The Ballad of Hamilcar Barca

Before this pyre we stand my son,

Within this hallowed shrine.

Gods, let the flames be seen throughout

Hispania one last time.

 

My son, my time is almost up,

My strength in battle gone.

I charge you, ne’er put down thy sword

Until my day is won.

 

I was a mighty general once,

Yea, second in command

Of all the troops in Africa

By Hanno’s side I’d stand.

 

O Empire! Conquest! Victory!

Thou art my only dream.

Yet ever slipping through my grasp

Be your fate it would seem.

 

Once I was called to war with Rome

And I was proud to go.

So I made sail for Sicily

To battle with my foe.

 

But I was given too few men

And not enough supply.

So though I fought without defeat,

The Romans did not fly.

 

What’s more, my men sought only gold

My lines, by sellswords filled.

And I, so desperate, promised pay

Upon our quest fulfilled.

 

A fleet of ships! Two hundred strong!

They flew the flag of Rome.

The cothon burned as Carthage fell.

In shame, I turned to home.

 

The Senate did not see it fit 

To pay my men their due.

Upon us Rome had forced a debt.

There was naught I could do.

 

Revolt! The soldiers took up arms,

A vengeful, raging sea.

A general called to restore calm,

And who was called but me?

 

The rest of my career I reaped

The blood of comrades past.

And while foul Rome sat bathed in weath,

 My homeland watched aghast.

 

I am disgraced! My life a waste!

Gods, how could this occur?

The noble House of Barca spurned!

In spite, we must endure.

 

We came here to Hispania, son, 

To capture silver mines.

For Carthage is in need of wealth.

War will return, in time.

 

O Hannibal, my son, my pride,

My honor falls to thee.

Take up the reigns of armies strong!

Claim victory for me.

 

Now prick thy palm, hold out thy hand, 

And swear by troth and home:

Be strong and brave, but if naught else,

Ne’er be a friend to Rome.

 

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