Whether with human impulse, or by Heaven
Struck down, he knew not; loosened from his wrist
The sword-chain, and let fall the sword, whose hilt
Clung to his palm a moment ere it fell,
Glued there with Moorish gore. His royal robe,
His horned helmet and enamelled mail,
He cast aside, and taking from the dead
A peasant's garment, in those weeds involved,
Stole, like a thief in darkness, from the field.

Evening closed round to favour him.-All night
He fled, the sound of battle in his ear
Ringing, and sights of death before his eyes,
With dreams more horrible of eager fiends
That seemed to hover round, and gulphs of fire
Opening beneath his feet.

At times the groan
Of some poor fugitive, who, bearing with him
His morial hurt, had fallen beside the way,
Roused him from these dread visions, and he called
In answering groans on his Redeemer's name,
That word the only prayer that past his lips
Or rose within his heart. Then would he see
The Cross whereon a bleeding Saviour hung,
Who called on him to come and cleanse his soul
In those all-healiny streains, which from his wounds,
As from perpetual springs, for ever flowed.
No hart e'er papted for the water-brooks
As Roderick thirsied there to drink and live:
But Heil was interposed; and worse than Hell,
Yea 10 lis eyes more dreadful than the fiends
Who flocked like hungry ravens round his head, -
Florinda stood between, and warned him off
With her abhorrent hands,-that agony
Still in her face, which, when the deed was done,
Inflicted on her ravisher the curse
That it invoked from leaven--Oh what a night
Of waking horrors! Nor when morning came
Did the realities of light and day
Bring aught of comfort; wheresoe'er he went
The tidings of defeat had gone before;
And leaving their defenceless homes to seek
What shelter walls and battements might yield,
Old men with feeble feet, and toitering babes,
And widows with their infants in their arms,
Hurried along. Nor royal festival,
Nor sacred pageant, with like multitudes
Eer filled the public way. All whom the sword
Had spared were here; bed-rid infirmity
Alone was left behind: the cripple plied
His crutches, with her child of yesterday
The mother fled, and she wliose hour was come
Fell by the road.

Less dreadful than this view Of ouiward suffering which the day disclosed, Had night and darkness seemed to Roderick's heart, With all their dread creations. Froin the throng He turned aside, unable to codure This burtheu of the general woe: nor walls, Nor lowers, oor mountain fastnesses he sought; A firmer hold his spirit yearned to find, A rock of surer strength. Unknowing where, Straight through the wild he bastened on all day, And with unslackened speed was travelling still When evening gathered round. Seven days from morn Till night he travelled thus; the forest oaks, The fig-erove by the fearful husbandman

Forsaken to the spoiler, and the vines,
Where fox and household dog together now
Fed on the vintage, gave liim food: the hand
Of heaven was ou him, and the agony
Which wrought within, supplied a strength, beyond
All natural force of man.

When the eighth eve
Was come, he found himself on Ana's banks,
Fast by the Caulian Schools.ro It was the hour
Of vespers, but no vesper bell was heard,
Nor other sound, than of the passing stream,
Or stork, who, flapping with wide wing the air,
Sought her broad nest upon the silent tower.
Brethren and pupils thence alike bad tled
To save themselves within the embattled walls
Of neighbouring Merida. One aged Mook
Alone was left behind; he would not leave
The sacred spot beloved, for having served
There from his childhood up to ripe old age
God's holy altar, it became him now,
He thought, before that altar to await
The merciless misbelievers, and lay down
His life, a willing martyr. So he staid
When all were gone, and duly fed the lamps,
And kept devotedly the altar drest,
And duly offered up the sacrifice.
Four days and nights he thus had past alone,
In such high nood of saintly fortitude,
That hope of Heaven became a heavenly joy;
And now at evening to the gate he went
If he might spy the Moors,--for it seemed long
To tarry for his crown.

