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Title: Legends & Romances of Spain
Author: Spence, Lewis, 1874-1955
Language: English
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                      LEGENDS & ROMANCES OF SPAIN

                                   By
                         LEWIS SPENCE F.R.A.I.

              Author of "Legends and Romances of Brittany"
                 "Hero-Tales and Legends of the Rhine"
         "A Dictionary of Medieval Romance and Romance-writers"
                               Etc. Etc.



                                 London
                    George G. Harrap & Company Ltd.
                 2 & 3 Portsmouth Street Kingsway W.C.
                             and at Sydney



PREFACE


Since the days of Southey the romantic literature of Spain has
not received from English writers and critics the amount of study
and attention it undoubtedly deserves. In no European country did
the seeds of Romance take root so readily or blossom so speedily
and luxuriantly as in Spain, which perhaps left the imprint of its
national character more deeply upon the literature of chivalry than did
France or England. When we think of chivalry, do we not think first of
Spain, of her age-long struggle against the pagan invaders of Europe,
her sensitiveness to all that concerned personal and national honour,
of the names of the Cid Campeador, Gayferos, and Gonzalvo de Cordova,
gigantic shadows in harness, a pantheon of heroes, which the martial
legends of few lands can equal and none surpass. The epic of our
British Arthur, the French chansons de gestes, are indebted almost
as much to folklore as to the imagination of the singers who first
gave them literary shape. But in the romances of Spain we find
that folklore plays an inconsiderable part, and that her chivalric
fictions are either the offspring of historic happenings or of that
brilliant and glowing imagination which illumines the whole expanse
of Peninsular literature.

I have given more space to the proofs of connexion between the French
chansons de gestes and the Spanish cantares de gesta than most of my
predecessors who have written of Castilian romantic story. Indeed,
with the exception of Mr Fitzmaurice Kelly, whose admirable work
in the field of Spanish letters forms so happy an exception to our
national neglect of a great literature, I am aware of no English
writer who has concerned himself with this subject. My own opinion
regarding the almost total lack of Moorish influence upon the Spanish
romanceros is in consonance with that of critics much better qualified
to pass judgment upon such a question. But for my classification of
the ballad I am indebted to no one, and this a long devotion to the
study of ballad literature perhaps entitles me to make. I can claim,
too, that my translations are not mere paraphrases, but provide
renderings of tolerable accuracy.

I have made an earnest endeavour to provide English readers with
a conspectus of Spanish romantic literature as expressed in its
cantares de gesta, its chivalric novels, its romanceros or ballads,
and some of its lighter aspects. The reader will find full accounts and
summaries of all the more important works under each of these heads,
many of which have never before been described in English.

If the perusal of this book leads to the more general study of the
noble and useful Castilian tongue on the part of but a handful of
those who read it, its making will have been justified. The real
brilliance and beauty of these tales lie behind the curtains of a
language unknown to most British people, and can only be liberated
by the spell of study. This book contains merely the poor shadows
and reflected wonders of screened and hidden marvels.


L. S.

Edinburgh
June 1920



CONTENTS


    Chapter                                               Page

       I The Sources of Spanish Romance                     11
      II The "Cantares de Gesta" and the "Poema del Cid"    48
     III "Amadis de Gaul"                                   90
      IV The Sequels to "Amadis de Gaul"                   139
       V The Palmerin Romances                             169
      VI Catalonian Romances                               187
     VII Roderic, Last of the Goths                        201
    VIII "Calaynos the Moor," "Gayferos," and
         "Count Alarcos"                                   213
      IX The Romanceros, or Ballads                        222
       X The Romanceros, or Ballads--continued             245
      XI Moorish Romances of Spain                         263
     XII Tales of Spanish Magic and Sorcery                333
    XIII Humorous Romances of Spain                        351
         Bibliography                                      407



CHAPTER I: THE SOURCES OF SPANISH ROMANCE


                                Romance, Romance, the songs of France,
                                The gestes of fair Britaine,
                                The legends of the sword and lance
                                That grew in Alemaine,
                                Pale at thy rich inheritance,
                                Thou splendour of old Spain!

                                                                   Anon.


If, spent with journeying, a stranger should seat himself in some
garden in old Granada, and from beneath a tenting of citron and
mulberry leaves open his ears to the melody of the waters of the City
of Pomegranates and his spirit to the sorcery of its atmosphere,
he will gladly believe that in the days when its colours were less
mellow and its delicious air perhaps less reposeful the harps of its
poets were the looms upon which the webs of romance were woven. Almost
instinctively he will form the impression that the Spaniard, having
regained this paradise after centuries of exile, and stirred by the
enchanted echoes of Moorish music which still lingered there, was
roused into passionate song in praise of those heroes of his race who
had warred so ceaselessly and sacrificed so much to redeem it. But
if he should climb the Sierra del Sol and pass through the enchanted
chambers of the Alhambra as a child passes through the courts of dream,
he will say in his heart that the men who builded these rooms from the
rainbow and painted these walls from the palette of the sunset raised
also the invisible but not less gorgeous palace of Spanish Romance.

Or if one, walking in the carven shadows of Cordova, think on the
mosque Maqsura, whose doors of Andalusian brass opened to generations
of poets and astrologers, or on the palace of Azzahra, built of
rose and sea-coloured marbles rifled from the Byzantine churches of
Ifrikia, will he not believe that in this city of shattered splendours
and irretrievable spells the passion-flower of Romance burst forth
full-blown?

But we cannot trace the first notes of the forgotten musics nor piece
together the mosaic of broken harmonies in the warm and sounding
cities of the Saracens, neither in "that mine of silk and silver," old
Granada, nor among the marble memories of Cordova, whose market-place
overflowed with the painted parchments of Moorish song and science. We
must turn our backs on the scarlet southern land and ascend to the
bare heights of Castile and Asturias, where Christian Spain, prisoned
for half a thousand years upon a harsh and arid plateau, and wrought
to a high passion of sacrifice and patriotism, burst into a glory of
martial song, the echoes of which resound among its mountains like
ghostly clarions on a field of old encounter.

Isolation and devotion to a national cause are more powerful as
incentives to the making of romance than an atmosphere of Eastern
luxuriance. The breasts of these stern sierras were to give forth
milk sweeter than the wine of Almohaden, and song more moving if less
fantastic arose in Burgos and Carrión than ever inspired the guitars
of Granada. But the unending conflict of Arab and Spaniard brought
with it many interchanges between the sensuous spirit of the South
and the more rugged manliness of the North, so that at last Saracen
gold damascened the steel of Spanish song, and the nets of Eastern
phantasy wound themselves about the Spanish soul. In a later day
an openly avowed admiration for the art and culture of the Moslem
leavened the ancient hate, and the Moorish cavalier imitated the
chivalry, if not the verse, of the Castilian knight. [1]



The Cradle of Spanish Song

The homeland of Spanish tradition was indeed a fitting nursery for the
race which for centuries contested every acre of the Peninsula with
an enemy greatly more advanced in the art of warfare, if inferior in
resolution and the spirit of unity. Among the flinty wastes of the
north of Spain, which are now regarded as rich in mineral resources,
are situated at intervals luxuriant and fertile valleys sunk deep
between the knees of volcanic ridges, the lower slopes of which
are covered with thick forests of oak, chestnut, and pine. These
depressions, sheltered from the sword-like winds which sweep down
from the Pyrenees, reproduce in a measure the pleasant conditions of
the southern land. Although their distance one from another tended
to isolation, it was in these valleys that Christian Spain received
the respite which enabled her to collect her strength and school her
spirit for the great struggle against the Saracen.

In this age-long contest she was undoubtedly inspired by that subtle
sense of nationhood and the possession of a common tongue which have
proved the salvation of many races no less desperately situated, and
perhaps her determination to redeem the lost Eden of the South is the
best measure of the theory that, prior to the era of Saracen conquest,
the Castilian tongue was a mere jargon, composed of the elements of
the Roman lingua rustica and the rude Gothic, and, according to some
authorities, still lacking in grammatical arrangement and fixity
of idiom. [2] It is certainly clear that the final phases in the
evolution of Castilian took place subsequently to the Arabic invasion,
but it is a straining of such scanty evidence as we possess to impute
to the form of Castilian speech current immediately before that time
the character of an undisciplined patois.



Roman and Visigoth

When in the early part of the fifth century the Visigoths, following
in the wake of the Vandal folk, entered Romanized Spain, they did not
build upon the ruins of its civilization, but retained the habits of
their northern homeland and for some generations seem to have been
little impressed with Roman culture. Nor did the Latin speech of the
people they had conquered at first find favour among them, although,
dwelling as they had done on the very flanks of the Empire, they were
certainly not ignorant of it. They found the people of the Peninsula
as little inclined to relinquish the cultivated language in which their
compatriots Martial, Lucan, and Seneca had contributed to the triumphs
of Roman letters. A military autocracy is not usually successful
in imposing its language upon a subject people unless it possesses
the dual advantages of an ascendancy in arms and literary capacity,
and the Visigoths, unable to compete in this latter respect with the
highly civilized colonists of Hispania, fell, with the passing of
the generations, into the easy acceptance of the Roman tongue. Their
illiteracy, however, was not the sole reason for their partial defeat
in the give-and-take of linguistic strife, for, though powerful in
military combination, they were greatly outmatched in numbers. As
invaders they had brought few women with them, and had perforce to
intermarry with native wives, who taught their children the Roman
tongue. The necessary intercourse between conqueror and conquered in
time produced a sort of pidgin-Latin, which stood in much the same
relation to the classic speech of Rome as the trade languages of the
Pacific did to English. [3]

The use of Latin as a literary tongue in that part of Spain where the
Castilian speech was evolved considerably retarded its development
from the condition of a patois to a language proper. Nevertheless it
continued to advance. The processes by which it did so are surprisingly
obscure, but the circumstance of its literary fixity in the early
eleventh century is proof that it must have achieved colloquial
perfection at least before the era of the Moorish invasion. The
Saracen conquest, by forcing it into the bleak north-west, did it
small disservice, for there it had to contend with other dialects
of the Roman tongue, which enriched its vocabulary, and over which,
ultimately, it gained almost complete ascendancy as a literary
language.



The Romance Tongues of Spain

Three Romance or Roman languages were spoken in that portion of
Spain which remained in Christian hands: in Catalonia and Aragon the
Provençal, Catalan, or Limousin; in Asturias, Old Castile, and Leon
the Castilian; and in Galicia the Gallego, whence the Portuguese had
its origin. The Catalan was almost entirely similar to the Provençal or
langue d'oc of Southern France, and the accession of Raymond Berenger,
Count of Barcelona, to the throne of Provence in 1092 united the
Catalonian and Provençal peoples under one common rule. Provençal,
the language of the Troubadours, was of French origin, and bears
evidence of its evolution from the Latin of Provincial Gaul. It
appears to have been brought into Catalonia by those Hispani who
had fled to Provence from Moorish rule, and who gradually drifted
southward again as the more northerly portions of Spain were freed from
Arab aggression. The political connexion of Catalonia with Provence
naturally brought about a similarity of custom as well as of speech,
and indeed we find the people of the Catalan coast and the province
of Aragon deeply imbued with the chivalry and gallantry of the more
northerly home of the Gai Saber.

Throughout the whole Provençal-Catalan [4] tract were held those
romantic courts of love in which the erotic subtleties of its men
and women of song were debated with a seriousness which shows that
the art of love had entered into competition with the forces of law
and religion, and had, indeed, become the real business of life with
the upper classes of the country. Out of this glorification of the
relations of the sexes arose the allied science of chivalry, no less
punctilious or extravagant in its code and spirit. This spirit of
Provençal chivalry gradually found its way into Castile, heightened
and quickened the imagination of its people, and prepared the Spanish
mind for the acceptance and appreciation of Romantic literature. But at
no time was Castilian imagination passively receptive. It subjected
every literary force which invaded it to such a powerful alchemy
of transmutation that in time all foreign elements lost their alien
character and emerged from the crucible of Spanish thought as things
almost wholly Castilian.

The perfection of rhyming verse was undoubtedly accomplished by the
Troubadour poets of Provence and Catalonia, and opened the way for a
lyric poetry which, if it never attained any loftiness of flight or
marked originality of expression, has seldom been surpassed in melody
and finish. But it is remarkable that this extensive body of verse,
if a few political satires be excepted, has but one constant theme--the
exaltation of love. A perusal of the poetry of the pleasant Provençal
tongue pleases the ear and appeals to the musical sense. The melody is
never at fault, and we can count upon the constancy of a pavane-like
stateliness, which proceeds, perhaps, as much from the genius of
the language as from the metrical excellences of its singers. But
the monotonous repetition of amatory sentiment, for the expression
of which the same conceptions and even the same phrases are again
and again compelled to do duty, the artificial spirit which inspires
these uniform cadences, and the lack of real human warmth soon weary
and disappoint the reader, who will gladly resign the entire poetical
kingdom of Provence to the specialist in prosody or the literary
antiquary in exchange for the freer and less formal beauties of a
music better suited to human needs and less obviously designed for
the uses of a literary caste. The poetry of Provence reminds us of
those tapestries in which the scheme is wholly decorative, where
stiff, brocaded flowers occupy regular intervals in the pattern and a
monotonous sameness of colour is the distinctive note. No episode of
the chase nor pastoral scene charms us by its liveliness or reality,
nor do we find the silken hues distributed in a natural and pleasing
manner. [5]

The Provençal and Catalan troubadours had, indeed, a certain influence
upon the fortunes of Castilian poetry and romance, and proofs of their
early intercourse with Castile are numerous. The thirteenth-century
Book of Apollonius, an anonymous poem, is full of Provençalisms, as
is the rather later History of the Crusades. During the persecution
they suffered at the period of the Albigensian wars numbers of them
fled into Spain, where they found a refuge from their intolerant
enemies. Thus Aimeric de Bellinai fled to the Court of Alfonso IX,
[6] and was later at the Court of Alfonso X, as were Montagnagunt and
Folquet de Lunel, as well as Raimond de Tours and Bertrand Carbunel,
who, with Riquier, either dedicated their works to that monarch or
composed elegies on the occasion of his death. King Alfonso himself
wrote verses of a decidedly Provençal cast, and even as late as 1433
the Marquis de Villena, a kinsman of the famous Marquis de Santillana,
whom we shall encounter later, wrote a treatise upon the art of
the Troubadours, [7] which, following the instincts of a pedant,
he desired to see resuscitated in Castile. [8]

The Galician, a Romance language which sprang from the same root as the
Portuguese, is nearly allied to the Castilian. But it is not so rich in
guttural sounds, from which we may be correct in surmising that it has
less of the Teutonic in its composition than the sister tongue. Like
Portuguese, it possesses an abundance of hissing sounds, and a nasal
pronunciation not unlike the French, which was in all probability
introduced by the early establishment of a Burgundian dynasty upon
the throne. But Galician influence upon Castilian literature ceased
at an early period, although the reverse was by no means the case.



The Rise of Castilian

The evolution of Castilian from the original Latin spoken by the Roman
colonists in Spain was complicated by many local circumstances. Thus
in contracting the vocables of the Roman tongue it did not omit the
same syllables as the Italian, nor did it give such brevity to them
as Provençal or Galician. Probably because of the greater admixture
of Gothic blood among those who spoke it, it is rich in aspirates, and
has a stronger framework than almost any of the Romance tongues. Thus
the Latin f is in Castilian frequently altered to h, as hablar =
fabulari, 'to speak.' The letter j, which is strongly aspirated, is
frequently substituted for the liquid l, so that filius, 'a son,'
becomes hijo. Liquid ll in its turn takes the place of Latin pl,
and we find Latin planus, 'smooth,' appearing in Castilian as llano
(pron. lyáh-no). The Spanish ch supplies the place of the Latin ct,
as facto = hecho, dictu = dicho, and so on.

Other proofs of Teutonic association are not lacking. Thus the g
before c and i, which in Gothic and German is a guttural, has the
same character in Castilian. The Spanish conversion of o into ue also
resembles the similar change in German, if, for example, we compare
Castilian cuerpo and pueblo with the German Körper and Pöbel.



Southward Spread of Castilian

The rise of Castilian as a colloquial and literary tongue was achieved
by the ceaseless struggle of the hardy race who spoke it against the
Saracen occupation of their native land. As the Castilian warriors by
generations of hard fighting gradually regained city after city and
district by district rather than province by province, their language
encroached by degrees upon the area of that of their Arab enemies,
[9] until at length the last stronghold of the Moors fell and left
them not a foothold in the Peninsula. "It was indeed a rude training
which our forefathers, mighty and hardy, had as a prelude to so many
glories and to the conquest of the world," says Martinez in his novel
Isabel de Solis. [10] "Weighed down by their harness and with sword
in hand, they slept at ease no single night for eight centuries."

From the period of the defeat of Roderic, "last of the Visigoths,"
at the battle of Xerez de la Frontera in 711 until the fall of Granada
in 1492, Spain was indeed a land of battles. Almost immediately after
their first defeat by Arab arms the armies of the Visigoths were
pursued to the north-western limits of the Peninsula, where they,
found a rallying-place in the mountains of Biscay and Asturias. There,
like the Welsh after the Saxon invasion of Britain, they might have
become reconciled to the comparatively narrow area left to them,
but the circumstances of their virtual imprisonment served only to
unite them more closely in a common nationality and a common resolve
to win back their original possessions.

For many generations their efforts were confined to border forays
and guerrilla fighting, in which they were by no means uniformly
successful, for the fiery courage of the Saracens would permit of no
mere defensive policy, and nearly every victory of which the Castilians
could boast was counterbalanced by reverses and losses which their
inferior numbers could ill sustain. But by degrees their valorous
obstinacy was rewarded, and ere a century had passed they had regained
the greater part of Old Castile. The very name of this province,
meaning as it does 'the Land of Castles,' shows that even when regained
it was held only by fortifying its every hill-top with strongholds,
so that at last this castellated tract gave its name to the race
which held it so dearly. Before another twenty years had passed the
Castilian warriors had established a footing in New Castile, and from
this time onward seem to have been assured of ultimate success.

The fall of Toledo in 1085, after three centuries and a half of
Saracen occupation, marked a further epoch in the southern advance of
the Castilians, and by the taking of Saragossa in 1118 the tables were
turned upon the Arab invaders, who were now driven into a more confined
part of the country, to the south and south-west. This circumstance,
however, seems to have consolidated rather than crippled their
resisting powers, and they had yet to be reckoned with for nearly four
centuries ere, with the fall of Granada, Boabdil, or Abu-Abdallah, the
last of the Moorish kings, gave up its keys to Ferdinand of Castile,
looked his last upon the city, and crossed to Africa to fling away
his life in battle.

In these circumstances of constant strife and unrest the Romantic
literature of Spain was born. It is by no means remarkable that its
development coincided with the clash of arms. Trumpets re-echo in its
every close. As it expresses the spirit of a martial race, it was also
the nursling of necessity, for from the songs and fables of mighty
heroes the knights of Castile drew a new courage and experienced an
emulous exhilaration which nerved them on the day of battle. Well
might the wandering knight of Castile chant, as in the old ballad:


    Oh, harness is my only wear,
    The battle is my play:
    My pallet is the desert bare,
    My lamp yon planet's ray. [11]


Border warfare, with its frequent change of scene and constant alarms,
was a fitting introduction to errantry.



The Literary Development of Castilian

Castilian, although more than one alien influence impinged upon it,
evolved a literary shape peculiarly its own, especially as regards
its verse, as will be seen when we come to deal separately with
its several Romantic forms. Thus it owed nothing to the literary
methods of Provençal or Catalan, though much to their spirit and
outward manners. When the courtly and rather pedantic poetic system
of the Troubadours encountered the grave and vigorous Castilian, it
was ill fitted to make any prolonged resistance. As political causes
had hastened their encounter, so they quickened the victory of the
Castilian. The ruling power in Aragon had from an early period been
connected with Castilian royalty, and Ferdinand the Just, who came
to the throne of Aragon in 1412, was a Castilian prince. The Courts
of Valencia and Burgos were, therefore, practically open to the same
political influences. If our conclusions are correct, it was during
the reigns of Ferdinand the Just and Alfonso V (1412-58) that the
influence of Castilian first invaded the sphere of Catalan. We find
it definitely recognized as a poetic tongue on the occasion of a
contest of song in honour of the Madonna held at Valencia in 1474,
the forty poems sung at which were afterward collected in the first
book printed in Spain. Four of these are in the Castilian tongue,
which was thus evidently regarded as a literary medium sufficiently
developed to be represented at such a contest. Valencia, indeed,
at first wholly Catalan in speech and art, seems to have possessed
a school of Castilian poets of its own from 1470 to 1550, who did
much to popularize their adopted tongue. But the Catalonians were
not minded that their language should lose the literary hegemony
of Spain so easily, and they made every endeavour to sustain it by
instituting colleges of professional troubadours and vaunting its
beauties at their great public contests of song. It was in vain. They
had encountered a language more vigorous, more ample in vocabulary,
more rich in idiomatic construction, and backed by a stronger political
power than their own.



The Poetical Courts of Castile

The evolution of Castilian as a literary language was also
assiduously fostered by the scholarly character of many of the rulers
of Castile. Alfonso the Wise was himself a poet, and cultivated his
native tongue with judiciousness and care, affording it purity and
precision of expression. Under his supervision the Scriptures were
translated into Castilian, and a General Chronicle of Spain as well as
a history of the First Crusade were undertaken at his instance. He made
it the language of the law-courts, and attempted to infuse into its
verse a more exact spirit and poetical phraseology by the imitation
of Provençal models.

Alfonso XI composed a General Chronicle in the easy, flowing rhyme of
the native redondillas, instead of the stiff, monkish Alexandrines
then current in literary circles, and caused books to be written
in Castilian prose on the art of hunting and the genealogy of the
nobility. [12] His relative Don Juan Manuel did much to discipline
Spanish imagination and give fixity to Spanish prose in his Conde
Lucanor, [13] a volume of ethical and political maxims, the morals
of which are well pointed by tales and fables drawn from history and
classical literature. Juan II, [14] although a weak and idle monarch,
was a great patron of letters, wrote verses, associated with poets,
and caused a large collection of the best existing Spanish verse to
be made in 1449. But the spirit of his Court was a pedantic one; it
strayed after Italian models, and he himself affected the Provençal
manner. Despite such artificial barriers, however, Castilian speech
continued to advance upon its conquering way. It had definitely become
the language of Romance, and Romance, within a generation of this
period, was to become the most powerful literary form in the Peninsula.



The Rise of Romance

The development of Romance in Spain, its evolution and the phases
through which it passed, has not, as a theme, met with that painstaking
treatment at the hands of English writers on Spanish literature
that might have been expected at this late day, when the literary
specialist has to search diligently into the remotest corners of
the earth if he seek new treasures to assay. Its several phases are
rather hinted at than definitely laid down, not because of the poverty
or dubiety of the evidential material so much as through the laxity
and want of thoroughness which characterize most Britannic efforts
at epochal fixation or attempts to elucidate the connexion between
successive literary phases. I can scarcely hope to succeed in a task
which other and better equipped authorities have neglected, perhaps
for sound reasons. But I had rather fail in an attempt to reduce the
details of the evolution of Spanish Romance to orderly sequence than
place before the reader an array of unrelated facts and isolated tags
of evidence which, however interesting, present no definite picture,
permit of no reasonable deduction, and are usually accompanied by a
theoretical peradventure or so by way of dubious enlightenment.

If we regard the literary map of Europe from the eleventh to
the thirteenth century we behold the light shining from two
quarters--Jewish-Arabic Spain and France. With the first we have,
at the moment, no concern. Its literature was at the time alien and
inimical to Christian Spain, which, as we shall see later, did not
regard anything Saracen with complacence until its sword crossed no
longer with the scimitar. But in France Castile had an illustrious
exemplar, whose lessons it construed in its own peculiar manner--a
manner dictated both by national pride and political necessity.

With the influence of Southern France we have already dealt. At the
era alluded to, Northern France, the country of the langue d'oïl,
although in a measure disturbed by unrest, was yet in a much better
case to produce great literature than Castile, whose constant vendetta
with the Moslem left her best minds only a margin of leisure for the
production of pure literature--a margin, however, of which the fullest
advantage was taken. The rise of a caste of itinerary poets in France
supplied the popular demand for story-telling, and the trouvères of
the twelfth century recognized in the glorious era of Charlemagne a
fitting and abundant source for heroic fiction such as would appeal
to medieval audiences. The poems, or rather epics, which they based
upon the history of the Carlovingian period were known as chansons de
gestes, 'songs of the deeds' of the great Frankish emperor and his
invincible paladins, or, to the trouvères themselves, as matière de
France, as the Arthurian tales were designated matière de Bretagne,
and those based upon classical history matière de Rome.

Until comparatively recent times these immense works, many of which
comprise six or seven thousand lines of verse, were practically
unknown, even to the generality of literary authorities. [15] As
we now possess them they are comparatively late in form, and have
undergone much revisal, probably for the worse. But they are the
oldest examples of elaborate verse in any modern language, with the
exception of English and Norse, and undoubtedly stand in an ancestral
relation to all modern European literature.

These chansons were intended to be sung in the common halls of feudal
dwellings by the itinerant trouvères, who composed or passed them
on to one another. Their subject-matter deals more with the clash of
arms than the human emotions, though these are at intervals depicted
in a masterly manner. The older examples among them are written in
batches of lines, varying from one to several score, each of which
derives unity from an assonant vowel-rhyme, and known as laisses or
tirades. Later, however, rhyme crept into the chansons, the entire
laisse, or batch, ending in a single rhyme-sound.



Castilian Opposition to the Chansons de Gestes

In these poems, which probably originated in the north of France,
the genre spreading southward as time progressed, Charlemagne is
represented as the great bulwark of Christianity against the Saracens
of Spain. Surrounded by his peers, Roland, Oliver, Naymes, Ogier,
and William of Orange, he wages constant warfare against the Moors
or the 'Saracens' (pagans) of Saxony. Of these poems Gautier has
published a list of one hundred and ten, a moiety of which date from
the twelfth century. A number of the later chansons are in Provençal,
but all attempts to refer the entire cycle in its original condition
to that literature have signally failed.

That this immense body of romantic material found its way into
Castile is positively certain. Whether it did so by way of Provence
and Catalonia is not clear, but it is not impossible that such was the
case. It might be thought that Christian Spain, in the throes of her
struggle with the Moors, took kindly to a literature so constant in its
reference to the discomfiture of her hereditary foes. At first she did
so, and certainly accepted the chanson form. But two barriers to her
undivided appreciation of it presently appeared. In the first place,
the Castilian of the twelfth century seems to have been aware that
if Charlemagne invaded Spain at all, he encountered not only the Moor
but the Spaniard as well. This is not borne out, as some authorities
imply, by a piece in the popular poetry of the Basques known as the
Altobiskarko Cantar, or Song of Altobiskar, which tacitly asserts that
the defeat of Charlemagne's rearguard at Roncesvalles was due not to
Saracens, but to Basques, who resented the passage of the Frankish
army through their mountain passes. The whole piece is an effusion
written in Basque by a Basque student named Duhalde, who translated
it from the French of François Garay de Montglave (c. 1833). [16]
A second battle of Roncesvalles took place in the reign of Louis le
Debonair in 824, when two Frankish counts returning from Spain were
again surprised and defeated by the Pyrenean mountaineers. But there
appears to have been a still earlier battle between Franks and Basques
in the Pyrenees in the reign of Dagobert I (631-638). The folk-memory
of these contests seems to have been kept alive, so that the Spaniard
felt that the Frank was somewhat of a traditional enemy. Archbishop
Roderic of Toledo inveighed against those Spanish juglares who sang
the battles of Charlemagne in Spain, and Alfonso the Learned belittles
the mythical successes of the Frankish emperor.

But this was not all. The idea that Charlemagne had entered Spain
as a conqueror, carrying all before him, was offensive to the highly
wrought pride and patriotism of the Castilians, who chose to interpret
the spirit of the chansons de gestes in their own way, and, instead
of copying them slavishly, raised an opposing body of song to their
detriment. Accepting as the national hero of the Carlovingian era an
imaginary knight, Bernaldo de Carpio, they hailed him as the champion
of Castile, and invented songs of their own in which he is spoken
of as slaying and defeating Roland at Roncesvalles at the head of a
victorious army composed not of Arabs or Basques, but Castilians.



The Cantares de Gesta

But if the Castilians did not accept the matter of the chansons, they
assuredly adopted their form. Their literary revolt against the alien
spirit and politics of the chansons seems to have taken place at some
time soon after the diffusion of these throughout Spain. A Spanish
priest of the early twelfth century wrote the fabulous chronicle
of Archbishop Turpin of Rheims, which purported to be the work of
that warlike cleric, but in reality was intended to popularize the
pilgrimage to Compostella to which it had reference. Many Franks
travelled to the shrine, among them trouvères, who in all likelihood
passed on to the native Castilian singers the spirit and metrical
system of the chansons, so that later we hear of Spanish cantares de
gesta, most of which, however, unlike their French models, are lost
to us. The famous Poema del Cid, dealing with the exploits of a great
Castilian hero, is nothing but a cantar de gesta in form and spirit,
and we possess good evidence that many of the late romanceros or
ballads upon such heroes as Bernaldo de Carpio, Gonzalvo de Cordova,
and Gayferos are but ancient cantares 'rubbed down,' or in a state
of attrition.

As in France, so in Spain, degeneration overtook the cantares de
gesta. In course of time they were forced into the market-place and
the scullions' hall. Many of them were worked into the substance of
chronicles and histories; but the juglares who now sang them altered
them, when they passed out of fashion, into corrupt abridgments,
or broke them up into ballads to suit the taste of a more popular
audience. [17]



The Chronicles

But if the majority of the cantares de gesta are irreplaceable as
regards their original form, we find fragments of them in the ancient
chronicles of Spain. Thus the General Chronicle of Spain (c. 1252),
which, according to the latest research, is believed to have undergone
at least three specific alterations or rearrangements of its text,
tells the stories of Bernaldo de Carpio, Fernán González, and the
seven Children of Lara, and provides sketches of Charlemagne, while
its latter portion recounts the history of the Cid, and at times
even appeals to the cantares as its authority for such and such an
episode. Many of the passages in the chronicles, too, are obviously
copied in their entirety from certain cantares. So strongly, indeed,
do they retain the assonant verse-formation typical of the cantares
that many of the later balladeers seem easily to have cast them into
verse again, especially those relating to Bernaldo de Carpio and the
Infantes de Lara, and in this manner they appeared once more in the
cancioneros, or collections of folk-songs.



The Ballads

The immortal ballads of Spain have been the subject of the sharpest
controversy, and their importance as Romantic material demands
special treatment in a separate chapter. Regarding the period
to which they belong and their relations to the larger narrative
poems and chronicles, we must deal briefly with them here. Some
authorities ascribe them to an early age and insist upon their
priority to such poems as the Poema del Cid and such chronicles as
that of Alfonso the Learned, while others are equally assured of
the late date of the greater number. It seems to me that the truth
resides in both hypotheses, and that in this case, as frequently
in literary navigation, it is wise to steer a middle course. In my
view the ballads of Spain are of four fundamental types: those which
arose spontaneously in Northern Spain at some time subsequent to
the formation of the Castilian language, and which, if we possess
any remnants of them at all, have probably come down to us in such
a form as would render them unrecognizable to those who first sang
them; ballads which are based on passages in cantares de gesta as
chronicles; folk-ballads of a later date, more or less altered; and,
lastly, the more modern productions of conscious art.

I also believe that the ballads or romanceros are again of two broad
classes: those of spontaneous folk-origin, owing nothing to literary
sources, and those which are mainly cantares de gesta, or chronicle
passages in a lyric state of attrition. With the great body of
authorities upon ancient Spanish literature I do not believe that the
cantares or chronicles owe anything to the ballads of any age, which
seem to me wholly of popular origin. Of course the two classes lastly
indicated do not include the more 'poetic' or sophisticated ballads
written after the ballad became an accepted form for experiments
in conscious versification, and it is plain that such efforts could
belong to neither category.

No definite proof exists as to the degree of sophistication and
alteration which the ballads underwent before their ultimate collection
and publication. It would be strange, however, if no ballads of
relatively early date had reached us, altered or otherwise, and it
seems to me merely a piece of critical affectation to deny antiquity
to a song solely because it found its way into print at a late period,
or because it is not encountered in ancient MSS., just as it would be
to throw doubt upon the antiquity of a legend or folk-custom current
in our own day--unless; indeed, such should display obvious marks of
recent manufacture. At the same time few of these ballads seem to
me to bear the stamp of an antiquity more hoary than, for example,
those of Scotland or Denmark.

Few of the ballad systems of Europe are better worthy of study than
that of Spain. But in this place we are considering it merely from
the point of view of its bearings upon Romance. That it has a close
affinity with the Romantic literature of the Peninsula is evident
from the name given to these poems by the Spaniards, who call them
romanceros. [18] Some of them are, indeed, romances or cantares de
gesta in little, and in fact they deal with all the great subjects
sung of in the cantares or prosed upon in the chronicles, such as the
Cid, Bernaldo de Carpio, Count Alarcos, and so forth. But they seem to
have little in common with the later romances proper, such as Amadis,
Palmerin, or Felixmarte, for the good reason that by the time these
were in fashion the ballad had become the sole property of the common
people. As the Marquis de Santillana (1398-1458), himself a poet
of note, remarks in a letter famous for the light it throws on the
condition of Spanish literature in his day: "There are contemptible
poets who, without order, rule, or rhythm, make those songs and
romances in which vulgar folk and menials take delight." So might
Lovelace or Drummond of Hawthornden have written of our own balladeers.

The ballads thus relegated to the peasantry and lower classes, those of
the upper classes who found time for reading were accordingly thrown
back upon the chronicles and the few cantares de gesta which had been
reduced to writing. But on the destruction of the Moorish states in
Spain the increase in wealth and leisure among the upper classes,
and the introduction of printing, aroused a demand for books which
would provide amusement. A great spirit of invention was abroad. At
first it resuscitated the Romantic matter lying embedded and almost
fossilized in the chronicles. It is, indeed, but a step from some
of these to the romances proper. But Spain hungrily craved novelty,
and the eyes of romance-makers were turned once more to France, whose
fictional wealth began to be exploited by Spanish writers about the
beginning of the fifteenth century.



The Heyday of Romance

Perhaps the first literary notice that we possess of the romance
proper in Spain is that by Ayala, Chancellor of Castile (d. 1407), who,
in his Rimado de Palacio, deplores the time he has wasted in reading
such "lying stuff" as Amadis de Gaul. He might have been much worse
occupied, but, be that as it may, in his dictum we scarcely have a
forecast of the manner in which this especial type of romance was to
seize so mightily upon the Castilian imagination, which, instead of
being content with mere servile copying from French models, was to
re-endow them with a spirit and genius peculiarly Spanish. Perhaps
in no other European country did the seed of Romance find a soil so
fitting for its germination and fruition, and certainly nowhere did
it blossom and burgeon in such an almost tropical luxuriance of fruit
and flower.

Amadis had for sequel a long line of similar tales, all of which the
reader will encounter later in these pages. By general consent of
critics, from Cervantes onward, it is the best and most distinctive
of the Spanish romances, and was translated into French, Italian, and
indeed into most European languages, [19] a special translation, it
is said, even being made for Jewish readers. At a stroke Peninsular
romanticism had beaten French chivalric fiction upon its own
ground. But Amadis was not, as Cervantes seems to think, the first
book of chivalry printed in Spain, for this distinction belongs to
Tirante the White (1490) which, according to Southey, is lacking in
the spirit of chivalry. [20] Among other figures it introduces that
of Warwick the King-maker, who successfully withstands an invasion
of England by the King of the Canary Islands, and ultimately slays
the invader single-handed and routs his forces. But if Cervantes
errs in his bibliography, his barber's summing-up of Amadis as "the
best of all books of its kind that has been written" is not far from
the truth. [21] Tasso thought it "the most beautiful and perhaps the
most profitable story of its kind that can be read." Did he merely
follow the tonsorial critic's opinion, as his language would tempt
one to believe?

Amadis was followed by a host of imitations. Its enormous success,
from a popular point of view, brought into being a whole literature
of similar stamp and intention, if not of equal quality. The first of
such efforts, in consequence if not in chronology, is that of Palmerin
de Oliva, the earliest known edition of which appeared at Seville in
1525, and was followed, like the Amadis, by similar continuations,
Primaleón, Platir, and Palmerin of England, perhaps the best of the
series. [22] Regarding the alleged Portuguese origin of Amadis and
Palmerin I have more to say elsewhere, and will content myself here by
observing that no Portuguese original, printed or manuscript, exists,
although the priority of such seems undoubted. But these romances
became as Castilian as the Arthurian series became English, despite the
latter's Brythonic or other origin, and Spanish they have remained in
the belief and imagination of all Europe, popular as well as critical.

The Palmerin series only fed and increased the passion for romantic
fiction, so hungry was Spain for a literary diet which seemed so
natural and acceptable to her appetite that those who sought to
provide her with romantic reading could scarce cope with the call
for it. The natural result ensued. A perfect torrent of hastily
written and inferior fiction descended upon the public. Invention,
at first bold, became shameless, and in such absurdities of distorted
imagination as Belianis of Greece, Olivante de Laura, and Felixmarte
of Hyrcania the summit of romantic extravagance was reached. But
ridiculous and insulting to human intelligence and decent taste as
most of these productions were, still they found countless thousands
of readers, and there is every indication that publishing in the
Spain of the late sixteenth and the seventeenth centuries must have
been extremely lucrative. These preposterous and chimerical tales,
lacking the beauty and true imaginative skill and simplicity of the
older romances, stood in much the same relation to them as a host
of imitative novels published in the early years of the nineteenth
century did to the romances of Scott. Mexia, the sarcastic historian of
Charles V, writing of romance in 1545, deplores the public credulity
which battened on such feeble stuff. "For," he says, "there be men
who think all these things really happened, just as they read or hear
them, though the greater part of the things themselves are absurd." So
might a critic of our own day descant upon the popular predilection
for the cheap novel, or the whole desert of sensation-fodder which
pours from the all too rapid machines of the Fiction Trusts.

Still another extravagant and more unpleasant manifestation of
the popular craze for romance arose in such religious tales as
The Celestial Chivalry, The Knight of the Bright Star, and others
of little worth, in which Biblical characters are endowed with the
attributes of chivalry and go on adventure bound. The time occupied
by the appearance of these varying types, and indeed in the whole
latter-day evolution of Spanish romance, was strikingly brief. But
half a century elapsed between the publication of Amadis and the
most extreme of its worthless imitations. But it is not difficult to
account for the rapid manufacture and dissemination of such a mass
of literature, good and bad, when we recall that Spain had been for
ages the land of active knighthood, that her imagination had been
wrought to a high pitch of fervour in her long struggle with her pagan
enemies, and that in the tales of chivalry she now gazed upon with
such admiration she saw the reflection of her own courtly and heroic
spirit--the most sensitive and most fantastically chivalrous in Europe.



Possible Moorish Influence on Spanish Romance

There is indeed evidence--pressed down and flowing over--that the
age-long death-grapple with the Saracen powerfully affected Spanish
romantic fiction. But was this influence a direct one, arising out of
the contiguity and constant perusal of the body of Moorish fiction,
or did it proceed from the atmosphere of wonder which the Saracen left
behind him in Spain, the illusions of which were mightily assisted by
the marvels of his architecture and his art? One can scarcely find
a Spanish romance that is not rich in reference to the Moor, who is
usually alluded to as a caballero and a worthy foe. But is it the real
Moor whom we encounter in these tall folios, which beside our modern
volumes seem as stately galleons might in the company of ocean-going
tramps, or is it the Saracen of romance, an Oriental of fiction,
like the Turk of Byronic literature? The question of the influence
of Moorish literature upon Spanish romance has been shrouded by the
most unfortunate popular misconceptions. Let us briefly examine the
spirit of Arabic literary invention, and see in how far it was capable
of influencing Castilian art and imagination.

The history of the development of the Arabic language from the dialect
of a wandering desert people to a tongue the poetic possibilities and
colloquial uses of which are perhaps unrivalled is in itself sufficient
to furnish a whole volume of romantic episode. The form in which it
was introduced into Spain in the early eighth century can scarcely
fail to arouse the admiration of the lover of literary perfection. As
a literary medium its development was rapid and effective. It is,
indeed, as if the tones of a harsh trumpet had by degrees become
merged into those of a silver clarion whose notes ring out ever more
clearly, until at length they arrive at a keenness so intense as to
become almost intolerably piercing. This eloquent language, the true
speech of the literary aristocrat, has through the difficulty of its
acquirement and the bewildering nature of its written characters
remained almost unknown to the great mass of Europeans--unknown,
too, because the process of translation is inadequate to the proper
conveyance of its finer shades and subtler intimations. Even to the
greater number of the Arabs of Spain the highly polished verse in
which their literature was so rich was unknown. How much more, then,
was it a force removed from the Castilian or the Catalan?



Arabic Poetry

The desert life of the Arabs while they were yet an uncultured people,
although it did not permit of the development of a high standard of
literary achievement, fostered the growth of a spirit of observation so
keen as to result in the creation of a wealth of synonyms, by means of
which the language became greatly enriched. Synonymous meaning and the
discovery of beautiful and striking comparisons are the very pillars
of poetry, and within a century of the era of Moslem ascendancy in
the East we find the brilliant dynasty of the Abbassides (c. A.D. 750)
the generous patrons of a poetic literature which the language was so
well prepared to express. Story-telling had been a favourite amusement
among the Arabs of the desert, and they now found the time-honoured,
spontaneous exercise of the imaginative faculty stand them in good
stead. The rapidity of the progress of Arabic literature at this
period is, indeed, difficult of realization. Poetry, which we are
now assured has 'no market value,' was to the truly enlightened upper
classes of this people an art of the first importance, more precious
than those bales of the silks of Damascus, those gems of Samarkand,
or those perfumes of Syria the frequent allusion to which in their
legends encrusts them, like the walls of the cavern of Ala-ed-din,
with fairy jewels. But words were jewels to the Arab. When Al-Mamoun,
the son of Haroun-al-Raschid, dictated terms of peace to the Greek
emperor Michael the Stammerer, the tribute which he demanded from his
conquered enemy was a collection of manuscripts of the most famous
Greek authors. A fitting indemnity to be demanded by the prince of
a nation of poets!

But conquered Spain was more especially the seat and centre of
Arabian literature and learning. Cordova, Granada, Seville--indeed,
all the cities of the Peninsula occupied by the Saracens--rivalled
one another in the celebrity of their schools and colleges, their
libraries, and other places of resort for the scholar and man of
letters. The seventy libraries of Moorish Spain which flourished
in the twelfth century put to shame the dark ignorance of Europe,
which in time rather from the Arab than from fallen Rome won back its
enlightenment. Arabic became not only the literary but the colloquial
tongue of thousands of Spaniards who dwelt in the south under Moorish
rule. Even the canons of the Church were translated into Arabic,
about the middle of the eighth century, for the use of those numerous
Christians who knew no other language. The colleges and universities
founded by Abderahman and his successors were frequented by crowds
of European scholars. Thus the learning and the philosophy if not the
poetry of the Saracens were enabled to lay their imprint deeply upon
plastic Europe. If, however, we inquire more closely into the local
origins of this surprising enlightenment, we shall find it owing even
more to the native Jews of Spain than to the Moors themselves.

The phase of Arabian culture with which we are most nearly concerned
is its poetic achievement, and the ultimate influence which it brought
to bear upon Spanish literary composition. The poetry of this richly
endowed and imaginative people had at the period of their entrance
into Spain arrived, perhaps, at the apogee of splendour. Its warm
and luxuriant genius was wholly antagonistic to the more restrained
and disciplined verse of Greece and Rome, which it regarded as cold,
formal, and quite unworthy of translation. It surpassed in bold and
extravagant hyperbole, fantastic imagery, and emotional appeal. The
Arab poet heaped metaphor upon metaphor. He was incapable of seeing
that that which was intrinsically beautiful in itself might appear
superfluous and lacking in taste when combined with equally graceful
but discordant elements. Many critics hasten to reassure us regarding
his judgment and discrimination. But even a slight acquaintance
with Arabic literature will show that they have been carried away
by their prejudice in favour of the subject on which they wrote. In
the garden of the Arabian poet every flower is a jewel, every plot
is a silken carpet, tapestried with the intricate patterns of the
weavers of Persia, and every maiden is a houri, each of whose physical
attributes becomes in turn the subject of a glowing quatrain. The
constant employment of synonym and superlative, the extravagance of
amorous emotion, and the frequent absence of all message, of that
large utterance in which the poets of the West have indicated to the
generation they served how it might best grapple with problems of
mind and soul--these were the weaknesses of the Arab singers. They
made apophthegm take the place of message. They were unaware that
the fabric of poetry is not only a palace of pleasure, but a great
academy of the soul.

The true love of nature, too, seems to have been as much lacking in
the Arab as in the Greek and the Roman. He enamelled his theme with the
meticulous care of a jeweller. Not content with painting the lily, he
burnished it until it seemed a product of the goldsmith's art. To him
nature was a thing not only to be improved upon, but to be surpassed,
a mine of gems in the rough, to be patiently polished.

But it would be wrong to refuse to the imaginative literature of the
Arabs a high place among the world's achievements, and we must regret
that, for causes into which we cannot enter here, opportunities for
development and discipline were not vouchsafed it. As we read the
history of the Arabian states with their highly developed civilization,
their thronged academies, and their far-flung dominions, reaching
from Central Asia to the western gates of the Mediterranean, and turn,
to-day to the scenes where such things flourished, we must indeed be
unimaginative if we fail to be impressed by the universal wreck and
ruin to which these regions have been exposed. The great, emulous,
and spirited race which conquered and governed them gathered the world
to its doors, and the rude peoples of Europe clustered about its knees
to listen to the magical tales of unfolding science which fell from
its lips. From the desert it came, and to the desert it has returned.


    Djamshîd, the palace is a lions' lair
    Where ye held festival with houris fair;
    The desert ass bounds upon Barlaam's tomb:
    Where are the pomps of yesterday, ah, where?



Moorish 'Fashion' in Spanish Romance

Of Moorish grandeur of thought and luxuriance of emotion we find
little in Spanish literature, at least until the beginning of the
fifteenth century. Its note is distinctively, nay almost aggressively,
European, as will be readily understood from the circumstances of its
origin. [23] But it would seem that with the Castilian occupation
of the Moorish parts of Spain the atmosphere which the Saracen had
left behind him powerfully affected the Spaniard, who appears to
have cast a halo of romance round the character of his ancient foe,
with whose civilization, as expressed in its outward manifestations
of architecture and artifact, he could scarcely have failed to
be deeply impressed. If our conclusions are well founded it would
appear that about the era alluded to a Moorish 'fashion' set in in
Spanish literature, just as did an Oriental craze in the England of
Byron and Moore, when English people began to travel in the Levantine
countries. But this fashion was in great measure pseudo-Saracenic,
unaffected by literary models and derived indirectly more from
atmosphere and art than directly from men or books. Long before the
fifteenth century, however, with its rather artificial mania for
everything Moresque, the Arab spirit had been at work upon Spanish
literature, although in a feeble and unconscious manner. Spanish
literary forms, whether in verse or prose, owe absolutely nothing
to it, and especially is this the case in regard to the assonance
which characterizes Castilian poetry, a prosodic device found in the
verse of all Romance tongues at an early period. The Moors, however,
seem to have sophisticated, if they did not write, the ballads of
the Hispano-Moorish frontiers, especially those which have reference
to the loss of Alhamia. In any case these are founded upon Moorish
legends. Certain metrical pedants, like the Marquis de Santillana,
toyed with Arabic verse-forms as Swinburne did with the French rondeau
or Dobson with the ballade, or as the dry-as-dusts of our universities
with Greek hexameters, neglecting for the alien and recondite the
infinite possibilities of their mother-tongue. These preciosities, to
which many men of letters in all ages have been addicted, had no more
effect upon the main stream of Castilian literature than such attempts
ever have upon the literary output of a country. Some of the popular
coplas, or couplets, however, seem to be direct translations from
the Arabic, which is not surprising when we remember the considerable
number of half-breeds to be found in the Peninsula until the middle of
the seventeenth century. There can be no doubt, too, that Arabic was
the spoken language of thousands of Christians in Southern Spain. But
that it had a determined opponent in the native Spanish is becoming
more and more clear--an opponent which it found as merciless as the
Moor found the Spaniard. [24]

Perhaps the best measure of the decline of Arabic as a spoken language
in Spain is the fact that the authors of many romances declare them to
be mere translations from the Arabic--usually the writings of Moorish
magicians or astrologers. These pretensions are easily refuted by
means of internal evidence. But regarding the question broadly and
sanely, Spanish literature could no more remain unaffected by Arab
influence than could Spanish music, architecture, or handicrafts. All
such influences, however, were undoubtedly late, and, as regards the
romances, were much more 'spiritual' than 'material.' Christian Spain
had held off the Saracen for eight hundred years, and when at last
she consented to drink out of the Saracen cup she filled it with her
own wine. But the strange liquor which had brimmed it before left
behind it the mysterious odours and scents of the Orient, faint,
yet unmistakable.



The Type of Spanish Romance

The type of Spanish romance at its best is that in which the spirit
of wonder is mingled with the spirit of chivalry. Old Spain, with
her glorious ideas of honour, her finely wrought sense of chivalry,
and her birthright of imagination, provided almost a natural crucible
for the admixture of the elements of romance. Every circumstance
of climate and environment assisted and fostered the illusions with
which Spanish story teemed, and above all there was a more practical
interest in the life chivalric in Spain than, perhaps, in any other
country in Europe. The Spaniard carried the insignia of chivalry more
properly than Frenchman or Englishman. It was his natural apparel, and
he brought to its wearing a dignity, a gravity, and a consciousness of
fitness unsurpassed. If he degenerated into a Quixote it was because of
the whole-hearted seriousness with which he had embraced the knightly
life. He was certainly the first to laugh when he found that his
manners, like his mail, had become obsolete. But even the sound of
that laughter is knightly, and the book which aroused it has surely
won at least as many hearts for romanticism as ever it disillusioned.

The history of Spanish conquest is a chronicle of champions, of
warriors almost superhuman in ambition and endurance, mighty carvers
of kingdoms, great remodellers of the world's chart, who, backed by a
handful of lances, and whether in Valencia, Mexico, Italy, or Araucan,
surpassed the fabulous deeds of Amadis or Palmerin. In a later day the
iron land of Castile was to send forth iron men who were to carry her
banners across an immensity of ocean to the uttermost parts of the
earth. What inspired them to live and die in harness surrounded by
dangers more formidable than the enchantments of malevolent sorcerers
or than ever confronted knights-errant in the quest of mysterious
castles? What heartened them in an existence of continuous strife,
privation, and menace? Can we doubt that the hero-tales of their
native land magically moved and inspired them--that when going into
battle the exploits of the heroes of romance rang in their ears like
a fanfare from the trumpets of heralds at a tournament?


    And as we gat us to the fight
    Our armour and our hearts seemed light
    Thinking on battle's cheer,
    Of fierce Orlando's high prowess,
    Of Felixmarte's knightliness
    And the death of Olivier. [25]



CHAPTER II: THE "CANTARES DE GESTA" AND THE "POEMA DEL CID"


                                When meat and drink is great plentye
                                Then lords and ladyes still will be,
                                  And sit and solace lythe.
                                Then it is time for mee to speake
                                Of kern knights and kempes great,
                                  Such carping for to kythe.

                                           "Guy and Colbrand," a romance


The French origin of the cantares de gesta has already been alluded
to. Their very name, indeed, bespeaks a Gallic source. But in justice
to the national genius of Spain we trust that it has been made
abundantly clear that the cantares speedily cast off the northern
mode and robed themselves in Castilian garb. Some lands possess an
individuality so powerful, a capacity for absorption and transmutation
so exceptional, that all things, both physical and spiritual, which
invade their borders become transfigured and speedily metamorphosed to
suit their new environment. Of this magic of transformation Spain,
with Egypt and America, seems to hold the especial secret. But
transfigure the chansons of France as she might, the mould whence
they came is apparent to those who are cognisant of their type and
machinery. Nor could the character of their composers and professors
be substantially altered, so that we must not be surprised to find
in Spain the trouvères and jongleurs of France as trovadores and
juglares. The trovador was the poet, the author, the juglar merely
the singer or declaimer, although no very hard-and-fast line was drawn
betwixt them. Some juglares of more than ordinary distinction were also
the authors of the cantares they sang, while an unsuccessful trovador
might be forced to chant the verses of others. Instrumentalists or
accompanists were known as juglares de péñola in contradistinction
to the reciters or singers, juglares de boca.



The Singers of Old Spain

With the juglar, indeed, was left the final form of the cantar, for he
would shape and shear it, add to or suppress, as his instinct told him
the taste of his audience demanded. Not infrequently he would try to
pour the wine of a cantar into the bottle of a popular air, and if it
overflowed and was spilt, so much the worse for the cantar. Frequently
he was accompanied not only by an instrumentalist, but by a remendador,
or mimic, who illustrated his tale in dumb show. These sons of the
gay science were notoriously careless of their means of livelihood,
and lived a hand-to-mouth existence. A crust of bread and a cup of wine
sufficed them when silver was scarce. Unsullied by the lust of hire,
they journeyed from hall to hall, from castle to castle, unmindful
of all but their mission--to soothe the asperities of a barbarous age.


    Our long-dead brothers of the roundelay,
    Whose meed was wine, who held that praise was pay,
    Hearten ye by their lives, ye singers of to-day!


But this simple state did not last. As the taste for the cantares grew,
the trovadores and their satellites, after the manner of mankind,
became clamorous for the desirable things of life, making the age-long
plea of the artist that the outward insignia of beauty are his very
birthright, and forgetting how fatal it is to


    Stain with wealth and power
    The poet's free and heavenly mind.


These "spirits from beyond the moon" did not, alas! "refuse the
boon." Kings, infantes, and peers indulged the trovador out of full
purses, flattered him by imitating his art and his life, and even
enrolled themselves in his brotherhood. Few men of genius are so
constituted as to be able to control altogether a natural hauteur
and superiority. In these early days poetical arrogance seems to
have been as unchecked as military boastfulness, and the trovadores,
pampered and fêted by prince and noble, at length grew insufferable
in their insolence and rapacity. The land swarmed with singers, real
and pretended, the manner of whose lives became a scandal, even in a
day when scandal was cheap. The public grew weary of the repetition of
the cantares and the harping on a single string. It became fashionable
to read romances instead of listening to them, and eventually we see
the juglares footing it on the highways of Spain, and declaiming at
street-corners in a state of mendicancy more pitiable by far than
their old indigent yet dignified conditions.

Few of the ancient cantares of Spain have survived, in
contradistinction to the hundred or more chansons that France can
show. But what remains of them suffices to distinguish their type with
sufficient clearness. As has been indicated, we owe our knowledge of
more than one of them to the circumstance that they became embedded
in the ancient chronicles of Spain. An excellent illustration of
this process of literary embalming is provided by the manner in which
the cantar of Bernaldo de Carpio has become encrusted in the rather
dreary mass of the General Chronicle of Spain which was compiled
by King Alfonso the Wise (c. 1260), in which it will be found in
the seventh and twelfth chapters of the third part. The poet-king
states that he has founded his history of Bernaldo upon "old lays,"
and in the spirit as well as the form of his account of the legendary
champion we can trace the influence of the cantar.



The Story of Bernaldo de Carpio

Young Bernaldo de Carpio, when he arrived at manhood, was, like many
another hero of romance, unaware that he was of illustrious parentage,
for his mother was a sister of Don Alfonso of Castile, and had wed in
secret the brave and noble Count de Sandias de Saldaña. King Alfonso,
bitterly offended that his sister should mate with one who was her
inferior in rank, cast the Count into prison, where he caused him to be
deprived of sight, and immured the princess in a cloister. Their son
Bernaldo, however, he reared with care. While still a youth, Bernaldo
rendered his uncle important services, but when he learned that his
father languished in prison a great melancholy settled upon him, and
he cared no more for the things that had once delighted him. Instead
of mingling in the tourney or the dance, he put on deep mourning,
and at last presented himself before King Alfonso and beseeched him
to set his father at liberty.

Now Alfonso was greatly troubled when he knew that Bernaldo was aware
of his lineage and of his father's imprisonment, but his hatred for the
man who had won his sister was greater than his love for his nephew. At
first he made no reply, but sat plucking at his beard, so taken aback
was he. But kings are not often at a loss, and Alfonso, thinking to
brush the matter aside by brusque words, frowned, and said sternly:
"Bernaldo, as you love me, speak no more of this matter. I swear to
you that never in all the days of my life shall your father leave
his prison."

"Sire," replied Bernaldo, "you are my king and may do whatsoever you
shall hold for good, but I pray God that He will change your heart
in this matter."

King Alfonso had no son of his own, and in an ill moment proposed that
Charlemagne, the mighty Emperor of the Franks, should be regarded
as his successor. But his nobles remonstrated against his choice,
and refused to receive a Frank as heir to the throne of Christian
Spain. Charlemagne, learning of Alfonso's proposal, prepared to invade
Spain on the pretext of expelling the Moors, but Alfonso, repenting of
his intention to leave the crown to a foreigner, rallied his forces
around him and allied himself with the Saracens. A battle, fierce
and sustained, took place in the Pass of Roncesvalles, in which the
Franks were signally defeated, chiefly by the address of Bernaldo,
who slew the famous champion Roland with his own hand.

These and the other services of Bernaldo King Alfonso endeavoured to
reward. But neither gift nor guerdon would young Bernaldo receive at
his hands, save only the freedom of his father. Again and again did the
King promise to fulfil his request, but as often found an excuse for
breaking his word, until at last Bernaldo, in bitter disappointment,
renounced his allegiance and declared war against his treacherous
uncle. The King, in dread of his nephew's popularity and warlike
ability, at last had recourse to a stratagem of the most dastardly
kind. He assured Bernaldo of his father's release if he would agree
to the surrender of the great castle of Carpio. The young champion
immediately gave up its keys in person, and eagerly requested that
his father might at once be restored to him. The treacherous Alfonso
in answer pointed to a group of horsemen who approached at a gallop.

"Yonder, Bernaldo, is thy father," he said mockingly. "Go and
embrace him."

"Bernaldo," says the chronicle, "went toward him and kissed his
hand. But when he found it cold and saw that all his colour was black,
he knew that he was dead; and with the grief he had from it he began
to cry aloud and to make great moan, saying: 'Alas! Count Sandias,
in an evil hour was I born, for never was man so lost as I am now for
you; for since you are dead and my castle is gone, I know no counsel
by which I may do aught.'" Some say in their cantares de gesta that
the King then said: "Bernaldo, now is not the time for much talking,
and therefore I bid you go straightway forth from my land."

Broken-hearted and utterly crushed by this final blow to his hopes,
Bernaldo turned his horse's head and rode slowly away. And from that
day his banner was not seen in Christian Spain, nor the echoes of his
horn heard among her hills. Hopeless and desperate, he took service
with the Moors. But his name lives in the romances and ballads of
his native country as that of a great champion foully wronged by the
treachery of an unjust and revengeful King.

Although the cantares of Fernán González and the Children of Lara also
lie embedded in the chronicles, I have preferred to deal with them
in the chapter on the ballads, the form in which they are undoubtedly
best known.



The "Poema del Cid"

But by far the most complete and characteristic of the cantares
de gesta is the celebrated Poema del Cid, the title which has
become attached to it in default of all knowledge of its original
designation. That it is a cantar must be plain to all who possess
even a slight familiarity with the chansons de gestes of France. Like
many of the chansons heroes, the Cid experiences royal ingratitude,
and is later taken back into favour. The stock phrases of the
chansons, too, are constantly to be met with in the poem, and the
atmosphere of boastful herohood arising from its pages strengthens
the resemblance. There is also pretty clear proof that the author
of the Poema had read or heard the Chanson de Roland. This is not
to say that he practised the vile art of adaptation or the viler
art of paraphrase, or in any way filched from the mighty epic
of Roncesvalles. But superficial borrowings of incident appear,
which are, however, amply redeemed by originality of treatment and
inspiration. The thought and expression are profoundly national; nor
does the language exhibit French influence, save, as has been said,
in the matter of well-worn expressions, the clichés of medieval epic.



Its Only Manuscript

But one manuscript of the Poema del Cid is known, the handiwork of
a certain Per or Pedro the Abbot. About the third quarter of the
eighteenth century, Sanchez, the royal librarian, was led to suspect
through certain bibliographical references that such a manuscript might
exist in the neighbourhood of Bivar, the birthplace of the hero of
the poem, and he succeeded in unearthing it in that village. The date
at the end is given as Mille CCXLV, and authorities are not agreed
as to its significance, some holding that a vacant space showing an
erasure after the second C is intentional, and that it should read
1245 (1207 new style). Others believe that 1307 is the true date of
the MS. However that may be, the poem itself is referred to a period
not earlier than the middle of the twelfth nor later than the middle
of the thirteenth century.

As we possess it, the manuscript is in a rather mutilated and damaged
condition. The commencement and title are lost, a page in the middle
is missing, and the end has been sadly patched by an unskilful
hand. Sanchez states, in his Poesías Castellanas anteriores al Siglo
XV (1779-90) that he had seen a copy made in 1596 which showed that
the MS. had the same deficiencies then as now.



Its Authorship Unknown

The personality of the author of the Poema del Cid will probably
for ever remain unknown. He may have been a churchman, as Ormsby
suggests, but I am inclined to the opinion that he was a professional
trovador. The trouvères, rather than ecclesiastics, were responsible
for such works in France, and why not the trovadores in Spain? [26]
That the writer lived near the time of the events he celebrated
is plain, probably about half a century after the Cid sheathed his
famous sword Colada for the last time. On the ground of various local
allusions in the poem he has been claimed as a native of the Valle de
Arbujuelo and as a monk of the monastery of Cardeña, near Burgos. But
these surmises have nothing but textual references to recommend them,
and are only a little more probable than that which would make him
an Asturian because he does not employ the diphthong ue. We have good
grounds, however, for the assumption that he was at least a Castilian,
and these are to be found in his fierce political animus against the
kingdom of Leon and all that pertained to it. That Pedro the Abbot
was merely a copyist is clear from his mishandling of the manuscript;
for though we have to thank him for the preservation of the Poema,
our gratitude is dashed with irritation at the manner in which he has
passed it on to us, for his copy is replete with vain repetitions,
he frequently runs two lines into one, and occasionally even transfers
the matter of one line to another in his haste to be free of his task.



Other Cantares of the Cid

That other cantares relating to the Cid existed is positively
known through the researches of Señor Don Ramón Menéndez Pidal,
who has demonstrated that one of them was used in the most ancient
version of the Crónica General, of which three recensions evidently
existed at different periods, and it is now clear that the passage in
question does not come from the Poema as we have it, as was formerly
believed. [27] The passages on the Cid in the second version of the
Crónica are also derived from still another cantar on the popular
hero, known as the Crónica Rimada, [28] or Cantar de Rodrigo,
evidently the work of a juglar of Palencia, and which seems to be a
mélange of several lost cantares relating to the Cid, as well as to
other Spanish traditions. This version, however, is much later than
the Poema, and is chiefly interesting as enshrining many traditions
relative to the Cid as well as to the ancient folk-tales of Spain.



Metre of the "Poema del Cid"

It would certainly seem as if, like all cantares, the poem had been
especially written for public recitation. The expression "O señores,"
encountered in places, may be taken as the equivalent of the English
"Listen, lordings," of such frequent occurrence in our own lays and
romances, which was intended to appeal to the attention or spur the
flagging interest of a medieval audience. The metre in which the poem
is written is almost as unequal as its poetic quality. The prevailing
line is the Alexandrine or fourteen-syllabled verse, but some lines
run far over this average, while others are truncated in barbarous
fashion, probably through the inattention or haste of the copyist. [29]
It seems to me that the Poema, although of the highest merit in many
of its finest passages, has received the most extravagant eulogy, and
I suspect that many of the English critics who descant so glibly upon
its excellences have never perused it in its entirety. Considerable
tracts of it are of the most pedestrian description, and in places
it descends to a doggerel which recalls the metrical barbarities of
the pantomime. But when the war-trump gives him the key it arouses
the singer as it arouses Scott--the parallel is an apt and almost
exact one--and it is a mighty orchestra indeed which breaks upon our
ears. The lines surge and swell in true Homeric tempest-sound, and
as we listen to the crash of Castilian spears upon the Moorish ranks
we are reminded of those sounding lines in Swinburne's Erechtheus
beginning:


    With a trampling of drenched, red hoofs and an earthquake of men
                                                              that meet,
    Strong war sets hand to the scythe, and the furrows take fire
                                                          from his feet.


But the music of the singer of the Poema does not depend upon
reverberative effect alone. His is the true music of battle, burning
the blood with keenest fire, and he has no need to rely solely upon
the gallop of his metrical war-horse to excite our admiration, as
does the English poet.



The Poem Opens

The opening of the Poema del Cid, as we possess it, is indeed
sufficiently striking and dramatic to console us for the loss of the
original commencement. The great commander, banished (c. 1088) by
royal order from the house of his father through the treachery of the
Leonese party at the Court of King Alfonso, rides away disconsolately
from the broken gates of his castle. A fairly accurate translation
of this fine passage might read as follows:


    He turns to see the ruined hold, the tears fall thick and fast,
    The empty chests, the broken gates, all open to the blast.
    Sans raiment are the wardrobes, reft of mantle and of vair,
    The empty hollow of the hall of tapestry is bare.
    No feather in the falconry, no hawk to come to hand,
    A noble beggar must the Cid renounce his fathers' land.
    He sighed, but as a warrior sighs. "Now I shall not repine.
    All praise to Thee, our Father, for Thy grace to me and mine.
    The slanderous tongue, the lying tale, have wrought my wreck to-day,
    But Thou in Thy good time, O Lord, the debt wilt sure repay."
    As they rode out of Bivar flew a raven to the right,
    By Burgos as they bridled the bird was still in sight.
    The Cid he shrugged his shoulders as the omen he espied;
    "Greetings, Cousin Alvar Fañez, we are exiles now," he cried.
    The sixty lances of the Cid rode clattering through the town;
    From casement and from turret-top the burgher-folk looked down.
    Sore were their hearts and salt their eyen as Roderick rode by;
    "There goes a worthy vassal who has known bad mastery."
    And many a roof that night had sheltered Roderick and his band
    But for the dread in Burgos of Alfonso's heavy hand.
    The missive broad with kingly seals had run throughout the town:
    "Who aids the Cid in banishment, his house shall be cast down."
    So as the train rode through the streets each eye was turned aside,
    All silent was the town-house where the Cid was wont to bide;
    Both lock and bar were on the gates, he might not enter there.
    Then from a casement spoke a maid who had the house in care:
    "My lord Don Roderick, who took the sword in happy hour,
    The King hath sent a letter broad to ban from hall and bower
    Both thee and all thy company, 'tis doom to shelter one;
    Never again who aids thee shall his eyes look on the sun.
    Now go, and Goddës help with thee, thy pity we implore;
    In all broad Spain thou canst not lack, O Cid Campéador."


Finding no place to lay their heads within the town, the Cid with his
men rode disconsolately to the plain of Glera, to the east of Burgos,
where he pitched his tents on the banks of the river Arlanzon. To him
came Martin Antolinez, one of his former vassals, who brought food
and wine for all his train and strove to comfort him. Not a maravedi
had the Cid, and how to furnish his men with arms and food he knew
not. But he and Antolinez took counsel together, and hit upon a plan
by which they hoped to procure the necessary sinews of war. Taking two
large chests, they covered them with red leather and studded them with
gilt nails, so that they made a brave outward show. Then they filled
the chests with sand from the river-banks and locked them securely.



Money-lending in the Eleventh Century

"Martin Antolinez," said the Cid, "thou art a true man and a good
vassal. Go thou to the Jews Raquel and Vidas, and tell them I have much
treasure which I desire to leave with them since it is too weighty
to carry along with me. Pledge thou these chests with them for what
may seem reasonable. I call God and all His saints to witness that
I do this thing because I am driven to extremity and for the sake of
those who depend upon me." Antolinez, rather fearful of his mission,
sought out the Jews Raquel and Vidas where they counted out their
wealth and their profits. He told them that the Cid had levied much
tribute which he found it impossible to carry with him, and that he
would pledge this with them if they would lend him a reasonable sum
upon it. But he stipulated that they must solemnly bind themselves not
to open the chests for a year to come. The Jews took counsel together,
and consented to hide the chests and not to look upon their contents
for a year at least.

