
A decline too bitter for words.
And thus, he still deems himself armed,
For the Apple of Eden,
That artifact of Divine,
Still rests soundly in the hands of the Order.
But startled will the Captain General become,
As Rodrigo is eager to give him nothing but dishonor,
Applying even the means to cross him,
Which is not the first time,
Nor the last for Cesare either.
And by now, so cold had he become,
So obsessed to bring his kingdom forth,
That he will accept no obstacles, no threats,
To stand in his way,
Were they even Deus Himself.
He ponders his leave,
But is stopped most abruptly,
As Lucrezia bursts into the room;
She acclaims, in a fashion lewd,
"Cesare, he intends to poison you!"
And in horror most foul,
The Duke feels the substance burn against his palates,
Coughing, but to no avail;
And thus does the fury steam right out of his narrowed eyes.
He observes his father, rich in disfavor,
The latter filling his following clamor;
If he wills to live,
If he wills to take,
And if he wills his father dead,
He will kill him with his own hands.
So the sorry utensil meant for himself,
Cesare slams through Rodrigo's lips,
As not much was needed to liberate his soul,
And as he learns from Lucrezia the Apple's whereabouts,
He runs for Pietro's Basilica with the speed of light.
But Ezio's virtue when it comes to skill,
Exceeds literally every man of his age;
And thus, before the General even sets foot into the fortress of saint,
The Assassin is there,
His palm straightening around the artifact's flare.
Wherefore, Cesare desires to give him a proper greet,
The poison takes its toll, and almost brings him to his feet.
And so concludes an epoch,
Rare in opulence and plethora of valor,
For never shall anyone rise like he did,
Nor surpass his abilities,
Or equal his vigor.
Into the bed he is blasphemously thrown,
Escaping to safety in his beloved Romagna,
As his disease renders him thinner by second,
Halving the sheer force of a man's wrath,
A true warrior's pride and young lover's rage,
He used to be,
Once upon a beauteous age...
Hoc est bellum.
Half-sick and compelled by pain,
Cesare marches back to his home,
But there, he meets nothing but disdain,
As he attempts to rise,
But the Assassin,
That ludicrous fanatic,
That damned demon that spawned out of hell itself,
Prays upon him,
Sees him raise the knife,
And takes it all away swiftly,
Diligent in his determined strife,
Of Cesare's rule.
The annus horribilis slowly reaches conclusion,
And so do hopes, one by one,
Wither before the Duke's very eyes;
The Vatican rejects him,
With the awfullest excuse,
As the mortal enemy of Alexander's,
Who had of yore planned the downfall of his family,
Claims the needed majority of the Sacred College.
Guliano della Rovere,
Or should we address him as Julius II now,
Orders an arrest,
Sudden and treacherous,
As the Orsini bastard Fabio contributes to the execution;
Never was either of them to be trusted,
Never their shrewd grins taken for granted.
And thus the Duke's remaining forces are annihilated,
As severe imprisonment seals him away in whole.
For their burdens he is forced to bear,
For their sins, and the sins of his father,
He had to fall,
Fall, and lose it all.
For their greed and ill will,
Crucified is he,
And his cross is set alight,
For a hawk cannot bear being caged;
Being forced to sit in one place,
Thus shall he void,
Depraved of what makes him who he is.
A decade's work crashes into decay,
Burns into nothing,
As his loyal subjects are brought to subdue,
And the insatiable tyrants reclaim their citadels at last,
Ignorant of the grand neglect of vox populi,
For with Cesare,
Buried was also the liberty and law they enjoyed.
Or is he anymore?
Once in the zenith, so far up into the sky,
But now he toils,
Into the confines of a filthy,
Drowning in the debris of a power once so immense.
It seems as though only yesterday,
Did all tremble before him;
Did his armies ravage all that dared oppose him;
Was he in the noon of his rule,
And now, he sets,
Like the sun toward dusk,
But evening will not ensue just yet.
Micheletto, though gravely endangering his own self,
Works day and night,
For two whole years,
Withstanding enemies, interrogations and tortures,
As he finally deems the time proper,
For his master's revertetur.
And thus, he bribes a guarding soldier,
Of low moral and even lower funds,
And provides disguise and freedom,
Hitherto, stripped off all his regard and rank.
With Micheletto to his side,
Cesare rides to his homeland of Valencia,
Whilst his headquarter becomes a humble pub,
Christened the Lone Wolf Inn.
Residing here, he begins all anew,
Swelling a small army and coordinating tactics.
Prima facie, the renown of ere seems to return,
And it looks as though everything might fall into place.
But soon is he to realize his labor was in vain,
As the Assassins allow him no grace,
And wrecking his mace.
Notwithstanding his endless determination,
Along with his energy to behold,
The disease had but taken its toll,
And thus shall his sanity begin to break.
To Micheletto he behaves most cruelly,
Addressing him as,
Asine, stulte, nebulo, caenum,
Demanding him to find a nice pit to die.
But let us not judge the ruthless words,
But what triggers them on the inside;
For Cesare, so long imprisoned and robbed off all his might,
Rages upon the millionth failure,
And who could blame him,
With such persistent a nemesis?
