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Their mingled shadows intercept the sight

Of the broad burial-ground outstretched 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.

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,

For, through the river's night-fog rolling damp,

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

Tissues of silk and silver twisted sheen, And standards proudly pitched, and warders armed between

III.

But of their Monarch's person keeping ward,

Since last the deep-mouthed bell of vespers tolled, The chosen soldiers of the royal guard

Their post beneath the proud Cathedral hold:
A band unlike their Gothic sires of old,

Who, for the cap of steel and iron mace,
Bear slender darts, and casques bedecked with gold,

While silver-studded belts their shoulders grace,
Where ivory quivers ring in the broad falchion's place.

IV.
In the light language of an idle court,

They murmured at their master's long delay,
And held his lengthened orisons in sport:

“What! will Don Roderick here till morning stay, To wear in shrift and prayer the night away?

And are his hours in such dull penance passed For fair Florinda's plundered charms to pay ?”

Then to the east their weary eyes they cast, And wished the lingering dawn would glimmer forth at last.

V.

But, far within, Toledo's Prelate lent

An ear of fearful wonder to the king; The silver lamp a fitful lustre sent,

So long that sad confession witnessing:
For Roderick told of many a hidden thing,

Such as are lothly uttered to the air,
When Fear, Remorse, and Shame, the bosom wring,

And Guilt his secret burthen cannot bear,
And Conscience seeks in speech a respite from Despair.

VI.
Full on the Prelate’s face, and silver hair,

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

Was shadowed 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 he had seen, when conscience shook, Fear tame a monarch's brow, remorse a warrior's look.

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

As many a secret sad the king bewrayed;
And sign and glance eked out the unfinished tale,

When in the midst his faltering whisper stayed. Thus royal Witiza was slain,” he said;

“Yet, holy father, deem not it was I."> Thus still Ambition strives her crimes to shade

O rather deem 'twas stern necessity ! Self-preservation bade, and I must kill or die.

VIII.
“ And, if Florinda's shrieks alarmed 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 bloodHe stayed his speech abrupt-and up the Prelate stood.

IX. “O hardened offspring of an iron race !

What of thy crimes, Don Roderick, shall I say? What alms, or prayers, or penance can efface

Murder's dark spot, wash treason's stain away! For the foul ravisher how shall I pray,

Who, scarce repentant, makes his crime his boast? How hope Almighty vengeance shall delay,

Unless, in mercy to yon Christian host, He spare the shepherd, lest the guiltless sheep be lost."

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Then kindled the dark Tyrant in his mood,

And to iis brow returned his dauntless gloom; And welcome then," he cried, “be blood for blood,

For treason treachery, for dishonour doom! Yet will I know whence come they, or by whom.

Show, for thou canst-give forth the fated key,
And guide me, Priest, to that mysterious rooin,

Where, if aught true in old tradition be,
His nation's future fates a Spanish king shall see.”

XI.
“Ill-fated Prince ! recall the desperate word,

the Om Bethink, yon spell-bound portal would afford

Never to former Monarch entrance-way;

Or pause ere yet

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Nor shall it ever ope, old records say,

Save to a king, the last of all his line,
What time his empire totters to decay,

And treason digs, beneath, her fatal mine,
And, high above, impends avenging wrath divine. -

XII.
-"Prelate ! a Monarch's fate brooks no delay !

Lead on !”—The ponderous key the old man took, And held the winking lamp, and led the way

By winding stair, dark aisle, and secret nook, Then on an ancient gateway bent his look ;

And, as the key the desperate king essayed, Low muttered thunders the Cathedral shook,

And twice he stopped, and twice new effort made,
Till the huge bolts rolled back, and the loud hinges brayed.

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

Roof, walls, and floor, were all of marble stone,
Of polished marble, black as funeral pall,

Carved o'er with signs and characters unknown. A paly light, as of the dawning, shone

Through the sad bounds, but whence they could not spy: For window to the upper air was none;

Yet, by that light, Don Roderick could descry
Wonders that ne'er till then were seen by mortal eye.