"But tell us," they said, "what sum will content the Cid, and what
interest will he give us for the year?"

"Needy men gather to my lord the Cid from all sides," replied
Antolinez. "He will require at least six hundred marks."

"We will willingly give that sum," said Raquel and Vidas, "for the
treasure of such a great lord as the Cid must indeed be immense."

"Hasten then," said Antolinez, "for night approaches, and my lord
the Cid is under decree of banishment to quit Castile at once."

"Nay," said the Jews, after the manner of their kind. "Business is not
done thus, but by first taking and then giving." They then requested
to be taken to where the Cid lay, and having greeted him, paid over
the sum agreed upon. They were surprised and delighted at the weight
of the chests, and departed well satisfied, giving Antolinez a present
or commission of thirty golden marks for the share he had taken in
the business.



Donna Ximena

When they had gone the Cid struck his camp and galloped through the
night to the monastery of San Pedro de Cardeña, where his lady, Donna
Ximena, and his two young daughters lay. He found them deeply engaged
in prayer for his welfare, and they received him with heartfelt
expressions of joy. Taking the Abbot aside, the Cid explained to
him that he was about to fare forth on adventure in the country of
the Moors, and tendered him such a sum as would provide for the
maintenance of Donna Ximena and her daughters until his return,
as well as a goodly bounty for the convent's sake.

By this time tidings of the Cid's banishment had gone through the land
broadcast, and so great was the fame of his prowess that cavaliers from
near and far flocked to his banner. When he put foot in stirrup at
the bridge of Arlanza a hundred and fifty gentlemen had assembled to
follow his fortunes. The parting with his wife and daughters presents
a poignant picture of leave-taking:


    Sharp as the pain when finger-nails are wrenched from off the hand,
    So felt the Cid this agony, but turned him to his band,
    And vaulted in the saddle, and forth led his menie,
    But ever and anon he turned his streaming eyes to see
    Dear faces he might see no more, till blunt Minaya, irked
    To see the yearning and regret that on his heartstrings worked,
    Cried out, "O born in happy hour, [30] let not thy soul be sad:
    The heart of knight on venture bound should never but be glad.
    The heavy sorrow of to-day will prove to-morrow's joy.
    What grief can bide the trumpets' sound, what woe the battle's
                                                                  ploy?"


Giving rein to their steeds, they galloped forth of the bounds of
Christian Spain and, crossing the river Duero on rafts, stood upon
Moorish soil. Far to the west they could see the slender minarets
of the Saracen city of Ahilon glittering in the high sun of noon,
emblematic of the rich treasure they had come to win in the land
of the paynim. At Higeruela still more good lances rallied to the
Cid's banners, border men to whom the foray was a holiday and the
breaking of spears the sweetest music. As he slept that night the
Cid dreamed that the Archangel Gabriel appeared to him and said:
"Mount, O Cid Campeador, mount and ride. Thy cause is just. Whilst
thou livest thou shalt prosper!"

With three hundred lances behind him, the Cid rode into the land
of the Moors. He lay in ambush while Alvar Fañez and other knights
made a foray toward Alcalá. In their absence the Cid observed that
the men of Castijon, a Moorish town hard by, came out of the place
to work in the fields, leaving the gates open. He and his men made
a dash at the gates, slew the handful of heathens who guarded them,
and took the town without striking a score of blows. The men were
well content at the treasure of gold and silver they found in the
quaint Moorish houses. But they were merciful to the inhabitants,
of whom they made servitors rather than slaves.



The Taking of Alcocer

After they had rested at Castijon, the Cid and his array rode down
the valley of the Henares, passing by way of Alhamia to Bubierca and
Ateca, and as he was in unknown country, and environed round by hosts
of enemies, he took up a position upon a "round hill" near the strong
Saracen city of Alcocer, to which he set siege. But the place was
well guarded, and he saw that if he were to penetrate its defences
it must be by stratagem and not by fighting alone. So one morning,
after he had beleaguered Alcocer for full fifteen weeks, he withdrew
his men as if retreating in disgust, leaving but one pavilion behind
him. When the Moors beheld his withdrawal they exulted, and in their
eagerness to see what spoil the solitary tent might contain they
rushed out of the town, leaving the gates open and unguarded. Now
when the Cid saw that there was a wide space between the Moors and
the gates of Alcocer, he ordered his men to turn and fall upon the
excited rabble of Saracens. Small need had he to ask them to smite
the paynim. Dashing among the dense crowd with levelled lances, the
cavaliers of Castile did fearful execution. The wretched Moors, taken
completely by surprise, fled wildly in all directions, and soon the
plain was littered with white-robed corpses. Meanwhile the Cid himself,
with a few trusted followers, galloped to the gates and secured them,
so that with, much triumph the Spaniards entered Alcocer. As before,
the Campeador was merciful to such of the Moors as made full surrender,
saying: "We cannot sell them, and we shall gain nothing by cutting
off their heads. Let us make them rather serve us."

The Saracens of the neighbouring towns of Ateca and Zerrel were
aghast at the manner in which Alcocer had been taken, and sent word
to the Moorish King of Valencia how one called Roderigo Diaz of
Bivar, a Castilian outlaw, had come into their land to spoil it,
and had already taken the strong city of Alcocer. When King Tamin
of Valencia heard these tidings he was greatly wroth, and sent an
army of three thousand well-appointed men against the Campeador. In
his anger he charged his captains that they should take this Spanish
renegade alive, and bring him where justice might be done upon him.

The Cid knew nothing of the coming of this host, and one morning his
sentinels, pacing the walls of Alcocer, were surprised to see the
surrounding country alive with Moorish scouts, flitting from point
to point upon their active jennets, and shaking their scimitars in
menace. His own outposts soon brought in word that he was surrounded,
and his knights and men-at-arms clamoured to be led forth to do battle
with the infidels. But the Cid was old in Moorish warfare, and denied
them for the moment. For days the enemy paraded around the walls of
Alcocer. But the Cid, with three hundred men, knew well the folly of
attacking three thousand, and bided his time.



The Combat with the Moorish King

At last the Moors succeeded in cutting off the water-supply of
Alcocer. Provisions, too, were running low, and the Cid saw clearly
that such a desperate situation demanded a desperate remedy. Alvar
Fañez, ever panting for the fight like a war-horse that hears the
trumpet, urged an immediate sally in force, and the Cid, knowing the
high spirit of his men, consented. First he sent all the Moors out
of the city and looked to its defences. Then, leaving but two men to
guard the gate, he marshalled his array and issued forth from Alcocer
with dressed ranks and in strict order of battle. And here prose must
once more give place to verse. [31]


    Huzza! huzza! the Moorman mounts and waves his crescent blade
    Hark to the thunder of the drums, the trump's fanfaronade!
    Around two glittering gonfanons the paynim take their stand,
    Beneath each waving banner's folds is massed a swarthy band.
    The turbaned sons of Termagaunt sweep onward like the sea;
    So trust they to engulf and drown the Christian chivalry.
    "Now gentles, keep ye fast your seats," cries the Campeador,
    "And hold your ranks, for such a charge saw never knight before."
    But the fierce heart of Bermuez that echoed to the drum,
    Cried, "Santiago, shall I stay the while these heathen come?
    With this bold banner shall I pierce yon pride of paynimrie.
    So follow, follow, cavaliers, for Spain and Christendie!"
    "Nay, comrade, stay!" implored the Cid, but Pero shook his head.
    His hand was loose upon the rein. "It may not be," he said;
    Then in his destrier's flank he drove the bright speed-making spur:
    Like a spray-scattering ship he clove the sands of Alcocer.
    Lost in a sea of Saracens, whose turbans surge as foam,
    He stands unshaken as a cliff when on its bosom come
    Madness of ocean and the wrath of seas that overwhelm.
    So rain the hounds of Máhomet fierce blows on shield and helm.
    "A rescue, rescue," cries the Cid, "and strike for Holy Rood!
    Up, gentlemen of Old Castile, and charge the heathen brood!"
    As forth the hound when from the leash the hunter's hand is ta'en,
    As the unhooded falcon bounds, her jesses cast amain,
    But fiercer far than falcon or the hound's unleashèd zeal
    Comes crashing down upon the foe the fury of Castile.
    Now rally, rally, to the flash of Roderigo's blade,
    The champion of Bivar is here who never was gainsaid.
    Three hundred levelled lances strike as one upon the foe.
    Down, down in death upon the sand three hundred heathen go.
    The lances rise, the lances fall, how fast the deadly play!
    Ah, God! the sundered shields that lie in dreadful disarray.
    The snow-white bannerets are dyed with blood of Moorish slain,
    And chargers rush all masterless across the littered plain.
    As lightning circles Roderick's sword above the huddled foe,
    With Alvar Fañez, Gustioz, and half a hundred moe
    He reaps right bloodily. But stay, the Saracens have slain
    Bold Alvar Fañez' destrier; to aid him comes amain
    The Cid Campeador, for sore the brave Minaya's need.
    His way is barred, his stride is marred by a tall emir's steed.
    His falchion swoops, his falchion stoops, down sinks the turbaned
                                                                   lord.
    "Mount in his place, Minaya, mount! I need thy trenchant sword.
    The phalanx of the foe is firm, unbroken still they stand."
    The stout Minaya leaps in selle, and falchion in hand
    Strews death to left and right, his trust to rout the Moor
                                                             right soon.
    But see, the Cid hath fiercely rid with blood-embroidered shoon
    Upon the Moorish capitan, he cleaves his shining shield:
    The haughty Moslem turns to fly--that blow hath won the field.
    Bold Martin Antolinez aims a stroke at Galve's head;
    The jewelled casque it cracks in twain, the infidel hath fled
    Rather than bide its fellow; he and Fariz make retreat:
    They caracoled to victory, they gallop from defeat.
    Ne'er was a field so worthy sung since first men sang of war.
    Its laurels unto thee belong, O Cid Campeador!


Fierce and sanguinary was the pursuit. The Moorish rout was complete,
and the little Castilian band had lost but fifteen men. Five hundred
Arab horses, heavily caparisoned, each with a splendid sword at the
saddle-bow, fell into the hands of the Cid, who kept a fifth share for
himself, as was the way with the commanders of such free companies as
he led. But greatly desiring to make his peace with King Alfonso of
Castile, he sent the trusty Alvar Fañez to Court with thirty steeds
saddled and bridled in the Moorish fashion.

But the Moors, even with the dust of defeat in their mouths, were not
minded to leave the Cid the freedom of their borders, and seeing that
he would not be able to hold Alcocer for long against their numbers,
he bargained with the Saracens of the neighbouring cities for the
ransom of Alcocer. This they gladly agreed to for three thousand marks
of gold and silver, so, quitting the place, the Campeador pushed
southward, and took up a position on a hill above the district of
Mont'real. He laid all the Moorish towns in the neighbourhood under
tribute, remaining in his new encampment full fifteen weeks.

Meanwhile Alvar Fañez had journeyed to the Court and had presented
the King with the thirty good steeds taken in battle. "It is yet
too soon to take the Cid back into favour," said Alfonso, "but since
these horses come from the infidel, I scruple not to receive them. I
pardon thee, Alvar Fañez, and withdraw my banishment from thee. But
as to the Cid, I say no more than that any good lance who cares to
join him may do so without hindrance from me."



The War with Raymond Berenger

Now the Count of Barcelona, Raymond Berenger, a haughty and arrogant
lord, conceived the presence of the Cid in a territory so near his
own dominions to be an insult to himself, and in a high passion he
mustered all his forces, Moorish as well as Christian, so that he
might drive the Cid from the lands he held in tribute. The Campeador,
hearing of the advance of this host, sent a courteous message to Count
Raymond, assuring him of pacific intentions toward himself. But the
Count felt that his personal dignity had been offended, and refused
to receive the messenger.

When the Cid beheld the army of Raymond marching against his position
on the heights of Mont'real, he knew that his overtures for peace
had been in vain, and, dressing his ranks for the fierce combat that
he knew must follow, took up a position upon the plain suitable for
cavalry. The lightly armed Moorish horsemen of Berenger's host rushed
precipitately to the attack, but were easily routed by the Castilian
cavaliers. The Count's Frankish men-at-arms, a band of skilful and
warlike mercenaries, then thundered down-hill upon the lances of
the Cid. The shock was terrific, but brief was the combat, for the
knights of Castile, hardened by constant warfare, speedily overthrew
the Frankish horsemen. The Cid himself attacked Count Berenger, took
him prisoner, and forced him to deliver up his famous sword Colada,
which figures so prominently in the mighty deeds which follow. A
falchion which tradition states is none other than this celebrated
blade, the Spanish Excalibur, is still shown at the Armeria at Madrid,
and all pious lovers of chivalry will gladly believe that it is the
sword taken by the Campeador from the haughty Berenger, even though the
profane point out that its hilt is obviously of the fifteenth century!

Greatly content were they of the Cid's company with the victory no
less than with the spoil, and a feast worthy of princes was prepared
to celebrate the occasion.

In courtesy the Cid invited the defeated Count Raymond to feast
with him, but he refused the invitation with hauteur, saying that
his capture by outlaws had taken away his appetite. Nettled at this
display of rudeness, the Cid told him that he would not see his
realms again until he broke bread and drank wine with him. Three
whole days did the Count refuse to touch all provender, and on the
third day the Cid promised him immediate freedom if he would break
his fast. This was too much for the haughty Berenger, whose hunger
now outmatched his scruples. "Powers above!" exclaims the poet,
"with what gust did he eat! His hands plied so quickly that my Cid
[32] might not see their play." The Cid then gave him his liberty,
and they parted on good terms.


    "Ride on, ride on, my noble Count, a free Frank as thou art;
    For all the spoil thou leavest me I thank thee from my heart.
    And if to turn the chance of fate against me thou shalt come,
    Right gladly shall I listen for the echoes of thy drum."
    "Nay, Roderick, I leave in peace and peace I shall maintain;
    From me thou sure hast spoil enow to count a twelvemonth's gain."
    He drove the spur, but backward glanced, he feared for treachery;
    So black a thought the Cid had harboured not for Christendie.
    No, not for all the wealthy world, who kept his soul in light.
    Whose heart as his so free from guile, the very perfect knight?



The Cid Makes War Seaward

Turning from Huesca and Montalvan, the Cid began to make war toward the
salt sea. His eastward march struck terror to the hearts of the Moors
of Valencia. They took counsel together, and resolved to send such a
host against him as they thought he might not withstand. But he routed
them with such a slaughter that they dared face him no more. Three
years did the Cid war in that country, and his many conquests there
were long to tell. He and his men sat themselves down in the land as
kings, reaped its corn, and ate its bread. And a great famine came
upon the Moors, so that thousands perished.

Now the Cid sent messengers to Castile and Aragon, who made it known
that all Christians who came to dwell beneath his rule should fare
well. Hearing this, thousands flocked to his banner, and so greatly
was he reinforced that in time he was able to march against Valencia
itself, the capital of the Moors of that country. With all his host he
sat down before that city and beleaguered it. Nine months he environed
it, and in the tenth month the men of Valencia opened the gates and
surrendered the place. Great was the booty of gold and silver and
precious stuffs, so that there fell to his share alone treasure to
the amount of thirty thousand marks, and he grew in greatness so that
not only his own followers but the Moors of Eastern Spain began to
look upon him almost as their rightful lord.

Beholding his puissance, the Moorish King of Seville grew greatly
afraid, and resolved to bring the whole power of his kingdom against
him. Collecting an army of thirty thousand men, he marched against
Valencia. But the Cid encountered him on the banks of the Huerta,
and defeated him so completely that never again was he able to do
him scathe.

The heart of the Cid now began to grow hopeful that his King would
receive him into friendship and confidence once more. And he swore a
great oath that for love of Alfonso he would never let his beard be
shorn. "So," he said, "will my beard be famous among both Moors and
Christians." Once more he sent Alvar Fañez to Court with the gift
of a hundred splendidly appointed horses of the purest Arab blood,
praying that he might be permitted to bring his wife, Donna Ximena,
and their daughters, to the possessions which he had carved out for
himself by his good sword.

Meanwhile there had come to Valencia from the East a holy man, one
Bishop Don Jerome, who had heard afar of the prowess of the Cid and
longed to cross swords with the infidel. The Cid was well pleased with
him, and founded a bishopric of Valencia for the doughty Christian,
whose one thought was but to spread the worship of God and slay
Saracens.

When Alvar Fañez reached the Court, he sought audience of King Alfonso,
who was heartened to hear of the deeds of the Campeador, how he had
routed the Moors in five pitched battles, made their lands subject
to the crown of Castile, and erected a bishopric in the heart of
paynimrie, so that he readily granted permission that Donna Ximena
and the ladies Elvira and Sol should go to Valencia. Hearing this,
Count Garcia Ordoñez, of the Leonese party, who had secured the Cid's
banishment and who cordially hated him, was greatly vexed. But the
two Infantes or Princes of Carrión, in Leon, seeing how the Cid grew
in power and importance, resolved to ask his daughters in marriage
from the King, but meanwhile kept their counsel.

The time had long passed when the Cid should have discharged his debt
to the Jews Raquel and Vidas, and hearing that Alvar Fañez was at
Court they came to him and begged that it might be paid. Fañez assured
them that all should be done as the Cid had promised, and that only
stress of constant warfare had kept his master from fulfilling his
obligation to them. They were perfectly satisfied with this assurance,
and so greatly had they trusted the Cid that they had never opened
the chests to examine the nature of the security he had given them.



The Cid Welcomes his Family

Alvar Fañez now made ready to set out for Valencia with Donna
Ximena and the Cid's daughters, whom he safely conveyed to their new
home. When he heard that they were near at hand, the Cid, who had only
a few days before won his famous steed Babieca in a skirmish with the
Moors, leapt upon the charger's back, and rode off at a gallop to
meet them and welcome them to their new possessions. Greeting them
with much affection, he led them to the castle, from the towers of
which he showed them the lands he had won for them. And they gave
thanks to God for a gift so fair.

Now there was great stirring among the Moors of Africa when they heard
of the deeds of the Cid, and they held it for dishonour that he should
have redeemed so great a part of Spain from their brothers of the
Peninsula. Their king, Yussef, levied a mighty army of fifty thousand
men, and, crossing the seas to Spain, marched upon Valencia, hoping
to regain it for the Crescent. When the Cid heard this, he exclaimed:
"I thank God and the blessed Mother that I have my wife and daughters
here. Now shall they see how we do battle with the Moors and win our
bread in the land of the stranger!"

The host of Yussef soon came in sight, and environed Valencia so
closely that none might enter or leave it, and when the ladies beheld
the great army which surrounded the city they were much afraid. But
the Cid bade them be of good cheer. "Hearten ye," he said, "for, see,
marvellous great wealth comes to us. Here comes a dowry against the
marriage of your daughters!" [33]



The Battle with King Bucar

Springing upon Babieca, the Cid led his lances against the Moors of
Africa. Then began a contest great and grim. The Spanish spears were
red that day, and the Cid plied his good blade Colada so terribly that
the Saracens fell before his strokes like corn before the sickle. He
aimed a great blow at King Yussef's helm, but the Moorish chieftain,
avoiding it, gave his horse the rein and galloped off the field,
his dusky host following him in headlong rout. Countless was the
spoil in gold, silver, richly caparisoned horses, shields, swords,
and body-armour.

Too wearied with ceaseless slaughter to give chase, the Cid rode back
to where his wife and daughters had sat watching the progress of the
battle, his dripping sword in his hand. "Homage to you, ladies,"
he cried. "Thus are Moors vanquished on the field of battle." But
ever mindful of his King and liege-lord, he at once dispatched Alvar
Fañez and Pero Bermuez to Court, with the tent of King Yussef and two
hundred horses with their caparisons. Greatly pleased was Alfonso. "I
receive the gift of the Cid willingly," he said, "and may the day of
our reconciliation soon arrive."

The Infantes of Carrión, seeing that the reputation of the Cid
increased daily, were now fully resolved to ask the daughters of the
Campeador in marriage from the King. Alfonso agreed to enter into
negotiations with the Cid, not only for the hands of his daughters,
but with the idea of effecting a reconciliation with him, for he was
well aware of all the service which the Campeador had done him. So
he sent for Alvar Fañez and Pero Bermuez and acquainted them with
the offer of the Infantes of Carrión, requesting them to convey it
to the Cid without loss of time and assuring him of his esteem.

The envoys hastened to Valencia and told the Cid how the King had
sent him a gracious message, asking for the hands of his daughters
for the Infantes of Carrión. The Cid was right joyful on hearing
this. "What the King desires is my pleasure," he said, "though the
Infantes of Carrión are haughty, and bad vassals to the Throne. But
be it as God and the King wills."

Then the Campeador made great preparations and set out for the Court,
and when the King knew he was approaching he went out to meet him. And
the Cid went on his knees before the King and took the grass of
the field in his teeth to humble himself before his lord. But Don
Alfonso was troubled at the sight, and, raising him, assured him
of his grace and affection, at which the Cid was greatly moved and
wept joyfully. Then the King feasted the Cid bravely, and when the
banquet was at an end asked for the hands of his daughters for the
Infantes of Carrión. The Cid made reply that he and his daughters
were in the King's hands and that Alfonso himself might give the
damsels in marriage.



The Cid's Daughters Wed

After some days spent in feasting and rejoicing, the Campeador
returned to Valencia with the two Infantes of Carrión. He told his
wife and daughters that the marriage was of the King's making and
not of his, as he was not without misgivings as to the result of
the alliance. Nevertheless he made great preparations, as befitted
the importance of such a ceremony with two of the greatest lords in
Spain, and Donna Elvira and Donna Sol were espoused to the Infantes
of Carrión in the church of Santa Maria by the good warrior-bishop
Jerome. The wedding celebrations lasted fifteen days, and the Cid had
no reason to be dissatisfied with his sons-in-law, who bore themselves
as gallantly in the lists as in the dance.



The Adventure of the Lion

The Infantes of Carrión and their wives had remained in Valencia
for about two years when a mishap befell. One day, during the time
of the afternoon siesta, a lion, kept for baiting in the ring, broke
loose from its cage and made its way into the palace. The Campeador
reclined upon a couch asleep, but his dauntless followers gathered
round him to protect him, all except the Infantes of Carrión, one of
whom crept beneath the couch on which the Cid slept, while the other
made such speed to quit the palace that he fell across the beam of a
wine-press and rent his robes. The clamour awoke the Cid, who rose,
and, going to where the lion crouched, firmly placed his hand on the
brute's bristling mane and led him back to his cage. Nor did the lion
resist, evidently knowing his master.

The Infantes of Carrión, when they knew all danger was past, came
out of hiding, looking so pale and terrified that the hardy soldiers
of the Cid could not restrain their laughter. At this the haughty
northern grandees felt deep insult and resentment and an unmanly
feeling of revenge awoke in their hearts.

Within a few days of this incident news reached Valencia that Abu Bekr,
the commander of the armies of the King of Morocco, was marching upon
the city. The Cid and his captains rejoiced at the news, but not so
the Infantes of Carrión, who took counsel together as to how they
might avoid the fighting and return to their own territories.

Here a break occurs in the narrative, and from a later passage it is
clear that the missing lines relate to a test of the courage of at
least one of the Infantes, who, stung by an imputation of cowardice,
armed himself and set out to fight a Moor, who, however, put him
to flight. But Pero Bermuez, to save the Cid's feelings, slew the
Saracen and made it appear that the Infante had done so.



A 'Secret Service' Story of "The Cid"

A most romantic tale hangs upon the first line of the next passage:


    "May the time come when I deserve as much of both of you."


The line is supposed to be the last in the speech of Pero Bermuez
to the Infante Don Ferrando, who had probably expressed gratitude
to him. The first English author to attempt a translation of the
Poema del Cid was John Hookham Frere, the translator of the plays of
Aristophanes, who was for some years British Minister at Madrid. He
made a conjectural reading of the above line, which he communicated
to the Marquis de la Romana. Some years later, in 1808, when the
Marquis was commanding a body of troops in the French service in
Denmark, Frere was able to accredit a confidential messenger to him,
assuring the Spanish commander of the genuineness of the message he
carried by mention of the amended line, the correction in which was
known only to the Marquis and himself. The circumstance led to one
of the most important movements in the war against Napoleon.



The Fighting Bishop

The Infantes of Carrión, who did not relish the idea of a protracted
struggle with the Moors, resolved to betake themselves to the
security of their own estates at the first opportunity. But, as if
to shame them, the warlike Bishop Jerome appeared before the Cid
armed cap-à-pie and entreated his permission to take part in the
fighting. The Cid smilingly gave his assent, and no sooner had he
done so than the doughty churchman mounted a great war-horse and,
issuing out of the gates, galloped headlong against the Saracens. At
the first onset he slew two of them outright, but had the misfortune
to break his lance. Nothing daunted, however, this ardent disciple
of the Church militant drew his sword and, brandishing it about his
head like a trained knight-at-arms, flung himself once more upon the
Moorish ranks with all the weight of his charger. Laying about him
left and right, he killed or wounded a heathen with every blow. But
the enemy closed round him, and it would have gone hard indeed with
the fighting bishop had not the Cid, who had witnessed his gallantry
with all a warrior's admiration for the deeds of another brave man,
laid his lance in rest and, setting spurs to Babieca, plunged into
the thickest of the fray. Beneath his terrific onset the lightly
armed Moors gave way in terror. Wheeling, he came at them again,
crashing through their ranks like a tempest, and dealing death and
destruction wherever he went. The Moors wavered, broke, and fled
amain. The whole army of the Cid now bore down upon them, horse and
man, bursting into their camp, breaking the tent-ropes, and dashing
aside the gaudy Eastern pavilions where they had lodged.


    Upon the terror-stricken ranks the horsemen of Castile
    Came thundering down; King Bucar's men the iron tempest feel.
    And down to dust the severed arm, the severed steel-capped head
    Fall lifeless, and the charger's hoofs trample the gory dead.
    "Ha! stay, King Bucar!" cries the Cid. "Now tarry, Moorish lord;
    You came to seek me o'er the sea, mine is the peaceful word."
    "If peace is in thy naked sword and in thy charging steed,
    Then I would flee it," cried the King, and spurred his horse
                                                               to speed.
    With hasty stride the King doth ride straight for the open sea;
    Spain's champion is at his side, never again will he
    Know the delights of Algiers' halls; Colada shines on high:
    Now whether by the sword or sea, King Bucar, wilt thou die?
    The good blade shears the Moor in twain, down to the saddle-bow;
    So perished the Algerian lord--may every Moor die so!
    And thus upon this day of fame the Cid his guerdon won,
    Worth many a purse of minted marks, the noble blade Tizon!


Riding back from the fray, the Cid espied the Infantes of Carrión
and welcomed them. "Now that they are brave will they be welcomed by
the brave," he said, rather wistfully, to Alvar Fañez. The proud and
shallow princes were wrathful when they overheard this, and the shadow
of vengeance once more arose within their haughty hearts. "Let us take
our leave of the Cid and return to Carrión," they said. "We have been
flouted and insulted here by these banditti and their leader. On the
way home we shall know how to avenge ourselves upon his daughters."

With this cowardly purpose they smilingly requested the Campeador
to permit them to depart. Sorrowfully he granted it, and loading
them with presents and bestowing upon them the famous swords Colada
and Tizon, which he had himself taken in battle from the Moors, he
requested Feliz Muñoz, his nephew, to accompany the Infantes and his
daughters to Carrión.



The Infantes' Revenge

Great was the grief of the Cid and Donna Ximena at parting with the
ladies Elvira and Sol, and they were not without some misgivings. But
they charged Feliz Muñoz to keep good watch over their daughters,
and this he promised to do. After journeying for some days the party
had to traverse the great forest of Corpes, where in a glade they
pitched pavilions and spent the night. In the morning the Infantes
sent their suite on ahead, and, taking the saddle-girths from the
horses, beat the unfortunate daughters of the Cid most cruelly. The
wretched ladies begged for death rather than suffer such disgrace,
but the cowardly Infantes, laughing scornfully, mocked them, cast them
off, and so dealt with them that they left them for dead. "Thus,"
they said, "the dishonour of the affair of the lion is avenged,"
and mounting their horses they rode off.

As the deserted and dishonoured wives of the cowardly pair lay bleeding
on the grass, Feliz Muñoz, their cousin, who had lodged during
the night in another part of the forest, rode up, and seeing their
piteous condition hastened to their relief. Having dressed their hurts
to the best of his ability, he rode quickly to the nearest town and
purchased clothing and horses for them as befitted their station. When
these tidings reached the Cid in Valencia great anger rose in his
heart. He did not give it vent, however, but sat moodily pondering
upon the dishonour done to his daughters. At last, after many hours,
he spoke. "By my beard!" he cried, "the Infantes of Carrión shall not
profit by this." Soon the ladies Sol and Elvira arrived at Valencia,
and he received them lovingly, but not compassionately. "Welcome, my
daughters," said he. "God keep ye from evil! I accepted this marriage,
for I dared not gainsay it. God grant that I see you better married
hereafter, and that I have my revenge upon my sons-in-law of Carrión."



The Court at Toledo

Then the Cid dispatched messengers to King Alfonso, acquainting him of
the great wrong done to his daughters by the Infantes, and pleading
for justice. The King was greatly wroth at the news, and ordered the
Court to sit at Toledo and the Infantes to be summoned before him to
answer for their crime. They begged to be excused attendance, but
the King peremptorily refused to accept any apology or subterfuge,
and demanded their instant compliance with his summons. With great
misgivings they journeyed to Toledo, taking with them the Count Don
Garcia, Asur González, Gonzalo Asurez, and a great band of dependents,
thinking thereby to overawe the Cid. The Campeador himself soon arrived
at Court, with many a trusted veteran, all armed to the teeth. He wore
a rich robe of red fur broidered with gold, and his beard was bound
with a cord to preserve it. When he entered the Court with his men all
rose to greet him save the Infantes of Carrión and their party, for he
seemed a great baron and the Infantes might not look at him for shame.

"Princes, barons, and hidalgos," said King Alfonso, "I have summoned
ye here that justice may be done the Cid Campeador. As ye all know,
foul wrong has been done his daughters, and I have set judges apart to
moderate in this business and to search out the right, for wrong I will
not have in Christian Spain. I swear by the bones of San Isidro that he
who disturbs my Court shall quit my kingdom and forfeit my love, and
he who shall prove his right, on his side am I. Now let the Cid make
his demand and we shall hear the answer of the Infantes of Carrión."

Then rose the Cid, and in the Court among all these great barons and
lords there was no nobler figure. "My lord the King," he said, "it is
not I alone whom the Infantes of Carrión have wronged, but yourself
also, who gave them my daughters in marriage. Let them first restore
my swords Colada and Tizon, since they are no longer my sons-in-law."

The Infantes, hearing the Cid speak thus, thought that he would urge
no more against them if they restored the swords, and so they formally
handed them over to the King. But it was the Campeador's intention
to punish them by every means in his power, so when he received the
wondrous falchions from the hands of Alfonso he at once presented
them to Feliz Muñoz and Martin Antolinez, thus showing that it was
not for himself that he desired them. Having done this, he turned
once again to the King.

"My liege," he said, "when the Infantes left Valencia I bestowed upon
them three thousand marks in gold and silver. Let them now restore
this, since they are no longer my sons-in-law."

"Nay, if we do this," cried the Infantes, "we must even pay it out of
our lands in Carrión." But the judges demanded that the sum be paid
in Court without delay. The treacherous princelings could not raise
such a treasure in money, so the Court decided that it must be paid in
kind. Then the Infantes saw that there was no help but to acquiesce,
and brought many a steed and trained palfrey with their furniture to
repay the Cid, borrowing from the members of their suite and entering
into such obligations as would burden them for many a day.



Redress by Combat

When this matter had at last been settled, the Cid then advanced his
principal grievance against the Infantes, and asked for redress by
combat in the lists for the great wrong they had done his daughters. At
this Count Garcia, their spokesman, rose to defend the Infantes. He
pleaded that they were of princely degree, and for that reason alone
were justified in casting off the daughters of the Cid. Then Fernán
González, the elder of the Infantes, himself rose to approve the speech
of his vassal, and cast fresh scorn upon the alliance he had made,
justifying his cowardly action by his princely rank as a thing quite
natural and fitting. At this Pero Bermuez opened the vials of his
wrath upon the Infantes, taunting them with cowardice in the affair
of the lion and casting defiance of battle in their teeth.



Enter Asur González

The argument waxed high, when at that moment Asur González, a haughty
vassal of the Infantes, entered the hall.


    With early viands and with wine flushed were his face and brow,
    Disordered were his garments and his mantle hung full low.
    He scanned the Court with bearing rude, right clownish was
                                                              his vaunt:
    "How now, my lords? What have we here? Thinkst Carrión to daunt?
    What bruit is this about the Cid, the lordling of Bivar?
    At drawing tithes from dusty millers better is he far
    Than ruffling at a Cortés; he to match with Carrión!"
    Then up leapt Muño Gustioz: "Ha' done, thou knave, ha' done!
    Drunkard, who lookest on the wine before ye tell a bead,
    Who never yet did keep thy troth, evil in word and deed,
    The only boon I crave is but to have thee where my sword
    May cut the false tongue from thy throat and cease thy lying word."
    "Enough, enough," Alfonso cried, "I give thee my consent
    To meet each other in the lists; so ends this Parliament."


The tumult which the King had endeavoured to abate had hardly died
away when two cavaliers entered the Court. The new-comers were
ambassadors from the Infantes of Navarre and Aragon, who had come to
request the King to bestow the hands of the Cid's daughters upon their
masters. Alfonso turned to the Cid and requested his permission to
ratify the marriage at once, and when the Campeador had humbly given
his consent he answered to the assembled nobles that the espousals
would duly take place, adding that the combat between the disputants
would be fought out on the morrow.

This was right woeful news to the Infantes of Carrión, who, in great
fear, requested him to permit them some delay to procure fitting
horses and arms, so that at last the King scornfully fixed the day of
combat at three weeks from that date, and the place where it was to
be fought out as Carrión itself, so that the Infantes should have no
grounds of excuse for absence or be able to plead that the champions
of the Cid had been granted any undue advantage.

The Cid then took his leave of the King, and on parting pressed him to
accept his courser Babieca. But Alfonso refused the proffered gift,
saying courteously that if he accepted it Babieca would not have so
good a lord. Turning to those who were to uphold his cause in the
lists, the Campeador bade them an affectionate farewell, and so he
departed for Valencia, and the King for Carrión to see justice done.



The Trial by Combat

When the time of truce was over the contending parties sought the
lists. The Cid's men did not waste much time in arming themselves,
but the treacherous Infantes of Carrión had brought with them a
number of their vassals in the hope that they might be able to slay
the Cid's champions by night, when they were off their guard. But
Antolinez and his comrades kept good watch and frustrated their
design. When they saw that there was no help for it but to meet their
challengers à outrance, they prayed the King that the Cid's men might
not be permitted to use the famous swords Colada and Tizon, for they
superstitiously dreaded the trenchancy of these marvellous weapons,
and bitterly repented that they had restored them. Alfonso, however,
refused to listen to this appeal.

"Ye have swords of your own," he said brusquely. "Let them suffice
you, and see that you wield them like men, for, believe me, there
will be no shortcoming on the side of the Campeador."

The trumpets sounded and the Cid's three champions leapt upon their
impatient destriers, first having made the sign of the Cross upon
their saddles. The Infantes of Carrión also mounted, but none so
blithely. The marshals or heralds who were to decide the rules of the
combat, and give judgment in case of dispute, took their places. Then
said King Alfonso: "Hear what I say, Infantes of Carrión. This combat
ye should have fought at Toledo, but ye would not, so I have brought
these three cavaliers in safety to the land of Carrión. Take your
right; seek no wrong: who attempts it, ill betide him."

The description of the scene that follows has more than once been
compared with Chaucer's description of the combat between Palamon
and Arcite in The Knight's Tale, and, as will be seen, a resemblance
certainly exists. [34]


    And now the marshals quit the lists and leave them face to face;
    Their shields are dressed before their breasts, their lances are
                                                               in place.
    Each charger's flank now feels the spur, each helm is bending low,
    The earth doth shake as horse and man hurl them upon the foe.
    The echo of their meeting is a sound of meikle dread,
    And all who hear the deadly shock count them as good as sped.
    The false Ferrando and Bermuez strike lance on either's shield,
    The Infant's spear goes through the boss, but the stout shaft
                                                              doth yield
    And splinters ere the point can pass thorough the other's mail.
    But Pero's shaft struck home, nor did the seasoned timber fail;
    It pierced Ferrando's corselet and sank into his breast,
    And to the trampled ground there drooped the Infant's haughty crest.
    Bermuez then drew Tizon's bright blade; ere ever he could smite
    The Infant yielded him and cried, "Thou hast the victor's right."


While this combat was proceeding Antolinez and the other Infante
came together. Each of their lances smote the other's shield and
splintered. Then, drawing their swords, they rode fiercely against one
another. Antolinez, flourishing Colada, struck so mightily at Diego
that the good blade shore its way clean through the steel plates of his
casque, and even cut half the hair from Diego's head. The terrified
princeling wheeled his courser and fled, but Antolinez pursued him
with mock fury and struck him across the shoulders with the flat of
his sword. So had the hound the chastisement of cowards. As he felt
the blade across his withers Diego shrieked aloud and spurred past the
boundaries of the lists, thus, according to the rules of the combat,
admitting himself vanquished.

When the trumpets of the pursuivants sounded, Muño Gustioz and Asur
González ran swiftly and fiercely together. The point of Asur's spear
glanced off Muño's armour, but that of the Cid's champion pierced the
shield of his opponent and drove right through his breast, so that
it stuck out a full fathom between the shoulder-blades. The haughty
Asur fell heavily to the ground, but had enough of life left in him
to beg for mercy.

King Alfonso then duly credited the Cid's champions with the victory,
and without loss of time they returned to Valencia to acquaint their
master with the grateful news that his honour had been avenged.

Shortly afterward the espousals of the Cid's daughters to the noble
Infantes of Navarre and Aragon were celebrated with much pomp. The
Poema del Cid, however, concludes as abruptly as it begins:


    So in Navarre and Aragon his daughters both did reign,
    And princes of his blood to-day sit on the thrones of Spain.
    Greater and greater grew his name in honour and in worth;
    At last upon a Pentecost he passed away from earth.
    Upon him be the grace of Christ, Whom all of us adore.
    Such is the story, gentles, of the Cid Campeador.



The Real Cid

Cervantes' summing-up upon the Poema del Cid is perhaps the sanest on
record. The Cid certainly existed in the flesh; what matter, then,
whether his achievements occurred or not? For the Cid of romance is
a very different person from the Cid of history, who was certainly a
born leader of men, but crafty, unscrupulous, and cruel. The Poema
is thus romance of no uncertain type, and as this book deals with
romance and not with history, there is small need in this place to
provide the reader with a chronicle of the rather mercenary story of
Roderigo of Bivar the real.

"Mio Cid," the title under which he is most frequently mentioned, is
a half Arabic, half Spanish rendering of the Arabic Sid-y, "My lord,"
by which he was probably known to his Moorish subjects in Valencia,
and it is unlikely that he was given this appellation in Spain during
his lifetime. But even to this day it is a name to conjure with in
the Peninsula. So long as the heart of the Briton beats faster at the
name of Arthur and the Frenchman is thrilled by the name of Roland
the Spaniard will not cease to reverence that of the great romantic
shadow which looms above the early history of his land like a very
god of war--the Cid Campeador.



CHAPTER III: "AMADIS DE GAUL"


                        There stands a castle on a magic height
                        Whose spell-besetten pathways ye may climb
                        If that ye love fair chivalry sublime.
                        Come, its enchanted turrets yield the sight,
                        As long ago to demoiselle and knight,
                        Of many a satrapy of ancient rhyme,
                        And in its carven corridors shall Time
                        Display us trophies of a dead delight:

                        The damascene of armour in the dusk,
                        Shadows of banners torn from infidels,
                        The fragments of an unremembered glory,
                        Fragrant with faint, imperishable musk
                        Of Moorish fantasy. Dissolve, ye spells!
                        Open, ye portals of Castilian story!

                                                                   L. S.


Many a casement in the grey castle of Spanish Romance opens upon
vistas of fantastic loveliness or gloomy grandeur, but none commands a
prospect so brilliant, so infinitely varied, or so rich in the colours
of fantasy as that aery embrasure overlooking the region of marvel
and high chivalry where is enacted the gallant and glorious history
of Amadis de Gaul. The window of which I speak is perched high in a
turret of the venerable fortalice, and displays such a landscape as
was dear to the weavers of ancient tapestries or the legend-loving
painters of old Florence. Beneath is spread a princely domain of noble
meadow-land, crossed and interlaced by the serpent-silver of narrow
rivers and rising northward to dim, castellated hills. Far beyond
these, remote and seeming more of sky than of earth, soar the blue
and jagged peaks of dragon-haunted mountains. This scene of almost
supernatural beauty presents, at the first glance, an unbroken richness
of colour and radiance. The meadow-land is populous with pavilions
and the air is painted with pennons and gilded with the blazonry of
banners. The glitter of armour thrills the blood like the challenge
of martial music. Strange palaces of marble, white as sculptured ice,
rise at the verges of magic forests, or glitter on the edges of the
promontories, their gardens and terraces sloping to silent and forlorn
beaches. The scene is indeed "Beautiful as a wreck of Paradise."

Such seems the book of Amadis when first we glance through its
rainbow-coloured pages. But when we gain a nearer view by the aid of
the romancer's magical glass we find that the radiant scene is deeply
shadowed in places. Ravines profound as night lie near the castled
hills, in which all manner of noxious things swarm and multiply. The
princely fortresses, the gay palaces, are often the haunts of desperate
outlaws or malignant sorcerers. Hideous giants dwell in the mountains,
or in the shadowy islands which rise from the pale sea, and dragons
have their lairs in fell and forest. But whether it breed light or
gloom, the atmosphere of Amadis is suffused with such a glamour that
we come to love the darker places; we feel that the horror they hold
is but the stronger wine of romance, a vintage which intoxicates.

And if we remain at our point of vantage until nightfall and watch the
illumination of this wondrous region by the necromancy of moonshine
we shall be granted an even more inspiring draught from the strange
chalice of romance. In the mystery of moonlight armour is silvered
to an unearthly whiteness, blood-red lights gleam from the turrets
of the magicians, and the sylph-like shapes of sorceresses flit from
sea to forest like living moonbeams. From the deserts between the
hills and the distant mountains come the cries of ravening monsters,
and all the fantastic world of Faëry is vivid with life.

What marvel then that when this surpassing picture was unveiled to
the eyes of a nation of knights it aroused such a fervour of applause
and appreciation as has been granted to few works in the history of
literary effort? The author of Amadis displayed to the chivalry of
Spain such a world as it had dreamed of. Every knight felt himself
a possible Amadis and every damsel deemed herself an Oriana. The
philosophy and atmosphere of the book took complete possession of the
soul of Spain, banishing grosser ideals and introducing a new code of
manners and sentiment. The main plot and the manifold incidents which
arise from it were coherently and skilfully arranged, and were not
made up of isolated and disconnected accounts of combats, or tedious
descriptions of apparel, appointments, or architecture, interspersed
with the boastful bellowings of rude paladins or vociferous kings,
as the 'plots' of the cantares de gesta had been. Moreover, the
whole was powerfully infused with the love-philosophy of chivalry,
in which woman, instead of being the chattel and plaything of man,
found herself exalted to heights of worship, and even of omnipotence,
undreamed of by the ruder singers of the cantares.



Origin of the "Amadis" Romances

The first Peninsular version of Amadis appeared in a Portuguese dress,
and was the work of a Lusitanian knight, Joham de Lobeira (1261-1325),
who was born at Porto, fought at Aljubarrota, where he was knighted
upon the field by King Joham of happy memory, and died at Elvas. But
Southey's protestations notwithstanding, everything points to France as
being the original home of the romance, and there is even a reference
in Portuguese literature to the circumstance that a certain Pedro de
Lobeira translated Amadis from the French by order of the Infante Dom
Pedro, son of Joham I. The original French tale has vanished without
leaving a trace that it ever existed, save in the Peninsular versions
to which it gave birth, and we are no more fortunate as regards the
Portuguese rendering. A manuscript copy of Lobeira's romance was
known to exist at the close of the sixteenth century in the archives
of the Dukes of Arveiro at Lisbon, and appears to have been extant
as late as 1750. After that period, however, it disappears from the
sight of the bibliophile, and all the evidence points to its having
been destroyed at the earthquake at Lisbon in 1755, along with the
ducal palace in which it was housed.

Its fame, as well as its matter, was, however, kept alive by the
Spanish version, and if we must regard Portugal as the original
home of Amadis in the Peninsula, it is to the genius of Castile that
we owe not only its preservation, but its possible improvement. At
some time between 1492 and 1508 Garcia Ordoñez de Montalvo, governor
of the city of Medina del Campo, addressed himself to the task of
its translation and adaptation. At what precise date it was first
printed is obscure. Early copies are lacking, but we learn that
the Spanish conquerors of Mexico remarked upon the resemblance of
that city to the places of enchantment spoken of in Amadis. This
occurred in 1519, not 1549, as stated by Southey. They may, perhaps,
have referred to the Portuguese version, but in any case an edition
of Amadis is known to have been published in that year, and another
at Seville in 1547. Reference has already been made to the numerous
translations of the romance in all languages, and to the equally
manifold continuations of it by several hands, but it is necessary
to remark that only the first four books of Amadis--that is, those
which constitute the Amadis proper--were written by Montalvo, the
remainder being the independent and original work of imitators. [35]



Elisena and Perion

The action of the romance begins at an obscure and indefinite period,
described as following almost immediately upon the death of our
Redeemer, at which time, we are told, there flourished in Brittany
a Christian king named Garinter, who was blessed with two lovely
daughters. The elder, known as 'the Lady of the Garland,' because of
her fondness for wearing a coronel of flowers, had some years before
the period of the story's commencement been wed to King Languines
(Angus) of Scotland, and had two beautiful children, Agrayes and
Mabilia. Elisena, the younger daughter, was famed for her beauty
throughout the lands of Christendom, but though many powerful monarchs
and princes had asked her hand in marriage, she would wed with none,
but gave herself up to a life of holiness and good works. In the
opinion of all the knights and ladies of her father's realm, one so
fair grievously transgressed the laws of love by remaining single,
and it came to pass that the beautiful and saintly Elisena earned from
the more worldly of her gay critics the name of 'the Lost Devotee.'

If Elisena was devoted to a life of austerity her royal father was
equally partial to the pleasures of the chase, and spent much of
his time in the green forest-land which occupied the greater part
of Lesser Britain in those remote days. On one of those occasions,
as he rode unattended in the greenwood, as was his wont, he chanced
to hear the clash of arms, and, riding to a clearing whence came the
sounds of combat, he saw two knights of Brittany attacking an armed
stranger, whom he guessed by his armour and bearing to be a person
of rank and distinction, and who bore himself with such courage and
address that he succeeded in slaying both his opponents.

As the stranger was in the act of sheathing his weapon he observed
Garinter, and rode forward to meet him, saluting him with a courteous
mien. He complained that in a Christian country an errant knight did
not expect such treatment from its inhabitants as had been meted out
to him, to which the King sagely replied that in all countries evilly
disposed people were to be found as well as good folk, and that the
slain knights had been traitors to their liege lord and well deserved
their fate.

The stranger then proffered the information that he sought the King
of Brittany with tidings of a friend, and on learning this Garinter
revealed his identity. The knight then informed him that he was
King Perion of Gaul, who had long desired his friendship. Garinter
insisted that his brother monarch should accompany him to his palace,
and Perion consenting, they turned their horses' heads toward the city.

Arrived at the palace, they sat down to a rich banquet, which was
graced by the Queen and the Princess Elisena. No sooner did Elisena
and Perion behold one another than they knew that a great and deathless
love had sprung up between them. When the Queen and Princess had risen
from the banquet Elisena divulged her love for Perion to her damsel
and confidante, Darioleta, and asked her to discover whether the
King of Gaul had pledged his troth to any other lady. Darioleta, who
was not easily abashed, went straight to Perion, who avowed his love
for Elisena in passionate terms and promised to take her to wife. He
begged the damsel to bring him to where Elisena was, that he might
have the happiness of expressing his love in person, and she returned
to the Princess with his message. So impatient was Elisena to hear
from Perion's own lips that he loved her, that, recking not of time
or tide, she sought the apartment in which he was lodged, where she
remained until dawn, detained by his protestations of affection and
her own devotion to the noble and knightly monarch who had so suddenly
made her regard her former mode of life as savourless and melancholy.

Ten days did Perion sojourn at the Court of Garinter. At the end of
that time it became necessary that he should depart, but before he
took his leave he plighted his troth to Elisena, and left her one of
two duplicate rings he wore, as a pledge of his faith. Search as he
might, however, he failed to find his good sword, a tried and trusty
weapon, and at last was forced to abandon the search for it.



The Birth and Casting Away of Amadis

When her lover had gone Elisena was plunged in the deepest grief,
and all the comfort which Darioleta could bestow upon her failed to
rouse her from the lethargy of sorrow into which she had fallen. In
her father's kingdom, as in modern Scotland, an old law existed which
provided that if two persons solemnly took each other in marriage by
oath no further ceremony was necessary to render the union legal,
although it was usual to have it ratified later by both Church and
law. Perion and Elisena had taken these vows upon themselves, but
the Princess dreaded the wrath of her father, whom the lovers had
not consulted, and when a little son was born to her she was in great
fear of the consequences, for she knew her father to be both proud and
hasty and prone to act before he learned the truth of a matter. The
worldly and quick-witted Darioleta had, however, no scruples regarding
the manner in which she resolved to save her mistress and herself
from the King's wrath, and despite the protestations of Elisena,
who in her weakness was unable to restrain her, she built a little
ark of wood, made it water-tight with pitch, and, regardless of the
tears and lamentations of her mistress, placed the new-born baby
boy therein with Perion's sword, which she had abstracted from his
sleeping-chamber. Then she wrote upon a piece of parchment, "This is
Amadis, son of a king," covered the writing with wax so that it might
be preserved from obliteration, and, securing it to the betrothal ring
which Perion had given to Elisena, fastened it by a silken cord round
the infant's neck. Then with the utmost caution, lest any one should
observe her action, she carried the tiny vessel to the river which
ran at the foot of the palace garden and launched it upon the swift,
deep waters.

The little ark was rapidly carried out to sea, which was not more than
half a league distant, and it had scarcely emerged upon the tossing
billows when it was sighted by the mariners of a Scottish vessel which
bore a Caledonian knight, Gandales, back from Gaul to his home in the
North. At his orders the sailors launched a boat, and having secured
the tiny vessel, brought it to the ship, when the wife of Gandales,
delighted with the beauty of the infant it held, decided to adopt him
as her own. In a few days the vessel put into the Scottish port of
Antalia, [36] and Gandales carried the little Amadis to his castle,
where he brought him up with his own son, Gandalin.

Some years afterward, when Amadis was about five years old, Languines,
the King of Scotland, and his Queen, 'the Lady of the Garland,' and
sister to Elisena, paid a visit to the castle of Gandales, and were so
greatly attracted by the child's grace and beauty that they expressed
a desire to adopt him as their own. Gandales acquainted them with what
he knew of Amadis's history, and the royal pair promised to regard him
as their own son. Amadis, because of the circumstances of his strange
discovery, was known to every one as 'the Child of the Sea,' and indeed
this mysterious and poetic name cleaved to him until his identity had
been proven beyond cavil. He showed no reluctance to accompany his new
guardians, although he was grieved at having to part with his first
foster-parents, but the little Gandalin would in no wise be separated
from him, and begged so hard to be permitted to share his fortunes
that at last King Languines took both the boys under his protection.



Perion's Dream

Let us return to King Perion. Occupied once more with the affairs
of his kingdom, he still knew great heaviness of spirit because of
a dream that he had had while at the Court of Garinter. It seemed to
him in his dream that some one entered his sleeping-apartment, thrust
a hand through his side, and, taking out his heart, cast it into the
river that flowed through King Garinter's garden. Crying out in his
anguish, he was answered by a voice that another heart was still left
to him. Troubled by memory of the dream, which he could not unriddle,
he called together all the wise men of his realm and requested them
to attempt its solution. Only one of them could unravel the mystery,
and the sage who did so assured him that the heart which had been
abstracted represented a son which a noble lady had borne him, while
the remaining heart symbolized another son who would in some manner
be taken away against the will of her who had cast away the first.

As the King left the wise man's presence he encountered a mysterious
damsel, who saluted him and said: "Know, King Perion, that when thou
recoverest thy loss the kingdom of Ireland shall lose its flower";
and ere the King could detain or question her she had gone.

In course of time King Garinter died, and Perion and Elisena were
formally wedded. But when Perion asked his wife if she had borne him
a son, so bitterly ashamed was she of the part she had been forced
to play in the matter of the child's disappearance that she denied
everything. Later, two beautiful children were born to them, a son
and a daughter, called Galaor and Melicia. When Galaor was but two
and a half years old, the King and Queen, at that time sojourning at
a town called Banzil, near the sea, were walking in the gardens of
the palace there, when suddenly a monstrous giant rose out of the
waves and, catching up the little Galaor, made off with him before
anyone could prevent him.

The monster, dashing into the water, clambered on board a ship and
put out to sea, crying out joyfully, as he did so: "The damsel told
me true!" The parents were deeply afflicted at the loss of their son,
and in her grief Elisena admitted the casting away of Amadis. Then
Perion knew that what the wise man had told him regarding the loss
of the two hearts was the truth indeed.

Now the giant who had stolen the little Galaor was not of the race
of evil monsters, but was generous in disposition and gentle in
demeanour. Indeed, he took as much care of the child as if he had
been one of his own gigantic brood. He was a native of Lyonesse, was
known as Gandalue, and was the master of two castles in an island of
the sea. He had peopled this island with Christian folk, and gave the
little Galaor into the keeping of a holy hermit, with strict orders
to educate him as a brave and loyal knight. He told the hermit that a
damsel--the same who had addressed King Perion so strangely, and who
was a powerful sorceress--had assured him that only a son of Perion
could conquer his lifelong and ruthless enemy, the giant Albadan,
[37] who had slain his father, and had taken from him the rock
Galtares. And so Galaor was left in the care of the hermit.



Oriana

About this time King Lisuarte of Britain chanced to put into a port
of Scotland, where he was honourably received by King Languines. With
Lisuarte was his wife Brisena, and his beautiful little daughter
Oriana, the fairest creature in the world. And because she suffered so
much at sea, her parents decided to leave her for a space at the Court
of Scotland. Amadis was now twelve years old, but seemed fifteen, so
tall and hardy was he, and the Queen bestowed him upon Oriana for her
service. Oriana said that 'it pleased her,' and Amadis cherished those
words in his heart, so that they never faded from his memory. But he
knew not that Oriana loved him, and was greatly in awe of the lovely
and serious little maiden of ten, for whom he conceived a high and
noble affection. Very beautiful was the silent love of these children
for one another. But silent it remained, for Amadis was fearful of
presumption and Oriana the most modest of little damsels.

High thoughts of chivalry now began to stir in the heart of Amadis,
so that at last he requested King Languines to grant him the boon of
knighthood. Languines was greatly surprised that a mere boy should
crave such a heavy burden of honour, but approved his desire, and
gave orders that arms should be made for him. He sent to Gandales,
the knight who had found Amadis in the sea, acquainting him with the
lad's purpose, and Gandales dispatched a messenger to Court with the
sword, ring, and parchment which he had found in the ark along with
the sea-borne baby. [38]

These things were delivered to Amadis as belonging to him, and when
he showed them to Oriana she begged for the wax that contained the
parchment, not knowing it held anything of moment, and accordingly
he gave it to her. Shortly after this King Perion arrived on a
visit to Languines, to ask his help against King Abies of Ireland,
who had invaded Gaul with all the force of his kingdom. Amadis,
knowing Perion's great reputation as a warrior, much desired to be
knighted by his hand, and asked the Queen to crave the boon on his
behalf. But she seemed sad and distraught, and heeded him not. He
inquired of Oriana the cause of the Queen's sadness, and she replied:
"Child of the Sea, this is the first thing ye ever asked of me."

"Ah, lady," replied Amadis, "I am not worthy to ask anything from
such as you."

"What?" she exclaimed. "Is then your heart so feeble?"

"Aye, lady," he replied, "in all things toward you, save that it
would serve you like one who is not his own, but yours."

"Mine!" said Oriana, mystified; "since when?"

"Since 'it pleased you,'" replied Amadis, with a smile. "Do you not
remember your words when the Queen offered me for your service?"

"I am well pleased that it should be so," said Oriana shyly, and
beholding Amadis much overcome at her gracious answer, she slipped
away to ask the Queen the cause of her sorrow.

The Queen told her that she was deeply distressed because of her
sister Elisena, whose kingdom had been invaded, and, returning to
Amadis, Oriana explained to him why his royal mistress had left his
appeals unanswered. Amadis at once expressed a desire to proceed to
Gaul to fight against the Irish invaders, and Oriana applauded his
intention. "You shall go to the wars as my knight," she said, simply
but graciously. Amadis kissed her hand, and requested her to ask the
Princess Mabilia, Perion's daughter (and Amadis's sister) to bring
it about that her father should confer the honour of knighthood upon
him. The little damsel readily consented to do so, and King Perion
joyfully acquiesced in the young man's eager desire to embrace the
profession of arms. So, asking him to kneel, he bestowed upon him the
accolade, fastened the knightly spurs upon his heels, and girded the
sword to his side.



Amadis Goes on Adventure

Now Amadis resolved to set out for Gaul at once, so, taking a tender
leave of Oriana and accompanied by Gandalin, his foster-brother, he
rode off from the palace at nightfall. They had not gone far when they
encountered the mysterious sorceress who, as we have seen, took such
an interest in the fate of our hero, and whose name was Urganda. [39]

The fay greeted Amadis in a most gracious manner, and presented
him with a lance, which she told him would, within three days,
"preserve the house from which he was descended from death." With
her was another damsel, and when Urganda had departed her companion
remained and announced to Amadis that she would journey with him for
three days, and that she was not a familiar of the sorceress, but had
encountered her by chance. They had not ridden far when they came to
a castle, where they heard a squire lamenting loudly that his master
was beset therein by its inmates. Amadis spurred his horse into the
courtyard, and beheld King Perion fiercely attacked by two knights
and a number of men-at-arms. With a cry of defiance he fell upon the
attackers, striking left and right and dealing such terrific blows
that the caitiff knights who had assailed the King were slain and
their retainers put to flight.

Perion at once recognized Amadis as the youth he had knighted not long
since. Leaving the castle, they came to a fork in the road, where
they parted, with mutual promises to meet in Gaul. The damsel who
had so far accompanied him now told Amadis that she was in reality a
messenger from Oriana, whereat Amadis trembled so with joy at hearing
his lady's name that had not Gandalin supported him he had fallen
from the saddle. The damsel then took her leave, saying that she
would acquaint her mistress of his welfare.

After several other adventures which it would be tedious to recount,
Amadis arrived with Gandalin at the Court of King Perion, in Gaul. They
had scarcely rested themselves when they heard the clarions of King
Abies of Ireland sound for an attack upon the city, and, mounting
their destriers, sallied forth, with Agrayes and other knights, to
give the men of Ireland battle. A stubborn contest ensued, in which
Amadis performed prodigies of valour. Perion came up with his men, but
they found themselves greatly outnumbered by the host of King Abies,
and were forced to give ground. However, the day was retrieved by
Amadis, who charged with such fury that neither horse nor man might
withstand him, and in the press he slew, among others, Daugavel,
a favourite of Abies. Hearing this, Abies grieved full sorely, and,
encountering Amadis, challenged him to a mortal combat on the following
day. They met, and after a fierce duel, which lasted several hours,
Abies was slain, and the war was thus ended at a blow.

Now Melicia, Perion's daughter, lost a ring which had been given her by
her father, the same indeed as that which the King had worn when first
he met Elisena, and the exact counterpart of the ring he had bestowed
upon her, and which she had tied to the neck of Amadis when he was cast
adrift. Rather than that her father should know of this loss, Amadis
gave Melicia his own ring. But the King himself recovered the lost
jewel, and made inquiries regarding the resemblance between the rings,
asking his daughter where she had procured its counterpart. Through her
explanation, and his recognition of the sword which Amadis wore, Perion
felt certain that Amadis could be no other than his long-lost son,
and when the young knight recounted the circumstances of his history,
how that he had been found in the sea, the last doubts of his parents
regarding his identity were quite dissipated, and they were overjoyed
at recovering him, publicly acknowledging him as prince of the realm.

We must now follow the fortunes of Galaor, brother of Amadis, who
had been so suddenly snatched away in his infancy by the giant. In
due time he grew to be a youth of courage and address, and as he had
heard that at no Court did chivalry flourish so gallantly as at that
of King Lisuarte of Britain, he resolved to journey thither in the
hope of receiving the honour of knighthood. His giant foster-father
accompanied him, and they had travelled but two days when they came
to the castle of a felon knight, whom, with his retainers, they
saw attacking a single champion. Galaor spurred to the rescue, and
by his aid the caitiff crew were slain or routed. Galaor conceived
such an affection for the stranger that he requested knighthood at
his hands. This was cheerfully granted, and after Amadis--for the
stranger knight was none other--had taken his departure, Galaor,
beholding a damsel close at hand, asked her if she was aware of
the name of the knight he had assisted. The damsel, who was the
sorceress Urganda, replied that his name was Amadis, and that he
was own brother to Galaor. On hearing this Galaor was overjoyed,
but his satisfaction was mingled with a deep regret that he had not
discovered their relationship ere they had taken leave of one another.

Not content with having enlightened Galaor, Urganda hastened
after Amadis, who was on his way to the Court of King Lisuarte at
Windsor. She told him that his rescuer was his brother Galaor, who
had been stolen in youth, whereat he was both overjoyed and sorrowful.

Greatly heartened by the strange encounter, Galaor still pressed on
to the goal of his adventure, the rock Galtares, which he hoped to
free for ever from the tyrannous rule of the monster who usurped
it. A few days' journey brought him to the fortalice, and at his
defiance the giant issued from his castle, armed at all points,
mounted upon a gigantic charger, and mouthing the most terrible
threats imaginable. He rode fiercely at the young knight, hoping to
end the combat at a blow. But, striking out wildly with his club, he
smote down his own horse, came thundering to the ground, and Galaor
spurred his courser over his prostrate body. In doing so, however,
he fell from his charger, and received a terrible buffet from the
giant. Recovering himself, he drew his sword and severed the monster's
arm at the shoulder. This blow practically ended the combat, for Galaor
with another sweep of his good blade beheaded his gigantic adversary.

Amadis, arriving at the Court of King Lisuarte, mingled with its
chivalry, and partook of its adventures with such zest that he came to
be known as one of the most illustrious knights in Christendom. His
adventures at the Court of Lisuarte would fill a goodly volume, and
included a war of extermination against the giants, the defeat of
the usurper Barsinan and the enchanter Archelaus, as well as a score
of other exploits, even a meagre account of which would overflow the
pages set apart for the description of this romance. His adventures are
intertwined with those of his brother Galaor, whom he even once meets
in fierce combat, neither recognizing the other because of his armour.



Lisuarte's Vow

Now, while Lisuarte held court in London an aged knight entered
and displayed such a marvellously wrought crown and mantle that
the King eagerly offered him any price he might ask for them. The
knight declared that he would return on a certain day and claim his
reward, and the King agreed to keep the crown and mantle with all
care, upon pain of losing that which he loved best. The knight was
an emissary of the false enchanter Archelaus, and the gauds he had
shown Lisuarte were made by magic art, so that when the King desired
to wear them and unlocked the coffer in which they were kept he
found they had vanished. The aged knight returned, and demanded his
recompense. Lisuarte was forced to admit the loss of the crown and
mantle, and the creature of the cunning magician demanded the Princess
Oriana in pledge of the King's vow. In true romantic compliance
with his promise, Lisuarte weakly acquiesced, and the knight rode
off with Oriana, whom he at once placed in the power of Archelaus,
and Lisuarte himself fell into a trap set by the artful enchanter.

Learning of this treason while at some distance from the Court,
Amadis and Galaor hurried to Windsor, resolved to frustrate the
necromancer's wicked intention, which was to wed Oriana to the
pretender to the British throne, the false Barsinan, whom Amadis had
already worsted. Galaor speedily delivered Lisuarte from his enemies,
and Amadis, searching high and low for his lady, at last encountered
her in a forest, through which she was being carried by Archelaus. On
beholding the doughty champion, whose reputation was only too well
known to him, the enchanter hastily made off, leaving Oriana with
her lover, who conducted her back to Court.



The Firm Island

With the commencement of the Second Book we enter a strange and mystic
atmosphere. Indeed the book may be called the cor cordium of romance,
its mirror, its quintessence. It introduces us to Apolidon, son of a
King of Greece, who is described as a valiant knight and powerful
necromancer. Abandoning his inheritance to a younger brother,
he sailed from Greece into the Great Sea, where he discovered an
island inhabited by peasants only, and ruled by a frightful giant,
which was known as the Firm Island, fated to be celebrated in the
pages of romance along with many another insular paradise.

Slaying the monstrous tyrant, Apolidon dwelt in the isle until,
on the death of his brother, he returned to sit upon the Grecian
throne. But ere he left the place he laid a potent enchantment upon
it to the purpose that no knight or lady might dwell there save such
as were equal in valour to himself or in beauty to his lady Grymenysa.

The wonders of this magical island well merit description, and as
much of the action of our romance centres there let us embark upon
the fairy galley which lies ever ready in the harbours of legend,
sail thither, and set foot upon its enchanted beaches. Perhaps it is
only through the rainbow lenses of poesy that we can view this wondrous
region aright, so I have essayed a description of the isle in verse.


    THE FIRM ISLAND

    Prince Apolidon the Mage
    Raised a mystic hermitage
    On an island in a shipless sea
    By necromantic potency,
    Carving the granite gateways of its cliffs
    With interdicting seals and hieroglyphs,
    That his unequals might not habit there,
    Nor drink that island's consecrated air.
    White terraces o'erhung the black abyss,
    Fair as the gardens Queen Semiramis
    Piled above Babylon: the glittering height
    Seemed as the day empillared on the night.
    And from the ocean-green of myrtle's shadow
    Rose a pavilion, which from afar
    Seemed to the eyes of shipmen as a star
    Shattered on a distant meadow.
    Betwixt this palace and the shipless sea
    The wizard set an arch of glamourie,
    Byzantine, builded as from golden air.
    Its fretted alcove held an image rare,
    In whose uplifted hand there burned and shone
    The brazen brightness of a clarion.
    And should a lady or a knight,
    Lesser in beauty or in might
    Than wise Apolidon the wight
    Or Grymenysa fair
    Seek to traverse the magic vault,
    Or make the palace by assault,
    The brazen trump would blare,
    And vomit such a horrid blast
    That, fainting from the garden cast,
    The wretch would perish there.
    But, should a knight of equal fame
    Or lady of unblemished name
    Seek entrance by the port,
    The trumpet, with a high fanfare
    Of praise, would waken all the air
    Of that celestial court.
    Two crystal pillars marked the magic line;
    A tablature of jasper, serpentine,
    Surround by arabesques like carven flame,
    On which would flash the lineage and name
    Of that illustrious paladin or dame,
    Gleamed in the Grecian pavement; who did pass
    Those pillars frozen in Phoenician glass
    Would see, 'mid splendour like reflecting ice,
    The lord and lady of that paradise
    Moulded in immortality of brass.
    Still deeper in those labyrinths of pleasure
    A siege right perilous the Mage did make
    For Grymenysa's fair, mysterious sake,
    For glory of a love withouten measure,
    Setting nine seals of Babylonian doom
    Upon the entrance to her ivory room,
    That but the highest hearts the world had seen
    Might know the rapture of its air serene.
    And that no sordidness might pass therein
    He sentinelled the door with savage jinn,
    Invisible and with the flaming powers
    Of Sheol in their guarding scimitars.
    And all the webs of his weird soul were woven,
    In mazy mystery of charm and spell,
    Around the shadows of that citadel,
    Where oft his wizard prowess had been proven.
    So did he leave the place of his delight
    To sinful spirits in a magic night,
    Calling on Siduri and Sabitu,
    And Baphomet, in syllables of might.
    And when the moon was in her thinnest phase
    He left that island in the shipless sea,
    No man knew how, nor evermore did he
    Return unto its labyrinthine ways.
    Still in the dawn's white fire the shepherd sees
    Shapes whiter than the dawn, and whisperings
    Sigh through the shadows of the myrtle-trees,
    Like to the mutterings of invisible kings
    Who speak of blessed, heart-remembered things.


