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REARING their crests amid the cloudless skies,
As from a trembling lake of silver white;
Of the broad burial-ground outstretch'd below,
All save the rushing swell of Teio's tide,
Or, distant heard, a courser's neigh or tramp;
But of their Monarch's person keeping ward,
Their post beneath the proud Cathedral hold :
Who, for the cap of steel and iron mace,
In the light language of an idle court,
They murmur'd at their master's long delay, And held his lengthen'd 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 past For fair Florindas plunder'd charms to pay Then to the east their weary eyes they cast And wish'd the lingering dawn would glimmer forth
But, far within, Toledo's Prelate lent
So long that sad confession witnessing:
Full on the Prelate's face, and silver hair,
The stream of failing light was feebly roll'd; 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, 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.
The old man's faded cheek war'd yet more pale,
The invasion of the Moors is generally attributed to the for cible violation committed by Roderick upon Florinda, called by the Moors, Caba, or Cara, the daughter of Count Julian In his indignation Julian formed an alliance with the Moors, and onun tenanced the invasion of Spain y a body of Saracens and Africans, commanded by the celebrated Tarik; the issue of which was the defeat and death of Roderick, and the occupation of almost the whole peninsula by the enemy.
"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.
"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 bloodHe stay'd his speech abrupt and up the Prelate stood.
"O harden'd 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, [boast?
Who, scarce repentant, makes his crime his How hope Almighty vengeance shall delay,
Unless, in mercy to yon Christian host, He spare the shepherd, lest the guiltless sheep be lost."
Then kindled the dark tyrant in his mood,
And to his brow return'd its 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 room, Where, if aught true in old tradition be,
His nation's future fates a Spanish King shall see."—
The predecessor of Roderick upon the Spanish throne, and alain by his connivance, as is affirmed by Rodriguez of Toledo, the father of Spanish history.
"Ill-fated prince! recall the desperate word,
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."
"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 essay'd, Low mutter'd thunders the Cathedral shook,
And twice he stopp'd, and twice new effort made, Till the huge bolts roll'd back, and the loud hinges
Long, large, and lofty, was that vaulted hall;
Roof, walls, and floor, were all of marble stone, Of polish'd 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
For window to the upper air was none;
Yet, by that light, Don Roderick could desery Wonders that ne'er till then were seen by mortal eye.
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 circles grace. Moulded they seem'd for kings of giant race,
That lived and sinn'd before the avenging flood;