The Northern Way

Song and Legend From the Middle Ages

Spanish Literature

Page 4

BAVIECA

The favorite warrior horse of the Cid. There are several more ballads devoted to this charger.

The King looked on him kindly, as on a vassal true;

Then to the King Ruy Diaz spake after reverence due,---

"O King, the thing is shameful, that any man beside

The liege lord of Castile himself should Bavieca ride:

"For neither Spain or Araby could another charger bring

So good as he, and certes, the best befits my King.

But that you may behold him, and know him to the core,

I'll make him go as he was wont when his nostrils smelt the Moor."

With that, the Cid, clad as he was in mantle furred and wide,

On Bavieca vaulting, put the rowel in his side;

And up and down, and round and round, so fierce was his career,

Streamed like a pennon on the wind Ruy Diaz' minivere.

And all that saw them praised them---they lauded man and horse,

As matched well, and rivalless for gallantry and force,

Ne'er had they looked on horseman might to this knight come near,

Nor on other charger worthy of such a cavalier.

Thus, to and fro a-rushing, the fierce and furious steed,

He snapt in twain his hither rein:---"God pity now the Cid."

"God pity Diaz," cried the Lords,---but when they looked again,

They saw Ruy Diaz ruling him, with the fragment of his rein;

They saw him proudly ruling with gesture firm and calm,

Like a true lord commanding---and obeyed as by a lamb.

And so he led him foaming and panting to the King,

But "No," said Don Alphonso, "it were a shameful thing

That peerless Bavieca should ever be bestrid

By any mortal but Bivar---Mount, mount again, my Cid."

----Tr. by Lockhart.

 

FROM THE POEM OF THE CID

The Cid has been banished by King Alphonso, has entered the Moors' country and taken a city. The Moors rally, gather their allies and surround the Cid's army. he turns to consult with his men.

 

"From water they have cut us off, our bread is running low;

If we would steal away by night, they will not let us go;

Against us there are fearful odds if we make a choice to fight;

What would ye do now gentlemen, in this our present plight?"

Minaya was the first to speak: said the stout cavalier,

"Forth from Castile the gentle thrust, we are but exiles here;

Unless we grapple with the Moor bread he will never yield;

A good six hundred men or more we have to take the field;

In God's name let us falter not, nor countenance delay,

But sally forth and strike a blow upon to-morrow's day."

"Like thee the counsel," said my Cid; "thou speakest to my mind;

And ready to support thy word thy hand we ever find."

Then all the Moors that bide within the walls he bids to go

Forth from the gates, lest they, perchance, his purpose come to know

In making their defences good they spend the day and night,

And at the rising of the sun they arm them for the fight.

Then said the Cid: "Let all go forth, all that are in our band;

Save only two of those on foot, beside the gate to stand.

Here they will bury us if death we meet on yonder plain,

But if we win our battle there, rich booty we shall gain.

And thou Pero Bermuez, this my standard thou shalt hold;

It is a trust that fits thee well, for thou art stout and bold;

But see that thou advance it not unless I give command."

Bermuez took the standard and kissed the Champion's hand.

Then bursting through the castle gates upon the plain they show;

Back on their lines in panic fall the watchmen of the foe.

And hurrying to and fro the Moors are arming all around,

While Moorish drums go rolling like to split the very ground,

And in hot haste they mass their troops behind their standards twain,

Two might bands of men-at-arms to count them it were vain.

And now their line comes sweeping on, advancing to the fray,

Sure of my Cid and all his band to make an easy prey.

"Now steady, comrades," said my Cid; "our ground we have to stand;

Let no man stir beyond the ranks until I give command."

Bermuez fretted at the word, delay he could not brook;

He spurred his charger to the front, aloft the banner shook:

"O loyal Cid Campeador, God give the aid! I go

To plant thy ensign in among the thickest of the foe;

And ye who serve it, be it yours our standard to restore."

"Not so---as thou dost love me, stay!" called the Campeador.

Came Pero's answer, "their attack I cannot, will not stay."

He gave his horse the spur and dashed against the Moors array.

To win the standard eager all the Moors await the shock,

Amid a rain of blows he stands unshaken as a rock,

Then cried my Cid: "In charity, on to the rescue---ho!"

With bucklers braced before their breasts, with lances pointing low,

With stooping crests and heads bent down above the saddle bow,

All firm of hand and high of heart they roll upon the foe.

And he that in a good hour was born, his clarion voice rings out,

And clear above the clang of arms is heard his battle shout,

"Among them, gentlemen! Strike home for the love of charity!

The Champion of Bivar is here---Ruy Diaz---I am he!"

Then bearing where Bermuez still maintains unequal fight,

Three hundred lances down they come, their pennons flickering white;

Down go three hundred Moors to earth, a man to every blow;

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