Before he had quitted this marvellous island Prince Apolidon had
placed a governor over it, and had commanded that any who failed to
pass the Arch of Honour and still survived the dread blast of the
trumpet should without ceremony be cast out of the island, but that
such as sustained the ordeal were to be entertained and served with
all honour. And he willed that when the island should have another
lord the enchantment should cease.

Now the spell had been laid upon the island for about a hundred
years when Amadis, who had taken a fond farewell of Oriana, and was
on adventure bound, encountered a damsel who told him of the wonders
of the Firm Island, which, she said, was scarcely two days' sail from
where he then sojourned. Amadis replied that he could desire nothing
better than to essay such an adventure, and the damsel's father,
a knight of large estate, agreed to guide him there so that he might
essay the perilous adventure. When at last they came to the Firm Island
they beheld the pavilion, the walls of which were hung with the shields
of those who had tried the adventure but failed, for though several had
passed the arch none had penetrated to the pavilion. And when Amadis
saw that so many good knights had been undone his heart misgave him.



Amadis Passes the Archway

Amadis was accompanied by Agrayes, son of King Languines of Scotland,
who decided to attempt the passage of the arch at once. As he passed
through it the trumpet held by the image emitted sweet music, and
he entered the pavilion. Then Amadis approached the archway, and
the trumpet blew louder and more melodiously than it had ever done
before. Both knights approached the forbidden chamber. They saw the
jasper slab, on which they read: "This is Amadis of Gaul, the true
lover, son of King Perion." As they looked upon it Amadis's dwarf,
Ardian, ran to his master and told him that Galaor and Florestan, his
brothers, who had also accompanied him on the adventure, had attempted
the passage of the arch, but had been attacked on all sides by unseen
hands, and left for dead. Amadis and Agrayes at once retraced their
steps, and found the young knights lying as in a deep swoon. While
Amadis was giving his brothers such assistance as he could, Agrayes
tried to enter the forbidden chamber, but he too was struck senseless.

When Galaor and Florestan had somewhat recovered from the effects
of the blows they had received from invisible assailants, Amadis
felt that for the honour of his lady, Oriana, he must attempt the
great adventure of entering the forbidden chamber, into which no
knight had yet penetrated. Summoning all his courage to his aid, he
crossed the line of the spell between the pillars, and immediately
felt himself assaulted by the unseen warriors who had defeated his
comrades. A terrific uproar of voices arose, as if all the knights
in the world were assailing him, and the blows were doubled in force
and violence. But, nothing daunted, and strong in memory of his lady,
he fought on. Sometimes he was beaten to his knees, and once his sword
fell from his hand, yet he struggled on until he reached the door of
the chamber, which opened as if to admit him. A hand came forth and,
seizing his, drew him in, and a voice exclaimed: "Welcome is the
knight who shall be lord here, because he surpasses in prowess him
who made the enchantment and who had no peer in his time." The hand
that led him was large and hard, like that of an old man, and the
arm was sleeved with green satin. As soon as he was in the chamber
it vanished, and Amadis felt his strength return to him.

When Florestan and Galaor and the people of the island heard that
the adventure had at last been achieved, they crowded into the now
disenchanted palace and gazed upon its wonders. It was full of the
most marvellous treasures and works of art, but nothing more excellent
was there than the statues of Apolidon and Grymenysa.



Oriana's Cruelty

At the time Amadis had left Britain and had said farewell to Oriana
he dispatched his dwarf, Ardian, back to the palace for the pieces of
a sword which a lady had given him in all good faith, asking him to
avenge her father's death on a cowardly murderer. Amadis, like a good
knight, had promised to keep the broken blade until he had avenged
the dead man. Oriana, seeing the dwarf return, asked him the reason,
and Ardian told her that Amadis had promised a lady ever to keep a
certain sword, for which he had been sent back. Then he fetched the
blade and galloped off. Oriana, putting a wrong construction upon the
dwarf's words, and suspecting Amadis of unfaithfulness to her, wrote
him a cruel letter, which she entrusted to a page with instructions
to find him at all costs. After much journeying he traced Amadis to
the Firm Island, and delivered the letter into his hands.

When Amadis had perused the cold and bitter words of his lady he
seemed to the messenger as a man distraught. The page told him that
he was forbidden to carry any reply to Oriana. Amadis in terrible
grief called for Ysanjo, the governor of the island, and requested
him as a loyal knight to keep secret all that he might see till after
his brothers had heard Mass on the morrow. Then he commanded Ysanjo
to open the gate of the palace privily so that he might withdraw his
horse and arms therefrom without being observed by anyone. Accompanied
by the honest Ysanjo, for whom he had formed a high esteem, he betook
himself to a chapel of the Virgin hard by. He prayed fervently that she
would intercede with her Divine Son to have mercy upon him, as he felt
that his days would be few. Then he rose and, taking an affectionate
leave of the Governor, mounted his horse and, without shield, spear,
or helmet, rode off.

Now Gandalin, squire to Amadis, and son of the Scottish knight
Gandales, who throughout all these adventures had never left his
master, took counsel with Durin, the messenger who had brought
Oriana's cruel letter to the Firm Island, and resolved to follow the
distraught knight, lest he should come to harm. They soon found him
sleeping beside a fountain, worn out with the violence of his sorrow,
and mercifully allowed him to slumber on. But when night had fallen
Amadis awoke and, remembering his wretchedness, broke into pitiful
lamentations for his evil fate. The youths concealed themselves, for
they did not wish him to know of their presence. But Amadis, catching
sight of Gandalin, was angry with him for having followed him. To
arouse him from his lethargy Gandalin told him that a knight, like
himself abandoned by his lady, was in the neighbourhood, threatening
vengeance upon any whom he might encounter. Amadis, minded to throw
away his life, leapt on his horse at hearing this, and accompanied
Gandalin in search of the crazy challenger. They soon came up with
the unknown, and Amadis hurled a fierce defiance at him. A stubborn
combat ensued, and Amadis, by a desperate blow, struck his opponent
senseless. Leaving the wounded knight with Durin, Amadis rode on,
still followed by the faithful Gandalin.

Galaor, Florestan, and Agrayes, hearing of Amadis's plight and his
hurried departure, resolved to follow him. Meanwhile the object of
their search rode onward, allowing his horse to choose its own path,
and given over to weeping and lamentation. While the anxious Gandalin
slept, the crazed lover eluded him, and traversed the wildest parts
of the savage country which they had penetrated. Ere long he came to
a plain at the foot of a mountain, where he encountered a hermit,
and begged the holy man for leave to remain with him. The hermit
greeted him kindly, and Amadis confided his history to the good old
man, who told him that he dwelt on a high rock full seven leagues
out at sea. And the hermit gave him the name Beltenebros, or 'the
Fair Forlorn,' as he was at once so comely and so sore distracted.



The Poor Rock

In due time they reached the sea-shore, and, giving his horse to
the mariners, Amadis accompanied the hermit on board a vessel and
sailed to the Poor Rock, as the holy man had named his place of
hermitage. And here Amadis partook of the austerities of the hermit,
"not for devotion but for despair, forgetting his great renown in
arms and hoping and expecting death--all for the anger of a woman!"

Durin, Oriana's messenger, journeyed back to the British Court
and told his mistress how Amadis had received her letter, and of
the manner in which her knight had achieved the adventure of the
Firm Island. Then Oriana knew that Amadis must have remained true
to her. When she learned that he had gone into the desert to die,
her shame and anguish knew no bounds, and she wrote a letter of deep
contrition to her lover, and dispatched it to him by one of her women
called 'the Damsel of Denmark,' a sister of Durin.

After they had set out, the knight whom Amadis had vanquished on the
evening of the day on which he learned of Oriana's cruelty arrived
at the British Court, bringing with him the armour of Amadis, which
he had found, some time after his encounter with him, at the edge
of a deep fountain. And when she heard his story Oriana believed her
lover to be dead, and in great grief shut herself in her apartments,
refusing all comfort.

Meanwhile, calling to mind the great misery he had endured, Amadis
made this song in his passion:


    Farewell to victory,
    To warlike glory and to knightly play.
    Ah, wherefore should I live to weep and sigh?
    Far greater honour would it be to die!

    With kindly death my wretchedness shall cease,
    And from my torments shall I find release.
    Love will be unremembered in the shade,
    The deep unkindness of a cruel maid,
    Who in her pride hath slain not me alone,
    But all the deeds for glory I have done! [40]


At this time the lady Corisanda, who loved Florestan, chanced to visit
the Poor Rock, and her damsels heard the story of Amadis, who told
them that his name was Beltenebros, but that the song had been made
by one Amadis, whom he had known. On her return to the British Court,
Corisanda's maidens sang the song to Oriana as the composition of
Amadis. And she knew that Amadis and Beltenebros were one and the same.

Now the Damsel of Denmark, who had been sent to search for Amadis,
was driven by tempest to the foot of the Poor Rock. [41] Landing with
Durin and an attendant, Enil, she found Amadis praying in the chapel,
and when he beheld the Damsel's face he fainted away.

This extreme sensitiveness to love is characteristic of the late
Middle Ages, however absurd and overdrawn it may appear to us. That
Amadis fainted at the mere sight of one who had served his lady seems
to us ridiculous, and that he should imprison himself upon a barren
rock for the remainder of his life because she had been unkind to
him is to the modern reader more than a little grotesque.


    Shall I, wasting in despair,
    Die because a woman's fair?


But we must deal gently with the ideas of the past, as with one
of those faded samplers of our great-grandmothers, which, if we
handle it carelessly, is apt to fall to pieces. When we think of
the manner in which Dante and Petrarch had established the worship
of woman, and how the Courts of Love had completed the work they
had begun, can we wonder that men bred in this creed, and regarding
the worship of womankind as second to that of God alone, were apt to
become disconsolate and despairing if the object of their devotion
condemned or deserted them? Again, exalted and sensitive minds in
all ages have been peculiarly amenable to feminine criticism, as we
can see in perusing the biographies of such men as Goethe. Genius,
too, which itself nearly always abundantly partakes of the nature
of the feminine, is prone to adopt this ultra-reverent attitude,
as the sonnets of Shakespeare and the poems of Lovelace and many
another singer show. The rough, manly common sense of the average
male is too often denied it, and, man and woman in itself, it must
suffer the emotions of both sexes.

But, if maintained within rational bounds, this reverence for women
in general and for the best type of woman in particular must be
regarded as one of the great binding forces of humanity, a thing
which has accomplished perhaps more than aught else for the world's
refinement and advance. And here, even in a work of romance, which
perhaps, after all, is the fitting place for such an exhortation,
I would appeal to the younger generation of to-day to look backward
with eyes of kindness upon the tender beauty and infinite charm of a
creed which, if it is not entirely dead, is in a manner moribund. I
do not ask our youths and maidens to imitate its fantastic features
or its extravagances. But I do entreat them to regard its fine spirit,
its considerate chivalry, and, above all, the modest reserve and lofty
intention which were its chief characteristics. It is a good sign of
the times that the sexes are growing to know each other better. But we
must be wary of the familiarity that breeds contempt. Let us retain a
little more of the serious beauty of the old intercourse between man
and woman, and learn to beware of a flippancy of attitude and laxity
of demeanour which in later years we shall certainly look back upon
with a good deal of vexation and self-reproach.

When he had regained consciousness, the Damsel of Denmark gave Amadis
Oriana's letter, beseeching him to return to her and receive her
atonement for the wrong she had done him. He took leave of the good
hermit, and, embarking upon the ship in which the Damsel had arrived,
set sail for the Firm Island, where he rested, as he was yet too weak
to make the long journey to England. But at the end of ten days he
took Enil for his squire and, accompanied by Durin and the Damsel,
set out for the English Court.



Oriana Repentant

Meanwhile Galaor, Florestan, and Agrayes, having searched in vain
for Amadis, arrived at London in a most disconsolate frame of
mind. Oriana, hearing of their want of success, betook her to the
castle of Miraflores, some leagues from the city. In its ancient
garden she came to feel that Amadis was still alive, and, full of
remorse for the manner in which she had dealt with him, she resolved
that no further shadow should fall upon their love. The description
of Miraflores in the romance is very beautiful, and the impression
we receive of Oriana walking in its quiet and umbrageous alleys may
perhaps best be rendered in verse.


    Miraflores, fountain-girded,
    Where the trees are many-birded,
    And the orchard and the garden
    Of the forest seem a part;
    In the stillness of thy meadows,
    In the solace of thy shadows,
    I await the blessed pardon
    That will ease a breaking heart.
    Miraflores, name of beauty!
    May I learn a lover's duty,
    In the evening and the morning,
    In this fair and fragrant place;
    May I know the bliss of pardon
    In thy battlemented garden;
    Come to hate the hate of scorning,
    And to love the love of grace!


Now a herald came to King Lisuarte at Windsor giving him defiance in
the name of Famongomadan, the giant, Cartadaque, his nephew, giant of
the Defended Mountain, and Madanfaboul, giant of the Vermilion Tower;
from Quadragante, brother of King Abies of Ireland, and Archelaus
the Enchanter, all of whom were to join against Britain on behalf of
King Cildadan [42] of Ireland, who had quarrelled with Lisuarte. The
knight, however, made one condition which he said would ensure peace,
and that degrading enough. For he announced that, should Lisuarte give
his daughter Oriana as damsel and servant to Madasima, the daughter of
Famongomadan, or in marriage to Basagante, his son, the allied giants
and kings would not advance against him, but would remain in their
own lands. Lisuarte rejected the proffered terms with quiet dignity.

Now Amadis had slain King Abies long before, and it was revenge against
him the ill-assorted allies desired, and Florestan, who was present,
hearing this, challenged the ambassador to battle. This the knight,
whose name was Landin, promised him on the completion of the war,
and they exchanged gages of battle.

When the knight had departed, Lisuarte called for his little daughter
Leonora to come with her damsels and dance before him, a thing he
had not done since the news that Amadis was lost. And he asked her
to sing a song which Amadis, in sport, had made for her. So the child
and her companions made music and chanted this little lay:


    White rosebud, Leonore,
    Unblemished flower,
    Pure as a morning in the fields of May,
    Thy perfume haunts my heart,
    Why dost thou bloom apart,
    Hid in the shadows of thy modesty?

    Or, if thou mayst not be,
    Blossom of purity,
    Mine own to wear and cherish, as the leaves
    Embrace thee and enfold,
    Be not so white, so cold:
    Bloom also for the lonely heart that grieves! [43]


Gandalin journeyed to Miraflores to acquaint Oriana with the
news that Corisanda had arrived at Court and had been reunited to
Florestan. Delighted as she was at this intelligence, she could
not help comparing the happy condition of the lovers with her own,
and burst into tears. But even as she wept the Damsel of Denmark
was announced. Oriana listened to her tidings with a beating heart,
and when the Damsel gave her a letter from Amadis, in which she found
his ring enclosed, she all but swooned with excess of joy.

Amadis lay in a distant nunnery, recovering from the wasting sorrow
from which he had suffered so long. When he felt stronger, he
donned green armour, so that he might not be known, and travelled
toward London. On the eighth day of his journey he encountered
the giant knight Quadragante, he who among others had defied King
Lisuarte. Amadis unhorsed the gigantic warrior, who yielded himself
vanquished and promised to deliver himself up to Lisuarte.



Amadis Slays Famongomadan

Proceeding on his way, Amadis passed some tents pitched in a meadow
which were occupied by a party of knights and damsels in the service of
the Princess Leonora. The knights insisted upon his breaking a lance
with them. He unhorsed them all and rode on. While he was in the act
of drinking from a well not many miles farther on, he espied a wagon
full of captive knights and damsels in chains. Before it, on a huge
black horse, rode a giant so immense that he was terrible to behold,
and Amadis knew him for Famongomadan, who had sent his challenge
to Lisuarte. Amadis, who was much wearied by his recent encounter
with the knights, did not then desire to meet him, but when he saw
that Leonora was in the wagon along with the other damsels he leapt
on his destrier and, looking toward Miraflores, where Oriana was,
awaited the giant's onset.

Seeing him, Famongomadan thundered down upon him like a human
avalanche. His great boar-spear transfixed Amadis's horse, but the
lance of the paladin ran its way clean through the monster's carcass
and broke off short in his body. At this his son Basagante ran to the
rescue, but Amadis, disengaging himself from his fallen steed, drew
his sword and severed one of Basagante's legs from the trunk. But his
falchion snapped in twain with the violence of the blow, and a fierce
struggle for Basagante's axe ended in Amadis wrenching it from his
opponent's grasp and smiting off his head. Then he slew Famongomadan
with his own spear, and, releasing the knights in the wagon, requested
them to carry the bodies of the dead giants to King Lisuarte and say
that they were sent by a strange knight, Beltenebros. And mounting
the great black horse of Famongomadan, he galloped off.

At long last Amadis came to Miraflores and met with Oriana, and great
was the love between them. Eight days he sojourned in the castle with
his lady; then he rode away to assist Lisuarte in his war against
Cildadan of Ireland, who, as we have seen, had challenged the King's
supremacy in Britain. Cildadan and his giant allies were vanquished
and the Irish king sorely wounded by Amadis.

Now Briolania, the lady from whom Amadis had received the broken sword,
visited Oriana, and told her in confidence that she was enamoured of
Amadis, who on his part had told her that he loved her not, whereat
Oriana was both relieved and not a little amused. And now the whole
Court knew that Beltenebros and Amadis were one and the same, and
great was the wonder at the puissance of his single arm.

But Amadis, who knew that adventure was the duty and lot of a knight,
desired once more to go in quest of it, and with him went ten knights,
his friends and kinsmen, greatly to the discontent of Lisuarte,
whom mischief-makers tried to incense against Amadis, for removing
the best and bravest of his Court.

Meanwhile Briolania had betaken herself to the Firm Island, where she
was much disturbed by signs and portents of a very terrible nature. She
passed between the Arch of True Lovers. But when she attempted to
penetrate to the Forbidden Chamber she was violently cast out. So,
sad at heart, she returned to her own country. Shortly after this
Amadis arrived at the island, greatly to the joy of all therein.

Here we learn something further regarding the topography and natural
history of the Firm Island, which was nine leagues long and seven
wide, full of villages and rich dwelling-houses. Apolidon had built
himself four wonderful palaces in the isle. One was that of the Serpent
and the Lions, another that of the Hart and the Dogs. The third was
called the Whirling Palace, for three times a day, and as often in
the night, it whirled round, so that they who were in it thought it
would be dashed to pieces. The fourth was that of the Bull, because
every day a wild bull issued out of an old covered way and ran among
the people as though he would destroy them. Then he entered a tower,
from which he emerged ridden by an aged ape, which flogged him back
to the place whence he had come. [44]

News reached the island that Gromadaza of the Boiling Lake, the wife
of Famongomadan, had sent her defiance to Lisuarte, who in consequence
had resolved to behead her daughter Madasima and other damsels of the
race of giants unless she gave up her castles and yielded her kingdom
to him. Amadis and his knights thought it ill in Lisuarte to take such
measures against women, and dispatched twelve of their number to act
as champions to the distressed giantesses. This action naturally gave
colour to the stories of the mischief-makers at Lisuarte's Court,
who desired to put Amadis to shame. But Lisuarte was of too noble a
mind to listen to them, and on the arrival of the knights he set the
damsels free.



Amadis Quarrels with Lisuarte

But Fate and the counsels of wicked men are often stronger than the
nobility of kings. His advisers urged Lisuarte to attempt the siege of
the Island of Mongaza, the last stronghold of the giants, and held only
by their womenkind. Amadis and his company conceived this proposal as
unchivalrous, and when Lisuarte heard of their opinion he grew wroth
and sent his defiance to Amadis in the Firm Island. Amadis replied
that Madasima, the daughter of Famongomadan, having wed with Galvanes,
a friend of both Lisuarte and himself, the island could not be held
as sheltering the enemies of Lisuarte any longer, and that he would
defend it with his whole force. And he set sail for the island with
a large and well-equipped army. There they found a garrison which had
taken possession in the name of Lisuarte, and which they dispossessed.

Leaving a suitable force in the island, Amadis, who was becoming
anxious regarding Oriana, set sail for his own land of Gaul, and,
putting in at an island for supplies, chanced then to rescue his
brother Galaor and King Cildadan from the clutches of a tyrannous
giant, who had entrapped them. Arrived in Gaul, Amadis greeted his
parents, whom he had not seen for some years. In the meantime Lisuarte
had himself landed in the Isle of Mongaza, and had defeated the troops
of Galvanes, its rightful lord, but he dealt reasonably and kindly
with his vanquished foes and contented himself with making Galvanes,
and Madasima, his wife, do homage to him.

For some time Amadis led a life of ease, hunting and feasting, and
contenting himself with such news of his lady as he could obtain. We
are told that by these means his great renown became obscured, although
the unbiased reader might think that he had already achieved sufficient
fame to last a lifetime. "Damsels who went to him to seek revenge for
their wrongs cursed him for forsaking arms in the best of his life."

But Amadis had strong reasons for acting as he did, for a letter
from Oriana had informed him that she had borne him a little son,
and she beseeched him not to leave Gaul until such time as he heard
further from her. She did not acquaint him with the circumstance that
the infant had been lost, but of this we shall hear more anon. Later
Oriana wrote desiring Amadis not to take arms against her father, and
not to quit Gaul, unless it were to take his part. So Amadis resolved
to assist Lisuarte against the Kings of the Isles, with whom he was
about to do battle, and who had invaded his kingdom.

Now the Damsel of Denmark had taken the little son of Amadis and Oriana
and had carried him by night through a gloomy forest, in order that her
mistress might not be disgraced. Left alone for a moment, the child
had been carried off by a lioness, from which it had been rescued by
a hermit, Nasciano, who had called him Esplandian, and educated him
along with his own nephew. The good man brought the lads up as hunters,
and not the least strange thing about this remarkable child was the
circumstance that a lioness had affectionately attached herself to him,
refusing to leave him, either when at home or in the chase.

Meanwhile Amadis, calling himself 'Knight of the Green Sword,'
had resolved to do away with the ill reports of his unchivalrous
sloth. Taking only Ardian the dwarf with him, he entered Germany,
where he passed four years in adventure without word or message from
Oriana. Passing into Bohemia, he remained at its Court for a space.

One day Lisuarte, going to the chase with the Queen and his daughters,
came to the mountain where the hermit Nasciano dwelt, and encountering
Esplandian, resolved to adopt him, and the hermit showed him a letter,
written by Urganda, which had been tied to Esplandian's neck when
Nasciano found him. The letter was addressed to King Lisuarte himself,
and advised him to cherish the boy, who one day would deliver him
from the greatest danger. So Lisuarte resolved to attach Esplandian,
and Sargil, his foster-brother, to his service. And when the hermit
told how he had rescued Esplandian from the lioness Oriana knew him
to be none other than her own son, for she had heard that the infant
left on the threshold of the nunnery had been seized by a wild beast
and carried off.

In the course of his adventures, which were numerous and stirring,
Amadis was sorely wounded by a monster which he had slain, and was
cured of his hurt by a certain lady called Grasinda, to whom he was
grateful for her kindness and assistance, and he promised to do her
will in any adventure she might choose for him.

About the same time El Patin, Emperor of Rome, resolved to ask King
Lisuarte for the hand of Oriana. Hearing this, Queen Sardamira
of Sardinia, who loved El Patin, came to Britain along with the
ambassadors of the Roman Emperor, and, meeting Oriana, gave her some
account of Amadis, telling her how on one occasion he had conquered
El Patin in battle and how that emperor owed him a mortal grudge.

Galaor, who suspected the love of Amadis and Oriana, went to Lisuarte,
strongly advising him not to give Oriana in marriage to the Emperor,
and set out for Gaul, hoping to receive some news of Amadis. At the
same time Florestan betook himself to the Firm Island, to acquaint
Agrayes of the troubles besetting Oriana, and to carry him news of
his lady Mabilia, who longed to see him once more.



'The Greek Knight'

But, as fortune would have it, Amadis, now calling himself 'the Greek
Knight,' accompanied by the lady Grasinda, arrived in Britain. Amadis,
desiring to remain incognito, gave explicit orders to all in his
train not to divulge his name. He learned that Oriana was about
to be given to the Emperor, and resolved to take his measures
accordingly. Grasinda, however, mindful of his vow to her to embark in
any adventure she might choose for him, sent a letter to King Lisuarte
stating that she held herself fairer than any lady at his Court, and
that did any knight deny this he must do battle with her champion,
the Greek Knight. The Roman ambassadors requested of Lisuarte that they
might be permitted to take up the challenge, and to this he acceded.

The combat duly took place between Amadis and the knights of Rome,
to the entire discomfiture of the latter. But the day came on which
Lisuarte had promised the Emperor to send Oriana to him, and although
she swooned at the thought of being taken to Rome, her stubborn father
had her carried on board ship, said farewell to her, not unkindly,
and watched the Roman galley as it bore his daughter from the white
shores of Britain.

Amadis, hearing of the King's intention, went on board his own ship,
and lay in wait for the Roman vessel which was carrying off his
adored lady. Attacking the Italian craft with impetuosity, he quickly
overcame those on board, rescued Oriana, and at once set sail with
her for the golden shores of the Firm Island.

After a voyage of seven days the vessel of Amadis anchored in the
haven of the Firm Island. The lady Grasinda had by this time arrived
there, and now came out to welcome Oriana, whom of all ladies in the
world she most desired to see, because of her great renown, which
was everywhere spread abroad. And when she beheld Oriana "she could
not believe that such beauty was possible in any mortal creature."

Oriana and the other ladies were lodged in a tower of the palace
wrought by the magic skill of Apolidon, and by her request no
knight was permitted to enter this tower till some terms might
be made with the King, her father. Amadis was well aware that the
defiance he had thrown in the teeth of Lisuarte and the Emperor of
Rome by his abduction of Oriana must lead to serious consequences,
so he dispatched messengers to his many friends throughout the world
asking that they would send succour to him in his necessity.

The enmity which had arisen betwixt his two ancient enemies, Amadis
and King Lisuarte, presented an opportunity to the wily enchanter
Archelaus which he had no intention of letting slip. He therefore
approached several other spirits of discord and proposed to them that
if strife commenced between Amadis and the British King they with
their forces should conceal themselves in the neighbourhood of the
engagement, and when one side or the other had achieved victory,
they should fall upon the remnants of both armies and overwhelm
them in a common ruin. This dastardly plan commended itself to the
malcontent lords and petty kings to whom the wizard proposed it,
and they resolved to carry it into effect.



War with Lisuarte

Meanwhile Amadis had dispatched an embassy to the Court of Lisuarte,
requesting the hand of Oriana, but the stubborn old monarch gave a
stern refusal and sent him his defiance. El Patin, Emperor of Rome,
had by this time arrived in Britain, and was busy concerting measures
against Amadis. Soon a mighty host was gathered together, and marched
to seek the army of Amadis, who, taking time by the forelock, had
invaded Britain, and now advanced to meet the forces of Lisuarte and
the Emperor.

The friends of Amadis had not failed him. In the first place
his father, King Perion, was behind him with the whole force of
Gaul. Ireland had sent a large contingent, and his old friends,
the King of Bohemia and the Emperor of Constantinople, had furnished
him with well-equipped legions, all of which were under the skilled
leadership of King Perion. Moreover, the army was accompanied by
Oriana, Grasinda, and the other dames and princesses who had come to
the Firm Island, and their presence heartened the champions to deeds
of high emprise. Meanwhile Archelaus the enchanter and his allies
dogged the progress of Lisuarte's forces in the hope of taking them
at a disadvantage.

Presently the armies came within sight of one another. Their
meeting-place was a great plain, and for miles nothing was to be seen
but the blaze of armour and gay surcoats, the waving of plumes and
banners, and all the proud circumstance of chivalry. For two days the
armies lay in sight of one another. Then they advanced to the charge
with such a tumult of drums and cymbals, trumpets and clarions that it
could be heard many a league away. They met with a crash like thunder,
and the noise which arose from the clash of swords upon armour was
like that of a thousand hammers upon as many anvils.

Amadis led the van. Challenged by Gasquilan, the haughty King of
Sweden, he charged him, and dashed him from the saddle with such
force that he lay as dead. But in the encounter Amadis fell from his
horse. Quadragante, who was close to him, unhorsed a Roman knight, and
gave his destrier to the steedless hero, who, followed by Gandalin
and other paladins, attacked the flank of the Romans with great
fierceness. Meanwhile Quadragante did fearful execution on their front,
few of the enemy being able to withstand his giant might for long.

The Roman army now showed signs of falling into confusion, but at that
moment the Emperor came up with a reinforcement of five thousand
men. He headed the charge in person, crying, "Rome! Rome!" and
brandishing a great sword in his hand. Encountering Quadragante, he
received such a buffet from the giant knight as made him give back
and seek shelter among his own men.

Now Amadis, surrounded by his bravest paladins, performed deeds of
valour which were a wonder in the eyes of both friends and enemies. The
Romans began to give ground before the terrific blows he dealt on all
sides, and at last broke and fled. So greatly had his forces suffered,
however, that he refrained from pursuing his beaten enemies, and as
yet the army of Lisuarte had taken no part in the fighting, so that
he thought it better to spare his own men, who must meet Lisuarte's
force anon.

On the following day King Lisuarte marshalled his army, and now King
Perion came up with his forces, which had been held in reserve. The
battle had not been long in progress, however, when Amadis encountered
the Roman Emperor, and with such a blow as even he had seldom delivered
ended his career. When the Romans and Britons saw that their leader
was slain they began to give way, and Lisuarte, observing this,
sought to withdraw his men in good order. Seeing that he retreated,
and fearing for Lisuarte's personal safety, Amadis took advantage of
the darkness which was now falling to withdraw his troops rather than
pursue, so that the King was able to effect an orderly retiral.

When the holy hermit Nasciano heard of the great discord between the
kings he resolved to make an endeavour to prevent further slaughter,
and although he was old and infirm he succeeded in making his way
to the camp of King Lisuarte. He did not arrive, however, until the
two battles which have just been described had been fought. Making
himself known to the King, he revealed to him that Oriana had promised
marriage to Amadis and that Esplandian was their son. On hearing
this the King was greatly troubled, and blamed the lovers for their
secrecy, remarking, with justice, that many valuable lives would have
been spared had they seen fit to trust him. He requested the hermit
to approach Amadis with a view to the conclusion of peace between
them, and this the good man was only too pleased to do. Accompanied
by Esplandian, he betook himself to the camp of Amadis, where he was
courteously received. The hermit first revealed Esplandian's identity
to the boy's father, and Amadis cordially embraced his son. But he
did not forget his pacific mission. Before he left Amadis he had
smoothed over all the differences between him and the proud old King
Lisuarte, and it was arranged that their ambassadors should meet,
with the object of cementing a generous and lasting peace.



The Treachery of Archelaus

Meanwhile the vindictive enchanter Archelaus, with his malcontent
associates, had been anxiously watching the trend of affairs,
and when their spies informed them that hostilities were at an end
between Lisuarte and Amadis they resolved to attack the old King's
forces without delay. But the sight of their army on the march was
witnessed by Esplandian as he was returning to Lisuarte's headquarters,
and he hastily retraced his steps to the camp of Amadis to warn him
that treachery was on foot. On learning his tidings Amadis and King
Perion at once set out to rescue Lisuarte's exhausted forces from
the danger which menaced them. But before Amadis and his knights
could come up with the army of Archelaus, Lisuarte and his remaining
squadrons had been attacked by the troops of the wizard and his allies,
who had inflicted upon them a crushing defeat. The aged monarch was
compelled to escape as best he could from the stricken field, and,
seeking refuge in a neighbouring town, prepared for a last desperate
defence against his implacable enemies. The place was fiercely attacked
by Archelaus, and as fiercely defended by Lisuarte and such knights
as remained to him. But as the sorcerer was on the point of taking
the town by storm Amadis and his paladins appeared, and routed him
after a sanguinary struggle. Archelaus and his associates were bound
in chains, and were rather foolishly released upon giving security
for their future good behaviour.

The meeting of Lisuarte and Amadis was cordial in the extreme,
and it was apparent that their old friendship would speedily be
renewed. Lisuarte summoned his barons and nobles together, and when
they had all assembled publicly announced the espousal of Amadis
and Oriana.

Now the whole company, including Lisuarte, Perion, and their queens,
Florestan, Galaor, Agrayes, and many others, journeyed to the Firm
Island, where it was unanimously considered that the nuptials of Amadis
and Oriana might most appropriately take place. On their arrival at
that enchanted spot princely preparations were made to mark the event
in a manner befitting such an occasion, for not only were Amadis and
Oriana at last to be united, but numbers of their friends were to take
upon them the vows of marriage at the same time. In the midst of the
preparations the beneficent sorceress Urganda made her appearance,
riding upon a great dragon, and was affectionately welcomed by those
over whose fortunes she had so diligently presided.



The Wedding of Amadis and Oriana

When all was ready and the day of the wedding had at last arrived, a
brilliant assembly mounted their palfreys and proceeded to the church,
where the hermit Nasciano [45] celebrated Mass. When the ceremony
had duly been performed, Amadis asked of Lisuarte that ere the revels
began Oriana might be permitted to make test of the adventure of the
Arch of True Lovers, as the enchantment still held good so far as
ladies were concerned. To this the King gave his consent. As Oriana
approached the image raised its trumpet and blew such a strain of
sweetness as had never yet been heard in the island, and from the
mouth of the trumpet fell flowers and roses in such abundance that
they covered the ground. Without any hesitation Oriana passed on to
the adventure of the Forbidden Chamber. As she passed between the
pillars she felt hands invisible violently pushing her backward, and
three times did they thrust her past the pillars. But by reason of
her surpassing faithfulness and beauty she won, despite opposition,
to the enchanted portal, where the hand which had admitted Amadis was
thrust out, and she entered the chamber, while the voices of viewless
singers softly chanted the praises of her beauty and constancy.

Now all the assembled company who had beheld this last marvel entered
the chamber, and the marriage feast was spread therein. The long
endurance of Amadis and Oriana was over, and at length united to each
other and to their son Esplandian they looked forward to an existence
of such happiness as is only vouchsafed to mortals in the unclouded
pages of old romance.

So ends this brave old tale, in which we read of manners and modes
of thought so widely removed from those of our own time as almost
to appear like those of the people of another planet. The conduct of
knight and damsel is, perhaps, a little strained. No matter how absurd
a promise or fantastic the circumstances in which it was extracted,
it is still regarded as binding, and if we admire the romantic nature
of such a code we are tempted to smile at the seriousness with which
bearded knights and all-powerful monarchs give way before the quibble
of magicians whose lures and devices would be laughed at by a modern
schoolboy. Nevertheless, in perusing the story we experience a strong
conviction of its author's purity of soul and integrity of purpose.

From the reader who has followed me through the mazes of this
enchanting romance I must ask pardon for having omitted in my rendering
of it many passages of rare beauty and touching humanity. My business
in this volume, however, is to present the thread of the story, to
describe its main incidents, and, keeping as closely as possible to
the adventures and doings of its principal characters, to supply an
outline of the whole. I might readily have enhanced the brilliancy
and readableness of my account if I had chosen to narrate isolated
adventures and the incidents of more surpassing excellence with which
it teems. But my purpose, as I have said, is to provide readers who
have little time to peruse an original text with the story in brief. At
the same time I have attempted to conserve the true spirit of the
romance, and if I have failed to do so that must in some measure
be attributed to the difficult task of compression with which I was
confronted. In the words of one who 'set' Amadis to verse, I may say,
with justice:


    To tell as meet the costly feast's array,
    My tedious tale would hold a summer's day.
    I let [46] to sing who mid the courtly throng
    Did most excel in dance or sprightly song,
    Who first, who last, were seated on the dais,
    Who carped of love and arms in courtliest phrase. [47]



CHAPTER IV: THE SEQUELS TO "AMADIS DE GAUL"


                   "Inferior as these after-books of Amadis certainly
                    are, they form so singular an epoch in the history
                    of literature that an abridgment of the whole series
                    into our language is to be desired."--Southey


In dealing with the literatures of the Peninsula, a task for which he
was eminently well equipped, Southey followed an instinct of natural
discrimination which seldom played him false. Feeble as some of the
'after-books' of Amadis undoubtedly are, we cannot afford to ignore
them, if only because of the literary phenomena they present. In these
fantastic tales the imagination which had flowered so luxuriantly in
Amadis became overblown. They are, indeed, the petals fallen from
the fading rose--so quickly did the wonderful blossom of chivalric
fiction droop and wither.

The first of these sequels, called The Fifth Book of Amadis, is
more generally known as Esplandian, as it chiefly refers to the
adventures of that hero. Cervantes is, perhaps, rather more unkind
to this romance than its peculiar merits deserve, for he makes his
critical curate say of it: "Verily the father's goodness shall not
excuse the want of it in the son. Here, good mistress housekeeper,
open that window and throw it into the yard. Let it serve as a
foundation to that pile which we are to set a-blazing presently."

The first edition of Esplandian was published at Seville in 1542. The
greater part of it seems to have been composed by Montalvo, the
original translator of Amadis. But whereas when he penned that work
he acted the part of a translator only, in Esplandian he undertook
the rôle of authorship proper, and that he failed to discern the
wide distinctions which separate these tasks is rather painfully
apparent. It seems to me, however, a mistaken criticism which brands
Esplandian as entirely lacking in merit, and I suspect that more than
one of the censorious folk who have thus entreated it have not perused
it in the original, or have merely taken Cervantes' word regarding
its lack of quality. It is notorious that many English critics
seem to believe it possible to pass a verdict upon works written in
Spanish without possessing more than a nodding acquaintance with the
language, and the absurd idea obtains among many men of letters, who
ought to know better, that, given a knowledge of Latin and French,
the acquisition of the Castilian tongue is merely a matter of a
little reading.

Esplandian possesses many quaint beauties, and the fairy 'machinery'
and rather distinguished simplicity of its atmosphere make it most
pleasant and delectable to peruse. Where, too, may we encounter a
better or more representative example of romantic extravagance at its
best?--for Esplandian, without exhibiting the grosser faults of its
descendants, has the rich and varied colour of that imaginative excess
which is the birthright of all true poets, and in the discipline of
which all are not successful. I quite admit, however, that Esplandian
is food for the enthusiast, and I do not recommend its perusal to
unromantic souls. It is not for the barbers and curates of this world,
and pity 'tis that they who cannot appreciate its spirit should
attempt to influence others to its detriment.

Esplandian spent his childhood at the Court of his grandfather, King
Lisuarte, and had scarcely been knighted when he felt the call of
high adventure. His wishes in this respect were speedily gratified,
for shortly after the gilt spurs had been placed on his heels he
fell into a deep swoon, which seemed to portend enchantment of no
common order. As he slept, the people of the Firm Island, whence he
had journeyed to have knighthood conferred upon him, beheld a vast
mountain of fire approach the shore, from which issued the sylph-like
form of the enchantress Urganda the Unknown, sailing through the air
upon the back of an enormous dragon. Some time prior to these events
Amadis, to whose custody the malicious Archelaus had been entrusted,
had injudiciously released that firebrand of the magical world, only
to learn shortly afterward that the unscrupulous wizard had taken
advantage of his new-found liberty to work his wiles once more upon
the all too unsuspecting Lisuarte, who seemed incapable of profiting
by experience, and who now paid for his credulity by incarceration in
the deepest dungeons of the necromancer's castle. Urganda announced
to the distracted son-in-law that it would be necessary for Esplandian
to execute a mission of vengeance, and ere it was possible to question
her further she bore away the youth on the back of the winged monster
she bestrode.

The enchantress conveyed the sleeping Esplandian to a mysterious
vessel called the Ship of the Great Serpent, and on waking it was
with no little exaltation of spirit that he found himself on its
deck. As he was wafted across the smooth ocean he felt a thrill
of pleasure arising from the magical ease with which the enchanted
galley skimmed the waves. In time he beheld a rocky islet standing
in the midst of a forsaken sea, and going ashore he found it to be
barren and showing no other sign of habitation than a tall tower,
which crowned its topmost height. He climbed the eminence upon which
it stood, and discovered the ancient fortalice to be completely
deserted. Exploring its recesses, he observed a stone in which a
richly ornamented sword was firmly embedded, but as he attempted to
grasp this the air was rent by the bellowings of a frightful dragon,
which descended upon him with such velocity that ere he could prepare
himself for its onset it had coiled its enormous folds round his body
in an effort to break through the plates of his armour and crush him
to death. Man and monster wrestled to and fro in a death-grapple,
and so terrific were their exertions that the earth shook and the
castle rocked beneath them as they swayed and writhed in a deadly
embrace. At length Esplandian succeeded in freeing his right hand
from the dragon's encircling folds, and, drawing a magic sword which
Urganda had bestowed upon him, passed it through the monster's scaly
hide. Mortally wounded, the dragon relaxed its grip, and its huge
body became rigid in death. When he had assured himself that it was
quite dead, Esplandian quitted the castle and returned to the shore, a
weird light which came from the enchanted sword, which he had extracted
from the boulder, guiding his footsteps through the gathering dusk.

Re-embarking on the Ship of the Great Serpent, he was speedily wafted
to a rugged country known as the Forbidden Mountain, a stronghold
on the borders of Turkey and Greece. At a distance he perceived a
castle, and was making his way thither when he encountered a hermit,
who warned him to avoid it, and told him that a prince of renown
was imprisoned therein. At once it occurred to Esplandian that this
must be none other than Lisuarte, and the castle the stronghold of
the wicked Archelaus, and this surmise naturally made him resolve to
inquire into the character of the place. As he neared the gate he saw
that it was guarded by a giant sentinel, who, on espying him, rushed
at him fiercely, brandishing a formidable club. Avoiding the onset of
his gigantic adversary, Esplandian slew him with the sword of power,
and was about to enter the castle when he was suddenly confronted
by Archelaus in person. A bitterly contested struggle ensued. The
enchanter, enraged at the stripling's audacity in seeking to probe
the mysteries of his stronghold, and in the knowledge that he came
of the race of his detested enemy Lisuarte, attacked Esplandian with
great fury. But his blind rage could not avail against the cooler
courage of his youthful antagonist, who succeeded in dispatching him
with the magic sword, thus for ever putting an end to his necromantic
enormities. A nephew of the slain enchanter next assaulted the young
knight, but he too fell before the magic falchion of Urganda. Next
Arcobone, the mother of Archelaus, a witch deeply versed in the
mysteries of the occult arts, sought to vanquish him by the force
of her anathemas, but the powers of counter-charm concealed in
Esplandian's blade saved him from the fury of the dread sybil, who
felt herself bound to obey his behests. He commanded her to reveal
the place of Lisuarte's confinement, and had the satisfaction of
releasing his aged relative.

As Esplandian and Lisuarte were about to leave the island, the fleet
of Matroed, eldest son of Arcobone, arrived off its shores, and the
young hero found himself forced to do battle with a fresh enemy,
for, relying upon his ability to defeat such a youthful adversary
with ease, Matroed made the combat a strictly personal one, and he
and Esplandian were engaged in deadly fight until the waning of the
sun. But at length the many wounds which the pagan warrior had received
forced him to discontinue the struggle, and he begged Esplandian to
permit him to die in peace. At this juncture a holy man arrived, and
the expiring heathen requested his blessing, which was piously granted.

Assuming the name of 'the Black Knight,' from the colour of his armour,
Esplandian now ruled in the Forbidden Mountain as lord of the castle
he had subdued. But he was not permitted to remain in quiet for long,
as the fortalice was speedily invested by Armato, the Soldan of
Turkey, with a great army. Attracting numerous followers to himself,
however, Esplandian defeated the paynims, and took their sovereign
prisoner. Encouraged by this success, he carried the war into the
heart of the Turkish dominions and captured the principal city.

Before entering upon his career of adventure Esplandian had met
Leonorina, daughter of the Emperor of Constantinople, of whom he
had become greatly enamoured, and during the course of his war with
the Turks he had dispatched many messengers to her, assuring her of
his undying affection. He now learned that she had taken umbrage
at his long absence, so, when the capital of Turkey had fallen to
his sword, he speedily set out for Constantinople. Arrived there, he
purchased a cedar chest of exquisite workmanship, which he entrusted
to certain messengers, commanding them to bear it to the lady. When
she opened it in the privacy of her own apartment, to her mingled
confusion and delight her long-absent lover himself emerged from its
recesses. In Spanish romance it is inevitable that the loves of the
hero and heroine should remain unknown to the lady's relatives, not
only because this was demanded by the romantic susceptibilities of
the average Spanish reader, but because Spanish opinion would have
been seriously affronted by the idea of parental compliance in any
intercourse between the lovers prior to marriage, save of the most
formal kind. This sorry condition of affairs still obtains among the
middle and upper classes of Spain and Spanish America, and we can
scarcely suppress amusement when we hear of ardent youths unable to
converse confidentially with the maidens to whom they are formally
affianced otherwise than by assuming some ridiculous disguise,
or through the kind offices of servants. Not infrequently young
Spanish couples whose engagement is quite en règle, and to whose
union not the slightest opposition is made, arrange and carry out
an elopement, purely because of the romantic atmosphere surrounding
such a proceeding. It is circumstances such as these which enable us
to appreciate the firm hold of romance upon the Spanish heart.

But Esplandian had but little time for dalliance, as the Turks
were once more arrayed against him in the field. He had, however,
a firm ally in Urganda, but, to counterbalance this, the infidels
were supported by the enchantress Melia, the sister of Armato,
the defeated soldan, who had succeeded in making his escape upon
the back of a flying dragon, dispatched for that purpose by this
Turkish witch. With all speed he levied a large army, and set siege
to Constantinople. Numerous as the sands of the sea were his allies,
one of whom was a beautiful Amazonian queen, who brought with her to
the scene of hostilities a squadron of fifty griffins, which flew
over the city much in the manner of devastating aircraft, belching
fire and smoke on the heads of the unhappy folk below.

So dire was the loss of life in this combat between the forces
of Christendom and paganism that at last it was agreed that the
question of pre-eminence should be settled by the issue of a double
combat. Amadis and Esplandian were selected on the one side, and the
Amazon queen and a celebrated pagan soldan on the other. The heathens
were defeated, but so enraged were they at their downfall that they
rushed to the attack with every available man (and woman) in their
hosts. But the Christians, mightily encouraged by the victory of their
champions, repulsed them with terrific loss, and drove them from the
bounds of the Grecian dominions. The Greek Emperor, probably only too
happy to rid himself of the burden of such a troublous inheritance,
resigned his crown to Esplandian, who espoused his Leonorina and
settled down to the task of governing the Hellenic realm.

Relieved from the pressure of military duties, in which she had proved
herself no inefficient ally, the sage Urganda had now leisure to
pay some attention to the private affairs of her mortal charges. On
consulting her magic mirror and other divinatory apparatus, she was
desolated to find that Amadis, Galaor, Esplandian, and indeed all of
her favourite champions, were soon to pay the debt of nature. Had her
prophetic soul been enabled to envisage the immensities of fiction to
which their future adventures were to give rise, she would undoubtedly
have allowed nature to take its course, so we must conclude that her
powers of vision were limited. Resolved to frustrate unkindly Fate,
she summoned her protégés to the Firm Island, and advised them, if
they desired to escape mortality, to obey the injunctions she would
now place upon them. They anxiously assured her that these would be
carried out to the letter, and with the best possible grace submitted
to be cast into a magic sleep, from which, it was decreed, they were
not to awaken until disenchanted by Lisuarte, son of Esplandian, who,
on gaining possession of a certain magic sword, would be enabled to
bring them once more to life with renewed vigour.

The Sixth Book of the Amadis series is concerned with the adventures
of Florisando, his nephew, but as its hero is not in the line direct,
and is, moreover, intolerably tiresome, we may well pass him over
with a mere mention of his existence.



Lisuarte of Greece

More sprightly is Lisuarte of Greece, hero of the seventh and eighth
books, which are believed to have been written by Juan Diaz, Bachelor
of Canon Law, and published in 1526. Lisuarte is not, however,
the sole hero of this romance, Perion, a later son of Amadis and
Oriana, claiming a considerable share of the exploits which fall to be
recounted in the volume. This young warrior, hearing of the prowess and
address in arms of the King of Ireland, resolved to gratify a desire
to be knighted by him, and for this purpose embarked for the Green
Isle. While traversing St George's Channel, or its romantic equivalent,
he encountered a damsel cruising in a boat managed by four apes. The
animals begged Perion to accompany their mistress for the fulfilment
of a great enterprise, so, quitting his own vessel, he embarked in the
boat along with the apes and the lady. His attendants, chagrined by his
acceptance of the adventure thus thrust upon him, turned their vessel
eastward and sailed on until they eventually arrived at Constantinople,
where they reported his virtual disappearance, on learning of which
his kinsman Lisuarte decided to go in quest of him.

In the meantime young Perion had arrived with his strange
fellow-wanderers in the kingdom of Trebizond, which, as we are all
aware, is readily accessible from the Irish coast. In that city he
had seen and fallen in love with the daughter of the Emperor, but did
not have much leisure to pay his addresses to her, as the Lady of the
Apes rather unduly hurried him in the preliminaries of the task she
had set him. They had scarcely left Trebizond when Lisuarte arrived
in the city, and promptly fell in love with Onoloria, the Emperor's
remaining daughter. But one day, as the lovers were enjoying each
other's society, an enormous giantess entered the Court and requested
a boon from Lisuarte, which, in true romantic fashion, he granted
without inquiring its nature. It proved to be his attendance for a
year wherever the gigantic damsel chose to demand it. The giantess
was, indeed, a pagan spy, and had concocted this device to withdraw
Lisuarte, who was one of the great props of Christian Greece, from
the support of the Hellenic throne at a difficult and dangerous time.

When Lisuarte had quitted Trebizond on the adventure in which he was
an unwilling partaker, the Emperor of that country, father of his
inamorata, was informed of the true character of the prodigious damsel
who had carried him off by a letter which was closed with sixty-seven
seals and which announced that Constantinople was about to be besieged
by Armato, the Turkish Soldan, who had placed himself at the head of a
league of sixty-seven princes for the purpose of waging war against the
imperial city. Meanwhile Lisuarte was given into the care of the King
of the Giants' Isle, whose daughter Gradaffile fell in love with him,
procured his escape, and followed him to Constantinople, whence he
at once betook himself for the purpose of combating the infidels who
invested it. In this task he was assisted by Perion, who now arrived in
Greece, after having accomplished the behest of the Lady of the Apes.

In course of time Lisuarte became conscious that duty now called
him to effect the release of his sleeping ancestors from the
spell in which they had been cast for the purpose of prolonging
their existences. After many adventures, which we spare the
reader, he obtained possession of the fatal sword and proceeded
to the Firm Island, where he broke the enchanted sleep into which
Amadis, Esplandian, and the rest had been lulled by the far-sighted
Urganda. These, naturally refreshed by their long slumber, and longing
for martial exercise, at once assisted him in routing the pagan forces
before Constantinople, and achieving peace once more. Lisuarte, freed
from his patriotic labours, now bethought himself of his lady-love,
and turned his steps to the city of Trebizond. Perion had also gone
thither from a similar reason, but on the request of the Duchess of
Austria had accompanied that lady to her dominions, which were in
the grip of a usurper. On his return from this chivalrous task he
encountered his kinsman Lisuarte, and both champions were in the act
of preparing their wedding festivities when Perion and the Emperor
of Trebizond were carried off by pagan treachery in the midst of a
hunting expedition. Lisuarte, following on their track, was also seized
by the enemy, and imprisoned along with those he had sought to succour.



Amadis of Greece

The Ninth Book carries on the adventures and exploits of the race of
Amadis, who in more senses than one may be said to be immortal. It
was first published in 1535 at Burgos, a place of many literary
associations, and purports to have been imitated in Latin from the
Greek, after the manner of the famous Troy romance Dares and Dictys,
and at a later time translated into the Romance language by the potent
and wise magician Alquife, evidently a supposititious Moor pressed
into the service of the most imaginative but undisciplined writer
who fabricated it. Amadis of Greece, indeed, approaches the sublime
of imaginative excess and fictional unreason, and in its extravagant
pages we are confronted with such a maze of marvel that to provide
an intelligent account of it is a task of no little difficulty.

Following the wild career of the romancer with the halting step
of modern incredulity, we learn that Amadis of Greece was, like his
forbears, a child unwanted, the son of Lisuarte and Onoloria, Princess
of Trebizond, born shortly after the period of their interrupted
wedding. While the infant was being baptized at a fountain in a wild
and deserted place, to which he had been conveyed for the purposes of
secrecy, he was carried off by corsairs, who sold him to the Moorish
King of Saba. Distinguished by the representation of a sword upon his
breast, he adopted the name, when knighted by the pagan monarch, of
'The Knight of the Flaming Sword.' Soon after he had entered the ranks
of chivalry he was falsely accused of cherishing a secret love for
the Queen of Saba, and, dreading the wrath of his benefactor, he made
his escape, and embarked upon a career of adventure--which, indeed,
it would have been difficult for anyone of his lineage to have avoided.

A pagan in religion and sentiment, he came to the vicinity of the
Forbidden Mountain which his grandfather had been instrumental in
liberating from the clutches of the infidel, and, reversing the pious
work then accomplished, he defeated and expelled those who held it
for the Emperor of Greece. Aroused by the menacing turn events had
taken, the great Esplandian himself, now Emperor of Constantinople,
hastened to the scene of hostilities and engaged in single combat
with the doughty new-comer, only, however, to suffer defeat at his
hands, an event which never could have entered into the calculation
of the enthusiastic author who composed the romance of that hero, who
would have been horrified at the mere thought of the eclipse of his
invincible 'star.' Shortly after this Amadis encountered the King of
Sicily. Their acquaintance commenced with a combat, as it was indeed
essential that it should, as the only fitting means of introduction
between gentlemen of errant tendencies, but when they came to know
and esteem each other they patched up a comradeship which was the
more powerfully cemented by the passion of Amadis for the martial
monarch's lovely daughter.

In the course of his voyage to Sicily, Amadis chanced to visit an
island, where he found the Emperor of Trebizond, Lisuarte, Perion,
and Gradaffile in a state of enchanted slumber. As we have seen, they
had been spirited away by the emissaries of paganism. It chanced
that at this time Amadis of Gaul, who was evidently not yet too
old for adventurous pursuits, encountered the Queen of Saba, who was
everywhere searching for a champion to defend her against her husband's
false charges of conjugal infidelity. Amadis espoused her quarrel,
and accompanied her to Saba, where he did battle with and overcame
her accuser. He also succeeded in establishing her innocence, and
that of his namesake, Amadis of Greece, to the satisfaction of the
King her husband.

After he had freed his ancestors from their charmed sleep, Amadis of
Greece betook himself to Sicily. He had not been long in the island
when he heard a knight reciting amorous verses in the vicinity of
the palace. At once his jealous heart leapt to the conclusion that
the singer was chanting the praise of his princess. Almost crazed
by his suspicions, he searched everywhere for his supposed rival,
but without success, dogging his footsteps, but always failing to
come up with him. During this chase he met with many adventures. But
at last he seems to have convinced himself that his suspicions were
groundless and that the singer he had heard had had no designs upon
the heart of his inamorata.

Whilst these events were passing, Lisuarte, the father of our hero,
had returned to Trebizond, and had formally requested the hand of
Onoloria. But Zairo, Soldan of Babylon, had seen this princess in a
dream, and, accompanied by his sister Abra, had arrived at Trebizond
to demand her in marriage. The Emperor was quite prepared to grant
his suit, but not so Lisuarte, who had prior claims to the lady,
and his opposition so enraged the Soldan that he resorted to warlike
measures and set siege to "many-towered Trebizond." After the siege
had progressed for some time champions were selected from either army
to decide the pretensions of the rival parties. But the Soldan's
paladins were defeated by Gradaffile, daughter of the King of the
Giant's Isle, who disguised herself as a knight, and whose Amazonian
fury the unfortunate Babylonians could scarcely be expected to confront
with any chance of success. The Soldan, however, after the manner of
the baffled in romance, broke the rules of the tourney and carried
off Onoloria by a stratagem.

As his fleet sailed with all speed from Trebizond, it encountered
that of Amadis of Gaul, who was hastening to the relief of that city,
and had evidently not been retarded in his passage of the Dardanelles
by any considerations of international law. In the circumstances it
is scarcely necessary to chronicle the Soldan's overthrow, or dwell
upon his untimely fate.

But the will to evil of the race of Babylon was not extinguished by
the decease of the short-lived if romantically named Zairo. By his
death his sister Abra succeeded to the throne of Semiramis. While
sojourning at Trebizond in the happy days before hostilities had
broken out between her brother and Lisuarte, she had fallen under
the spell of that champion's attractions, and after the manner of
Eastern womanhood as depicted by the writers of romance, made the
first advances to the object of her affections. Let us hope that
he did not repulse her as rudely as did blunt Sir Bevis of Hamton,
when the fair Saracen Josiana sent her envoys to him to acquaint him
with her passion:


    He said, if ye ne were messengers,
    I should ye slay, ye lossengers.
    I ne will rise one foot fro' grounde
    For to speak with an heathen hounde.
    She is a hound, also be ye:
    Out of my chamber swith ye flee.


But repulse her Lisuarte did, and all the fury of a woman scorned
burned in the breast of the fair Babylonian. Out of the depths of
her vengeance she sent emissaries to all the kingdoms of the earth,
asking that the knighthood of every realm should assist her to destroy
Lisuarte. One of her damsels while on this quest met with Amadis of
Greece, who, still a pagan, was easily inveigled into promising that
he would never rest until he had presented the lady Abra with the
head of Lisuarte. On the arrival of Amadis at Trebizond a dreadful
combat between father and son ensued, which was mercifully broken off
by the timely appearance of Urganda, who, following her usual custom,
made parent and child known to one another.

But the young Amadis was not to be exempt from the amorous advances
of pagan princesses any more than his father had been. Niquea, the
daughter of an Eastern soldan, had fallen in love with him by report,
and had sent him her picture by the hands of a favourite dwarf. The
lady's undoubted attractions were, however, seriously counterbalanced
by the circumstance that all who beheld her resplendent beauty either
died on the spot or were deprived of reason. Her father, in the
exercise of ordinary wisdom, shut her up in an almost inaccessible
tower, to which her relatives (who, like most family friends, were
rather apt to discount her charms) alone had the entrée.

Notwithstanding the former strong attachment of Amadis to the Princess
of Sicily, he had no sooner set eyes on the portrait of Niquea than
he renounced his former allegiance and devoted his affections to the
Oriental beauty. In order that he might delight his eyes with the
original of the portrait which had so enchanted him, he disguised
himself as a female slave, and gained access to the tower in which
Niquea was interned. They plighted their troth to each other,
and Amadis remained in the tower in his disguise. Needless to say,
Niquea's good looks wrought him no bale.

We now return to the fair but vindictive Abra, who, having marshalled
an immense army, marched against Trebizond. After a furious encounter,
the forces of paynimrie were duly routed. But as Onoloria had in the
meantime been so obliging as to shake off the trammels of mortality,
Lisuarte, at the persuasion of his platonic friend Gradaffile,
agreed to cement a lasting peace by espousing the Babylonian queen,
who was thus lucky in love if unlucky in war.

Niquea, tiring of her virtual imprisonment, succeeded in eloping with
Amadis, and soon afterward arrived with him at Trebizond, where their
nuptials were celebrated. Later she gave birth to a son named Florisel
de Niquea, the subject of a future tale.

This romance, like that of Esplandian, ends with the enchantment of
the Greek heroes and princesses in the Tower of the Universe by the
spells of the wise magician Zirfea, who warned them that by this means
alone could they escape mortality. But, unlike the enchantment of the
Firm Island, the spell which they must needs undergo in this tower
of marvels was not of a somnolent character, so that the enchanted
paladins and their lady-loves were enabled to cultivate each other's
society for a century or so, an advantage at which they had small
occasion to grumble, when their long separation as relatives is taken
into account. Even did they tire of one another's society, they were
not likely to fall under the more dreadful spell of boredom, since the
accommodating magician who undertook their enchantment had provided
an apparatus by means of which they could behold every event which
took place in the world, a vehicle of solace and amusement which
Madame d'Aulnoy introduced into one of her fairy fictions.

Cervantes' barber and priest were especially caustic regarding Amadis
of Greece and its immediate successors. "Into the yard with them all,"
quoth the priest, "for rather than not burn the queen Pintiquinestra
and the shepherd Darinel with his eclogues and the devilish intricate
discourses of its author, I would burn the father who begot me,
did I meet him in the garb of a knight errant."



Florisel of Niquea

The composition which chiefly seems to have excited the wrath of
Cervantes' unromantic churchman and even more unpoetic barber is the
Tenth Book of Amadis, which is entitled as above, and is feigned to
be written by no less a person than Cirfea, Queen of the Argives,
who doubtless composed it in the intervals of repose stolen from
the more important duties of royalty. Her Majesty does not degrade
her exalted position by revealing to us the fee which she received
from the Valladolid publishers who produced the work in 1532, but
if one may place a value on her compositions without breaking the
dread law of lèse-majesté, it might be suggested that a penny a line
would amply remunerate the literary output of this most imaginative
sovereign. In a word, Cirfea, or the scribbler who sought to shelter
himself behind her royal robes, is tiresome to a degree, and her
pastoral absurdities can scarcely be described otherwise than in
a vein of humorous tolerance. The one thing that renders her work
of any importance is that she was probably the first to import the
sylvan element into romance, and is thus the creator of that long
line of artificial and over-amorous shepherds and shepherdesses
whose tears and sighs fall upon or are wafted over the poetic pages
of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and the insistence of
whose plaints makes one dread to open a volume which seems in any
way reminiscent of l'esprit de bergères.

The romance introduces us to Sylvia, the daughter of Lisuarte
and Onoloria, who was, in the course of nature, removed from her
parents in infancy, and was brought up to a pastoral life in the
neighbourhood of Alexandria, which, if it enjoyed a reputation in her
day as a sheep-rearing district, must have owed it to the well-known
properties of sand as a medium for the fattening of those animals for
the market. As Sylvia grew up she became conscious of her beauty, and,
relying upon her good looks, and no doubt also upon her pretty name,
she enslaved to her will the handsome swain Darinel, whose appellation,
like that of his lady-love, is racy of the land of the Pharaohs. Sylvia
conceived it as being correct in a shepherdess to be 'cruel' to her
lover, who, thus setting the fashion for many a future sonneteer,
complained bitterly of her indifference, and signified his intention
of ending his days by exposing himself to the fury of the elements
on a mountain-top--rather a prolonged operation, one would think, in
a region especially suited to pulmonary patients. Probably finding
that the climate of Egypt scarcely lent itself to the consummation
of such a fate, he betook himself to the region of Babylonia,
where, in the intervals of searching for mountains in a land where
they are tantalizingly absent, he found time to make a friendship
with Florisel, whose good nature must have been sorely tried by his
plaintive apostrophes to his mistress's eyebrow. So glowing, indeed,
were Darinel's descriptions of Sylvia's charms that Florisel became
infected with his unhappy comrade's emotion, so that at last, unable
to combat the passion which was consuming him, he disguised himself
as a shepherd and prevailed upon the luckless Darinel to conduct
him to Sylvia's abode. But although Florisel had paid her the great
compliment of walking all the way from Babylon for a glance from her
bright eyes, she showed herself every whit as cold to him as she had
been to Darinel.

One evening, when Florisel deigns to grant the reader a blessed
intermission from his pleadings to the fair shepherdess, he described
to her how the prince Anastarax, brother of Niquea, had been enclosed
in a fiery palace by the enchantments of the potent magician Zirfea. On
hearing the story, the petulant Sylvia fell headlong in love with
Anastarax, and persuaded Florisel and Darinel, who no longer hankered
after Alpine rigours, to attempt the deliverance of the fire-encircled
prince. But when they arrived in the vicinity of the tower in which
he was detained they learned that the adventure was reserved for
Alastraxare, a fair Amazon, daughter of Amadis of Greece and the
Queen of Caucasus. The reader is now compelled to follow the fortunes
of this female Hercules, whose tongue-encircling name has proved a
stumbling-block to generations of printers. These are spread over
many pages. The little party from Alexandria went in search of this
heroine, and encountered many adventures, as per arrangement with
the booksellers. Chief among these was the amorous dalliance with
Arlanda, princess of Thrace, who had fallen in love with Florisel
by report, as ladies had a disconcerting habit of doing in the days
of high romance. She donned the clothes of the immaculate Sylvia,
and thus beguiled him to a moonlight rendezvous, where she succeeded
in gaining his favour while he was under the impression that she was
the shepherdess whom he had vainly pursued so long.

In the course of their wanderings Sylvia became separated from the
rest of the party during a great storm, and, retracing her steps,
made her way back to the flaming prison of Anastarax. Meanwhile
Florisel and Darinel arrived on the coast of Apollonia, where the
former happily forgot the charms of the capricious little shepherdess,
who by this time had been duly discovered as the daughter of Lisuarte,
and had been united to her beloved Anastarax. But it was not because
he suffered from a failing memory that Florisel became oblivious
of Sylvia, but rather on account of the bright eyes of the Princess
Helena of Apollonia.

The sequence of the tale is now broken up in a manner calculated to
aggravate the most hardened of readers. Florisel was not left much
leisure to enjoy the society of the fascinating Apollonian princess, as
the deliverance of his kindred from the enchanted tower had all along
been reserved for him. When at last he had satisfied the promptings
of duty, he set his face once more toward Apollonia, but was not, of
course, destined to arrive on the shores of that delectable kingdom
without undergoing still further adventures. Landing at Colchos,
he met with Alastraxare, who had found happiness with Falanges, a
brilliant warrior of Florisel's train. Arriving at last in Apollonia,
he found the Princess Helena on the eve of a marriage with the Prince
of Gaul, a match ordained by the lady's politic father. But Florisel
would have belied the adventurous blood which he drew from a long line
of heroes who had never yet remained inactive in such a contingency
if he had failed to defeat the tyrannical father's intentions, so,
as our royal authoress remarks, he repeated the exploit of Paris in
the tale of Troy by carrying off this second Helen.

Like its prototype of Homeric story, this action very naturally
precipitated the kingdoms of the East and West, real and apocryphal,
into a condition of chaotic warfare. Assisted by the Russians, who even
at that distant epoch appear to have had a predilection for the task
of social demolition, the countries of the West poured their myriads
upon the plains of Constantinople, and inflicted a serious reverse
upon the Hellenic arms. But the erratic Slavs, true to type, turned
later upon their allies of the Occident, drove them from the shores
of the Golden Horn, and finally secured Florisel in the possession
of the capital of the East and the Princess Helena.

Here the august Cirfea might with all judiciousness have written
"Finis" with her golden pen to this amazing history. But at this
stage of events, if a phrase so familiarly colloquial may be employed
regarding one so exalted, she 'gets her second wind,' probably in
view of the circumstance that her bargain with the booksellers of
Valladolid stipulated that their patrons were to be regaled with so
many thousand lines of her glowing periods, an arrangement in which
she was probably loath to disappoint them, for reasons to which,
as a crowned head, she should have been superior. But her domain of
Argolis is proverbially a poor country, whose populace possesses a
rooted and hereditary bias against taxation. Be that as it may, she
was not the last Balkan sovereign to supply herself with pin-money
by literary labours. Equipping herself, therefore, with a fresh ream
of parchment from the Department of Archives (for Government paper
has proverbially been everybody's property, even from the times of
Khammurabi), she cast about for fresh situations and addressed herself
to the task of 'spinning out.'