XIV.
Grim sentinels, against the upper wall,

Of molten bronze, two Statues held their place;
Massive their naked limbs, their stature tall,

Their frowning foreheads golden circlets grace. Moulded they seem for kings of giant race,

That lived and sinned before the avenging flood; This grasped a scythe, that rested on a mace;

This spread his wings for flight, that pondering stood, Each stubborn seemed and stern, immutable of mood.

XV.
Fixed was the right-hand Giant's brazen look

Upon his brother's glass of shifting sand,
As if its ebb he measured by a book,

Whose iron volume loaded his huge hand; In which was wrote of many a falling land,

Of empires lost, and kings to exile driven; And o'er that pair their names in scroll expand

Lo, DESTINY and TIME! to whom by Heaven The guidance of the earth is for a season given."

XVI.
Even, while they read, the sand-glass wastes away;
_And, as the last and lagging grains did creep,
That right-hand Giant 'gan his club upsway

As one that startles from a heavy sleep.

Full on the upper wall the mace's sweep

At once descended with the force of thunder, And hurtling down at once, in crumbled heap,

The marble boundary was rent asunder,
And gave to Roderick's view new sights of fear and wonder,

XVII.
For they might spy, beyond that mighty breach,

Realms as of Spain in visioned prospect laid,
Castles and towers, in due proportion each,

As by some skilful artist's band portrayed : Here, crossed by many a wild Sierra's shade,

And boundless plains that tire the traveller's eye; There, rich with vineyard and with olive-glade,

Or deep-embrowned by forests huge and high,
Or washed by mighty streams, that slowly murmured by.

XVIII.
And here, as erst upon the antique stage

Passed forth the bands of masquers trimly led,
In various forms, and various equipage,

While fitting strains the hearer's fancy fed; So, to sad Roderick's eye in order spread,

Successive pageants filled 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.

XIX.
First shrilled an unrepeated female shriek ! -

It seemed as if Don Roderick knew the call,
For the bold blood was blanching in his cheek.--

Then answered kettle-drum and atabal, Gong-peal and cymbal-clank the ear appal,

The Tecbir war-cry, and the Lelie's yell, Ring wildly dissonant along the hall.

Needs not to Roderick their dread import tell “The Moor!” he cried, “ the Moor!-rings out the Tocsinbell

xx. “ They come! they come! I see the groaning lands

White with the turbans of each Arab horde,
Swart Zaarah joins her misbelieving bands,

Alla and Mahomet their battle-word,
The choice they yield the Koran or the sword.—

See how the Christians rush to arms amain !
In yonder shout the voice of conflict roared ;

The shadowy hosts are closing on the plainNow, God and St. Iago strike, for the good cause of Spain !

XXI. " By heaven, the Moors prevail ! the Christians yield !

Their coward leader gives for flight the sign! The sceptred craven mounts to quit the field

Is not yon steed Orelia ?-Yes, 'tis mine!

But never was she turned from battle line;

Lo! where the recreant spurs o'er stock and stone !Curses pursue the slave

Rivers engulf him!"_" Hush,” in shuddering tone, The Prelate said; “rash Prince, yon visioned form's thine

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XXII.
Just then, a torrent crossed the flier's course;

The dangerous ford the Kingly Likeness tried ;
But the deep eddies whelmed both man and horse

Swept like benighted peasant down the tide; And the proud Moslemah spread far and wide,

As numerous as their native locust band;
Berber and Ismael's sons the spoils divide,

With naked scimitars mete out the land,
And for their bondsmen base the freeborn natives brand.

XXIII.
Then rose the grated Harem, to enclose

The loveliest maidens of the Christian line;
Tben, menials to their misbelieving foes,

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 Santon's frantic dance, the Fakir's gibbering moan,

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,

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

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

XXV.
That scythe-armed Giant turned his fatal glass,

And twilight on the landscape closed her wings;
Far to Asturian hills the war-sounds pass,

And in their stead rebeck or timbrel rings; And to the sound the bell-decked dancer springs,

Bazaars resound as when their marts are met,
In tourney light the Moor his jerrid flings,

And on the land as evening seemed to set,
The Imaum's chant was heard from mosque or minaret.

XXVI.
So passed that pageant. Ere another came,

The visionary scene was wrapped in smoke,
Whose sulph'rous wreaths were crossed by sheets of flame;

With every Aash a bolt explosive broke,

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