The Northern Way

Song and Legend From the Middle Ages

Spanish Literature

Page 5

And when they wheel three hundred more, as wheeling back they go.

It was a sight to see the lances rise and fall that day;

The shivered shields and riven mail, to see how thick they lay;

The pennons that went in snow-white come out a gory red;

The horses running riderless, the riders lying dead;

WHile Moors call on Mohammed, and "St. James!" the Christians cry,

And sixty score of Moors and more in narrow compass lie.

Above his gilded saddle-bow there played the Champion's sword;

And Minaya Alvar Fanez, Zurita's gallant lord;

And Martin Antolinez the worthy Burgalese;

And Muno Gustioz his squire---all to the front were these.

And there was Martin Munoz, he who ruled in Mont Mayor;

And there was Alvar Alvarez, and Alvar Salvador;

And the good Galin Garcia, stout lancer of Arragon;

And Felix Munoz, nephew of my Cid the Champion:

Well did they quit themselves that day, all these and many more,

In rescue of the standard for my Cid Campeador.

----Tr. by Ormsby.


Loud from among the Moorish tents the call to battle comes,

And some there are, unused to war, awed by the rolling drums.

Ferrando and Diego most: of troubled mind are they;

Not of their will they find themselves before the Moors that day.

"Pero Burmuez," said the Cid, "my nephew staunch and true,

Ferrando and Diego do I give in charge to you;

Be yours the task in this day's fight my sons-in-law to shield,

For, by God's grace to-day we sweep the Moors from off the field!"

"Nay," said Bermuez, "Cid, for all the love I bear to thee,

The safety of thy sons-in-law no charge of mine shall be.

Let him who will the office fill; my place is at the front,

Among the comrades of my choice to bear the battle's brunt;

As it is thine upon the rear against surprise to guard,

And ready stand to give support where 'er the fight goes hard."

Came Alvar Fanez: "Loyal Cid Campeador," he cried,

"This battle surely God ordains---He will be on our side;

Now give the order of attack which seems to thee the best,

And, trust me, every man of us will do his chief's behest."

But lo! all armed from head to heel the Bishop Jerome shows;

He ever brings good fortune to my Cid where'er he goes.

"Mass have I said, and now I come to join you in the fray;

To strike a blow against the Moor in battle if I may,

And in the field win honor for my order and my hand.

It is for this that I am here, far from my native land.

Unto Valencia did I come to cast my lot with you,

All for the longing that I had to slay a Moor or two.

And so in warlike guise I come, with blazoned shield and lance,

That I may flesh my blade to-day, if God but give the chance,

Then send me to the front to do the bidding of my heart:

Grant me this favor that I ask, or else, my Cid, we part."

"Good!" said my Cid. "Go, flesh thy blade; there stand thy Moorish foes.

Now shall we see how gallantly our fighting Abbot goes."

He said; and straight the Bishop's spurs are in his charger's flanks.

And with a will he flings himself against the Moorish ranks.

By his good fortune, and the aid of God, that loved him well,

Two of the foes before his point at the first onset fell.

His lance he broke, he drew his sword---God! how the good steel played!

Two with the lance he slew, now five go down beneath his blade.

But many are the Moors and round about him fast they close,

And on his hauberk, and his shield, they rain a shower of blows.

He in the good hour born beheld Don Jerome sorely pressed;

He braced his buckler on his arm, he laid his lance in rest,

And aiming where beset by Moors the Bishop stood at bay,

Touched Bavieca with the spur and plunged into the fray;

And flung to earth unhorsed were seven, and lying dead were four,

Where breaking through the Moorish ranks came the Campeador.

God it so pleased, that this should be the finish of the fight;

Before the lances of my Cid the fray became a flight;

And then to see the tent-ropes burst, the tent-poles prostate flung!

As the Cid's horsemen crashing came the Moorish tents among.

Forth from the camp King Bucar's Moors they drove upon the plain,

And charging on the rout, they rode and cut them down amain;

Here severed lay the mail-clad arm, there lay the steel-capped head,

And here the charger riderless, ran trampling on the dead.

Behind King Bucar as he fled my Cid came spurring on;

"Now, turn thee, Bucar, turn!" he cried; "here is the Bearded One:

Here is that Cid you came to seek, King from behind the main,

Let there be peace and amity to-day between us twain."

Said Bucar, "Nay; thy naked sword, thy rushing steed, I see;

If these mean amity, then God confound such amity.

Thy hand and mine shall never join unless in yonder deep,

If the good steed that I bestride his footing can but keep."

Swift was the steed, but swifter borne on Bavieca's stride,

Three fathoms from the sea my Cid rode at King Bucar's side;

Aloft his blade a moment played, then on the helmet's crown,

Shearing the steel-cap dight with gems, Colada he brought down.

Down to the belt, through helm and mail, he cleft the Moor in twain.

And so he slew King Bucar, who came from beyond the main.

This was the battle, this the day, when he the great sword won,

Worth a full thousand marks of gold---the famous Brand Tizon.

------Tr. by Ormsby.

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