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« Explore those regions, where the flinty crest
Of wild Nevada ever gleams with snows,
Barbaric monuments of pomp repose;
Than the fierce Moor, float o'er Toledo's fane, From whose tall towers even now the patriot throws
An anxious glance, to spy upon the plain The blended ranks of England, Portugal, and Spain.
« There, of Numantian fire a swarthy spark
Still lightens in the sun-burnt native's eye; The stalely port, slow step, and visage dark.
Still mark enduring pride and constancy. And, if the glow of feudal.chivalry
Beam not, as once, thy nobles' dearest pride, Iberia! oft thy crcstless peasantry
Have seen the plumed Hidalgo quit their side, Have seen, yet dauntless stood—'gainst fortune fought and died.
« And cherish'd still by that unchanging race,
Are themes for minstrelsy more high than thine; Of strange tradition many a mystic trace,
Legend and vision, prophecy and sign; Where wonders wild of Arabesque combine
With Gothic imagery of darker shade, Forming a model meet for minstrel line.
Go, seek such theme In—The mountain spirit said: With filial awe I heard—I heard, and I obey'd.
VISION OF DON RODERICK.
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 iotercept the sight
Of the broad burial-ground outstretch'd below,
All sleeps in sullen sliade, or silver glow,
All save the rushing swell of Teio's tide,
Or distant beard, a courser's neigh or tramp. Their dunging 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 ti back, agaiust the moon's fair lamp,
Tissues of silk and silver-twisted sheen, And standards proudly pitch'd, and warders arm'd between.
Since last the dcep-mouth'd bell of vespers toITd, The chosen soldiers of the royal guard
Their post beneath the proud cathedral bold; A band unlike their Gothic sires of old,
Who, for the cap of steel and iron mice, Bear slender darts, aud casques bedeck'd with gold,
White silver-studded bells their shoulders grace, Where ivory quivers ring in the broad fJchioai pUa
In the light language of an idle court,
They murmur'd at their master's long delaj, And held his lengthen'd orisons in sport :—
« What! will Don Roderick here till morning Cut, To wear in shrift and prayer the night away!
And are his hours in such dull penance past. For fair Floriuda's pliindcr'd charms to pay'*—[I)
Then to the east their weary eyes they cast, And wish'd the lingering dawn would glimmer fori s last.
An ear of fearful wonder to the king;
So long that sad confession witnessing: For Roderick told of many a hidden thing,
Such as are lothly utter'd to the air. When fear, remorse, and shame the bosom wring,
And guilt his secret burthen cannot bear.
The stream of failing light was feebly rolTd;
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, That mortal man his bearing should behold.
Or boast that lie had seen, when conscience sbotk. Fear tame a monarch's brow, remorse a warrior sl*»
The old man's faded cheek wax'd yet more pale,
As many a secret sad the king bewray'd;
When in the midst his falteriug whisper staid.— Mtiius royal Witica' was slain,»—he said;
« Yet, holy father, deem not it was !.»— Thus still ambition strives her crime to shade—
« Oh rather deem 't was stern necessity! Self-preservation bade, and 1 must kill or die.
If she invoked her absent sire in vain.
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 bloodHe stay'd his speech abrupt—and up the prelate *;• »
I The predceeuor of Roderick upon lh« Spaeiih tk«*» ** *l>in by hi» eonim»iice, *■ U if firmed by RodrifVM •/T*** UM father of ftpanlsb hiitory.
0 tarden'd offspring of ao iron race!
What of thy crimes, Don Roderick, shall I say?
Murder's dark spol, wash treason's stain away!
Who. ware* repentant, makes his crime his boast? lo» hope Almighty vengeance shall delay,
I'olfss, in mercy to yon christian liosi. It spare the shepherd, lest the guiltless sheep be losita—
X. lea kindled the dark tyrant in his mood,
And to his brow return'd its dauntless gloom;
And welcome thcn,« he cried, » be blood for blood,
For [reason treachery, for dishonour doom!
