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Till Roderick deemed the 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;
The Christians have regained their heritage :
And many a monastery decks the stage,
The land obeys a Hermit and a Knight,
This clad in sackcloth, that in armour bright,
Armed at all points, and prompt for knightly gest:
Morena's eagle-plume adorned his crest, The spoils of Afric's lion bound his breast.
Fierce he stepped forward and flung down his gage, As if of mortal kind to brave the best.
Him followed his Companion, dark and sage,
In look and language proud as proud might be,
Yet was that bare-foot Monk
So round the loftiest soul his toils he wound,
Till ermined Age, and Youth in arms renowned, Honouring his scourgeand hair-cloth, meekly kissed the ground
Who ne'er to King or Kaisar veiled his crest,
Since first his limbs with mail he did invest, Stooped ever to that Anchoret's behest:
Nor reasoned 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.
Oft his proud galleys sought some new-found world,
That latest sees the sun, or first the morn;
Ingots of ore from rich Potosi borne,
Crowns by Caciques, aigrettes by Omrahs worn,
Wrought of rare gems, but broken, rent, and foul; Idols of gold from heathen temples torn,
Bedabbled all with blood.- With grisly scowl
Tribute to heaven of gratitude and praise;
And many a hand the silver censer sways. But with the incense-breath these censers raise,
Mix steams from corpses smouldering in the fire; The groans of prisoned victims mar the lays,
And shrieks of agony confound the quire,
As once again revolved that measured sand;
Gay Xeres summons forth her vintage band; When for the light Bolero ready stand
The Mozo blithe, with gay Muchacha met,
She of her netted locks and light corsette,
For Valour had relaxed his ardent book,
Lay stretched, full loth the weight of arms to brook;
Pattered a task of little good or ill:
Whistled the muleteer o'er vale and hill,
Let the grave sceptre slip his lazy hold,
Of a loose Female and her Minion bold; But peace was on the cottage and the fold,
From court intrigue, from bickering faction far; Beneath the chestnut-tree Love's tale was told;
And to the tinkling of the light guitar,
When first from Carmel by the Tishbite seen,
Awhile, perchance, bedecked with colours sheen,
While yet the sunbeams on its skirts had been,
Limning with purple and with gold its shroud, Till darker folds obscured the blue serene,
And blotted Heaven with one broad sable cloud
Like gathering clouds, full many a foreign band,
And offered peaceful front and open hand; Veiling the perjured treachery he planned,
By friendship’s zeal and honour's specious guise, Until he won the passes of the land;
Then, burst were honour's oath, and friendship’s ties !
And well such diadem his heart became,
Or checked his course for piety or shame; Who, trained a soldier, deemed a soldier's fame
Might flourish in the wreath of battles won, Though neither truth nor honour decked his name;
Who, placed by fortune on a Monarch's throne,
The spark, that, from a superb hovel's hearth
Hath 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 showed,
And all he crushed that crossed his desperate road, Nor thought, nor feared, nor looked on what he trod;
Realms could not glut his pride, blood could not slake, So oft as e'er she shook her torch abroad
It was AMBITION bade his terrors wake,
Or stayed her band for conquered foeman's moan,
By Cæsar's side she crossed the Rubicon;
Nor joyed she to bestow the spoils she won,
As when the banded powers of Greece were tasked,
No seemly veil her modern minion asked,
“And hopest thou, then,” he said, “ thy power sball stand! O thou hast builded on the shifting sand, · And thou hast tempered it with slaughter's flood; And know, fell scourge in the Almighty's hand !
Gore-moistened trees shall perish in the bud,
A wan fraternal Shade, and bade him kneel,
While trumpets rang, and heralds cried, “Castile !" Not that he loved him-No!-in no man's weal,
Scarce in his own, e'er joyed that sullen heart; Yet round that throne he bade his warriors wheel,
That the poor puppet might perform his part,
Not long the silence of amazement hung,
And VALOur woke, that Genius of the land!
As burst the awakening Nazarite his band, When 'gainst his treacherous foes he clenched his dreadful handa
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,
To guard awhile his substituted throne —
And it was echoed from Corunna's wall;
Granada 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,
The invaders march, of victory secure;
And trained alike to vanquish or endure. Nor skilful less, cheap conquest to ensure,
Discord to breathe, and jealousy to sow, To quell by boasting, and by bribes to lure;
While nought against them bring the unpractised foe, Save hearts for freedom's cause, and hands for freedom's blow.
By one hot field to crown a brief campaign,
Destroyed at every stoop an ancient reign!
In vain the steel, in vain the torch was plied, New Patriot armies started from the slain,
High blazed the war, and long, and far, and wide,
Remained their savage waste. With blade and brand, By day the Invaders ravaged hill and dale,
But, with the darkness, the Guerilla band Came like night's tempest, and avenged the land,
And claimed for blood the retribution due, Probed the hard heart, and lopped the murderous hand;
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 visioned strife from sea to sea, How oft the Patriot banners rose or fell,
Still honoured in defeat as victory! For that sad pageant of events to be,
Showed every form of fight by field and flood; Slaughter and Ruin, shouting forth their glee,
Beheld, while riding on the tempest-scud, The waters choked with slain, the earth bedrenched with blood!
That names thy name without the honour due !
Of faith so felly proved, so firmly true!