When the treacherous Russians had accounted for the armies of the West,
they embarked for their own country, there to hatch fresh schemes for
the further disturbance of a harassed Europe. But Amadis of Greece was
in no mind that a people who owed so many debts to civilization (to
say nothing of vast pecuniary obligations) should escape unpunished for
their original adherence to the enemy. Pursuing them, but losing track
of their vessels, he came to the inevitable desert island, where he
resolved to stay and do penance for his infidelity to the Princess of
Sicily. Quite naturally, that lady herself landed on its shores, and,
after upbraiding her unfaithful lover, very sensibly advised him to
return to his sorrowing wife Niquea, which he at last consented to do.

When, after a reasonable interval, Amadis did not return to
Constantinople, the imperial city was in an uproar, and Florisel and
Falanges elected to go in quest of him. They arrived in time at the
island, where, under the assumed name of Moraizel, the former fell
in love with and espoused its queen, Sidonia, who, however, did not
scruple to show her preference for his companion. But Florisel soon
tired of his island bride, who bore him a beautiful little daughter,
Diana, destined to prove the heroine of the eleventh and twelfth
books of this interminable history.



Agesilan of Colchos

The young Agesilan of Colchos was prosecuting his studies at Athens
when he chanced to see a statue of the beauteous Diana. Irresistibly
attracted by it, he resolved to search for and behold the original,
so, donning the garb of a female minstrel, he fared to the Court of
Queen Sidonia, the royal maiden's mother. Here he was employed as a
companion to the princess. But when a succession of adventurous knights
arrived in the island he could not refrain from giving them battle
in the guise of an Amazon, with results invariably in his favour.

Learning from the Queen how she had been neglected by Florisel,
Agesilan obligingly offered to bring her the head of the erring
warrior, revealing, at the same time, his own personality. Sidonia,
who bore her husband a deep grudge for his desertion of her, readily
accepted his championship. So Agesilan repaired to Constantinople
and defied the recreant to mortal combat. It was arranged that the
encounter should take place in the dominions of Sidonia, but on
the would-be combatants arriving in these regions they found them
beleaguered by the ubiquitous Russians, who, not content with the
freedom of their own vast steppes, seem to have hankered after a
place in the sun in a more genial clime. It was scarcely fair to
the ebullient Slavs to launch two such renowned paladins upon them
at one and the same time, but, the brief battle over, victory seems
to have made Florisel and Sidonia forget their estrangement, and all
went merry as a marriage bell, Agesilan being duly affianced to Diana.

It was agreed, however, that the splendours of Constantinople would
provide a more fitting background to their nuptials, and accordingly
all set sail for the Golden Horn, having first been honoured by a visit
from Amadis of Gaul in person, who, notwithstanding his patriarchal
years, still continued to prove the delights of errantry. He was
accompanied by Amadis of Greece, who, though almost as venerable as
his great-grandfather, could yet break a lance with any like-minded
champion.

They had not proceeded far from the shores of the island when they were
beset by a furious tempest, in which Agesilan and Diana were separated
from the rest of their kindred and cast upon a desert rock, where they
would have perished had not an accommodating knight, mounted upon
a hippogriff, who chanced to be flying overhead, picked them up and
carried them to his home in the Canary Islands. But their preserver's
disinterestedness vanished on beholding the beauty of Diana, so,
when Agesilan was off his guard, he bore her to a distant part of
the Green Island, as his demesne was called. His amorous dream was,
however, destined to be rudely broken in upon, for at that moment a
party of corsairs landed, and seeing in Diana a prize who would bring
them a large sum in the nearest slave-market, promptly bore her off.

Agesilan, on being unable to find Diana, suspected treachery, so
mounted the hippogriff and set out in search of her. Having in vain
surveyed the island from the back of the winged monster, in his despair
he took to flying at large. Whether from 'engine trouble' or causes
even more obscure, he was forced to alight in the country of the
Garamantes, the king of which had been struck blind as a punishment
for his overweening pride. Moreover, the unfortunate monarch was
doomed to have the food prepared for him devoured daily by a hideous
dragon. From this monster Agesilan delivered him. The whole incident is
an unblushing imitation of a passage in Orlando Furioso (can. xxxiii,
st. 102 ff.), in which Senapus, King of Ethiopia, is visited by a like
misfortune, and has his food daily destroyed by harpies until relieved
by Astolpho, who descends in his dominions on a winged steed. But
the author of Agesilan is no whit more guilty than Ariosto himself,
for both incidents are derived originally from the story of Phineus
and the harpies in the Argonautica of Apollonius Rhodius.

Agesilan, pursuing the quest of Diana, arrived at the Desolate
Isle. The god Tervagant (Termagaunt, Tyr Magus='Tyr the Mighty')
had fallen in love with the queen of this country, and on being
repulsed by her let loose a band of demons upon her possessions,
who ravaged them far and wide. The god's oracle had announced that he
would not be appeased unless the inhabitants daily exposed a maiden
on the sea-shore until such time as he found one as much to his taste
as the Queen. Each day a hapless damsel was chained to a rock on the
desolate shores of the island, and was promptly devoured by a monster
which rose out of the sea. This naturally rendered the supply of
maidens in the vicinity rather scarce, so in order to save one of the
local ladies for another occasion, Diana, who had been brought to the
island, was tied to the rock one morning and, like another Andromeda,
of whose myth the incident is a paraphrase, was left to the mercy of
the monster. Agesilan, soaring through the air on his hippogriff,
witnessed her plight, descended to her aid, and, after a terrific
combat, slew the monster which had been about to devour her.

Having accounted for the grisly satellite of Tervagant, he placed the
almost unconscious Diana upon his aery steed, whose head he turned
in the direction of Constantinople; but on the way thither this now
practised airman caught sight of the ship of Amadis from which he
and his mistress had been separated in the tempest. Alighting on
the vessel with all the skill of a sea-plane pilot on the deck of
a 'mother-ship,' he greeted his astonished kindred, and the party
eventually reached Constantinople, where the wedding of the principal
characters was solemnized.



Silvio de la Selva

Silvio de la Selva, son of Amadis of Greece and a certain Finistea,
is the hero of the twelfth and last book of the Amadis series. He
first came into prominence by the gallant display he made against
the Russians at the siege of Constantinople, and when the Tsar
of that turbulent folk showed a desire to plunge Europe into the
distractions of war once more he was not the last to unsheath his
falchion and assure the twelve dwarfish ambassadors of the Muscovite
that the confederacy of one hundred and sixty monarchs which he had
brought together had a small chance of returning to their respective
dominions. The resultant siege, with its sallies and combats à
outrance, we shall forbear to describe, only remarking en passant
that, in the mercantile phrase, its details are 'up to sample.' But
if the Greek princes bethought them to escape the consequences of
having incurred the enmity of the turbulent Russ merely by defeating
him in the field, they were destined to receive a rude awakening, for
by one fell stroke of necromantic art the entire galaxy was spirited
away. Once more the inhabitants of the romantic city on the Bosphorus
were plunged into the deepest consternation; but, nothing daunted at
the task which now confronted them, the knights and paladins of the
family--in themselves an army of no mean dimensions--set out in search
of their honoured relatives. But we are not yet liberated from the
tangle of plot and counter-plot excogitated by the expiring hackery of
Castile, and the dying candle of the great romance of Amadis does not
flare up and flicker out with the rescue of the heroes and heroines
who have swaggered through its pages in almost immortal sequel of
intrigue and battle. For, the princesses having been brought safely
back to Constantinople, it was discovered that during their absence
some of them had been blessed with little olive branches, many of whose
adventures are related, until the bewildered reader, lost in the maze
of their story, like Milton's Satan, looks round in desperation for
any outlet of escape, exclaiming with the fallen great one:


    "Me miserable, which way shall I fly?"


But, like the doomed archangel, he must 'dree his weird,' and wade
through the adventures of Spheramond, son of Rogel of Greece, and
Amadis of Astre, son of Agesilan--or, better still, he may do as we
did, and, reverently closing the worm-eaten volume, restore it to the
library, where its embossed back is, perhaps, rather more appreciated
than its grotesque contents.

Instead of being hurled from the throne by an incensed and neglected
populace, the line of Amadis continued to flourish exceedingly, and
perhaps the secret of its success as a dynasty lies in the fact that
it was more habitually resident in fire-ringed castles or enchanted
islands than in its palace in the metropolis, which it seems to have
chiefly employed as a convalescent establishment in which to recover
from wounds delivered by magic swords and the poisonous bites of
'loathly' dragons, rather than as a seat of governmental activity
and imperial direction.

We have seen how the great theme of Amadis of Gaul burst upon Spain
in a blaze of glory, and how, mangled by the efforts of fluent hacks,
it sank into insignificance amid the derision of the enlightened and
the gibes of the vulgar. It is as if our own peerless British epos
of Arthur, that thrice heroic treasury of the deeds of those who


    Jousted in Aspremont or Montalban,
    Damasco, or Morocco, or Trebizond,


had been seized upon by Grub Street and prostituted to the necessities
of scribblers. We cannot give thanks enough to the god of letters
that it has escaped such a doom, though this has been more by virtue
of good hap than through that of any protecting influence. The
sequels of Amadis descend by stages of lessening excellence until at
length they approach the limits of drivel. But does this sorrowful
circumstance in any way dim the glory of the first fine rapture? Nay,
no more than darkness can cloud the memory of morning. The knightly
eloquence of the original characters may degenerate in rodomontade;
the lofty and delicate imagery of the primary books may merge into
unspeakable vulgarities of invention; the tender beauty which enchants
the first love idyll may become coarse intrigue. But no work of art
is to be judged by its imitations. With the exception of the Fifth
Book, the remaining Amadis romances are as oleographs placed beside
a noble painting. Unrestrained in execution, daubed in colours of the
harshest crudity, uneven in outline and distressing in ensemble, they
are more fitted for the scullions' hall than the picture-gallery. Yet
they may not be passed over in a work dealing with Spanish romance,
and they point a moral which in this twentieth century it is
fitting that we should digest--that if a nation acquiesce in the
debasement of its literary standards and revel in the worthless and
the excitement of meretricious fiction, it will cease to excel among
the comity of peoples. Literature is the expression of a nation's
soul. And what species of soul is that which voices itself in crudely
jacketed novelettes, redolent of a psychology at once ridiculous and
unhealthy? Have we no Cervantes to shatter this ignoble thing to the
sound of inextinguishable laughter? Is not the sad lesson of Amadis
one for the consideration of our own people? Spain was never so great
as when its first books roused her chivalry to an ardour of knightly
patriotism, and she was never so little as when the printing-presses
of Burgos and Valladolid and Saragossa flooded her cities with a
mercenary and undistinguished fiction, prompted by commercial greed,
and joyfully received by a public avid for the drug of sensation.



CHAPTER V: THE PALMERIN ROMANCES


                            Let Palmerin of England be preserved as a
                            singular relic of antiquity.

                                                               Cervantes


It would seem to have been a foible with the early critics of Spanish
romance to seek to discover a Portuguese origin for practically all
of its manifestations. They appear to have argued from the analogy of
Amadis that all romantic effort hailed from the Lusitanian kingdom,
yet they are never weary of descanting upon the Provençal and Moorish
influences which moulded Spanish romance! It is precisely as if one
said: "Yes, the Arthurian story displays every sign of Norman-French
influence, but all the same, it was first cast into literary form in
Wales. England? Oh, England merely accepted it, that's all."

The Palmerin series ran almost side by side with Amadis in a
chronological sense, and tradition ascribed its first book to an
anonymous lady of Augustobriga. But there is reason to believe, from
a passage in Primaleón, one of its sections, that it was the work of
Francisco Vasquez de Ciudad Rodrigo. No early Portuguese version is
known, and the Spanish edition of the first romance of the series,
Palmerin de Oliva, printed at Seville in 1525, was certainly not the
earliest impression of that work. The English translation, by Anthony
Munday, was published in black letter in 1588.



Palmerin de Oliva

No sooner did Palmerin de Oliva appear than it scored a success only
second to that of Amadis, its resemblance to which can scarcely be
called fortuitous, and, as in the case of that romance, translations
and continuations were multiplied with surprising rapidity.

The commencement of Palmerin de Oliva carries us once more to
the enchanted shores of the Golden Horn. Reymicio, the Emperor of
Constantinople, had a daughter named Griana, whom he had resolved
to give in marriage to Tarisius, son of the King of Hungary, and
nephew to the Empress. But Griana had given her heart to Florendos
of Macedon, to whom she had a son. Dreading the wrath of her father,
she permitted an attendant to carry the infant to a deserted spot,
where it was found by a peasant, who took it to his cottage, and
brought it up as his own son, calling the child Palmerin de Oliva,
because he had been found on a hill which was covered with a luxuriant
growth of palm and olive trees.

When the boy grew up he accepted his humble lot with equanimity. But
on learning that he was not the son of a peasant he longed for a life
of martial excitement. Adventure soon afforded him a taste of its
dazzling possibilities. While traversing a gloomy forest in search
of game he encountered a merchant beset by a ferocious lion. He slew
the beast, and learned that the traveller was returning to his own
country from Constantinople. Attaching himself to the man of commerce,
Palmerin accompanied him to the city of Hermide, where his grateful
companion furnished him with arms and a horse. Thus accoutred for
the life chivalric, he betook himself to the Court of Macedon, where
he received the honour of knighthood from Florendes, the son of the
king of that country, and his own father.

A quest soon presented itself to him. Primaleón, King of Macedon,
had long been a sufferer from a grievous sickness. His physicians
assured him that could he obtain water from a certain fountain his
malady would disappear. But the spring in question was guarded by
an immense serpent of such ferocity that to approach its lair meant
certain death. Knight after knight had essayed the adventure, only to
be crushed in the monster's venomous folds, so that the life-giving
waters the ailing King so sorely required continued to be withheld
from him. This condition of affairs seemed to Palmerin to present him
with an opportunity for distinguishing himself, and without realizing
the strenuous nature of the task before him he leapt into the saddle
and cantered off in the direction of the serpent-guarded fountain.



The Fairy Damsels

Very conscious of the honour of knighthood which but so lately
had been conferred upon him, and inordinately proud of the gilded
spurs which glittered on his mailed heels, Palmerin was not a little
pleased that he had succeeded in attracting the attention of a bevy
of young and beautiful ladies, who stood where field and forest met,
watching his rather haughty progress with laughing eyes. Had he been
less occupied with himself and his horse, which he forced to curvet
and caracole in the most outrageous fashion, he would have seen that
the damsels before whom he wished to cut such a fine figure were of
a beauty far too ethereal to be human, for the ladies who watched
him with such amusement were princesses of the race of Faery, and
had waylaid the young knight with the intention of giving him such
aid as fairies have in their power.

Palmerin greeted them with all the distinction of which he was capable.

"God save you, fair damsels," he said, bowing almost to his horse's
mane. "Can you tell me if I am near the serpent-guarded fountain?"

"Fair sir," replied one of the sylphs, "you are within a league of
it. But let us entreat you to turn back from such a neighbourhood
as this. Many famous knights have we seen pass this way to do battle
with the monster who guards its waters, but none have we seen return."

"It is not my custom to turn my back upon an enterprise," said
Palmerin loftily. "Did I understand you to say the fountain lies
within a league of this place?"

"Within a short league, Sir Knight," replied the fairy. Then, turning
to her companions, she said: "Sisters, this would seem to be the
youth we have awaited so long. He appears bold and resolute. Shall
we confer upon him the gift?"

Her companions having given their assent to this proposal, the fairy
then enlightened Palmerin regarding the true character of herself
and her attendant maidens, and assured him that wherever he went,
or whatever adventure he undertook, neither monster nor magician
would have the power to cast enchantment upon him. Then, directing
him more particularly to the lair of the serpent, they disappeared
in the recesses of the forest.

Riding on, he speedily came within view of the fountain, but had
scarcely beheld its silver waters bubbling from a green hill-side
when a horrible hissing warned him of the proximity of its loathly
guardian. All unafraid, however, he spurred his terrified horse
forward. A blast of fire, belched from the monster's mouth, surged
over him, but he bent low in the saddle and avoided it. Then,
dashing at the bristling head, poised on a neck thick as a pillar,
and armoured with dazzling scales, he struck fiercely at it with his
falchion. The serpent tried to envelop horse and man in its folds,
but ere it could bring its grisly coils to bear upon them Palmerin
had smitten off its head.

Returning to Macedon, the young hero was at once overwhelmed by the
applications of importunate monarchs that he should assist them in
one enterprise or another. All of these Palmerin achieved with such
consummate address that his fame spread into all parts of Europe,
and we find him as far afield as Belgium, where he delivered the
Emperor of Germany from certain traitor knights who besieged him
in the town of Ghent. It was during this adventure that he met and
became enamoured of the Emperor's daughter, the beauteous Polinarda,
who had on one occasion appeared to him in a dream. But the young
paladin felt that if he were to render himself worthy of such a
peerless lady he must subdue many knights in her name, and undertake
adventures even more onerous than those through which he had already
come scathless. Learning, therefore, of a great tournament in the
land of France, he journeyed thither, and bore off the prize.

Returning to Germany, Palmerin found the Emperor engaged in a war
with the King of England, at the instance of the King of Norway,
who had requested his assistance against the British monarch. This
partisanship did not, however, appeal to Trineus, the Emperor's son,
who, enamoured of the princess Agriola, daughter of the English king,
privately departed with Palmerin, his object being to aid the father
of his lady-love. After undergoing many adventures, the companions
succeeded in carrying off the English princess, but while voyaging
homeward were attacked by a furious tempest and were driven on the
shores of the Morea. When the elements subsided Palmerin landed on
the neighbouring island of Calpa, to engage in the sport of hawking,
and during his absence the vessel in which he had left his friends
was seized by Turkish pirates, who carried Agriola as a present to
the Grand Turk. Trineus was even less happily situated, for being
marooned upon an island, which we must surely regard as that of Circe,
he was immediately transformed into a dog. To add to this indignity,
his transformation did not take the shape of any of the more noble
varieties of the canine race, but that of a tiny lap-dog, such as
are found in ladies' boudoirs.

In the meantime Palmerin, all unconscious of the fate of his friends,
was discovered in the island of Calpa by Archidiana, daughter of
the Soldan of Babylon, who at once pressed him into her service,
refusing to allow him to depart. Archidiana had from the first
conceived a violent passion for the handsome young adventurer,
whose embarrassment was heightened by the knowledge that her cousin,
Ardemira, had likewise fallen in love with him. The knight, however,
stoutly repelled the fair advances, and Ardemira took her repulse so
much to heart that she burst a blood-vessel and expired, shortly after
the party had arrived at the Babylonian Court. Hearing of her demise,
Amaran, son of the King of Phrygia, to whom she had been affianced,
hastened to Babylon, and precipitately accused Archidiana of her death,
offering to make good his assertion by an appeal to arms. Palmerin,
as in duty bound, espoused the princess's quarrel, slew Amaran in
single combat, and by doing so won the good graces of the Soldan,
whom he assisted in the war with Phrygia which followed.

The Soldan, elated by his military successes, resolved to extend his
empire, and with this object in view fitted out a great expedition
against Constantinople, which Palmerin was forced to accompany. But
during a tempest which the Babylonian fleet encountered he commanded
the seamen of his own vessel to steer for the German coast. On reaching
it he made his way to the capital, and made himself known in secret
to Polinarda, with whom he spent some time.

But his heart misgave him regarding the fate of his friend Trineus,
and he resolved to set out in quest of that unhappy prince. Journeying
across Europe, he arrived at the city of Buda, where he learned that
Florendos, Prince of Macedon, had recently slain Tarisius, who, it
will be remembered, was his rival for the hand of the Princess Griana,
and whom she had been forced to marry by her tyrannous father, the
Emperor of Constantinople. Florendos had, however, been taken captive
by the kinsmen of Tarisius, and had been sent to Constantinople,
where he was condemned to be burnt at the stake, along with Griana,
who was believed to be his accomplice. On hearing of the impending
fate of those who, unknown to him, were his parents, Palmerin at once
repaired to Constantinople, where he maintained their innocence,
defeated their accusers, the nephews of Tarisius, in a combat à
outrance, and succeeded in saving them from the terrible fate which
had awaited them. While he lay in bed recovering from his wounds he
was visited by the grateful Griana, who, from a mark upon his face
and the account of his exposure as an infant, knew that he must be
her son. On hearing her story the Emperor joyfully received Palmerin
and acknowledged him as his successor.



The Quest for Trineus

But his new accession to power did not render Palmerin unmindful
of his vow to search for his lost friend Trineus. Sailing over the
Mediterranean in quest of him, he fell in with an overwhelming force of
Turks, and was taken prisoner. Brought to the palace of the Grand Turk,
he succeeded in liberating the princess Agriola from the power of that
tyrant. Effecting his own escape, he came to the palace of a princess
to whom Trineus in his shape of a lap-dog had been presented by those
who had found him. This lady had contracted a severe inflammation in
the nose (unromantic detail!), and requested Palmerin to accompany
her to Mussabelin, a Persian magician, whom she believed to be able
to remove the distressing complaint. But the sage informed her that
only by means of the flowers of a tree which grew near the Castle of
the Ten Steps could she be cured.

Now the castle of which the magician spoke was guarded by
enchantment. But that dread power was harmless to Palmerin, ever
since the fairy sisters had provided him with an antidote against
it. Making his way to the magic castle, he secured the flowers of
the healing tree, and also took captive an enchanted bird, which was
destined to announce the hour of his death by an unearthly shriek. He
further ended the enchantments of the castle, and when they finally
dissolved, Trineus, who had accompanied him in canine shape, was
restored to his original form.

The subsequent adventures of Palmerin bear such a strong likeness
to those already related of him as to render their recital a work
of supererogation. From the Court of one soldan he proceeds to that
of another, enchantment follows enchantment, as combat treads upon
the heels of combat. Finally Palmerin and Trineus return to Europe,
and wed their respective ladies.

Cervantes' curate is perhaps too hard upon Palmerin de Oliva. "Then,
opening another volume, he found it to be Palmerin de Oliva. 'Ha! have
I found you?' cried the curate; 'here, take this Oliva; let it be
hewn in pieces and burnt, and the ashes scattered in the air.'" This
notwithstanding, there are some brilliant passages in the romance we
have just outlined--grains of golddust in a desert of unrestrained
and undisciplined narrative--such flashes of genius as we find here
and there in Shelley's Zastrozzi, St Irvyne, and the other hysterical
outpourings of his Oxford days.



Primaleón

There is no doubt regarding the thoroughly Spanish character and
origin of Primaleón, son and successor to Palmerin de Oliva, although,
owing to the prejudice of the time for mystery and Orientalism, its
author, Francisco Delicado, saw fit to announce it as a translation
from the Greek. The first edition was printed in 1516, and several
translations shortly followed, that in English, by Anthony Munday,
being dedicated to Sir Francis Drake, and published in 1589. This
translation, however, dealt only with that portion of the romance which
related to the exploits of Polendos, but Munday completed the whole
in editions published in 1595 and 1619. The adventures of Polendos
constitute, however, by far the best part of the work.

Polendos was the son of the Queen of Tharsus. Returning one day from
the chase, he beheld a little old woman sitting on the steps of the
palace, from which he removed her by a most ungallant but forceful
kick. "It was not in this manner that your father Palmerin succoured
the unfortunate," cried the crone, on picking herself up. Polendos
thus learned the secret of his birth, for he was indeed the son of
Palmerin and the Queen of Tharsus, and, exalted by the intelligence,
he burned to distinguish himself by feats of arms worthy of his
sire. Departing for Constantinople to make himself known to his
father, he encountered many adventures on the way. Arrived at the
imperial city, he did not long remain there, but set out to rescue the
Princess Francelina from the power of a giant and a dwarf, who held
her in bondage in an enchanted castle. Returning to Constantinople,
he greatly distinguished himself at a tournament held on the occasion
of the marriage of one of the Emperor's daughters, and Primaleón,
the real hero of the story, son of Palmerin and Polinarda, desirous
of emulating the exploits of his half-brother, was duly knighted,
and took part in the mêlée. The rest of the romance is occupied
with the adventures of this young hero and those of Duardos (Edward)
of England. In the course of his adventures Palmerin had slain the
son of the Duchess of Armedos, who vowed that she would only give
her daughter in marriage to the man who could bring her the head
of Primaleón. One by one Primaleón slew the lovers of Gridoina,
the Duchess's daughter, so that in time she came to detest the mere
mention of his name. But one evening Primaleón arrived at her castle,
and, not knowing who he was, she fell deeply in love with him. The
child of their affections was Platir, whose exploits were recounted
by the same author, and published at Valladolid in 1533. We may well
pass over this very indifferent romance, and bestow our attention
and interest upon its more entertaining successor.



Palmerin of England

This is perhaps the best of the series. The first Spanish edition was
believed to be lost; but a French translation from it was published
at Lyons in 1553, and an Italian one at Venice in 1555. Southey
maintained that there never was a Spanish original of this story,
and that it was first written in Portuguese. But this hypothesis was
upset by Salva's discovery of a copy of the lost Spanish original,
written by Luis Kuxtado [48] and published at Toledo in two parts, in
1547 and 1548. Southey attempted to show in his English translation
of Palmerin of England that a consideration of its mise en scène
would afford irrefragable proof of its Lusitanian origin--surely
a good illustration of the dangers and fallacies connected with
this species of reasoning. An argument of equal cogency could be
advanced for its original English authorship, as most of its action
takes place within the borders of the 'perilous isle' of Britain,
in which respect it follows Amadis, its model.

In Palmerin of England we are provided with a biographical sketch of
the hero's parents. Don Duardos, or Edward, son of the King of England,
was wedded to Flerida, daughter of Palmerin de Oliva. While engaged
in the chase, he lost his way in the depths of an English forest,
and sought shelter in a mysterious castle, where he was detained by
a giantess, Eutropa, whose brother he had slain. But Dramuziando,
her nephew, son of the giant whom Duardos had sent to his death,
was of milder mood than his terrible aunt, and conceived a strange
friendship for the captive Duardos.

In the meantime Flerida, alarmed at Duardos' absence, set out to search
for him, accompanied by a train of attendants, and while traversing the
forest in the hope of tracing him gave birth to twin sons, who were
baptized in the greenwood by her chaplain. The ceremony had scarcely
come to an end when a wild man, an inhabitant of the forest recesses,
burst from the undergrowth, and, seizing upon the infant princes,
carried them off. None might stay him, for he was accompanied by two
lions of such size and ferocity that their appearance struck terror
into the hearts of the stoutest of Flerida's retainers.

The savage conveyed the infants, who had been named Palmerin
and Florian, to his den, where he resolved to give them to the
lions. Flerida returned disconsolately to the palace, and dispatched
a messenger to Constantinople with news of her losses. On receiving
this intelligence, Primaleón and a number of the Grecian knights took
ship for England, and, learning of the imprisonment of Duardos in the
castle of the giantess, they essayed his deliverance. But they made
the mistake, common to errantry, of attempting to do so singly and not
in a body, and so, one by one, fell a rather easy prey to the giant
Dramuziando, who forced them to combat each new enemy who approached.

The sylvan savage who had destined the royal twins as food for his
lions had reckoned without his wife, whose motherly instincts prompted
her to save the children from a fate so dire. Having prevailed upon
her uncouth mate to spare them, she brought them up along with her
own son Selvian. In course of time they became expert in the chase
and woodcraft, and on one of his excursions in the forest while
following the slot of a red deer Florian encountered Sir Pridos,
son of the Duke of Wales, who took him to the English Court, where
he was brought before his mother, Flerida. Attracted to the savage
youth, she adopted him, and trained him in the usages of civilization,
calling him 'the Child of the Desert.'

Florian had not long been lost to the sylvan family when Palmerin and
Selvian, wandering one day by the sea-coast, observed a galley cast
upon the shore by the violence of a tempest. From this vessel Polendos
(whose prior adventures were recited in the romance of Primaleón)
disembarked, having come to England with other Greek knights in search
of Duardos. Palmerin and Selvian requested him to take them on board
his vessel, which put to sea once more, and shortly afterward arrived
at Constantinople, where they were brought before the Emperor, who,
of course, was in ignorance of the extraction of Palmerin, but knew of
his high rank from letters he had received from a certain Lady of the
Bath, who seems to have acted as the hero's good genius. The Emperor,
impressed by such an introduction, knighted Palmerin, whose sword was
girded to his side by Polinarda, the daughter of Primaleón. During
Palmerin's residence at Constantinople a tournament was held, in
which he and a stranger knight, who bore for his device a savage
leading two lions, greatly distinguished themselves. The stranger
departed still incognito, but was afterward discovered to be Florian,
who was thenceforth known as 'the Knight of the Savage.'

Palmerin fell an easy victim to the charms of the princess Polinarda,
but the precipitate nature of his wooing, prompted, probably, by
his sylvan upbringing, offended the courtly damsel, and she forbade
him her presence. In despair at her coldness, he quitted the Grecian
capital, and journeyed toward England, under the name of 'the Knight
of Fortune,' taking Selvian as his squire. On the way he encountered
a wealth of adventure, in which he was uniformly successful, and at
last arrived in the dominions of his grandfather. But while passing
through the forest inhabited by his savage foster-father he came
face to face with him, and recounted his adventures. Pressing on,
he came to a castle in the neighbourhood of London, the castellan
of which begged of him to do battle with the Knight of the Savage,
who had slain his son. Arriving in London, he defied Florian, but
the Princess Flerida intervened and forbade the combat, which was
not resumed, for Palmerin having at last overcome Dramuziando and
set Duardos at liberty, the birth of the twin brothers was revealed
by Doliarte, a magician, and confirmed by their savage foster-father.



The Castle of Almaurol

Spurred on by the love of adventure, Florian and Palmerin disdained
to lead a life of ease at Court, and set out on their travels. We
cannot follow them here through the maze of exploit into which they
are plunged, but many of their trials, especially those undergone
by Palmerin in the Perilous Isle, are among the most interesting
and attractive in the series which bears his name. In several of
the passages the amiable giant Dramuziando figures to advantage,
but his aunt, the vindictive Eutropa, still retains her ill-will
to the family of the Palmerins, and is constant in the exercise of
her machinations against them. These are, however, challenged and
countered by the skill of the magician Doliarte. The chief scene
of adventure is the castle of Almaurol, where, under the care of a
giant, dwelt the beautiful but haughty Miraguarda, whose lineaments
were pictured on a shield which was suspended over the gate of the
castle. It was guarded by a body of knights, who had become enamoured
of the original, and when other paladins arrived vaunting the charms
of their ladies these gave them battle. Among these victims of the
fair Miraguarda was the giant Dramuziando, but during his custody
of the picture it was purloined by Alhayzar, the Soldan of Babylon,
whose lady, Targiana, daughter of the Grand Turk, had commanded him
to bring it to her as a trophy of his prowess.

The writer of the romance appeared to think it necessary at this
point to recall his heroes to Constantinople in order to espouse
them to their respective ladies. Palmerin was united to Polinarda,
and his brother Florian to Leonarda, Queen of Thrace, so that the
lovers were made happy. These espousals, however, by no means bring
the romance to a conclusion, for we learn that matters had become
complicated by the passion of the daughter of the Grand Turk for the
newly wedded Florian. That gay young prince, while residing at the
Court of the lady's father, had taken the liberty of eloping with
her, and although she was now safely married to Alhayzar, Soldan of
Babylon and picture-thief, she still retained a strong affection for
her former lover, which was mingled with resentment that he should
have deserted her charms for those of the Queen of Thrace. To ease
the clamours of her jealous heart, she employed a magician to work
woe upon the Thracian queen, who, while she took the air in the
gardens of her palace, was pounced upon by two enormous griffins,
and conveyed to a magic castle, where she was transformed into a
huge serpent. Her disconsolate husband found in her deliverance an
adventure quite to his taste, and, having consulted the wise Doliarte,
succeeded in discovering the place where his wife was imprisoned and
in freeing her from the enchantment which had been laid upon her.

In accomplishing this, however, he seriously offended the proud
Alhayzar, who determined to avenge the affront placed upon his
queen, and demanded the person of Florian from the Emperor of
Constantinople. On receiving the imperial refusal which naturally
followed his request, he invaded the Greek territories, with an
army of two hundred thousand men, recruited from all the kingdoms
and satrapies of the Orient, real and imaginary. Three sanguinary
battles occurred, in one of which Alhayzar was slain and the pagan
army totally annihilated.



Cervantes' Eulogy

Cervantes launches into an extravagant eulogy of this romance. "This
Palmerin of England," he says, "let it be kept and preserved as a
thing unique, and let another casket be made for it such as Alexander
found among the spoils of Darius.... This book, Sir Comrade, is of
authority, for two reasons: the one because it is a right good one
in itself, and the other because the report is that a wise king of
Portugal composed it. All the adventures at the Castle of Miraguarda
are excellent, and managed with great skill; the discourses are courtly
and clear, observing with much propriety and judgment the decorum of
the speaker. I say then, saving your good pleasure, Master Nicholas,
this and Amadis de Gaul should be saved from the fire, and all the
rest be, without further search, destroyed."

Saving your good pleasure, Master Cervantes, I would come to an issue
with you regarding this. For though Palmerin of England is the best
romance of those which recount the adventures of that line, still
it does not bear away the bell quite so easily as you say. Indeed,
its merits are not transcendently above those of its kind, and its
faults are of the same character. Again, true Spaniard as you are,
do you not praise it so greatly because you believe it to be the
work of a king? And do you not demean yourself to the level of a
newspaper critic when you doom to extinction those romances which
you have not read? Further, as a Castilian gentleman, do you agree
with the author's most despiteful entreatment of that sweet sex for
whose sake all romances were written? No good knight, no good man,
could have penned so many stupidities concerning their envy, their
fickleness, their lack of reason, as he has done; and still worse,
he has made them mere puppets, moving as the strings are pulled. For
one thing I thank him, however--his character of the magician Doliarte,
a wise sage dwelling in the Valley of Perdition, lost in contemplation
of mysterious things. Nay, for a greater thing I have to thank him
also, the colours of the marvellous, the intoxicating magic with which
he has suffused his story; and if the rush of it, the spell of it,
transported you to the forests of Faery and blinded you to the book's
demerits, you are perhaps to be excused if your enchanted eyes refused
to behold them and saw only the outward glamours of that rainbow world.



CHAPTER VI: CATALONIAN ROMANCES


                Romances from a coast of love and wine,
                Echoing the music of adventurous swords,
                Murmur of necromancy's dark ingyne,
                And speech that holds the ghosts of curious words.


The literary genius of Catalonia was unquestionably a lyrical one,
as befitted a province so happily endowed by nature, clothed with the
purple mantle of vineyards, and laved by the calm beauty of a dreamy
ocean. Epic has her home in rugged and wind-swept lands, where the
elemental trumpets of the air arouse the soul of man to fiercer song
and fill the memory with the clash of war. But on sheltered strands,
mellow with sun and painted in the ripe colours of plenty, a softer
and more dreamy music mimics the æolian sound of the zephyrs which
steal like melodious spirits through orchard and vineyard. Yet this
province of the Trovadores was not without its legends of chivalric
enterprise, and indeed produced two romances of such intrinsic merit
that they may be regarded as occupying an unassailable position in
the literature of the Peninsula.



Partenopex de Blois

The beautiful and highly finished romance of Partenopex de Blois
was written in the Catalonian dialect in the thirteenth century,
and printed at Tarragona in 1488. That the tale was originally French
is highly probable, but it is no mere translation, and the treatment
it has received in the course of adaptation has undoubtedly made it
a thing as wholly Catalonian as The Cid is Castilian. Here is the
story of the knight Partenopex.

On the death of the Emperor Julian of Greece the rule of his kingdom
devolved upon his daughter Melior, a maiden of extraordinary talents,
who was, moreover, possessed of a deep knowledge regarding the hidden
sciences. Notwithstanding her ability, however, her advisers did
not think it fitting that she should rule alone, and insisted that
she should address herself to the task of selecting a husband. They
granted her a space of two years in which to make choice of a suitable
consort, and in order that she might be able to select a parti of a
rank sufficiently illustrious to match with her own, she dispatched
embassies to all the principal courts of Europe, bidding their members
to inquire diligently into the credentials of all eligible princes.

At this time there lived in France a youth of much beauty and promise
in arms called Partenopex de Blois, nephew to the King of Paris. While
following the train of his royal uncle in the chase one day, in the
green shades of the Forest of Ardennes, he became separated from the
rest of the party and lost his way. Forced to spend the night in the
forest, he awoke with the dawn, and, in trying to find his bearings,
came to the seashore. To his surprise, he beheld a splendid vessel
moored near to the land. In the hope that its crew would be able
to direct him as to the path he should take to reach home, he went
on board the ship, but found her deserted. He was about to quit the
vessel when she began to move, and, gaining speed, cleaved the water
with such velocity that to attempt to leave her was impossible. After
a voyage as short as it was swift, Partenopex found himself moored
in a bay in a country of the most enchanting description.

Disembarking, the youth walked inland, and soon came to the walls
of a stately castle. He entered, and, to his surprise, found it as
deserted as the vessel which had brought him thither. The principal
chamber was illuminated by the sparkle of countless diamonds, and the
young knight, who was by this time famished with hunger, was pleased
to see an exquisite repast spread on the table before him. He was soon
to learn the magical nature of all things in that enchanted castle,
for the dainties with which the table groaned found their own way to
his lips, and when he had refreshed himself sufficiently a lighted
torch appeared as if suspended in the air, and preceded him to a
bed-chamber, where he was undressed by invisible hands.

As he lay in bed thinking upon the extraordinary nature of the
adventure which had befallen him a lady entered the apartment, and
introduced herself as Melior, the Empress of Greece. She told the young
knight that she had fallen in love with him from the account of her
ambassadors, and had contrived to bring him to her castle by dint of
the powers of magic she possessed. She commanded him to remain at the
castle, but warned him that if he attempted to see her again before two
years had elapsed the result would be the loss of her affection. She
then quitted the apartment, which was entered in the morning by her
sister Uracla, who brought him the most splendid apparel.



The Mysterious Castle

In the mysterious castle of Melior Partenopex found no lack of
entertainment, for the extensive grounds by which it was surrounded
afforded him the pleasures of the chase, and in the evenings he
was amused by the sweet strains of invisible musicians. Everything
possible and impossible was done to render his stay pleasant and
memorable. But in the midst of the delights with which he was
surrounded he learned that his country had been attacked by a host
of enemies. He communicated to his invisible mistress his desire
that he should be permitted to fight for the land of his birth, and
when she had received his assurance that he would return she placed
at his service the magic vessel in which he had come to her coasts,
and by its aid he shortly regained the shores of France.

Partenopex was making his way as quickly as possible to Paris to
place his sword at the service of his king, when he encountered a
knight whose conduct toward him brought matters to the arbitrament
of a combat. When they had fought for a space Partenopex discovered
that his opponent was none other than Gaudin, the lover of Uracla,
the sister of Melior, and from being at daggers drawn the two young
knights became the closest companions, and rode on together to where
the Court sat at Paris.

Shortly after his return to the capital Partenopex was presented to
the Lady Angelica, niece of the Pope, who promptly fell in love with
him. Animated by the mistaken belief that 'All's fair in love,' she
intercepted his letters from Melior, and thus learned of his passion
for the wonder-working Empress of Constantinople. Enlisting on her
side a hermit of great sanctity, she bade him repair to Partenopex
and denounce his lady-love as a demon of darkness, who was so lost
to all good that she even partook of the outward semblance of a
fiend in possessing a serpent's tail, black skin, white eyes, and
red teeth. This story Partenopex stoutly refused to credit, but when
hostilities had come to an end and he had returned to the enchanted
castle the hermit's tale still agitated his mind, and he resolved
to put it to the test, for Melior had visited him in the dark and he
knew not how she appeared.

So one fateful night, when all the castle was plunged in slumber,
the young knight equipped himself with a lamp and made his way to the
chamber where he knew Melior slept. Entering softly, he held the lamp
above the form of his sleeping mistress, and when he beheld her warm
human beauty he knew that false slander had been spoken of her. But,
alas! as he gazed at her recumbent loveliness a drop of oil from
the lamp he held fell upon her bosom and she awoke. Furious that
her commands had been broken, she would have slain her unhappy lover
on the spot, but at the intercession of Uracla, who had entered the
chamber on hearing her sister's exclamations of anger, the incensed
Empress at last permitted him to depart without scathe.

The unfortunate Partenopex quitted the castle in all haste, and
in time came once more to the green shadows of Ardennes, where he
resolved to perish in strife with the savage beasts which haunted
its dark recesses. But although they devoured his steed they seemed
unwilling to encounter the knight himself. The neighings of his
charger brought Uracla, who had been searching for him, to the spot,
and she succeeded in inducing him to accompany her to her castle in
Tenedos, there to await a more complacent attitude on the part of her
sister. Returning to the wrathful Empress, she at last persuaded her
to send forth a decree that she would bestow her hand upon the victor
in a tournament she was about to proclaim.

Preparations for the tournament proceeded apace, and Partenopex awaited
the day in Uracla's castle in Tenedos. But he was not permitted to
remain in peace, for Parseis, one of Uracla's maidens, conceived a
passionate attachment to him, which she avowed to him while they were
taking a short trip in a boat. Partenopex, taken aback, was about to
protest, when the frail vessel was caught up by a terrific tempest,
and the pair were driven upon the coast of Syria. On landing they
were seized by the people of that country, who bore the knight to
their king, Hermon, and he was cast into prison.

A sad plight was that of Partenopex, for he heard that Hermon and other
knights had departed to the tournament of Melior at Constantinople,
while he had perforce to remain in durance vile and renounce all hope
of regaining his place in the affections of his lady by force of arms.

But Partenopex succeeded in interesting the Queen in his affairs,
and she assisted in his escape from his Syrian prison. He arrived at
Constantinople just in time to participate in the tournament. Many and
powerful were his opponents, the most formidable being the Soldan of
Persia, but at length he overcame them all, and when he asked to be
permitted to claim his reward he was received by Melior with every
mark of forgiveness and rejoicing.



The Type of 'Partenopex'

The romance of Partenopex is undoubtedly of the same class as those
of Cupid and Psyche and Melusine, in which one spouse must not behold
another on pain of loss. The loss invariably occurs, but poetical
justice usually demands that recovery should take place after many
trials. Frequently the husband or wife takes beast or reptile shape,
as in the grand old romance of Melusine, to which Partenopex bears
a strong resemblance, and by which I think it has certainly been
sophisticated. But in the story with which we have been dealing the
reputed semi-reptilian form which the heroine is said to possess is
proved to be the figment of the brain of a jealous rival, and in this
we have a valuable variant of the main form of the legend, illustrating
the rise within it of more modern ideas and the skilful utilization
of an antique form to the uses of the writer of fiction. The tale of
Partenopex de Blois certainly deserves fuller study at the hands of
folklorists than it has yet received, and I hope they will peruse its
Catalonian as well as its French form, thus rendering their purview
of the tale more embracive.



Tirante the White

The grand old tale of Tirante the White was the work of two Catalonian
authors, Juan Martorell and Juan de Gilha, the latter completing the
work of the former. Martorell states that he translated the romance
from the English, and it certainly seems as if portions of the work had
been sophisticated or influenced by the old English romance of Sir Guy
of Warwick. I cannot, however, discern any signs of direct translation,
and think it very probable that the author's statement in this regard
is one of those polite fictions employed by the romance-writers
of Old Spain to render their efforts more mysterious or to guard
themselves against the merciless critics with whom the Peninsula
seems to have swarmed in a period when well-nigh everybody was bitten
with the craze for belles-lettres. The romance was first printed at
Valencia in 1490. It contains reference to the Canary Islands, which
were first discovered in 1326, and were not well known even in Spain
until the beginning of the fifteenth century, so that we may perhaps
be justified in fixing the date of its composition about that period,
especially as it alludes to a work on chivalry entitled L'Arbre des
Batailles, which was not published until 1390. The book was translated
into Castilian and produced at Valladolid in 1511, and was followed by
Italian and French translations by Manfredi and the Comte de Caylus
respectively, but the latter has dreadfully mutilated the original,
and has even altered its main plot as well as many of its lesser
incidents, and has imported into it an unhealthy atmosphere which we
do not find in the work as given us by Martorell.

On the occasion of the marriage of a certain King of England with a
beautiful and accomplished princess of France the most extraordinary
efforts were made to signalize the entente thus ratified by a
tournament of the most splendid description. Learning of these
martial preparations, Tirante, a young knight of Brittany, resolved
to participate in them, and with a number of youthful companions who
had a like object in view he took ship for England, where in due time
he landed, and proceeded to Windsor. But the fatigues of the voyage
overtook him and he fell asleep, lulled into slumber by the jog-trot
of his weary charger.

It is not to be wondered at that in this manner he became separated
from his brisker companions, and that on awaking he found himself
alone on the broad highway. Setting spurs to his destrier, he pushed
on for a few miles, but feeling the necessity for rest and refreshment
he cast about for a halting-place, and was cheered by the sight of a
humble lodging, which he believed to be a hermitage, nestling among the
trees at some distance from the roadside and almost concealed in the
leafy shadows. Dismounting, he entered the place, and was confronted
by a person whose hermit's garb ill suited him, and whose disguise was
soon penetrated by the practised eye of knighthood, so that Tirante was
scarcely surprised to observe that the recluse was engaged in reading
the book known as L'Arbre des Batailles, a work which descants with
learning and insight upon the precepts and practice of chivalry.



The Hermit Earl

The hermit was, indeed, none other than William, Earl of Warwick,
a renowned champion, who, tired of the frivolities of the Court,
had gone on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Arrived at the Holy Sepulchre,
he had spread a report of his death, had returned to England in the
disguise of a pilgrim or palmer, and had taken up his abode in the
hermitage where Tirante discovered him, and which was not far from the
castle where his countess resided. But his retirement was not destined
to last long, for when the great King of the Canary Islands landed
in England with a formidable army, the Earl, beholding the widespread
consternation occasioned by his invasion, took up arms once more. The
advance of the raiders was, however, so swift that the King of England
was speedily driven from Canterbury and London, and was compelled to
seek refuge in the town of Warwick, where he was hotly besieged by the
Canarese forces. At this crisis the Earl came to his assistance, slew
the King of the Canaries in single combat, and dispersed his army in a
pitched battle. This accomplished, he revealed himself to his countess,
and once more retired to his hermitage. All of these details agree in
a measure with those of the old English romance of Sir Guy of Warwick.

Tirante made himself known to the hermit Earl, told him that he was
so called because his father was lord of the marches of Tirraine,
situated in that part of France which was opposite the coast of
England, and that his mother was daughter to the Duke of Brittany. He
further told his host that he was resolved to take part in the great
tournament held to celebrate the royal wedding, whereupon the Earl
read him a chapter from the book he had been perusing regarding the
whole duty of a knight. This he followed by a lecture upon the use
of arms and the exploits of ancient paladins. When he had finished
he observed that the hour was late and that as Tirante was ignorant
of the roads he had better hasten upon his way, and, pressing the
youthful champion to accept the book from which he had been reading,
he bade him farewell.

A twelvemonth passed. Tirante, having shown his superiority at the
tournament, was returning with some forty of his companions from the
Court, when they once more passed the Earl's retreat, and halted to
pay their duty to him. Interested to learn of the warlike pageant,
he inquired who had most distinguished himself, and was told that
Tirante had borne off the prize. A French lord called Villermes,
having objected to his wearing a favour given him by the fair Agnes,
daughter of the Duke of Berri, had defied him to mortal combat, and
had required that they should fight armed with bucklers of paper and
helmets of flowers. Villermes was slain in the encounter, but Tirante,
having recovered from eleven wounds, shortly afterward slew four
knights, brothers-in-arms, who proved to be the Kings of Poland and
Friesland and the Dukes of Burgundy and Bavaria. A certain subject
of the King of Friesland, rejoicing in the name of Kyrie Eleison, or
'Lord have mercy upon us,' and descended from the ancient giants,
now arrived in England to avenge his master's death. On beholding
his sovereign's tomb, however, he expired from grief on seeing the
arms of Tirante suspended over the Frisian standard. His place was
supplied by his brother, Thomas of Montauban, a champion of stature
still more gigantic, who was, however, defeated by the young Breton
knight and forced to sue for his life.

Having paid his respects to the Earl, Tirante returned to his native
Brittany, but he had been only a few days in the castle of his fathers
when a messenger arrived with the news that the Knights of Rhodes were
closely besieged by the Genoese and the Soldan of Cairo. Accompanied
by Philip, youngest son of the King of France, Tirante set out to
the relief of the island, and in the course of the voyage anchored in
the roads of Palermo, where he sojourned for a space. When at length
he arrived at Rhodes the besiegers beat a hasty retreat, and having
freed the island from their presence Tirante and his men returned to
Sicily, where Prince Philip espoused the princess of that country.

But the wedding festivities had scarcely come to an end when a herald
from the Emperor of Constantinople arrived at the Sicilian Court with
the moving information that his master's territories had been invaded
by the Grand Turk and the Soldan of the Moors. Once more chivalric
honour demanded that a Christian land should be rescued from the
clutches of the paynim, and Tirante, setting sail for Constantinople,
was, on his arrival there, entrusted with the supreme command of
the Hellenic forces. A great part of the romance is occupied by the
details of the war carried on against the Turks, who were invariably
defeated in battle after battle, so that at length they called for
a truce. This was granted, and the interval of repose was occupied
with splendid festivals and tournaments.

At this juncture of affairs no less a personage than the celebrated
Urganda arrived in Constantinople in quest of her brother, the
renowned Arthur, King of Britain. The Emperor, searching among those
of his prisoners who were kept in the most obscure dungeons, found
the hero of heroes pining out his old age in an iron cage, reduced
to the lowest level of physical debility. Restored to his ancient
weapon, the good sword Excalibur, the hapless monarch was able to
answer any questions put to him with address. But when the blade was
withdrawn from his grasp he sank ever lower into the second childhood
of senility. After giving a splendid supper, Urganda disappeared with
her ancient brother, nor was anyone aware whither they had gone.

Up to this time Tirante had contrived to remain fancy-free, but at last
he fell a willing victim to the bright eyes of the Emperor's daughter,
the Princess Carmesina. His affair went smoothly enough until one of
her attendants, Reposada, having fallen passionately in love with
the young knight, succeeded in arousing his jealousy by a wretched
stratagem, and, offended to the soul at what he believed to be the
baseness of his mistress, he set out once more for the army without
taking his leave of her. But the vessel in which he set sail was caught
in a violent tempest and driven upon the coasts of Africa. Wandering
disconsolate on the shore, Tirante encountered an ambassador of the
King of Tormecen, who conducted him to Court and presented him to
his master, whom he assisted in the wars in which that monarch was
naturally engaged. On one occasion he besieged the city of Montagata,
when a lady issued from its gates to sue for peace on behalf of its
inhabitants. To his surprise he found her to be one of the Princess
Carmesina's attendants, who told him the truth regarding the trick
played upon him by the false Reposada. He at once raised the siege,
and returned to Constantinople at the head of an enormous army to
succour the Greek Emperor. Burning the Turkish fleet, he rendered
the retreat of the Soldan's forces impracticable, and secured an
advantageous peace.

Splendid preparations were now made for the wedding of Tirante
and Carmesina. But while on his return to Constantinople after the
conclusion of the treaty he received orders, at the distance of a
day's journey from the city, to wait until the completion of those
preparations before entering Constantinople. While walking on the banks
of a river in conversation with the Kings of Ethiopia, Fez, and Sicily,
he was seized with a deadly pleurisy, and, despite all the efforts of
his attendants, expired shortly afterward. The Emperor and Princess,
on learning of his demise, were unable to restrain their grief,
and died on the day they heard of his death.

We have at last encountered a romance which does not end happily. In
what manner such a dénouement was received by the Spanish public
we know not, but at least they cannot but have been struck by its
originality. That Tirante the White was a popular favourite, however,
is clear from the praise lavished upon it by Cervantes. "By her
taking so many romances together," he says, "there fell one at the
barber's feet, who had a mind to see what it was, and found it to be
Tirante the White. 'God save me,' quoth the priest in a loud voice,
'is Tirante the White there? Give me him here, neighbour, for I shall
find him a treasure of delight, and a mine of entertainment.'" He
then advised the housewife to take it home and read it, "for though
the author deserves to be sent to the gallows for writing so many
foolish things seriously, yet in its way it is the best book in the
world. Here the knights eat and sleep and die in their beds, and make
their wills before their death, with several things which are wanting
in all other books of this kind."

Is not this the essence of the revolt against the unnatural absurdities
which so often characterized romance, expressed succinctly by the
man who headed the mutiny?



CHAPTER VII: RODERIC, LAST OF THE GOTHS


    Last night I was a King of Spain--to-day no King am I.
    Last night fair castles held my train, to-night where shall I lie?
    Last night a hundred pages did serve me on the knee,
    To-night not one I call my own; not one pertains to me.

                                               Lockhart, Spanish Ballads


The tragic and tumultuous story of the manner in which Spain was
delivered into the hands of the Moors is surely a theme worthy of
treatment by the highest genius. But either because it offended the
national pride or otherwise failed to make an appeal to the Castilian
temperament, its epic remains unwritten. Few passages in history
afford such an opportunity for the delineation of the deeper human
passions as the episode which resulted in the betrayal of an entire
country for the gratification of a private wrong. It presents such a
catastrophe as urged Æschylus to compose the moving and majestic drama
of Electra. Yet it has found no more potent expression than in the
dreary parchment of the latest Spanish chronicle and the pedestrian
verse of Southey's Roderick, the Last of the Goths, which draws its
inspiration from the pseudo-history of that account. [49]

Before we examine the romantic material embedded in The Chronicle of
Don Roderic, with the Destruction of Spain, it will be well to trace
the story of the downfall of the Gothic empire in Spain by the aid
of such materials as we can trust to supply us with a more or less
accurate account of it. These are to be found in the General Chronicle
of Spain and in the pages of the Moorish historians. Summarized,
the facts relating to the incident are probably as follows:

From the period of the settlement of the Mohammedan Arabs in Mauretania
their fleets had frequently ravaged the coasts of Andalusia, by which
name the entire Spanish peninsula was known to them. An enmity arose
between Spanish Goth and Moorish Arab which was heightened not only
by the difference in their religion but by the circumstance that the
fortress of Ceuta in Mauretania still remained in Gothic hands. This
outpost of the Gothic empire was held by the vigilance and courage
of Count Julian, a leader of experience, who retained the fortress
against tremendous odds.

The ruler of Spain at this period was one Don Roderic, who does
not appear to have held the throne by hereditary right. Witiza,
his predecessor, had slain Roderic's father, the governor of a
province, and, whether to gratify his revenge or purely because of
his ambitions, Roderic succeeded in having the claims of Witiza's
two sons set aside and in securing the crown for himself. But the
monarchy among the Goths of Spain was still elective, and it may be
that Roderic had been legally placed on the throne by the suffrages
of his fellow-peers. It is probable that Count Julian was a member
of the unsuccessful faction headed by the royal brothers, and that,
in despair of displacing Roderic by force of arms, he sought the
assistance of his Moorish enemies to accomplish his downfall.

But tradition, whether rightly or otherwise, disdains to accept the
circumstances of a cold political issue as an adequate reason for
Count Julian's defection from loyalty, and has a much more romantic
explanation to advance for his traitorous act. Roderic, we are told,
was a ruler of evil and scandalous character. He conceived a violent
passion for Cava, the young and beautiful daughter of Count Julian,
whom he abducted and dishonoured. Roused to fury and despair at
Roderic's act, Julian instantly resolved upon a terrible revenge,
and, not content with handing over the fortress which he had so
long maintained against a powerful enemy, he suggested to Musa,
the Moorish king or satrap, the invasion of Spain, binding himself
even more closely to the infidels by accepting their religion and
conforming to their customs. He impressed upon Musa the natural
advantages of his native land, and laid stress upon its distracted and
defenceless condition, the effeminacy and degeneracy of its warriors,
and the unprotected state of its cities. Musa recognized that an
opportunity offered itself to extend the Arab dominions, and sent
an embassy to Walid, the Caliph, his suzerain, asking his opinion
of such an enterprise. Walid encouraged him to proceed with it. But
Musa, although a brave and active leader, was shrewd and cautious,
and instead of launching a great armada against a country of whose
defensive capacity he knew little, contented himself in the first
instance by making a raid, in July a.d. 710, on the Spanish coast,
as if to test the fighting qualities of its defenders. The expedition
consisted of only five hundred men, who, landing at Tarifa, marched
some eighteen miles through Spanish territory to the castle and town
of Julian. There they were joined by the disaffected adherents of
that nobleman, and, meeting with no opposition, returned to Africa
with an abundance of spoil.

Encouraged by the success of their preliminary enterprise, the Saracens
now levied an army of five thousand men, and in the spring of 711,
under the leadership of a certain Tarik, landed upon Spanish soil
at a spot which still bears the name of their commander, Gibraltar,
for Gebel al Tarik signifies 'the Mountain of Tarik.' They speedily
defeated a Spanish force under Edeco, but Roderic, now fully aroused
to the danger by which his rule was threatened, summoned his vassals to
the royal standard, their number, we are told, amounting to nearly one
hundred thousand men. Tarik had by this time been reinforced, but could
muster only some twelve thousand troops of Moorish race, though these
were augmented by a host of Africans and disaffected Goths. The armies
met near Cadiz, Roderic himself leading the Gothic host, resplendent
in his princely robes of silk and gold embroidery, and reclining in a
car drawn by white mules. The Gothic attack almost succeeded by sheer
weight of numbers, and sixteen thousand of the Moorish army were slain
in the first encounter. But Tarik encouraged his flagging forces by
pointing out to them that retreat was impossible. "The enemy is before
you," he said, "the sea behind you. Whither would ye fly? Follow me,
my brethren. I shall trample on yon King of the Romans or perish."



Roderic's Fate

But assistance for the Moors was at hand, for the two sons of
Witiza, who occupied the most important posts in the Spanish army,
suddenly broke away from the main body. This brought about a general
panic. Roderic, mounting his fleet charger Orelia, was drowned while
attempting to swim the Guadalquivir, leaving his diadem and robes
on the bank. At the instigation of Count Julian, Tarik pressed on to
Toledo, which, however, held out for three months, and dispatched a
force to reduce the kingdom of Granada. This was duly accomplished,
and Toledo surrendered on the Moor's assurance that its inhabitants
would be permitted to leave with their possessions, a promise which
was faithfully kept. The Jews, who had especially assisted the
pagan invaders, were richly rewarded by them, and, indeed, formed an
alliance with them which lasted until both were eventually and happily
expelled from the country. From Toledo Tarik spread his conquests over
Castile and Leon, penetrating north as far as the town of Gijon in
Asturias, where further progress was barred by the waters of the Bay
of Biscay. In a few months practically the whole of Spain had become
a Mohammedan province, and only a handful of Gothic warriors were able
to hold out in the valleys of Asturias against the conquering Moor.

We may now leave the path of definite history for the more picturesque
if also more uncertain road of romance. The chronicles recount Don
Roderic's abandoned wickedness, and tell how the invasion of the Moors,
instigated by Julian, broke as a thunderclap upon the unprincipled
ruler. The strife with the Saracens is described, and Roderic's flight
is painted in gloomy colours. But just as popular legend refused to
credit the death of Arthur on that day at Camelot, or the fate of James
IV of Scotland on Flodden Field, or the death of Harold at Hastings,
so it refused to believe in that of Roderic. Racial sentiment refuses
to admit the death of a popular leader, and have not legends been
afloat even in our own day concerning the lamented Lord Kitchener?

Tradition [50] has it, then, that as Roderic was about to plunge
into the waters of the Guadalquivir a divine light burst upon him,
and a secret voice adjured him to repent of his sins and live. Acting
upon the advice of this inward counsellor, he divested himself of
his royal insignia, and taking from the dead the garment of a humble
peasant, stole from the field. All night he fled, haunted by fearful
visions of the wrath to come. On all sides he beheld the dreadful
consequences of his defeat. Staggering on through scenes of misery
and ruin which wrung his heart, he came at length, after seven days'
travel, to the monastery of Canlin, on the banks of the river Ana,
near Minda. The place was deserted, but the wretched fugitive cast
himself down beside the altar to await his doom in prayer, for he
fully believed that sooner or later the infidels would trace him
to this retreat and dispatch him. He fed the lamps with oil, only
leaving the holy shrine from time to time to see if the Saracens
approached. Beneath the crucifix he lay, clasping the feet of the
Redeemer's image, and weeping icy tears of penitence. As he grovelled
there he became aware that some one had entered the chapel, and,
raising his eyes in hope of a speedy death by the scimitar of a Moorish
soldier, to his surprise he beheld a monk, who gently addressed him,
and explained that he had returned to the place which for threescore
years and five he had called home, trusting to die there by the hand
of an infidel and thus to gain the crown of a martyr.

Roderic revealed his name to the father, who, deeply impressed by the
tone of penitence in his voice, knelt beside him and ministered to
the stricken monarch throughout the long night hours. He assured him
that he must live to work out his salvation, and when morning broke
the aged priest and he who yesterday had been one of the proudest
kings in Christendom quitted the chapel and went on their way.

The holy father led the crownless King to a hermitage, where he gave
him further ghostly counsel, enjoining him to remain in that place so
long as it should please God. "As for me," he said, "on the third day
from hence I shall pass out of this world, and thou shalt bury me and
take my garments and remain here for the space of a year at least,
that thou mayst endure hunger and cold and thirst in the love of our
Lord, that He may have compassion on thee."

On the third day, as he had prophesied, the hermit expired. Deeply
grieved at his death, Roderic busied himself in carrying out his
last wishes, and with an oaken staff and his bare hands dug a grave
for the holy man's body. When he was in the act of laying him in the
ground he found a scroll in his hand covered with writing, addressed
to himself, and containing advice concerning the life he should lead
while an inmate of the hermitage. This Roderic reverently perused,
and resolved to follow its injunctions to the letter.

But the Father of Evil was not minded that the King should proceed
undisturbed in his quest for salvation, and that night appeared to him
as he was in the act of committing the hermit to the grave. He came
in monkish garb, his features hooded by a great cowl, and further
disguised by a beard of venerable length and silvery whiteness,
supporting himself by a staff as if he were lame. Roderic took him
for a friend of the dead hermit, and would have kissed his hand, but
the Fiend drew back, saying: "It is not meet that a king should kiss
the hand of a poor servant of God." The King, hearing his identity
thus revealed, believed the Devil to be a holy man, speaking by aid
of a revelation. "Alas!" he said, "I am not a king, but a miserable
sinner, who had better never have been born, so much woe has visited
the land through my misdoing."

"Thou hast not so much fault as thou thinkest," replied Satan,
"for the calamity of which thou speakest would have occurred in any
case. It was ordained, and the fault was not thine. My words are those
of a spirit created by the will of God, and not mine own." The Evil
One then pretended that he had journeyed all the way from Rome to
help Roderic in his distress, and hearing this the King rejoiced,
and listened reverently as the Devil attempted to controvert the
teaching of the dead hermit by specious arguments. But when the King
requested the seeming holy man to assist him in burying the anchorite's
remains he was surprised to see him turn and make off at a good speed,
despite his alleged lameness.

At the hour of noon next day the Devil returned with a basket
full of savoury food. But the dead hermit had enjoined Roderic to
eat of nothing but the rye bread which the shepherds would bring
him once a week, and obedient to this, he withstood the tempter's
proffered meat and wine. The argument betwixt the King and Satan
is then elaborated with medieval prolixity and due regard to the
hair-splitting, logic-chopping theology of the time. Even a medieval
sense of decency might have prompted the writer to omit the King's
interview with the Holy Ghost, as to which I will only say here that
at the word of the Holy Spirit the foul fiend fled in the shape of
a horrid devil, bristling with the insignia of hell.



Satan's Stratagem

But the Enemy was not yet finished with Don Roderic, for one evening
at set of sun the hermit King saw one approach with a great power of
armed men and every display of pomp and circumstance. As the train
drew nearer, Roderic, to his amazement, beheld in its leader Count
Julian, who came to him and would have kissed his hand with every
sign of homage, offering himself up to the King's vengeance and
justice, and freely acknowledging his treason. The seeming Julian
begged him to rise up and take once more his proper place at the
head of the Spanish forces, so that the infidel might be thrust
out of Spain. But Roderic, suspecting another fiendish stratagem,
shook his head, and requested Julian to accept the leadership of the
Gothic army himself, as his vows did not permit him to engage any
longer in worldly affairs. Julian turned to the great company behind
him, among whom Roderic beheld many whom he had thought to have been
slain in battle, and these enthusiastically seconded their leader's
arguments. But when the fiendish crew saw that their pleading was
without avail they withdrew to the plain below, where they formed
themselves in battle array, as if awaiting the onset of an enemy. And
lo! against them came a multitude of seeming pagans, so that a great
and fierce carnage followed. To the anxious eyes of the King, those who
represented the Christian host seemed to put the paynim to the rout,
and messengers spurred to the hermitage, announcing to him that his
people had gained a glorious victory. But as the cock crowed the whole
pageant of battle passed away like smoke borne before the breeze, and
the King knew that he had once more withstood the wiles of the Enemy.

Now for three months the Devil refrained from tormenting Don Roderic,
but at the end of that time he sent upon him a more grievous trial
than any that had gone before. As he was saying his prayers at
the hour of vespers, he beheld a train of cavaliers ride up to the
hermitage, and when they halted and alighted there came toward him
a damsel in the guise of that Cava, the daughter of Count Julian,
whom he had so foully wronged. At sight of her the wretched man's
heart almost ceased to beat, but ere he could speak she told him that
her father had turned his sword on the Moors and had conquered them,
that Eliaca, his Queen, was no more, and that a holy man had told
her that she must forthwith find Don Roderic and wed with him, and
that she should bring forth a son called Elbersan, who should bring
the whole world under the sceptre of Spain.

When Roderic heard these words he trembled exceedingly, for greatly had
he loved Cava. She ordered a pavilion to be pitched near the hermitage,
and her train set out a sumptuous repast. Seeing how beautiful she
was, the King shook as with a palsy. But he clasped his hands and,
commending himself to God, begged to be delivered from temptation. As
he made the sign of the Cross the false Cava fled shrieking, and her
infernal train followed with such a rout and noise that the whole world
seemed to be falling to pieces. Once more the Holy Spirit admonished
Roderic to guard against such stratagems of the Devil, and far into
the day the repentant but victorious King prayed without ceasing in
thanksgiving for his deliverance from the snares of hell.



The Death of Roderic

The time now came when it was appointed that the King should leave the
retreat where he had passed through trials so many and so terrible,
and, following a cloud appointed for his guidance, he girded up his
loins and set forth on his journey. Before nightfall of the first
day he came to another hermitage, where he lodged during the hours
of darkness. After two days' journeying he came to a place unnamed,
which was destined to be that of his burial. The Elder of this place
told him that he must go to a fountain below the hermitage in which
he had taken up his abode, and that he should there find a smooth
stone. This he was instructed to raise, when he would find below it
three little serpents, one having two heads. This two-headed serpent
he must place in a jar and nourish secretly, so that none should know
of its existence, and so hide it until it grew large enough to wind
its coils three times within the jar and put its head out. Then he
must place it in a tomb and lie down himself with it, naked, for such,
it pleased God, should be his penance, according to a voice the Elder
had heard speaking in the church of that place.

Roderic scrupulously followed the Elder's injunctions, found the
reptile, and waited patiently till the two-headed serpent had waxed
great within the jar. Then, in company with the Elder, he divested
himself of his raiment and sought the tomb, wherein he laid himself
down. And when he had done so the Elder took a lever and laid a great
stone upon the top. Having lain there three days, during which the
Elder prayed and watched devoutly, the serpent raised its heads and
began with one head to devour his sinful nature and with the other to
eat his heart. In great torment did Roderic lie in that place. But
at length the serpent broke through the web of the heart, so that
incontinently the King gave up his spirit to God, Who by His holy
mercy took him into His glory. And at the hour when he expired all
the bells of the place rang of themselves, as if they had been rung
by the hands of men.

So, in the strange spirit of medieval mysticism, ends the piteous
legend of Don Roderic of Spain. Who shall unriddle the weird
significance of its close, unless, like old Thomas Newton in his
Notable History of the Saracens, they believe "that the serpent with
two heads signifieth his sinful and gylty conscience"? Requiescas in
pace, Domine Roderice!



