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Sir Lancelot, Sir Stephen bolde,

standyng poole, covered and overflowed all England, They rode with them that daye, And, foremost of the companye,

fewe books were read in our tongue, savyog certaine There rode the stewarde Kaye.

bookes of chevalrie, as they said, for pastime and pleaSoe did Sir Banier and Sir Bore,

sure; which, as some say, were made in the monasteAnd eke Sir Garratte keen,

ries, hy idle monks or wanton chanons. As one for Sir Tristram too, that gentle knight,

cxample, La morte d'Arthure; the whole pleasure of To the forest fresh and green.

which book standeth in two speciall poynts, in open Note 5. Stanza xiii.

manslaughter and bold bawdrye; in which booke they And Lancelot, that evermore

be counted the noblest knightes that do kill most men Look'd stol'n-wise on the queen.

without any quarrell, and commit fowlest adoulteries Upon this delicate subject hear Richard Robinson, by sutlest shiftes; as Sir Lancelot, with the wife of citizen of London, in his Assertion of King Arthur: King Arthur, his master; Sir Tristram, with the wife of

« But as it is a thing sufficiently apparent that she King Marke, his uncle; Sir Lamerocke, with the wife (Guenever, wife of King Arthur) was beautiful, so it is of King Lote, that was his own aunt.

This is good a thing doubted whether she was chaste, yea or no. stuffe for wise men to laugh at, or honest men to take Truly, so far as I can with honestie, I would spare the pleasure at, yet I know when God's Bible was banished impayred honour and fame of noble women. But yet the court, and La Morte d'Arthure received into the the truth of the liistorie pluckes me be the eere, and prince's chamber.»--Ascham's Schoolmaster. willeth me not onely, but commandeth me to declare what the ancients have deemed of her. To wrestle or

Note

7.

Stanza xvij. contend with so great authoritie were indeed unto me

- valiant Carodac, a controversie, and that greate.»— Assertion of King

Who won the cup of gold. Arthure. Imprinted by John Wolfe, London, 1582.

See the comic tale of the Boy and the Mantle, in Note 6. Stanza xviii.

the third volume of Percy's Reliques of Ancient Poetry, There were two who loved their neighbours' wives,

from the Breton or Norman original of which Ariosto And one who loved his own.

is supposed to have taken his tale of the Enchanted « In our forefathers' tyme, when papistrie, as a Cup.

The Vision of Don Roderick.

Quid dignum memorare tuis, Hispania, terris,
Vox humana valet!

-CLAUDIAN.

TO JOHN WHITMORE, ESQ.

AND TO THE COMMITTEE OF SUBSCRIBERS FOR RELIEF OF THE PORTUGUESE SUFFERERS,

IN WHICH HE PRESIDES,

This poem,

COMPOSED FOR TRE BENEFIT OF TAE FUND UNDER THEIR MANAGEMENT,

IS RÉSPECTFULLY INSCRIPÉD,

BY WALTER SCOTT.

PREFACE.

crisis of the Peninsula; and to divide it, by a supposed change of scene, into Three Periods. The FIRST of

these represents the Invasion of the Moors, the Defeat The following poem is founded upon a Spanish tradi- and Death of Roderick, and closes with the peaceful tion, particularly detailed in the Notes; but bearing, in occupation of the country by the victors. The Second general, that Don Roderick, the last Gothic King of Period embraces the state of the Peninsula, when the Spain, when the invasion of the Moors was impending, conquests of the Spaniards and Portuguese in the East had the temerity to descend into an ancient vault, near and West Indies had raised to the highest pitch the reToledo, the opening of which had been denounced as nown of their arms; sullied, however, by superstition fatal to the Spanish monarchy. The legend adds, that and cruelty. An allusion to the inhumanities of the in. his rash curiosity was mortified by an emblematical requisition terminates this picture. The Last PART of the presentation of those Saracens, who, in the year 714, poem opens with the state of Spain previous to the undefeated him in battle, and reduced Spain under their paralleled treachery of BONAPARTE; gives a sketch of dominion. I have presumed to prolong the Vision of the usurpation attempted upon that unsuspicious and the Revolutions of Spain down to the present eventful friendly kingdom, and terminates with the arrival of

sung. (1)

the British succours. It may be farther proper to men

IV. tion, that the object of the poem is less to commemo

Ye mountains stern! within whose rugged breast rate or detail particular incidents, than to exhibit a general and impressive picture of the several periods Ye torrents! whose hoarse sounds have soothed their