Before the Cross
Roderick had thrown himself: his body raised,
Haif kneeling, half at length he lay; his arms
Embraced its foot, and from his lified face
Tears streaming down bedewed the senseless stone.
He had not wept till now, and at the gush
Of these first tears, it seemed as if his heart,
From a long winter's icy thrall let loose,
Had opened to the genjal intluences
Of Heaven. In attitude, but not in act
Of prayer he lay; an agony of icars
Was all his soul could offer. When the Monk
Beheld him suffering thus, be raised bim up,
And took him by the arm, and led him in;
And there before the altar, in the name
Of Him whose bleeding image there was hung,
Spake coinfort, and adjured him in that name
There lo lay down the burthen of his sins.
Lo! said Romano, I am waiting here
The coming of the Moors, that from their hands
My spirit may receive the purple robe
Of martyrdom, and rise to claim its crown.
That God who willeth not the sinner's death
Hath led thee bither. Threescore years and five,
Even from the hour when I, a five-years child,
Entered the schools, bave I continued hicre
And served the aluar: not in all those years
Math such a contrite and a broken heart
Appeared before me. O my brother, Heaven
Nath seni thee for thy comfort, and for mine,
That my last carthly act may reconcile
A sinner to his God.

Then Roderick knelt Before the holy man, and strove to speak.

Where better could they rest than here, where faith
And secret penitence and happiest death
llad blest the spot, and brought good angels down,
And opened, as it were, a way to Heaven?
Tehind them was the desert, offering fruit
And water for their need: on either side
The white sand sparkling to the sun; in front,
Great Ocean with its everlasting voice,
As in perpetual jubilee, proclaimed
The wonders of the Almighty, filling thus
The pauses of their fervent orisons.
Where better could the wanderers rest than here?

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Thou seest, he cried, -thou seest,—but memory
And suffocating thoughts represt the word,
And shudderings, like an ague fit, from head
To foot convulsed him, till at length, subduing
His nature to the effort, he exclaimed,
Spreading his hands and lifting up his face,"
As if resolved in penitence to bear
A human eye upon his shame,- Thou seest
Roderick the Goth! That name would have sufficed
To tell the whole abhorred history:
He not the less pursued,- the ravisher,
The cause of all this ruin! Having said,
In the same posture motionless he knelt,
Arms straightened down, and hands outspread, and eyes
Raised to the Monk, like one who from his voice
Expected life or death.

All night the old man
Prayed with his penitent, and ministered
Unto the wounded soul, till he infused
A healing hope of mercy, that allayed
Its heat of anguish. But Romano saw
What strong temptations of despair beset,
And how be needed in this second birth,
Even like a yearling child, a fosterer's care.
Father in heaven, he cried, thy will be done!
Surely I hoped that I this day should sing
Hosannahs at tly throne; but thou hast yet
Work for thy servant here. He girt liis loins,
And from her altar took with reverent hands
Our lady's image down: In this, quoth he,
We have our guide and guard and comforter,
The best provision for our perilous way.
Fear not but we shall find a resting place-
The Almighty's hand is on us.

They went forth,
They crost the stream, and when Romano turned
For his last look toward the Caulian towers,
far off the Moorish standards in the light
Of morn were glittering, where the miscreant host
Toward the Lusitanian capital
To lay their siege advanced: the eastern breeze
Bore to the fearful travellers far away
The sound of horn and tambour o'er the plain.
All day they hastened, and when evening fell
Sped toward the setting sun, as if its line
Of glory came from Heaven to point their course.
But feeble were the feet of that old man
For such a weary length of way; and now
Being past the danger (for in Merida
Sacaru long in resolute defence
Withstood the tide of war), with easier pace
The wanderers journeyed on; till having crost
Old Tagus, and the rapid Zezere,
They from Albardos' hoary height beheld
Pine-forest, fruitful vale, and that fair lake
Where Alcoa, mingled there with Baza's stream,
Rests on its passage to the western sea,
That sea the aim and boundary of their toil.

Twelve months they sojourned in their solitude,
And then beneath the burthen of old age
Romano sunk. No brethren were there here
To spread the sackcloth, and with ashes strew
That penitential bed, and gather round
To sing his requicm, and with prayer and psalm
Assist him in his hour of agony.
He lay on the bare earth, which long had been
His only couch; beside him Roderick knelt,
Moistened from time to time his blackened lips,
Received a blessing with his latest breath,
Then closed his eyes, and by the nameless grave
Of the fore-tenant of that holy place
Consigned him earth to earth.

