Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter IV / The Story of the Maid of Bogota >> Page 48

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Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription 48 SOUTHWARD HO !

As from the midnight gloom the weary eye,
With sense that can not the bright dawn forget, Looks sadly hopeless, from the vacant sky,
To that where late the glorious day-star set!
Yet all's not midnight dark if, in your land,
There be some gallant hearts to brave the strife;
One single generous blow from Freedom's hand May speak again our sunniest hopes to life;
If but one blessed drop in living veins
Be worthy those who teach us from the dead, Vengeance and weapons both are in your chains, Hurled fearlessly upon your despot's head!
Yet, if no memory of the living past
Can wake ye now to brave the indignant strife,
'Twere nothing wise, at least, that we should last
When death itself might wear a look of life!
Ay, when the oppressive arm is lifted high,
And scourge and torture still conduct to graves,
To strike, though hopeless still � to strike and die! They live not, worthy freedom, who are slaves!
As the song proceeded, Bolivar stood forward as one rapt in ecstacy. The exultation brightened in his eye, and his manner was that of a soul in the realization of its highest triumph. Not so the Bogotans by whom he was surrounded. They felt the terrible sarcasm which the damsel's song conveyed �a sarcasm immortalized to all the future, in the undying depths of a song to be remembered. They felt the humiliation of such a record, and hung their heads in shame. At the close of the ballad, Bolivar exclaimed to Joachim de Zalabarietta, the father :
" Bring the child before us. She is worthy to be a prime minister. A prime minister ? No ! the hero of the forlorn hope ! a spirit to raise a fallen standard from the dust, and to tear down and trample that of the enemy. Bring her forth, Joachim. Had your men of Bogota but a tithe of a heart so precious ! Nay, could her heart be divided among them it might serve a thousand�there were no viceroy of Spain within your city now !"
And when the father brought her forth from the little cabinet, that girl, flashing with inspiration pale and red by turns�slightly made, but graceful�very lovely to look upon�wrapped in loose white garments, with leer long hair, dark and flowing unconfined, and so long that it was easy for her to