The friends of Scottish freedom found repose; brought upon the stage.

rest, I am too sensible of the respect due to the Public, especially by one who has already experienced more

Returning from the field of vanquish'd foes ; than ordinary indulgence, to offer any apology for the Say, have ye lost each wild majestic close,

That erst the choir of bards or druids flung; inferiority of the poetry to the subject it is chiefly de

What time their hymn of victory arose, signed to commemorate. Yet I think it proper to mention, that while I was hastily executing a work, written

And Cattraeth's glens with voice of triumph rung, for a temporary purpose, and on passing events, the And mystic Merlin harp'd, and gray-hair'd Llywarch task was cruelly interrupted by the successive deaths of

V.
Lord President Blair, and Lord Viscount MelvilLE.

0! if
your

wilds such minstrelsy retain,
In those distinguished characters, I had not only to
regret persons whose lives were most important to Scot-

As sure your changeful gales seem oft to say, land, but also whose notice and patronage honoured

When sweeping wild and sinking soft again, my entrance upon active life; and I may add, with me If ye can echo such triumphant lay,

Like trumpet-jubilee, or harp's wild sway; lancholy pride, who permitted my more advanced age

Then lend the note to him has loved you long ! to claim no common share in their friendship. Under

Who pious gather'd each tradition gray such interruptions, the following verses, which my best and happiest efforts must have left far unworthy of

That floats your solitary wastes along, their theme, have, I am myself sensible, an appearance

And with affection vain gave them new voice in song. of negligence and incoherence, which, in other circum

VI. stances, I might have been able to remove.

For not till now, how oft soe'er the task

Of truant verse hath lighten'd graver care, Edinburgh, June 24, 1811.

From muse or sylvan was he wont to ask,

In phrase poetic, inspiration fair;
Careless he gave his numbers to the air, —

They came unsought for, if applauses came;
INTRODUCTION.

Nor for himself prefers he now the prayer;

Let but his verse befit a hero's fame,
Immortal be the verse !—forgot the poet's name.

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The chosen soldiers of the royal guard X. « Explore those regions, where the flinty crest

Their post beneath the proud cathedral hold;

A band unlike their Gothic sires of old,
Of wild Nevada ever gleams with snows,
Where in the proud Alhambra's ruin'd breast

Who, for the cap of steel and iron mace,
Barbaric monuments of pomp repose;

Bear slender darts, and casques bedeck'd with gold,

While silver-studded belts their shoulders grace, Or where the banners of more ruthless foes

Where ivory quivers ring in the broad falchion's place. Than the fierce Moor, float o'er Toledo's ne, From whose tall towers even now the patriot throws

IV. An anxious glance, to spy upon the plain

In the light language of an idle court, The blended ranks of England, Portugal, and Spain.

They murmur'd at their master's long delay,

And held his lengthen'd orisons in sport :-
XI.

« What! will Don Roderick here till morning stay, « There, of Numantian fire a swarthy spark Still lightens in the sun-burnt native's eye ;

To wear in shrift and prayer the night away?

And are his hours in such dull penance past,
The stately port, slow step, and visage dark,
Still mark enduring pride and constancy.

For fair Florinda’s plunder'd charms to pay?»—(5) And, if the glow of feudal chivalry

Then to the east their weary eyes they cast, Beam not, as once, thy nobles' dearest pride,

And wish'd the lingering dawu would glimmer forth at

last. Iberia! oft thy crestless peasantry Have seen the plumed Hidalgo quit their side,

V.
Have seen, yet dauntless stood-'gainst fortune fought But, far within, Toledo's prelate lent
and died.

An ear of fearful wonder to the king;
XII.

The silver lamp a fitful lustre sent, « And cherish'd still by that unchanging race,

So long that sad confession witnessing : Are themes for minstrelsy more high than thine ; For Roderick told of many a hidden thing, Of strange tradition many a mystic trace,

Such as are lothly utter'd to the air, Legend and vision, prophecy and sign;

When fear, remorse, and shame the bosom wring, Where wonders wild of Arabesque combine

And guilt his secret burthen cannot bear, With Gothic imagery of darker shade,

And conscience seeks in speech a respite from despair. Forming a model meet for minstrel line.

