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“ 'Twas even-song time, but not a bell was heard ; Instead thereof, on her polluted towers, Bidding the Moors to their unhallow'd prayer, The crier stood, and with his sonorous voice. Fill’d the delicious vale where Lena winds Through groves and pastoral meads. The sound, the sight Of turban, girdle, robe, and scimitar, And tawny skins, awoke contending thoughts Of anger, shame, and anguish in the Goth; The unaccustom'd face of human-kind Confused him now, and through the streets he went With hagged mien, and countenance like one Crazed or bewilder'd. All who met him turn’d, And wonder'd as he past. One stopt him short, Put alms into his hand, and then desired, In broken Gothic speech, the moon-struck man To bless him. With a look of vacancy Roderick received the alms; his wandering eye Fell on the money, and the fallen King, Seeing his own royal impress on the piece, Broke out into a quick convulsive voice, That seem'd like laughter first, but ended soon In hollow groans supprest: the Mussulman Shrunk at the ghastly sound, and magnified The name of Allah as he hasten'd on. A Christian woman spinning at her door Beheld him, and with sudden pity touch’d, She laid her spindle by, and running in Took bread, and following after call'd him back, And placing in his passive hands the loaf, She said, Christ Jesus for his Mother's sake Have mercy on thee! With a look that seem'd Like idiotcy he heard her, and stood still, Staring awhile ; then bursting into tears Wept like a child, and thus relieved his heart, Full even to bursting else with swelling thoughts.

So through the streets, and through the northern gate,
Did Roderick, reckless of a resting place,
With feeble yet with hurried step, pursue
His agitated way; and when he reach'd
The open fields, and found himself alone
Beneath the starry canopy of Heaven,

The sense of solitude, so dreadful late,
Was then repose and comfort. There he stopt
Beside a little rill, and brake the loaf;
And shedding o’er that unaccustom'd food
Painful but quiet tears, with grateful soul
He breathed thanksgiving forth; then made his bed
On heath and myrtle.”

“ A midnight march in Spain is also very beautifully described.”

-" The favouring moon arose, To guide them on their Alight through upland paths Remote from frequentage, and dales retired, Forest and mountain glen. Before their feet The fire-flies, swarming in the woodland shade, Sprung up like sparks, and twinkled round their way ; The timorous blackbird, starting at their step, Fled from the thicket, with shrill note of fear; And far below them in the peopled dell, When all the soothing sounds of eve had ceased, The distant watch-dog's voice at times was heard, Answering the nearer wolf. All through the night Among the hills they travell’d silently; Till when the stars were setting, at what hour The breath of Heaven is coldest, they beheld Within a lonely grove the expected fire, Where Roderick and his comrade anxiously Look’d for the appointed meeting.Bright rose the flame replenish'd ; it illumed

The cork-tree's furrowed rind, its rifts and swells
And redder scars, . . and where its aged boughs
O’erbower'd the travellers, cast upon the leaves
A floating, grey, unrealizing gleam.”

“ There is also much sweetness and pleasing poetry in the description of the investiture of the young Alphonso with the honours of knighthood.”

“ Rejoicing in their task,
The servants of the house with emulous love
Dispute the charge. One brings the cuirass, one
The buckler; this exultingly displays
The sword, his comrade lifts the helm on high:
The greaves, the gauntlets they divide; .. a spur
Seems now to dignify the officious hand
Which for such service bears it to his Lord.
Greek artists in the imperial city forged
That splendid armour, perfect in their craft;
With curious skill they wrought it, framed alike
To shine amid the pageantry of war,
And for the proof of battle. Many a time
Alphonso from his nurse's lap had stretch'd
His infant hạnds toward it eagerly,
Where gleaming to the central fire it hung
High in the hall ; and many a time had wish'd
With boyish ardour, that the day were come
When Pedro to his prayers would grant the boon,
His dearest heart's desire.
No season this for old solemnities,
For wassailry and sport; .. the bath, the bed,
The vigil, . . all preparatory rites
Omitted now,.. here in the face of Heaven,
Before the vassals of his father's house,
With them in instant peril to partake

The chance of life or death, the heroic boy
Dons his first arms; the coated scales of steel
Which o'er the tunic to his knees depend,
The hose, the sleeves of mail : bareheaded then
He stood. But when Count Pedro took the spurs,
And bent his knee in service to his son,
Alphonso from that gesture half drew back,
Starting in reverence, and a deeper hue
Spread o'er the glow of joy which flush'd his cheeks.
Do thou the rest, Pelayo! said the Count;
So shall the ceremony of this hour
Exceed in honour what in form it lacks.”

“ I will just read to you another passage, which, though of a different kind, is not less beautiful.”

“Methinks if ye would know
How visitations of calamity
Affect the pious soul, 'tis shown ye there!
Look yonder at that cloud, which through the sky
Sailing alone, doth cross in her career
The rolling moon! I watch'd it as it came,
And deem'd the deep opaque would blot her beams;
But, melting like a wreath of snow, it hangs
In folds of wavy silver round, and clothes
The orb with richer beauties than her own,
Then passing, leaves her in her light serene.

Thus having said, the pious sufferer sate,
Beholding with fix'd eyes that lovely orb,
Till quiet tears confused in dizzy light
The broken moonbeams. They too by the toil
Of spirit, as by travail of the day
Subdued, were silent, yielding to the hour.
The silver cloud diffusing slowly past,
And now into its airy elements
Resolved is gone; while through the azure depth

Alone in heaven the glorious Moon pursues
Her course appointed, with indifferent beams.
Shining upon the silent hills around,
And the dark tents of that unholy host,
Who, all unconscious of impending fate,
Take their last slumber there. The camp is still ;
The fires have moulder'd, and the breeze which stirs
The soft and snowy embers, just lays bare
At times a red and evanescent light,
Or for a moment wakes a feeble flame.
They by the fountain hear the stream below,
Whose murmurs, as the wind arose or fell,
Fuller or fainter reach the ear attuned.
And now the nightingale, not distant far,
Began her solitary song ; and pour'd
To the cold moon a richer, stronger strain
Than that with which the lyric lark salutes
The new-born day. Her deep and thrilling song
Seem’d with its piercing melody to reach
The soul, and in mysterious unison
Blend with all thoughts of gentleness and love.
Their hearts were open to the healing power
Of nature ; and the splendour of the night,
The flow of waters, and that sweetest lay
Came to them like a copious evening dew
Falling on vernal herbs which thirst for rain."

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