Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter IV / The Story of the Maid of Bogota >> Page 47

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Page 47

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
escence never yet has disarmed the despot when his rapacity needs a victim. Your lives and possessions�which ye dare not peril in the cause of freedom�lie equally at his mercy. He will not pause, as you do, to use them at his pleasure. To save them from him there is but one way�to employ them against him. There is no security against power but in power ; and to check the insolence of foreign strength you must oppose to it your own. This ye have not soul to do, and I leave you to the destiny you have chosen. This day, this night, it was yours to resolve. I have perilled all to move you to the proper resolution. You have denied me, and I leave you. To-morrow�unless indeed I am betrayed to-night"�looking with a sarcastic smile around him as he spoke �" I shall unfurl the banner of the republic even within your own province, in behalf of Bogota, and seek, even against your own desires, to bestow upon you those blessings of liberty which ye have not the soul to conquer for yourselves."


HARDLY had these words been spoken, when the guitar again sounded from within. Every ear was instantly hushed as the strain ascended � a strain, more ambitious than the preceding, of melancholy and indignant apostrophe. The improvvisatrice was no longer able to control the passionate inspiration which took its tone from the stern eloquence of the Liberator. She caught from him the burning sentiment of scorn which it was no longer his policy to repress, and gave it additional effect in the polished sarcasm of her song. Our translation will poorly suffice to convey a proper notion of the strain.
Then be it so, if serviles ye will be,
When manhood's soul had broken every chain,
'Twere scarce a blessing now to make ye free,
For such condition tutored long in vain ;
Yet may we weep the fortunes of our land,
Though woman's tears were never known to take
One link away from that oppressive band
Ye have not soul, not soul enough to break !
Oh ! there were hearts of might in other days,
Brave chiefs, whose memory still is dear to fame;
Alas for ours ! � the gallant deeds we praise
But show more deeply red our cheeks of shame: