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Poured forth her gifts profuse; perennial springs
Flowed for her habitants, and genial suns,
With kindly showers to bless the happy clime,
Combined in vain their gentle influences:
For patient servitude was there, who bowed
His neck beneath the Moor, and silent grief
That eats into the soul. The walls and stones
Seemed to reproach their dwellers; stately piles
Yet undecayed, the mighty monuments
of Roman pomp, Barbaric palaces,
And Gothic halls, where haughty Barons late
Gladdened their faithful vassals with the feast
And flowing bowl, alike the spoiler's now.

Leaving these captive scenes behind, he crost

Cavado's silver current, and the banks
Of Lima, through whose groves in after years,
Mournful yet sweet, Diogo's amorous lute
Prolonged its tuneful echoes. 18 But when now
Beyond Arnoya's tributary tide,
He came where Minho rolled its ampler stream
By Auria's ancient walls, fresh horrors met
His startled view; for prostrate in the dust
Those walls were laid, and towers and temples stood
Tottering in frightful ruins, as the flame
Had left them black and bare; and through the streets,
All with the recent wreck of war bestrewn,
Helinet and turban, scymitar and sword,
Christian and Moor in death promiscuous lay,
Each where they fell; and blood-flakes, parched and

cracked
Like the dry slime of some receding flood;
And half-burnt bodies, which allured from far
The wolf and raven, and to impious food
Tempted the houseless dog.

A thrilling pang,

A sweat like death, a sickness of the soul,

| Came over Roderick. Soon they past away,

And admiration in their stead arose,
Stern joy, and inextinguishable hope,
With wrath, and hate, and sacred vengeance now
Indissolubly linked. O valiant race,
0 people excellently brave, he cried,
True Goths ye fell, and faithful to the last;
Though overpowered triumphant, and in death
Unconquered Holy be your memory!
Blessed and glorious now and evermore
Be your heroic names!—Led by the sound,
As thus he cried aloud, a woman came
Toward him from the ruins. For the love
Of Christ, she said, lend me a little while
Thy charitable help!—Her words, her voice,
Her look, more horror to his heart conveyed
Than all the havoc round: for though she spake
With the calm utterance of despair, in tones
Deep-breathed and low, yet never sweeter voice
Poured forth its hymns in ecstacy to Heaven.
Her hands were bloody, and her garments stained
With blood, her face with blood and dust defiled.
Beauty and youth, and grace and majesty,
Had every charm of form and feature given:
But now upon her rigid countenance
Severest anguish set a fixedness
Ghastlier than death.
She led him through the streets
A little way along, where four low walls,

Heapt rudely from the ruins round, enclosed
A narrow space: and there upon the ground
Four bodies, decently composed, were laid,
Though horrid all with wounds and clotted gore;
A venerable ancient, by his side
A comely matron, for whose middle age,
(If ruthless slaughter had not intervened.)
Nature it seemed, and gentle Time, might well
Have many a calm declining year in store;
The third an armed warrior, on his breast
An infant, over whom his arms were crost.
There, with firm eye and steady countenance,
Unfaltering, she addrest him, there they lie,
Child, Husband, Parents.-Adosinda's all !
I could not break the earth with these poor hands,
Nor other tomb provide,-but let that pass!
Auria itself is now but one wide tomb
For all its habitants: '9—What better grave?
What worthier monument 7–Oh cover not
Their blood, thou Earth! and ye, ye blessed Souls
Of Heroes and of murdered Innocents,
Oh never let your everlasting cries
Cease round the eternal throne, till the Most High
For all these unexampled wrongs hath given
Full,—overflowing vengeance

While she spake
She raised her lofty hands to Heaven, as if
Calling for justice on the Judgment-seat;
Then laid them on her eyes, and leaning on
Bent o'er the open sepulchre. -

But soon
With quiet mien collectedly, like one
Who from intense devotion, and the act
Of ardent prayer, arising, girds himself
For this world's daily business, she arose,
And said to Roderick, Help me now to raise
The covering of the tomb.

With half-burnt planks,

Which she had gathered for this funeral use,
They roofed the vault : then laying stones above
They closed it down : last, rendering all secure,
Stones upon stones they piled, till all appeared
A huge and shapeless heap. Enough, she cried;
And taking Roderick's hands in both her own,
And wringing them with fervent thankfulness,
May God shew mercy to thee, she exclaimed,
When most thou needest mercy! Who thou art
I know not ; not of Auria, for of all
Her sons and daughters, save the one who stands
Before thee, not a soul is left alive.
But thou hast rendered to me, in my hour
Of need, the only help which man could give.
What else of consolation may be found
For one so utterly bereft, from Heaven
And from myself must come. For deem not thou
That I shall sink beneath calamity.
This visitation, like a lightning-stroke,
Hath scathed the fruit and blossom of my youth ;
One hour hath orphaned me, and widowed me,
And made me childless. In this sepulchre
Lie buried all my earthward hopes and fears,
All hitman loves and natural charities:–
All womanly tenderness, all gentle thoughts,
All female weakness too, I bury here,
Yea, all my former nature. There remain
Revenge and death —the bitterness of death

is past, and Heaven already hath vouchsafed A foretaste of revenge.

Look here ! she cried, And drawing back, held forth her bloody hands,'T is Moorish –In the day of massacre, A captain of Alcahman's murderous host Reserved me from the slaughter. Not because My rank and station tempted him with thoughts Of ransom, for amid the general waste Of ruin all was lost :-Nor yet, be sure, That pity moved him, they who from this race Accurst for pity look, such pity find As ravenous wolves shew the defenceless flock. My husband at my feet had fallen; my babe, Spare me that thought, O God!—and then—even then Amid the maddening throes of agony Which rent my soul, -when if this solid Earth Had opened and let out the central fire, Before whose all-involving flames wide Heaven Shall shrivel like a scroll and be consumed, The universal wreck had been to me Relief and comfort;-even then this Moor Turned on me his libidinous eyes, and bade His men reserve me safely for an hour Of dalliance,—me!—me in my agonies' But when I found for what this miscreant child Of Hell had snatched me from the butchery, The very horror of that monstrous thought Saved me from madness; I was calm at once,— Yea comforted and reconciled to life: Hatred became to me the life of life, Its purpose and its power. The glutted Moors At length broke up. This hell-dog turned aside Toward his home : We travelled fast and far, Till by a forest edge at eve he pitched His tents. I washed and ate at his command, Forcing revolted nature; I composed My garments and bound up my scattered hair: And when he took my hand, and to his couch Would fain have drawn me, gently I retired From that abominable touch, and said, Forbear to-night I pray thee, for this day A widow, as thou seest me, am I made; Therefore, according to our law, must watch And pray to-night. The loathsome villain paused Ere he assented, then laid down to rest; While at the door of the pavilion, I Knelt on the ground, and bowed my face to earth; But when the neighbouring tents had ceased their stir, The fires were out, and all were fast asleep, Then I arose. The blessed Moon from Heaven Lent me her holy light. I did not pray For strength, for strength was given me as I drew The scymitar, and, standing o'er his couch, Raised it in both my hands with steady aim, And smote his neck. Upward, as from a spring When newly opened by the husbandman, The villain's life-blood spouted. Twice I struck, So making vengeance sure; then, praising God, Retired amid the wood, and measured back My patient way to Auria, to perform This duty which thou seest.

As thus she spake,

Roderick intently listening had forgot
His crown, his kingdom, his calamities,

His crimes, so like a spell upon the Goth
Her powerful words prevailed. With open lips,
And eager ear, and eyes which, while they watched
Her features, caught the spirit that she breathed,
Mute and enrapt he stood, and motionless;
The vision rose before him; and that shout,
Which, like a thunder-peal, victorious Spain
Sent through the welkiu, rung within his soul
Its deep prophetic echoes. On his brow
The pride and power of former majesty
Dawned once again, but changed and purified:
Duty and high heroic purposes,
Now hallowed it, and, as with inward light,
Illumed his meagre countenance austere.