Show, for thou canst—give forth the fated key,
W-feied prince! recal the desperate word,
Or pause ere yet the omen thou obey!
sltink yon spell-bound portal would afford
Ver to former monarch entrance-way;
iriiull it ever ope, old records say,
Smtoa king, the last of all his line,
tot time his empire totters to decay,
And treason digs, beneath, her fatal mine,
16, nigh above, impends avenging wrath divine.*—
■■Prelate! a monarch's fate brooks no delay; Uad ou!■—the ponderous key the old man look, ■dbrld the winking lamp, and led the way, ft? winding stair, dark aisle, and secret nook, "a <>Q an ancient gate-way bent his look; And, u the key the desperate king cssay'd, or-muiuTd thunders the cathedral shook, Asd twice he stopp'd, and twice new effort made, "the huge bolls roll'd back, and the loud hinges bray'd.
XIII. og. Urge, and lofty, was that vaulted hall; toof, walU, and floor, were all of marble stone, 'JwJlih'd marble, black a* funeral pall. Carted 0>r vitu sj^us and characters unknown. ply light, as of ihc dawning, shone ftrougu the sad bounds, but whence they could not
r window to the upper air was none;
I« by ih.it light, Don Roderick could descry
indent thai ne'er till then were seen by mortal eye.
m vniinels, against the upper wall,
)f molten bronze, two statues held their place;
«i»Mhrir naked limbs, their stature tall,
foteir frowning foreheads gulden circles grace.
tided tlirv seern'd for kings of giant race,
fhai livM and sinn'd before the avenging flood;
»gra.«.p*d a ncytlie, that rested on a mare;
">w spreads his wings for (light, that pondering
stood, & stubborn sccni'd and slern, immutable of mood.
Fix'd was the right-hand giants brazen look
Upon his brother's glass of shifting sand, As if Us ebb he measured by a book,
Whose iron volume loaded his huge hand;
Of empires lost, and kiogs to exile driven,
u Lo, Destiny and Time! to whom by Heaven The guidance of the earth is for a season given.*—
And, as the last and lagging grains did creep-,
As one that startles from a heavy sleep. Full on the upper vaH the mace's sweep
At once descended with the force of thunder, And hurling down at once, in crumbled heap,
The marble boundary was rent asunder, And gave to Roderick's view new sights of fear and* wonder.
Realms as of Spain in vision'd prospect laid*,
As by some skilful artist's hand porlray'd: Here, cross'd by many a wild Sierra's shade.
And boundless plains that lire the traveller's eye; There, rich with vineyard and with olive glade,
Or deep-em brow n'd by forests huge and high, Or wash'd by mighty streams, that slowly mnrmurd by.
Pass'd forth the bands of masquers trimly led.
While filling strains the hearer's fancy fed; So to sad Roderick's eye in order spread,
Successive pageants "fill'd that mystic scene, Showing the fate of battles ere they bled.
And issue of events that had not been; And ever and anon strange sounds were heard between.
First shrill'd an unrepealed female shriek!—
It seem'd as if Don Roderick knew the call.
Then answerd kettle-drum and alabal,
The Tecbir war-cry, and the LclieV yell, (7) Ring wildly dissonant along the hall.
Needs not 10 Roderick their dread import tell— « The Moor,» he cried, « the Moor!—ring out the locsiu bell!
XX. ■ < They come! they come! 1 see the groaning lands
White with the turbans of each Arab borJe,
Alia and Mahomet their battle-word,
See how the christians rush to arms amain!
'Ihc shadowy hosts are closing on the plain— Now, God and Saint lago strike, for the good cause of Spain!
« By Heaven, the Moors prevail! the christians yield!—
Their coward leader gives for flight the sign! The scepter'd craven mounts to quit the field—
Is not yon steed Orelia!—Yes, 't is mine! (8) But never was she turn'd from battle-line;
Lo ! where the recreant spurs o'er stock and stone! Curses pursue the slave and wrath divine!
Rivers ingulph him!*—« Hush !» in shuddering tone, The prelate said; « rash prince, yon visiou'd form 's thine own.» —
The dangerous ford the kingly likeness tried;
Swept like benighted peasant down the tide; And the proud ftloslemah spread far and wide,
As numerous as their native locust band; Berber and Isoiael's sons the spoils divide,
With naked scymitars mete out the land. And for their boadsincu base the free-born natives brand.
