Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Count Julian; or, The Last Days of the Goth >> Chapter VIII >> Page 33

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Novel (Romance) | William Taylor & Co. | 1845 - 1846
Transcription THE LAST DAYS OF THE GOTH. 33
" But few words have I to say, oh king ! and they are needful Wilt thou not hear me ? " said Bovis.
Can 1 else than hear thee ? " replied the impatient monarch, turning full and fiercely upon the speaker. " Can I else than hear thee, when with thy fullest, freeest assail of voice, thou perchest on mine ears, and with a note of discord, like the jay's, though with far less variety of plumage to the sight, still and anon thou rend--est me with thy clamor ? Free me of that ! "
Firmly but respectfully the counsellor replied
It is my love of thee, oh king ! and of thy kingdom's good, that prompts my free duty into active zeal. I would have thee hear me, even though thou chidst me in return.""'T is ever thus," said Roderick, " it is still the good of my kingdom, or my own good, and my good subject's zeal. This is the plea for each unhouseled o'A-1, grown sagacious, and noteful of the tempest. Would I be thoughtful, they assail my thought, and thrust their own upon me. Would I pray, they come between me and the holy man, zealous to teach me of their priest's avail, beyond the reach of any prayer of mine. They make confession for me—decree my penance ; would they could give me absolution ! "-
Not thus, oh king !
Bovis would have interrupted the current of his master's fretful declamation ; but Roderick continued, without giving heed to the interruption.
Still the same, whether in fight or festival, they chase away all my personal sense or thoughts, solely to requite me with the recompense of theirs. Nor even when I love are they less heedful to compel me into a passion according to their discretion. They are still nigh, and when I crave one woman, bring me ten, all the while chiding me with most saintly discourse of the wrong, and the folly, and the deadly sin, and preaching with seasoned words of fear, and fast, and fleshly abstinence. I 'm not myself—I cannot be myself, nor rule myself, nor have thought, or wish, or will, for myself, in the presence of such zealous guardians of my ovrn and my kingdom's weal as thou, Bovis."
Thou art pleased to jibe, Roderick. I have not been the thing thou speak'st me," was the calm and dignified reply of the statesman, to the irritable rhapsody of the king.
What wouldst thou, then ? Speak out at once, and leave me. I thirst for unrestraint."
Roderick seated himself as he. yielded this permission, and Bovis—who was a man of stern sense and direct purpose—at once replied, addressing himself to the business on which he came :
From Cordova we learn, oh king ! that Melchior, the famous outlaw, otherwise known as Melchior of the Desert—he who delivered up Auria to the Moor, and for whom the late king Witiza offered such heavy reward—has returned from Barbary, and is somewhere hidden in Spain, and it is thought even in the city of Cordova it-self. Couriers have come from Edacer, who advises us that a Jew whom he hath in pay is now close upon the trail of the hoary rebel, and he Hopes ere long to dispatch his head to you."
For which he would have a goodly recompense. Is it not so, Bovis ? The weight of the traitor's head in treasure was Witiza's offer for the precious possession. 'Would he had left the treasure that should pay for it ! 'T will task us to provide it, and the brethren of the rebel must be assessed. There is no mode else. Is this all, Bovis ? "
No, Roderick ; I have other matters of great regard for thy ears. "