Go, seek such theme!»—The mountain spirit said :
With filial awe I heard- I heard, and I obey'd. Full on the prelate's face, and silver hair,

The stream of failing light was feebly rolld;
But Roderick's visage, though his head was bare,

Was shadow'd by his hand and mantle's fold.
While of his hidden soul the sins he told :

Proud Alaric's descendant could not brook,
VISION OF DON RODERICK. That mortal man his bearing should behold,

Or boast that he had scen, when conscience shook, Fear tame a monarch's brow, remorse a warrior's look.

VI.

THE

I.
REARING their crests amid the cloudless skies,

And darkly clustering in the pale moon-light,
Toledo's holy towers and spires arise,

As from a trembling lake of silver white. Their mingled shadows intercept the sight

Of the broad burial-ground outstretch'd below,
And nought disturbs the silence of the night;

All sleeps in sullen shade, or silver glow,
All save the heavy swell of Teio's ceaseless flow.

VII.
The old man's faded cheek wax'd yet more pale,

As many a secret sad the king bewray'd;
And sign and glance eked out the unfinish'd tale,

When in the midst his faltering whisper staid.« Thus royal Witiza ' was slain,»- he said;

Yet, holy father, deem not it was I.»
Thus still ambition strives her crime to shade-

« Oh rather deem 't was stern necessity!
Self-preservation bade, and I must kill or die.

II.
All save the rushing swell of Teio's tide,

Or distant heard, a courser's neigh or tramp,
Their changing rounds as watchful horsemen ride,

To guard the limits of King Roderick's camp.
For, through the river's night-fog rolling damp,

Was many a proud pavilion dimly seen,
Which glimmer'd back, against the moon's fair lamp,

Tissues of silk and silver-twisted sheen,
And standards proudly pitch'd, and warders arnı'd be-
tween

III.
But of their monarch's person keeping ward,

Since last the deep-mouth'd bell of vespers toll’d,

VIII.
« And if Florinda's shrieks alarm'd the air,

If she invoked her absent sire in vain,
And on her knees implored that I would spare,

Yet, reverend priest, thy sentence rash refrain ! -
All is not as it seems the female train

Know by their bearing to disguise their mood :»—
But conscience here, as if in high disdain,

Sent to the monarch's cheek the burning blood
He stay'd his speech abruptmand up the prelate stood.

· The predecessor of Roderick upon the Spanish throne, and slain by his connivance, as is affirmed by Rodriguez of Toledo, the father of Spanish history.

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JX.

XV. «O harden'd offspring of an iron race!

Fix'd was the right-hand giant's brazen look What of thy crimes, Don Roderick, shall I say? Upon his brother's glass of shifting sand, What alms, or prayers, or penance can efface

As if its ebb he measured by a book, Murder's dark spot, wash treason's stain away?

Whose iron volume loaded his huge hand; For the foui ravisher how shall I pray,

In which was wrote of many a falling land, Who, scarce repentant, makes bis crime his boast ?

Of empires lost, and kings to exile driven, How hope Almighty vengeance shall delay,

And o'er that pair their names in scroll expandUnless, in mercy to yon Christian host,

Lo, Destiny and Time! to whom by Heaven lle spare the shepherd, lest the guiltless sheep be The guidance of the earth is for a season given.»lost?» X.

XVI. Then kindled the dark tyrant in his mood,

E'en while they read, the sand-glass wastes away; And to his brow return'd its dauntless gloom;

And, as the last and lagging grains did creep, « And welcome then,» he cried, « be blood for blood, That right-hand giant’gan his club upsway, For treason treachery, for dishonour doom!

As one that startles from a heavy sleep. Yet will I know whence come they, or by whom. Full on the upper wall the mace's sweep

Show, for thou canst-give forth the fated key, At once descended with the force of thunder, And guide me, priest, to that mysterious room, And burling down at once, in crumbled heap, Where, if aught true in old tradition be,

The marble boundary was rent asunder, His nation's future fate a Spanish king shall see.»--- -(6) And gave to Roderick's view new sights of fear and

wonder. XI.