CHAPTER VIII: "CALAYNOS THE MOOR" "GAYFEROS" AND "COUNT ALARCOS"


I bracket these three romances together in this chapter not only
because they appear to have been held in the highest favour by the
people of Old Spain, but for the equally good reason that they seem
to me to manifest the national taste and genius more markedly than
others of the same class, if, indeed, they did not belong to a class by
themselves, as I have always suspected they did, for in all Castilian
accounts of romantic fiction they are frequently mentioned together,
and this traditional treatment of them may arise from the consciousness
of their similarity of genre. But above and beyond this they possess
and enshrine that grave and austere spirit so typical of all true
Spanish literature, and at least one of them is deeply tinged with
the atmosphere of fatal and remorseless tragedy which only the Latin
or the Hellene knows how to evoke, for not the greatest masters of the
Northern races, neither Marlowe nor Massinger, Goethe nor Shakespeare,
can drape such sombre curtains around their stage as Calderon or Lope.



Calaynos

Calaynos, one of the most renowned of the Moorish knights, is the
hero of more than one romance in verse. But that which is best known,
and most regular in its sequence of events, is the Coplas de Calainos,
which has been translated so successfully by Lockhart in his Spanish
Ballads. The Moorish champion, it tells us, was enamoured of a maiden
of his own nation, and in order to win her favour offered her broad
estates and abundant wealth. But in her petulance she refused this
comfortable homage, and demanded the heads of three of the most valiant
champions of Christendom--Rinaldo, Roland, and Oliver! Bestowing on
his lady a farewell kiss, Calaynos immediately set out for Paris,
and when he had arrived there displayed the crescent banner of his
faith before the Church of St John. He caused a blast to be blown
upon his trumpet, the sound of which was well known to Charlemagne
and his twelve peers, and was heard by them as they hunted in the
greenwood, some miles from the city. Shortly afterward the royal train
encountered a Moor, and the Emperor haughtily demanded of him how he
dared to show his green turban within his dominions. He replied that
he served Calaynos, who sent his defiance to Charlemagne and all his
peers, whose onset he awaited at Paris.

As they rode back to encounter the bold infidel Charlemagne suggested
to Roland that he should take the chastisement of Calaynos upon
himself, but that haughty paladin proposed that the task should
be delegated to some carpet-knight, as he considered it beneath his
prowess to do battle with a single Moor. Sir Baldwin, Roland's nephew,
boasted that he would bring Calaynos' green turban to the dust, and,
spurring ahead, soon came face to face with the stern Moorish lord,
who, with a sneer, offered to take him into the service of his lady
as a page.

Right angry was Baldwin when he heard these words, and, hurling his
defiance at Calaynos, bade him prepare for battle. The Moor vaulted
upon his barb, and, levelling his lance, rode fiercely at Baldwin
and bore him to earth, where he made him sue for mercy. But Roland,
the youth's uncle, was at hand, and, winding his terrible horn,
shouted to Calaynos to prepare for combat.

"Who art thou?" asked Calaynos. "Thou wearest a coronet in thy helm,
but I know thee not."

"No words, base Moor!" replied Roland. "This hour shall be thy last,"
and, so saying, he charged his enemy at full speed. Down crashed the
haughty infidel, and Roland, leaping from the saddle, stood over him,
drawn sword in hand.

"Thy name, paynim," he demanded; "speak or die."

"Sir," replied Calaynos, "I serve a haughty maiden of Spain, who would
have no gift of me but the heads of certain peers of Charlemagne."

"So!" laughed Roland. "Fool that thou art, she could not have loved
thee when she bade thee beard our fellowship. Thou hast come here
to thy death," and with these words he smote off Calaynos' head,
and spurned his crescent crest in twain. "No more shall this moon
rise above the meads of Seine," he cried, as he sheathed his falchion.

Thus was Calaynos fooled by a maiden's pride and by his own. The
story is, of course, wildly improbable, and that a Moorish knight
could have reached Paris on such a quest is unthinkable. But the tale
has a very human accent, and is not without its moral.



Gayferos

Gayferos was a figure dear to Spanish romance. His story was connected
with the Charlemagne cycle, and was included in the pseudo-chronicle
of Archbishop Turpin, but, though a knight of France, he appears to
have possessed a special attraction for the Castilian mind, owing,
probably, to the circumstance of his seven years' search for his wife
in Spanish territory.

Gayferos of Bordeaux was a kinsman of Roland, the invincible hero
of the chansons de gestes, and husband of Charlemagne's daughter
Melisenda. Shortly after their marriage the lady was kidnapped by the
Saracens and confined in a strong tower at Saragossa. Determined to
rescue her from pagan custody, Gayferos set out in search of his wife,
but after spending seven long years in diligent inquiry failed to
locate the place where she was imprisoned. From province to province,
from castle to castle of sunny Spain he journeyed, until at length,
disconsolate and dejected, he returned to Paris.

In the hope of drowning the remembrance of his loss, Gayferos plunged
into the recreations of the Court. One day as he played dice with the
Emperor's admiral, Charlemagne, seeing him thus employed, said to him:
"How is it, Gayferos, that you waste your time on a paltry game,
while your wife, my daughter, languishes in a Moorish prison? Were
you as ready to handle arms as to throw dice, you would hasten to the
rescue of your lady." The Emperor's speech was unmerited, for he had
only just learned of the place in which Melisenda was held in durance,
whereas the faithful Gayferos was not yet aware of it. But gathering
from Charlemagne the name of the castle in which she was confined, he
made speed to his uncle Roland, and begged him for armour and a horse.

Roland, seeing the dismay in which his nephew was plunged, pressed
upon him his own famous arms and his favourite charger, and, thus
equipped, Gayferos once more turned his face to the land of Spain. In
due time he arrived at Saragossa, and, meeting with no opposition at
its gates, he entered and rode straight to the house where his captive
wife lay. Beholding him from the window, she begged him as he was a
Christian knight to send the tidings of her to her husband Gayferos.


    "Seven summers, seven winters have I waited in this tower,
    While my lord Gayferos holdeth dalliance in hall and bower;
    Hath forgotten Melisenda, hopes that she hath wed the Moor;
    Yet the kindness of his memory shall I cherish evermore."

    Stands the champion in his stirrups. "Lady, dry the useless tear,
    For thy husband and thy lover, thy devoted knight is here.
    Spring to saddle from the casement, leap into my fond embrace
    That shall hold thee and enfold thee from the Moor and all
                                                              his race."


Leaping from the casement into the arms of her faithful knight,
Melisenda placed herself on the saddle before him, and setting spurs
to his horse Gayferos made all speed to reach the gates. But a Moor
who had witnessed the rescue gave the alarm, and soon the fugitives
found themselves pursued by seven columns of horsemen.

The pursuers pressed hard upon them, but at the critical juncture
Melisenda recognized the horse on which they rode to be Roland's,
and remembered that by loosening the girth, opening the breastplate,
and driving the spurs into its sides it could be made to leap across
any barrier with complete safety to those it carried. She hastily
informed her husband of this, and, acting as she directed, he drove
the steed toward the city wall, which it cleared with ease. On seeing
this the Moors very naturally gave up the chase. In due time Gayferos
and his wife returned to Paris, and their future was as bright as
their past had been clouded.



Count Alarcos

Gloomy with the hangings of tragedy is the grim story of The Count
Alarcos, an anonymous romance, distinguished by great richness of
composition. It has been translated into English by both Lockhart
and Bowring, with but little distinction in either case, having
consideration to the moving character of the original. The story
opens with the simplicity which marks high tragedy. The Infanta
Soliza, daughter of the King of Spain, had been secretly betrothed
to Count Alarcos, but was abandoned by him for another lady, by whom
he had several children. In the agony of her grief and shame at her
seduction and desertion, the miserable princess shut herself off from
the world, and consumed the summer of her days in sorrow and bitter
disappointment. Her royal father, not conscious of the manner in which
she had been betrayed, questioned her as to the meaning of her grief,
and she answered him that she mourned because she was not a wife,
like other ladies of her station.

"Daughter," replied the King, "this fault is none of mine. Did not
the noble Prince of Hungary offer you his hand? I know of no suitable
husband for you in this land of Spain, saving the Count Alarcos,
and he is already wed."

"Alas!" said the Infanta, "it is the Count Alarcos who has broken
my heart, for he vowed to wed me, and plighted his troth to me long
ere he wedded. He is true to his new vows, but has left his earlier
oaths unfulfilled. In word and deed he is my husband."

For a space the King sat silent. "Great wrong has been done, my
daughter," he said at last, "for now is the royal line of Spain shamed
in all men's eyes."

Then dark and murderous jealousy seized upon the soul of the
Infanta. "Certes," she cried, "this Countess can die. Must I be
shamed that she should live? Let it be bruited abroad that sickness
cut short her life. Thus may Count Alarcos yet wed me."

Exasperated by the thought of his daughter's dishonour, the King
summoned Alarcos to a banquet, and when they were alone broached the
subject of his perfidy to the Infanta.

"Is it true, Don Alarcos," he asked, "that you plighted your troth
to my daughter and deceived her? Now hearken: your Countess usurps
my daughter's rightful place. She must die. Nay, start not! It must
be reported that sickness has carried her off. Then must you wed the
Infanta. You have brought your King to dishonour, and he now demands
the only reparation that it is within your power to make."

"I cannot deny that I deceived the Infanta," replied Alarcos. "But
I pray you, in mercy spare my innocent lady. Visit my sin upon me as
heavily as you will, but not upon her."

"It may not be," replied the stern old King. "She dies, I say,
and that to-night. When the escutcheon of a king is stained, it
matters not whether the blood that washes the blot away be guilty or
innocent. Away, and do my behest, or your life shall pay the forfeit."

Terrified at the thought of a traitor's death, for such an end was
more dreaded than any other by the haughty Castilian nobles, Alarcos
agreed to abide by the King's decision, and rode homeward in an agony
of remorse and despair. The thought that he must be the executioner
of the wife whom he dearly loved, the mother of his three beautiful
children, drove him to madness, and when at last he met her at the gate
of his castle, accompanied by her infants, and displaying every sign of
joy at his return, he shrank from her caresses, and could only mutter
that he had bad news, which he would divulge to her in her bower.

Taking her youngest babe, she led him to her apartment, where supper
was laid. But the Count Alarcos neither ate nor drank, but laid his
head upon the board and wept bitterly out of a breaking heart. Then,
recalling his dreadful purpose, he barred the doors, and, standing
with folded arms before his lady, confessed his sin.

"Long since I loved a lady," he said. "I plighted my troth to her, and
vowed to love her like a husband. Her father is the King. She claims me
for her own, and he demands that I make good the promise. Furthermore,
alas that I should say it! the King has spoken your death, and has
decreed that you die this very night."

"What!" cried the Countess, amazed. "Are these then the wages of my
loyal love for you, Alarcos? Wherefore must I die? Oh, send me back
to my father's house, where I can live in peace and forgetfulness,
and rear my children as those of thy blood should be reared."

"It may not be," answered the wretched Count. "I have pledged mine
oath."

"Friendless am I in the land," cried the miserable lady. "But at
least let me kiss my children ere I die."

"Thou mayst kiss the babe upon thy breast," groaned Alarcos. "The
others thou mayst not see again. Prepare thee."

The doomed Countess kissed her babe, muttered an Ave, and, rising
from her knees, begged her merciless lord to be kind to their
children. She pardoned her husband, but laid upon the King and his
daughter the awful curse known to the people of the Middle Ages as
"the Assize of the Dying," so often taken advantage of by those who
were falsely accused and condemned to die, and by virtue of which the
victim summoned his murderers to meet him before the throne of God
ere thirty days were past and answer for their crime to their Creator.

The Count strangled his wife with a silken kerchief, and when the
horrid deed had been done, and she lay cold and dead, he summoned
his esquires, and gave himself up to a passion of woe.

Within twelve days the revengeful Infanta perished in agony. The
merciless King died on the twentieth day, and ere the moon had
completed her round Alarcos too drooped and died. Cruel and inevitable
as Greek tragedy is the tale of Alarcos. But while perusing it
and under the spell of its tragic pathos we can scarcely regard
it as of the nature of legend, and we know not whom to abhor the
most--the revengeful Princess, the cruel King, or the coward husband
who sacrificed his innocent and devoted wife to the shadow of that
aristocratic 'honour' which has to its discredit almost as great a
holocaust of victims as either superstition or fanaticism.



CHAPTER IX: THE ROMANCEROS OR BALLADS


                                            Iliads without a Homer.

                                                            Lope de Vega


The word romancero in modern Spanish is more or less strictly applied
to a special form of verse composition, a narrative poem written
in lines of sixteen syllables which adhere to one single assonance
throughout. Originally the term was applied to those dialects or
languages which were the offspring of the Roman or Latin tongue--the
spoken language of old Rome in its modernized forms. Later it came
to imply only the written forms of those vernaculars, and lastly
the poetic lyrico-narrative form alone, as above indicated. The
romancero therefore differs from the romance in that it is written
in verse, and it is plain from what has just been said that the name
'romance' was the product of the transition period when the term was
intended to describe the written output of the more modern forms of
Latin-Castilian, Portuguese, French, and Provençal, whether couched in
prose or verse. We have seen that practically all the romances proper,
as apart from the cantares de gesta--that is, such compositions as
Amadis, Palmerin, and Partenopex--were written in prose. But the
romancero was first and last a narrative in verse. Indeed, the three
tales recounted in the last chapter are of the romancero type--a form,
as we shall see, which gained quite as strong a hold upon the lower
classes of the Peninsula as the romance proper did upon the affections
of the hidalgo and the caballero. In a word, the romancero is the
popular ballad of Spain.

In a previous chapter I attempted to outline the several types of
the Spanish ballad, or romancero, as follows:


    (1) Those of spontaneous popular origin and early date.
    (2) Those based upon passages in the chronicles or cantares
        de gesta.
    (3) Folk-ballads of a relatively late date.
    (4) Those later ballads which were the production of conscious art.


We can thus class Spanish ballads more broadly into:


    (1) Those of popular origin.
    (2) Those which have their rise in literary sources.


As regard class (1) of the first quaternion, like Sancho Panza I
have no intention of indicating how old these may be. The fiercest
controversy has raged round this question, but, as I have already
indicated, it would be strange indeed if no vestiges of early Castilian
folk-song had come down to us in an altered form. Folk-song, in my
view, has as great a chance of survival as custom or legend, and we
know how persistent these are in undisturbed areas, so I see no reason
to doubt that a certain number of the original ballads of Spain have
come down to us in such an altered form as would, perhaps, render
them unrecognizable to their makers, just as the ancient Scottish
romance of Thomas the Rhymer would not have been recognized in its
later form by the singer who composed it.

All the arguments, archæological and philological, erected and advanced
by mere erudition will not convince me to the contrary. To some people
antiquity is a living thing, a warm and glowing environment, a world
with the paths and manners of which they are better acquainted than
with the streets of every day. To others it is--a museum. I have no
quarrel with the curators of that museum, and I enjoy reading their
books--records of a land which few of them have visited. But when they
insist upon controverting the evidence supplied by senses which they do
not possess they become merely tiresome. Like art, archæology has also
its inspirations, its higher vision. Alas that those who do not share
it should attempt to justify their conclusions by lifeless logic alone!

Therefore I shall say no more concerning the age of the ballads of
Old Spain, but will only remark with Sancho that "they are too old
to lie." I have clearly shown, too, that a number of them were based
on passages in the chronicles and cantares, a circumstance which in
itself vouches for their relative antiquity. With the later artificial
imitations of Góngora and Lope de Vega, and others of similar stamp,
we are not concerned here. After all, we can only take the ballads of
Spain as we find them in the cancioneros. It is much too late in the
day now to do anything else. Like the ballads of Scotland and Denmark,
those of Spain have been collected and published for centuries, and
in the pages of the cancioneros old and new, popular and literary,
are mingled together in almost inextricable confusion. Let us glance,
then, at the history of these cancioneros, these treasure-houses
of a people's poetry, and attempt to realize their plan and scope
as perhaps the best method by which to approach the subject of the
Spanish ballad generally. Having done this, we can then discuss
matters of origin with critics of insight and sympathy.



The "Cancionero General"

If we except the fragmentary collection of Juan Fernández de
Constantina, the Cancionero General, or "Universal Song-book," as it
might be translated, was originally brought together and published
at the beginning of the sixteenth century by a certain Fernando
del Castillo. The arrangement of the ballads it contains is neither
chronological nor thoroughly systematic, although the productions of
each author are kept distinct. Later editions of this work quickly
multiplied, and as the collection extended the additions were always
inserted at the end of the book. The collection consists for the most
part of the ballads of authors of the fifteenth and early sixteenth
centuries, such as Tallante, Nicolas Núñez, Juan de Mena, Porticarrero,
and the still earlier Marquis de Santillana.

The first portion of the work is confined to the spiritual songs
(obras de devoción). These are monotonous and informed with a
rigid fanaticism. Nor are the "Moral Poems" which follow any more
attractive, allegorizing virtues and vices according to the definitions
of scholastic philosophy. The amatory verses in the collection are
more ingenious than truly poetic; they lack true feeling, and appear
stiff and artificial in their reiteration of burning passion and the
overwhelming woes of unrequited love, mingled with pseudo-philosophical
appeals to reason. But gay and graceful love songs are not lacking,
as, for example, the "Muy más clara que de luna" of Juan de Meux or
the "Pensamienti, pues mostrays" of Diego Lopez de Haro. But these
trail off into philosophical disquisition, and the tender sentiment
in which they were conceived and commenced is lost in the shallows
of paltry argument.

Much more promising are the canciones, or lyrical poems of a
semi-conventional cast, which have a character and metrical form all
their own. They usually consist of twelve lines, divided into two
parts. The first four lines comprehend the idea on which the song
is founded, and this is developed or applied in the eight succeeding
lines. The Cancionero General contains one hundred and fifty-six of
these little songs, some of which are the best poems contained in it,
and perhaps they owe their excellence to the verbal restraint which
their form compels. An allied form is the villancico, or conceit,
usually of three or four lines, a fugitive piece, enshrining some
fleeting emotion, and often packed with the matter of poesy.



The "Romancero General"

The title Romancero General was applied to many collections of
Spanish songs and narrative romances in verse published during
the seventeenth century and later. Of these only the older require
illustration here. The first in point of date was the collection of
Miguel de Madrigal, published in 1604, although another work containing
upward of a thousand romances and songs was produced in the same year,
and bears the same title. Another collection of primary importance
is that of Pedro de Flores (1614). This is obviously a bookseller's
compilation, but is none the worse for that, save that it pretends to
embrace the entire sum of Spanish romanceros, whereas it contains not
one of those appearing in the Cancionero General. All of these works
contain numerous amatory poems of the kind so liberally exemplified
in the Cancionero General, but with these we have little concern,
and our attention may be better employed in examining the romanceros
proper which it contains. These for the most part would seem to belong
to the fifteenth century, and relate to the civil wars of Granada,
the last Moorish principality in Spain, and the heroic and gallant
adventures of Moorish knights. It is, indeed, in this work that we
first perceive the trend toward a literary fashion in things Moorish
to which we have referred in a previous chapter, but, as has been
indicated, this is very far from saying that these poems owe their
origin to Moorish models. But there are not wanting Castilian themes
and stories, such as those relating to Roderic, Bernaldo de Carpio,
Fernán González, the Infantes of Lara, and the Cid. Most of these
were written by men of humble station, the true poets of the people,
the late representatives of those juglares who had sung or recited
the cantares de gesta. [51]

Mr James Fitzmaurice Kelly is at once the best informed and most
sympathetic of modern critics on the subject of the romancero. In
his admirable Chapters on Spanish Literature, a delightful series
of excursions into several of the most interesting provinces of
Spanish letters, he reviews the romancero in some forty vivid pages,
remarkable alike for critical insight and the sanity of the conclusions
to which they point. Taking Lockhart's Spanish Ballads as a basis for
comment, he addresses himself to the racy criticism of the collection
of the Scottish translator. A better plan for the initiation of the
English-speaking reader into the mysteries of the romancero could
scarcely be conceived, for there are few who possess no acquaintance
with Lockhart's work, one of the most persistent of the drawing-room
books of Victorian days. Following Mr Kelly's admirable lead, then,
though not in the spirit of base imitation, let us take Lockhart as
our 'document' and examine the more interesting of his translations,
not only as regards their subject-matter, but their excellences
and shortcomings, comparing them also with those of Bowring and
others. Following Depping, Lockhart divides his volume of ballads into
three sections: Historical, Moorish, and Romantic. With the first two
groups of poems, or rather with their subject-matter--those relating
to King Roderic and Bernaldo de Carpio--we have dealt elsewhere.



The Maiden Tribute

The next in order, "The Maiden Tribute," deals with a demand of the
Moorish monarch Abderahman that a hundred Christian virgins should
annually be delivered into his hands. King Ramíro refused to comply
with such a shameful custom, and marched to meet the Moor. A two days'
battle was fought near Alveida, and at the conclusion of the first
day's hostilities the superior discipline of the Saracens had told
heavily against the Castilians. During the night, St Iago, the patron
saint of Spain, appeared to the King in a vision and promised his
aid in the field next day. With morning the battle was joined once
more, the Saint, true to his word, led the Spanish charge, and the
Saracens were cast into headlong rout. The maiden tribute was never
afterward paid.

Lockhart's ballad, or rather translation, certainly does not enhance
the original.


    If the Moslem must have tribute, make men your tribute-money,
    Send idle drones to tease them within their hives of honey,


is the commonest of crambo, and


    Must go, like all the others, the proud Moor's bed to sleep in--
    In all the rest they're useless, and nowise worth the keeping,


is reminiscent of the pantomime days of our youth. Mr Fitzmaurice
Kelly contents himself by remarking about this ballad that it scarcely
calls for comment.



Count Fernán González

"The Escape of the Count Fernán González, which is based on the old
Estoria del noble caballero Fernán González," a popular arrangement
of the Crónica General (1344), is later than two other ballads which
Mr Kelly and others believe represent a lost epic which was worked
into the Crónica in question. A wealth of legend certainly clustered
round the name of this cavalier, and he has a string of romanceros to
his credit. But are we to believe that in every case where ballads
crystallize round a great name these are the broken lights of a
disintegrated epic, worn down by attrition into popular songs? Is
there, indeed, irrefragable proof that such a process ever took place
anywhere? Or its reverse, for that matter? Practical writers of verse
(if a writer of verse can be practical) do not take kindly to the
hypothesis. They recognize the generic differences between the spirit
of epic and that of folk-poetry, and prefer to believe that when both
have fixed upon the same subject the choice was fortuitous and not
necessarily evolutionary.

Fernán González of Castile owed not a little of his romantic
reputation to his wife, who delivered him from captivity on at least
two occasions. On that celebrated in the ballad she played the part of
a faithful lover and a true heroine. González, taken by his enemies,
had been carried to a stronghold in Navarre. A Norman knight passing
through that country requested the governor of the castle for an
audience with the captive, and as he offered a suitable bribe the
official gladly conceded the request. The interview over, the knight
departed and sought the palace of King Garcia of Navarre, who held
González in bondage. One of the counts against the prisoner seems
to have been that he had asked Garcia for the hand of his daughter,
and to this princess, who secretly loved the captive, the knight now
addressed himself:


    The Moors may well be joyful, but great should be our grief,
    For Spain has lost her guardian when Castile has lost her chief.
    The Moorish host is pouring like a river o'er the land:
    Curse on the Christian fetters that bind González' hand!


At 'mirk of night' the Infanta rose, and, proceeding alone to the
castle where González was confined, proffered such a heavy bribe to
the governor to set him at liberty that he permitted his prisoner to
go free. But the hero was still hampered by his chains, and when the
pair were stopped by a hunter-priest who threatened to reveal their
whereabouts to the King's foresters unless the Infanta paid him a
shameful ransom, González was unable to punish him as he deserved. But
as the wretch embraced the princess she seized him by the throat, and
González grasped the spear which he had let fall and drove it through
his body. Shortly afterward they encountered a band of González'
own men-at-arms, with which incident their night of adventure came
to a close.



The Infantes of Lara

Few Spanish romanceros celebrate incidents more tragic or memorable
than those which cluster round the massacre of the unfortunate
Infantes or Princes of Lara by their treacherous uncle, Ruy or Roderigo
Velásquez. Mr Fitzmaurice Kelly thinks that one of these originated
from a lost epic written between 1268 and 1344, "or perhaps from
a lost recast of this lost epic." Strange that such epics should
all be lost! He pleads that Lockhart might have utilized other more
'energetic' ballads to illustrate this legend, but I think in this
does some despite to the very fine and spirited translation entitled
"The Vengeance of Mudara":


    Oh, in vain have I slaughter'd the Infants of Lara;
    There's an heir in his halls--there's the bastard Mudara,
    There's the son of the renegade--spawn of Mahoun:
    If I meet with Mudara, my spear brings him down.


As I read these lines I recall a big drawing-room, the narrow
casements of which look upon a wilderness of garden woodland made
magical by the yellow shadows of the hour when it is neither evening
nor afternoon. Upon a table of mottled rosewood lies a copy of the
Spanish Ballads in the embossed and fretted binding of the days when
such books were given as presents and intended for exhibition. A child
of ten, I had stolen into this Elysium redolent of rose-leaves and
potpourri, and, opening the book at random, came upon the lines just
quoted. For the first time I tasted the delights of rhythm, of music
in words. The verses photographed themselves on my brain. Searching
through the book until darkness fell, it seemed to me that I could
find nothing so good, nothing that swung along with such a gallop. But
the cup had been held to my lips, and my days and nights became a
quest for words wedded to music. I had to look for some time before I
encountered anything better than, or equal to, the haunting rhythm of
"The Vengeance of Mudara." The years have brought discoveries beside
which the first pales into insignificance, adventures in books of
a spirit more subtle, carrying the thrill of a keener amazement;
but none came with the force of such revelation as was vouchsafed by
that page in an unforgotten book in an unforgettable room.

The first of the ballads in which Lockhart deals with the subject
of the Infantes of Lara--for the one we have been discussing follows
it--is entitled "The Seven Heads," and details the circumstance of the
massacre of the unhappy princes. From the Historia de España of Juan
de Marinia (1537-1624) we learn that in the year 986 Ruy Velásquez,
lord of Villaren, celebrated his marriage with Donna Lombra, a lady
of high birth, at Burgos. The festivities were on a scale of great
splendour, and among the guests were Gustio González, lord of Salas
of Lara, and his seven sons. These young men, of the blood of the
Counts of Castile, were celebrated for their chivalric prowess,
and had all been knighted on the self-same day.

As evil chance would have it, a quarrel arose between González, the
youngest of the seven brothers, and one Alvar Sanchez, a relation
of the bride. Donna Lombra thought herself insulted, and in order to
avenge herself, when the young knights rode in her train as she took
her way to her lord's castle, she ordered one of her slaves to throw at
González a wild cucumber soaked in blood, "a heavy insult and outrage,
according to the then existing customs and opinions of Spain." What
this recondite insult signified does not matter. But surely, whatever
its meaning, and making all allowance for the rudeness of the age of
which she was an ornament, the lady did greater despite to herself than
to her enemy by the perpetration of such an act of crude vulgarity. The
slave, having done as he was bid, fled for protection to his mistress's
side. But that availed him nothing, for the outraged Infantes slew him
"within the very folds of her garment."

Ruy Velásquez, burning with Latin anger at what he deemed an insult
to his bride, and therefore to himself, was determined upon a
dreadful vengeance. But he studiously concealed his intention from
the young noblemen, and behaved to them as if nothing of moment had
occurred. Some time after these events he sent Gustio González, the
father of the seven young champions, on a mission to Cordova, the
ostensible object of which was to receive on his behalf a tribute of
money from the Moorish king of that city. He made Gustio the bearer
of a letter in Arabic, which he could not read, the purport of which
was a request to the Saracen chieftain to have him executed. But the
infidel displayed more humanity than the Christian, and contented
himself with imprisoning the unsuspecting envoy.

In furtherance of his plans Velásquez pretended to make an incursion
into the Moorish country, in which he was accompanied by the Infantes
of Lara with two hundred of their followers. With fiendish ingenuity he
succeeded in leading them into an ambuscade. Surrounded on all sides
by the Saracen host, they resolved to sell their lives at the highest
possible price rather than surrender. Back to back they stood, taking
a terrible toll of Moorish lives, and one by one they fell, slain but
unconquered. Their heads were dispatched to Velásquez as an earnest
of a neighbourly deed by the Moorish king, and were paraded before
him and in front of their stricken father, who had been released in
order that Velásquez might gloat over his grief. When he had satisfied
his vengeance the lord of Villaren permitted the stricken father to
return to his empty home.

But Ruy Velásquez was not destined to go unpunished. While Gustio
González had been imprisoned in the dungeons of the Moorish King of
Cordova he had contracted an alliance with that monarch's sister,
by whom he had a son, Mudarra. When this young man had attained the
age of fourteen years his mother prevailed upon him to go in search
of his father, and when he had found his now aged parent he learned of
the act of treachery by which his brothers had been slain. Determined
to avenge the cowardly deed, he bided his time, and, encountering Ruy
Velásquez when on a hunting expedition, slew him out of hand. Gathering
around him a band of resolute men, he attacked the castle of Villaren,
and executed a fearful vengeance upon the haughty Donna Lombra, whom
he stoned and burnt at the stake. In course of time he was adopted
by his father's wife, Donna Sancha, who acknowledged him as heir to
the estates of his father.

We have already indicated the stirring nature of the ballad in
which Mudarra takes vengeance upon the slayers of his brethren. Its
predecessor in Lockhart's collection, that in which the agonized
father beholds the seven heads of his murdered sons, falls far short
of it in power.


    "My gallant boys," quoth Lara, "it is a heavy sight
    These dogs have brought your father to look upon this night;
    Seven gentler boys, nor braver, were never nursed in Spain,
    And blood of Moors, God rest your souls, ye shed on her like rain."

    ..................................................................

    He took their heads up one by one,--he kiss'd them o'er and o'er,
    And aye ye saw the tears run down--I wot that grief was sore.
    He closed the lids on their dead eyes, all with his fingers frail,
    And handled all their bloody curls, and kissed their lips so pale.

    "O had ye died all by my side upon some famous day,
    My fair young men, no weak tears then had washed your blood away.
    The trumpet of Castile had drowned the misbeliever's horn,
    And the last of all the Lara's line a Gothic spear had borne."



The Wedding of the Lady Theresa

"The Wedding of the Lady Theresa" is a semi-historical ballad
which tells of the forced alliance of a Christian maiden to a noble
worshipper of Mahoun. Alfonso, King of Leon, desirous of strengthening
his alliance with the infidel, intended to sacrifice his sister,
Donna Theresa, to his political necessities. He paved the way for
this betrayal by pretending that Abdalla, King of the Moors, had
become a Christian, and by indicating to her the benefits of a union
with the pagan prince. Totally deceived by these representations,
the lady consented to the match, was taken to Toledo, and wed to
the Moor with much splendour. But on the day of the marriage she
learned of her brother's perfidy, and when she found herself alone
with the Moorish lord she repulsed him, telling him that she would
never be a wife to him in aught but name until he and his people
embraced the Christian faith. But Abdalla ridiculed her scruples,
and took advantage of her unprotected state. As she had prophesied, a
scourge fell upon him as the consequence of his wicked act. Terrified,
he sent Theresa back to her brother, with an abundance of treasure,
and she entered the monastery of St Pelagius, in Leon, where she
passed the remainder of her days in pious labours and devotions.


    Sad heart had fair Theresa when she their paction knew;
    With streaming tears she heard them tell she 'mong the Moors
                                                                must go:
    That she, a Christian damosell, a Christian firm and true,
    Must wed a Moorish husband, it well might cause her woe.
    But all her tears and all her prayers, they are of small avail;
    At length she for her fate prepares, a victim sad and pale.


This ballad is no earlier than the sixteenth century, and seems to be
based upon historic fact, and, as Mr Fitzmaurice Kelly points out,
it confuses Almanzor and the Toledan governor Abdalla on the one
hand and Alfonso V of Leon with his father, Bermudo II, on the other,
and introduces chronological difficulties.

Passing by the ballads of the Cid, to the subject-matter of which we
have already done ample justice, we come to that of



Garcia Pérez de Vargas

This Mr Fitzmaurice Kelly dismisses in a word, although it seems to
me to merit some attention. De Vargas distinguished himself greatly
at the siege of Seville in the year 1248. One day, while riding by
the banks of the river, accompanied only by a single companion, he
was attacked by a party of seven mounted Moors. His comrade rode off,
but Pérez, closing his visor, and setting his lance in rest, faced the
paynim warriors. They, seeing who awaited them, made all speed back
to their own lines. As he made his way back to camp Pérez noticed
that he had dropped his scarf, and immediately returned to seek for
it. But although he rode far into the danger zone ere he found it,
the Moors still avoided him, and he returned to the Spanish camp
in safety. The ballad makes Pérez recover the scarf from the Moors,
who had found it and "looped it on a spear."


    "Stand, stand, ye thieves and robbers, lay down my lady'spledge!"
    He cried; and ever as he cried they felt his faulchion's edge.

    That day when the Lord of Vargas came to the camp alone,
    The scarf, his lady's largess, around his breast was thrown;
    Bare was his head, his sword was red, and, from his pommel strung,
    Seven turbans green, sore hack'd, I ween, before Don Garci hung.


This last verse shows how strongly Lockhart was indebted to Scott
for the spirit and style of his compositions. [52]



Pedro the Cruel

We come now to those ballads which recount the vivid but sanguinary
history of Don Pedro the Cruel. Many attempts have been made to prove
that Pedro was by no means such an inhuman monster as the balladeers
would have us believe. But probability seems to be on the side of the
singers rather than on that of the modern historians, who have done
their best to remove the stain of his ferocious acts from Pedro's
abhorred name. His first act of atrocity was that celebrated in
the ballad entitled "The Master of St Iago," which refers to his
illegitimate brother. On the death of that nobleman, his father,
well aware of Pedro's vindictive temperament, fled to the city of
Coimbra, in Portugal. But, believing Pedro's asseverations that he
had no intention of offering him violence, he accepted his invitation
to the Court of Seville, where a gallant tournament was about to be
held. No sooner had he arrived, however, than he was secretly put to
death (1358), it is believed at the instance of the notorious Maria
de Padilla, Pedro's mistress.


    "Stand off, stand off, thou traitor strong," 'twas thus he said
                                                                  to me.
    "Thy time on earth shall not be long--what brings thee to my knee?
    My lady craves a New Year's gift, and I will keep my word;
    Thy head, methinks, may serve the shift--Good yeoman, draw
    thy sword."


The ballad recounts how Pedro, relenting somewhat, imprisoned the false
Maria de Padilla, but there is no evidence that she either suggested
the crime or suffered for it. Mr Fitzmaurice Kelly gives it as his
opinion that the dramatic power of the romance is undeniable. Had
he spoken of its melodramatic power I might feel inclined to agree
with him.

"That Pedro was accessory to the violent death of the young and
innocent princess whom he had married, and immediately afterward
deserted for ever, there can be no doubt," says Lockhart, referring to
the marriage of Pedro with Blanche de Bourbon. But whether he murdered
his queen or not, his paramour, Maria de Padilla, was innocent of
all complicity in the affair, although the ballad makes her the
instigator of the horrid deed, and it is plain that the poems which
refer to her were written with a sinister political motive.

Mariana, who is sufficiently reliable, states that Pedro's conduct
toward his queen had aroused the anger of many of his nobles,
who presented him with a remonstrance in writing. His fierce and
homicidal temper aroused to fury at what he considered an unwarranted
interference in his private concerns, he immediately gave the order
that his unfortunate French consort should be put to death by poison
in the prison where she, was confined. The poem makes Pedro and his
paramour plot upon the death of the unhappy Queen in the crude manner
of the balladeer all the world over.


    "Maria de Padilla, be not thus of dismal mood,
    For if I twice have wedded me, it all was for thy good,"


may be good ballad-writing, but I confess the barbarous inversion in
the second line appears to me to be unnecessary.


    "But if upon Queen Blanche ye will that I some scorn should show,
    For a banner to Medina my messenger shall go.--
    The work shall be of Blanche's tears, of Blanche's blood the
                                                                 ground,
    Such pennon shall they weave for thee, such sacrifice be found."


With the example of many enchanted passages of allusion no less
recondite occurring in the ballads of his own country-side, Lockhart
might reasonably have been expected to have done much better than
the last couplet.


    Fause luve, ye've shapit a weed for me
    In simmer amang the flowers;
    I will repay thee back again
    In winter amang the showers.

    The snow so white shall be your weed,
    In hate you shall be drest,
    The cauld east wind shall wrap your heid
    And the sharp rain on your breist.


But I question if folk-poetry ever captured a lilt more exquisite
than that of the first four lines of "The Gardener" or a sharper note
of anguish than that of the last quatrain. [53] To me at least Old
Scots must always remain the language of the ballad par excellence,
by virtue of the subtlety, the finely wrought and divinely coloured
wealth of expressive idiom which bursts from its treasure-chest in
a profusion of begemmed and enamelled richness, more various, more
magical than any Spanish gold. Much of this Lockhart filched to give
his Castilian bullion a replating. But in places he falls back most
wretchedly upon the poetical trickeries of his day, falls to the level
of Rogers and Southey, to the miserable devices and tinsel beggary of
those bravely bound annuals beloved by the dames and damsels of the
day before yesterday. In places, however, he outballads the ballad
in pure gaucherie.


    These words she spake, then down she knelt, and took the bowman's
                                                                   blow,
    Her tender neck was cut in twain, and out her blood did flow.


The next, and not the last of the series, as Mr Fitzmaurice Kelly
has it, is obviously the handiwork of Walter Scott, than whom none
could fail more miserably on occasion. We can picture him doling "The
Death of Don Pedro" from out the great thesaurus of his brain (that
sadly drained mint, ever at the service of a friend or a publisher),
as a dinted and defaced coin. Only in the last verse does the old
fire blaze up.


    Thus with mortal gasp and quiver,
    While the blood in bubbles well'd,
    Fled the fiercest soul that ever
    In a Christian bosom dwell'd.


On such a subject the composer of "Bonnie Dundee" might well have felt
the blood run faster, and the pen quiver in his fingers like an arrow
on a tightened bow-string. Two royal brothers strive with hateful
poniards for each other's lives. Pedro, a prisoner in the hands of
Henry of Trastamara, his natural brother, is wantonly insulted by the
victorious noble, and replies by flying at his throat in an outburst
of animal courage and kingly rage. Dumbfounded at the death-struggle
of monarch and usurper, Henry's allies look on, among them the great
Du Guesclin. Pedro pins the lord of Trastamara to the ground. His
dagger flashes upward. Du Guesclin turns to Henry's squire. "Will ye
let your lord die thus, you who eat his bread?" he scoffs. The esquire
throws himself upon Pedro, clings to his arms and turns him over, and,
thus aided, Henry rises, searches for a joint in the King's armour,
and thrusts his dagger deep into that merciless heart. The murderer,
the friend of Jew and Saracen, is slain. His head is hacked off,
and his proud body trampled beneath mailed feet. Surely a subject
for a picture painted in the lights of armour and the red shadows of
blood and hate.


    Down they go in deadly wrestle,
    Down upon the earth they go.
    Fierce King Pedro has the vantage,
    Stout Don Henry falls below.

    Marking then the fatal crisis,
    Up the page of Henry ran,
    By the waist he caught Don Pedro,
    Aiding thus the fallen man.


They had better have let the ballad alone, those two at Abbotsford. It
does not seem to me "a very striking ballad," as Mr Fitzmaurice Kelly
observes, but in its Castilian dress it is sufficiently dramatic
and exciting.


    Los fieros cuerpos revueltos
    Entre los rubustos brazos
    Está el cruel rey Don Pedro
    Y Don Enrique, su hermano.

    No son abrazos de amor
    Los que los dos se están dando;
    Que el uno tiene una daga,
    Y otro un puñal acerado.


So run the first two verses, which I leave the reader to translate
for himself, lest further damage be done them.

The proclamation of Don Henry takes up the story where the preceding
ballad left it off. In the translation of this, it seems to me,
Lockhart has been much more successful than his great father-in-law
proved himself in that of its companion ballad. I do not think it
possible, however, to render adequately by an English pen the dignified
rhythm of the Castilian in which this romancero is dressed. But the
second verse,


    So dark and sullen is the glare of Pedro's lifeless eyes,
    Still half he fears what slumbers there to vengeance may arise.
    So stands the brother, on his brow the mark of blood is seen,
    Yet had he not been Pedro's Cain, his Cain had Pedro been,


is really fine, expressive, and ascends a whole scale of terrible
thought and realization. Are these awful eyes dead? Can the threat
they hold be imaginary? My hands are wet with brother's blood, but it
is only by virtue of a slender chance that his are not imbrued with
mine. The verse is horribly eloquent of the death-cold atmosphere
of the moment which follows murder--simple, appalling, desperately
tragic. The mad grief of the slain King's paramour is drawn with a
touch almost as successful.


    In her hot cheek the blood mounts high, as she stands gazing down,
    Now on proud Henry's royal stole, his robe and golden crown,
    And now upon the trampled cloak that hides not from her view
    The slaughtered Pedro's marble brow, and lips of livid hue.



The Moor Reduan

We may pass by "The Lord of Butrayo" and "The King of Arragon" and
come to the ballad of "The Moor Reduan," a piece based on the siege
of Granada, last stronghold of the Moors, and the first of those in
which Lockhart deals with the romanceros fronterizos, or romances
of the frontier, which, as we have before remarked, may have been
influenced by Moorish ideas, or may even represent borrowings or
données of a kind more or less direct. In his critique of this
romancero Mr Fitzmaurice Kelly says: "Lockhart is, of course, not
to blame for translating the ballad precisely as he found it in the
text before him. Any translator would be bound to do the same to-day
if he attempted a new rendering of the poem; but he would doubtless
think it advisable to state in a note the result of the critical
analysis which had scarcely been begun when Lockhart wrote. It now
seems fairly certain that Pérez de Hita ran two romanceros into one,
and that the verses from the fourth stanza onward in Lockhart,


    They passed the Elvira gate with banners all displayed,


are part of a ballad on Boabdil's expedition against Lucena in
1483." This is only partially correct. Lockhart knew perfectly well
that the piece was not homogeneous. Indeed he says, "The following
is a version of certain parts of two ballads," although he seems to
have been unaware that one of them was that dealing with Boabdil's
expedition. That portion, indeed, provides by far the best elements
in the composition.


    What caftans blue and scarlet, what turbans pleach'd of green;
    What waving of their crescents, and plumages between;
    What buskins and what stirrups, what rowels chased in gold,
    What handsome gentlemen, what buoyant hearts and bold!


Reduan had registered a rash vow to take the city of Jaen so that he
might win the daughter of the Moorish king. The ninth verse is full
of a grateful music, not too often found in the poetry of the Britain
of 1823:


    But since in hasty cheer I did my promise plight,
    (What well might cost a year) to win thee in a night,
    The pledge demands the paying, I would my soldiers brave
    Were half as sure of Jaen as I am of my grave;


although, I confess, the internal rhyming of "paying" and "Jaen"
detracts from the melody of the whole. And this is the besetting sin
of Lockhart, that he mars his happiest efforts by crudities which he
evidently confounded with the simplicity of the ballad form. In all
British balladry, if memory serves me, there is no such vulgarism
as this.



CHAPTER X: THE ROMANCEROS OR BALLADS--continued


    There was crying in Granada as the sun was going down,
    Some calling on the Trinity, some calling on Mahoun;
    Here passed away the Koran, there in the Cross was borne,
    And here was heard the Christian bell, and there the Moorish horn.


In this vivid verse, the first two lines of which seem to me especially
successful, Lockhart, with a stroke or two of his pen, provides us
with a moving sketch of the confusion and turmoil attending the Moorish
flight from Granada, the last stronghold of the Moors in Spain, which
fell to the victorious arms of Ferdinand and Isabella on the 6th of
January, 1492, the year of the discovery of America. The remainder of
the ballad is no better than Lorenzo de Sepúlveda's rather unmusical
original. It is pity that a ballad beginning with such a spirited
couplet should be lost in the shallows and the miseries of such
stuff as:


    "Unhappy King, whose craven soul can brook" (she 'gan reply)
    "To leave behind Granada--who hast not heart to die--
    Now for the love I bore thy youth thee gladly could I slay,
    For what is life to leave when such a crown is cast away?"


Here the spirit of the metre has deserted the body of the verse,
which is now merely galvanized into life by an artificial current
of pedantry. The striking inequalities in the work of Lockhart are
surely eloquent of the tragedy of the half-talent.



Don Alonzo de Aguilar

Upon the fall of Granada the Catholic zeal of Ferdinand and Isabella
insisted upon the conversion of the Moors of that province. Most of the
defeated pagans concurred, outwardly at least, with the royal decree,
but in the Sierra of Alpuxarra there remained a leaven of the infidel
blood who refused baptism at the hands of the priests who were sent
to seal them of the faith. A royal order at length went forth to carry
out the ceremony by force of arms. For a season the Moors resisted with
the stubborn courage of their race, but at length they were subdued and
almost extirpated. But their ruin was not accomplished without severe
losses on the side of their would-be proselytizers, one of the most
notable of whom was Don Alonzo de Aguilar, brother of that Gonzalvo
Hernández de Cordova of Aguilar who gained widespread renown as 'the
Great Captain.' But the ballad does not seem to square with the facts
of history. Indeed it places Aguilar's death before the surrender
of Granada, whereas in reality it took place as late as 1501. Mr
Fitzmaurice Kelly thinks that "this points to the conclusion that
the romance was not written till long after the event, when the exact
details had been forgotten." But why blame an entire people for what
may have been a lapsus memoriæ on the part of a single balladeer? On
the other hand, Mr Kelly might justly ask one to indicate any ballad
springing from folk-sources the details of which square with the
circumstances as known to history or ascertained by research.

Lockhart, as usual upon first mounting his destrier, dashes the spurs
in its sides with a flourish:


    Fernando, King of Arragon, before Granada lies,
    With dukes and barons many a one, and champions of emprise;
    With all the captains of Castile that serve his lady's crown,
    He drives Boabdil from his gates, and plucks the crescent down.


So far good. Now for the conclusion:


    The Moorish maidens, while she spoke, around her silence kept,
    But her master dragged the dame away--then loud and long they wept:
    They wash'd the blood, with many a tear, from dint of dart
                                                              and arrow,
    And buried him near the waters clear of the bank of Alpuxarra.


It will not serve to point out that this is just what one might
expect in a ballad, for it bears not the shadow of resemblance to
the original.


    Que de chiquito en la cuna
    A sus pechos le criara.
    A las palabras que dice,
    Cualquiera Mora lloraba:

    "Don Alonso, Don Alonso,
    Dios perdone la tu alma,
    Pues te mataron los Moros,
    Los Moros de el Alpujarra."


I am sometimes tempted to think that the weary giant at Abbotsford
wrote all Lockhart's first verses, as one heads a copy-book for
a child!

Lockhart omits from his collection the very fine ballad beginning:


    Río verde, Río verde,
    Tinto vas en sangre viva;
    Entre tí y Sierra Bermeja
    Murió gran caballería

    Murieron duques y condes,
    Señores de gran valía;
    Allí muriera Urdiales,
    Hombre de valor y estima,


which was rather inaccurately rendered by Bishop Percy as follows:


    Gentle river, gentle river,
    Lo, thy streams are stained with gore;
    Many a brave and noble captain
    Floats along thy willow'd shore.

    All beside thy limpid waters,
    All beside thy sands so bright,
    Moorish chiefs and Christian warriors
    Joined in fierce and mortal fight.


Perhaps a more accurate though less finished rendering of these
opening verses might be:


    Emerald river, emerald river,
    Stained with slaughter's evil cheer,
    'Twixt Bermeja and thy meadows
    Perished many a cavalier.

    Duke and count and valiant esquire
    Fell upon thy fatal shore;
    There died noble Urdiales
    Who the stainless title bore.


I have translated these two verses chiefly for the purpose of showing
how very freely those English authors who have attempted to render
verse from the Castilian have dealt with the originals. And, as I have
said before, I suspect that the principal reason for this looseness
is a lack of idiomatic grasp. Indeed, it is obvious from most English
translations that the sense of the original has been gathered rather
than fully apprehended.

We can pass over "The Departure of King Sebastian," with its daring
rhythm of


    It was a Lusitanian lady, and she was lofty in degree,


recalling in some measure the irregular lilt of the old Scots ballads,
and enter the division entitled by Lockhart "Moorish Ballads."



Moorish Ballads

We have already discussed the question of the 'Moorishness' (or
otherwise) of these ballads. Let us now discuss them as ballads
and as nothing more. The first, "The Bull-fight of Ganzul," is not
only a famous piece, but in translating it Lockhart has risen to the
occasion. It describes the dexterity of Ganzul, a noble Moor, in the
bull-ring, and is certainly not without its quota of Moresque colour.


    King Almanzor of Granada, he hath bid the trumpet sound,
    He hath summoned all the Moorish lords, from the hills and
                                                          plains around,
    From Vega and Sierra, from Betis and Xenil,
    They have come with helm and cuirass of gold and twisted steel.

    ..............................................................

    Eight Moorish lords of valour tried, with stalwart arm and true
    The onset of the beasts abide, as they come rushing through.
    The deeds they've done, the spoils they've won, fill all with
                                                        hope and trust--
    Yet ere high in heaven appears the sun they all have bit the dust.

    Then sounds the trumpet clearly, then clangs the loud tambour;
    Make room, make room for Ganzul, throw wide, throw wide the door--
    Blow, blow the trumpet clearer still, more loudly strike the drum,
    The Alcaydé of Agalva to fight the bull has come.


He defeats the bulls sent against him with the exception of one
Harpado, a furious yet sagacious beast. The quatrain which describes
him is well forged:


    Dark is his hide on either side, but the blood within doth boil,
    And the dim hide glows as if on fire, as he paws to the turmoil.
    His eyes are jet and they are set in crystal rings of snow;
    But now they stare with one red glare of brass upon the foe.


But it is not surpassingly like the original:


    Vayo en color encendido,
    Y los ojos como brasa,
    Arrugada frente y cuello,
    La frente vellosa y ancha.


But proud as is Harpado, he must give way to the knightly Moor,
regarding whom many other tales are told, especially with reference
to his love affairs with a fair lady of his own race.



The Zegris' Bride

"The Zegris' Bride" tells in ballad form of the fierce feud between
the two Moorish parties in Granada, the Zegris and the Abencerrages,
the Montagues and Capulets of the last of the Moorish strongholds,
when factious strife certainly accelerated the fall of their city. The
ballad is well turned, and attractive in rhythm:


    Of all the blood of Zegri, the chief is Lisaro,
    To wield rejon like him is none, or javelin to throw;
    From the place of his dominion, he ere the dawn doth go,
    From Alcala de Henares, he rides in weeds of woe.


Such a phrase as "the place of his dominion" is not suited to ballad
composition, nor is the four-line rhyming grateful to the ear,
although the measure is all that could be desired. Once more I think
I see the hand of Scott in this translation, his 'equestrian' rhythm,
his fondness for introducing words intended to assist local colour, as


    Of gold-wrought robe or turban--nor jewelled tahali,


which he must, perforce, explain in a note as 'scimitar.' The young
Zegri, we are told, is attired for action, not for the cavalcade or
procession. Indeed, his armour and even his horse are camouflaged to
assist his passage through an enemy's country without observation.


    The belt is black, the hilt is dim, but the sheathed blade
                                                              is bright;
    They have housen'd his barb in a murky garb, but yet her hoofs
                                                              are light.


And again:


    In darkness and in swiftness rides every armed knight,
    The foam on the rein ye may see it plain, but nothing else is white.


Lisaro wears on his bonnet a sprig of bay given him by Zayda, his lady.


    And ever as they rode, he looked upon his lady's boon.
    "God knows," quoth he, "what fate may be--I may be slaughtered
                                                                  soon."


But he lives to win his bride, as we are told in the curt final verse:


    Young Lisaro was musing so, when onwards on the path
    He well could see them riding slow; then prick'd he in his wrath.
    The raging sire, the kinsmen of Zayda's hateful house,
    Fought well that day, yet in the fray the Zegri won his spouse.



The Bridal of Andella

"The Bridal of Andella" is brilliant with Oriental colouring:


    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.


Skilful weaving this. The lady would not look, however, because
Andella, who was about to wed another, had been false to her. Ballad
literature is scarcely a record of human constancy. In Ballad-land the
percentage of faithless swains, black or white, clown or knight, is
a high one. Was the law regarding breach of promise first formulated
by a student of ballad lore, I wonder? Whatever else it may have
effected, it seems to have put an end to ballad-writing, perhaps
because it ended the conditions and circumstances which went to the
making of balladeering.



Zara's Earrings

The intriguing ballad of "Zara's Earrings" bears upon it the stamp of
natural folk-song. It may come from a Moorish original, but appearances
are often deceptive. In any case it is worth quoting in part.


    "My earrings, my earrings, they've dropt into the well,
    And what to say to Muça, I cannot, cannot tell."
    'Twas thus Granada's fountain by, spoke Albuharez' daughter.
    "The well is deep, far down they lie, beneath the cold, blue water.
    To me did Muça give them when he spake his sad farewell,
    And what to say when he comes back, alas! I cannot tell."


The lady resolves in the end to do the best thing she can--that is,
to tell the truth. There is a sequence of romances about this Muça,
who seems to have been a Saracen of worth, and the same must be
remarked about Celin or Selim, his successor in the collections of
Lockhart and Depping. Had Lockhart been well advised, he would have
substituted the ringing and patriotic "Las soberbias torres mira,"
which is certainly difficult of translation, for the very sombre
"Lamentation for the Death of Celin," fine though it is. Anything in
the nature of a ceremony or a procession seems to have attracted him
like a child. But let us have a verse of the first poem. Even should
we not know Spanish its music could not fail to haunt and hold us.


    Las soberbias torres mira
    Y los lejos las almenas
    De su patria dulce y cara
    Celin, que el rey le destierra;
    Y perdida la esperanza
    De jamás volver a vella
    Con suspiros tristes dice:
    "Del cielo luciente estrella,
    Granada bella,
    Mi llanto escucha, y duélate mi pena!"



Romantic Ballads

We now come to consider the romantic ballads, the third and last
section of Lockhart's collection. "The Moor Calaynos" we have already
described, and the same applies to "Gayferos" and "Melisendra,"
its sequel. The ballad which follows these, "Lady Alda's Dream,"
is alluded to by Lockhart as "one of the most admired of all the
Spanish ballads." It is no favourite of mine. I may judge it wrongly,
but it seems to me inferior, and I much prefer the stirring "Admiral
Guarinos," which treads upon its halting heels with all the impatience
of a warlike rhythm to spur it on.

Guarinos was admiral to King Charlemagne. In my boyhood days the
condition of the British Navy was a newspaper topic of almost constant
recurrence, and I was wont to speculate upon the awful inefficiency
which must have crept into the Frankish fleet during the enforced
absence of its chief in the country of the Moors, for Guarinos was
captured by the Saracens at Roncesvalles. His captor, King Marlotes,
treated him in a princely manner, but pressed him to become a convert
to Islam, promising to give him his two daughters in marriage did
he consent to the proposal. But the Admiral was adamant and refused
to be bribed or coaxed into the acceptance of the faith of Mohammed
and Termagaunt. Working himself up into one of those passions which
seem to be the especial privilege of Oriental potentates, Marlotes
commanded that Guarinos should be incarcerated in the lowest dungeon
in his castle keep.

It was the Moorish custom to hale captives to the light of day three
times in every year for the popular edification and amusement. On
one of these occasions, the Feast of St John, the King raised a
high target beneath which the Moorish knights rode in an attempt to
pierce it with their spears. But so lofty was it that none of them
might succeed in the task, and the King, annoyed at their want of
skill, refused to permit the banquet to commence until the target was
transfixed. Guarinos boasted that he could accomplish the feat. The
royal permission was accorded him to try, and his grey charger and
the armour he had not worn for seven long years were brought to him.


    They have girded on his shirt of mail, his cuisses well they've
                                                                clasp'd,
    And they've barred the helm on his visage pale, and his hand the
    lance hath grasped,
    And they have caught the old grey horse, the horse he loved of yore,
    And he stands pawing at the gate--caparisoned once more.


Guarinos whispered in the old horse's ear, and it recalled the voice
of its master.


    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--
    Slay, slay, and gallop for thy life--the land of France lies there!


There would seem to be some connexion between this ballad and the
French romance of "Ogier the Dane," and Erman tells us that it was
sung in Russian in Siberia as late as 1828.

"The Lady of the Tree" tells how a princess was stolen by the fairies,
and how a knight to whom she appealed for rescue turned a deaf ear
to her request and was afterward scorned by her when she returned
to her rightful station. "The False Queen" is a mere fragment, but
"The Avenging Childe" is both complete and vivid. Mr Fitzmaurice
Kelly declares that Gibson's version of this ballad is superior to
that of Lockhart. Let us compare a verse of both.


    Avoid that knife in battle strife, that weapon short and thin;
    The dragon's gore hath bath'd it o'er, seven times 'twas steeped
                                                                therein;
    Seven times the smith hath proved its pith, it cuts a coulter
                                                               through--
    In France the blade was fashioned, from Spain the shaft it drew.


Gibson renders this:


    'Tis a right good spear with a point so sharp, the toughest
                                              plough-share might pierce.
    For seven times o'er it was tempered fine in the blood of a
                                                          dragon fierce,
    And seven times o'er it was whetted keen, till it shone with a
                                                          deadly glance,
    For its steel was wrought in the finest forge, in the realm of
                                                          mighty France.


My preference is for Lockhart's rendering. Gibson's first line is
extraordinarily clumsy and cacophonous, and the ugly inversions in
the second line could scarcely be tolerated outside the boundaries of
the nursery. The remaining lines are well enough, but no improvement,
I think, upon those of Lockhart, only the whole has a better swing,
a livelier lilt, even if in the first line this is roughened by the
crudity occasioned by the juxtaposition of so many sibilants and
explosives. The Avenging Childe duly accounts for his enemy.


    Right soon that knife hath quenched his life--the head is
                                                         sundered sheer,
    Then gladsome smiled the Avenging Childe, and fix'd it on his
                                                                  spear.


Pity it is that a sense of humour seldom chimes with a sense of the
romantic. An 'avenging childe' who could smile gladly when fixing the
head of a foe on his spear seems more fitted for a Borstal institution
than for the silken atmosphere of Courts. Yet he married the Infanta,
and was knighted and honoured by the King. Possibly they found in
him a kindred soul, if all we read in romance regarding kings and
infantas be true.



Count Arnaldos

This very beautiful ballad, which is given in the Cancionero of
Antwerp (1555), tells how Count Arnaldos, wandering by the seashore
one morning, hears the mystic song of a sailor in a passing galley.


    Heart may beat and eye may glisten,
    Faith is strong and Hope is free,
    But mortal ear no more may listen
    To the song that rules the sea.

    When the grey-hair'd sailor chaunted,
    Every wind was hushed to sleep--
    Like a virgin's bosom panted
    All the wide reposing deep.

    Bright in beauty rose the star-fish
    From her green cave down below,
    Right above the eagle poised him--
    Holy music charmed them so.

    "For the sake of God, our Maker"
    (Count Arnaldos' cry was strong),
    "Old man, let me be partaker
    In the secret of thy song."

    "Count Arnaldos! Count Arnaldos!
    Hearts I read and thoughts I know--
    Wouldst thou learn the ocean secret
    In our galley thou must go."


Longfellow wrote a rather anæmic ballad, "The Seaside and the
Fireside," on the Arnaldos episode, incorporating several of the
lines. Some years ago I published an adaptation of it, altering the
environment and changing the metre, and this the reader may perhaps be
complacent enough to accept as an illustration of the manner in which
"this sort of thing is done."


    When the fleet ships stand inward to the shore
    As a white tempest, 'tis then I implore
    The gods not treasure of red spice to spill
    Upon the marble quays beneath the hill,
    Nor scintillant dust from far Arabian streams,
    Nor weaves more brilliant than the hue of dreams,
    Nor feathers, pearls, or such things as belong
    To Eastern waters, but a wondrous song
    To send perchance upon a seaman's lips
    That once I heard when the departing ships
    Swept from the arms of sea-bound Syracuse.
    I know my evening vigil is in vain,
    That never shall I hear that song again.
    Some splendid sea-spell in the sailor's soul,
    Swelling his heart, and bursting all control,
    Some white sea-spirit chanting from his mouth
    Sang the strange colours of a distant south.
    Music deep-drowned within the siren sea
    Art thou beyond the call of ecstasy?


The "Song for the Morning of the Day of St John the Baptist" has little
to do with ballad, so we may pass it by, as we may do the "Julian"
fragment, one of the Gayferos group. "The Song of the Galley," which
Mr Kelly regards as "too dulcet," seems to me poorly rendered:


    Ye galleys fairly built,
    Like castles on the sea,
    Oh, great will be your guilt
    If ye bring him not to me!


This seems to me facility run mad, and great would be my guilt did I
quote more. To the very fine "Wandering Knight's Song" I have already
made allusion. "Minguillo" enshrines a motif of almost world-wide
usage:


    Since for kissing thee, Minguillo,
    My mother scolds me all the day,
    Let me have it quickly, darling;
    Give me back my kiss, I pray.


A conceit current from Caithness to Capo d'Istria. "Serenade," from
the Romancero General of 1604, is certainly not peasant work. For
his translation of this Lockhart deserves high praise. Its music is
reminiscent of Shelley's "Skylark," though of course it lacks the
almost intolerable keenness of that song most magical.


    All the stars are glowing
      In the gorgeous sky,
    In the stream scarce flowing
      Mimic lustres lie:
    Blow, gentle, gentle breeze,
      But bring no cloud to hide
    Their dear resplendencies;
      Nor chase from Zara's side
    Dreams bright and pure as these.


It is inspired by a chaste and natural music all its own, beyond
the conscious artistry of the material man. To do Lockhart justice,
he loved the art of letters for itself alone. His was that natural
modesty which is content to sing in the shadow; nor can one recall the
memory of that fine and upright spirit, his labour and his sacrifice,
without praise and gratitude gladly bestowed. In this poem I seem to
see the real Lockhart--a man with the heart of a child.

"Minguela's Chiding" tells of the woe of a rustic maid who loved to
her destruction. "The Captive Knight and the Blackbird" is the prison
plaint of a warrior who knows not how the seasons pass, or the moons
wax and wane:


    Woe dwells with me in spite of thee, thou gladsome month of May;
    I cannot see what stars there be, I know not night from day.
    There was a bird whose voice I heard, oh, sweet my small bird sung,
    I heard its tune when night was gone, and up the morning sprung.


Some cruel hand had slain the blackbird which was wont to delight the
poor prisoner's heart. But the King heard his plaint while passing
beneath his dungeon window, and set him free.

We may pass over the rather sepulchral "Valladolid," which tells of
the visit of a knight to the tomb of his lady-love in that city. "The
Ill-Married Lady" recounts the grief of a dame whose husband is
faithless to her, and who consoles herself with another cavalier. They
are surprised by her lord, and she artlessly asks: "Must I, must I die
to-day?" and requests to be buried in the orange garden. The romance
does not tell us if her last wishes were complied with, or even if her
life was forfeited, but to a Spanish public of the seventeenth century
it was probably a supererogation even to allude to such a sequel.

"Dragut" tells the story of a famous corsair whose ship was sunk by
a vessel belonging to the Knights of Malta. Dragut saved himself by
swimming ashore, but the Christian captives with whom his barque was
laden were all drowned save one, to whom the Maltese threw a rope.


    It was a Spanish knight, who had long been in Algiers,
    From ladies high descended and noble cavaliers,
    But forced for a season a false Moor's slave to be,
    Upon the shore his gardener, and his galley-slave at sea.


We have already recounted the tale of the Count Alarcos, and with it
Lockhart's collection comes to an end.

But it is not in the pages of Lockhart alone that we should look
for good translations of the Spanish romanceros. John Bowring in
his Ancient Poetry and Romances of Spain (1824) has undoubtedly done
much to render some of the lesser lyrics of Castilian balladeers into
successful English verse. His translation of the celebrated "Fonte
Frida" is, perhaps, the best version of that much-discussed poem to
be met with in our language. It is clear that Ticknor's rendition
of this piece is practically a paraphrase of Bowring's translation,
of which I give the first two verses:


    Fount of freshness, fount of freshness,
    Fount of freshness and of love,
    Where the little birds of spring-time
    Seek for comfort as they rove;
    All except the widow'd turtle,
    Widow'd, sorrowing turtle-dove.

    There the nightingale, the traitor,
    Lingered on his giddy way;
    And these words of hidden treachery
    To the dove I heard him say:
    "I will be thy servant, lady,
    I will ne'er thy love betray."


But no English translation, however fine, can possibly do justice to
this beautiful lyric:


    Fonte frida, fonte frida,
    Fonte frida, y con amor,
    Do todas las avezicas
    Van tomar consolacion,
    Sino es la tortolica
    Que esta viuda y con dolor,
    Por ay fue a passar
    El traydor del ruyseñor
    Las palabras que el dezia
    Llenas son de traicion:
    "Si tu quisiesses, Señora,
    Yo seria tu servidor."


Ticknor speaks truly when he says of the Spanish ballads: "To feel
their true value and power we must read large numbers of them, and read
them, too, in their native language; for there is a winning freshness
in the originals, as they lie embedded in the old romanceros, that
escapes in translations, however free, or however strict."

The romancero entitled "Sale la estrella de Venus" recounts a tragic
story. A Moorish warrior, flying from the city of Sidonia because
of the cruelty of his lady, who had taunted him with poverty and had
bestowed her hand upon another, makes the rocks and hills re-echo with
his plaints. He pronounces a terrible and bitter curse upon the proud
and wanton maiden who has spurned him. Maddened, he seeks the palace
of the Alcalde to whom his faithless fair one is to be espoused that
night. The building is bright with torches and gay with song.


    And the crowds make way before him
    While he pays his courtesies.
    Ha! his bloody lance has traversed
    The Alcalde's fluttering breast,
    And his life-blood now is flowing,
    Flowing through his purple vest.
    O what horror! What confusion,
    Desolation and dismay!
    While the stern, unnoticed murderer,
    To Medina takes his way.


We have examined every type of Spanish ballad poetry. The general
note struck, we will observe, is a grave and romantic one, the fruit
of the thoughts of a proud and imaginative people. Nor can we fail
to notice the national note which rings through these poems, the
racial individuality which informs them. "Poor Spain!" How often do
we hear the expression employed by men of Anglo-Saxon race! Let these
undeceive themselves. What can material poverty signify to a people
dowered with such treasures of the imagination? Poor Spain! Nay,
opulent Spain; treasure-house of the minted coin of story, of the
priceless jewels of romance, of drama, and of song!



CHAPTER XI: MOORISH ROMANCES OF SPAIN


These are, of course, more of the nature of romances of the Moors than
by the Moors--tales embedded in Spanish folk-lore relating to Saracen
times and themes, rather than written fictions existing in ancient
Arab manuscripts. The Arab literature of Spain was rather didactic,
theological, and philosophical than romantic. Fiction was, perhaps,
the province of the itinerant story-teller, as it still is in the
East. But that many Moorish legends and stories were handed down
among the Spanish peasantry, especially in the more southerly parts
of the Peninsula, can hardly be doubted. These, however, have been
much neglected by compilers, and but few of them are available. Such
as exist in written form make up for their scantiness in number by
the qualities of wonder and beauty which inform them. Perhaps no
collection of the traditions of the Moors of Spain equals that of
Washington Irving in his Tales of the Alhambra. These, he tells us,
he "diligently wrought into shape and form, from various legendary
scraps and hints picked up in the course of my perambulations, in the
same manner that an antiquary works out a regular historical document
from a few scattered letters of an almost defaced inscription." The
first of our Moorish legends, therefore, I shall retell from the
enchanted pages of the great American wizard in words, apologizing to
his shade for the alterations in verbiage which I have been forced to
make in view of the requirements of modern readers. I have, indeed,
entirely recast the tale for twentieth-century use.



