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The day of Roncesvalles was a dismal day for you,
Ye men of France, for there the lance of King Charles was broke in two.
Ye well may curse that rueful field, for many a noble peer
In fray or fight the dust did bite beneath Bernardo's spear.
Then captured was Guarinos, King Charles's Admiral,
Seven Moorish kings surrounded him, and seized him for their thrall;
Seven times when all the chase was o'er, for Guarinos lots they cast;
Seven times Marlotes won the throw, and the knight was his at last.
Much joy had then Marlotes, and his captive much did prize,
Above all the wealth of Araby, he was precious in his eyes.
Within his tent at evening he made the best of cheer,
And thus, the banquet done, he spake unto his prisoner.
“Now, for the sake of Allah, Lord Admiral Guarinos,
Be thou a Moslem, and much love shall ever rest between us.
Two daughters have I !-all the day shall one thy handmaid be-
The other (and the fairest far) by night shall cherish thee.
“ The one shall be thy waiting-maid, thy weary feet to lave,
To scatter perfumes on thy head, and fetch thee garments brave:
The other-she the pretty one-shall deck her bridal bower,
And my field and my city they both shall be her dower.
“If more thou wishest, more I'll give. Speak boldly what thy thought is."
Thus earnestly and kindly to Guarinos said Marlotes :
But not a minute did he take to ponder or to pause,
Thus clear and quick the answer of the Christian Captain was.
“Now, God forbid! Marlotes, and Mary his dear mother,
That I should leave the faith of Christ and bind me to another.
For women-I've one wife in France, and I'll wed no more in Spain,
I change not faith, I break not vow, for courtesy or gain."
Wroth waxed King Marlotes, when thus he heard him say,
And all for ire commanded, he should be led away;
Away unto the dungeon-keep, beneath its vaults to lie,
With fetters bound in darkness deep, far off from sun and sky.
With iron bands they bound his hands; that sore unworthy plight
Might well express his helplessness, doomed never more to fight.
Again, from cincture down to knee, long bolts of iron he bore,
Which signified the knight should ride on charger never more.
Three times alone in all the year it is the captive's doom
To see God's daylight bright and clear, instead of dungeon gloom;
Three times alone they bring him out, like Samson long ago,
Before the Moorish rabble-rout to be a sport and show.
On these high feasts they bring him forth, a spectacle to be-
The Feast of Pasque and the great day of the Nativity;
And on that morn, more solemn yet, when the maidens strip the bowers,
And gladden mosque and minaret with the first fruits of the flowers.
Days come and go of gloom and show. Seven years are past and gone.
And now doth fall the festival of the holy Baptist John;
Christian and Moslem tilts and jousts, to give it honor due,
And rushes on the paths to spread, they force the sulky Jew.
Marlotes in his joy and pride a target high doth rear,
Below the Moorish knights must ride and pierce it with the spear;
But 'tis so high up in the sky, albeit much they strain..
No Moorish lance may fly so far, Marlotes' prize to gain.
Wroth waxed King Marlotes, when he beheld them fail,
The whisker trembled on his lip, and his cheek for ire was pale.
The herald's proclamation made, with trumpets, through the town,
“Nor child shall suck, nor man shall eat, till the mark be tumbled down !"
The cry of proclamation and the trumpet's haughty sound Did send an echo to the vault where the Admiral was bound. “Now help me, God !" the captive cries. “What means this cry so loud ? 0, Queen of Heaven! be vengeance given on these thy haters proud !
“Oh! is it that some Paynim gay doth Marlotes' daughter wed,
And that they bear my scorned fair in triumph to his bed ?
Or is it that the day is come-one of the hateful three-
When they, with trumpet, fife and drum, make heathen game of me?"
These words the jailer chanced to hear, and thus to him he said :
"These tabours, lord, and trumpets clear conduct no bride to bed;
Nor has the feast come round again, when he that hath the right
Commands thee forth, thou foe of Spain, to glad the people's sight.
“ This is the joyful morning of John the Baptist's day,
When Moor and Christian feasts at home, each in his nation's way;
But now our King commands that none his banquet shall begin,
Until some knight, by strength or sleight, the spearman's prize do win.”
Then out and spoke Guarinos: “Oh! soon each man should feed,
Were I but mounted once again on my own gallant steed.
Oh, were I mounted as of old, and harnessed cap-a-pie,
Full soon Marlotes' prize I'd hold whate'er its price may be.
“Give me my horse, my old gray horse, so be he is not dead, All gallantly caparisoned with plate on breast and head;
And give me the lance I brought from France, and if I win it not
My life shall be the forfeiture, I'll yield it on the spot.”
The jailer wondered at his words. Thus to the knight said he :
"Seven weary years of chains and gloom have little humbled thee.
There's never a man in Spain, I trow, the like so well might bear,
An' if thou wilt I with thy vow will to the King repair."
The jailer put his mantle on and came unto the King,
He found him sitting on the throne within his listed ring;
Close to his ear he planted him, and the story did begin,
How bold Guarinos vaunted him the spearman's prize to win.
That were he mounted but once more on his own gallant gray,
And armed with the lance he bore on the Roncesvalles day,
What never Moorish knight could pierce, he would pierce it at a blow,
Or give with joy his life-blood fierce at Marlotes' feet to flow.
Much marveling, then said the King: “Bring Sir Guarinos forth,
And in the grange go seek ye for his gray steed of worth ;
His arms are rusty on the wall, seven years have gone, I judge,
Since that strong horse hath bent him to be a common drudge.
