THE BALLAD OF CONSUELA

“It’s not possible” said the padre with a smile

to the Senorita standing there before him;

“You’ll see that I am right–”

he concluded and with a kindly air

of formality, he then dismissed the girl,

whose problem was so trivial, it seemed;

The black-gowned figure trailed away,

to Vespers, for the padre never dreamed

that the simple worry laid upon his feet

Would someday shatter hearts and families

Far and wide would bow their heads and weep.

The Padre didn’t hear the young girl’s pleas

As he went to pray ..but bear in mind,

This holy man believed that he was right

The Senorita placed upon her head

a lace mantilla as she walked into the night.

When many years had passed, the story goes,

The Padre, bent with age, his hair ash-gray,

Would think about that girl, and painfully,

Remember how he blindly turned away.  **

Tears streaming down her troubled Spanish face,

She fled into the night, her head bent low;

There was no other hope, she realized…

No other place to turn, no where to go.

And quickly, lest a stranger stop and see

a maiden walking in the night alone,

She turned towards the Villa of Delgado,

for here she lived; the Villa was her home.

But no one saw the girl and no one knew

that she’d walked alone into the night.

Except Maria, a worried servant girl,

Who waited in the shadows of the bright

lit courtyard. Patiently, Maria waited there

for her mistress and she breathed a welcome sigh

as the latch turned on the wooden courtyard  gate,

And her Spanish mistress entered by.

Neither spoke. They had no need for words

to convey their thoughts for they both knew

that the young girl’s quest was bound to fail–

a hopeless quest! Ah, what was there to do? **

 

Consuela was her name and miles around,

All knew Delgado’s daughter would soon wed

the wealthy son of Manuel Gomez;

It was a good fine match, the people said;

A rancho waited for the bridal pair.

The bans were published, very soon the day

would come when they would wed, and Salvadore

would proudly come to take his bride away.

Consuela did not know this Salvadore–

They’d never met and would not until the day

when Salvadore would claim her as his wife

and rightfully would carry her away.

It was so; Their fathers had once met

and toasting wine, together had agreed

upon this match. Consuela had no choice,

for plans were made as customs had decreed,

Thus were destinies by parents planned;

it would not matter were they all to know

that Consuela, betrothed to Salvadore,

loved a poor young man named Angelo. **

Angelo Vasquez, a poor man’s son–

had no wealth, nor fame…his meager life

was spent in drudgery. he could not claim

Consuela for his own, to be his wife.

It could not be–and yet, he loved her so

as she loved him, yet with futility,

knowing that their love was born to die,

knowing it was never meant to be.

“I’ll see him one more time,” Consuela said

“in the olive grove–we”ll once more meet__”

The servant girl suppressed a frightened cry–

“Tis dangerous” she said, “I must entreat

my lady not to go–oh, deep disgrace

would fall upon this house were they to know

of the secret meetings in the grove–

and my lady’s love for Angelo–”

“I’m going to say goodbye, ” Consuela wept,

and slipping through the courtyard gate,

She hurried towards the nearby olive grove,

to see the man she loved and meet her fate. **

And so it was upon this moonlit night,

they met beneath the shadows of the trees,

and followed fate’s peculiar twisting trail

along her path; they met their destinies,

For as they stood, hands clasped in sad farewells,

the evening’s quiet shattered with a word–

Maria darted towards them and she cried

“I came to warn–your father–he has heard!”

Shouts echoed through the stillness of the night

and in a sudden flash, Consuela knew

that both their fates were sealed–unless by chance,

they could escape–what else was there to do?

Angelo Vasquez, the poor man’s son

Consuela Delgado, pledged to Salvadore,

together fled into the moonlit night

knowing by their flight that nevermore

would either know the peace and solitude

of family sanctity; they’d both betrayed

the customs of the land. Maria stood

beneath the olive trees, alone afraid.

Long afterward, the people often talked

in whispers, wondering what took place that night

few knew the truth and bound to secrecy,

the actual facts were never brought to light.

Some said Delgado, guessing at the truth,

trailed his daughter to the olive grove

and in his wrath upon the lovers’ site,

had killed Consuela and her Angelo.

One time, a tinker, with his laden cart,

paused at the Villa–some said he asked to see

the master of the house–but if he carried word

of a daughter, no one knew, for he left hurriedly.

Another time, a festival was held

at the villa of Gomez, a son was born

to Salvadore, who married someone else.

Delgado’s name, they said, he always scorned.

However it may be, good people claim

to this day, when a full moon fills the skies,

a silver shadow wanders in the grove

and branches tremble with unearthly cries.

 

Sandra Lee Smith

*I began writing this in 1965 when I was working at Weber

Aircraft–I spent decades trying to get it completed.  I think I finally completed it about 1985-86

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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