Awhile in silence Adosinda stood,
Reading his altered visage, and the thoughts
Which thus transfigured him. Aye, she exclaimed,
The tale hath moved thee: it might move the dead,
Quicken captivity's dead soul, and rouse
This prostrate country from her mortal trance:
Therefore I live to tell it. And for this
Hath the Lord God Almighty given to me
A spirit not mine own, and strength from Heaven;
Dealing with me as in the days of old
With that Bethulian Matron, when she saved
His people from the spoiler. What remains
But that the life which he hath thus preserved
I consecrate to him? Not veiled and vowed
To pass my days in holiness and peace;
Nor yet between sepulchral walls immured,
Alive to penitence alone; my rule
He hath himself prescribed, and hath infused
A passion in this woman's breast, wherein
All passions and all virtues are combined:
Love, hatred, joy, and anguish, and despair,
And hope, and natural piety, and faith,
Make up the mighty feeling. Call it not
Revenge: thus sanctified and thus sublimed,
'T is duty, "t is devotion. Like the grace
Of God, it came and saved me; and in it
Spain must have her salvation. In thy hands
Here, on the grave of all my family,
I make my vow.

She said, and kneeling down,
Placed within Roderick's palms her folded hands.
This life, she cried, I dedicate to God,
Therewith to do him service in the way
Which he hath shown. To rouse the land against
This impious, this intolerable yoke,
To offer up the invader's hateful blood,
This shall be my employ, my rule and rite,
Observances and sacrifice of faith;
For this I hold the life which he hath given,
A sacred trust; for this, when it shall suit
His service, joyfully will lay it down.
So deal with me as I fulfil the pledge,
O Lord my God, my Saviour and my Judge!

Then rising from the earth, she spread her arms, And looking round with sweeping eyes, exclaimed, Auria, and Spain, and Heaven receive the vow!

IV.

THE MONASTERY OF ST FELIX.

Thus long had Roderick heard her powerful words In silence, awed before her; but his soul Was filled the while with swelling sympathy, And now with impulse not to be restrained The feeling overpowered him. Hear me too, Auria, and Spain, and Heaven! he cried; and thou Who risest thus above nortality, Sufferer and patriot, saint and heroine, The servant and the chosen of the Lord, For surely such thou art, receive in me The first-fruits of thy calling. I neeling then, And placing as he spake his hands in hers, As thou hast sworn, the royal Goth pursued, Even so I swear; my soul hath found at length Her rest and refuge; in the invader's blood She must efface her stains of mortal sin, And in redecnning this lost land, work out Redemption for herself. Herein I place \ly penance for the past, my hope to come, My faith and my good works; here offer up All thoughts and passions of mine inmost heart, My days and nights, this flesh, this blood, this life, Yea this whole being, I devote it here For Spain. Receive the vow, all Saints in Heaven, And prosper its good end –Clap now your wings, The Goth with louder utterance as he rose Exclaimed,—clap now your wings exultingly, Yeravenous fowl of Heaven; and in your deus Set up, ye wolves of Spain, a yell of joy; For lo! a nation hath this day been sworn To furnish forth your banquet; for a strife Ilath been commenced, the which from this day forth Permits no breathing-time, and knows no end Till in this land the last invader bow His neck beneath the exterminating sword.

Said I not rightly? Adosinda cried;
The will which goads me on is not mine own,
T is from on high, yea, verily of Heaven
But who art thou who hast professed with me,
My first sworn brother in the appointed rule 1
Tell me thy name.

Ask any thing but that:
The fallen King replied. My name was lost
When from the Goths the sceptre past away.
The nation will arise regenerate;
Strong in her second youth, and beautiful,
And like a spirit which hath shaken off
The clog of dull mortality, shall Spain
Arise in glory. But for my good name
No resurrection is appointed here.
Let it be blotted out on earth: in Heaven
There shall be written with it penitence,
And grace and saving faith, and such good deeds
Wrought in atonement as my soul this day
Hath sworn to offer up.