Two graves are here,
And Roderick transverse at their feet began
To break the third. In all his intervals
Of prayer, save only when he searched the woods
Apil filled the water-cruise, he laboured there;
And when the work was done, and he had laid
Himself at length within its narrow sides
And measured it, he shook his head to think
There was no oiher business now for him.
Poor wretch, thy bed is ready, he exclaimed,
And would that night were come!--It was a task,
All gloomy as it was, which had beguiled
The sense of solitude; but now he felt
The burthen of the solitary hours:
The silence of that lonely hermitage
Lay on him like a spell; and at the voice
Of his own prayers, he started, half aghast.
Then 100, as on Romano's grave le sate
And pored upon his own, a natural thought
Arose within him,-well might he have spared
That useless toil : the sepulchre would be
No hiding-place for him; no Christian hands
Were here who should compose his decent corpse
And cover it with earth. There he might drag
His wretched body at its passing hour,
And there the Sea-Birds of her heritage
Would rob the worm, or peradventure seize,
Erc death had done its work, their helpless prey.
Even now they did not fear him: when he walked
Beside them on the beach, regardlessly
They saw his coming; and their whirring wings
Upon the height had sometimes fanned his cheek,
As if, being thus alone, humanity
Had lost its rank, and the prerogative
Of man was done away.

The fourth week of their painful pilgrimage 2
Was full, when they arrived where from the land
A rocky hill, rising with steep ascent,
O'erhung the glittering beach; there on the top
A little lowly hermitage they found,
And a rude Cross, and at its foot a grave,
Bearing no name, nor other monument.

For his lost crown

May reach and snatch bim ere he sink engulphed ! And sceptre never had he felt a thought

At length, as life when it hath lain long time Of pain: repentance had no pangs to spare

Opprest beneath some grievous malady, For trifles such as these, -the loss of these

Seems to rouse up with re-collected strength, Was a cheap penalty :-ihat he had fallen

And the sick man doth feel within himself Down to the lowest depth of wretchedness,

A second spring; so Roderick's better mind His hope and consolation. But to lose

Arose to save him. Lo! the western sun His human station in the scale of things,

Flames o'er the broad Atlantic; on the verge To see brate Nature scorn him, and renounce

Of glowing ocean rests; retiring then Its homage to the human form divide ;

Draws with it all its rays, and sudden night Had then almighty vengeance thus revealed

Fills the whole cope of Heaven. The penitent
His punishment, and was he fallen indeed

knelt by Romano's grave, and, falling prope,
Below fallen man,--below redemption's reach, Claspt with extended arms the funeral mould.
Made lower than the beasts, and like the beasts Father! he cried; Companion! only friend,
To perislı!--Such temptations troubled him

When all beside was lost! thou too art gone,
By day, and in the visions of the night;

And the poor sinuer whom from utter death And even in sleep he struggled with the thought, Thy providential band preserved, once more And waking with the effort of his prayers

Totiers upon the gulph. I am too weak
The dream assailed him still.

For solitude,-100 vile a wretch to bear
A wilder form

This everlasting commune with myself.
Sometimes his poignant penitence assumed,

The Tempter hath assailed me; my own heart Starting with force revived from intervals

Is leagued with him ; Despair hath laid the nets Of calmer passion, or exhausted rest;

To take my soul, and Memory, like a ghost, When floating back upon the tide of thought

Haunts me, and drives me to the toils. O Saint, Remembrance to a self-excusing strain

While I was blest with thee, the hermitage Beguiled him, and recalled in long array

Was my sure haven! Look upon me still, The sorrows and the secret impulses

For froin thy heavenly mansion thou canst see Which to the abyss of wretchedness and guilt

The suppliant; look upon thy child in Christ. Led their unwary victim. The evil hour

Is there no other way for penitence? Returned upon him, when reluctantly

I ask not martyrdom; for wbat am I Yielding to worldly counsel his assent,

That I should pray for triumphs, the fit meed In wedlock to an ill-assorted mate

Of a long life of holy works like thine; He gave his cold unwilling hand: then came

Or how should I presumptuously aspire The disappointment of the barren bed,

To wear the heavenly crown resigned by thee, The hope deceived, the soul dissatisfied,

For my poor sinful sake? Oh point me thou Home without love, and privacy from which

Some humblest, painfullest, severest path, Delight was banished first, and peace too seon

