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274 ANCIENT PORTUGUESE BALLADS.
"You have done well, my treasure, my death to look upon ; I'11 pray the Virgin Mary to heal the wrong I 've done."
While thus he spoke in anguish, there came his mother dear, " My darling son, what ails you, why is your soul in fear ? " " Oh, mother, I am dying ; I have not long to last; Three hours to live they gave me, and one's already past."
" Son of my womb, consider, with death's hand on you laid, Have you no debt of honor to pay some noble maid ? " " Yes, mother, to my anguish I owe such debt of shame ; That God may not in judgment condemn my soul to flame !"
" It is to Dona Isabel I owe that shameful debt; But a thousand cruzadoes a spouse for her will get." " No gold nor silver money will pay for honor lost; Thy cruzadoes are worthless as leaves the wind has tost."
" I '11 leave her to the doctors that they no skill may spare, And you, my darling mother, will have her in your care, A city for her dowry the day that she shall wed — If any man refuse her, the axe shall have his head."
"The honor of a maid is not paid or bought with land, Wed her, well-beloved, with your cold and dying hand, That she may be your widow, and bear an honored name, And though she weeps with sorrow it will not be for shame."
The ballad of Dom Aleixio, of which there are several versions, has a lightness of touch in the description of the masquerading maid, which is not often found in the popular ballads, although the conclusion is sufficiently tragic.