SCENE IV. Birmingham. Finebaum’s studio.
Flourish. Enter Saban, Pete Thamel, Finebaum and Alabama assistant coaches
Thus comes the Tigers with full power upon us;
And more than carefully it us concerns
To answer royally in our defences.
Therefore the New York Times, ESPN and Birmingham shall make forth,
And you, Finebaum, with all swift dispatch,
To line and newly report to our towns of war
With articles jaded and with means defendant;
For Auburn approaches makes as fierce
As waters to the sucking of a gulf.
It fits us then to be as provident
As fear may teach us out of late examples
Left by the fatal and neglected Tigers
Upon our fields.
My most redoubted coach,
It is most meet we arm us ‘gainst the foe;
For peace itself should not so dull a kingdom,
Though war nor no known quarrel were in question,
But that defences, musters, preparations,
Should be maintain’d, assembled and collected,
As were a war in expectation.
Therefore, I say ’tis meet we all go forth
To view the sick and feeble parts of Alabama:
And let us do it with no show of fear;
No, with no more than if we heard that Auburn
Were busied with a Whitsun morris-dance:
For, my good liege, she is so idly led,
Her schedule so fantastically borne
By a vain, giddy, shallow, humorous youth,
That fear attends her not.
O peace, Thamel!
You are too much mistaken in this quarterback:
Question your grace the late SEC teams,
With what great losses sustained in their stadium,
How well supplied with steady blockers,
How modest in exception, and withal
How terrible in constant scoring,
And you shall find his vanities forespent
Were but the outside of the Roman Brutus,
Covering discretion with a coat of folly;
As gardeners do with ordure hide those roots
That shall first spring and be most delicate.
Well, ’tis not so, my lord high Finebaum;
But though we think it so, it is no matter:
In cases of defence ’tis best to weigh
The enemy more mighty than he seems:
So the proportions of defence are fill’d;
Which of a weak or fearful projection
Doth, like a miser, spoil his coat with scanting
A little cloth.
Think we Auburn strong;
And, coaches, look you strongly arm to meet them.
The kindred of them hath been flesh’d upon us;
And they are bred out of that bloody strain
That haunted us in our familiar paths:
Witness our too much memorable shame
When Cadillac ran through our defenses,
And Croyle was sacked so many times
and of that black name, Tuberville, The Riverboat Gambler;
Whiles that his mountain sire, on mountain standing,
Up in the air, crown’d with the golden sun,
Saw his heroical seed, and smiled to see him,
Mangle the work of nature and deface
The patterns that by God and by Bama fathers
Had six years straight been made. Here is a coach
Of that victorious stock; and let us fear
The native mightiness and fate of him.
Enter a Messenger
Ambassadors from Coach Chizik of Auburn
Do crave admittance to your majesty.
We’ll give them present audience. Go, and bring them.
Exeunt Messenger and certain coaches
You see this chase is hotly follow’d, friends.
Turn head, and stop pursuit; for coward dogs
Most spend their mouths when what they seem to threaten
Runs far before them. Good my sovereign,
Take up the Tigers short, and let them know
Of what a monarchy you are the head:
Self-love, my liege, is not so vile a sin
Re-enter Coaches, with Coach Pat Dye and train
From our brother Auburn?
From him; and thus he greets your majesty.
He wills you, in the name of God Almighty,
That you divest yourself, and lay apart
The borrow’d glories that by gift of heaven,
By law of nature and of nations, ‘long
To him and to his heirs; namely, the state championship
And all wide-stretched honours that pertain
By custom and the ordinance of times
Unto the crown of Alabama. That you may know
‘Tis no sinister nor no awkward claim,
Pick’d from the worm-holes of long-vanish’d days,
Nor from the dust of old oblivion raked,
He sends you this most memorable season record,
In every game truly demonstrative;
Willing to overlook this pedigree:
And when you find him evenly derived
From his most famed of famous victories,
LSU and Arkansas, he bids you then resign
Your championship, indirectly held
From him the native and true challenger.
Or else what follows?
Bloody constraint; for if you hide the title
Even in your hearts, there will he rake for it:
Therefore in fierce tempest is he coming,
In thunder and in earthquake, like a Jove,
That, if requiring fail, he will compel;
And bids you, in the bowels of the Lord,
Deliver up the championship, and to take mercy
On the poor souls for whom this hungry war
Opens his vasty jaws; and on your head
Turning the widows’ tears, the orphans’ cries
The dead men’s blood, the pining maidens groans,
For husbands, fathers and betrothed lovers,
That shall be swallow’d in this controversy.
This is his claim, his threatening and my message;
Unless the Thamel be in presence here,
To whom expressly I bring greeting too.
For us, we will consider of this further:
To-morrow shall you bear our full intent
Back to our brother Auburn.
For the Thamel,
I stand here for him: what to him from Auburn?
Scorn and defiance; slight regard, contempt,
And any thing that may not misbecome
The mighty sender, doth he prize you at.
Thus says my coach; an’ if your favored highness
Do not, in grant of all demands at large,
Sweeten the bitter mock you sent his majesty,
He’ll call you to so hot an answer of it,
That caves and womby vaultages of Alabama
Shall chide your trespass and return your mock
In second accent of his ordnance.
Say, if my favorite team render fair return,
It is against my will; for I desire
Nothing but odds with Auburn: to that end,
As matching to his youth and vanity,
I did present him with No Heisman for Cam Newton column.
He’ll make Bryant Denny stadium shake for it,
Were it the mistress-court of the mighty BCS:
And, be assured, you’ll find a difference,
As we his subjects have in wonder found,
Between the promise of his greener days
And these he masters now: now he weighs time
Even to the utmost grain: that you shall read
In your own losses, as he stays at Auburn.
To-morrow shall you know our mind at full.
Dispatch us with all speed, lest that our coach
Come here himself to question our delay;
For he is footed in this land already.
You shall be soon dispatch’s with fair conditions:
A night is but small breath and little pause
To answer matters of this consequence.
During a trip to the Plains in the spring of 1970, lifelong Auburn fan Pat Sullivan was introduced to one of his brother’s fraternity brothers – Auburn’s starting quarterback who happened to share his name. He attended Auburn from 1979 to 1982. He watched Bo go over the top from his Basic Training day room and retired from the Army as a major in 2004. He has four children who grew up wearing Auburn gear all over the world and currently lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife (an Auburn woman).