Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Simms Review (Vol 9: No 2) >> Home and Wilderness in Simms's Vasconselos >> Page 27

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Page 27

Secondary Scholarship | 2001, 2002
Transcription wrought them so much evil while he lived, and wreak upon his unconscious frame
the fury which possessed their souls against him" (530). He is to them the
incarnation of the "bloody character, selfish treachery...the grasping ferocity" of the
Spaniards whose rumors "traversed the whole country, passing from tribe to tribe"
(517). And Olivia, showing the proof of her own purity to Philip, lays her body "in
the great solitudes of the Mississippi, under the shades of many guardian trees"
(530). The crowns which the Spanish give to the waters of the Mississippi are the
deaths of their ferocious desire and its victim. Having achieved revenge and
confirmed the sincerity of Olivia's love, Philip returns to the ancient village of
Cofachiqui. Spanish survivors reach their home after all their hardships. As Simms
puts it, Philip goes into the great thickets with "a sweet sadness" (531), which
means that he accepts the wilderness rather than the home with whites which
disappeared for him forever with the deaths of Olivia and De Soto.