The Arabian Astrologer

Aben Habuz, King of Granada, had in his old age earned the right to
repose. But the young and ardent princes whose territories marched
with his were in no mind that his old age should be free from the
alarms of war, and although he took every precaution to ensure his
possessions against the incursions of such hotheads, the constant
menace of an attack from one or other of them, no less than the
unrest which occasionally raised its head within his own dominions,
filled his declining years with irritation and anxiety.

Harassed and perplexed, he cast about him for an adviser capable of
assisting him to strengthen his position, but among the sages and
nobles of his Court he experienced such a cold selfishness and lack
of patriotic fervour as restrained him from adopting any of them as
his confidant in high affairs of state. While he meditated upon his
friendless condition it was announced to him that an Arabian sage had
arrived in Granada, whose fame as a man of wisdom and understanding
was proverbial throughout the East. The name of this pundit was Ibrahim
Ebn Abu Ajib, and it was whispered of him that he had existed since the
days of Mohammed, of one of whose personal friends he was the son. As
a child he had accompanied the army of Amru, the Prophet's general,
into Egypt, where he had remained for generations, employing his time
in the study of those occult sciences of which the Egyptian priests
were such consummate masters. Old as he was--and his appearance was
most venerable--he had walked the whole way from Egypt on foot, aided
only by a staff, on which were engraved hieroglyphs of deep and hidden
import. His beard descended to his girdle, his piercing eyes bespoke
insight and intelligence almost superhuman, and his bearing was more
grave and majestic than that of the most reverend mullah in Granada. It
was said that he possessed the secret of the elixir of life, but as
he had attained this knowledge when already well on in years, he had
perforce to be content with his aged exterior, although he had already
succeeded in prolonging his existence for upward of two hundred years.

King Aben Habuz, gratified at being able to extend his hospitality
to a visitor of such consequence, entertained him with marked
distinction. But the sage refused all his offers of soft living, and
established himself in a cave in the side of the hill on which the
famous palace of the Alhambra was later to be erected. This cavern he
caused to be altered in such a manner that it bore a resemblance to
the interiors of those lofty temples of the Egyptian land in which he
had passed so many years of his long life. Through the living rock
which formed its roof he commanded the Court architect to drive a
deep shaft, so that from the gloom of his cavernous abode he might be
able to behold the stars even at midday; for Ibrahim was pre-eminent
in the study of that lore of the heavenly bodies, that thrice noble
science of astrology, which the truly wise of all ages have recognized
as the real source of all divine knowledge, and the shallow erudition
of a later day foolishly despises. But only for a day in the round of
eternity shall that great and golden book be set aside; nor shall its
pages, arabesqued with mysterious and awful characters, ever be wholly
closed to man. The weird, serpentine script of this language of the
sages ornamented the walls of the astrologer's cavern, interspersed
with the no less mystic symbols of ancient Egypt, and, surrounded by
these hieroglyphs and provided with the primitive telescope we have
described, the wise Ibrahim busied himself in deciphering the history
of events to come as written in the glittering pages of the heavens.

It was only natural that the distressed Aben Habuz should avail
himself of the wisdom and foresight of the astrologer to the fullest
degree. Indeed, Ibrahim became indispensable to him, and was consulted
in every emergency. He responded graciously, and placed his marvellous
gifts entirely at the service of the harassed monarch. On one occasion
Aben Habuz complained bitterly of the constant vigilance he was forced
to maintain against the attacks of his restless neighbours. For a space
the astrologer was lost in thought. Then he replied: "O King, many
years since I beheld a marvel in Egypt, wrought by a wise priestess of
that land. Above the city of Borsa towers a lofty mountain, on which
was placed the image of a ram, and above it the figure of a cock,
both cast in brazen effigy and turning upon a pivot. Should the land
be threatened by invasion the ram would turn in the direction of the
enemy and the cock would crow, and by this means the inhabitants of
Borsa were enabled to take timely measures for defence."

"Would that such a contrivance might be erected at Granada," said
the King fervently. "Then might we rest in peace."

The astrologer smiled at the King's earnestness. "I have already
told you, O King," he said, "that I have spent many years in Egypt
mastering the hidden knowledge of that mysterious land. One day
while seated on the banks of the Nile speaking with a priest of that
country, my companion pointed to the mighty pyramids which cast their
shadows on the place where we reclined. 'My son,' remarked the sage,
'thou beholdest these mountains in stone, the memorials of kings who
died while Greece was yet in the cradle and Rome was unthought of;
all the lore that we can teach thee is as a drop of water to the
ocean compared with the secrets contained in those monuments. In the
heart of the Great Pyramid is a death-chamber where rests the mummy
of the high priest who designed and builded that stupendous pile. On
his breast lies a wondrous book containing magical secrets of great
potency--that book, indeed, which was given to Adam after the fall
and by the aid of which Solomon built the temple at Jerusalem.' From
the moment I heard those words, O King, I might not rest. I resolved
to find my way into the Great Pyramid and possess myself of the
magic volume. Collecting a number of the soldiers of the victorious
Amru and many of the native Egyptians, I addressed myself to the
task of piercing the solid masonry which concealed this ineffable
treasure, until, after unheard-of labours, I came upon one of its
hidden passages. Long time I searched in the labyrinths of the vasty
pyramid ere I arrived at the sepulchral chamber. At length, groping
in profound darkness, and haunted by the rustling of the wrappings of
mummied Pharaohs, I came upon the shrine where the corpse of the high
priest lay in grim state. I opened the sarcophagus, and, unwrapping
the voluminous bandages, found the mystic tome lying among spices and
amulets on the shrivelled breast. Seizing it, I hastened through the
black corridors, nor stayed until I beheld the fierce Egyptian day
and the friendly green of the languid river."

"But in what manner may all this assist me in my dilemma, O son of
Abu Ajib?" asked the King querulously.

"This have I told thee, O King, because by the aid of this book
most magical I can call to my assistance the spirits of earth and
air--jinns, and afreets, and peris--by whose help I shall construct
a talisman like that which surmounted the hill above Borsa."

The astrologer was as good as his word. With all the resources of
the kingdom at his command, he built a great tower on the steeps of
the hill of Albayan. At his words of power spirits conveyed great
stones from the pyramids of Egypt, and of these the edifice was
built. In the summit of this tower he made a circular hall with
windows looking toward every point of the compass, and before each
window he set a table on which was arranged, as on a chessboard, a
mimic army of horse and foot, with the effigy of the potentate who
ruled in that direction, carved out of wood. Along with each table
there was a small lance engraved with magical characters. And this
hall he closed with a gate of brass, the key of which was kept by
the King. Surmounting the tower was a figure of a Moorish horseman
cast in bronze and fixed on a revolving pivot. He bore a shield and
spear, the latter held perpendicularly. This image looked toward the
city, but when a foeman approached it the horseman would face in his
direction and would level the lance as if about to charge.

Now, averse as Aben Habuz had been to war, he was all impatience to
test the virtues of this talisman. He had not long to wait, for one
morning he was informed that the face of the bronze horseman was turned
toward the mountains of Elvira, and that his lance was directed against
the pass of Lope. The trumpets were at once commanded to sound the
alarm, but Ibrahim requested the King not to disturb the city nor
call his troops together, but only to follow him to the secret hall
in the tower.

When they entered they found the window overlooking the pass of Lope
wide open. "Now, O King," said the astrologer, "behold the mystery of
the table." Aben Habuz looked at the table covered with tiny effigies
of horse- and foot-soldiers, and to his astonishment saw that they
were all in motion, that the warriors brandished their weapons,
and the steeds neighed, but these sounds were no louder than the hum
which rises from a beehive.

"Your Majesty," said the astrologer, "if you desire to cause panic and
confusion among your enemies, you have only to strike with the butt
of the magic lance; but if you wish to bring death and destruction
among them, then strike with the point."

Aben Habuz, seizing the tiny lance, thrust it into some of the figures,
belabouring others with the butt. The former dropped upon the board
as dead, and the rest fell upon one another in confusion. Scouts sent
to confirm the destruction caused among the real invaders told how a
Christian army had advanced through the pass of Lope, but had turned
their weapons upon one another and had retreated across the border
in great confusion.

Delighted, the King requested Ibrahim to name his own reward. "My
wants are few," replied the astrologer; "if my cave be fitted up as
a suitable abode for a philosopher, I crave no more."

Surprised at his moderation, the King summoned his treasurer and
commanded him to take a note of the astrologer's requirements. The
sage desired that an entire suite of apartments should be hewn out
of the solid rock, and this having been done, he caused them to be
furnished with the most lavish magnificence. Princely ottomans and
magnificent divans filled every corner, and the damp walls were hung
with the luxurious silks of Damascus, while the rocky floors were
carpeted with the glowing fabrics of Ispahan. Seductive baths were
constructed, and provided with every kind of Oriental perfume. The
apartments were hung with innumerable silver and crystal lamps,
which Ibrahim filled with a fragrant and magical oil, which burned
perpetually and could not be exhausted.

Amazed at the profligacy of the astrologer, the treasurer made
complaint of it to the King, but as his Majesty had passed his word
to the sage and had, indeed, invited his extravagance, he could not
interfere, and could only hope that the furnishing of the cavern
would soon come to an end. When at last the hermitage was replete
with the luxuries of three continents, the treasurer inquired of the
astrologer if he was satisfied.

"I have only one small request more to make," replied the sage. "I
desire that several dancing women be provided for my amusement."

The treasurer, rather scandalized, carried out the sage's instructions,
as he was bound to do, and Ibrahim, having all his wants supplied,
enclosed himself in his retreat. Meanwhile the King occupied himself
in the tower with mimic battles, and as the hand of the astrologer
was not there to moderate his warlike propensities, he amused himself
by scattering armies like chaff and smashing whole battalions by
a stroke of the magic lance. His enemies, terrified at the fate of
such expeditions as approached his territory, ceased to trouble him,
and for many months the bronze horseman remained stationary. Robbed
of his amusement, Aben Habuz pined and grew peevish. But one glorious
morning news was brought him that the bronze cavalier had lowered
his lance toward the mountains of Guadix.

The King at once repaired to the tower, but the magic table placed
in the direction indicated by the horseman was placid. Not a mimic
warrior stirred, not a toy charger neighed. Perplexed, Aben Habuz
dispatched a scouting party, which returned after three days' absence
to report that they had encountered no warlike array, nothing more
formidable, indeed, than a beauteous Christian damsel, whom they had
found sleeping by a fountain, and made captive.

Aben Habuz commanded that the damsel should be brought to him. Her
stately bearing and the lavish ornaments she wore bespoke her of
exalted station. In answer to the King, she explained that she was
the daughter of a Gothic prince, whose armies had been destroyed in
the mountains as if by magic.

"Beware of this woman, O King," whispered the astrologer, who stood
by. "Methinks she is a sorceress who has been sent hither to work
evil upon thee. Beware, I say."

"Tush, Ibrahim," replied Aben Habuz, "thou art a wise man enow, but
little versed in the ways of women. Which of them, pray, is not a
sorceress? The damsel finds favour in mine eyes."

"O King," said Ibrahim, "many victories have I given thee, but of all
the spoil thou hast won I have received nothing. Give me then this
Christian captive, who, I see, carries a silver lyre, and who will make
sweet music for me in my retreat below ground. If she be a sorceress,
as I suspect, I have spells that will render her harmless. But as
for thee, she will speedily overcome thee if thou takest her into
thy house."

"What?" cried the incensed monarch. "By the beard of the Prophet, thou
art a strange hermit indeed! Know that this damsel is not for thee."

"So be it," said the sage, in wavering tones. "But I fear for thee,
royal Aben Habuz. Beware, I say to thee again, beware!" And the
astrologer retired to his subterranean abode.

Now Aben Habuz had fallen over head and ears in love with the fair
daughter of the Goths, and in his desire to please her strained the
resources of his kingdom to their utmost limits. He lavished upon her
all that was most exquisite and most magnificent in his storehouses
and treasuries. He devised for her pastime a hundred spectacles and
festivities, pageants, bull-fights, and tournaments. All these the
haughty beauty took quite as a matter of course. Indeed it almost
seemed as if she urged the infatuated monarch to greater extravagance
and more lavish expenditure. But no matter how profuse was his bounty,
she refused to listen to a single amorous word from the lips of Aben
Habuz, and whenever he essayed to speak his love she swept her fingers
across the strings of her silver lyre and smiled enigmatically. When
she acted thus the King invariably felt a drowsiness steal over
his senses, and as the dulcet sound gained ascendancy over him he
would sink into a sleep from which he usually awoke refreshed and
reinvigorated.

His subjects were, however, by no means so satisfied with this
condition of affairs as he was. Irritated by his profligate
expenditure, and virtual enslavement by a woman of hostile race, they
at length broke into open revolt. But, like Sardanapalus of Babylon,
he roused himself from silken dalliance and, putting himself at the
head of his guards, crushed the outbreak almost before it had come to
a head. The episode disquieted him, however, and he recalled the words
of the wise Ibrahim, how that the Gothic princess would bring him woe.

He sought the astrologer in his cavern, and requested his
advice. Ibrahim assured him that his position would be insecure so
long as the princess remained one of his household. To this Aben Habuz
refused to listen, and begged the sage to find him some retreat where
he might pass the remainder of his days in tranquillity along with
the princess of whom he was so deeply enamoured.

"And my reward if I can procure thee such a retreat?" asked Ibrahim.

"That thou shalt name thyself, O Ibrahim," replied the infatuated
old man.

"Thou hast heard of the garden of Irem, O King, that jewel of Arabia?"

"Aye, in fable. Dost thou mock me, astrologer?"

"No more than these eyes have mocked me, O King, for I myself have
beheld that most delectable of all paradises.

"As a youth I stumbled upon it when searching for my father's
camels. Once the country of the Addites, its capital was founded
by Sheddad, son of Ad, great-grandson of Noah, who determined to
build in it a palace surrounded by gardens that should rival Paradise
itself. But the curse of heaven fell upon him for his presumption. He
and his subjects were swept from the earth, and his palace and gardens
were laid under an enchantment that hides them from human sight. When
I had recovered the book of Solomon I revisited the garden of Irem,
and wrung from the jinns who guard it the secret of the spells which
render it invisible to mortal sight. By virtue of these spells I can
rear for thee, O King, such a retreat even here on the mountain above
thy city."

"O wise philosopher!" cried Aben Habuz, "ill was it of me to doubt
thee. Do as thou dost promise, and name thy reward."

"All the reward I ask is the first beast of burden with its load
that shall enter the gate of thy paradise," said Ibrahim; "a moderate
request, surely."

"Moderate indeed!" cried the King, transported by the thought of joys
to come, "and I grant it immediately."

The astrologer at once set to work. On the summit of the hill above
his cavern he built a strong tower pierced by a great gateway, and on
the keystone of this portal he wrought the figure of a great key. The
gateway had also an outer guard, on which he engraved a gigantic
hand. Then on a night of unexampled darkness he ascended the hill
and wrought many incantations. In the morning he sought Aben Habuz
and intimated that his labours were at an end, and that the paradise
which should be invisible to all save him and his beloved awaited him.

On the following morning the King, accompanied by the princess,
ascended the hill, the latter riding on a white palfrey. Beside them
stalked the astrologer, assisted by his hieroglyph-covered staff. They
came to the arch, and the sage pointed out the mystic hand and key. "No
mortal power can prevail against the lord of this paradise," he said,
"until yonder hand shall seize that key."

As he spoke the princess on her palfrey passed through the portal.

"Behold!" cried the astrologer. "Did we not agree that the first
animal with its burden which should pass through the magic gateway
should be mine?"

Aben Habuz smiled at first at what he regarded as a humorous sally
on the part of the sage; but when he discovered him to be in earnest
he waxed wroth.

"Presumptuous astrologer!" he cried. "Dare you raise your thoughts
to her whom I have chosen from among many women?"

"Thy royal word is pledged," replied Ibrahim. "I claim the princess
in virtue of thine oath."

"Dog of the desert!" cried Aben Habuz. "Thou shalt feel the weight
of my anger for this, juggler though thou art."

"I laugh at thee, Aben Habuz," cried Ibrahim derisively. "Mortal hand
cannot harm me. Farewell. Remain in thy fool's paradise and continue to
reign over thy province. As for me, I go where thou canst not follow
me." And with these words he seized the bridle of the palfrey, smote
the earth with his magic staff, and sank with the princess through
the centre of the barbican. The earth closed over them, and left not
a trace of the aperture through which they had disappeared.

When Aben Habuz recovered from his astonishment he ordered gangs of
workmen to be brought to the spot, and commanded them to dig. But the
earth seemed to fill in as fast as they threw it out. The opening of
the astrologer's cavern too had disappeared. Worse still, the talismans
by which the astrologer had secured peace to Granada refused to work,
and the old unrest recommenced.

But one morning a peasant came before Aben Habuz and told him that
while wandering on the hill he had found a fissure in the rock through
which he had crept until he had looked down into a subterranean hall,
in which sat the astrologer on a magnificent divan, dozing, while
the princess played to him on her silver lyre. The distracted monarch
failed, however, to find the fissure. Nor could he enter the paradise
built by his rival. The summit of the hill appeared a naked waste,
and received the name of 'the Fool's Paradise.' The remainder of the
wretched King's life was made a burden to him by the inroads of his
warlike neighbours.

Such is the story of the hill of the Alhambra, the palace on which
almost realizes the fabled delights of the garden of Irem. The
enchanted gateway still exists entire, and is now known as the Gate of
Justice. Under that gateway, it is said, the old astrologer remains
in his subterranean hall, lulled to constant slumber by the silver
lyre of the princess. They are, indeed, each other's captives, and
will remain so until the magic key shall be grasped by the magic hand
and the spell which lies upon this enchanted hill be dissolved.



Cleomades and Claremond

The wonderful tale of Cleomades and Claremond is almost certainly of
Moorish origin in a secondary sense. In his preface to Adenès' Berte
aux grans Piés (Paris, 1832), M. Paulin Paris says: "I am strongly
inclined to believe that the original of the fiction of Cleomades
is really Spanish or Moorish. All the personages are Saracens or
Spaniards; the scene is in Spain; the character of the fiction is
akin to that of the fictions of the East." Keightley believed that
Blanche of Castile, the wife of Louis VIII of France, had heard
the tale in Spain, and had narrated it to the French poet Adenès,
who cast it into literary form.

Ectriva, Queen of Southern Spain, held a great tournament at Seville,
at which Marchabias, Prince of Sardinia, so distinguished himself as
to win her heart. She bestowed her hand upon the youthful champion,
and their union was a happy one, being blessed in time with three
daughters and a son. To the boy they gave the name of Cleomades,
while his sisters were called Melior, Soliadis, and Maxima.

Cleomades was dispatched upon his travels at an early age. But after
he had visited several foreign countries he was summoned home to be
present at the wedding of his sisters, who were about to be married
to three great princes, all of whom were famous as practitioners of
the magic art. They were Melicandus, King of Barbary; Bardagans, King
of Armenia; and Croppart, King of Hungary. The last-named monarch was
so unfortunate as to be a hunchback, and to his deformity he added
a bitter tongue and a wicked heart.

The three monarchs had encountered one another while still some
distance from Seville, and had agreed to give such presents to the King
and Queen as would necessitate a gift in return. Melicandus presented
the royal pair with the golden image of a man, holding in his right
hand a trumpet of the same metal, which he sounded if treason came
near him. Bardagans gave a hen and six chickens of gold, so skilfully
made that they picked up grain and seemed to be alive. Every third
day the hen laid an egg of pearl. Croppart gave a large wooden horse
magnificently caparisoned, which he told his hosts could travel over
land and sea at the rate of fifty leagues an hour.

The King and Queen, generous to a fault, invited the strangers to ask
anything that it was in their power to bestow. Melicandus requested
the hand of the Princess Melior, Bardagans that of Soliadis, while
Croppart demanded that Maxima should be given him as a consort. The two
elder sisters were pleased with their suitors, who were both handsome
and amiable, but when Maxima beheld the hideous and deformed Croppart
she ran to her brother Cleomades and begged him to deliver her from
such an unsightly monster.

Cleomades represented to his father the wrong done by him in consenting
to such a match. But Croppart insisted that the King's word had been
passed and that he could not retire from his promise. Cleomades,
casting about for an argument, told the Hungarian king that the value
of the gifts of Melicandus and Bardagans had been proved, but that,
so far as any one knew, his story about the wooden horse might be
a mere fable. Croppart offered to test the capacity of his wooden
steed. At this the golden man blew his trumpet loudly, but all were so
interested in the proposed trial that no one noticed it. The prince
mounted the gaudily harnessed hobby, and at the request of Croppart
turned a pin of steel in its head, and was immediately carried into
the air with such velocity that in a few moments he was lost to sight.

The King and Queen, filled with indignation, had Croppart seized,
but he argued that the prince should have waited until he had shown
him how to manage the wooden horse. Meanwhile Cleomades sped onward
for miles and miles. His strange steed continued to cleave the air
at a terrific speed, and at length darkness fell without any signs
of its slackening its pace. All night Cleomades continued to fly,
and during the hours of gloom had plenty of time to ponder upon
his awkward situation. Recollecting that there were pins upon the
horse's shoulders like those upon its head, he resolved to try their
effect. He found that by turning one of them to right or left the
horse went in either direction, and that when the other was turned the
wooden hippogriff slackened speed and descended. Morning now broke,
and he saw that he was over a great city. By skilful manipulation of
his steed he managed to alight upon a lofty tower which stood in the
garden of a great palace.

Descending through a trap-door in the roof, he entered a gorgeous
sleeping apartment, and beheld a beautiful lady reclining on a
sumptuous couch. At his entrance she awoke, and cried out: "Rash man,
how have you presumed to enter this apartment? Are you perchance that
King Liopatris to whom my father has affianced me?"

"I am that monarch," replied Cleomades. "May I not speak with
you?" he continued, for on beholding the princess he had at once
fallen violently in love with her.

"Retire to the garden," she said, "and I will come to you there."

The prince obeyed. In a few moments the princess joined him. But they
had not been long together when the lady's father, King Cornuant of
Tuscany, appeared, and at once denounced Cleomades as an impostor,
condemning him to death. The prince begged that he might be
permitted to meet his fate mounted upon his wooden horse. To this
the King assented, and the magical steed was brought. Mounting it,
he immediately turned the pin, and rose high in the air, calling out
to the princess, as he did so, that he would remain faithful to her.

Shortly he arrived again in Seville, to the immense relief of his
parents. Croppart was requested to quit the country. But he had no
mind to do so, and in the guise of an Eastern physician remained
in the city. The two elder princesses were married to Melicandus
and Bardagans. As for Cleomades, he could not forget the beautiful
Princess Claremond, and, once more mounting his aery steed, he set
off in the direction of her father's kingdom.

On this occasion he had timed his visit so as to arrive by night
at the palace of his lady-love. Alighting in the garden, he made
his way to the chamber of Claremond, whom he found fast asleep. He
awoke her gently, and told her his name and station, avowed his love,
and placed himself at her mercy.

"What!" exclaimed the princess. "Are you indeed that Cleomades whom
we regard as the very mirror of knighthood?" The prince assured her
that such was the case, and taking from his arm a splendid bracelet
containing his mother's portrait and his own, he presented her with it
as an assurance that he spoke truly. The princess confessed her love,
and at his entreaty mounted behind him on the magic horse. As they
rose, Cleomades beheld the King in the gardens beneath, surrounded
by his courtiers. He called to him to fear nothing for his daughter,
and, setting the head of his mount toward Seville, sped onward.

Alighting at a small rural palace some distance from the Court,
Cleomades left the princess there to recover from her journey,
while he proceeded to acquaint his royal parents with the result of
his adventure. Claremond, having refreshed herself, was walking in
the garden for exercise, as she felt somewhat stiff after her aerial
voyage, when, as ill-luck would have it, she was observed by Croppart,
who, in the guise of an Indian physician, had entered the garden,
ostensibly to cull simples for medicinal purposes, but in reality to
spy out the land.

Croppart, seeing his own wooden horse, and hearing the princess murmur
the name of Cleomades, speedily formed a plan to carry the damsel
off. Approaching her, he offered to take her to Cleomades at once on
the back of the enchanted horse, and, fearing no evil, she accepted
his offer, and permitted herself to be placed on its back. Croppart
immediately turned the pin, and the horse ascended with terrific
velocity. At first Claremond was quite unsuspicious of the designs
of her abductor, but as time passed her fears were aroused, and,
looking down, she beheld, instead of populous cities, only gloomy
forests and deserted mountains. She begged Croppart to return with
her to the palace garden, but he merely laughed at her entreaties,
and at last, worn out with grief and disappointment, she swooned away.

Descending near a fountain, Croppart sprinkled the princess with its
water until she revived. Then he acquainted her with his intention
to make her Queen of Hungary. But the princess did not lack wit,
and told him that she was merely a slave-girl whom Cleomades had
purchased from her parents. This intelligence made the ferocious
Croppart treat her with even less respect than before, so that to
save herself from his violence she consented to wed him at the first
city to which they might chance to come.

When he had wrung this promise from Claremond, Croppart, who
suffered greatly from thirst, drank deeply of the fountain. So icy
cold were its waters that on quaffing them he fell to the ground,
almost insensible. Claremond, overcome by fatigue and anxiety, fell
fast asleep. In this condition they were discovered by Mendulus, King
of Salerno, who at once conceived a strong attachment to the sleeping
damsel, and had her conveyed to his palace, where he lodged her in
a fair apartment. As for Croppart, so severe was the disorder which
he had contracted by drinking of the icy fountain that he expired
shortly afterward.

Claremond told King Mendulus that she was only a foundling
whose name was Trouvée, and that she had accompanied Croppart, a
travelling physician, from one place to another, seeking a precarious
livelihood. This did not prevent him, however, from offering her his
hand and crown. To save herself from this new danger, Claremond had
recourse to feigned madness, and so convincingly did she play her
part that Mendulus had perforce to confine her under the charge of
ten chosen women, whose duty it was to restrain her.

Meanwhile the Court of Spain was thrown into the utmost
confusion. Cleomades, returning to the summer palace with his parents,
could find no trace of Claremond, and, overcome with grief, was
brought back to the capital in a state bordering upon frenzy. When
he recovered he set out for the kingdom of Tuscany in the hope that
there he might obtain tidings of his lady. Riding alone, he came to a
castle, where he encountered and overthrew two knights who refused to
let him pass. From them he learned that when a prince named Liopatris,
who had been betrothed to Claremond, arrived at the Court of Tuscany,
three of his knights had accused three of Claremond's maids of honour
of being accomplices in the abduction of their mistress. The knights
whom Cleomades had worsted were suitors for the hands of two of
those ladies, and had challenged their detractors, but as one of
them had been wounded by Cleomades, they could not now make good
their challenge. Cleomades graciously offered to take the place of
the wounded man, and with his unwounded comrade set out for the Court
of King Cornuant.

Next morning the combatants appeared in the lists. The three accusers
were overthrown, and the maids of honour pronounced innocent, according
to the laws of chivalry. Taking the damsels with them, Cleomades and
his new brother-in-arms returned to the castle whence they had come,
and when he had doffed his armour the prince-errant was recognized by
the ladies whom he had helped to rescue. Great was their grief when
they learned of the fate of Claremond. But one of them begged Cleomades
to seek the assistance of a famous astrologer who dwelt at Salerno,
"who saw most secret things right clear." Cleomades instantly resolved
to go and consult this sage, and accordingly next morning he set out
for the city of Salerno, after having taken an affectionate leave of
the lovers.

Arrived at Salerno, Cleomades put up at an inn, and lost no time in
inquiring of the landlord where the astrologer might be found.

"Alas, sir!" said the host, "it is now a year since he passed
away. Never did we need him more. For had he been alive, he might have
served our King by restoring to reason the most beautiful creature
who ever lived." And he told Cleomades the story of how Mendulus had
found the hunchback and the maid. At the mention of the wooden horse
Cleomades started, but kept his presence of mind, and assured the
innkeeper that he possessed an infallible cure for madness. He begged
the man to lead him to the King, and, on the plea that his arms might
excite suspicion, donned a false beard and the dress of a physician.

He was at once admitted to the royal presence, and on hearing
of his skill the King led him to the place where Claremond was
confined. Cleomades had taken with him a glove belonging to his
lady-love, which he had stuffed with herbs, and on the pretence that
these would cure her he placed it upon her cheek. Seeing her own
glove, she regarded the seeming physician earnestly, and succeeded
in penetrating his disguise. But, still feigning insanity, she begged
that her wooden horse might be brought, so that it could dispute with
the learned doctor. It was carried into the garden where they were,
and the princess pretended to have a whim that she could only be cured
if she and the physician mounted the wooden steed. To this Mendulus
consented, and when they bestrode the artificial hippogriff Cleomades
turned the pin, and in a moment they rose like an arrow from the bow.

Next morning the happy pair arrived in Seville. Their nuptials were
immediately performed, and Liopatris was consoled with Princess Maxima,
so that no one was left lamenting.



The Three Beautiful Princesses

Legend tells us that when Mohammed el Haygari, or 'the Left-handed,'
reigned in Granada he once encountered a train of horsemen riding
back from a foray in Christian lands. He observed in the ranks of
their captives a beautiful damsel richly attired, and learned that
she was the daughter of the commander of a frontier fortress which
had been taken and sacked in the course of the expedition. The lady
was accompanied by a duenna, and Mohammed ordered that both women
should be conveyed to his harem.

Day by day he urged the captive damsel to become his queen. But his
faith as well as his age caused her family to reject his advances. In
his perplexity he resolved to enlist the good graces of her duenna,
who undertook to plead his cause with her young mistress. She told
the lady that she was foolish to pine in a beautiful palace, who had
henceforth been used only to a dull old frontier castle, and that by
marrying Mohammed she could make herself mistress of all she surveyed
instead of remaining a captive. At last her arguments prevailed. The
Spanish lady consented to unite herself to the Moorish monarch,
and even outwardly conformed to his religion, which the duenna also
embraced with all the fervour of a proselyte, being re-named Kadiga.

In course of time the Spanish lady presented her lord with three
daughters at a single birth. The Court astrologers cast the nativities
of the infants, and with many ominous warnings cautioned their father
to keep strict guard over them when they arrived at a marriageable age.

Shortly afterward his queen died, and Mohammed, with the astrologers'
warning ringing in his ears, resolved to shut the princesses up in
the royal castle of Salobreña, a place of great strength, overlooking
the Mediterranean, where he felt certain no harm could come to them.

Years passed and at length the princesses became of marriageable
age. Although they had been brought up by the discreet Kadiga with
the greatest care, and had always been together, their characters
were of course very different one from another. Zayda, the eldest,
was of an intrepid spirit, and took the lead in everything. Zorayda,
the second, had a strong sense of beauty, which probably accounted
for the fact that she spent a large portion of her time gazing in the
glass, or in the fountain which plashed and sang in the marble court
of the castle. Zorahayda, the youngest, was soft and timid, and given
to reverie. All three were surpassingly beautiful, and as she gazed
upon them the shrewd old Kadiga would shake her head and sigh. When
they inquired of her why she did so, she would turn the question aside
with a laugh and direct the conversation to a less dangerous topic.

One day the princesses were seated at a casement which commanded a
noble view of the heaven-blue Mediterranean, the dreamy waters of
which whispered musically to the palm-shadowed shores which skirted
the height upon which the towers of Salobreña stood. It was one of
those evenings on which we feel it difficult to believe that we are
not temporary sojourners in a land of vague deliciousness, where
all is beautiful as it is unreal. Mists dyed in the sunset rose
like incense from the urns of twilight, hiding the far distances
of sea and sky. From between the curtains of sea-shadows there
drifted a white-sailed galley, which glided toward the shore,
where it anchored. A number of Moorish soldiers landed on the beach,
conducting several Christian prisoners, among whom were three Spanish
cavaliers richly dressed. These, though loaded with chains, carried
themselves in a lofty and distinguished manner, and the princesses
could not refrain from gazing upon them with intense and breathless
interest. Never before had they seen such noble-looking youths, who had
so far only beheld black slaves and the rude fishermen of the coast,
so small wonder was it that the sight of these brave cavaliers should
arouse commotion in their bosoms.

The princesses remained gazing until the prisoners were out of
sight. Then with long-drawn sighs they turned from the window and
sat down, musing and pensive, on their ottomans. The discreet Kadiga,
finding them thus, learned from them what they had seen, and in answer
to their inquiries regarding such beings related to them many a tale
of cavalier life in Christian Spain, which only served to heighten
the curiosity which the appearance of the captives had excited. But
it did not take the sage old woman long to discover the mischief she
was doing, and, full of fears for which she could scarcely account,
she dispatched a slave to her royal master, with the symbolic message
of a basket filled with leaves of the fig and vine, on which lay a
peach, an apricot, and a nectarine, all in the early stage of tempting
ripeness, which Mohammed, skilled in the Oriental language of fruits
and flowers, rightly interpreted as meaning that his daughters had
arrived at marriageable age.

Recalling the advice of the astrologers, he resolved to bring the
princesses under his immediate guardianship, and at once commanded
that a tower of the Alhambra should be prepared for their reception. He
himself set out for Salobreña to conduct them thither, and on beholding
them, and perceiving how beautiful they were, he felt glad that he
had wasted no time in bringing them to Court. So conscious was he
of the danger that three such beauties would run that he prepared
for his return to Granada by sending heralds before him, commanding
every one to keep out of the road by which he was to pass, on pain of
death. Then, escorted by a troop of the most hideous black horsemen
he could find, he set forth on the journey to his capital.

As the cavalcade was approaching Granada it chanced to overtake a
small body of Moorish soldiers with a convoy of prisoners. It was too
late for the soldiers to retire, so they threw themselves on their
faces on the earth, ordering their captives to do likewise. Among
the prisoners were the three cavaliers whom the princesses had seen
from the window of the castle of Salobreña, and they, too proud to
obey the order to grovel before their pagan enemy, remained standing.

The anger of the royal Mohammed was aroused by this flagrant defiance
of his orders, and, drawing his scimitar, he was about to decapitate
the unfortunate captives, when the princesses gathered round him and
implored mercy for them. The captain of the guard, too, assured him
that they could not be injured without great scandal, on account of
their high rank, and described to the irate monarch the manner in
which these illustrious youths had been taken captive while fighting
like lions beneath the royal banner of Spain. Somewhat mollified by
these representations, Mohammed sheathed his weapon. "I will spare
their lives," he said, "but their rashness must meet with fitting
punishment. Let them be taken to the Vermilion Towers and put to
labour."

In the agitation of the moment the veils of the three princesses
had blown aside so that their radiant beauty was revealed. In those
romantic times to see was often to love at once, and the three noble
cavaliers fell sudden victims to the charms of the royal damsels who
pleaded so eloquently for their lives. Singularly enough, each of them
was enraptured with a separate beauty; but it would be as impertinent
as illogical to ask the reason of this sleight of cunning Dame Nature,
who in romance, perhaps, is represented as being more judicious than
she really is.

The royal cavalcade now pressed onward, and the captives were conducted
to their allotted prison in the Vermilion Towers. The residence
provided for the princesses was all that imagination could ask and
splendour devise. It was situated in a tower somewhat apart from
the main palace of the Alhambra, and on one side was cheered by the
prospect of a garden beautiful as the first step into paradise, while
on the other it overlooked a deep and umbrageous ravine that separated
the grounds of the Alhambra from those of the Generalife. But to the
beauties of this delightful place the princesses were blind. They
languished visibly, and by none was their indisposition remarked so
shrewdly as by old Kadiga, who guessed its cause without any great
difficulty. Taking pity upon their forlorn condition, she told them
that as she was passing the Vermilion Towers on the preceding evening
she heard the cavaliers singing after the day's labours to the strains
of a guitar, and at the request of the princesses she arranged with
their jailer that they should be set to work in the ravine, beneath
the windows of the damsels' apartments.

The very next day the captives were given labour which necessitated
their presence in the ravine. During the noontide heat, while
their guards were sleeping, they sang a Spanish roundelay to the
accompaniment of the guitar. The princesses listened, and heard that
it was a love ditty addressed to themselves. The ladies replied to
the sound of a lute played by Zorayda, the burden of which was:


    The rose by the screen of her leaves is concealed,
    But the song of the nightingale pierces the shield.


Every day the cavaliers worked in the ravine, and an intercourse was
maintained between them and the no less captive princesses by songs
and romances which breathed the feelings of either party. In time
the princesses showed themselves on the balcony when the guards were
wrapped in noonday slumber. But at length this desirable condition
of affairs was interrupted, for the three young nobles were ransomed
by their families and repaired to Granada to commence their homeward
journey. They approached the aged Kadiga, and requested her to assist
them to fly with the princesses to Spain. This proposal the old dame
communicated to her young mistresses, and finding that they embraced it
with alacrity a plan of escape was arranged. The rugged hill on which
the Alhambra is built was at that time tunnelled by many a subterranean
passage leading from the fortress to various parts of the city, and
Kadiga arranged to conduct the royal damsels by one of these to a
sally-port beyond the walls of Granada, where the cavaliers were to be
in waiting with swift horses to bear the whole party over the borders.

The appointed night arrived, and when the Alhambra was buried in
deep sleep the princesses, accompanied by their duenna, descended
from their apartments to the garden by means of a rope-ladder--all
save Zorahayda, the youngest and most timorous, who at the decisive
moment could not endure the idea of leaving her father. The advance
of the night patrol which guarded the palace made it necessary for
her sisters and Kadiga to fly without her. Groping their way through
the fearful labyrinth, they succeeded in reaching the gate outside
the walls. The Spanish cavaliers were waiting to receive them. The
lover of Zorahayda was frantic when he learned that she had refused
to leave the tower, but there was no time to waste in lamentations;
the two princesses mounted behind their lovers, Kadiga behind another
rider, and, dashing the spurs into the flanks of their steeds, the
party galloped off at top speed.

They had not proceeded far when they heard the noise of an alarm
from the battlements of the Alhambra, while a lurid watch-fire
burst into flame on its topmost turret. Lashing their horses to a
frenzy of speed, they succeeded in outdistancing their pursuers,
and by taking unfrequented paths and hiding in wild barrancas they
were at last so fortunate as to reach the city of Cordova, where the
princesses were received into the bosom of the Church and united to
their respective lovers.

Mohammed was well-nigh demented at the loss of his daughters, but,
rather unnecessarily, took pains to redouble his watch over the one
who had remained. The unfortunate Zorahayda, thus closely guarded,
repented of her vacillation, and we are told that many a night she
was seen leaning on the battlements of the tower in which she was
confined, looking in the direction of Cordova. Legend, never very
merciful either to heroine or reader, says that she died young, and
her melancholy fate gave birth to many a sad ballad, both Moorish and
Castilian, so that she was at least successful in inspiring song--a
celebrity to which her more fortunate sisters did not attain.



The Story of Prince Ahmed

Once again the ancient city of Granada is the scene of the legend
we are about to relate. But, from considerations which we will
adduce later, there is good reason to believe the story to be of
Persian origin. It recounts the history of Prince Ahmed, surnamed
'al Kamel,' or 'the Perfect,' because of the beauty and equability
of his temperament. At the birth of this prince of happy disposition
the Court astrologers predicted that his career would be singularly
fortunate, provided one difficulty could be overcome; but that
difficulty was sufficiently great to daunt the heart of any monarch,
so that we cannot be surprised when we learn that his royal father
grew pessimistic regarding his chances of happiness when the wise men
informed him that in order to circumvent a cruel fate his son must be
kept from the allurements of love until he attained the age of manhood.

The perplexed King acted as most fathers in romances do--that is,
he confined his son from his earliest infancy in a delightfully
secluded palace which he built for the purpose on the brow of the
hill above the Alhambra. This building, which is now known as the
Generalife, is surrounded by lofty walls, and here the young prince
grew up under the care of Eben Bonabben, an Arabian sage of wisdom
and other formidable qualities, which made him a suitable guardian
for a budding royalty in such case as Ahmed.

Under the tuition of this grave preceptor the prince attained to
his twentieth year totally ignorant of the tender passion. About
this time a change came over his habitual docility, and instead
of listening attentively to the discourses of Eben Bonabben, he
neglected his studies and took to strolling in the gardens of his
abode. His instructor, who saw how it was with him, and that the
latent tenderness of his nature had awakened, redoubled his care,
and shut him up in the most remote tower of the Generalife. In order
to interest him in something that would remove his thoughts from
speculations which might prove dangerous, he instructed his pupil in
the language of birds, and the Prince, taking kindly to this recondite
subject, soon mastered it completely. After trying his skill upon a
hawk, an owl, and a bat with indifferent success, he listened to the
chorus of birds in his garden. It was spring-time, and each and every
feathered songster was pouring out his heart in an ecstasy of love,
repeating the word again and yet again.

"Love!" cried the prince at length. "What may this love be?" He
inquired of Eben Bonabben, who at the question felt his head roll
ominously on his shoulders, as if in pledge of what would happen to
it did he not avert the question. He informed Ahmed that love was one
of the greatest evils which poor humanity has to endure; that it made
strife between friends and brethren, and had brought about the ruin
of some of the greatest of men. Then he departed in perturbation,
leaving the Prince to his own thoughts.

But Ahmed observed that the birds which sang so lustily of love
were far from unhappy, and therefore doubted the arguments of his
preceptor. Next morning as he lay on his couch, lost in the pursuit
of the enigma which had presented itself to his thoughts, a dove,
chased by a hawk, flew through the casement and fluttered to the
floor. The Prince took up the terrified bird and smoothed its ruffled
plumage. But it seemed disconsolate, and on his asking for what it
grieved, it replied that its discontent was caused by separation from
its mate, whom it loved with all its heart.

"Tell me, beautiful bird, what is this thing called love that these
birds in the garden sing of so constantly?"

"Love," said the bird, "is the great mystery and principle of
life. Every created being has its mate. Hast thou spent so many of
the precious days of youth without experiencing it? Has no beautiful
princess or lovely damsel ensnared thine heart?"

The Prince released the dove and sought out Bonabben. "Miscreant!" he
cried, "why hast thou kept me in this abject ignorance--why withheld
from me the great mystery and principle of life? Why am I alone
debarred from the enjoyment of love?

Bonabben saw that further subterfuge was useless, so he revealed to his
charge the predictions of the astrologers and the consequent necessity
for the precautions with which his youth had been surrounded. He
further assured the prince that did the King learn how his trust had
failed his head would pay forfeit. The Prince, horrified to learn
this, promised to conceal his knowledge, and this in some measure
quieted the fears of the philosopher.

Some days after this episode the Prince was reclining in the garden
when his friend the dove alighted fearlessly upon his shoulder. He
asked it whence it came, and it answered that it came from a far
land, where it had seen a beautiful princess, who, like himself, had
been enclosed within the high walls of a secret retreat and kept in
ignorance of the existence of love. The knowledge that a being of the
opposite sex existed who had been brought up in like circumstances
to himself acted like a spark of fire to the heart of Ahmed. He at
once wrote a letter couched in the most impassioned language, which
he addressed, "To the unknown beauty, from the captive Prince Ahmed,"
and this he entrusted to the dove, who promised to convey it to the
object of his adoration without a moment's delay.

Day after day Ahmed watched for the return of the messenger of
love, but in vain. At last, one evening the bird fluttered into
his apartment, and falling at his feet expired. The arrow of some
wanton archer had pierced its breast, yet it had struggled on to
the fulfilment of its mission. Ahmed, picking up the little body,
found it encircled by a chain of pearls, attached to which was a
small enamelled picture representing a lovely princess in the flower
of youth and beauty. The prince pressed the picture to his lips in
a fervour of passion, and at once resolved upon flight, his object
being to seek the original of the portrait, whatever dangers and
obstacles might lie in the accomplishment of his purpose.

Seeking the advice of the wise owl, whom he had not spoken to since
he had been a beginner in the study of the language of birds, he
collected all his jewels, and on the same night lowered himself
from the balcony, clambered over the outer walls of the Generalife,
and, accompanied by the wise old bird, who had agreed to act as his
cicerone, set out for Seville, his purpose being to seek a raven
whom the owl knew to be a great necromancer, who might assist him
in his quest. In time they arrived at the southern city, and sought
the high tower in which the raven dwelt. They found the gifted bird,
and were advised by it to go to Cordova and seek the palm-tree of
the great Abderahman, which stood in the courtyard of the principal
mosque, at the foot of which they would encounter a great traveller,
who would give them information regarding the object of their search.

Following the raven's instructions, they travelled to Seville, and
were annoyed to find at the foot of the tree in question an immense
crowd, listening attentively to the chattering of a parrot, whose
plumage was of the most brilliant green, and whose pragmatical eye
held much wisdom. When the crowd had departed, the prince consulted
the bird regarding his quest, and was amazed to hear it burst into
cries of discordant laughter when it gazed upon the picture.

"Poor youth," it cackled, "are you another victim of love? Know that
this picture you worship so devoutly is that of the Princess Aldegonda,
daughter of the Christian King of Toledo."

"Help me in this matter, good bird," cried the prince, "and I shall
find you a distinguished place at Court."

"With all my heart," said the parrot. "All I ask is that it be a
sinecure, for we clever folk have a great dislike for hard work!"

Accompanied by the owl and the parrot, Ahmed proceeded upon his journey
to Toledo in search of the Princess Aldegonda. Their progress through
the stern passes of the Sierra Morena and across the sun-drenched
plains of La Mancha and Castile was slow, but at long last they came
in sight of Toledo, at the foot of whose steeps the Tagus rushed in
brawling cascades. The garrulous parrot at once pointed out the abode
of the Princess Aldegonda, a stately palace rising out of the bowers
of a delightful garden.

"Ah, Toledo!" cried the owl in ecstasy. "Toledo, thou city of magic
and mystery! What spells, what enchantments of ancient wizardry
have not been recited among thy carven shadows! City of learning,
of strange miracles, of a thousand profundities----"

"City of a thousand fiddlesticks!" piped the parrot. "A truce to your
raptures, friend philosopher. O Toledo," he apostrophized, with wings
outspread in mimicry of the owl, "city of nuts and wine, of figs and
oil, of banquets, jousts, and enchanting señoritas! Now, my prince,
shall I not fly to the Princess Aldegonda and acquaint her with the
fact of our arrival?"

"Do so, best of birds," replied the Prince enthusiastically. "Tell her
that Ahmed, the pilgrim of love, has come to Toledo in quest of her."

The parrot immediately spread his wings and flew off on his mission. He
beheld the princess reclining on a couch, and, alighting, he advanced
with the air of a courtier.

"Beautiful princess," he said, with a low bow, "I come as ambassador
from Prince Ahmed, of Granada, who has journeyed to Toledo to bask
in the light of thine eyes."

"O joyful news!" cried the princess. "I had begun to doubt the
constancy of Ahmed. Hie thee back to him as fast as thy green wings
will take thee, and tell him that his poetry has been the food of my
soul, and that his letters are engraven on my heart. But, alas! he
must prepare to prove his love by force of arms. To-morrow is my
seventeenth birthday, in honour of which the King my father is to
hold a great tournament, and my hand is to be the prize of the victor."

Ahmed was delighted with the news which the parrot brought him, but his
happiness at finding the princess had remained faithful was shadowed by
the knowledge that he would have to do battle for her; for he had not
been trained in the exercises of chivalry. In his dilemma he turned
to the wise owl, who, as usual, threw much light on the matter, for
he unfolded to him that in a neighbouring mountain there was a cave
where lay on an iron table a suit of magical armour and near it an
enchanted steed that had been shut up there for generations. After
a search the cavern was located. A lamp of everlasting oil shed a
solemn light among the profound shadows of the place, and by its
gleam the armour and the bespelled charger were soon found, as the
owl had said. Donning the mail, Ahmed leapt upon the destrier's back,
and with a loud neighing the steed awoke and bore him from the place,
the owl and the parrot flying one on either side of him.

Next morning Ahmed proceeded to the lists, which were situated in
a large plain near the city. They presented a scene of unparalleled
brilliance, and noble knights and lovely ladies had congregated in
hundreds to try their skill in arms or display their beauty. But all
the latter were quite eclipsed by the Princess Aldegonda, who shone
like the moon among the stars. At the appearance of Ahmed, who was
announced as 'The Pilgrim of Love,' excitement ran high, for he made
a most gallant and resplendent figure in his glittering armour and
bejewelled casque. He was informed, however, that none but princes
might encounter in the tournament, and on learning this he disclosed
his rank and name. On hearing that he was a Moslem a universal scoffing
arose among the Christian champions, and Ahmed, incensed, challenged
the knight who displayed the bitterest enmity. The course was run,
and the brawny scoffer tilted out of his saddle. But the prince now
found that he had to deal with a demoniac horse and armour. Once in
action, nothing could control them. The Arabian steed charged into
the thickest of the throng. Down went Ahmed's opponents before his
levelled lance like ninepins, so that the lists were soon strewn with
their recumbent forms. But at midday the spell which had been laid
upon the charger resumed its power. The Arabian steed scoured across
the plain, leaped the barrier, plunged into the Tagus, swam its raging
current, and bore the prince, breathless yet avenged, to the cavern,
where it resumed its station like a statue beside the iron table,
on which the prince laid the armour.

Ahmed's feelings were most unenviable, for among those whom he had
unhorsed in his wild career had been the King himself, the father
of Aldegonda, who, on witnessing the overthrow of his guests, had
angrily rushed to their assistance. Full of anxiety, he dispatched
his winged messengers to gather tidings. The parrot returned with a
world of gossip. Toledo, he said, was in consternation; the princess
had been carried home senseless, and the general opinion was that
the prince was either a Moorish magician or a demon such as tradition
said dwelt in the mountain caverns.

It was morning when the owl came back. He had peered through the
windows of the palace, and had seen the princess kiss Ahmed's letter,
and give way to loud lamentations. Later, she was conveyed to the
highest tower in the palace, every avenue to which was strictly
guarded. But a melancholy, deep and devouring, had settled upon her,
and it was thought that she was the victim of magic, so that at last
a great reward--the richest jewel in the royal treasury--was offered
to anyone who should effect her cure.

Now the wise owl chanced to know that in the royal treasury was
deposited a certain box of sandal-wood secured by bands of steel, and
inscribed with mystic characters known only to the learned few. This
coffer contained the silken carpet of Solomon the Great, which had
been brought to Spain by exiled Jews. All this caused the prince to
ponder deeply. Next day he laid aside his rich attire, and arrayed
himself in the simple garb of an Arab of the desert, dyeing his face
and hands a tawny brown. Thus disguised, he repaired to the royal
palace, and after some delay, was admitted. When the King asked him
his business, he boldly claimed his ability to cure the princess, who,
he said, was certainly possessed of a devil, which he could exorcise
by the power of music alone, as the folk of his tribe were wont to do.

The King, seeing him so confident, immediately conducted him to the
lofty tower where the princess lay, the windows of which opened upon
a terrace commanding a view over the city and surrounding country. On
this terrace the prince seated himself, and began to play on his
pipe. But the princess remained insensible. Then, as if chanting an
exorcism, he repeated the verses of the letter which he had sent to
the princess, in which he had first declared his passion. Rousing,
she recognized the words with emotion, and asked that the prince
should be brought into her presence. Ahmed was conducted into her
chamber, but the lovers, knowing their danger, were discreet, and
contented themselves with the exchange of glances more eloquent than
speech. Never was triumph of music more complete. The roses returned
to the pale cheeks of the princess, and so delighted was the King that
he at once requested Ahmed to select the most precious jewel in his
treasury. The prince, feigning modesty, replied that he disdained
jewels, and desired only an old carpet enclosed in a sandal-wood
coffer, which had been handed down by the Moslems who once owned
Toledo. The box was immediately brought, and the carpet spread out
on the terrace.

"This carpet," said the prince, "once belonged to Solomon the Wise. It
is worthy of being placed beneath the feet of beauty. Let the Princess
stand upon it."

The King motioned his daughter to accede to the Arab's request,
and she at once complied. Then Ahmed took his place beside her, and,
turning to her astonished father, said:

"Know, O King, that your daughter and I have long loved one
another. Behold in me the Pilgrim of Love."

He had scarcely spoken when the carpet rose in the air, and, to
the consternation of all, the lovers were borne off, and swiftly
disappeared.

The magical carpet descended at Granada, where Ahmed and the princess
were espoused to one another with fitting splendour. In course of time
he reigned in his father's stead long and happily. But although he had
become a king he did not forget the services of his bird friends. He
appointed the owl his vizier, and the parrot his master of ceremonies,
and we may be sure by these tokens that in all his royal and domestic
circumstances he was attended by wisdom and magnificence.

This striking tale is, of course, manufactured out of a number of
original and separate elements--the lovers destined to be kept in
ignorance of love because of some danger prophesied at their birth,
the old theme of the language of birds, the 'helpful animal' theme,
and that of the magic carpet. The latter is merely an adaptation of the
idea that a magician was able to transport himself through the air in
a non-natural manner, and this ability he seems to have handed on to
the witches of the Middle Ages, whose broomsticks were merely magical
substitutes for the 'flying horse.' [54] But the appearance of the
carpet in such a tale makes it probable that it drew its inspiration
from Persia, the land where carpets were first manufactured, as the
wizards of more primitive folk adopted other and simpler means of
supernatural flight.



The Paynim's Promise

A singular story which shows that tolerance and even generosity
were occasionally to be found between Moor and Christian in ancient
Spain is narrated in connexion with the exploits of Narvaez, the
general who commanded the garrison of Medina Antequara, a Moorish
town that had fallen into the hands of the Spaniards. Narvaez made
the city a centre from which he launched a series of incursions into
the neighbouring districts of Granada for the purpose of obtaining
provisions and relieving the unfortunate inhabitants of any booty
which might happen to be left to them.

On one of these occasions Narvaez had dispatched a large body of horse
to scour the surrounding country. They had started on their raid at
an early hour of the morning and while it was yet dark, so that by
the hour of sunrise they had penetrated far into hostile country. The
officer in command of the expedition rode a few bow-shots ahead, and to
his surprise suddenly encountered a Moorish youth who had lost his way
in the darkness, and who was now returning home. With great boldness
the young man faced the Spanish horsemen, but was quickly overpowered,
and when they learned from him that the district in which they were was
little more than a desert, having been stripped of all its resources
by the inhabitants who had abandoned it, they returned to Antequara,
where they brought their captive before Narvaez.

The prisoner, a young man of about twenty-three years of age, was
of handsome and dignified appearance. He was dressed in a flowing
robe of rich mulberry-coloured silk, gorgeously decorated in the
Moorish manner, and was mounted on a magnificent horse of the Arab
breed. From these indications, Narvaez judged him to be a cavalier
of importance. He inquired his name and lineage, and was told that
his prisoner was the son of the Alcayde of Ronda, a Moor of high
distinction, and an implacable enemy of the Christians. But when
Narvaez questioned the young man himself, to his astonishment he
found that he was unable to reply to him. Tears streamed down his
face, and his utterance was choked by sobs which seemed to rise from
a heart overflowing with grief.

"I marvel to see thee," said Narvaez. "That thou, being as thou art,
a cavalier of good race, and the son of a noble so valiant as is thy
father, should be thus cast down and weep like a woman, knowing too
what are the chances of war and having all the appearance of a brave
soldier and a good knight--this surpasses my understanding."

"I do not weep because I have been taken captive," replied the
youth. "The tears flow from mine eyes because of a much deeper sorrow,
compared with which my fallen state is as nothing."

Struck by the young man's earnestness, and pitying his position,
Narvaez asked him sympathetically to confide to him the cause of his
sorrow. The cavalier, touched by the general's kindness, sighed deeply,
and replied:

"Lord Governor, I have long loved a lady, daughter of the Alcayde of
a certain fortress. Many times have I fought in her honour against
the men of your race. In time the lady came to return my affection,
and declared herself willing to become my wife, and I was on my way
to her when, by evil chance, I encountered your horsemen and fell
into their hands. Thus I have lost not only my liberty, but all the
happiness of my life, which I believed I held in my hand. If this does
not seem to you to be worthy of tears, I know not for what purpose
they are given to the eyes of man, or how to make you understand the
misery I am suffering."

The bold Narvaez was much affected at the pitiful nature of his
prisoner's story, and being a man of sympathetic instincts and generous
heart, he at once resolved to do what he could to lighten the captive's
sorrowful predicament.

"Thou art a cavalier of good family," he said, "and if thou wilt pledge
me thy word to return to this place, I will give thee permission to
go to thy beloved and acquaint her with the cause of thy failure to
be with her this day."

The Moor gladly availed himself of his captor's indulgence, gave
Narvaez the required assurance, and that same night reached the castle
wherein his lady dwelt. Entering the garden, he gave the signal by
which he usually signified his presence there, and she immediately
came to the trysting-place agreed upon between them. She at once
expressed the greatest surprise that he had not arrived at the time
he had promised to be with her, and he explained the circumstances
which had attended his delay. On hearing what had occurred the lady
was cast into the deepest grief, and as her lover was attempting to
console her by every means in his power the hour of dawn reminded him
of his pledge to Narvaez, and how he had given his word as a soldier
and a cavalier to return to his captivity.

"There is nothing left but that I should return," he said. "I have
lost my own liberty, and God forbid that, loving you as I do, I should
bear you to a place where yours also would be in danger. We must wait
patiently until the time when I can obtain my ransom, when I shall
immediately return to you."

"Before this hour," replied the lady, "you have given me many proofs
that you truly love me, but now you show your attachment more plainly
than ever in your desire for my safety, and for that very reason
I should be most ungrateful if I did not go with you to share your
captivity. Therefore I shall accompany you to the Christian prison for
which you are destined. If you must be a slave, so also shall I be."

The lady then commanded her waiting damsel to bring her jewel-case,
and when this had been done she mounted behind her lover. All
night they rode, and in the morning they arrived at Antequara,
where they presented themselves to Narvaez, who was no less struck
with the constancy of the lady than with the honour and fidelity of
the young Moorish cavalier. He immediately gave both their liberty,
and, loading them with presents and other marks of honour, accorded
them permission to return to their own land, providing an escort of
troops to accompany them until they had reached a place of safety.

This adventure, the love of the lady, the loyalty of the Moor, and more
than all the generosity of the high-souled Christian commander, were
greatly celebrated and applauded by the noble Saracens of Granada, and
were sung in the lays of their most distinguished poets and chronicled
by their annalists. And although this story in every way partakes of
the nature of romance, it has the additional merit of being true.



The Dream of King Alfonso

A mysterious story indeed is that which tells of the manner in which
Don Alfonso, King of Galicia, one of the Christian states which
held out against the Moors, was haunted by a dream which came to him
again and again in the watches of the night, and which no one might
interpret, until at last he was forced to call to his aid the occult
science of those very enemies against whom the vision warned him.

In the year 1086 the territories of Alfonso and other Christian
sovereigns were invaded by a vast army of Almoravide Moors, who,
sweeping over from Africa, menaced Central and Northern Spain. When
he learned of their advance Alfonso was engaged in the siege of
Saragossa, but in view of the danger which confronted him he joined
his allies at Toledo and prepared to give battle to the invaders,
who, numerous in themselves, had been reinforced by the Moors of the
various Mohammedan states in Spain. Before leaving Toledo Alfonso
was visited by one of those terrible visions of the night which,
history tells us, have so often prophesied the fall of nations. It
appeared to him that he was mounted on an elephant, and that beside
him, on the flank of the great beast, was placed an atambore or
Moorish drum, which he beat with his own hands. But the clamours
which pealed forth from the instrument were so loud and terrifying
that he instantly awoke in terror and amazement. At first he scoffed
at the dream as nothing but a nightmare, but when it returned again
and again on the succeeding nights of his stay at Toledo he began to
feel that it must contain some element of awful warning. Night after
night he awoke in great terror, drenched with perspiration, and with
the echoes of the Eastern drum thundering in his ear, until at last,
in great disquietude, he resolved to ask the advice of the learned
men of his Court regarding what the vision might portend.

With this object in view, he summoned to his presence the scholars and
sages of his retinue, as well as the bishops and priests, and even the
rabbis of the Jews who were his vassals, and who were more profoundly
skilled in divination and the interpretation of dreams than any of
his Christian subjects. When they had come before him, he related the
substance of his dream, which he described very minutely, concluding
his narration by saying: "That which most amazes and alarms me in this
matter is the peculiarity of the elephant which I see in my visions,
and which is an animal not reared in our country nor seen therein. In
like manner, the atambore is not of the form and kind which we have
in use among us, nor is that either to be seen in Spain. Wherefore
do ye consider what these may portend, and give me the signification
thereof without delay."

The wise men thereupon retired, and having considered the dream,
returned to the royal presence. "Lord King," they said, "we are of
opinion that this dream of yours was sent to signify that you shall
vanquish these great armies that the Moslems have brought against
you, that you shall despoil their camp and plunder it of the riches
it contains, and that you shall occupy their territory and return
victorious, with great honour and glory. Moreover, we believe that
your triumph will be made known through all parts of the East,
since the elephant which you nightly appear to bestride can be no
other than Juzef Aben Taxfin, King of the Moslems and lord of the
far-extending lands of Africa, who, like that animal, has been reared
in the deserts of that country. The strangely formed atambore which
you have sounded on these many nights implies the fame which shall
echo throughout the world, to every part of which it shall carry the
knowledge of your illustrious victories."

Alfonso listened to this interpretation with the utmost attention,
and when it concluded he said: "It appears to me that you have gone far
from the true interpretation of my dream, seeing that the explanation
which my heart gives me is of a widely different kind, for it announces
to me nothing better than events of terror and dismay."

Having thus spoken, the King turned his head, and, looking toward
certain Moorish knights who were his vassals, he asked them if
perchance they knew of any wise man of their nation who had skill
in the interpretation of dreams. They replied that they did know of
one such, and that there was in Toledo at that moment a wise man who
taught in one of the mosques and who would interpret the vision to
the satisfaction of the King.

Alfonso at once commanded that they should bring the sage before him,
and in a short space the Moorish cavaliers returned with the man of
whom they had spoken, the Faki Mohammed Aben Iza, who, however, sternly
refused to interpret the dream of an infidel, and when he learned for
what purpose he was required would not even set foot in the palace. The
Moorish knights in their dilemma told Alfonso that the Faki's religious
scruples would not permit him to appear in a Christian court, and
the King, who well knew the niceties of Mohammedan law, contented
himself with their assurance that they would bring him the wise man's
interpretation of the dream. They then entreated the Faki to consider
it, and as they pressed him urgently he replied: "Go to the King
Alfonso and say that the accomplishment of his vision is very near,
and that its significance is after this wise. He shall be vanquished,
yea, in a disgraceful defeat, and with great slaughter. He shall fly,
with but few of his people, and the victory shall remain with the Sons
of the Prophet. Tell him, moreover, that this declaration is derived
from the Koran: 'Know ye not what your God has prepared for him of the
Elephant? Hath he not brought his force to nothing and rendered his
evil intentions of no avail? See ye not that he hath sent over them
the vultures of Babel?' These words," continued the Faki, "foretold
the downfall of Ibrahim, King of the Abbassides, when he went forth
with his army against Arabia, riding on a great elephant. But God
sent for his destruction the wild vultures of Babel, who cast balls
of glowing fire upon that host and turned his pomp into wretchedness
and the vileness of dust. As to the atambore which Alfonso described,
that signifies that the hour of his desolation is approaching."

The Moorish cavaliers, as in duty bound, returned to the King and
acquainted him with the prophetic words of the Faki. On hearing them
he turned pale, and ejaculated: "By the God of my worship, let this
your Al Faki tremble if he hath lied, for be sure that I will make
of him a warning."

Shortly after this King Alfonso assembled his host, an innumerable
multitude of foot-soldiers and more than eighty thousand cavalry,
nearly thirty thousand of whom were Arabs. With this array he marched
to the encounter with King Taxfin and his allies, and came face to face
with him near Badajoz, among the groves and plains called Zalacca,
about twelve miles from that city. The armies were divided by a
river, and across this Taxfin sent an insulting message to Alfonso,
bidding him either abjure the Christian faith or acknowledge himself
his vassal. When Alfonso read this missive he cast it to the earth
in great anger, and, turning haughtily to the envoy, said: "Go and
bid Taxfin not to conceal himself in the battle, which if he do not,
we shall see each other."

Certain circumstances affected the combat. Friday was the holy day
of the Moslems, Saturday was the Sabbath of the Jews, of whom there
were many in the Christian host, and Sunday that of the Christians,
and Alfonso had already requested Taxfin that truce should be
observed on these days, and the Moor had consented. But Alfonso
considered himself justified in attacking at the hour of dawn on
the Friday morning. He marshalled his host into two divisions, and
set on. The Moorish King of Seville had asked his astrologer to cast
a horoscope with the intention of discovering the fate of the day,
and as this had been entirely unfavourable to the Moslems they were
somewhat disheartened. But as they succeeded in withstanding Alfonso's
first attack, the student of the stars cast another mystical diagram,
and on this occasion found his prognostication more auspicious. The
King of Seville, inspired by the favourable prophecy, sat down in his
pavilion and, taking pen and parchment, dashed off the following verse,
which he sent for the inspiration of his ally, Taxfin:


    God's anger on the Christian horde
    Sends cruel slaughter by thy sword,
    While favouring stars announce to thee
    And to thy Moslems victory!


Taxfin was greatly inspirited by these words, and rode up and down
his ranks encouraging his men, but he had not much time to do so,
for King Alfonso, heading a terrific charge, dashed down on him with
all the mail-clad chivalry of Spanish Christendom. A sanguinary and
murderous conflict ensued. The Moslems stood their ground bravely,
but the heavy cavalry of the Spaniards bore them down, and overwhelmed
them on all sides. The Moorish allies of the Christian force now came
into action, surrounding and hemming in the Arabs of Andalusia, and
the Moslem chroniclers tell us that the darkness produced by that mass
of men and horses was so great that those who fought could no longer
see each other, and grappled hand to hand, as in an obscure night. At
last Taxfin's forces began to retreat, and broke into disorderly rout,
closely pressed by the Christian cavalry. The Moors of Seville alone
stood their ground. Taxfin placed himself at the head of his reserve
and, charging with great fury, threw his mounted columns directly at
the pavilion of King Alfonso. This was but slightly defended, and
easily fell a prey to the Moslems, with all its treasure. Alfonso,
noting the advance of Taxfin, charged him in flank, and the two
principal leaders were soon engaged in furious battle. The Moorish
monarch rode among his men, exhorting them to constancy, and crying out
that the reward of their valour would be the crown of paradise. As the
result of his repeated charges the Christian host began to give way,
and on the renewed attack of Taxfin's allies, who had before been
beaten, fled in precipitate rout. Alfonso, seeing that all was lost,
and accompanied by five hundred followers only, rode fast before the
conquering Moors. It was with difficulty that he made his escape to
the city of Toledo, where he arrived with only a hundred men.

From that day King Alfonso never regained heart, and some years later,
on learning of the death of his son and the defeat of his people in
battle with the infidel, he fell sick and died. So was the prophecy
of the Faki fulfilled.



The Prince who Changed Crowns

During the age-long struggle between the Gothic and Arab races in
Spain many small kingdoms on both sides rose and fell, the names of
which have long since been forgotten. Perhaps two hundred years after
the infidels had gained a footing in the Peninsula, it chanced that
in the central portion of the country there existed side by side two
diminutive kingdoms, or rather principalities, the more northerly of
which preserved its Spanish nationality with the most jealous care,
while that which existed upon its borders was equally conservative
in its Moslem prejudices. At this period the Spanish principality
had at the head of its fortunes a prince of exceptional enlightenment
and ability, Don Fernando. His training had naturally been of a kind
which had led him to regard his Moslem neighbours with the profoundest
distrust and dislike. They were, he was told by his instructors, a race
of men lost to all humanity, deficient in honour, cruel, malicious,
and revengeful--in short, it is not to be wondered at that, having the
demerits of his Saracen neighbours so constantly dinned into his ears,
the young Fernando began to regard them with the utmost repugnance.