Then be thy name,

She answered, Maccabee, from this day forth :

For this day art thou born again; and like Those brethren of old times, whose holy names Live in the memory of all noble hearts

For love and admiration, ever young,-
So for our native country, for her hearths
And altars, for her cradles and her graves,
Hast thou thyself devoted. Let us now
Each to our work. Among the neighbouring hills,
1 to the vassals of my father's house;
Thou to Visonia. Tell the Abbot there
What thou hast seen at Auria; and with him
Take counsel who of all our Baronage
Is worthiest to lead on the sons of Spain,
And wear upon his brow the Spanish crown.
Now, brother, fare thee well! we part in hope,
And we shall meet again, be sure, in joy.

So saying, Adosinda left the King
Aloue amid the ruins. There he stood,
As when Elislia, on the farther bank
Of Jordan, saw that elder prophet mount
The fiery chariot, and the steeds of fire,
Trampling the whirlwind, bear him up the sky:
Thus gazing after her did Roderick stand;
And as the immortal Tishbite left behind
His mantle and prophetic power, even so
Had her inspiring presence left infused
The spirit which she breathed. Gazing he stood,
As at a heavenly visitation there
Vouchsafed in mercy to himself and Spain;
And when the heroic mourner from his sight
Had past away, still reverential awe
Held him suspended there and motionless.
Then turning from the ghastly scene of death
Up murmuring Lona, he began toward
The holy Bierzo his obedient way.
Sil's ample stream he crost, where through the vale
Of Orras, from that sacred land it bears
The whole collected waters: northward then,
Skirting the heights of Aguiar, he reached
That consecrated pile, amid the wild,
Which sainted Fructuoso in his zeal
steared to St Felix, on Wisonia's banks. **

In commune with a priest of age mature,
Whose thoughtful visage and majestic mien
Bespake authority and weight of care,
Odoar, the venerable Abbot, sate;
when ushering Roderick in, the Porter said,
A stranger came from Auria, and required
His private ear. From Aurial said the old man,
Comest thou from Auria, brother? I can spare
Thy painful errand then, we know the worst.

Nay, answered Roderick, but thou hast not heard
My tale, where that devoted city lies
ln ashes, mid the ruins and the dead
I found a woman, whom the Moors had borne
Captive away; but she, by Heaven inspired
And her good heart, with her own arm had wrought
Her own deliverance, smiting in his tent
A lustful Moorish miscreant, as of yore
by Judith's holy deed the Assyrian fell.
And that same spirit which had strengthened her
worked in her still. Four walls with patient toil
She reared, wherein, as in a sepulchre,
With her own hands she laid her murdered babe,
Her husband and her parents, side by side;
And when we covered in this shapeless tomb,

There on the grave of all her family,
Did this courageous mourner dedicate
All thoughts and actions of her future life
To her poor country. For she said, that Heaven
Supporting her, in mercy had vouchsafed
A forctaste of revenge; that, like the grace
of God, revenge had saved her; that in it
Spain must have her salvation; and henceforth
That passion, thus sublimed and sanctified,
Must be to all the loyal sons of Spain
The pole-star of their faith, their rule and rite,
Observances and worthiest sacrifice.
I took the vow, unworthy as I am,
her first sworn follower in the appointed rule;
And then we parted . She amon; the hills
To rouse the vassals of her father's house:
I at her bidding hitherward, to ask
Thy counsel, who of our old Baronage
shall place upon his brow the Spanish crown.

The Lady Adosinda Odoar cried.
Roderick made answer, So she called herself. ,

Oh none but she exclaimed the good old man,
Clasping his hands, which trembled as he spake,
In act of pious passion raised to Heaven,_
Oh none but Adosinda!—none but she,
None but that noble heart, which was the heart
of Auria while it stood, its life and strength,
More than her father's presence, or the arm
of her brave Lord, all valiant as he was.
llers was the spirit which inspired old age,
Ambitious boyhood, girls in timid youth,
And virgins in the beauty of their spring,
And vouthful mothers, doting like herself
with ever-anxious love; she breathed through all
That zeal and that devoted faithfulness,
which to the invader's threats and promises
Turned a deaf ear alike; which in the head
And flood of prosperous fortune checked his course,
Repelled him from the walls; and when at length
his overpowering numbers forced their way,
Even in that uttermost extremity
Unyielding, still from street to street, from house
To house, from floor to floor, maintained the tight:
Till by their altars failing, in their doors,
And on their household heartins, and by their beds
And cradles, and their fathers' sepulchres,
This noble army, gloriously revenged,
Embraced their martyrdom. Heroic souls'
well have we done, and righteously discharged
Your arduous part! Your service is performed,
Your earthly warfare doue! Ye have put on
the purple robe of everlasting peace!
Ye have received your crown! Ye bear the palm
Before the throne of Grace!

