Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Michael Bonham; or, The Fall of Bexar. A Tale of Texas >> Part I — Scene I >> Page 5

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Drama | John R. Thompson | 1852
Transcription Michael Bonham, : or, the Fall of Bexar. 5

R. Harris. Is't strange, do you think, that a grown man should feel
That he has been a monster in his day,
And would be sorry for it.
W. Farris, [eagerly.] Oh, are you sorry ?
R. Harris. What's that to you, or any man on earth ?
What's it to any here ? [Looking round fiercely.
Sparrow. He'd pipe awhile,
Would any one but dance.
R. Harris. What if I dance,
Or laugh, or sing, or weep, or play the fool, In any form, with any fool among ye
Who says me nay upon it !
Sparrow. His dander's up.
W. Harris. There's one it might concern, but she, thank Heaven!
Sees nothing of my madness. She has seen
Enough to cause her own.
W. Harris, [aside.] 'Tis well; you do not see. Davis. So, ho, friend Dick, and runs the story thus; You left a sweetheart then is Mississippi!
R. Harris. In the whole world, as I'm a living man, I never left but one, and, of the world,
She had none left but me.
W. Farris, [affected.] Ah!
Sparrow. What ails the boy?
W. Harris. Oh, nothing. 1 but thought
Sparrow. How long 'twould be to supper—eh ?
W. Harris. No. Of a song,
Might suit a else like his. I had a ditty,
if I could gather up the words, of one,
Who left the woman he had loved the most,
Suspecting her of little love for him,
Even when she swore the fondest. He grew false, From falsely doubting her ; and in his wrath,
Meeting his friend
R. Harris. Don't sing it for your life!
Such were the broken fragments of the song
You smote me with last night. I've had enough Of tears for one short season. Can't you sing,
Some fierce war ballad ?
Sparrow, Something funny, lad.
R. Harris. No. Nought of that! Give us a burst of war,
Of battle and confusion. Give us a storm,
I' the way of ballad music. Please me, boy,
And when the real storm comes,—I mean the battle,—I'll see you through all dangers. 'Tis my notion, You'll need some guardian then.
W . Harris. I'll sing for you.
R. Harris. None of your dolefuls. A tempestuous strain,
To hush up other tempests.
W. Harris. An old song
Was taught me by my mother.
Davis. Give me old songs ;
I like them better than newfangled ditties :
They seem to have been made when women had hearts, And honest men could find them.
W. Harris. So they might now,
If they would only value what they win,
And knew the way to keep as well as conquer.
W. Harris. What can you know about it ? Where's your beard ?
Sing what your mother taught you.
W. Harris. [Sings.]

Hark ! the trumpet's voice through all our valleys, Red the plains are weeping with the strife ; The song and dance have fled our peaceful alleys,
And the young warrior leaves the drooping wife ; But will she
R. Harris. I will not hear to songs about a wife ! Vex me no more. Do I not tell thee, boy,
I will not weep again? Sing me another,
And have no woman in it.
W. Harris. I have no other.
R. Harris. Then sing no more for me.
Sparrow. Now, that's what I call monstrous unreasonable. The song was a good song, and had a certain turn in it, a sort of quivering trepidation, that touched my fancy. I could listen to such a song with pleasure at the table—supper being about half over, and the first—the sharper pains of appetite being somewhat mollified. What say you, Davis ? Don't you consider that a song to satisfy any man, not absolutely on an empty stomach?
Davis. Yes, indeed, but just now, I fancy, we are to have much better musk. [Horn sounds.] Crockett is here at hand. His horn, blown three times, means that he has got something for supper.
Sparrow. Supper! Don't quiz me Davis. If you don't make it personal. I can bear being quizz'd About my wife and children—not having any;
illy lands, my goods, my gold, my mcrchandizes, But not on matters purely spiritual,
Dinner and drink, the meats that Providence sends us, The cook that dresses them, the hand that carves—These are all sacred subjects : upon such
It will not do to trifle. [Horn again sounds.
Davis. 'Tis Crockett's horn.
Sparrow. Art sure of it ?
Davis. My life on't.
S Jarrow. Hurrah ! then—let's hurrah!
My gratitude cries out to Providence
With hundred tongues, from bottom of my heart! Davis. Heart! Say you, Sparrow ?
Sparrow. What ! You would say too high By some five inches. Know, good Orderly.,
That in the case of the Bull family,
There is but one grand passage to the heart,
And that -is through the stomach. Do you hear, Of meetings for apublic charity ?
'Tis with your hecatomb of roasted oxen,
Spread forth on dinner table. Is the purpose
Science or art, or strange philosophies,
A public work—a personal compliment
The tribute of a people to the warrior.,
Who wins their battles,—or the patriot statesman?, Who makes successful treaties with the stranger, In which, by license of the Levitical.law,
He drives usurious bargain for their welfare?
All these acknowledgments still find expression Only- o'er groaning tables. Here speak the virtues, The public gratitude, and men's affections,--
The sentiments, the sensibilities
They find their voices all in the abdomen;
Derive their eloquence thence, and in its solace, Find all their rights secure, their wrongs appeased, Their duties well performed, their morals active; In short, their slumbers for the night made certain, With a clear conscience—thus they realize,
The good—mens sana in corpore sano,
Which is the all that human hope can look for
Of human happiness,—so draw the curtain.
Davis. Good! good! and now the song. Another song.
Sparrow. Deuce take the song. 'Twill do when supper's over.
I'll have a quarrel with the first that whistles,
Or makes pretence of music.
Davis, [to R. Harris.] Whither go you?