The low range of hills which divided the two principalities rather
assisted than hindered the constant raids which Moslem and Christian
made upon each other's territory, as they constituted a description of
No Man's Land, where the forces of either might be carefully marshalled
for a lightning foray. In these raids Fernando himself occasionally
took part, as it was thought necessary that the prince of a state
which lived in a condition of almost constant warfare should be well
acquainted with the practical side of military affairs. During one
of these constantly recurring miniature invasions, the company which
Fernando commanded had ridden far into Moorish territory without
encountering any resistance, and, advancing in loose formation and
without sufficient care, suddenly encountered an ambuscade of the
enemy, who, taking it in flank, succeeded in penetrating its ranks and
cutting them in two. The little band of Spaniards, thus separated,
fled in opposite directions, and Fernando, accompanied by only a
handful of followers, turned his horse's head in the direction of
his own country and galloped out of the range of immediate danger.

The route which he was now forced to take to regain his own dominions
necessitated his following a wide détour, and as he and his companions
had already ridden far that day their horses shortly became so jaded
that further progress was almost impossible. They also became aware,
to their dismay, that the foremost of the enemy were now not far
distant. In the dilemma in which they found themselves they resolved
to sell their lives dearly, as befitted Christian knights, and they
were about to dismount from their horses to seek a spot which might
afford them some advantage in such a struggle when they beheld,
some little way off, a building of rough stone standing on a little
eminence. "There, if anywhere," said Fernando, "we shall be able
to make a good defence. Let us secure that position and take full
advantage of the shelter it offers us."

Spurring their beaten horses to a last effort, they soon gained
the summit of the little hill. Dismounting, Fernando sought for the
entrance to the rather dilapidated building, and having found it,
was about to make his way inside, when he was surprised to see a man
kneeling on its flagstones, engaged in earnest prayer. His long beard,
his patched clothing, and his general appearance signified that he
was a Moslem hermit, one of those who had retired from the haunts
of men to practise his religious austerities in peace. Fernando was
about to address him roughly and bid him begone, when the holy man,
hearing the ring of his mailed foot upon the pavement, looked up and
asked him what he required.

"Get you gone," said Fernando, "for we are about to defend this place
to the last extremity against your infidel brethren."

The hermit smiled. "Young man," he said, "what possible defence can
you hope to make in this poor place against the numbers which will
shortly surround you? Your sword and that of your companions will be
of little more avail than these poor walls, which, almost ruined as
they are, would soon be beaten down. Trust me, there is a much better
defence against the violence of man than either stone or steel."

"I know not of what you speak, old man," said Fernando, "but in those
things which you deride, I, as a soldier, have been accustomed to
place my trust."

"Alas," said the hermit, "that it should be so! Have you not been
taught, young man, in your own country that God is a surer defence
to those who trust Him than those vain material bulwarks which men
of blood erect against one another's rage? Put your trust in God,
I say, and He will be able to succour you, even through the least of
His servants."

"Were it the God of the Christians of whom you speak," replied
Fernando, "I would agree that your words were those of wisdom, but
in the mouth of an unbeliever they have naught but a blasphemous ring."

"Sir Knight," said the hermit, "you are yet a young man, but as you
grow older it will be given you to understand that God is the same
in all lands, and that division of His personality is one of the
fictions with which the Father of Lies seeks to make enmity between
the righteous. Argue no longer, I pray you, but take heed to what I
say. This remnant of stone is the last remaining turret of an ancient
fortalice, beneath which extends a labyrinth of dungeons. Secrete
yourselves speedily in the darkness of this labyrinth, I beg you,
so that you may evade your pursuers and regain your own country
after nightfall."

"Have a care, Don Fernando," cried one of the prince's comrades. "This
infidel seeks to beguile us into a trap, where his countrymen will
be able to murder us at their leisure."

"Not so," replied the prince, "for I can see that the mind of this good
and holy man holds a better purpose toward us, and I willingly yield
myself to his care. Lead the way, good father, to the hiding-place of
which you speak." The hermit immediately requested the cavaliers to
enter the building, and indicated to them a dark and sloping passage,
down which they led their horses. They had scarcely had time to conceal
themselves in the gloomy recesses to which it led when with a loud
clamour the infidels who had been pursuing them rode up. Their leader
challenged the hermit and asked him if he had observed any Christian
knights pass that way. "Assuredly no Christian knights have passed
this way, my son," replied the man of God; "go in peace." The Moslem
captain with a grave salutation immediately remounted his horse,
and the band swept on.

The hermit having entertained the Christian knights to the best of
his poor resources, returned to them within a few hours and told
them that darkness had now fallen. "You will now be able," he said,
"to make a safe return to your own land."

"How can I reward you?" cried Fernando, whose generous heart had been
deeply stirred by the old man's unaffected kindness.

"There is one way in which you can do so, young cavalier," said the
recluse, "and that is by trying to form a better opinion of the men
of my race."

"You ask a difficult thing," said the prince sadly, "for truth compels
me to say that I have heard great evil of the Moors, and but little
good."

"That is not surprising," said the hermit, with a smile, "since you
will readily admit that you have not encountered them otherwise than
with sword in hand or as prisoners whose hearts are burning with the
bitterness of defeat. Open your mind, young man, or rather pray that
its doors, until now closed, should be thrown wide to admit the rays
of celestial wisdom. Seek for the best in your enemies, and believe
me you will not fail to find it."

As he spoke, Fernando indeed felt as if the doors of his spirit, until
now rusty with prejudice, had been unbarred. "I shall not forget your
advice," he said, "for surely nothing evil can come from one so good
and noble," and with a respectful gesture of farewell he mounted his
horse and, followed by his companions, rode away.

He arrived safely in his capital in the early hours of the morning,
and having bathed and refreshed himself, sought his audience chamber,
where, surrounded by his anxious ministers, he told them of the
adventure which had befallen him.

"Great has been your good fortune, your Majesty," said one of his
advisers. "But for the services of this good man you would certainly
now have been a captive in the citadel of your enemies. Surely few
such spirits can reside in Moorish bodies."

"How so, señor?" replied the prince. "May it not be otherwise? When all
is said and done, what do we know of the Moors, save that knowledge
which is gained by constant strife with them? Would it not be well
for us to strive to know them better?"

"What!" cried another councillor, "do we not know them for dogs
and infidels, for perjured blasphemers and worshippers of false
gods? Heaven forbid that we should have further converse with them
than that of the herald, which serves to call us into the same field
as they, so that we may bring our lances to bear upon their infidel
bodies."

"These words seem to me neither good nor wise," said Fernando gently;
"and I tell you, señors, that while riding home this morning I made
a resolution to know those Moors better, even to travel into their
country, study their institutions and their faith, and meet them as
men rather than as enemies."

"Madness!" cried the Chancellor. "The rash vow of a young and
inexperienced prince."

"That is not my opinion," replied Fernando, "but in order to avoid all
unnecessary risks I have resolved to disguise myself as a Moslem. As
you are aware, I have a perfect acquaintance with the Moorish tongue,
and the manners and religious customs of our neighbours I know by
report. I have taken this resolve, and am not to be dissuaded from it."

"Your Majesty's word is law," replied the Chancellor, who saw in the
prince's resolve an opportunity for the extension of his personal
power. Others of his suite did their best to turn aside Fernando's
resolution by every argument in their power, but to no avail. His
preparations were speedily made, and within three days of announcing
his determination the prince, disguised as a Moslem of rank, set out
by night for the frontiers of his enemies.

On entering their country he resolved to make in the first place
for the capital, a town of considerable importance, on reaching
which he dismounted from his Arab steed and put up at a khan, or
public hostelry. Here he found himself in the company of travellers
of all sorts and conditions. The merchant sat at the same table
with the mullah, or priest, and the soldier shared his meal with
the pilgrim. The first thing that Fernando noticed regarding these
people was their great abstemiousness. They ate but little food, and
drank not at all, unless of milk or water. The atmosphere of gravity
prevalent in the inn surprised him. These sober, sallow-faced men sat,
for the most part, with downcast eyes, speaking rarely, and without
gesticulation, and in a low and decorous tone of voice. If asked a
question, they did not answer at once, but appeared to cogitate upon
their reply, which was invariably courteous and couched in formal
but agreeable language. All their conduct seemed to be subservient
to decency and dignity. Fernando noticed that they were spotless in
their cleanliness. Not only was this so as regards their garments,
but they were constantly performing ablutions, either in the inn
itself during the stipulated hours of prayer, or in the magnificent
public baths of the city.

On the other hand, the disguised prince could not but see that these
men were one and all within the grip of a powerful formalism, which
had the effect of cramping and limiting their ideas, and which was
only too painfully evident in their speech and manners. There seemed
to be no room for individuality in their system of life. He entered
into conversation with one of the shaven mullahs, who had retired
into a corner the better to read his copy of the Koran. At first he
evinced but little inclination to talk, but seeing that the prince
wished to exchange ideas with him, he soon brought the conversation
round to the especial point of Moslem law he was studying, upon which
he split so many hairs that the hapless Fernando deeply regretted
that he had ever approached him.



Fernando Makes Comparison

That night as Fernando lay in bed he summed up his impressions of
the day.

"These people seem to me exceedingly formal and conventional,"
he thought, "but against that we have to place the garrulity and
boisterousness of men of European race, their frequent lack of dignity
and too great familiarity of manner. That mullah, too, was terribly
long-winded, but have we not bores of our own, and in plenty? Is it
not the case that in all parts of the world selfish introspection
and scholarly pride frequently turn a man into a public nuisance? It
seems to me that the great bulk of mankind merely acts in imitation
of its fellows, and that only here and there does one meet with a
person of any outstanding individuality."

When he arose next morning Fernando paid a visit to the great
mosque of the city. It was the first time he had entered a Moorish
place of worship, and he was struck by the circumstance that the
atmosphere which prevailed within it closely resembled that to be
found in a Christian cathedral. The same hushed silence was distinctly
noticeable. Here and there stood a mullah, or teacher, instructing his
disciples in Mohammedan law and ritual, and this Fernando was rather
pleased than otherwise to notice, as direct instruction in the tenets
of the Christian faith was but seldom to be procured in the churches
of his own country. Another thing he could not but observe was the
manifest learning and erudition of the speakers. This seemed to him far
in advance of the monkish accomplishments of his own priestly subjects,
whose learning was of the most slender description, and but few of whom
were able to write, and he was deeply interested to find that in an
annexe to the mosque, which was fitted as a scrivenry or writing-room,
a number of mullahs, old and young, sat at desks writing swiftly in
the Arabic script and engaged in the multiplication of copies of the
Koran and other works of a religious nature.

From the mosque Fernando speedily found his way to the university,
and was soon lost in wonder at the rich intellectual life which
flourished there. In one room a white-robed teacher was lecturing
upon the practice of medicine with an acumen and ability he had
never heard equalled. His knowledge of drugs and chemistry and of the
properties of plants and herbs appeared to be both wide and exact,
and when Fernando thought upon the wretched leeches to whom so many
of the lives of his subjects annually paid forfeit he experienced a
deep feeling of shame that these swarthy yet studious foreigners were
so easily able to eclipse them in both theory and application. But he
was acute enough to discern that the lecturer spoke of the medical art
as a thing the principles of which were already fixed beyond the power
of expansion. He spoke of experiment in the past tense, and all his
references were to the great teachers of the old world, to Galen and
Hippocrates, to Avicenna and to Rhazes. If he did chance to allude to
the teachers of his own day, it was in rather an apologetic manner,
and by no means in a complimentary sense. Antiquity was everything
to him, and the tenets of the old masters of medicine appeared to
him quite as sacred in their way as the words of the Prophet himself.

In an adjoining classroom Fernando lingered some time to listen to
a professor of astrology. This ancient art had always held a certain
fascination for him, and he was well aware that the Moors were among
its greatest interpreters. The lecturer described at length the
influences which the various planets had upon the destinies of man,
the manner in which their conjunctions and oppositions affected human
affairs, and the characters of persons born under certain astrological
conditions. This science too appeared to him incapable of extension or
fresh effort, and while hearkening to the speaker he found that though
he heard much that his common sense told him was incapable of definite
proof, he gleaned nothing of the nature of those planets themselves,
their physical movement, or their scientific relation to the earth. In
the geography classroom he found that instruction was based upon
more modern lines. The works of Arab travellers who had journeyed
extensively in Asia and Africa were touched upon. The conditions of
life in distant countries of the world were discussed, and as a general
rule with much greater exactitude than in the European schools which
he had visited, where fact was often subordinated to fancy and where
the extraordinary was prized at a much higher rate than the probable.

Leaving the university, the court of which was filled to overflowing
with scholars who appeared to be disputing on various phases of
erudition, Fernando walked to the crowded market-place, a portion
of which, he observed, was given over to the sale of manuscripts,
and this part, he could not help noticing, was much better patronized
than those where food-stuffs and wearing apparel were for sale. In
the more open spaces jugglers and mountebanks, usually accompanied by
performing animals, went through all sorts of gambols and antics. Here
and there small knots of men discussed the more obscure points of
the Koran or of Mohammedan law, while others sat in shady corners,
lazily drinking sherbet or drowsing away the hot morning hours. In
the booths which surrounded the market-place he saw various tradesmen
at work--carpenters, smiths, sandal-makers, tailors--but he noticed
that the efforts of these were of the most leisurely description,
and that their tools were of a type much more antiquated than those
in use among the tradesmen of his own country. The hand of time was
indeed heavy upon the whole race. In some things it appeared to have
made great advances, while in others it seemed to have retained the
primitive ideas of the Dark Ages. Its progress seemed to have been
made in the realm of thought alone, but even here everything was
derivative and had reference to the experiments of an older age.

Strangely enough, however, Fernando felt that much of this conservatism
touched a responsive chord within his own nature.

"Are these people not right," he argued with himself, "when they
let well alone, as the proverb says? If they have brought about a
condition of things which suits them as a race, would it not be folly
in them to embark upon a career of experiment which might prove wholly
unsuitable to them? They seem reasonably happy and contented. Suppose
a condition of affairs such as obtains within my own principality
were suddenly to be forced upon them, would their happiness not be
changed into wretchedness? It must be that long experience has taught
them that their present manner of life is by far the most convenient
for them. Can it be that their dislike of us arises from the great
differences between our institutions and theirs? But, again, is it not
possible that these things are very much on the surface? Their real
natural sympathies and antipathies are, after all, very similar to our
own. They are entirely dependent upon the changes of the seasons and
upon the tillage of the earth for their food; they live constantly
in fear of warfare; the same private troubles between man and man,
between neighbour and neighbour, arise among them as among ourselves;
they are subject to the rule of authority precisely as we are. The
modifications of all these things are, after all, those of place and
circumstance, nor is it possible for any one individual among them to
break away from established custom, any more than it is in Spain. We
do not differ from them in the salient things of life, but only in its
surface details. Their religion teaches that the good are rewarded
and the bad punished, that a man must be constant in his patriotic
and domestic affections. After all, had one of these brown men been
reared in Spain, at the age of twenty years he would have been moved
by the same prejudices as myself, and have become so like me in every
particular as to be indistinguishable from an ordinary Spaniard."

Passing through one of the gates of the city, Fernando walked into
the country. It very much resembled the rural portions of his own
principality, except that it was cultivated with greater care. Here
and there tiny, snow-white farm-steadings nestled in hollows, and
from these streams of reapers and gleaners spread across the fields in
every direction, for it was harvest-time. Fernando joined one of these
groups, and was surprised to find that there was little difference
between it and a similar party in Christian Spain. At intervals the
work of garnering the grain was relaxed, and the reapers sat in a
circle and listened to the music made by one of their number on the
pipe, which possessed a strange melancholy of its own. Fernando found
in them the same simple and easily satisfied disposition that he had
discovered among his own peasantry. They shared their bread and cheese
with him, and tendered him a draught of goat's milk from a large skin
bottle, which he made shift to swallow with rather a wry face, for
princes as a rule do not accustom themselves to the pungent odours of
such a beverage. Thus refreshed, he passed on, walking slowly through
the heat of the day, which was now well advanced, and resting every
now and then beneath the shadows of the roadside trees.

He had advanced perhaps a mile and a half farther on when he came to a
wide, open plain upon which he beheld a large body of Moorish cavalry
performing military evolutions. His soldier's eye took in the scene
with interest, and he was quick to see that the rapid movements of
these lightly armed horsemen were greatly superior to those of his
own heavily accoutred warriors. At the word of command the squadrons
wheeled and charged with surprising unanimity and rapidity, and
when the word was given to halt they did so on the instant, without
scattering or losing the alignment of their ranks. The evolutions of
one of the squadrons brought it quite close to where the prince was
standing, and the officer in command, evidently regarding him as a
pilgrim of sanctity, gave him a courteous salutation.

"I take it, reverend sir," he said, "from the evident pleasure
with which you regard this scene, that you have once been a soldier
yourself?"

"That is quite true," replied Fernando; "I was a soldier for many
years, and saw a good deal of service in another part of the country;
but war is no longer my business, and I do not, as I once did,
cherish it for itself alone."

"But surely," said the soldier, "war is the only career to which a
noble mind can turn? You are young, and have evidently left its ranks
too early."

"Nay," rejoined the prince, "I am ready, if necessity enjoins, to take
up the sword once more, but only in case of unrighteous invasion or
to settle a grievous wrong. As I have said, I no longer desire war
for its own sake."

"But," said the soldier, smiling, "you do not mean that we should be
unprepared for attack? We know not the moment at which the rude and
savage Christians from the north may send a multitude of warriors
against us."

"Nor do they know, my friend, when we shall take it into our heads
to make a foray into their lands," said Fernando.

"But," said the officer, "if we were to do so, it would only be as
a protective measure after all, for we are well aware that they will
never become reconciled to us."

"Have we ever tried to discover that?" asked Fernando. "I fear not. We
have certainly made treaties with them, but these seem to have been
made for the very purpose of being broken."

"Yes," said the officer, his lip curling, "they are treacherous dogs,
these Spaniards, upon whose word no honest man can rely. They have
broken treaty after treaty."

"If I'm not mistaken," said Fernando, "we have done the same, only
our rulers take extraordinary care that the people shall not be
acquainted with the full measure of our national dishonesties, but
shall be told that it was necessary to act in such and such a manner
because of the untrustworthy nature of our enemies. May I ask, sir,
if you have ever travelled in Christian Spain, or have known other
Christians than those whom you may have chanced to take as prisoners?"

The cavalryman shook his head. "Now I come to think of it," he said,
"I have crossed swords with more Spaniards than I have bandied words
with, but I do not doubt, as you imply, that there are noble spirits
among that people, for I know out of my own experience that they are
stout men of war, and a brave soldier can scarcely be other than an
honourable man. But you will excuse me, sir; I can remain no longer. In
the name of God, I wish you a pleasant journey."



Fernando Meets his "Double"

Fernando passed on his way, and this day in his wanderings may
be taken as representative of many another. For three months he
wandered through the Moorish land, studying its institutions and
its people at first hand, and gleaning a practical insight into the
national characteristics. At the end of that time he had conceived
such a high opinion of his one-time foes that it was with heartfelt
sorrow that he turned his steps northward to the borders of his own
principality. Loath to cross them, he resolved to spend the night
at a small khan on the Moorish side of the hills. It was a poor
place, but beautifully situated at the entrance to a peaceful little
valley. Giving his horse to the white-robed ostler, he entered. To
his utter amazement, the first person he encountered was a young man
who so closely resembled himself that he started back in surprise and
dismay, for there was not a lineament in the stranger's countenance
which was not mirrored in his own. The young man thus confronted
also halted abruptly, and stared at his living counterpart; then
a smile broke over his pleasant face, and he said, with a laugh:
"I see, sir, you are as surprised as myself, but I hope you are not
angry that God has made us so alike, for I have heard that people
who closely resemble one another are apt to cherish a mutual distrust."

"There is small danger of that, friend," said Fernando, "for if God has
made our minds as like each other as He has fashioned our bodies, I am
convinced that you are of a liberal and unconventional disposition,"
and, laughing heartily, he indicated a table. "It would be fitting,"
he continued, "that we should break bread together."

"Agreed!" cried the other; "I accept your invitation with all the
goodwill in the world." And, seating themselves at the rough board,
the two young men were soon engaged in an animated conversation. Much
as they had been surprised at the physical resemblance between them,
they were even more astonished at the close similarity they bore to
one another in taste and disposition. For hours they sat in close
discussion. At last the stranger said: "I feel as if we had known
each other for a lifetime, and as I am certain that I can trust you
thoroughly, I will reveal to you my secret. Know then that I am Muza,
the prince of this country, and that I am even now returned from a
prolonged journey in the land of the Christians, whose character and
customs it had long been my desire to study."

"I am indeed honoured by your Majesty's condescension and confidence,"
replied Fernando, "and you may rest assured that your secret will
remain inviolate with me. But may I ask what opinion you formed of
the inhabitants of Christian Spain during your sojourn among them?"

"Such a high opinion," replied Muza, "that it is with the greatest
regret that I quit their country, for I find among them a spirit so
much more in consonance with my own than that of my native subjects
that I solemnly assure you I had much rather rule over them than over
my own people."

"Have then your wish, noble Muza," said Fernando, rising, "for I am
none other than Fernando, prince of the Christians, who, impelled by
a similar desire, has been travelling in your dominions, and who has
conceived such a strong predilection for the character and customs of
its people that he asks nothing better than to be permitted to guide
their destinies. That I am what I represent myself to be you may know
by this token," and, searching beneath his burnous, Fernando drew out
a gold chain, from which was suspended his royal signet. "There is,
so far as I can see," he continued, "but one possible bar to our
compact, and that is the difference between our religions."

"Nay, Fernando," said Muza, with uplifted hands, "I find no difficulty
in that, for, as I understand the matter, the difference is merely
one of exteriors. The inward spirit of our faiths is the same, and
it is only in their outward manifestations that they present any
divergency. Both spring from the one God, Who designed them for the
uses of differently constituted races, and if you agree with me that
this is so, there should be no greater difficulty in our embracing
the religions of each other's people than in accepting their customs."

"I heartily agree," replied Fernando, "but what I fear is that we
shall not be able to convince our respective peoples of the purity
of our motives. They certainly must not share our secret."

"Our great safeguard," said Muza, "is the extraordinary resemblance
between us, but it will be necessary that we should instruct each other
in our past histories, and in the intricacies of our personal affairs,
in order that ignorance of these may not give rise to suspicion."

"You speak like a wise man," rejoined Fernando; "let us address
ourselves to this business at once."

Far into the night the two young princes sat initiating each other
into the intimacies of their respective national diplomacies and
personal relationships, and at last, when morning broke, they parted
with every mark of mutual esteem, mounted their horses, and rode off,
Fernando to the capital of the Moor, Muza to that of the Christian. But
ere they parted they agreed to meet at the inn where they had first
forgathered at least once in three months, in order to discuss any
eventualities which might arise.

Three months passed rapidly, and, prompt to the day, the two young
rulers met once more at the inn. There was a noticeable stiffness in
the manner of their greeting.

"And how fare you, noble Muza, in the kingdom of my fathers?" asked
Fernando.

"Alas! your Majesty," replied Muza, "I am constrained to say that I
fare but ill. Every day your advisers present to me new schemes of
aggression against my late kingdom to which I can give no manner of
countenance, and they upbraid me bitterly with what they are pleased
to call my disloyalty."

"Precisely the same thing has happened to myself," said Fernando,
"and may I say, with all due regard to the race from which you spring,
that they do not compare in liberality of outlook with my own, that
they are extremely conservative, and difficult of comprehension!"

"On the other hand," said Muza, "I find your people much too active
and unruly, and I do not encounter the same implicit obedience to
which I have hitherto been accustomed. If I may say so, there is a
want of dignity----"

"I find some of my personal relations awkward too," groaned Fernando;
"your matrimonial arrangements, for example."

"And your lack of the same," replied Muza.

"On the whole I think----" said Fernando.

"I fully agree," replied Muza.

"If we put the matter in a nutshell," remarked Fernando, "it is better
for a man--even a liberal-minded one--to remain in the bosom of his
own people, for no matter how broad his views may be, among strangers
he must constantly be doomed to encounter much which will tend to
strengthen his prejudices against them and create odious comparisons
and regrets."

"Once more I agree," said Muza. "When once the novelty wears off----"

"Exactly," responded Fernando. "After all, what country can compare
with that in which one has been born?"

So the two princes parted, each to take his way to his native
land. But, despite the threats and entreaties of their advisers,
neither of them would ever again consent to make war upon the dominions
of the other, and it was even hinted by disgruntled and badly disposed
persons that Fernando and Muza met occasionally on their common
frontiers for the sole purpose of settling difficulties which had
arisen between their respective states--an unnatural proceeding which
they avowed was bound sooner or later to end in political disaster.



CHAPTER XII: TALES OF SPANISH MAGIC AND SORCERY


Spain seems to have been regarded by the other countries of Western
Europe as the special abode of superstition, sorcery, and magic,
probably because of the notoriety given to the discoveries of
the Moorish alchemists, the first scientists in Europe. But with
the coming of the Inquisition a marked and natural falling off is
noticeable in the prevalence of occult belief, for anything which
in the least tended to heresy was repressed in the most rigid manner
by that illiberal institution. In this way much of the folk-lore and
peasant belief of Spain, many fascinating legends, and many a curious
custom have been lost, never to be recovered. The Brothers, in their
zeal for the purity of their Church, banished not only the witch,
the sorcerer, and the demon from Spain, but also the innocent fairy,
the spirits of wood and wold, and those household familiars which
harm no one, but assist the housewife and the dairymaid.

The first information we receive that the authorities intended a
campaign against the whole demonhood, good and evil, of Spain is
contained in a work by Alfonso de Speria, a Castilian Franciscan, who
wrote, about 1458 or 1460, a work specially directed against heretics
and unbelievers, in which he gives a chapter on those popular beliefs
which were derived from ancient pagan practices. The belief in witches,
whom he calls xurguine (jurguia) or bruxe, seems to have been imported
from Dauphiné or Gascony, where, he tells us, they abounded. They
were, he says, wont to assemble at night in great numbers on a high
tableland, carrying candles with them, for the purpose of worshipping
Satan, who appeared to them in the form of a boar, rather than in
that of the he-goat in which he so frequently manifested himself in
other localities.

Llorente, in his History of the Inquisition in Spain, states that the
first auto-de-fé against sorcery was held at Calabarra in 1507, when
thirty women charged with witchcraft by the Inquisition were burnt. In
the first treatise on Spanish sorcery, that of Martin de Castanaga,
a Franciscan monk (1529), we learn that Navarre was regarded as the
motherland of Spanish witchcraft, and that that province sent many
'missionaries' to Aragon to convert its women to sorcery. But we
find that the Spanish theologians of the sixteenth century were
so much more enlightened than those of other countries that they
admitted that witchcraft was merely a delusion, and the punishment
they meted out to those who believed in it was inflicted in respect
that the belief, erroneous though it was, was contrary to the tenets
of the Church. Pedro de Valentin, in a treatise on the subject (1610),
entirely adopts the opinion that the acts confessed to by the witches
were imaginary. He attributed them partly to the manner in which the
examinations were carried out, and to the desire of the ignorant people
examined to escape by saying what seemed to please their persecutors,
and partly to the effect of the ointments and draughts which they had
been taught to use, which were composed of ingredients that produced
sleep and acted upon the imagination and the mental faculties.



The Religion of Witchcraft

This view is very generally held at the present time as accounting for
the phenomena of witchcraft. But the researches of Charles Godfrey
Leland, Miss M. A. Murray, and others, seem to indicate that the
cult of witchcraft is by no means a thing of the imagination. The
last-named writer, indeed, claims that it is the detritus of an
ancient pagan faith surviving into modern times, having a priesthood
and well-defined ritual of its own, and in a measure conserving the
practice of child-sacrifice.

There can be little doubt that this conception of witchcraft is the
correct one. In the records of the caste there are numerous proofs
that it had a definite ritual and an established priesthood, and
that imagination played but a small part in shaping the belief of
the adherents of the cult. [55]



The Story of Dr Torralva

Spain had not in the sixteenth century ceased to be celebrated for its
magicians, who still retained a modicum of the occult philosophy of
the Moorish doctors of Toledo and Granada. Perhaps the most celebrated
of these comparatively modern masters of magic was Doctor Eugenio
Torralva, physician to the family of the Admiral of Castile. Educated
at Rome, he early became a pronounced sceptic, and formed an intimacy
with a certain Master Alfonso, a man who, after changing his Jewish
faith for Islam, and that again for Christianity, had at last become
a free-thinker. Another evil companion was a Dominican monk called
Brother Pietro, who told Torralva that he had in his service a good
angel called Zequiel, who had no equal in the spiritual world as a
seer, and was besides of such a disinterested temperament that he
served only those who had complete confidence in him and deserved
his attachment.

All this excited Torralva's curiosity to an unbounded degree. He
was one of those people, fortunate or otherwise, in whom the love of
mystery has been deeply implanted, and when Pietro generously proposed
to resign his familiar spirit to his friend's keeping he eagerly
accepted the offer. Nor did Zequiel himself offer any opposition
to this change of master, and, appearing at the summons of Pietro,
assured Torralva that he would follow his service as long as he lived,
and wherever he was obliged to go. There was nothing very startling
in the appearance of the spirit, who was dressed in a flesh-coloured
habit and black cloak, and had the appearance of a young man with an
abundance of fair hair.

From this time onward Zequiel appeared to Torralva at every change
of the moon, and as often as the physician required his services,
which was generally for the purpose of transporting him in a short
space of time to distant places. Sometimes the spirit assumed the
appearance of a hermit, at others that of a traveller, and even
accompanied his master to church, from which circumstance Torralva
concluded that he was a beneficent and Christian-minded spirit. But,
alas! Dr Torralva was to find, like many another, that attendance at
the sacred edifice is not necessarily a guarantee of piety.

For many years Torralva continued to reside in Italy, but in the year
1502 he felt a strong desire to return to the land of his birth. He
did so, but seems to have made Rome his headquarters once more in
the following year, placing himself under the protection of his old
patron, the Bishop of Volterra, now become a cardinal. The influence
this connexion brought him proved of the greatest service to him, and
he soon rose to high repute for his skill in medicine. But neither the
pious cardinal nor any of the other distinguished patients who sought
his aid knew that he drew practically all his medical knowledge from
his unseen famulus, who taught him the secret virtues of young plants,
with which other physicians were not acquainted. Zequiel, however,
was untainted by the love of lucre; for when his master pocketed
those 'thumping' fees to which all good physicians aspire the spirit
rebuked him, telling him that since he had received his knowledge
for nothing he ought to impart it gratuitously. On the other hand,
did the doctor require funds, he never failed to find a supply of
money in his private apartment, which he knew implicitly must have
been placed there by his familiar.

Torralva returned to Spain in 1510, and lived for some time at the
Court of Ferdinand the Catholic. One day Zequiel confided to him that
the King would shortly receive some very disagreeable news. Torralva at
once communicated this piece of intelligence to Ximenes de Cisneros,
Archbishop of Toledo, and to the Grande Capitan, Gonzalvo Hernández
de Cordova. On the same day a courier arrived from Africa bearing
dispatches which informed his Majesty that an expedition against the
Moors had met with disaster, and that its commander, Don Garcia de
Toledo, son of the Duke of Alva, had been slain.

When in Rome it appears that Torralva had been so indiscreet as
to summon Zequiel to appear before his patron, Cardinal Volterra,
who now, hearing of the manner in which his protégé had 'prophesied'
the disaster to the Spanish arms, acquainted the Archbishop of Toledo
with the means by which the doctor had received intelligence of the
defeat. Torralva, ignorant of this, continued in his forecasts of
political and other events, and soon found his reputation as a seer
greatly enhanced. Among others who consulted him was the Cardinal
of Santa Cruz, to whom a certain Donna Rosales had complained that
her nights were disturbed by a frightful phantom, which appeared in
the form of a murdered man. Her physician, Morales, had watched at
night with the lady, but although she had pointed out the precise
spot where the grisly vision took its stand, he could discern nothing.

Torralva accompanied Morales to the lady's house, and, seated in
an ante-chamber, they heard her cry of alarm about an hour after
midnight. Entering her apartment, Morales again confessed his inability
to see the apparition, but Torralva, who was better acquainted with
the spiritual world, perceived a figure resembling a dead man, behind
which appeared a shadowy female form. "What dost thou seek here?" he
inquired, in a firm voice, whereupon the foremost spirit replied:
"I seek a treasure," and immediately vanished. Torralva consulted
Zequiel upon the subject, and upon his advice the cellars of the house
were dug up, whereupon the corpse of a man who had been stabbed to
death with a poignard was discovered, and upon its receiving Christian
burial the visitations ceased.

Among Torralva's intimate friends was one Don Diego de Zuñiga,
a relative of the Duke of Bejar, and brother of Don Antonio, Grand
Prior of the Order of St John in Castile. Zuñiga had consulted the
learned doctor as to how he could gain money at play by magical means,
and Torralva informed him that this could be accomplished by writing
certain characters on paper, using for ink the blood of a bat. This
charm Torralva advised him to wear about his neck, so that he might
experience good luck at the gaming-table.

In 1520 Torralva went once more to Rome. Ere he left Spain he told
Zuñiga that he would be able to travel there astride a broomstick,
the course of which would be guided by a cloud of fire. On his arrival
at Rome he interviewed Cardinal Volterra, and the Grand Prior of the
Order of St John, who earnestly begged him to abandon all commerce with
his familiar spirit. Because of their exhortations, Torralva requested
Zequiel to leave his service, but met with a stern refusal. The spirit,
however, advised him to return to Spain, assuring him that he would
obtain the place of physician to the Infanta Eleanora, Queen-Dowager
of Portugal, and later consort of Francis I of France. Acting upon
this counsel, Torralva sailed once more for the land of his birth,
and obtained the promised appointment.

In 1525 an incident occurred which greatly enhanced Torralva's
celebrity as a seer. On the 5th of May of that year Zequiel assured
him that the troops of the Emperor would take Rome on the following
day. Torralva desired the spirit to carry him to Rome so that he might
witness this great event with his own eyes. Zequiel gave him a stick
full of knots, and commanded him to shut his eyes. Torralva obeyed the
request of the famulus, and when after a space the spirit told him to
open his eyes once more, he found himself in Rome, standing on a high
tower. The hour was midnight, and when day dawned he duly witnessed the
terrible events which followed--the death of the Constable of Bourbon,
the flight of the Pope into the Castle of St Angelo, the slaughter
of the citizens, and the wild riot of the conquerors. Returning to
Valladolid by the same means as that by which he had come, Torralva
immediately made public all he had seen, and when, a week or so later,
news arrived of the capture and sack of Rome, the Court of Spain was
very naturally filled with unbounded surprise.

Many persons of high rank had been accomplices of the gifted doctor
in his practice of the black art, and one of these, in a fit of
remorse, notified the Holy Inquisition of his dealings with the
supernatural. Zuñiga too, who had benefited so greatly by the occult
knowledge of Torralva, now turned against him, and denounced him
to the Holy Office of Cuença, which had him arrested and cast into
prison. The terrified magician immediately confessed all his doings
with Zequiel, whom he persisted in regarding as a beneficent spirit,
and penned no less than eight declarations of his dealings with the
supernatural, some of which contradicted statements made in others
in a most ludicrous manner. In view of their unsatisfactory nature,
the unhappy necromancer was put to the torture, and an admission
of the demonic nature of his familiar was quickly extracted from
him. In March 1529 the Inquisitors suspended his process for a year,
a common practice of the Inquisition, which thus attempted to wear
its victims down. But, to the dismay of Torralva, a new witness made
his appearance, who testified that in his early days at Rome the
imprisoned medico was prone to indulgence in occult arts, so that in
January 1530 Torralva was once more put upon his trial. The Inquisition
appointed two learned theologians to labour for his conversion, to whom
Torralva promised amendment in everything, except the renunciation of
the evil spirit with whom he had been associated for so long, assuring
his mentors that he had not the power to dismiss Zequiel. At length,
on his making a pretence to cast off his familiar and abjure his
heresies, he was released, and entered the service of the Admiral of
Castile, who had employed all his influence to obtain a pardon for
him. Immortalized in the pages of Don Quixote, he remains for all
time the archetype of the Spanish magician of the sixteenth century.



Moorish Magic

By no race was the practice of the occult arts studied with such
perseverance as by the Moors of Spain, and it is strange indeed that
only fragmentary notices of their works in this respect remain to
us. The statement that they were famous for magical and alchemical
studies is reiterated by numerous European historians, but the majority
of these have refrained from any description of their methods, and
the Moors themselves have left so few undoubted memorials of their
labours in this direction that we remain in considerable ignorance of
the trend of their efforts, so that if we desire any knowledge upon
this most recondite subject we must perforce collect it painfully
from the fragmentary notices of it in contemporary European and
Arabic literature.

The first name of importance which we encounter in the broken annals
of Moorish occultism is a great one--that of the famous Geber, who
flourished about 720-750, and who is reported to have penned upward
of five hundred works upon the philosopher's stone and the elixir of
life. In common with his fellow-alchemists, he appears to have failed
signally in his search for those marvellous elements, but if he was
unable to point the way to immortal life and boundless wealth, he is
said to have given mankind the nitrate of silver, corrosive sublimate,
and nitric acid. He believed that a preparation of gold would heal
all diseases in both animals and plants, as well as in human beings,
and that all metals were in a condition of chronic sickness in so
far that they had departed from their natural and original state
of gold. His works, all of which are in Latin, are not considered
authentic, but his Summa Perfectionis, a manual for the alchemical
student, has frequently been translated.

The Moorish alchemists taught that all metals are composed of varying
proportions of mercury and sulphur. They laboured strenuously to
multiply drugs out of the various mixtures and reactions of the
few chemicals at their disposal, but although they believed in the
theory of transmutation of metals they did not strive to effect
it. It belonged to their creed rather than to their practice. They
were a school of scientific artisans and experimentalists, first and
last. They probably owed their alchemical knowledge to Byzantium,
which in turn had received it from Egypt; or it may be that the Arabs
drew their scientific inspiration at first hand from the land of the
Nile, where the 'great art' of alchemy undoubtedly had its birth.



Astrology

Astrology was also an important branch of occult study with the Moors
of Spain, whose consideration of it greatly assisted the science
of mathematics, especially that branch of it which still retains
its Arabic name--algebra (al = the, jabara = to set, compute). It is
probable that the Arabs first received an insight into the practice of
foretelling events by the position of the planets at a given time from
the Chaldeans, who undoubtedly were its earliest students. References
to astrology are plentifully encountered in Spanish story, as the
reader will have observed. But high as it stood in the estimation
of the Moorish sages, it was still subservient to the grander and
more mysterious art of magic, whereby the spirits of the air could
be forced to do the will of the magus, and carry out his behests in
four elements. Most unfortunately, we are almost entirely ignorant of
the tenets of Moorish magic, owing probably to the circumstance that
it was averse to the spirit of Islam. But we know that it was founded
upon Alexandrian magic, and therefore recognized the principles of that
art as laid down by the great Hermes Trismegistus, who was none other
than the Egyptian Thoth, the god of writing, computation, and wisdom.

About the end of the tenth century the learned men of Europe began
to resort to Spain for the purpose of studying the arts, occult
and otherwise. Among the first to do so was Gerbert, afterward Pope
Sylvester II, who spent several years in Cordova, and who introduced
into Christendom the knowledge of the Arabic numerals and the no
less useful art of clock-making. Strange that he did not apply his
knowledge of the one to the other, and that even to-day our timepieces
are burdened with the old and cumbrous Roman numerals! William
of Malmesbury assures us that Gerbert made many discoveries of
treasure through the art of necromancy, and relates how he visited a
magnificent subterranean palace, which, though dazzling to the sight,
would not remain when its splendours were subjected to the test of
human touch. Ignorant Europe took Gerbert's mathematical diagrams
for magical signs, and his occult reputation increased as his moral
character withered. It was said that the Devil had promised him that
he should not die until he had celebrated high mass at Jerusalem. One
day Gerbert celebrated his office in the Church of the Holy Cross
of Jerusalem at Rome, and, feeling ill, asked where he was, observed
the double entendre of the Evil One, and expired. Such was the tale
that benighted ignorance cast round the memory of this single-minded
and enlightened man, much in the same spirit as it bedevilled the
recollections of our own Michael Scot and Roger Bacon.



The Dean of Santiago

In the Conde Lucanor, a Spanish collection of tales and homilies
of the fourteenth century, already alluded to, is a story of the
Dean of Santiago, who went to Illan, a magician of Toledo, to be
instructed in necromancy. The magus raised a difficulty, saying that
as the Dean was a man of influence, and would attain a high position,
he would probably forget all past obligations. The Dean, however,
protested that no matter to what eminence he attained he would not
fail to remember and assist his former friends, and particularly his
tutor in things supernatural. Satisfied with the churchman's promises,
the necromancer led his pupil to a remote apartment, first requesting
his housekeeper to purchase some partridges for supper, but not to
cook them until she had definite orders to do so.

When the Dean and his instructor had settled themselves to the business
before them, they were interrupted in their labours by a messenger,
who came to inform the Dean that his uncle, the Archbishop, had
summoned him to his death-bed. Being unwilling, however, to forgo
the instruction he was about to receive, he excused himself from the
duty. Four days later, another messenger arrived, informing the Dean of
the Archbishop's death, and later he learned that he had been appointed
Archbishop in his uncle's place. On hearing this, Illan requested the
vacant deanery for his son. But the new Archbishop preferred his own
brother, inviting, however, Illan and his son to accompany him to
his see. Later the deanery became vacant once more, and once again
the magician begged that his son might be appointed to it. But the
Archbishop refused his suit, in favour of one of his own uncles. Two
years later the Archbishop became a cardinal, and was summoned to Rome,
with liberty to appoint his successor in the see. Once more Illan was
disappointed. At length the Cardinal was elected Pope, and Illan, who
had accompanied him to Rome, reminded him that he had now no excuse
for not fulfilling the promises he had so often made to him. The
Pope, in anger, threatened to have Illan cast into prison and starved
as a heretic and sorcerer. "Ingrate!" cried the incensed magician,
"since you would thus starve me, I must perforce fall back upon the
partridges I ordered for to-night's supper."

With these words he waved his wand, and called to his housekeeper
to prepare the birds. Instantly the Dean found himself once more in
Toledo, still Dean of Santiago, for, indeed, the years he had spent
as Archbishop, Cardinal, and Pope were illusory, and had existed only
in his imagination at the suggestion of the magus. This was the means
the sage had taken to test his character, before committing himself to
his hands, and so crestfallen was the churchman that he had nothing to
reply to the reproaches of Illan, who sent him off without permitting
him to sup upon the partridges!

It is strange that physicians and priests figure most notably as the
heroes of Spanish magical story--strange, until we reflect upon the
manner in which the learned classes were regarded by an illiterate
and illiberal commonalty. Torquemada tells a story of a youth of his
acquaintance, a young man of great ability, who was afterward physician
to the Emperor Charles V. When he was a student at Guadalupe, and
was travelling to Granada, he was invited by a traveller, dressed
in the garments of a churchman, whom he had obliged in some manner,
to mount behind him on his horse, and he would carry him to his
destination. The horse seemed a sorry jade, unable to carry the
weight of two able-bodied men, and at first the student refused the
mount, but, on pressure, at length accepted a seat behind the seeming
ecclesiastic. The horseman requested his companion not to fall asleep
in the saddle, and they jogged on, without any appearance of their
going at an extraordinary rate. At daybreak, to the student's surprise,
he found himself near the city of Granada, where the horseman left him,
marvelling that the distance between two places so widely separated
could have been covered in a single night.



Spectres and Apparitions

As might be imagined, the strong vein of superstition in the Spanish
character, if subdued to some extent by the harsh dictates of the Holy
Office, yet rose triumphant in other spheres of occult belief. We find,
for example, a widely diffused belief in the power of the dead to
return to the scenes of previous existence, and this superstition is
well illustrated by a weird passage in the thrilling and mysterious
pages of Goulart, who in his Trésor des Histoires admirables [56]
knows well how to mingle shadows with the colours on his palette.

He tells us how Juan Vasquez Ayala and two other young Spaniards,
on their way to a French university, were unable to find suitable
accommodation at a certain village where they had halted for the night,
and were obliged to take shelter in a deserted house, the reputation
of which as a haunted vicinity had flourished for a considerable time
among the villagers.

The young men made the best of matters, borrowed articles of
furniture from several neighbouring houses, and resolved to give a
warm reception to any supernatural visitant who should have a mind
to pay them a call. But on the first night of their occupancy they
had scarcely fallen asleep when they were awakened by a noise as of
clanking chains, which seemed to proceed from the lower regions of
their temporary dwelling.

Absolutely fearless, young Ayala leaped from his bed and, donning his
clothes, sallied downstairs in search of the cause of the clamour which
had awakened himself and his comrades. In one hand he carried his drawn
sword, in the other a lighted candle, and on coming to a door which
led to the courtyard of the house he perceived a dreadful spectre--a
grisly skeleton, standing in the entrance. The grim apparition which
confronted him was loaded with chains, which clanked with a doomful
and melancholy sound on the ears of the gallant young student, who,
however, undismayed by the spectacle before him, advanced the point
of his sword and demanded the intruder's reason for disturbing his
rest. The phantom waved its arms, shook its bony head, and beckoned
with its hand, as if asking Ayala to follow it. The student expressed
his willingness to do so, on which the ghost commenced to descend
a flight of steps, dragging its legs as it went like a man whose
limbs were weighted with iron shackles. Ayala followed fearlessly,
but as he advanced his candle suddenly flickered and went out, a
circumstance which did little to reinforce his courage. "Hold!" he
called to the phantom. "You perceive my candle has gone out. If you
will wait till I relight it, I shall return in a moment."

Rushing to a light which burned in the hall, he relit his candle, and
returned to the spot where he had left the apparition. He entered the
garden, where he saw a well, close by which he perceived the ghost,
which signed to him to continue his progress, and having gone a little
way forward, vanished.

Puzzled, the student returned to his apartment, and told his comrades
to accompany him to the garden, but search as they might, nothing
could they find. Next day they reported what had occurred to the
alcalde of the village, who had the garden examined, with the result
that immediately beneath the spot where the phantom had disappeared
a skeleton was exhumed, loaded with chains. When proper burial had
been given to the remains the noises in the house abruptly ceased,
but the adventure proved too much for the superstitious Spaniards, who
returned home abruptly, without fulfilling the object of their journey.

This tale is a capital example of the typical ghost story in
its earliest phase. I will not descant upon it here, as a book on
Spanish romance and legend is scarcely the place for a disquisition
on the occult. But we are learning, slowly and painfully perhaps,
to regard these matters from another point of view than our Victorian
grandfathers, whose materialism pooh-poohed the supernatural without
trying to account for it. In any case I am one of those who believe
in it and who desire to believe in it, so that the reflections of
such a biased person are perhaps better dispensed with.

Torquemada tells a gruesome story of one Antonio Costilla, a Spanish
gentleman, who one day left his mansion, well mounted, on a matter of
personal business. When he had ridden several leagues, night suddenly
fell, and he resolved to return to his home, but to his dismay he was
overtaken by the darkness, and seeing a light ahead rode his horse
at a walk in its direction. He saw that it proceeded from a small
hermitage, and, dismounting, he entered the little chapel and engaged
in prayer. As his eyes became accustomed to the darkness, he saw that
he was not alone, for the hermitage was occupied by three persons, who
lay upon the ground, wrapped in black mantles. They did not address
him, but lay regarding him with wild, melancholy eyes. Terrified,
he knew not by what, he leaped into the saddle and rode off. In a
little while the moon shone out, and showed him the three men whom he
thought he had left in the chapel riding a little in front of him on
black horses. In order to avoid them, he turned down a by-path, but
to his horror still observed them riding a few paces ahead. Spurring
madly on, yet always preceded by those whom he desired to avoid, he
came in time to the gate of his own house, where he dismounted, and
led his horse into the courtyard--only to find there the three cloaked
figures awaiting him. He rushed into the house, and entered his wife's
apartment, calling for help. Instantly the entire household came to
his assistance, but although he screamed loudly that the three fiends
or apparitions stood by the couch on which he had thrown himself,
they were invisible to all others. A few days later the wretched
Costilla died, maintaining to the last that three forms with glaring
eyes stood over his bed, menacing him with frightful gestures.

Pity it is that our knowledge of the supernatural as manifested in
Spain is so slight and fragmentary. But the dread of the sorcerer's
fate was heavy upon the people, and the fear of torture by rack or
fire successfully banished witch, wizard, fay, and phantom from the
fields and cities of the Peninsula.



CHAPTER XIII: HUMOROUS ROMANCES OF SPAIN


                            Cervantes, the bold metal of thy lance
                            Shatters the crystal turrets of Romance;
                            Down falls the wreck in ruin most immense
                            Upon the dreary plains of common sense.

                                                                   L. S.


Cervantes' "Don Quixote"

Cervantes was one of the world's great satirists, a man gifted with
a keen and peculiar sense of the ridiculous. He would himself have
been the first to laugh at those modern critics who professed to
see in him a great poet, and indeed, at the end of his days, when
he assessed his life's work in his mock-heroic Voyage to Parnassus,
he admitted that he had not the poetic gift. That he had a golden
imagination is obvious to anyone who cares to read his Galatea,
imitative as it is, and Don Quixote overflows with imagination and
invention, although certain later passages of the wondrous satire
are extremely reminiscent of some of its earlier pages.

To me Don Quixote has always seemed one of the most precious and
curious of books, but probably for very different reasons from those by
which it makes its appeal to the majority of people, for it is because
of the information it affords concerning romantic literature and
customs that I treasure it most. Where the satire is really legitimate
I revel in the fun as much as it is possible for anyone to do, but
I feel that many of its passages are rather shabbily iconoclastic,
and that some of its strictures are levelled not only against the
absurdities of chivalric extravagance, but against the whole spirit
and structure of romance. It had been well, too, for Cervantes had
he confined himself entirely to the satiric vein, for when he essays
to employ the very literary vehicle at which he chiefly scoffed he
frequently becomes more maudlin--that is the only word for it--than
the most sentimental writers against whom he girds. His shepherds
and shepherdesses and his runaway nuns are long-winded and pedantic,
and he was indeed badly bitten by that tiresome Arcadian phase in
European literature which culminated in the prose pastoral, which
had its roots in false conventions and employed as its mise en scène
an atmosphere of sham rural felicity. Sannazaro, in his Arcadia,
had indeed piped the tune to which Cervantes danced for many a day
ere his own strong common sense showed him the fatuity of the models
which he followed. The author of the Pastor de Filida, Luiz Galvez
de Montalvo, was his own close friend, and there is every evidence
that he made wholesale raids upon the distinctly minor efforts of
such poetasters as Hebrao and Alonso Perez. The works of the men who
composed this school of pseudo-Arcadianism had none of the charm of
the delightful canvases of Watteau and Fragonard, silk-coated and
satin-gowned though their shepherds and shepherdesses be. The country
of the Spanish pastoral had a background of pasteboard scenery, and
theatrical effects of lighting flashed across its stage. It was peopled
by bores of the most intolerable description, who, instead of looking
after their live stock, as they were paid to do, wearied each other and
the wretched traveller who was unhappy enough to encounter them with
their amorous bellowings and interminable tales of misfortune. Little
wonder that the native good sense of Cervantes recoiled later from
this unworthy and unmanly nonsense. But it is extraordinary that
although he meted out such merciless treatment to chivalric romance,
he still retained a weakness for the follies of Arcady, from which,
to the last, he was unable to free himself.

The circumstances of Cervantes' career undoubtedly assisted him
to discipline his ideas. As a collector of taxes he had, perforce,
to come into contact with the seamy side of life, and much of his
time was spent in the Bohemian atmosphere of inns, where he was
compelled to lodge while he worked the district allotted to him. In
these circumstances and in these places he encountered men and women
of flesh and blood, and came up against the iron wall of hard,
solid reality. Such an experience is undoubtedly most valuable
to a man of romantic or imaginative temperament, gifted with
creative ability. It tempers his natural capacities and enlarges
his views. Doubtless Cervantes, when he first went his rounds, had
been in the habit of regaling his fellow-travellers in the posadas
in which he sojourned with high-falutin stories of errant shepherds
and wandering shepherdesses. We can imagine the degree of amusement
with which the rough muleteer, the blunt soldier, and the travelling
quack would greet those sallies. The criticism of such people is not
strained--it is annihilating! Can we doubt that the laughter with
which his earlier rhapsodies were received in company of this sort
blew away the fantastic cobwebs from Cervantes' brain?

I have already indicated that in the age in which he lived the romance
proper had fallen into considerable popular disfavour. This was due
partly to the circumstances of a changed environment, and partly to
the type of literary opinion which had recently been fostered by the
rise of the Spanish drama, which had brought about an entirely new
literary ideal. Can it be that Cervantes, finding that his audiences
regarded the Arcadian type of tale with disfavour, attributed this
to the circumstance that it was fashionable in high circles, and
fell back upon the romance, only to find that it too was greeted
with guffaws and laughed out of the inn parlour? Was it in the quips
and sneers of such audiences, the very antithesis of the romantic
personages of whom he had dreamed, that the idea of Don Quixote took
shape in his brain, and that in the laughter of clowns and men of the
hard world, of the struggling lower middle class, he perceived the
certain popularity which a caricature of chivalry would enjoy? So,
it seems to me, it may have been.

For many a year the sham romance of chivalry had been regarded as
a pest. Serious and responsible writers had thundered against it,
and there is every evidence that in a measure it stood between
a certain section of the people of Spain and anything like mental
advancement. It had, indeed, turned the heads of that portion of the
nation unaccustomed to think for itself, and unable to form a rational
opinion regarding its demerits. In all countries and at all times,
this class, usually impressionable and easily led, falls an easy prey
to the blandishments of the hack writer of sensational proclivities. It
is not too much to say that unhealthy sensationalism in literature
constitutes a real and active danger to national well-being. It seduces
the people from their duties, unfits them for the serious business of
life, renders them pretentious rather than independent, and leads them
to the belief that they reflect the virtues or vices of the absurd
heroes and heroines of their favourite tales. The one weapon which
the more sensible portion of the community can bring to bear against
such a pernicious condition of affairs is healthy ridicule, which
it usually meets with from the rational and the well-balanced. But
the danger exists that in the revulsion of public feeling against
literary extravagance not only the absurdities which have obsessed
the thoughtless and irritated the sensible will undergo destruction
and banishment, but those higher virtues and graces of which they
are the distorted reflection will not be discriminated against, but
will be demolished along with them. Such, indeed, was the fate which
befell the greater romances, those jewels of human imagination, which,
although Cervantes himself made an effort to save them, shared in the
general wreck and ruin of the fiction of which they were the flower,
until the taste and insight of a later day excavated them from the
super-incumbent mass under which they lay buried.



The Figure of Don Quixote

Don Quixote, the central figure of the mighty satire which gave its
death-blow to chivalry, is perhaps typical of the romance reader of
Cervantes' day. Crack-brained and imaginative to the verge of madness,
he is entirely lost to the uses of everyday existence. He lives in a
world of his own, and has nothing in common with that of his time,
to the spirit of which he cannot adapt himself. In this gentleman
of La Mancha the vices of the imagination are well portrayed, but
they are unaccompanied by those gifts through which imagination
can be rendered of utility to the community. Don Quixote dwells on
the heights of a chivalric Parnassus, a land of magic peopled by
the spectres and shadows which he has encountered in the books with
which his library is so well furnished. His imagination is thus not
even creative, but derivative; reliance upon the "idols he has loved
so long" has "done his credit in men's eyes much wrong," and he is
regarded by his neighbours as an amiable lunatic of no importance. But
the dreamer, when roused to action, can be a very terrible person if
his visions chance to direct him astray, and if he attempt to realize
a nightmare. Thus it was with Don Quixote. Scarcely mad enough for
confinement, but yet sufficiently crazy to become a public nuisance,
if not a public menace, he justly typifies the kind of person in
whom romance runs mad, and is thus of the same class as the small boy
who is incited to acts of petty larceny by the perusal of detective
stories, or the young lady behind the ribbon-counter who is under
the impression that she is the long-lost daughter of a mysterious peer.

It is symptomatic of such craziness that it craves companionship. It
is indeed a species of vanity which must have an audience, however
small or however unsuited to its purposes. Again, the element of
conspiracy is as the apple of its eye, and it must confide its ideas
and aspirations to one sympathetic ear at least. In Sancho Panza, Don
Quixote finds a strange confidant. The luckless peasant is completely
unable to comprehend his master's point of view, but is carried away
by his rodomontades and the glib and gorgeous promises of preferment
and prosperity which the crack-brained knight holds out to him. To
his participation in the wild scheme of the visionary Don, Sancho's
shrewd spouse violently objects, but when dreamer and dunce get
together common sense may hold its tongue and content itself with the
knowledge that it is not until windmills have been tilted at and sound
trouncings have been received that its advice will be listened to.

But though he begins his travels as a dunce, Sancho by no means remains
one. He profits from his experiences, and almost every page shows him
increasing in judgment and in that humour which is the salt of good
judgment. As his master grows madder, Sancho grows wiser, until at
last he becomes capable of direction and guidance toward the rueful
knight. As we proceed we begin to suspect that the peasant-squire
exists as a kind of chorus to illustrate the excesses of his master
and criticize his absurdities. But apart altogether from Don Quixote,
Sancho Panza is a striking and arresting figure in modern fiction,
possessing a philosophy of his own, rich in worldly wisdom and
abounding with practical ability. On the humorous side he is equal to
Falstaff, only whereas Falstaff's humour is typically English that
of Sancho Panza is universal. He is a world-clown, with the outlook
of a philosopher and the unconscious humour of a Handy Andy.



The Adventure at the Inn

The true measure of the character of Don Quixote is perhaps met with
in that chapter which recounts what occurred to him in the inn which he
took for a castle. The place seems to have been a very ordinary Spanish
posada. The host and hostess were kindly folk whom the knight at once
exalted to the rank of a castellan and châtelaine, and in the dowdy
maidservant, who has been immortalized under the name of Maritornes,
he saw a great lady who dwelt in their company. After the terrible
trouncing he had received from the Yanguesian carriers the wretched
knight was glad to rest his battered limbs in a miserable garret
of the place, while Sancho explained to the inn-folk the nature of a
knight-errant and the vicissitudes of errantry, which one day compelled
its adherents to undergo such hardship as the Don now suffered from,
and the next exalted them to the heights of sovereignty over many
empires. These explanations were seconded by the Knight of the Rueful
Countenance himself, who, sitting up in bed, entertained the hostess
and maidservant to a speech so grandiloquent that, lost in wonder at
his eloquence, "they admired him as a man of another world." But Don
Quixote, anxious to recover from his injuries, begged his squire to
procure from "the governor of the castle" the ingredients of a magical
balm of which he had read in some book of chivalry. These he obtained,
and Don Quixote busied himself by concocting the enchanted liquor
over the fire, saying over it many credos and paternosters. Then
he drank deeply of the awful compound, with distressing effect, and
Sancho, following his example, underwent a similar but more violent
experience, and was assured by his master that the balsam disagreed
with him because he had not received the order of knighthood!

Saddling his horse, the knight was about to proceed on his journey,
but before he set out he assured "the lord governor of the castle"
how deeply grateful he was for the honours he had received while
under his roof. The innkeeper suggested that the time for paying his
reckoning had come, but Don Quixote retorted that it was impossible
for him to do so, as no knight-errant of whom he had ever read was
wont to pay for board and lodging. The innkeeper protested loudly,
whereupon, clapping spurs to Rozinante, the knight rode out at the
gate. The innkeeper then attempted to extort his dues from Sancho
Panza, but without avail, as the squire quoted the same authorities
as his master, whereupon some of those who sojourned at the inn seized
him and tossed him in a blanket. Don Quixote, hearing his cries, rode
back, but although he stormed loudly the travellers still continued
to toss Sancho in the blanket, until at length, tired of the exercise,
they let him go.



Don Quixote's Love-Madness

In the space at our disposal it would be impossible to follow Don
Quixote step by step through the land of false romance which he had
created for himself. We will recall how Amadis on the Firm Island
bemoaned his separation from his lady-love, and how, when he came
to a locality known as the Black Mountain, Don Quixote resolved to
follow the example of the great hero of chivalry. Before he left his
native village he had placed his affections upon a country wench,
to whom he gave the romantic name of Dulcinea del Toboso, and now
that he had come to the Black Mountain he resolved to spend his time
in meditation upon the virtues and beauties of this super-excellent
damsel. After lecturing Sancho Panza upon the duty of a knight-errant
in meditation upon his lady, he became irritated with the squire
because he could not understand the reason for his amorous fury.

"Pray, sir," quoth Sancho, "what is it that you mean to do in this
fag-end of the world?"

"Have I not already told thee," answered Don Quixote, "that I intend
to copy Amadis in his madness, despair and fury? Nay, at the same
time I will imitate the valiant Orlando Furioso's extravagance when
he ran mad, at which time in his frantic despair he tore up trees
by the roots, troubled the waters of the clear fountains, slew the
shepherds, destroyed their flocks, and committed a hundred thousand
other extravagances worthy to be recorded in the eternal register
of fame."

"Sir," quoth Sancho, "I dare say the knight who did these penances
had some reason to be mad. But what lady has sent you a-packing,
or even so much as slighted you?"

"That is the point," cried Don Quixote, "for in this consists the
singular perfection of my undertaking. It is neither strange nor
meritorious for a knight to run mad upon any just occasion. No, the
rarity is to run mad without a cause, without the least constraint
or necessity, for thus my mistress must needs have a vast idea of
my love. Waste no more time, therefore, in trying to divert me from
so rare, so happy, and so singular an imitation. I am mad and will
be mad until you return with an answer to the letter which you must
carry from me to the Lady Dulcinea. If it be favourable, my penance
shall end, but if not, then shall I be emphatically mad."

"Body o' me!" quoth Sancho, "why run you on at such a rate, Sir
Knight? All these tales of yours of the winning of kingdoms and
bestowing of islands rather appear to me as so much braggartry,
and now this latest mood of yours----"

"Now as I love bright arms," cried the Don, "I swear that thou art an
addle-pated ass. Know you not that all the actions and adventures of
a knight-errant seem to be mere chimæras and follies? Not that they
are so, but merely have that appearance through the malice and envy
of powerful enchanters."

As they talked they came near to a high rock, round which the wild
trees, plants, and flowers grew in profusion, and here the Knight of
the Woeful Figure resolved to perform his amorous penance. Throwing
himself on the ground, he broke into a loud frenzy of grief. "Go not
yet," he cried to Sancho, "for I desire that thou shalt be a witness
of what I will do for my lady's sake, that thou mayst give her an
account of it."

"Bless us," cried Sancho, "what can I see more that I have not seen
already?"

"Nothing as yet," replied Don Quixote. "Thou must see me throw away
mine armour, tear my clothes, knock my head against the rocks, and
do a thousand other things of that kind that will fill thee with
astonishment."

"Beware, sir," cried the squire. "If you needs must knock your noddle,
do so gently, I pray you."



The Army of Sheep

But surely the most mirth-provoking of all the adventures of Don
Quixote is that in which he takes a flock of sheep for an army. He
and Sancho were riding at bridle-pace over a wide plain, when they
perceived a thick cloud of dust in the distance.

"The day is come," cried the knight, "the happy day that fortune
has reserved for me, and in which the strength of my arm shall be
signalized by such exploits as shall be transmitted even to the
latest posterity. Seest thou yonder cloud of dust? Know then that it
is raised by a prodigious army marching this way and composed of an
infinite number of nations."

The wretched Don's brain was of course full to overflowing of the
accounts of those stupendous battles of myriads of paynims which,
as we have seen, are so frequently encountered in the old romances,
and he was delighted when Sancho pointed out that two separate hosts
seemed to be approaching from different points of the compass.

"Ha, so!" cried Don Quixote, flourishing his lance, "then shall
we assist the weaker side. Know, Sancho, that the host which now
confronts us is commanded by the great Alifanfaron, Emperor of the
Island of Taprobana. The other that advances behind us is his sworn
enemy, Pentapolin of the Naked Arm, King of the Garamantians."

"Pray, sir," quoth Sancho, "what is the cause of this quarrel between
two such great men?"

"It is a simple matter," answered Don Quixote. "The pagan Alifanfaron
dares to make his addresses to the daughter of Pentapolin, who has
told him that he will have naught of him unless he abjure his false
beliefs."

"If a battle be at hand," said Sancho nervously, "where shall I place
my ass, for I fear he will not prove of much avail in the charge."

"True," answered Don Quixote. "We will soon provide a destrier for
thee when the knights begin to fall from their saddles. But let
us scan their ranks. He who wears the gilded arms and bears on
his shield a crowned lion couchant at the feet of a lady is the
valiant Lord Luarcalco, Lord of the Silver Bridge. Yonder is the
formidable Micocolembo, the great Duke of Quiracia, wearing armour
powdered with flowers of gold. The gigantic form upon his right is
the dauntless Brandabarbaran, sovereign of the Three Arabias, whose
armour is made of serpents' skins, and who carries for a shield the
gate of the temple which Samson pulled down at his death. But our
allies also advance. Yonder marches Timonel of Carcaxona, Prince
of New Biscay, who bears on his shield a cat or in a field gules,
with the motto 'Miau.' Beside him rides Espartafilardo of the Wood,
whose blue shield is powdered with asparagus plants. But the pagans
press on. To the right cluster those who drink the pleasant stream
of the Xanthus, there the rude mountaineers of Massilia, behind them
those who gather gold from the sands of Arabia Felix, the treacherous
Numidians, the bowmen of Persia, the Medes and Parthians who fight
flying, the houseless Arabians, and the sooty Ethiopians."

"Upon my soul," cried Sancho, "surely thy magicians are at work again,
for not a single knight, giant or man can I see of all those you talk
of now."

"Blockhead!" cried Don Quixote. "Hark to the neighing of countless
horses, the fanfare of the trumpets, and the thunder of many drums."

"Surely this is sorcery," replied the puzzled Sancho, "for I hear
nothing but the bleating of sheep."

"Retreat, if thou fearest the engagement," replied the Don, with a
haughty sneer, "for I with my single arm am sufficient to give the
victory to that side which I shall favour with my assistance," and
with a loud and warlike cry he couched his lance, clapped spurs to
the lean side of Rozinante, and charged like a thunderbolt into the
plain, crying: "Courage, brave knights! Woe upon that great infidel
Alifanfaron of Taprobana."

In another moment he was among the flock of sheep, charging through and
through it, and piercing an animal at each thrust of his lance. The
shepherds, in great dismay, unloosed their slings and began to ply
him with stones as big as their fists. But, disdainful of this petty
artillery, he cried upon Alifanfaron, whom in imagination he was
about to engage, when a stone as big as a good-sized pippin struck
him heavily upon the short ribs. Thinking himself desperately wounded,
he pulled out the earthen flask which contained his magic balsam; but
just as he was in the act of raising this to his lips, a stone from the
sling of a shepherd struck it so forcibly as to shiver it to atoms,
and passing through it broke three of his teeth and tumbled him from
the saddle. The shepherds, fearing that they had killed him, picked
up the dead sheep and made off, leaving him more dead than alive.



Mambrino's Helmet

No less notable is Cervantes' account of the adventure in which Don
Quixote succeeded in obtaining the helmet of Mambrino. At a distance
he espied a horseman who wore upon his head something that glittered
like gold. Turning to Sancho, he said:

"Behold, yonder comes he who wears upon his head the helmet of
Mambrino, which I have sworn to make mine own."

"Now the truth of the story," says Cervantes, "was this: there were
in that part of the country two villages, one of which was so little
that it had not so much as a shop in it, nor any barber; so that the
barber of the greater village served also the smaller. And thus a
person happening to have occasion to be let blood, and another to
be shaved, the barber was going thither with his brass basin, which
he had clapped upon his head to keep his hat, that chanced to be a
new one, from being spoiled by the rain; and as the basin was new
scoured, it made a glittering show a great way off. As Sancho had
well observed, he rode upon a grey ass, which Don Quixote as easily
took for a dapple-grey steed as he took the barber for a knight,
and his brass basin for a golden helmet; his distracted brain easily
applying every object to his romantic ideas. Therefore, when he saw
the poor imaginary knight draw near, he fixed his lance, or javelin,
to his thigh, and without staying to hold a parley with his thoughtless
adversary, flew at him as fiercely as Rozinante would gallop, resolved
to pierce him through and through; crying out in the midst of his
career: 'Caitiff! wretch! defend thyself, or immediately surrender
that which is so justly my due.'"

