Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter IV / The Story of the Maid of Bogota >> Page 56

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Page 56

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription 56 SOUTHWARD HO !

fusal. Neither promises of present mercy, nor threats of the
future, could extort from her a single fact in relation to her pro-
ceedings. Her lover, naturally desirous of life, particularly in
the possession of so much to make it precious, joined in the en-
treaties of the priest ; but she answered him with a mournful
severity that smote him like a sharp weapon
Gomero ! did I love you for this ? Beware, lest I hate you
ere I die ! Is life so dear to you that you would dishonor both
of us to live ? Is there no consolation in the thought that we
shall die together ?"
But we shall be spared� we shall be saved," was the reply
of the lover.
Believe it not�it is false ! Zamano spares none. Our lives
are forfeit, and all that we could say would be unavailing to
avert your fate or mine. Let us not lessen the value of this
sacrifice on the altars of our country, by any unworthy fears.
If you have ever loved me, be firm. I am a woman, but I am
strong. Be not less ready for the' death-shot than is she whom
you have chosen for your wife."
Other arts were employed by the despot for the attainment of
his desires. Some of the native citizens of Bogota, who had
been content to become the creatures of the viceroy, were em-
ployed to work upon her fears and affections, by alarming her
with regard to persons of the city whom she greatly esteemed
and valued, and whom Zamano suspected. But their endeavors
were met wholly with scorn. When they entreated her, among
other things, " to give peace to her country," the phrase seemed
to awaken all her indignation.
Peace ! peace to our country !" she exclaimed. " What
peace ! the peace of death, and shame, and the grave, for ever !"
And her soul again found relief only in its wild lyrical overflow.

What peace for our country, when ye've made her a grave, A den for the tyrant, a cell for the slave
A pestilent plague-spot, accursing and curst,
As vile as the vilest, and worse than the worst !
The chain may be broken, the tyranny o'er,
But the sweet charms that blessed her ye may not restore ; Not your blood, though poured forth from life's ruddiest vein, Shall free her from sorrow, or cleanse her from stain !