But Micheletto, tired himself,
Is no longer able to see through;
Thus, he judges his master an ungrateful,
And therefore, attempts to murder Cesare himself,
But the General still bears some leftovers of his former skill,
And ends Micheletto with no present thrill.
Again, he rides,
But where to anymore?
Should he just go forlorn,
Abandoning his destiny and the shards of the past?
Quo vadis, Cesare,
Quo vadis nunc,
When all the world desires you dead,
And requests, on a silver plate,
Your honorable head?
A Borgia you are,
And it serves you good,
For they all believe you are rotten inly.
But not yet shall you give in,
For you are still the Duke of Dukes,
And the leading blood still coarses through your veins,
The Navarrese he is forced to seek,
For his last chance to regain his former renown,
Lies within his brother-in-law;
King John of Navarre,
Charlotte's reputable brother,
Greets him with open arms,
And straightaway allows him in his service,
Prompting an immediate action to take place.
Louis de Beaumont,
A rebel in uprise,
And an ally to Ferdinand of Aragon,
Claims himself in arms against Navarre,
Whilst Cesare marches with an army of ten thousand,
In the means to seize the citadel of Viana,
Where the oppression is hosted,
In John's name.
But unaware is he, alas,
That his curriculum vitae ends among the beating of brass;
That the eagle approaches him from the sky,
And rushes to, finally,
Steal away his life,
About the only thing he still held as his own.
Among filth, blood and gore he marches,
Fearless and resentful,
For all who might cross his way;
And thus, cutting through enemies as if they were grass,
He climbs the very walls of the citadel,
Unleashing his all,
But still, it is not enough,
When he spots his demon,
Who proposes, ever boldly,
That there is nowhere to run,
And that confront each other they shall.
"Come then, Ezio!"
Cesare shouts, his sword ready in his hand,
And the Assassin rushes to meet his wish.
The Duke spits whatever curse he could think of,
Towards the cold-blooded murderer,
Thus mentioning all that he had once dreamed of,
Still miraculously maintaining on his feet,
But Ezio, unphased,
Of the pleas of a man he had obliterated so thoroughly,
Makes the ultimate leap,
And pins Cesare against the solid of the ground,
Tainting him, in firm belief,
With the draught of death,
A thing he evoked upon so many already.
Defeat pierces worse than any calamity,
As underneath Ezio's features he lies,
His eyes blistering and flesh ridding of blood.
He had lost.
Torn apart, the seams of his dreams burn away;
He lays his censured heart,
To the obnoxious opponent,
And before the fall is done, in delay,
One Cesare Borgia,
In this moment,
Equal to any dog that died last Monday,
Is welcomed gracefully into death's embrace,
But his spirit, the mark that will ever adorn his name,
"AQUI YACE EN POCA TIERRA
AL QUE TODO LE TEMIA
EL QUE LA PAZ Y LA GUERRA
EN LA SUA MANO TENIA.
OH TU QUE VAS A BUSCAR
COSAS DIGNAS DE LOAR
SI TU LOAS LO MAS DIGNO
AQUI PARE TU CAMINO
NO CURES DE MAS ANDAR."
Cum numine Caesaris omen. - With Caesar's divine will, good omen. (motto on Cesare's sword)
de facto - in fact (what is automatically accepted)
Bis peccare in bello non licet. - It is not allowed to err twice in a war.
Il Principe - the Prince
La Principessa - the Princess
Quod amantes sunt amentes. - For lovers are lunatics.
in bona fide - in good will
mulgere hircum - to milk a male goat (something impossible)
Artium Magister - Master of Arts
manu sancta - holy hand
ad iudicium - to common sense (for the sake of all that is sane)
a priori - prior
indies - day by day
requis aeterna - perpetual/eternal rest
subpoena - under penalty
humanus extremus - extremely human
portae inferni - gates of hell
Acta non verba. - Deeds not words.
Exitus acta probat. - The result validates the deeds.
Proditorem proditus - traitor betrayed
Invictus - invincible/unconquered
Il Belissimo Ingnanno - The Beautiful Stratagem (actually Italian, lol)
Deus - God
Hoc est bellum. - This is war.
annus horribilis - horrible year
vox populi - the voice of the people
Tempus fugit. - Time flees.
revertetur - return
Prima facie - At first sight
asine - donkey
stulte - idiot
nebulo - trash
caenum - filth
Quo vadis nunc? - Where are you going now?
Nolens volens. - Willingly or unwillingly.
curriculum vitae - the course of one's life (a lengthened resume in business)
Ad infinitum - to infinity
Aqui yace en poca tierra al que todo le temia el que la paz y la guerra en la sua mano tenia. Oh tu que vas a buscar cosas dignas de loar si tu loas lo mas digno, aqui pare tu camino, no cures de mas andar. - Here in a little earth lies one whom all did fear; one whose hands dispensed both peace and war. Oh you that go in search of things deserving praise, if you would praise the worthiest, then let your journey end here, nor trouble to go farther. (the slab that marked Cesare's resting-place)
Thank you for reading! :)