The loveliest maidens of the christian line;
Castile's young nobles held forbidden wine; Then, too, the holy cross, salvation's sign.
By impious hands was from the altar thrown, And the deep aisles of the polluted shrine
Echoed, for holy hymn and organ-tone, The san ton's frantic dance, the fakir's gibbering moan.
How fares Don Roderick T—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 (he pale assistants stand aloof; While cruel conscience brings him bitter proof,
His folly,or his crime, have caused his grief, And, white above him nods the crumbling roof.
He curses earth and heaven—himself in chief— Desperate of earthly aid, despairing Heaven's relief!
That scythc-arm'd giant turn'd his fatal glass,
And twilight on the landscape closed her wings; Far to Asturtan hills the war-sounds pass,
And in their stead rebeck or timbrel rings; And to the sound the bell-deck'd dancer springs,
Bazaars resound as when their marts arc met, In tourney light the Moor his jerrid Mings,
And on the land, as evening seem'd to set, The i ma urn's cliaunt was heard from mosque or minaret.
The visionary scene was wrapp'd in smoke,
With every (lash a bolt explosive broke, Till Roderick drem'd lite fiends had burst their yoke,
And waved 'gainst heaven the infernal gonfalone! For War a new and dreadful language spoke,
Never by ancient warrior heard or known; Ligblniug and smoke her breath, and thunder was her tone.
From the dim landscape roll the clouds away—
The christians have regaiu'd their heritage; Before the cross lias waned the crescent's ray,
And many a monastery decks the stage. And lofty church, and low-brow d hermitage.
The land obeys a hermit and a knight,— The genii these of Spain for many an age;
This clad in sackcloth, that in armour bright, And that was Valour named, this Bigotry was hi^a:.
Valour was harness'd like a chief of old,
Arm'd at all points, and prompt for knightly feu. His sword was temperd in the Ebro cold,
Morena's eagle-plume adorn'd his crest. The spoils of Afric's lion bound his breast.
Fierce he siepp'd forward, and flung downkisp*?. As if of mortal kind to brave the best.
Him follow'd his companion, dark and sage. As he, my master, sung, the dangerous Arcbom*gf
Haughty of heart and brow the warrior came.
In look and language proud as proud might be Vaunting his lordship, lineage, fights, and faint.
Yet was that bare-foot monk more proud than ar. And as the ivy climbs the tallest tree.
So round the loftiest soul his toils he wound. And with his spells subdued the fierce and free.
Till ermined Age, aud Youth in arms renown 'A. Honouring his scourge and hair-cloth, meekly k*» the ground.
Who ne'er to king or kaisar veil'd his crest.
Since tirst his limbs with mail he did invest. Stoop'd ever to that anchoret's behest;
Nor rcason'd of the right, nor of the wrong. But at his bidding laid the lance in rest.
And wrought fell deeds the troubled world atoat For he was fierce as brave, and pitiless as strong.
Oft his proud galleys sought some new-found worti
That latest sees the sun, or first the morn; Still at that wizard's feet their spoils lie huri d,—
Ingots of ore, from rirh Potosi borne. Crowns by caciques, aigrettes by omrahs worn.
Wrought of rare gems, but broken, rent, aud sW Idols of gold, from heathen temples torn.
Bedabbled all with blood.—With grisly scowl, The hermit mark'd the stains, and smiled beveata * cowl.
Tribute to Heaven of gratitude and praise;
Aud many a baud the silver censer iwars. Itut with the iuceusc breath these censers raise
Mix steams from corpses smouldering in cue use The groans of prUon'd victims mar the lav»,
And shrieks of agony confound the quirr. While, mid the mingled sounds the darkeod «vwexpire.
Preluding light, wrre strains of music heard.
As ooce again revolved that measured sand, Soch sounds as when, for sylvan dance prepared,
Gar Xeres summons forth her vintage band; Wkra for the light bolero ready stand
The Mozo blithe, with gay Muchacha met, (9) He roascions of his braider'd cap and band,
She of her netted locks and light corset te.