Some new austerity, unheard of yet Departed. Was it strange that when he met

In Syrian fields of glory, or the sands A heart attuned,-a spirit like his own,

Of holiest Egypt.13 Let me bind my brow Of lofty pitch, yet in affection mild,

With thorns, and barefoot seek Jerusalem, And tender as a youthful mother's joy,

Tracking the way with blood; there day by day Oh was it strange if at such sympathy

Toflict upon this guilty flesh the scourge, The feelings which within his breast repelled

Drink vinegar and gall, and for


bed And chilled liad shruok, should open forth like flowers Ilang with extended limbs upon the Cross, After cold winds of night, when gentle gales

A nightly crucifixion!-any thing Restore the genial sun! If all were known,

Of action, difficulty, bodily pain, Would it indeed be not to be forgiven ?

Labour, and outward suffering, -any thing (Thus would he lay the unction to his soul,)

But stillness and this dreadful solitude! If all were truly known, as Heaven knows all,

Romano! Father! let me hcar thy voice Beaven that is merciful as well as just,

In dreams, sainted Soul! or from the grave A passion slow and mutual in its growth,

Speak to thy penitent; even from the grave Pure as fraternal love, long self-concealed,

Thine were a voice of comfort. And when confessed in silence, long controlled;

Thus he cried, Treacherous occasion, human frailty, fear

Easing the pressure of his burthened lieart Of endless separation, worse than death,

With passionate prayer; thus poured his spirit forılı, The purpose and the hope with which the Fiend Till the long effort had exhausted him, Tempted, deceived, and maddened him ;- but then Bis spirit failed, and laying on the grave As at a new temptation would he start,

His weary head, as on a pillow, sleep Shuddering beneath the intolerable shame,

Fell on him. He had prayed to hear a voice And clench in agony his malted hair;

Of cousolation, and in dreams a voice While in his soul the perilous thought arose,

Of consolation came. Roderick, it said, -
How easy 't were to plunge where yonder waves Roderick, my poor, unhappy, sinful child,
Invited him to rest.

Jesus have mercy on thec!--Not if Ileaven
Oh for a voice

Had opened, and Romano, visible
Of comfort,--for a ray of hope from Heaven!

In his beatitude, bad breathed that prayer; — A hand that from these billows of despair

Not if the grave had spoken, had it pierced

Of unrepented sin upon his head,
Sin which had weighed a nation down :-what joy
To know that righteous Heaven had in its wrath
Remembered mercy, and she yet might meet
The child whom she bad boro, redeemed, in bliss ?
The sudden impulse of such thoughts confirmed
That unacknowledged purpose, which till now
Vainly had sought end. He girt his loins,
Laid blessed Mary's image in a cleft
Of the rock, where, sheltered from the elements,
It might abide till happier days came on,
From all defilement safe; poured his last prayer
Upon Romano's


and kissed the earth Which covered his remains, and wept as if At long leave-taking, then began his way.



So deeply in his soul, nor wrung his heart
With such compunctious visitings, nor given
So quick, so keen a pang.

It was that voice
Which sung his fretful infancy to sleep
So patiently; which soothed his childish griefs ;
Counselled, with anguish and prophetic tears,
His headstrong youth. And lo! his Mother stood
Before him in the vision: in those weeds
Which never from the hour when to the grave
She followed her dear lord Theodofred
Rusilla laid aside;"4 but in her face
A sorrow that bespake a heavier load
At heart, and more uumitigated woe, -
Yea a more mortal wretchedness than when
Witiza's ruffians and the red-hot brass
Had done their work, and in her arms she held
Her eyeless husband ;15 wiped away the sweat
Which still his tortures forced from every pore;
Cooled his scorched lids with medicinal herbs,
And prayed the while for patience for herself
And him, and prayed for vengeance too, and found
Best comfort in her curses. In his dream,
Groaning he knelt before her to besecch
Her blessing, and she raised her hands to lay
A benediction on him. But those hands
Were chained, and casting a wild look around,
With thrilling voice she cried, Will no one break
These shameful fetters? Pedro, Theudemir,
Athanagild, where are ye? Roderick's arm
Is wither'd, -Chiefs of Spain, but where are ye?
And thou, Pelayo, thou our surest hope,
Dost thou too sleep?— Awake, Pelayo!-up!-
Why tarriest thou, Deliverer?—But with that
She broke her bonds, and lo! her form was changed !
Radiant in arms she stood! a bloody Cross
Gleamed on her breast-plate, in her shield displayed
Erect a liou ramped; her helmed head
Rose like the Berecyathian Goddess crowned
With towers, and in her dreadful hand the sword
Red as a fire-brand blazed. Anon the tramp
Of horsemen, and the din of multitudes
Moving to mortal conflict, rang around :
The battle-song, the clung of sword and shield,
War-cries and tumult, strife and hate and rage,
Blasphemous prayers, confusion, agony,
Rout and pursuit and death; and over all
The shout of victory-Spain and Victory!
Roderick, as the strong vision mastered him,
Rushed to the fight rejoicing : starting then,
As his own effort burst the charm of sleep,
He found himself upon that lonely grave
In moonlight and in silence. But the dream
Wrought in him still; for still he felt his heart
Pant, and his withered arm was trembling still:
And still that voice was in his ear which called
On Jesus for his sake.