“Now this will be a sight indeed to see the enfeebled lord
Essay to mount that ragged steed, and draw that rusty sword;
And for the vaunting of his phrase he well deserves to die:
So, jailer, gird his harness on, and bring your champion nigh."
They have girded on his shirt of mail, his cuisses well they've clasped, And they've barred the helm on his visage pale, and his hand the lance
hath grasped ; And they have caught the old gray horse, the horse he loved of yore, And he stands pawing at the gate, caparisoned once more.
When the knight came out the Moors did shout, and loudly laughed the
For the horse he pranced and capered and furiously did fling;
But Guarinos wbispered in his ear, and looked into his face,
Then stood the old charger, like a lamb, with calm and gentle grace.
Oh! lightly did Guarinos vault into the saddle-tree,
And slowly riding down made halt before Marlotes' knee;
Again the heathen laughed aloud. “All hail, Sir Knight !" quoth he,
“Now do thy best, thou champion proud; thy blood I look to see.”
With that Guarinos, lance in rest, against the scoffer rode,
Pierced at one thrust his envious breast, and down his turban trode.
Now ride, now ride, Guarinos! nor lance nor rowel spare,
Play, slay, and gallop for thy life! The land of France lies there!
The "old gray steed" plays no mean part in the foregoing story; and of the many ballads that celebrate the glories of the Cid, I hardly know one more pleasing than that which describes the mingled spirit and gentleness of his favorite horse.
The King looked on him kindly, as on a vassal true;
Then to the King Ruy Diaz spake, after reverence due:
“O King, the thing is shameful, that any man beside
The liege lord of Castile himself should Bavieca ride ;
“For neither Spain nor Araby could another charger bring
So good as he, and certes the best befits my King.
But that you may behold him, and know him to the core,
I'll make him go as he was wont, when his nostrils smelt the Moor."
With that the Cid, clad as he was in mantle furred and wide,
On Bavieca vaultingput the rowel in his side;
And up and down, and round and round, so fierce was his career,
Streamed like a pennon on the wind, Ruy Dias' minivere.
And all that saw them praised them; they lauded man and horse,
As matched well, and rivalless for gallantry and force;
Ne'er had they looked on horseman might to this knight come near
Nor on other charger worthy of such a cavalier.
Thus to and fro a-rushing, the fierce and furious steed
He snapt in twain his hither rein:"God pity now the Cid !
God pity Dias!" said the Lords; but when they looked again,
They saw Ruy Dias ruling him with the fragment of his rein;
They saw him firmly ruling, with gesture firm and calm,
Like a true lord commanding-and obeyed as by a lamb.
And so he led him prancing and panting to the King;
But "No!” said Don Alphonso, “it were a shameful thing
That peerless Bavieca should ever be bestrid
By any mortal but Bivar:-Mount, mount again, my Cid !"
In these two ballads there is little mention of the ladies. But two of the most charming of the Moorish series are devoted to Spain exclusively. “The following,” says Mr. Lockhart, “has been often imitated in Spain and Germany.” Its elegance could scarcely be increased in any language.
“Rise up, rise up, Xarifa, lay the golden cushion down; Rise up, come to the window, and gaze with all the town.
From gay guitar and violin the silver notes are flowing,
And the lovely lute doth speak between the trumpet's lordly blowing;
And banners bright from lattice light are waving everywhere,
And the tall, tall plume of our cousin's bridegroom floats proudly in the air.
Rise up, rise up, Xarifa, lay the golden cushion down;
Rise up, come to the window, and gaze with all the town.
“ Arise, arise, Xarifa; I see Andalla’s face;
He bends him to the people, with a calm and princely grace;
Through all the land of Xeres, and banks of Guadalquiver,
Rode forth bridegroom so brave as he, so brave and lovely, never.
Yon tall plume waving o'er his brow, of azure mixed with white,
I guess 'twas wreathed by Zara, whom he will wed to-night.
Rise up, rise up, Xarifa, lay the golden cushion down;
Rise up, come to the window, and gaze with all the town.
“What aileth thee, Xarifa ? what makes thine eyes look down?
Why stay ye from the window far, nor gaze with all the town?
I've heard you say on many a day, and sure you said the truth,
Andalla rides without a peer among all Granada's youth;
Without a peer he rideth, and yon milk-white horse doth go
Beneath his stately master, with a stately step and slow.
Then rise, oh rise, Xarifa, lay the golden cushion down;
Unseen here, through the lattice, you may gaze with all the town.”
The Zegri lady rose not, nor laid her cushion down;
Nor came she to the window to gaze with all the town;
But though her eyes dwelt on her knee, in vain her fingers strove,
And though her needle pressed the silk, no flower Xarifa wove.
One bonny rose-bud she had traced before the noise drew nigh;
That bonny bud a tear effaced, slow dropping from her eye.
“ No, no,” she sighs, “ bid me not rise, nor lay my cushion down,
To gaze upon Andalla with all the gazing town.”
“Why rise ye not, Xarifa, nor lay your cushion down?
Why gaze ye not, Xarifa, with all the gazing town?
Hear, hear the trumpet how it swells ! and how the people cry!
He stops at Zara's palace-gate. Why sit ye still ? Oh, why ?"
-"At Zara's gate stops Zara's mate; in him shall I discover
The dark-eyed youth pledged me his truth with tears, and was my lover ?
I will not rise with weary eyes, nor lay my cushion down,
To gaze on false Andalla with all the gazing town.”
The next, still of a Moorish maiden, is even more charming.