with that he paused, checking the strong emotions of his soul. Then with a solemn tone addressing him who shared his secret thoughts, Thou knowest, he said, 0 Urban, that they have not fallen in vain; For by this virtuous sacrifice they thinned Alcahman's thousands; and his broken force, Exhausted by their dear-bought victory, Turned back from Auria, leaving us to breathe Among our mountains yet. We lack not here

Good hearts, nor valiant hands. What walls or towers
Or battlements are like these fastnesses,
These rocks and glens and everlasting hills?
Give but that Aurian spirit, and the Moors
Will spend their force as idly on these holds,
As round the rocky girdle of the land
The wild Cantabrian billows waste their rage.
Give but that spirit"—Heaven hath given it us.
If Adosinda thus, as from the dead,
tle granted to our prayers!

And who art thou,
Said Urban, who hast taken on thyself

|This rule of warlike faith? Thy countenance

And those poor weeds bespeak a life ere this Devoted to austere observances.

Roderick replied, I am a sinful man,
One who in solitude hath long deplored
A life mis-spent; but never bound by vows,
Till Adosinda taught me where to find
Comfort, and how to work forgiveness out.
When that exalted woman took my vow,
She called me Maccabee; from this day forth
Be that my earthly name. But tell me now,
whom shall we rouse to take upon his head
The crown of Spain? Where are the Gothic Chiefs,
Sacaru, Theudemir, Athanagild,
Ali who survived that eight days obstinate fight,
When clotted with bodies Chrysus scarce could force
Its bloody stream along? Witiza's sons,
Bad offspring of a stock accurst, I know,
Have put the turban on their recreant heads.
Where are your own Cuntabrian Lords I ween,
Eudon, and Pedro, and Pelayo now
Have ceased their rivalry. If Pelayo live,
His were the worthy heart and rightful hand
To wield the sceptre and the sword of Spain.

Odoar and Urban cyed him while he spake,
As if they wondered whose the tongue might be
Familiar thus with Chiefs and thoughts of state.
They scanned his countenance, but not a trace
Betrayed the royal Goth: sunk was that eye
Of sovereignty; and on the emaciate cheek
Ilad penitence and anguish deeply drawn
Their furrows premature, forestalling time,
And shedding upon thirty's brows more snows
Than threescore winters in their natural course
Might else have sprinkled there. It seems indeed
That thou hast past thy days in solitude,
Replied the Abbot, or thou wouldst not ask
Of things so long gone by. Athanagild
And Theudemir have taken on their necks
The yoke. Sacaru played a nobler part.
Long within Merida did he withstand
The invader's hot assault; and when at length,
Hopeless of all relief, he yielded up
The gates, disdaining in his father's land

To breathe the air of bondage, with a few

Found faithful to the last, indignantly
Did he toward the ocean bend his way,
And shaking from his feet the dust of Spain,
Took ship, and hoisted sail through seas unknown
To seek for freedom.” Our Cantabrian Chiefs
All have submitted, but the wary Moor
Trusteth not all alike: At his own Court

He holds Pelayo, as suspecting most
That calm and manly spirit; Pedro's son
There too is held as hostage, and secures
His father's faith; Count Eudon is despised,
And so lives unmolested. When he pays
His tribute, an uncomfortable thought
May then perhaps disturb him :-or more like
He meditates how profitable 't were
To be a Moor; and if apostacy
Were all, and to be unbaptized might serve,
But I waste breath upon a wretch like this;
Pelayo is the only hope of Spain,
Only Pelayo.

