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THE POEM OF THE CID.
ODRIGO Ruy Diaz, El Cid Campeador, was born
near Burgos, in Spain, about 1040. The name Cid was given him by the Moors, and means lord. Campeador means champion.
Ruy Diaz was the trusty lord of Sancho, King of Castile, who at his death divided his kingdom among his children. He then espoused the cause of the eldest son, Sancho, and assisted him in wresting their portion of the kingdom from his brothers Garcia and Alfonso. Sancho having been treacherously slain while besieging his sister Urraca's town of Zamora, the Cid attached himself to Alfonso, humiliating him, however, by making him and his chief lords swear that they had had no hand in Sancho's death. For this, Alfonso revenged himself by exiling the Cid on the slightest pretexts, recalling him only when his services were needed in the defence of the country.
This much, and the Cid's victories over the Moors, his occupation of Valencia, and his army's departure therefrom in 1102, led by his corpse seated on horseback, “ clothed in his habit as he lived", are historical facts.
A great mass of romances, among them the story of his slaying Count Don Gomez because he had insulted his father, Diego Laynez; of Don Gomez's daughter Ximena wooing and wedding him; of his assisting the leper and having his future success foretold by him, and of his embalmed body sitting many years in the cathedral at Toledo, are related in the “ Chronicle of the Cid” and the “ Ballads.”
The Poem of the Cid narrates only a portion of his career, and “if it had been named," says Ormsby, “would have been called “The Triumph of the Cid.'”
The Poem of the Cid was written about 1200 A. D. Its authorship is unknown.
It contains three thousand seven hundred and forty-five lines, and is divided into two cantares. The versification is careless; when rhyme hampered the poet he dropped it, and used instead the assonant rhyme.
The Poem of the Cid is of peculiar interest because it belongs to the very dawn of our modern literature, and because its hero was evidently a real personage, a portion of whose history was recorded in this epic not long after the events took place. The Cid is one of the most simple and natural of the epic heroes; he has all a man's weaknesses, and it is difficult to repress a smile at the perfectly natural manner in which, while he slaughters enough Moors to secure himself a place in the heavenly kingdom, he takes good care to lay up gold for the enjoyment of life on earth. The poem is told with the greatest simplicity, naturalness, and directness, as well as with much poetic fire.
BIBLIOGRAPHY AND CRITICISM, THE CID. Robert Southey's Chronicle of the Cid. . . . Appendix contains Poetry of the Cid by J. H. Frere, 1808, new ed., 1845; Matthew Arnold's Poem of the Cid, MacMillan, 1871, vol. xxiv., pp. 471-485; George Dennio's The Cid: A short Chronicle founded on the early Poetry of Spain, 1845; Butler Clarke's The Cid (in his Spanish Literature, 1893, pp. 46-53); E. E. Hale and Susan Hale's The Cid in their Story of Spain, 1893, pp. 248–261); Stanley Lane Poole's The Cid (in his Story of the Moors in Spain, 1891, pp. 191-213); Sismondi's Poem of the Cid (in his Literature of the South of Europe, 1884, vol. ii., pp. 95-140); George Ticknor's Poem of the Cid (in his History of Spanish Literature, ed. 6, 1893, vol. i., pp. 12-26); W. T. Dobson's Classic Poets, 1879, pp. 35138); J. G. von Herder's Der Cid, nach spanischen Romanzen besungen (in his works, 1852, vol. xiv.), translated.
STANDARD ENGLISH TRANSLATIONS, THE POEM OF THE CID. The Poem of the Cid, Tr. by John Ormsby, 1879; Translations from the Poem of the Cid by John Hookam Frere (in his works, 1872, vol. ii., p. 409); Ballads of the Cid, Tr. by Lewis Gerard, 1883; Ancient Spanish Ballads, Tr. by John Gibson Lockhart, 1823.
THE STORY OF THE POEM OF THE CID.
TEARS stood in the eyes of the Cid as he looked at his pillaged castle. The coffers were empty, even the falcons were gone from their perches. “Cruel wrong do I suffer from mine enemy!” he exclaimed as they rode into Burgos. “Alvar Fanez, of a truth we are banished men.”
From the windows of Burgos town the burghers and their dames looked down with tearful eyes upon the Cid and his sixty lances.
“Would that his lord were worthy of him," said they
He rode up to the gates of his house in Burgos; the king's seal was upon them. “My lord,” cried a damsel from an upper casement, “thy goods are forfeited to the king, and he has forbidden that we open door or shelter thee upon pain of forfeiture of our goods, yea, even of our sight !”
Little hope then had the Cid of mercy from King Alfonso ; and sooner than bring suffering on his beloved people of Burgos he betook himself without the city and sat him down to think of what to do. “Martin Antolinez," said he, “I have no money with which to pay my troops. Thou must help me to get it, and if I live I will repay thee double.”
Then the two together fashioned two stout chests covered with red leather and studded with gilt nails, and these they filled with sand. Then Martin Antolinez without delay sought out the money lenders, Rachel and Vidas, and bargained with them to lend the Cid six hundred marks, and take in pawn for them the two chests filled with treasure that he dared not at that time take away with him. they were to keep the chests and pledge themselves not to look in them. Glad were the hearts of the money lenders as they lifted the heavy chests, and happy was the Cid when he saw the six hundred marks counted out before him.
Seeking the monastery of San Pedro de Cardeña, the Cid embraced his wife Ximena and his two daughters, and left
For a year
them in the protection of the abbot, to whom he promised recompense. Hard was the pain of parting as when the finger nail is torn away from the flesh, but a banished man has no choice. And as they passed the night at Higeruela a sweet vision promising success comforted the Cid in his slumbers; and many from Castile, who heard of the departure of the hero, sought his banners to better their fortune.
Next day the Cid and his men took Castejon and sold the spoil to the Moors of Hita and Guadalajara, and then my Cid passed on and planted himself upon a lofty and strong hill opposite Alcocer, and levied tribute upon the neighboring peoples. When he had so besieged Alcocer for fifteen weeks he took it by stratagem, and Pero Bermuez, the slow of speech, planted his standard on the highest part. When the King of Valencia heard of this, he determined to capture my Cid, and accordingly sent three thousand Moors to lay siege to Alcocer.
When the water was cut off and bread became scarce, the six hundred Spanish men, acting upon the advice of Minaya, took the field against the three thousand Moors; and such was the valor of him that in a good hour was born, and of his standard bearer, Pero Bermuez, and of the good Minaya, that the Moors fell to the ground three hundred at a time, their shields shivered, their mail riven, their white pennons red with blood.
“Thanks be to God for victory !" said the Cid. In the Moorish king's camp was found great spoil, - shields, arms, and horses. Greatly the Christians rejoiced, for to them fell much spoil, and but fifteen of their men were missing. Even to the Moors my Cid gave some of his spoil, and from his share of one hundred horses he sent by Minaya thirty, saddled and bridled, with as many swords hung at the saddle bows, to King Alfonso. Also he sent by him a wallet of gold and silver for his wife and daughters, and to pay for a thousand Masses at Burgos.
Alfonso was well pleased to receive this token. “It is too soon to take him into favor, but I will accept his present, and I am glad he won the victory. Minaya, I pardon thee;