Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Michael Bonham; or, The Fall of Bexar. A Tale of Texas >> Part IV — Scene IV >> Page 23

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Page 23

Drama | John R. Thompson | 1852
Transcription Michael Bonham : or, the Fall of Bexar. 23

Until it met with yours.
Bonham. Why do we meet ?
Maria. Nay, tell me not you love. and love another ! Sav not that to my cousin's feebler beauties, Iler sad and sighing passion, illy suited To the brave spirit of ambitious valour, Your heart is yielded. Know, that, if no Princess, Such as my habit speaks me—in my bosom There dwells a regal spirit, whose impatience Brooks not a rival—brooks not that the heart It seeks, should not, with ardour like its own Burn to requite its passion.
Bonham. Dearest Lady,
I am not worthy of this high distinction.
You know me not ! My home is desolate,
My fortunes overthrown ! My name !—my sword—My honor, and my will, alone, are mine.
Maria. Why speak to me of fin-tune ? Dost thou fancy, That she who dares, as I have done, thus boldly, Beyond the solemn state that guards her sex, And makes each step, without the narrow pale, A step along the precipice ! dost think,
That such as she gives heed to such obstruction—Shrinks from the form of poverty, and joys
Only in sleek delights and idle passions !
No, Amador ! thy name, thy sword, thy honor, Are wealth enough for me. If that thy will Be also thine,—thou bast thy answer ready !
I ask thee not to spare me! Speak thy purpose : I speak to thee as woman cannot speak,
Save, when her heart, filled with one image only, Forgets the world beside,-its slavish prudence, And all its worldly policies,—but one.
If thou wilt take me from myself, I am thine! And, O ! believe me, never heart like mine,
Will cling about thy fortunes,—will partake them, Through scorn, and shame, and grinning poverty, And smile at all denial—all save thine
—Speak to me, Amador,—my own speech fails me! Bonham. Oh ! Lady, how you humble me. In vain Would I essay to answer thee, in language,
Meet in expression, full of thought and feeling,--Which love like thine deserveth ;—but, I cannot!
Maria. I understand thee, Senor. Thy reluctance, To speak, is my reproach. Thou hast no answer For burning words like mine! Thou feel'st the shame That I should feel! Look on my face once more—Not for its beauties, Senor! See the tide,
Of crimson, that rolls over it. My heart
Feels just such burning billows o'er it now !
My woman nature--maidenhood's deep shame—For that the desperation of my heart,
Moved one to bare what others would conceal, Through pangs of fiery torture !—Ilcar me, Senor — Thou knowest my secret.
Bonham. It is sacred, Lady.
Maria. It shall be sacred, Senor. Dost thou think, That I were mad to leave in mortal keeping Such secret of my shame. Impossible!
It must be razed from out thy memory,
Pluck'd from thy heart ;—lest, in thy future hours, It serve, when nights are dull, and sports grow tame, To cheer, with provocation to new mirth,
Olivia and her Lord.
Bonham. You wrong me, Lady—Nor less your cousin
Maria. Senor, on a cast,
I set my maiden fortunes—all my wealth
Of feminine hope, and heart and confidence. Love that was like devotion—truth without fear, Even of the cold world's bitter mockery !
The fates make war upon my luckless cast, Through thee, their scornful minister! What more! Cans't thou not read the dread necessity, That drives me, where I would not--into hate!
Bonham. Why hate ?--
Maria. Or hate, or love, or—nothing'. Rol/kern?. Nay!
This is but madness, Lady.
Maria. Amador!
Farewell! —Ilereafter, when we chance to meet, Thou'lt mourn, it may be, that so fond a heart, So full, to its own sorrow and o'erflow,
Was slighted off so coldly. [Going.., Bonham. Lady, stay !
Maria. If thou relentest, Amador, but lift
Thy finger ; but if not, no words—no words !
Thy hand still keeps thy side. Farewell ! Farewell !
[Exit ]Moria.
Bonham, [solus.] Wasever such a woman! Soul so proud, And yet so passionate, was never seen!
So prormpt at each extreme ; in love and hate, Equally raging ; ready with her life,
To prove her heart's devotion ; not less ready, That heart's devotion set at nought or wronged, Avenging it with life ! I pity her,
From thy whole soul ; would fear Iaer, but that time Is hurrying onward to that precipice,
Which, overleapt, between her world and ours, A mighty track of chasm and cloud prevails, Must separate our steps, forever more!
Give me the gentler heart, who, loving, trembles With fear, not less than hope; that has no pride Save in the loved one ; whose humility,
Lofty at lowest, with a grace most winning, Entreating still, where most it may command ; Takes, as a bounty, its best right, and blessing
For favour shown, is favour'd with love's blessing, With every show of love. But who comes here !
[Enter Olivia as a Gipsey Girl.] Olivia. Shall I read your thoughts, Father: Bonham. A hard task,
And a sad volume, pretty sooth-sayer.
Olivia. I like to read sad volumes, at merry seasons. I'm sometimes sad myself. Your palm, good Father.
Bonham. There! Read it quickly, damsel.
Olivia. Do not hurry me!
Oh, Senor, you're no monk !
Bonham. What am I then ?
Olivia. A Cavalier! a gallant gentleman! And what is more, beloved of a fair lady, The greatest beauty in this gay saloon.
Bonham. Indeed! But one, my damsel.
Olivia. Oh, me ! What vanity !
As if 'twere not enough to win from Bexar
Its highest prize, at once of wealth and beauty, But you must have a score.
Bonham. But who's the lady, damsel ?
Olivia. She who wears
The garb of the great Princess of Papantzin, She who lies tranced at Mexico, they say, Even to this hour, still young, still beautiful,
Though twice two hundred years have seen her birth —She spoke with you but now
Bonham. You err, my girl!
That lady loves me not.
Olivia. 'Tis you that err,
Through modesty, perchance, your sex's failing ; I know she loves you l By my art, I know it, And all that live in Bexar will inform you, How great her loveliness, how vast her wealth : But you have seen her; have you not ?