If, as we believe,
Said Urban then, the hand of Heaven is here,
And dreadful though they be, yet for wise end
Of good, these visitations do its work;
All dimly as our mortal sight may scan
The future, yet methinks my soul descries
How in Pelayo should the purposes
of Heaven be best accomplished. All too long,
Here in their own inheritance, the sons
of Spain have groaned beneath a foreign yoke,”
Punic and Roman, Kelt, and Goth, and Greek:
This latter tempest comes to sweep away
All proud distinctions which commingling blood
And time's long course have failed to efface; and now
Perchance it is the will of Fate to rear
Upon the soil of Spain a Spanish throne,
Restoring in Pelayo's native line
The sceptre to the Spaniard.

Go thou, them,

And seek Pelayo at the Conqueror's court.
Tell him the mountaineers are unsubdued;
The precious time they needed hath been gained
By Auria's sacrifice, and all they ask
ls him to guide them on. In Odoar's name
And Urban's, tell him that the hour is come.

Then pausing for a moment, he pursued.
The rule which thou hast taken on thysclf
Toledo ratifies: 'tis meet for Spain,
And as the will divine, to be received,
Observed, and spread abroad. Come hither thou,
Who for thyself hast chosen the good part;
Let me lay hands on thee, and consecrate
Thy life unto the Lord.

Me! Roderick cried;
Me: sinner that I am!—and while he spake
His withered cheek grew paler, and his limbs
Shook. As thou goest among the infidels,
Pursued the Primate, many thou will find
Fallen from the faith; by weakness some betrayed,
Some led astray by baser hope of gain,
And haply too by ill example led
Of those in whom they trusted. Yet have these
Their lonely hours, when sorrow, or the touch
Of sickness, and that awful power divine
Which hath its dwelling in the heart of man,
Life of his soul, his monitor and judge,
Move them with silent impulse; but they look
For help, and finding none to succour them,
The irrevocable moment passeth by.
Therefore, my brother, in the name of Christ
Thus I lay hands on thee, that in His name
Thou with His gracious promises mayst raise

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Between St Felix and the regal seat
Of Abdalazis, ancient Cordoba,
Lay many a long day's journey interposed;
And many a mountain range hath Roderick crost,
And many a lovely vale, ere he beheld
Where Betis, winding through the unbounded plain,
Rolled his majestic waters. There at eve
Entering an inn, he took his humble seat
with other travellers round the crackling hearth,
where heath and cistus gave their fragrant flame.
That flame no longer, as in other times,
Lit up the countenance of easy mirth
And light discourse: the talk which now went round
was of the grief that prest on every heart;
of Spain subdued; the sceptre of the Goths
Broken; their nation and their name effaced;
Slaughter and mourning, which had left no house
Unvisited; and shame, which set its mark
On every Spaniard's face. One who had seen
His sons fall bravely at his side, bewailed
The unhappy chance which, rescuing him from death,
Left him the last of all his family;
Yet he rejoiced to think that none who drew
Their blood from him remained to wear the yoke,
Be at the miscreant's beck, and propagate
A breed of slaves to serve them. Here sate one
who told of fair possessions lost, and babes
To goodly fortunes born, of all bereft.
Another for a virgin daughter mourned,
The lewd barbarian's spoil. A fourth had seen
Isis only child forsake him in his age,
And for a Moor renounce her hope in Christ.
His was the heaviest grief of all, he said;
And clenching as he spake his hoary locks,
He cursed King Roderick's soul.
Oh curse him not!
Roderick exclaimed, all shuddering as he spake,
Oh, for the love of Jesus, curse him not!
Sufficient is the dreadful load of guilt
which lies upon his miserable soul!
() brother, do not curse that sinful soul,
which Jesus suffered on the cross to save

But then an old man, who had sate thus long
A silent listener, from his seat arose,
And moving round to looderick took his hand;
Christ bless thee, brother, for that Christian speech'
He said; and shame on me that any tongue
Readier than mine was found to utter it!
His own emotion filled him while he spake,
So that he did not feel how Roderick's hand
Shook like a palsied limb; and none could see
How, at his well-known voice, the countenance
Of that poor traveller suddenly was changed,
And sunk with deadlier paleness; for the flame
was spent, and from behind him, on the wall
High hung, the lamp with feeble glimmering played.

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