For Valour had relax d his ardent look,
Liy stretch'd, full loth the weight of arms to brook; And soften <i Bigotry, upon his book,
Patier'd a task of little good or ill:
Whistled the muleteer o'er v;ile and hill,
Gray royalty, grown impotent of toil.
Let the grave sceptre slip his lazy hold. And careless saw his rule become (he spoil
Of a loose female and her minion bold. Bat peace was on the cottage and the fold,
From court intrigue, from bickering faction far; letieatb the chesnut-tree Love's talc was told,
And to the tinkling of the light guitar, Sweet stoopd the western sun, sweet rose the evening star.
When first from Carmel by the Tishbitc seen,
Awhile, perchance, bedeck'd with colours sheen, Khile yet the sun-beams on its skirts had been,
Umaiog with purple and with gold its shroud, Fill darker folds obscured the blue serene,
Aad blotted heaven with one broad gable cloud— Tkea sheeted rain burst down, and whirlwinds howl'd aloud:—
Like gathering; clouds, full many a foreign band, lad he, their leader, wore in sheath his sword,
And offer'd peaceful front and open hand; FeitiDf; the perjured treachery he plann'd,
By friendship's zeal and honour's specious guise, -nil be won the passes of the land;
Then, burst were honour's oath, and friendship's
ties! I' clutch'd his vulture-grasp, and call'd fair Spain his pri«.
XXXVIII. ia iron crown his anxious forehead bore;
Aad well such diadem his heart became, frbo ne'er his purpose for remorse gave o'er.
Or cbeck'd his course for piety or shame; ^ho, train'd a soldier, deem'd a soldier's fame
Might flourish in the wreath of battles won, though neither truth nor honour deck'd his name;
"U'lio, placed by fortune on a monarch's throne, terk'd not of monarch's faith, or mercy's kin0ly tone.
From a rude isle his mder lineage came:
The spark, that, from a suburb hovel's hearth
Hull not a meaner or more sordid birth.
The sable land-flood from some swamp obscure.
And by destruction bids its fame endure.
Her limbs like mist, her torch like meteor sbow'd. With which she beckon'd him through fight and storm,
And all he crush'd that cross'd his desperate road. Nor thought, nor fear'd, nor look'd on what be trode;
Realms could not, glut his pride, blood could not slake. So oft as e'er she shook her torch abroad—
It was Ambition bade ber terrors wake,
Or staid her hand for conquer <l foemans moan,
Ry Cssar's side she rrnss'd the Bubicon; Nor joy'd she to bestow, the spoils she won.
As when the banded powers of Greece were task'd To war beneath the Youth of Macedon 1
No seemly veil her modern minion ask'd, lie saw her hideous face,and loved the fiend unmask'd.
That prelate mark'd his march—On banners blazed
With battles won in many a distant land, On eagle-standards and on arms be gated;
K And hopest thou then,* he said, «thy power sliall stand? 0 thou hast builded on the shifting sand.
And thou hast temper d it with slaughter's flood; And know, fell scourge in the Almighty's hand!
Go re-moist end trees shall perish in the bud,
A wan fraternal shade, and hade Inm kneel,
While trumpets rang, and heralds cried, « C;i«stile!» (10) Not that he loved him—No!—in no man's weal,
Scarce in his own, e'er joy'd that sullen heart; Vet round that throne he bade his warriors wheel,
That the poor puppet might perform his part, And be a sceptred slave, at his stern beck to start.
But on the natives of that land misused,
Not long the silence of amazement hung.
For, with a common shriek, the general tongue, Exclaim'd, « To arms!» and fast to arms they sprung.
And Valour woke, that genius of the land! Pleasure and ease, and sloth, aside he flung,
As burst the awakening Naz.irite. his band, When 'gainst his treacherous foes he clench'd his dreadful hand. 5a
Upon the satraps that begirt him round,
And from his brow the diadem unbound. So oft, so near, the patriot bugle wound.
From Tarik's walls to Bilboa's mountains blown, These martial satellites hard labour found,
To guard awhile his substituted throne— Light recking of his cause, but battling for their own.
