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Or whether, kindling at the deeds of Græme,
He sing, to wild Morisco measure set,
'Explore those regions, where the flinty crest
Of wild Nevada ever gleams with snows,
Barbaric monuments of pomp repose;
· Than the fierce Moor float o'er Toledo's fane, From whose tall towers even now the patriot throws
An anxious glance, to spy upon the plain The blended ranks of England, Portugal, and Spain.
"There, of Numantian fire a swarthy spark
Still lightens in the sunburnt native's eye; The stately port, slow step, and visage dark
Still mark enduring pride and constancy. And, if the glow of feudal chivalry
Beam not, as once, thy nobles' dearest pride, Iberia! oft thy crestless peasantry
Have seen the plumed Hidalgo quit their side, Have seen, yet dauntless stood — 'gainst fortune fought
1 See Note 108.
*And cherished still by that unchanging race,
Are themes for minstrelsy more high than thine; Of strange tradition many a mystic trace,
Legend and vision, prophecy and sign; Where wonders wild of Arabesque combine
With Gothic imagery of darker shade. Forming a model meet for minstrel line,
Go, seek such theme!' – The Mountain Spirit said: With filial awe I heard - I heard, and I obeyed.
THE VISION OF DON RODERICK
REARING their crests amid the cloudless skies,
And darkly clustering in the pale moonlight, Toledo's holy towers and spires arise,
As from a trembling lake of silver white. Their mingled shadows intercept the sight
Of the broad burial-ground outstretched below, And nought disturbs the silence of the night;
All sleeps in sullen shade, or silver glow,
All save the rushing swell of Teio's tide,
Or, distant heard, a courser's neigh or tramp, Their changing rounds as watchful horsemen ride,
To guard the limits of King Roderick's camp. For, through the river's night-fog rolling damp,
Was many a proud pavilion dimly seen, Which glimmered back, against the moon's fair lamp,
Tissues of silk and silver twisted sheen, And standards proudly pitched, and warders armed
But of their monarch's person keeping ward,
Since last the deep-mouthed bell of vespers tolled, The chosen soldiers of the royal guard
The post beneath the proud cathedral hold: A band unlike their Gothic sires of old,
Who, for the cap of steel and iron mace, Bear slender darts and casques bedecked with gold,
While silver-studded belts their shoulders grace, Where ivory quivers ring in the broad falchion's place.
In the light language of an idle court,
They murmured at their master's long delay, And held his lengthened orisons in sport:
What! will Don Roderick here till morning stay, To wear in shrift and prayer the night away?
And are his hours in such dull penance past, For fair Florinda's plundered charms to pay?'1
Then to the east their weary eyes they cast, And wished the lingering dawn would glimmer forth at
But, far within, Toledo's prelate lent
An ear of fearful wonder to the king;
i See Note 1o9.
The silver lamp a fitful lustre sent,
So long that sad confession witnessing: For Roderick told of many a hidden thing,
Such as are lothly uttered to the air, When Fear, Remorse, and Shame the bosom wring,
And Guilt his secret burden cannot bear, And Conscience seeks in speech a respite from Despair.
Full on the prelate's face and silver hair
The stream of failing light was feebly rolled; But Roderick's visage, though his head was bare,
Was shadowed by his hand and mantle's fold. While of his hidden soul the sins he told,
Proud Alaric's descendant could not brook That mortal man his bearing should behold,
Or boast that he had seen, when conscience shook, Fear tame a monarch's brow, remorse a warrior's look.
The old man's faded cheek waxed yet more pale,
As many a secret sad the king bewrayed;
When in the midst his faltering whisper staid. “Thus royal Witiza ' was slain,' he said;
"Yet, holy father, deem not it was I.'
1 See Note 110.