The barber, seeing this awful apparition come thundering down upon him,
and in terror lest he should be run through by Don Quixote's lance,
threw himself off his ass on to the ground and, hastily rising, ran off
at the top of his speed, leaving both his ass and his basin behind him.

"Of a truth," said Don Quixote, "the miscreant who has left this helmet
has shown himself as prudent as the beaver, who, finding himself hotly
pursued by the hunters, to save his life cuts off with his teeth that
for which his natural instinct tells him he was followed."

"Upon my word," cried Sancho, "it is a right good basin, and worth
at least a piece of eight."

Don Quixote at once placed it on his head, but could find no visor,
and when he perceived that it had none, "Doubtless," said he, "the
pagan for whom this famous helmet was first made had a head of a
prodigious size, but unfortunately part of it is wanting."

At this Sancho laughed outright.

"I fancy," continued Don Quixote, "that this enchanted helmet has
fallen by some strange accident into the hands of some one who for
the lucre of a little money, and finding it to be of pure gold,
melted one half of it and of the other made this headpiece, which as
thou sayest has some resemblance to a barber's basin."



The Adventure of the Windmills

The most celebrated, if not the most amusing of Don Quixote's
adventures is certainly that of the windmills. Indeed "tilting at
windmills" has passed into a proverb. The dismal Don and his squire
had entered a certain plain where stood thirty or forty windmills,
and as soon as the knight espied them he cried: "Fortune directs
our affairs better than we ourselves could have wished. See, Sancho,
there are at least thirty outrageous giants whom I intend to encounter,
and with whose spoils we shall enrich ourselves."

"What giants?" quoth Sancho Panza.

"Those whom thou seest yonder," answered Don Quixote, "with their long,
extended arms."

"By your leave, sir," said the squire, "those things yonder are no
giants, but windmills."

"Alas, Sancho," said Don Quixote, "thou art but little acquainted with
adventures. I tell thee they are giants, and therefore if thou art
afraid, turn aside and say thy prayers, for I am resolved to engage in
an unequal combat against them all." Without another word he clapped
spurs to his horse, crying out: "Stand your ground, ignoble creatures,
and fly not basely from a single knight who dares encounter you
all!" At that moment the wind rose and the mill-sails began to move,
at which the Don cried aloud: "Base miscreants! though you move more
arms than the giant Briareus, you shall pay for your arrogance." Then,
devoutly recommending himself to his lady, he bore down upon the first
windmill, and running his lance into the sail, transfixed it. The sail,
however, continued to rise, drawing up both knight and horse along
with it, until at last the lance broke into shivers and Rozinante
and his master fell a good distance to the ground.

Sancho Panza at once ran up to the dismounted knight, who seemed to
have fared badly. "Alas, your worship," he cried, "did not I tell you
they were windmills, and that nobody could think otherwise unless he
had windmills in his head."

"Peace!" replied Don Quixote, who had been badly shaken by the fall. "I
am verily persuaded that the cursed necromancer Freston, who continues
to persecute me, has transformed these giants into windmills. But,
mark you, in the end all his pernicious wiles and stratagems shall
prove ineffectual against the prevailing edge of my sword."



The Story of the Captive

One of the most remarkable of the tales which are interspersed
throughout the history of Don Quixote is that of the captive which the
hero encounters at a certain inn, and which, if it is not actually
based upon the facts of Cervantes' own personal captivity among the
Moorish pirates, certainly draws much of its substance and colour
therefrom. On 26th September, 1575, the Spanish vessel Sol, on which
Cervantes served as a private soldier, was separated from the rest
of the Spanish squadron in the neighbourhood of Marseilles, and,
falling in with a flotilla of Moorish pirates, was captured after a
desperate resistance. Cervantes himself was sold as a slave to one
Dali Mami, a Greek renegade, who found upon his prisoner certain
highly eulogistic letters from Don John of Austria and the Duke of
Sessa. These flattering credentials led his new master to suppose that
Cervantes was a man of consequence, and that he would presumably be
able to draw a large ransom for him. But although the great are often
quite ready to provide genius with grandiloquent testimonials which
cost them only the expense of a little ink and paper, they are by no
means prone to back their assertions of ability by tabling large sums
of money, and Cervantes continued to languish in captivity. In 1576
he attempted to escape with other prisoners, but their Moorish guide
played them false, and, threatened by hunger, the party was forced
to return to Algiers. In the following year Cervantes' brother was
ransomed, and he undertook to send a vessel to carry off Miguel and his
friends. Meanwhile the author of Don Quixote enlisted the sympathies of
a Spanish renegade, a Navarrese gardener named Juan. Between them they
dug a cave in a garden near the sea, and secreted in it, one by one,
fourteen Christian slaves, who were secretly fed during several months
by the help of another renegade known as El Dorador. The vessel sent
by Rodrigo de Cervantes stood in to the shore, and was on the point of
embarking those hidden in the cave when a Moorish fishing-boat passed
by, and so alarmed the rescuers that they put to sea again. Meanwhile
the treacherous El Dorador had revealed the plan to Hassan Pasha,
the Dey of Algiers, and when several of the crew of rescuers landed
on a second occasion to convey the fugitives on board, the Dey's
troops surrounded the garden, and the entire band of Christians was
captured. Cervantes, with that true nobility which characterized
him throughout life, took the entire blame of the conspiracy upon
himself. Dragged bound before Hassan, he adhered to his statement,
and although the unfortunate gardener was hanged, Hassan decided to
spare Cervantes' life, and for some reason known to himself purchased
the poet from Dali Mami for five hundred crowns. Perhaps the tyrant
expected an immense ransom from a man whose nobility of bearing must
have impressed him. But be that as it may, Cervantes at once began to
set on foot a third scheme of escape. He sent a letter to the Spanish
Governor of Oran, asking for assistance, but this was intercepted,
and the poet was sentenced to two thousand blows, which, however,
were never inflicted. Cervantes now conceived the idea of inducing the
Christian population of Algiers to rise and capture the city. In this
project he was assisted by some Valencian traders, but the scheme was
revealed to Hassan by a Dominican monk, and the Valencians, hearing
of the priest's treachery, and fearing lest they might be implicated,
begged Cervantes to make his escape on a ship which was about to start
for Spain. But Cervantes refused to desert his friends, and when he
was once more dragged before Hassan with a hangman's rope round his
neck, and threatened with instant death unless he revealed the names
of his accomplices, he obstinately refused to betray them.

Meanwhile his family were doing their utmost to procure his release,
and in order that they might collect his ransom, his mother, the better
to inspire pity, actually passed herself off as a widow, though her
husband, a medical practitioner of great age, was still alive. By
tremendous exertions they succeeded in collecting two hundred and
fifty ducats, which they paid to a certain monk who went regularly to
Algiers, but this Hassan refused to accept, asking for one prisoner
of distinction, called Palafox, the sum of one thousand ducats. The
monk seems to have acted as an official ransomer to the Spaniards,
and when Hassan found that he would pay no more than five hundred
ducats for Palafox, he offered to ransom Cervantes for that sum by
way of making a bargain. So after five years of slavery the author
of Don Quixote was set free, and returned to his native soil. But
the Dominican monk who had revealed to Hassan his attempted escape,
and who was probably afraid that Cervantes would charge him with
this treachery, no sooner heard that he had landed in Spain than
he spread false reports regarding his conduct. These, however,
Cervantes was easily able to rebut, and his character as a heroic
leader among the captives was amply vindicated. The captive's story,
for which Cervantes had had the mournful privilege of collecting so
much 'local colour,' is recounted to Don Quixote by an escaped slave,
who, with his Moorish lady-love, has come to the inn where the woeful
knight is sojourning. I shall adhere to Cervantes' manner of recounting
it in the first person, but as it occupies a considerable portion of
the first part of his famous history, considerations of space will
necessitate its condensation.

"My family had its origin in the mountains of Leon, and although my
father had considerable substance, he had by no means been prudent in
his expenditure, and at an early age my brothers and myself were faced
with the necessity for carving out our own fortunes. One of my brothers
resolved to go to the Indies, the youngest embraced Holy Orders, and
I concluded that for my part I would be a soldier. With a thousand
ducats in my pocket I travelled to Alicant, whence I took ship to
Genoa. From that city I went to Milan, where I joined the forces of
the great Duke of Alva and saw service in Flanders. Some time after
my arrival in that country there came news of the league concluded by
Pope Pius V in conjunction with Spain against the Turks, who had at
that time taken the island of Cyprus from the Venetians. Hearing that
Don John of Austria had been given the conduct of this expedition,
I returned to Italy, enrolled myself in his service, and was present
at the great battle of Lepanto, on which glorious day the fable that
the Turk was invincible, which had so long deluded Christendom,
was dissipated. But instead of participating in this victory, I
was so unfortunate as to be made a prisoner in the course of the
engagement. Vehali, the bold pirate king of Algiers, having boarded
and taken the galley Capitana of Malta, the vessel of Andrea Doria,
to which I had been commissioned, bore up to assist it. I leaped
on board the enemy's ship, which, however, succeeded in casting off
the grappling-irons thrown upon it, and I found myself surrounded by
enemies who quickly bore me down. I was carried to Constantinople,
and was made a slave in the captured Capitana at Navarino.

"As I did not wish to burden my father with the collection of a ransom,
I refrained from letting him know of my circumstances. My master Vehali
dying, I fell to the share of a Venetian renegade called Azanaga,
who sailed for Algiers, where I was shut up in prison. As it was
thought that I might be ransomed, the Moors placed me in a bagnio,
and I was not forced to labour like those captives who had no hope of
redemption. Upon the courtyard of this place there opened the windows
of the house of a wealthy Moor, and it chanced one day that I was
standing underneath one of these, when there appeared from it a long
cane, to which was attached a piece of linen. This was moved up and
down, as if it was expected that some of us should lay hold upon it,
and one of our number stood immediately beneath it to see if it would
be lowered. But just as he came to it, the cane was drawn up and shaken
to and fro sideways, as if in denial. Another of my comrades advanced,
and had the same success as the former. Seeing this, I resolved to try
my fortune also, and as I came under the cane, it fell at my feet. I
untied the linen, and found wrapped up in it about ten gold coins
called zianins. I took the money, broke the cane, and looking upward,
beheld a white hand close the window in haste. Shortly afterward
there appeared out of the same casement a little cross made of cane,
and by this token we concluded that some Christian woman was a slave
in that house. But the whiteness of the hand and the richness of the
bracelets upon the arm made us think that perhaps we had to deal with
a Christian lady who had turned Mohammedan.

"For more than fifteen days we received no other token of the lady's
presence, although we watched carefully for the same, but we learned
that the house belonged to a Moor of high rank, called Agimorato. At
the end of this time the cane appeared once more, and on this occasion
I found that the linen bundle contained no less than forty crowns
of Spanish gold, with a paper written in Arabic, at the top of which
was a great cross. But none of us understood Arabic, and it was with
difficulty that we could find an interpreter. At last I resolved
to trust a renegade of Murcia, who had shown me great proofs of his
kindness. He agreed to translate it, and I found the contents were
as follow:

"'As a child I had a Christian nurse who taught me much of your
religion, and especially of Lela Marien, whom you call the Virgin. When
this good slave died, she appeared to me in a vision and bid me go
to the land of the Christians to see the Virgin, who had a great
kindness for me. I have seen many Christians out of this window,
but none has appeared to me so much of a gentleman as thyself. I am
young and handsome and can carry with me a great deal of money and
other riches. Pray consider how we may escape together, and thou shalt
be my husband in thine own country, if thou art willing. But if not,
it does not matter, for the Virgin will provide me a husband. Trust
no Moor with this letter, for they are all treacherous.'

"The renegade to whom I had given the letter for translation promised
to assist us in every way in his power, should we venture upon making
our escape, and indeed the hearts of all of us rose high, for we argued
that the influence and means of the lady who had befriended me might
greatly help us in our efforts for freedom. I dictated a reply to the
renegade, who translated it into the Arabic tongue, offering the lady
my services and those of my companions, and promising on the word of
a Christian to make her my wife. Soon the cane was let down from the
window once more. I attached the note to it and it was drawn up. That
night we prisoners discussed the best means of effecting our escape,
and at last we agreed to wait for the answer of Zoraida (for such we
discovered was the lady's name), feeling assured that she could best
advise us how to proceed.

For some days the bagnio was full of people, during which time the
cane was invisible, but when we were once more left to ourselves it
was thrust through the window, and on this occasion the bundle which
depended from it contained a letter and a hundred crowns in gold. The
renegade speedily translated the missive, which stated that although
the writer could not contrive the manner of our escape, she could still
furnish us with sufficient money to enable us to buy our ransoms. She
suggested that having done this one of us should proceed to Spain,
purchase a ship there, and return for the others. She concluded by
saying that she was now about to proceed to the country with her
father, and that she would pass all the summer in a place near the
seaside, which she closely described.

"Every one of our company offered to be the man who should go to
Spain and purchase the ship which was to deliver the rest, but the
renegade, who was experienced in such matters, strongly opposed this
proposal, saying that he had seen too many such enterprises wrecked
by placing trust in a single individual. He offered to purchase a ship
in Algiers, and pretend to turn merchant, by which means, he said, he
could contrive to get us out of the bagnio and the country. Meanwhile
I answered Zoraida, assuring her that we would do all she advised,
and in reply to this she gave us, by means of the cane, two thousand
crowns in gold. Of this sum we gave the renegade five hundred crowns to
buy the ship, and through the good offices of a merchant of Valencia,
then in Algiers, I effected my own ransom with another eight hundred
crowns. But on the advice of this trader the money was not paid down
to the Dey at once, lest his suspicions should be aroused, but he
was informed that it would shortly be forthcoming from Spain, and
meanwhile I remained in the Valencian's house upon parole. Before
Zoraida finally departed for her father's summer residence she gave
us another thousand crowns, explaining, by letter, that she kept the
keys of her father's treasury, and on this occasion I made arrangements
for ransoming three of my friends.



The Flight from Algiers

"Soon after this the renegade purchased a vessel capable of carrying
above thirty people, in which he pretended to make several voyages
in company with a Moorish partner whom he took in order to avoid
suspicion. Each time he passed along the coast he cast anchor in
a little bay close to the house where Zoraida lived, so that the
people of the place should get used to his doing so. He even landed
on several occasions and begged fruit from Zoraida's father, which
he always received, for the old Moor was of a liberal spirit. But he
could never succeed in having speech with Zoraida herself. Our plan
was now upon such a footing that he asked me to fix a day upon which
we might make the great effort upon which everything depended. So I
collected twelve Spaniards known to be good oarsmen and whose comings
and goings were not very closely watched. It was arranged among us that
we should steal out of the town upon the evening of the next Friday,
and rendezvous at a certain spot near Agimorato's dwelling. But
it was necessary that Zoraida herself should be apprised of our
intention, and with this object in view I entered her garden one day
upon pretence of gathering a few herbs. Almost at once I encountered
her father, who asked me what I did there. I told him I was a slave
of Arnaut Mami, who I knew was a friend of his, and that I wanted a
few herbs to make up a salad. While we spoke Zoraida came out of the
garden house, and as it was quite the custom for the Moorish women
to be seen before Christian slaves, her father called her to come
to him. She was most richly dressed and wore a profusion of jewels,
and now that I beheld her for the first time I was astounded by her
beauty. Her father told her for what purpose I was there, and she
asked me if I were about to be ransomed. Speaking in lingua franca,
I replied that I had already been ransomed, and that I intended to
embark on the morrow upon a French ship.

"At that juncture the old Moor was called away upon business, and I
at once assured Zoraida that I would come for her on the morrow. She
immediately threw her arms around my neck and began to walk toward
the house, but her father returning at that moment espied us, and
came running to us in some alarm. Immediately Zoraida pretended to
be in a fainting condition, and explained to Agimorato that she had
suddenly felt indisposed. I yielded her up to him and they retired
into the house.

"Next evening we embarked and dropped anchor opposite Zoraida's
dwelling. When darkness had come we walked boldly into the garden,
and finding the gate of the house open entered the courtyard. Zoraida
immediately emerged from the house carrying a small trunk full of
treasure, and told us that her father was asleep, but as misfortune
would have it, some slight noise that we made awakened him and
he came to a window calling out, 'Thieves, thieves! Christians,
Christians!' The renegade at once rushed upstairs and secured him,
and we carried father and daughter on board. We also made prisoners
of the few Moors who remained on the vessel, bent to the oars, and
set out to sea.

"At first we endeavoured to make for Majorca, but a strong wind
arising, we were driven along the coast. We were in great fear that
we might encounter some of the Moorish cruisers which we knew to be in
the vicinity. I made every effort in my power to assure Agimorato that
we would give him his liberty on the very first occasion, and told him
that his daughter had become a Christian and desired to live the rest
of her life in a Christian land. On hearing this the old man behaved
as if suddenly seized with a frenzy, and rising cast himself into
the sea, whence we succeeded with difficulty in rescuing him. Shortly
afterward we drove into a small bay, where we set Agimorato ashore. I
shall never forget his curses and imprecations upon his daughter,
but as we sailed away he called out, begging her to return. However,
she hid her face in her hands and commended him to the Virgin.

"We had proceeded some little distance from the coast when the light of
the moon became obscured. All at once we nearly collided with a large
vessel, which hailed us in French, bidding us to heave to. Perceiving
that it was a French pirate, we made no answer, but pressed onward,
whereupon its crew launched a boat, boarded us and dragged us on board,
stripping Zoraida of all her jewels and throwing us into the hold. As
we neared the Spanish shore next morning they placed us in their
long-boat with two barrels of water and a small quantity of biscuits,
and the captain, touched with some remorse for the lovely Zoraida,
gave her at parting about forty crowns in gold. We rowed on through
the early dawn, and after some hours of plying the oars landed. After
proceeding some miles inland we came upon a shepherd, who on seeing
our Moorish dresses, made off and gave the alarm. Soon we encountered
a company of horsemen, one of whom chanced to be related to one of
our number. They placed us on their horses and we soon reached the
city of Velez Malaga. There we went straight to church to thank God
for His great mercy to us, and there for the first time Zoraida saw
and recognized a picture of the Virgin. With some of the money the
pirate had given Zoraida I bought an ass and resolved to discover
whether or no my father and brothers were still alive. That is,
gentlemen, the sum of our adventures."

The escaped Christian had scarcely finished his narration when a
splendid coach drove up to the door of the inn. From this equipage
there alighted a richly dressed gentleman and lady, who entered the
posada and were met with great courtesy by Don Quixote. The Christian
refugee recognized the gentleman as his brother, now a judge of the
Court of Mexico, who greeted him affectionately and introduced the
lady as his daughter. The man of many adventures with his Moorish bride
resolved to return with the judge to Seville, whence they intended to
advise their father of these strange happenings, that he might come to
see the baptism and marriage of Zoraida, for whose future, and that of
his sorely tried brother, the grandee resolved to make ample provision.



The Growth of Cervantes

It is in such a tale as the above that we observe how Cervantes'
style grows more supple and adaptable as his work proceeds. It is
clear that he has made an effort to shake off the literary trammels
of his time, and that he has succeeded. No longer does he find it
necessary to imitate such writers as Antonio de Guevara, as in the
passage in which Don Quixote describes the Age of Gold. He has shaken
off the rather recondite euphuism of some of the earlier passages,
and has become more human and familiar. His speeches are appropriate
to his characters; his dialogue is full of life and his narrative of
incident. But although in these pages we behold the evolution of a
realist, Cervantes never altogether throws off the cloak of academic
eloquence--only it becomes a carefully restrained eloquence which
has left affectation far behind.

The great and immediate success of Don Quixote was, however,
principally due to its large humour, and to its faithful portraiture of
the Spanish types of Cervantes' day. Into juxtaposition with figures
that were familiar to all he brought the extraordinary character of
the Knight of the Rueful Countenance, a burlesque original out of
another age, and yet not lacking in the dignity and greater qualities
of the times whose spirit he strove to imitate. Into the environment of
seventeenth-century Spain stalked the antiquated figure of Don Quixote,
disturbing its ordinary routine and quarrelling with its conventions,
carrying the days of chivalry in his head, and projecting their
phantasms on the landscape by means of the all too powerful light
of his imagination. But if the incongruity of the Don in a modern
setting roused grave and sober Spain to inextinguishable laughter, his
character and that of Sancho Panza were still recognized as triumphs
of creative fiction--the representatives of imagination run mad and
of the grossest common sense.

The perfection and finish of Don Quixote, and the consummate
craftsmanship with which it is conceived, cannot fail to commend
themselves to readers of discretion. It is full of the knowledge of
the man of the world; it breathes leisure and urbanity, its spirit is
that which stamps the work of the great master. Here there are no loose
ends, no clumsy constructions, no weaknesses of diction. It does not
seem to me that Cervantes wrote with any great facility, and herein
probably lies the measure of his great literary excellence. On the
other hand, no drudgery is apparent in his composition. He strikes
the happy medium between brilliant facility and that meticulous and
often nervously apprehensive mode which so frequently disgraces the
work of modern stylists. He is precise and wonderfully sure-footed,
and we cannot imagine him grasping in alarm at every projection
in the course of his ascent. Whatever the secret of his style, it
succeeded in producing a wonderfully equable yet varied narrative,
just and appropriate in expression. His entire canvas is filled in
and completed with a masterly eye to the smallest detail.



The Second Part of "Don Quixote"

We can see by the time which he permitted to elapse between the first
and second parts of his great romance how careful Cervantes was not
to hazard his well-won reputation upon an unfortunate sequel, and the
fictioneer of our own time, harassed by a public greedy for sensation
and flushed by momentary success, might well turn to him for an example
in this respect. It is often alleged that the circumstances of modern
literature do not permit of that leisure which is necessary to the
excogitation of a carefully developed technique or a sound style. This,
alas! is only too true. The successful author of to-day can scarcely
permit ten months, much less ten years, to elapse between one effort
and another, and to this feverish condition of things we undoubtedly
owe those disappointing sequels to great novels with which all of
us must be only too familiar. Ours is emphatically not an age of
connoisseurs. We eat, drink, and read pretty much what is given us,
and if we grumble a little at the quality thereof, we feel that no
complaints will alter the conditions which produce the things against
which we inveigh. The Spain of Cervantes' day offered a much more
critical environment. Bad or hastily conceived work it would not
tolerate. But there were elements within it which frequently did
much to hasten the publication of a sequel, and the chief of these
was undoubtedly literary piracy. Cervantes appears to have been
spurred on in the publication of the second part of Don Quixote by
the appearance in 1614 of a book by Alonso Fernández de Avellaneda,
a spurious sequel to the first portion of his great work, the preface
of which is filled with personalities of the most insolent kind. That
he resented the piracy is shown by the circumstance that he put all
his other work aside and brought Don Quixote to a hurried conclusion.

In the last chapters of Don Quixote he was forced to write hastily
because his rival had stolen his plan, and it was necessary for him
to recast it as well as to bring out his novel with all speed. But,
these blemishes notwithstanding, much of the sequel is truly epical
in its grandeur. Don Quixote, if less amusing, is greatly more
thought-provoking, and Sancho Panza becomes even richer in common sense
and clear-sightedness. The portraiture of the remaining characters,
too, is sharper in outline than in the first part. The sequel, indeed,
is a great mirror in which the Spanish society of Cervantes' day is
reflected with all the thaumaturgy of genius. The immense success
which followed it must have afforded the greatest gratification to the
dying novelist, and must in great measure have consoled him for the
disappointments of a career spent in the shallows of exile and poverty.



Lazarillo de Tormes

The greatest humorous romance which Spain had produced prior to Don
Quixote was the Lazarillo de Tormes of Diego Hurtado de Mendoza,
a many-sided man and once Spanish Ambassador to England. He was of
noble extraction on both sides, and was born in Granada in 1503. As
a younger son he was destined for the Church, and studied at the
university of Salamanca, where, while still a student, he wrote
the novel which rendered him famous. Its graphic descriptions, its
penetration into character, and its vivacity and humour instantly
gained for it a high place in contemporary Spanish literature. But
Mendoza soon exchanged the clerical for the political sphere of
activity, and Charles V created him Captain-General of Siena, a small
Italian republic which had been brought beneath Spanish rule. Haughty
and unfeeling, Mendoza exercised a most tyrannical sway over the
wretched people committed to his care. They complained bitterly to
the Emperor regarding his conduct, and when this remained without
effect, his life was attempted by assassination. On one occasion,
indeed, his horse was killed under him by a musket-shot aimed at
himself. During his absence Siena was captured by a French army,
and as the weakness of the city was attributed to his withdrawal of
certain troops he was recalled to Spain in 1554.

But while thus employed in Italy as a statesman and a soldier Mendoza
had not been idle in a literary sense, for he had written his political
commentaries, a paraphrase of Aristotle, a treatise on mechanics,
and other notable works, none of which, however, have achieved for
him a tithe of the popularity of his first literary effort.

Lazaro, or, to give him his diminutive name, Lazarillo, was the son
of a miller who plied his trade by the banks of the river Tormes,
from which he took his name. When he was only ten years old his
father was killed in a campaign against the Moors, and as his mother
was unable to support him she gave him into the charge of a blind
man who wandered about the country as a beggar. While at the bridge
of Salamanca the boy noticed an animal carved in stone in the form
of a bull, and was told by his master that if he placed his ear to
the effigy he would hear it roar. He did so, when the old man gave
his head such a violent thump against it as almost to bereave him of
sense, and, laughing brutally, told him that a blind man's boy must
needs have his wits about him. "I have no silver or gold to give you,"
said he, "but what is far better, I can impart to you the result of
my experiences, which will always enable you to live."

The little Lazarillo had much difficulty in getting enough food to
keep body and soul together. The old beggar kept his bread and meat
in a linen knapsack, the neck of which was tightly secured. But the
boy made a small rent in one of the seams of the bag, and thus helped
himself to the choicest pieces of meat, bacon, and sausage. It was
his task also to receive the alms which charitable people bestowed
on the blind man, and part of this he secreted in his mouth, until,
by dint of practice, he was able to hide a goodly treasure of copper
money in that receptacle. It irked him on a hot day to watch the
beggar drinking his wine while he himself went thirsty. The wine was
kept in a large jar, and from time to time he managed to get a sip of
the cooling liquor. But his master soon discovered the practice and
kept the jar between his knees, with his hand on its mouth. Lazarillo
therefore bored a small hole in the bottom of the jar, which he
closed with wax. At dinner-time, when the blind beggar sat over the
fire, the wax melted, and Lazarillo, putting his mouth to the hole,
absorbed the wine. His master was enraged and surprised when he found
that the liquor had vanished, and attributed its disappearance to
magical means. But the next time his charge attempted the feat the
crafty old mendicant seized the jar with both hands and dealt him
such a blow on the face with it as to break the vessel and wound
the boy severely. From that day Lazarillo bore a grudge against the
sightless old tyrant, and took a sly revenge by guiding him over the
worst roads he could find and through the deepest mud.

Resolving to quit a service the perquisites of which were all kicks
and no halfpence, Lazarillo led his master to the Arcade at Escalona,
beside which a brook ran rather swiftly. In order to cross this it was
necessary either to jump or to wade almost up to the neck in water, and
when this was explained to him the old beggar chose the former method
of negotiating it. The crafty Lazarillo told him that the narrowest
place was opposite a great stone pillar, and the wretched mendicant,
taking a step or two backward to give him impetus, leapt with such
force that he crashed into the pillar, at the bottom of which he
immediately fell unconscious. With a shout of triumph Lazarillo ran
off, and from that day never set eyes upon the blind man again.

The next master whose service he entered was a priest, and if his
experiences with the beggar had been unhappy, they were as nothing
to what he now had to bear, for the holy man was a miser of the most
pitiful description, and starved him in a shameful manner. He kept his
bread in a large wooden chest, to which Lazarillo got a travelling
tinker to fit a key during the priest's absence, and was thus able
to regale himself daily, until his miserly master discovered the
shortage. This he attributed to rats, and as there were several holes
in the box he carefully mended it with small pieces of wood; but still
the bread disappeared, and as one of the neighbours had seen a snake
in the priest's domicile the padre concluded that this reptile was
the cause of the depredations. To avoid discovery, Lazarillo slept
with the key of the chest in his mouth, but one night his breathing
caused a whistling sound upon the orifice of the implement, and the
old priest, taking this for the hissing of the snake, delivered such a
shrewd blow in the direction of the noise as to render the unfortunate
Lazarillo an invalid for some considerable time. When he had recovered,
the old priest took him by the hand and, leading him into the street,
said to him: "Lazarillo my son, thou hast great natural gifts; thou
art indeed far too clever for an old man like me, and I assure thee
that I do not wish to see thee more. Farewell."

Lazarillo, however, was not long in attaching himself to another
master, who appeared to be a gentleman of birth and breeding. But
now he found that he was in worse straits than ever, as though his
master seemed a cavalier of family, he had not a penny in the world,
and was entirely dependent for his daily bread upon what the boy
could beg from charitably disposed persons. One day the landlord
called for the rent, and the gentleman, assuring him that he would
fetch it from his banker's, sallied forth and never returned, so that
once more the wretched urchin was without a master.

He next succeeded in obtaining the patronage of a pardoner who
travelled from place to place selling indulgences and relics. On one
occasion they stayed at an inn, where his master struck up a friendship
with an alguazil, or constable. One night the pair sat late carousing,
when a quarrel arose between them, and next day, as the pardoner was
preaching in the church preparatory to selling his wares, the alguazil
entered and denounced him as an impostor. The pardoner, with a great
show of piety, prayed loudly that the heavenly powers would vindicate
his character and would punish the alguazil, who immediately fell to
the ground in the most dreadful convulsions. Some of the congregation
prayed the pardoner that he would attempt some mitigation of the wrath
of heaven upon his traducer, and the holy man stepped from the pulpit
and laid a bull which he pretended he had received from the Pope upon
the sufferer's forehead. The man instantly rose as if cured, and the
people, convinced that a miracle had occurred, at once bought up the
pardoner's entire stock. But the acute Lazarillo soon discovered that
the pair had been in league with one another.

The last master to whose service Lazarillo attached himself was the
Arch-priest of Salvador, in whose service he flourished exceedingly,
and one of whose servants he married. But scandal crept into his
household, and with the death of his wife he found himself as poor
as ever.

Here the tale ends. It is impossible in such a brief sketch as this
to do justice to the great degree of insight into the workings of the
human heart which characterizes the authorship of this little novel,
the first of its kind. Lazarillo de Tormes was the forerunner and
exemplar of the entire school of the Picaresque novel, which at a
later date became almost typical of Spanish fiction, and which gave
rise to such masterpieces as Guzman de Alfarache, the Gil Blas of
Le Sage, and the novels of Scarron, and the spirit of which to some
extent was mirrored in our own Laurence Sterne; nor is its influence
by any means defunct, as can readily be seen by reference to certain
of the works of Mr Maurice Hewlett and Mr Jeffery Farnol.



Guzman de Alfarache

Mateo Aleman, the author of the great Picaresque romance of Guzman
de Alfarache, was a native of Seville. Throwing up a Government
appointment in early life, he crossed the sea to Mexico, where in 1609
he published a work on Spanish orthography and several treatises
in Latin. But the effort which has gained for him the title of
novelist was his Vita del Picaro Guzman de Alfarache, a work which
has been translated into every European language from the date of
its first appearance in 1599. Although written in the most correct
and approved literary style, it is yet easy and familiar in manner,
and is unrivalled in the picture it presents not only of the lowest
grades of Castilian society, but of the more exclusive orders of life
at the period in which he wrote.

"My ancestors," he says, "were originally from the Levant, but settled
in Genoa and employed themselves in the mercantile life of that city
in such a manner that they were accused of usury."

Thus the stock from which the lively adventurer came was of such
a character as to bring him at an early age into contact with the
realities of roguery. But if his relations were by no means particular
in trade, they concealed their ignominious conduct under the cloak of
hypocrisy and social correctness. They never failed to be present at
Mass, and the finger of reproach could not be pointed against their
family life. Before Guzman was born his father learned that one of
his correspondents at Seville had become bankrupt, and setting out
for Spain in order to investigate his affairs on the spot, he was
captured by an Algerine pirate, adopted the religion of Mohammed,
and married a Moorish lady. His agent at Seville, having heard of
what had happened to his principal creditor, adjusted his affairs
without him, and was soon in a better condition than ever. But the
elder de Alfarache succeeded in making his escape, and, coming to
Seville, demanded a reckoning from his rascally business confrère,
from whom he succeeded in extorting a considerable sum. He set himself
up in business at Seville, and bought an estate, which he named St
Juan de Alfarache. Here he lived right royally, and, having married
the wealthy widow of an old knight, he found himself in a fortunate
position. Soon after this his son Guzman was born. But de Alfarache
was unfortunately prone to the distractions of company, splendour,
and show, and having dissipated most of his means, ere long became
himself bankrupt, and shortly afterward paid the debt of nature.

His widow and the little Guzman were only indifferently provided for,
and when the boy had entered his fourteenth year he resolved to seek
his fortune, and set out for Genoa, in the hope that his father's
relations would extend their assistance to him. Soon he arrived at a
miserable tavern, where he asked for something to eat, and was given
an omelet, which, he says, might more properly have been called an "egg
poultice," but which he attacked "as hogs do acorns." Leaving the inn,
he soon felt very ill, and in a condition bordering upon collapse he
encountered a muleteer, to whom he described the unsavoury meal he
had just eaten, and who laughed heartily at his story. The kindly
fellow told him to jump on one of his mules, and soon they were
trotting nimbly eastward. Shortly after this they met two friars,
and arrived at an inn, where they were given another indifferent
meal, which the host extolled so much that the simple boy was fain
to swallow the mess without making any great ado. But to his horror
he later discovered that it had been made from the flesh of a young
mule. On being challenged with this the innkeeper drew a long sword,
whereupon the muleteer seized a pitchfork, and murder would have been
done had not the town police separated the parties. The dishonest
landlord was taken to prison, but although he confessed to passing
off the mule for veal he would not admit that he had stolen Guzman's
cloak, which had gone amissing, and the boy had perforce to leave
the place minus this article of apparel.

Riding on their way, Guzman and the muleteer were soon overtaken
on the road by two persons on mules, who examined them with the
greatest attention, and then quite suddenly threw themselves upon the
unfortunate lad, asserting that he had stolen some jewels of value. The
muleteer interfered, but only to receive a rough handling, and the
strangers tied the comrades to their mules with cords. At this juncture
the party was joined once more by the friars, who amused themselves by
telling tales, the morals of which hinged upon the mutability of human
affairs; but these are much too long and too slightly connected with
the thread of our story to be repeated here. The party then arrived at
the gates of Cazalla, and the officers of the law, finding that they
had made a mistake in arresting Guzman, gave him his liberty. He put up
at the best inn that the place afforded, and on the following morning
took the direct road to Madrid on foot. At an inn on the outskirts of
the capital he met with a beneficent priest, who shared his meal with
him, but in the morning the landlord attempted to overcharge him, and
was about to take his coat in payment of his bill when the muleteer,
who had rejoined him, interfered, and gave it as his opinion that
Guzman had run away from home. The villainous landlord, seeing in
this some hope of enriching himself, offered to take the lad into his
service as a kind of stable-boy, his duty being to hand out straw and
oats to the muleteers who put up at the place. Here the young Guzman
was initiated into habits of dishonesty and sharp practice, for when
a cavalier or person of consequence visited the inn he usually doled
out a mere handful of provender to his horses or mules, while charging
him the usual sum for it. The place was, indeed, a regular sink of
iniquity, and for Guzman life became so miserable that, relying upon
the little money he had saved, and selling his coat and waistcoat, he
absconded, and joined a passing company of beggars. These people lived
right royally on what they begged and what they poached. They were
inveterate gamblers, and in the evening Guzman found every opportunity
of picking up tricks with playing-cards. Soon after, however, he took
employment as scullion to a cook in the service of a nobleman.



Guzman as Scullion

In this situation Guzman passed a jovial time, for there was no lack
of good cheer in the knight's establishment. Albeit the lad did his
work to admiration. But the vice of gambling seized upon him, and
every day he joined the lackeys and pages at cards, often sitting up
all night to indulge in this pastime. In this way he soon got rid
of the money he received in gratuities, and being short of funds
wherewith to gratify his passion for gaming, began to pilfer such
small articles as he could find about the house, excusing himself by
saying that he only did as others did. One day his master had given a
great carouse to some friends, and Guzman entered the room where they
had been drinking to find them fast asleep. On the table he observed
a large silver goblet, and this he purloined. The cook's wife soon
missed the article, and inquiries with regard to it were set afoot,
whereupon the cunning youngster, taking the cup to a jeweller, had
it cleaned in such a manner that it resembled a new one. Carrying
it back to the woman, who was in great fear that her master would
hear of the loss, he told her that he had found a similar goblet
at a jeweller's, which he could procure for fifty-six reales, and,
anxious to avert trouble, she at once gave him the sum to purchase
it. The money thus dishonestly won was instantly thrown in gaming,
and Guzman was no better off than before.

About this time the cook was requested to prepare a splendid dinner
for a foreign nobleman who had newly arrived at Madrid. A large sack
containing game was entrusted to the lad, and this he carried home,
but as it was late he took it up to his own garret. In the middle
of the night he was wakened by cats, who fought over one of the
hares which he had brought home. Seeing that this was not missed,
and that his brother lackeys stole the provisions right and left,
Guzman presently slipped half a dozen eggs into his pocket. But the
head cook observed him do so, and dealt him such a furious kick that
he fell, and the broken eggs gushed from his pocket, to the amusement
of all present. Guzman, however, managed to embezzle a couple of
partridges and some quails. These he took to sell to another cook,
but his master, suspecting him, followed and discovered what he was
about, and immediately dismissed him after thrashing him soundly.

After this nothing was left for the young adventurer but to return to
his old trade of running errands. He soon heard that certain troops
were about to be embarked for Genoa, and resolved to follow them and
enlist. A certain old apothecary, who had always found him honest in
his dealings, sent him to a foreign merchant with a large quantity of
silver, and this Guzman secreted in a large hole by the riverside. In
the morning he returned to the place, and, digging up the bags of
money, found that they contained two thousand five hundred reales in
silver and thirty pistoles in gold. Slinging the bags on his back,
to resemble a traveller's pack, he set off in the direction of Toledo,
making his way across the fields and carefully avoiding the high road.

Arriving within two leagues of Toledo, he entered a wood, where he
intended to rest the whole of the day, as he did not wish to approach
the city till nightfall. His plan was to betake himself to Genoa
and introduce himself to his relations, and he was thinking of the
best way to lay out his money in order to reach them and make a good
appearance before them, when he heard a noise and, turning hastily,
beheld a young man of about his own age reclining on the ground,
with his head against a tree. Guzman shared his wine with him, and
the youth informed him that he was penniless. Guzman offered to buy
some of the clothes he carried with him in a bundle, and, opening
one of his money-bags, reassured him as to his ability to pay. For
a hundred reales a handsome suit changed hands, and, taking leave of
the stranger, Guzman entered Toledo, where he at once put up at the
best inn. Next day he fitted himself out with such articles of attire
as he required, but his vanity got the better of him, and he ordered
a most magnificent suit, which cost him a long price. On Sunday he
betook himself to the cathedral, where he met a very fine lady,
who asked him to accompany her home to supper. For this occasion
Guzman ordered a magnificent feast, but the pair had hardly sat down
to partake of it when a loud knocking was heard at the door, and the
lady cried out in alarm that her brother had returned and that he had
better conceal himself. The only place in which he could do so with
advantage was inside a great inverted bath, and from this place of
concealment he had the mortification of beholding the gentleman who
entered devour the gorgeous supper which he had provided and drink
every drop of the four bottles of wine he had purchased for his own
use. Soon the gentleman, having eaten and drunk thus sumptuously,
fell sound asleep, and Guzman took the opportunity of stealing from
the house, a sadder but a wiser lad.

Hearing that an alguazil had been inquiring very particularly
regarding him, Guzman hurriedly left Toledo, and, arriving at the
town of Almagro, joined the company of soldiers who were bound
for Genoa. Their captain, taken with his distinguished appearance,
hailed him as a brother in arms, and treated him as an equal. Guzman
had engaged the services of a page at Toledo, and this little rascal
assisted him greatly in his new sphere by spreading the report that
he was a gentleman of consequence. But our hero's purse was now sadly
depleted, although he had still about half of his ill-gotten gains
left. Instead of embarking at once the company remained at Barcelona
for three months, so that his resources soon gave out, and he was
neglected by the officers, and even avoided by the soldiers. His
captain, indeed, condoled with him, and offered him a place in his
household at the servants' table, assuring him that this was all
he could do for him, as he himself was compelled to dine out from
his utter incapacity to receive his friends at home. Guzman assured
him of his gratitude, and hinted that he might in turn be able to
assist him. The soldiers were billeted in the village, and Guzman
commenced a system of imposing a larger number of men upon each
house than was necessary, or at least threatening to do so, so that
the anxious inhabitants were only too glad to buy him off. In this
manner he completely re-established the captain's finances, and as
presents of provisions poured in from the frightened villagers the
young rascal and his chief lived well. But he now grew bolder, and,
selecting half a dozen of the most desperate men in the company,
began to rob passengers on the high road. His captain, learning of
this, however, immediately put a stop to such dangerous proceedings.

One day Guzman observed that among the few jewels the captain still
had left to him there was a very handsome gold reliquary set with
diamonds, and this he begged his superior to lend him for a few
days. The audacious stripling at once took it to a jeweller's,
to whom he offered it for two hundred crowns. But the man would
only tender him a hundred and twenty, and this Guzman refused. The
jeweller called upon him next day to renew his offer, which the lad
accepted. Guzman handed him the purse in which the reliquary was kept,
receiving the hundred and twenty crowns in exchange. But the old fellow
had scarcely left the house when the young adventurer raised a cry
of "Stop thief! Stop thief!" Some soldiers immediately arrested the
jeweller, and Guzman cried out that he had robbed him of the captain's
reliquary. The jeweller assured the arquebusiers that he had paid a
hundred and twenty crowns for the article, but this Guzman denied. The
wretched goldsmith was haled before a magistrate, and, as he had a
bad reputation for usury, was forced to disgorge the reliquary. But
although the captain was glad enough to get the money thus scurvily
gained, he feared that further association with such a rascal as de
Alfarache would ruin him. In a few days the company set sail for Genoa,
and when they had arrived there his superior intimated that they must
part, at the same time thrusting a pistole into his hand.



Tormented by Devils

The young adventurer now began to make inquiries about his relations,
and was informed that they were the most rich and powerful persons
in the republic. He inquired the way to their mansion, where he
was but ill received, all the more so as his appearance was shabby
in the extreme. But as he had taken care to make his relationship
to them public property, they could not very well repulse him. One
evening he met a venerable-looking old man, who told him that he had
known his father, and that he felt quite indignant at the behaviour
of his relations toward him, and offered him an asylum at his own
house. Without giving him anything to eat, he at once sent him to bed,
where the wretched lad lay tormented by the pangs of hunger. Before he
went to sleep the old man informed him that the room he occupied had
the reputation of being haunted by evil spirits. Famished and restless,
Guzman lay awake, when to his horror four figures in the shape of
devils entered the chamber and dragged him out of bed. Throwing him
into a blanket, they tossed him in the air with such violence that he
struck the ceiling again and again, until, exhausted by the exercise,
they placed him in bed once more and departed. In the early morning,
stiff, sore, and dejected, Guzman crawled from the mansion, but he
registered an oath never to forget the detestable manner in which his
acquaintance had treated him, and resolved to be avenged upon him at
the first opportunity.



Guzman Joins the Beggars of Rome

Leaving Genoa in this miserable plight, in which he compares himself
to one of those who escaped from the battle of Roncesvalles,
Guzman resolved to make his way to Rome. Italy, he says, is the
most charitable country in the world, and anyone who can beg can
travel within its bounds without concerning himself about his next
meal. In a few weeks he found himself in the Roman Catholic capital,
with money enough in his pocket to buy a new suit of clothes, but
he resisted the temptation to do so, and wandered about the streets
of the Imperial city seeking alms. He soon fell in with a comrade in
distress, who enlightened him regarding the manners and customs of the
beggars of Rome and who gave him such good instructions that he soon
received more money than he could spend. In a short time Guzman was
a perfect master of the trade of begging. After spending some weeks
in this kind of life he fell in with one of the master-beggars of the
city, who instructed him in the laws of begging, which he sets forth
at length in his autobiography. These laws Guzman got by heart. The
beggars lived together, and met in the evening to practise and invent
new exclamations to excite pity. In the morning there was usually a
scramble among them to see who could get nearest the holy water at
the entrance to the churches, for there it was that the greatest
harvest was reaped, and in the evening the beggars usually made
a round of the country seats in the neighbourhood of Rome, whence
they returned laden with provisions. Nearly all of the beggars were
adepts at simulating bodily malformations or loathsome diseases. On one
occasion, in the town of Gaeta, Guzman simulated a terrible disease of
the head, and the Governor, who was passing, gave him alms. Next day
he sat at the porch of a church with what appeared to be a grievous
affection of the leg, and much money was flowing in upon him, when
unhappily the Governor chanced to pass, and recognizing him, told him
that he would give him some cast-off clothing if he would follow him
home. Arrived there the Governor asked him by what singular remedy
he had contrived to cure himself of his former complaint within the
short space of one day, and without waiting for an answer sent for a
surgeon, who, on examining the leg, assured the Governor that it was
perfectly sound. The Governor then handed Guzman over to his lackeys,
who trounced him severely and thrust him forth from the town.

One morning our rascally hero had posted himself at the gate of a
certain Cardinal celebrated for his compassionate disposition, who,
on passing and hearing his plaint, told his domestics to convey
the seeming sufferer to a chamber in his mansion and attend to his
wants. Guzman had once more simulated a terrible disease of the leg,
and the Cardinal, observing this, sent for two of the most celebrated
surgeons in Rome. Their preparations were of such a nature that Guzman
feared they were about to amputate his leg, so when they consulted
together in an adjoining room he went to the door to listen to what
they were saying. One of them gave it as his opinion that the disorder
was merely a bogus one, but the other as warmly maintained that it
was genuine. At length they agreed to lay their deliberations before
the Cardinal, and were about to do so when Guzman, entering the room
where they consulted, admitted his fraud, and proposed that they should
combine in deceiving the Cardinal. To this the surgeons agreed, and
when his Eminence appeared they made the most alarming and touching
report regarding Guzman's sham disorder. The Cardinal, who was a man
of lofty character and unsuspicious nature, begged them to take as
much time as they thought proper in effecting a cure, and to neglect
nothing that might contribute to the patient's recovery. So anxious
were the surgeons to pile up their fees that they compelled Guzman
to keep his bed for three months, which appeared three ages to him,
so keen was his desire to return to the gaming which had become second
nature to him. At the end of this time they presented their bill to the
Cardinal, telling him that a complete cure had been effected, and so
pleased was the churchman at having assisted in so remarkable a case,
and so keen his appreciation of Guzman's native wit, that he ended
by taking the youthful charlatan into his service as one of his pages.

Guzman was, however, not very well satisfied with his new life, which
in great measure consisted in waiting in ante-chambers and serving at
table. The discipline was rigorous, and all that he could purloin was
a few candle-ends. But he found that a large quantity of very fine
preserved fruit was kept in a certain chest, and to this he applied
himself. The Cardinal discovered the peculation, yet failed to trace
it to its source; but when Guzman was rifling the chest on a second
occasion his Eminence entered and caught him in the act. He received
a thorough castigation at the hands of the major-domo, which put an
end to his knaveries for some considerable time.



Guzman Cheats a Banker

But Guzman played so many tricks in the Cardinal's palace that at
length this excellent prelate had to dispense with his services. He
then entered the service of the Spanish Ambassador, who was a friend
of the Cardinal's, and who knew all about our hero's capacities. After
some considerable time spent in the service of this dignitary, Guzman
resolved to leave Rome for a tour through Italy. Shortly before this he
had encountered a Spaniard called Sayavedra, with whom he became very
friendly. Provided with about three hundred pistoles and some jewels,
which he had purloined from the ambassador, Guzman set out on his
travels. But Sayavedra had taken a wax impression of Guzman's keys,
and pilfered his luggage before he left, so that if it had not been
for the generosity of the ambassador he could not have left Rome. At
Siena, however, Guzman fell in with Sayavedra once more, who entreated
him to pardon his perfidy, and offered to become his servant. Guzman,
who was sorry for his miserable condition, agreed to the proposal, and
the pair, going to Florence, began to concert measures for improving
their position. It was bruited abroad that Guzman was a nephew of
the Spanish Ambassador, and he even had the insolence to present
himself at Court, where he was received by the Grand Duke in that
capacity. Here he met a charming widow of great wealth, with whom he
fell violently in love. But her relatives, making inquiries about him,
discovered that he had once begged in the streets of Rome, and he was
forced to leave the city. At Bologna he gained a good deal of money
at play, and on arriving at Milan he and Sayavedra took apartments
in that city and cast about for some means of putting their newly
acquired funds to use. Here they soon fell in with a rascally friend
employed as clerk in a banker's house, and concerted with him as to
how they should relieve his master of his surplus wealth. Guzman
called upon the banker and told him he wished to deposit with him
about twelve thousand francs in gold. He was well received, and the
financier entered his name and other particulars in his daybook. On
his way home he bought a gilt casket, which he filled with pieces of
lead, and, giving this to Sayavedra, along with a bag of real money,
enjoined that he should get into conversation with the landlord of
the inn where they were staying, and tell him that he was taking the
cash to the banker's house--which of course he was not to do. The
banker's clerk got false keys made to fit his master's coffer, and,
when the latter was at Mass on Sunday, he opened it and placed therein
the gilt casket, which, instead of lead, now contained ten quadruples,
thirty Roman crowns, and a written account of its contents. He then
counterfeited his master's handwriting, and completed the entry in
the daybook which he had begun, making it appear that not only the
casket, but all the money in the coffer, had been credited to Guzman.

On the Monday Guzman called at the banker's and asked him very politely
to return the cash that had been sent to him a few days before. The
man naturally denied that any sum had been lodged with him at all,
whereupon Guzman made so great an outcry that a large crowd collected,
and the quarrel assumed such a serious aspect that a constable appeared
on the scene, accompanied by the landlord of the inn at which Guzman
was staying. Guzman asserted that if the banker's books were examined
the sum he mentioned would be found noted in them, and on the daybook
being produced this was proved to be the case. The wretched banker
admitted that part of the writing was in his own hand, and this was
sufficient to incense the crowd, with whom he had a very bad reputation
for usury and sharp practice. Guzman, too, was able to give a most
circumstantial account of the contents of the coffer, which, on being
opened, was found, to the banker's amazement, to contain the gilt
casket he spoke of and the exact sum named by him, including even
the various coinages he had enumerated and the written note of its
contents. The landlord was able to corroborate Guzman's ownership of
the casket, and as the evidence seemed conclusive the local magistrate
awarded him the money, which he divided with his confederates.

Guzman now resolved to return to Genoa for the purpose of being
revenged upon the relatives who had treated him so scurvily upon his
previous visit to that city. Disguising himself as a Spanish abbot of
consequence, he put up at the best inn of the place, and his relatives,
learning of his arrival, and of the pomp he displayed, hastened to pay
their respects to him. They failed to identify him with the ragged and
friendless urchin who had sought their assistance some years before,
and his uncle even retailed the adventure of the devils to him as if
it had been played upon an impostor. Guzman completely gained their
confidence, and as he had plenty of money to spare they readily
entrusted to his keeping a valuable collection of jewels, which he
told them a friend desired to borrow for his wedding ceremony. With
these he and Sayavedra made off to Spain, but on the way the latter
fell ill of a fever, and, rushing on the deck of the galley, threw
himself overboard and was drowned.

Guzman, reaching his native country, after a number of adventures
arrived in Madrid, where he sold his jewels to a rich merchant, who,
believing him to be a person of consequence, gave him his daughter in
marriage. The merchant relied upon Guzman's supposed wealth to further
his financial operations, Guzman relied upon his father-in-law's
equally supposititious resources, and as the extravagant young wife
relied on both, all were soon plunged into bankruptcy. The shock
was too much for the lady, and she expired, but her cunning parent
succeeded in saving sufficient from the wreck to commence business
once more.

Guzman, however, was tired of the world of finance, and decided to
invest the remainder of his ill-gotten gains in studying for the
Church. With this object in view, he betook himself to the university
of Alcalà de Henares, where he took his Bachelor of Arts degree, and
after four years' hard reading at divinity only awaited a benefice to
permit him to graduate as a full-fledged priest, when evil influences
once more began to beset him. He made the acquaintance of a lady who
had a family of daughters, with one of whom he became infatuated,
and whom he married. The pair betook themselves to Madrid, where they
embarked upon an adventurous career, after some years of which the
lady eloped, taking with her everything of value which she could lay
hands upon. By this time Guzman had presented himself to his mother,
who, so far from dissuading him from his evil courses, assisted him
in his schemes of roguery, so that shortly, going from bad to worse,
he found himself doomed to a long period of servitude in the royal
galleys. But here he was able to assist the authorities in discovering
a mutiny, for which he was rewarded with his freedom.

At this stage we take our leave of the most consummate rogue in
fiction; but if Guzman de Alfarache is perhaps the most wily scoundrel
in the records of romance, he is certainly one of the most original
and amusing. It is noticeable, however, that his career, on the whole,
was not a remunerative one, and that when he makes his farewell bow to
us he is no better off than when we first encountered him. Perhaps the
most amusing thing about his narrative is the sham propriety of tone
in which it is couched--a style which was almost slavishly copied by
Le Sage in his Gil Blas, who was not only obliged to this novel for
its general atmosphere, but for many of the incidents which occur in
his celebrated work.



Conclusion

We have trodden the ways of Spanish story, sublime, mock-heroic, and
humorous. Perhaps no chapter in the world's literature is so rich
in colour, or displays such a variety of mood and sentiment. Still
the key-note is one of noble and dignified beauty, of chivalrous
distinction, of exquisite propriety, courteous, immaculate, and
unspotted by vulgarity or sordid meanness. The wine-cup of Spanish
romance is filled with the heart's blood of a nation august, knightly,
imaginative, a people who have preferred ideals to gross realities,
and the heights of national aristocracy to the deserts of false
democracy. "Poor Spain!" How often does the Anglo-Saxon utter
the phrase in complacent self-assurance? With the solace of such
a treasure-house of poetic and romantic wealth as she possesses,
Spain may well rest in assured hope of the return of the brave days
in praise of which her trovadores struck the lyre and her poets sang
in stately epic. Poor Spain! Nay, golden Spain--enchanted cavern,
glowing with the spoil of song, the rainbow treasure of legend,
and the gem-like radiance of immortal romance!


    Her citizens, imperial spirits,
    Rule the present from the past;
    On all this world of men inherits
    Their seal is set.



SHORT BIBLIOGRAPHY OF WORKS IN ENGLISH DEALING WITH SPANISH ROMANCE


(The English translations of each romance have been carefully noted
throughout the book, so that it is unnecessary to include them here.)



History of Spanish Literature, by George Ticknor. Boston, 1872.

Spanish Literature, by H. Butler Clarke. London, 1893.

Spanish Literature, by J. Fitzmaurice Kelly. London, 1893.

Chapters on Spanish Literature, by J. Fitzmaurice Kelly. London, 1912.

The Spanish Pastoral Romances, by H. A. Rennert. Baltimore, 1892.

History of Fiction, by A. Dunlop. Edinburgh, 1816.

Don Quixote. Edition published by David Nutt, 1898. Skelton's early
English version (1612-20), reprinted by Henley in "Tudor Translations,"
London, 1896.

History of Spanish Literature, by Bouterwek. Bohn Library.

See further the exhaustive bibliography of chivalric literature in
vol. iv of Ormsby's Don Quixote (1885), and the bibliography of Mr
Fitzmaurice Kelly's Spanish Literature.



NOTES


[1] The moro latinado, or Spanish-speaking Moor, is a prominent figure
in later Spanish story.

[2] Bishop Odoor's will (747) shows the break-up of Hispanic Latin, and
Charles the Bald in an edict of 844 alludes to the usitato vocabulo
of the Spaniards--their "customary speech." On the Gothic period
see Père Jules Tailham, in the fourth volume of Cahier and Martin's
Nouveaux Mélanges d'Archéologie, d'Histoire, et de Littérature sur
le Moyen Age (1877).

[3] This jargon owed much more to the lingua rustica than to Gothic,
which has left its mark more deeply upon the pronunciation and syntax
of Spanish than on its vocabulary.

[4] Catalan differed slightly in a dialectic sense from Provençal. It
was divided into plá Catalá and Lemosé, the common speech and the
literary tongue.

[5] "On the whole," says Professor Saintsbury, "the ease,
accomplishment, and, within certain strict limits, variety of the
form, are more remarkable than any intensity or volume of passion or of
thought" (Flourishing of Romance and Rise of Allegory, pp. 368-369). He
further remarks that the Provençal rule "is a rule of 'minor poetry,'
accomplished, scholarly, agreeable, but rarely rising out of minority."

[6] D. 1214.

[7] It was entitled El Arte de Trobar, and is badly abridged in
Mayan's Orígenes de la Lengua Española (Madrid, 1737).

[8] On Provençal influence upon Castilian literature see Manuel Milá
y Fontanal, Trovadores en España (Barcelona, 1887); and E. Baret,
Espagne et Provence (1857), on a lesser scale.

[9] Still they found many Spanish-speaking people in that area; and
it was the Romance speech of these which finally prevailed in Spain.

[10] Madrid, 1839.

[11] In the Cancionero de Romances (Antwerp, 1555).

[12] See the article on Alfonso XI in N. Antonio, Bibliotheca Hispana
Vetus.

[13] English translation by James York.

[14] Reigned 1407-54.

[15] Gaston Paris, La Littérature Française au Moyen Age (Paris,
1888), and Léon Gautier, Les Épopées Française (Paris, 1878-92), are
the leading authorities upon the chansons de gestes. Accounts of these
in English can be found in Ludlow's Popular Epics of the Middle Ages
(1865) and in my Dictionary of Medieval Romance (1913).

[16] See W. Wentworth Webster, in the Boletin of the Academia de
Historia for 1883.

[17] See Manuel Milá y Fontanal, Poesía heróico-popular Castellana
(Barcelona, 1874).

[18] The term, first employed by Count William of Poitiers, the
earliest troubadour, at first implied any work written in the
vernacular Romance languages. Later in Spain it was used as an
equivalent for cantar, and finally indicated a lyrico-narrative poem
in octosyllabic assonants.

[19] In German it was known from 1583, and in English from
1619. Southey's translation (London, 1803) is (happily) an abridgment,
and has been reprinted in the "Library of Old Authors" (1872). I
provide full bibliographical details when dealing with the romance
more fully.

[20] Omniana, t. ii, p. 219 (London, 1812).

[21] Don Quixote, Part I, chap. vi.

[22] English translation by Southey, 4 vols. (London, 1807).

[23] In the chapter entitled "Moorish Romances of Spain" the reader
will find specimens of the romantic fictions of that people, from
which he can judge for himself of their affinity or otherwise with
the Spanish romances.

[24] See Dozy, History of the Moors in Spain, Eng. trans., and
Recherches sur l'Histoire politique et littéraire de l'Espagne (1881);
F. J. Simonet, Introduction to his Glosario de Voces iberias y latinas
usadas entre los Muzárabes (1888); Renan, Averroës et Averroïsme
(1866). Gayangos' Mohammedan Dynasties in Spain (London, 1843) is
somewhat obsolete, as is Conde's Dominación de los Arabes.

[25] "The Raid," an old Spanish poem.

[26] Ormsby (The Poem of the Cid), who wrote in 1879, seems to have had
the most elementary notions of what a cantar was, and states that the
Poema "was nearly contemporary with the first chansons de gestes." But
he is probably at least a century out in his reckoning, as the first
chansons date from about the middle of the eleventh century. Of
trovador and juglar he had evidently never heard. Yet he is anything
but superficial, and on the whole his book is the best we have in
English on the Poema. It is unlucky, too, as Saintsbury remarks, that
neither Ticknor nor Southey, who wrote so widely on ancient Spanish
literature, were acquainted with the chansons de gestes. Still more
luckless is it that so much in the way of Spanish translation was
left to Longfellow, who shockingly mangled and Bowdlerized many fine
ballads. Probably no poet was so well qualified as he to divest a
ballad of all pith and virility in the course of translation. Bad as
are his Spanish renderings, however, they are adequate when compared
with his exploits in the field of Italian translation.

[27] See his Poema del Cid (1898).

[28] See Manuel Rivadeneyra, Biblioteca de Autores españoles, vol. xvi
(1846-80).

[29] A good deal of controversy has arisen concerning the metre of the
Poema. Professor Cornu of Prague (see M. Gaston Paris, in Romania,
xxii, pp. 153, 531) has stated that the basis of it is the ballad
octosyllable, full or catalectic, arranged as hemistichs of a longer
line, but this theory presupposes that the copyists of the original
MS. must have mistaken such a simple measure, which is scarcely
credible. Professor Saintsbury (Flourishing of Romance, p. 403)
gives it as his opinion that "nobody has been able to get further in a
generalization of the metre than that the normal form is an eight and
six (better a seven and seven) 'fourteener,' trochaically cadenced,
but admitting contraction and extension with a liberality elsewhere
unparalleled." No absolute system of assonance or rhyme appears,
and we are almost forced to the conclusion that the absence of this
is in a measure due to the kind offices of Abbot Pedro.

[30] By this phrase the Cid seems to have been widely known; in fact
it appears to have served him as a sort of cognomen or nickname.

[31] The passage in the Poema del Cid which tells of the combat that
followed has perhaps a better right than any other in the epic to
the title 'Homeric' The translation which I furnish of it may not
be so exact as those of Frere or Ormsby. But although I am only too
conscious of its many shortcomings, I cannot bring myself to make use
of the pedestrian preciseness of the one or the praiseworthy version
of the other of my predecessors, both of which, in my view, fail to
render the magnificent spirit and chivalric dash of the original. All
that I can claim for my own translation is that it does not fail so
utterly as either in this regard. I have in places attempted the
restoration of lines which seemed to me omitted or coalesced with
others, and I must admit that this rendering of a great passage is
more consciously artificial than the others--a fault which I am unable
to rectify. But allowances must be made for the rendition of such a
passage, and the whole must be accepted by the reader faute de mieux.

[32] Throughout the Poema and elsewhere the Cid is constantly alluded
to as "Mio Cid" ("My lord"). I deal with the etymology of the name
farther on, but hold to the form 'the Cid' as being most familiar to
English readers.

[33] This passage is reminiscent of the saying of the famous Border
outlaw Jock Eliot, when he and his men came upon a large haystack
of which they resolved to make fodder for their horses. "Eh, man,"
exclaimed the humorous raider, "if ye had legs, wouldna' ye run!"

[34] The commencement of the passage in question is as follows
(lines 1741-50):


    The heraldz laften here prikyng up and doun;
    Now ryngede the tromp and clarioun:
    Ther is no more to say, but est and west
    In goth the speres ful sadly in arest;
    Ther seen men who can juste, and who can ryde;
    In goth the scharpe spore into the side,
    Ther schyveren schaftes upon schuldres thykke;
    He feeleth through the herte-spon the prikke.
    Up sprengen speres on twenty foot on hight;
    Out goon the swerdes as the silver bright.


The balance is, however, greatly in favour of Chaucer, whose lines,
if properly accented, beat the original Spanish on its own ground,
and this notwithstanding the absurd remark of Swinburne that "Chaucer
and Spenser scarcely made a good poet between them."

[35] See the work of Rivadeneyra, Biblioteca de Autores españoles,
vol. xl (1846-48), where the romance is prefaced in a brilliant
and scholarly manner by Gayangos. Its origins are ably discussed by
Eugène Baret, Études sur la Redaction Espagnole de l'Amadis de Gaule
(1853); T. Braga, Historia das Novellas Portuguezas de Cavalleria
(1873); and L. Braunfels, Kritischer Versuch über den Roman Amadis
von Gallien (1876).

[36] Anstruther, in Fife? The Spaniards would know the place through
their intercourse with the Flemings, who traded considerably with
it. A Spanish vessel put into Anstruther during the flight of the
Armada round the coasts of Scotland.

[37] I think I can see in this giant Albadan the giant Albiona, one of
the two monsters, sons of Neptune, who, according to Pomponius Mela,
attacked Hercules in Liguria. The name Albion was once given to the
whole of Britain, and later, as Alba and Albany, to Scotland, whose
people were known as Albannach. This is said to mean 'the White,'
in allusion to the cliffs of Dover! It is much more probable that it
signified 'the place or region of the god Alba,' 'the country of the
white god.' All the Scottish gods were giants, like the Fomorians
of Ireland.

[38] Strange that a sword and a ring should so often be the test
of identity in such tales! So it was, as regards the first of these
tokens at least, with Theseus, Arthur, and many another hero. On this
head see Hartland, The Legend of Perseus (1894-96).

[39] Urganda, as Southey remarks, is a true fairy, resembling Morgan
le Fay in her attributes, but, as Scott says, she has no connexion
with the more classic nymphidæ. But is not this dea phantastica
identical with Morgan, and her name merely a Hispanic rendering of
the Celtic fairy's?

[40] Scott girds fiercely against Southey's interpolation of
Anthony Munday's translation of these verses in his Amadis, and with
justice. The above translation is only slightly more tolerable, but
it is at least sense. Poor Tony was bitten by the absurdities of
euphuism, and his lines are mere nonsense. But there is even less
excuse for a modern translation to backslide into the style of the
eighteenth century.

[41] She had previously visited Scotland and embarked there "for Great
Britain," and while on this voyage was driven on the Poor Rock, which
would seem to have been 'somewhere' in the Mediterranean! Strange
that geography should have been so shaky at such a period and among
a people who had done so much for discovery and navigation.

[42] 'Cildadan' I take to be Cuchullin (pron. Coohoolin, or Coolin),
the hero of the well-known Irish epic.

[43] It was Munday's translation of these verses from the French which
chiefly aroused the scorn of Scott, and it is in dread of the memory
of that scorn that I offer these lines, which partake much more of
the nature of an adaptation than a translation, the original Spanish
being much too stiff and artificial for rendition in English.

[44] I take this incident to be a reminiscence of the Minotaur
story. Indeed the Firm Island appears to me, both from its geographical
proximities and its whole phenomena, as a borrowing of Cretan or
Minoan story. The "old covered way" from which the bull emerges is
surely the Labyrinth. Is the wise old ape Dædalus?

[45] It is scarcely necessary to indicate to the reader that the
name Nasciano is borrowed from that of Nasciens, the hermit king of
Grail romance.

[46] Forbear.

[47] William Stewart Rose, Amadis de Gaul: A Poem in Three Books
(London, 1803).

[48] For a brief account of this Toledan poet, who translated Ovid's
Metamorphoses, see Antonio, Bib. Nov., t. ii, p. 44.

[49] Unless the Anseis de Carthage be excepted--a romance which
attributes the downfall of Spain to a son of Charlemagne, who acts
as does Don Roderick. The Anseis is in French.

[50] As enshrined in the Crónica Sarrazyna, of Pedro de Carrel, which
founds on the Crónica General, the Chronicle of the Moor Rasis, and
the Crónica Trayana, the ballads relating to Roderic are all later
than this compilation.

[51] Besides the collection of romances alluded to, which may be said
to represent the standard sources of the subject, collections were
published at Antwerp and Saragossa, in the middle of the sixteenth
century, by Martin Nucio and Esteban de Nájera respectively. The reader
may also consult the Primavera y Flor de Romance, by Wolf and Hofman,
in the reprint published by Señor Menéndez y Pelayo, the collection
of Depping (two vols., Leipzig, 1844), and the English translations
of Lockhart and Bowring.

[52] If Scott wrote this verse himself (as Lockhart admits), he
wrote others.

[53] I take these two quatrains from two different versions.

[54] The witch-cult in Europe seems to me to have a connexion with
the horse. Occasionally witches proceed to the sabbat on flying
horses. One of the tests of a witch was to look in her eyes for the
reflection of a horse. In Scotland even to-day a 'Horseman's Society'
exists which has a semi-occult initiation and strange rites.

[55] The reader who wishes to follow this phase of the subject further
should consult Miss M. A. Murray's recent articles in Man.

[56] T. i, p. 543.





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