Don’t Mess with Ariovistus

pastiche by /cual @ November 2006 *

Hey, give me a minute.
…gotta tell you something:

I have crossed the Rhine
not of my own accord,
but on being invited
and sent for by the Gauls.

Don’t     mess     with     Bill.
Don’t     mess     with     Bill.

I have settlements in Gaul,
granted by the Gauls themselves.

Don’t     mess     with     Bill.
Say it one more time:

The hostages had been given
by their good-will.

Don’t     mess     with     Bill.

Now, I know he’s a guy who put tears in my eyes
a thousand times or more.
Oh, but every time he would apologize
I loved him more than before.

I took by right of war the tribute
which conquerors are accustomed
to impose on the conquered.

Hear what I say: Hey
girls, keep away…yay...yay! Ah, hah, hah.
Don’t     mess     with     Bill.

I have not made war upon the Gauls,
No, no, no, no!
but the Gauls upon me.

Don’t     mess     with     Bill.
Leave my Billy alone.

Don’t     mess     with     Bill.

All the states of Gaul
came to attack me,
and had encamped against me.

Get a guy of your own.
Don’t     mess     with     Bill.
 
All their forces have been routed by me,
and beaten in a single battle.

Now, there’s Johnny, there’s Joe
and there’s Frank and Jim,
just to name a few.
Now, Bill’s got me and I’ve got him.
I’m sure there’s one for you.

If they choose to make a second trial,
I’m ready to encounter them again.

Hear what I say: Hey
girls, keep away…yay...yay! Ah, hah, hah.
Don’t     mess     with     Bill.

But if they choose to enjoy peace,
it is unfair to refuse the tribute
which of their own free-will
they have paid up to this time.

No, no, no, no!
Don’t     mess     with     Bill.
He’s mine, all mine.

The friendship of the Roman people
ought to prove to me
a safeguard, not a detriment; and
I seek it with that expectation.

Though I tell myself
he wants no one else
but keeps coming back to me.
Now, I made no decision
to want competition.
I want to be sure as can be.

But if, through the Roman people,
the tribute is discontinued,
and those who surrendered
to be seduced from me,

Don’t     mess     with     Bill.

I will renounce the friendship
of the Roman people no less
heartily than I have sought it.

I’ll say it one more time:
Don’t     mess     with     Bill.

As to my leading a host
of Germans into Gaul,
I’m doing this to secure myself,
not of assaulting Gaul.

Hear what I say: Hey
girls, keep away…yay...yay! Ah, hah, hah.

I did not come
without being invited,
and I did not make war,
but merely warded it off.

Don’t     mess     with     Bill.

I came into Gaul before the Roman people.
Never before did
a Roman army go
beyond the frontiers of the province of Gaul.

No, no, no, no!
Don’t     mess     with    Bill.

What does Caesar desire?
Why come into my domains?
This is my province of Gaul,
just as that is yours.

Leave my Billy alone.
Don’t     mess     with     Bill.

As it ought not to be
pardoned in me,
if I were to make an attack upon your lands;
so, likewise, you are very unjust,
to obstruct me in my prerogative.

Get a guy of your own,
Don’t     mess     with     Bill.

As for Caesar’s saying that the Aedui
have been styled ‘brethren’ by the Senate:
I’m not so uncivilized
nor so ignorant of affairs
as not to know that the Aedui

‘cause he’s mine, all mine.

in the very last war with the Allobroges
neither rendered assistance to the Romans,
nor received any from the Roman people
in the struggles the Aedui
have maintained with me
and with the Sequani.

Don’t     mess     with     Bill.

I feel suspicious that Caesar,
though feigning friendship as the reason
for keeping an army in Gaul,
keeps it with the aim of crushing me.

I’ll say it one more time:
Don’t     mess     with     Bill.

And unless you depart and
withdraw from these parts,
I shall regard you not
as a friend, but as a foe.

Hey, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Don’t     mess     with     Bill.

Even if I should put you to death,
I should do what would please
many of the nobles and leading men
of the Roman people;

Hey, yeah, yeah, yeah.

and could purchase their favour
and their friendship by your death.

Don’t     mess     with     Bill.

But if you depart and resign to me
the free possession of Gaul,
I will recompense you with a great reward,

Leave my man alone.
Don’t     mess     with     Bill.

and would bring to a close
whatever wars you wished,

Get a guy of your own.

without trouble or risk to you.
 
Don’t     mess     with     Bill.


 
* N.B. Quoted from the song “Don’t Mess with Bill” – by William Smokey Robinson. Recorded by The Marvelettes (1966). All indented text is a free style transcription of Ariovistus’ reply to Julius Caesar, from Gaius Julius Caesar’s Commentaries on the Gallic War (58 – 48 B.C.), translated by W.A. McDevitte and W.S. Bohn. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1869.



@ /cual (2006)


contact: Pascual Delgado:
pascual (dot) delgado (at) accesss (dot) net

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