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REARING their crests amid the cloudless skies,
And darkly clustering in the pale moonlight,
Toledo's holy towers and spires arise,

As from a trembling lake of silver white;
Their mingled shadows intercept the sight

Of the broad burial-ground outstretch'd 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.


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,
To guard the limits of King Roderick's camp,
For, through the river's night-fog rolling damp,
Was many a proud pavilion dimly seen,
Which glimmer'd back, against the moon's fair
Tissues of silk and silver twisted sheen, [lamp,
And standards proudly pitch'd, and warders arm



But of their Monarch's person keeping ward,
Since last the deep-mouth d bell of vespers toll'd,
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 bedeck'd with gold,
While silver-studded belts their shoulders grace,
Where ivory quivers ring in the broad falchion's



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,


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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

at last.


But, far within, Toledo's Prelate lent
An ear of fearful wonder to the King;
The silver lamp a fi.ful lustre sent,

So long that sad confession witnessing:
For Roderick told of many a hidden thing,
Such as are lothly utter'd 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



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,
As many a secret sad the king bewray'd;
And sign and glance eked out the unfinished tale,
When in the midst his faltering whisper staid.

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.

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"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,
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



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

not spy;

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;

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