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"Ill-fated prince! recall the desperate word, Or pause ere yet the omen thou obey! Bethink, yon spell-bound portal would afford Never to former Monarch entrance-way; 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."—
-"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 bray'd.
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 descry 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;
This grasp'd a scythe, that rested on a mace;
This spread his wings for flight, that pondering
Each stubborn seem'd and stern, immutable of mood.
Fix'd was the right-hand Giant's brazen look
Whose iron volume loaded his huge hand;
Of empires lost, and kings to exile driven;
Even while they read, the sand-glass wastes away;
And gave to Roderick's view new sights of fear and
For they might spy, beyond that mighty breach,
And here, as erst upon the antique stage
Pass'd forth the bands of masquers trimly led,
In various forms, and various equipage,
And issue of events that had not been; [tween. And ever and anon strange sounds were heard be
First shrill'd an unrepeated female shriek!
Needs not to Roderick their dread import tell"The Moor!" he cried, "the Moor!-ring out the tocsin bell!
"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 roar'd; The shadowy hosts are closing on the plainNow, God and St Iago strike, for the good cause of Spain !"
"By heaven, the Moors prevail! the Christians yield!
Their coward leader gives for flight the sign! The sceptred craven mounts to quit the fieldIs not yon steed Orelia?—Yes, 'tis mine +
The tecbir, (derived from the words Alla acbar, God is mest mighty,) was the original war-cry of the Saracens, The Lee, well known to the Christians during the crusades, is the shout of Alla illa Alla, the Mahomedan confession of faith.
In the battle of Xeres fought by Don Roderick against the Moors A.D. 714, the Spaniards were defeated with great slaughter, and the king himself was drowned in the Xeres while crossing it in his flight. Orelia, the courser of Don Roderick, was celebrated for her speed and form.
But never was she turn'd from battle line;-
The Prelate said; "rash Prince, yon vision'd form's thine own."
Just then, a torrent crossed the flier's course;
And for their bondsmen base the freeborn natives brand.
Then rose the grated Harem, to enclose
The loveliest maidens of the Christian line; Then, 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
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, Aud sees the pale assistants stand aloof; While cruel Conscience brings him bitter proof, His folly, or his crime, have caused his grief; And, while above him nods the crumbling roof,
He curses earth and heaven-himself in chiefDesperate of earthly aid, despairing Heaven's relief!
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-deck'd dancer springs, Bazars resound as when their marts are met, In tourney light the Moor his jerrid flings,
And on the land ar evening seem'd to set, The Imaum's chant was heard from mosque or minaret.
So pass'd that pageant. Ere another came,
With every flash a bolt explosive broke,
Till Roderick deem'd 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; Lightning and smoke her breath, and thunder was
From the dim landscape roll the clouds awayThe Christians have regain'd their heritage; Before the Cross has 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 hight.
VALOUR was harness'd like a Chief of old,
Arm'd at all points, and prompt for knightly gest;