O might he hear That actual voice! and if Rusilla lived, If shame and anguish for his crimes not yet Had brought her to the grave,--sure she would bless Her penitent child, and pour into his heart Prayers and forgiveness, which, like precious balm, Would heal the wounded soul. Nor to herself Less precious, or less healing, would the voice That spake forgiveness flow. She wept her son For ever lost, cut off with all the weight

'Twas now the earliest morning; soon the Sun,
Rising above Albardos, poured his light
Amid the forest, and with ray aslant
Entering its depth, illumed the branchless pines,
Brightened their bark, tinged with a redder hue
Its rusty stains, and cast along the floor
Long lines of shadow, where they rose erect
Like pillars of the temple. With slow foot
Roderick pursued his way; for penitence,
Remorse which gave no respite, and the long
And painful contlict of his troubled soul,
Had worn him down. Now brighter thoughts arose,
Aud that triumphant Vision floated still
Before his sight with all her blazonry,
Her castled helm, and the victorious sword
That flashed like lightning o'er the field of blood.
Sustained by thoughts like these, from morn till eve
He journeyed, and drew near Leyria's walls.
'T was even-song time, but not a bell was heard :
Instead thereof, on her polluted towers,
Bidding the Moors to their unhallowed prayer,

cryer stood, and with his sonorous voice
Filled the delicious vale where Lena winds
Through groves and pastoral meads. The sound, the sight
Of turban, girdle, robe, and scymitar,
And tawny skins, awoke contending thoughts
Of anger, shame, and anguish in the Goth;
The unaccustomed face of human-kind
Confused him now, and through the streets he went
With hagged mien, and countenance like one
Crazed or bewildered. All who met him turned,
And wondered as he past. One stopt him short,
Put alms into his hand, and then desired,
In broken Gothic speech, the moon-struck man
To bless him. With a look of vacancy
Roderick received the alms; his wandering eye
Fell on the money, and the fallen King,
Seeing his own royal impress on the piece,
Broke out into a quick convulsive voice,
That seemed like laughter first, but ended soon
In hollow groans supprest : the Musselman
Shrunk at the ghastly sound, and magnified
The name of Allah as he hastened on.
A Christian woman spinning at her door

Beheld him, and, with sudden pity touched,
She laid her spindle by, and running in
Took bread, and following after called him back,
And placing in his passive hands the loaf,
She said, Christ Jesus for his mother's sake
Have mercy on thee! With a look that seemed
Like idiotcy he heard her, and stood still,
Staring a while; then bursting into tears
Wept like a child, and thus relieved his heart,
Full even to bursting else with swelling thoughts.
So through the streets, and through the northern gate
Did Roderick, reckless of a resting-place,
With feeble yet with hurried step, pursue
His agitated way; and when he reached
The open fields, and found himself alone
Beneath the starry canopy of Heaven,
The sense of solitude, so dreadful late,
Was then repose and comfort. There he stopt
Beside a lille rill, and brake the loaf;
And shedding o'er that unaccustomed food
Painful but quiet tears, with grateful soul
He breathed thanksgiving forth, then made his bed
On heath and myrile.