From Alpuhara's peak that bugle rung,
And it was ccho'd from Coruuna"s wall; Stately Seville responsive war-shout flung,
Grenada caught it in her Moorish hall; Galicia bade her children fight or fall,
Wild Biscay shook his mountain-coronet, Valencia roused her at the battle-call,
And foremost still where Valour's sons are met, Fast started to his gun each fiery Miquclet.
But unappall'd, and burning for the fight.
The invaders march, of viotory secure; Skilful their force to sever or unite,
And train'd alike to vanquish or endure. Nor skilful less, cheap conquest to ensure,
Discord to breathe, and jealousy to sow. To quell by boasting, aod by bribes to lure:
While nought against them bring the unpractised foe, Save hearts for freedom's cause, and liands for freedom's blow.
By one hot field to crown a brief campaign,
Destroy d at every stoop an ancient reign!
In vain the steel, in vain the torch was plied, New patriot armies started from the slain,
High blaied the war, and long, and far, and widc,( 11) And oft the God of Battles blest the righteous side.
Nor unaloned, where Freedom's foes prevail,
Remaind their savage waste. Willi blade and brand, By day the invaders ravaged hill and dale,
But, with the darkness, the Guerilla band
And cljim'd for blood the retribution due,
And Dawn, when o'er the scene her beams she threw, Midst ruins they had made, the spoilers' corpses knew.
What minstrel verse may sing, or tongue may tell,
Amid the vision'd strife from sea to sea, How oft the patriot banners rose or fell,
Still houourd in defeat as viclory! For that sad pageapl of events to be,
Show'd every form of fight by field and flood; Slaughlcr and Ruin, sliouling forth their glee,
Beheld, while riding on the tempest-scud. The waters rhoak'd with slaiu, the earth bedrench'd with blood!
Then Zaragoza—blighted be the tongue
That names thy name without the honour due!
Of failhso felly proved, so firmly true!
Each art of wars extremity had room.
And when at length stern Fate decreed thy doosx. They won not Zaragoza, but her children's blwiy tomb. (11)
Enthrall'd thou canst not be! Arise and claim Reverence from every heart where Freedom reigns,
For what thou worshippesl!—thy sainted dame. She of the column, honour'd be her name,
By all, whale'er their creed, who honour love! And like the sacred reliques of the flame.
That gave some martyr to the bless'd above. To every loyal heart may thy sad embers prove!
Nor thine alone such wreck. Gerona fair!
Faithful to death thy heroes should be sung. Manning the towers while o'er their heads the air
Swart as the smoke from raging furnace hung; Now thicker darkening where the mine was sprang.
Now briefly lighteu'd by the cannon's flare. Now arch'd with lire-sparks as the bomb was fluot,
And redd'ning now with conflagration's glare. While by the f alal light the foes for storm prepare
While the earth shook, and darken d was the sky. And wide destruction sluun'd the listening ear,
Appall'd the heart, and stupified the eye,— Afar was heard that thrice-repealed cry,
In which old Albion's heart and tongue unite. Whene'er her soul is up, and pulse beati high.
Whether it hail the-wine-cup or the fight. And bid each arm be strong, or hid each heart !• "light.
LV. Don Roderick tum'd him as the shout grew loud—
A varied scene the changeful vision show'd. For, where the ocean mingled with the cloud,
A gallant navy stemm'd the billows broad. From mast and stern St George's symbol tlow'd.
Blent with the silver cross to Scotland dear; Mottling the sea their landward birvjes row'd.
And flash'd the sun on bayonet, brand, and spear. And the wild beach return'd the seaman's jovial ch «r
It was a dread, yet spirit-slirring sight!
The billows foam'd beneath a thousand oars, I-'ast as lliey land the red-eruss ranks unite.
Legions on legions brightening all the shore*. Then banners rise, and cannou-sigual rosrv
Then peals the warlike thunder of the drum. Thrills the loud fife, the truinpel-flourish pours.
And patriot hopes awake, and doubts ire dura*. For, bold iu Freedom's cause, the bands of Oon« come!