XVII. « Ill-fated prince! recal the desperate word,

For they might spy, heyond that mighty breach, Or pause ere yet the omen thou obey!

Realms as of Spain in vision'd prospect laid, Bethink yon spell-bound portal would afford

Castles and towers, in due proportion each, Never to former monarch entrance-way;

As by some skilful artist's band portray'd : Nor shall it ever ope, old records say,

Here, cross'd by many a wild Sierra's shade, Save to a king, the last of all his line,

And boundless plains that tire the traveller's eye: What time his empire totters to decay,

There, rich with vineyard and with olive glade, And treason digs, beneath, her fatal mine,

Or deep-embrown'd by forests huge and high, And, high above, impends avenging wrath divine.»

Or wash'd by mighty streams, that slowly murmur'd XII.

by.

XVIII. -« Prelate! a monarch's fate brooks no delay; Lead on!»— the ponderous key the old man took,

And here, as erst upon the antique stage

Pass'd forth the bands of masquers trimly led,
And held the winking lamp, and led the way,
By winding stair, dark aisle, and secret nook,

In various forms, and various equipage,
Then on an ancient gate-way bent bis look;

While fitting strains the hearer’s fancy fed; And, as the key the desperate king essay'd,

So to sad Roderick's eye in order spread, Low-mutter'd thunders the cathedral shook,

Successive pageants fillid that mystic scene, And twice he stopp'd, and twice new effort made,

Showing the fate of battles ere they bled, Till the huge bolts roll'd back, and the loud hinges

And issue of events that had not been; bray'd.

And ever and anon strange sounds were heard between. XIII.

XIX. Long, large, and lofty, was that vaulted hall;

Roof, walls, and floor, were all of marble stone, First shrilld an unrepeated female shriek !Of polish'd marble, black as funeral pall,

It seem'd as if Don Roderick knew the call, Carved o'er with signs and characters unknown.

For the bold blood was blanching in his cheek.

Then answer'd kettle-drum and atabal,
A paly light, as of the dawning, shone
Through the sad bounds, but whence they could not Gong-peal and cymbal-clank the ear appal,

The Tecbir war-cry, and the Lelies' yell, (7)
spy;
For window to the upper air was none;

Ring wildly dissonant along the hall. Yet by that light, Don Roderick could descry

Needs not to Roderick their dread import tellWonders that ne'er till then were seen by mortal eye.

« The Moor,» he cried, «the Moor!-ring out the

tocsin bell! XIV.

XX. Grim sentinels, against the upper wall,

They come! they come! I see the groaning lands Of molten bronze, two statues held their place;

\Vhite wi the turbans of each Arab horde, Massive their naked limbs, their stature tall,

Swart Zaarah joins her misbelieving bands, Their frowning foreheads golden circles grace.

Alla and Mahomet their batile-word, Moulded they seem'd for kings of giant race,

The choice they yield, the Koran or the sword.That lived and sinn'd before the avenging flood; See how the Christians rush to arms amain! This grasp'd a scythe, that rested on a mace;

In yonder shout the voice of conflict roar'd! This spreads his wings for flight, that pondering The shadowy hosts are closing on the plainstood,

Now, God and Saint lago strike, for the good cause of Each stubborn seem'd and stern, immutable of mood.

Spain!

XXI.

XXVII. « By Heaven, the Moors prevail! the Christians yield !- From the dim landscape roll the clouds away, Their coward leader gives for flight the sign!

The Christians have regain'd their heritage; The scepter'd craven mounts to quit the field

Before the cross has waned the crescent's ray, Is not yon steed Orelia !-- Yes, 't is mine! (8)

And many a monastery decks the stage, But never was she turn'd from battle-line;

And lofty church, and low-brow'd hermitage. Lo! where the recreant spurs o'er stock and stone! The land obeys a hermit and a knightCurses pursue the slave and wrath divine !

The genii these of Spain for many an age; Rivers ingulf him !»— « Hush!» in shuddering tone, This clad in sackcloth, that in armour bright, The prelate said; « rash prince, yon vision'd form's thine And that was Valour named, this Bigotry was hight.

own.»