But when he arose
At day-break and pursued his way, his heart
Felt lightened that the shock of mingling first
Among his fellow-kind was overpast;
And journeying on, he greeted whom he met
With such short interchange of benison
As each to other gentle travellers give,
Recovering thus the power of social speech
Which he had long disused. When hunger prest
He asked for alms : slight supplication served ;
A countenance so pale and woe-begone
Moved all to pity; and the marks it bore
Of rigorous penance and austerest life,
With something too of majesty that still
Appeared ainid the wreck, inspired a sense
Of reverence too. The goal.herd on the hills
Opened his scrip for him; the babe in arms,
Affrighted at his visage, turned away,
And clinging to its mother's neck in tears
Would yet again look up, and then again,
With cry renewed, shrink back.

The bolder imps
Who played beside the way, at his approach
Brake off their sport for wonder, and stood still
In silence; some among them cried, A Saint !
The village matron when she gave him food
Besought his prayers; and one entreated him
To lay lis healing hands upon her child,
For with a sore and liopeless malady
Wasting, it long had lain,--and sure, she said,
He was a man of God.

Thus travelling on
He past the vale where wild Arunca pours
Ils wintry torrents; and the happier site
Of old Conimbrica, whose ruined towers
Bore record of the fierce Alani's wrath. 16
Mondego loo he crost, not yet renowned
In poets' amorous lay; and left behind
The walls at whose foundation pious hands
Of Priest and Monk and Bishop meekly toiled, -
So had the insulting Arian given command.
Those stately palaces and rich domains
Were now the Moor's, and many a weary age
Must Coimbra wear the misbeliever's yoke,

Before Fernando's banner through her gate
Shall pass triumphant, and her hallowed Mosque
Behold the hero of Bivar receive
The knighthood which he glorified so oft
In his victorious fields.

Oh if the years
To come might then have risen on Roderick's soul,
How had they kiudled and consoled his heari! -
What joy might Douro's haven then have given,
Whence Portugal, the faithful and the brave,
Shall take her name illustrious!—what, those walls
Where Mumadona 17 one day will erect
Convent and town and towers, which shall become
The cradle of that famous monarchy!
What joy might these prophetic scenes have given, -
What ample vengeance on the Musselman,
Driven out with foul defeat, apd made to feel
In Africa the wrongs he wrought to Spain;
And still pursued by that relentless sword,
Even to the farthest Orient, where his power
Received its mortal wound.


of pride!
In undiscoverable futurity,
Yet unevolved, your destined glories lay;
And all that Roderick in these fated scenes
Beheld, was grief and wretchedness,--the waste
Of recent war, and that more mournful calm
Of joyless, helpless, hopeless servitude.
'Twas not the ruined walls of church or tower,
Cottage or hall or convent, black with smoke;
'T was not the unburied bones, whichi, where the dogs
And crows had strewn them, lay amid the field
Bleaching in sun or shower, that wrung his heart
With kcenest anguish: 't was when he beheld
The turband traitor shew his shameless front
In the open eye of Heaven, - the renegade,
On whose base brutal nature unredeemed
Even black apostacy itself could stamp
No deeper reprobation, at the hour
Assigned fall prostrate, and unite the names
Of God and the Blasphemer,-impious prayer, -
Most impious, when from unbelieving lips
The accursed utterance came. Then Roderick's heart
With indignation burnt, and then he longed
To be a King again, that so, for Spain
Betrayed and his Redeemer thus renounced,
He might iuflict due punishment, and make
These wretches feel his wrath. But when he saw
The daughters of the land, -who, as they went
With cheerful step to cburch, were wont to shew
Their innocent faces to all passers' eyes,
Freely, and free from sin as when they looked
In adoration and in praise to Heaven,-
Now masked in Moorish muftlers, to the Mosque
Holding uncompanied their jealous way,
llis spirit seemed at that unhappy sight
To die away within him, and he too
Would fain have died, so death could bring with it
Entire oblivion.

Rent with thoughts like these,
Ile reached that city, once the seat renowned
Of Suevi kings, where, in contempt of Rome
Degenerate long, the North's heroic race
Raised first a rival throne; now from its state
Of proud regality debased and fallen.
Suill bounteous Nature o'er the lovely vale,
Where like a Queen rose Bracara august,

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