XXII.

XXVIII. Just then, a torrent cross'd the flyer's course;

Valour was harness'd like a chief of old, The dangerous ford the kingly likeness tried;

Arm'd at all points, and prompt for knightly gest; But the deep eddies whelm'd both man and horse, His sword was temper'd in the Ebro cold, Swept like benighted peasant down the tide;

Morena's eagle-plume adorn'd his crest, And the proud Moslemah spread far and wide,

The spoils of Afric's lion bound his breast. As numerous as their native locust band;

Fierce he stepp'd forward, and flung down his gage, Berber and Ismael's sons the spoils divide,

As if of mortal kind to brave the best. With naked scymitars mete out the land,

Him follow'd his companion, dark and sage, And for their bondsmen base the free-born natives As he, my master, sung, the dangerous Archimage. brand.

XXIX.
XXIII.
Then rose the grated harem, to inclose

Haughty of heart and brow the warrior came,
The loveliest maidens of the Christian line;

In look and language proud as proud might be, Then, menials to their misbelieving foes,

Vaunting his lordship, lineage, fights, and fame, Castile's young nobles held forbidden wine;

Yet was that bare-foot monk more proud than he. Then, too, the holy cross, salvation's sign,

And as the ivy climbs the tallest tree, By impious hands was from the altar thrown, .

So round the loftiest soul his toils be wound, And the deep aisles of the polluted shrine

And with his spells subdued the fierce and free, Echoed, for holy hymn and organ-tone,

Till ermined Age, and Youth in arms renown'd, The santon's frantic dance, the fakir's gibbering moan.

Honouring his scourge and hair-cloth, meekly kiss'd

the grous

XXIV.
How fares Don Roderick ?—E'en as one who spies

Flames dart their glare o'er midnight's sable woof,
And hears around his children's piercing cries,

And sees the pale assistants stand aloof; While cruel conscience brings him bitter proof,

His folly, or his crime, have caused his grief, And, while above him nods the crumbling roof,

He curses earth and heaven-himself in chiefDesperate of earthly aid, despairing Heaven's relief!

XXX.
And thus it chanced that Valour, peerless knight,

Who ne'er to king or kaisar veil'd his crest,
Victorious still in bull-feast or in fight,

Since first his limbs with mail he did invest,
Stoop'd ever to that anchoret's behest;

Nor reason'd of the right, nor of the wrong,
But at his bidding laid the lance in rest,

And wrought fell deeds the troubled world along,
For he was fierce as brave, and pitiless as strong.

XXV.

XXXI. That scythe-arm'd giant turn'd his fatal glass,

Oft his proud galleys sought some new-found world, And twilight on the landscape closed her wings; That latest sees the sun, or first the morn; Far to Asturian hills the war-sounds pass,

Still at that wizard's feet their spoils he hurld,-
And in their stead rebeck or timbrel rings;

Ingots of ore, from rich Potosi borne,
And to the sound the bell-deck'd dancer springs, Crowns by caciques, aigrettes by omrahs worn,
Bazaars resound as when their marts are met,

Wrought of rare gems, but broken, rent, and foul; In tourney light the Moor his jercid flings,

Idols of gold, from heathen temples torn, And on the land, as evening seem'd to set,

Bedabbled all with blood. With grisly scowl, The imaum's chaunt was heard from mosque or mi- The hermit mark'd the stains, and smiled beneath his naret,

cowl. XXVI.

XXXIT. So pass'd that pageant. Ere another came,

Then did he bless the offering, and bade make The visionary scene was wrapp'd in smoke,

Tribute to Heaven of gratitude and praise; Whose sulph’rous wreaths were cross’d by sheets of flame; | And at his word the choral hymns awake, With every flash a bolt explosive broke,

And many a hand the silver censer sways. Till Roderick deem'd the fiends had burst their yoke, But with the incense breath these censers raise,

And waved gainst heaven the infernal gonfalone! Mix steams from corpses smouldering in the fire; For War a new and dreadful language spoke,

The groans of prison'd victims mar the lays, Never by ancient warrior heard or known;

And shrieks of agony confound the quire, Lightning and smoke her breath, and thunder was hier While, 'mid the mingled sounds, the darken'd scenes

expire.

tone.

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