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But understand, one farthing's worth I render not again
Of what has been in battle lost and won on yonder plain.
I give not back the lawful spoils I fairly win in fight;
But for mine own and vassals' wants I hold them as my right.
My followers are needy men; I cannot if I would ;
For spoil from thee and others won is all our livelihood.
And such, while God's good will it is, must be our daily life,
As outcasts forced to wander, with an angry king at strife.”
With lighter heart Count Raymond called for water for his hands,
And then with his two gentlemen, sent by the Cid's commands,
He blithely sat him down to meat: God! with what gust ate he!
And glad was the Campeador such heartiness to see.
Quoth he, “ Until thou eat thy fill we part not, Count, to-day.”
“Nor loth am İ,” Count Raymond said, “such bidding to obey."
So he and his two cavaliers a hearty meal they made:
It pleased my Cid to watch his hands, how lustily they played.
“Now if thou wilt," Count Raymond said, “ that we are satisfied,
Bid them to lead the horses forth, that we may mount and ride.
Never since I have been a Count have I yet broken fast
With such a relish ; long shall I remember this repast."
Three palfreys with caparisons of costly sort they bring,
And on the saddles robes of fur and mantles rich they fling.
Thus, with a knight on either hand, away Count Raymond rides ;
While to the outposts of the camp his guests the Champion guides.
“Now speed thee, Count; ride on," quoth he, “ a free Frank as thou art.
For the brave spoil thou leavest me I thank thee from my heart;
And if to win it back again perchance thou hast a mind,
Come thou and seek me when thou wilt; I am not far to find.
But if it be not to thy taste to try another day,
Still, somewhat, be it mine or thine, thou carriest away."
“ Nay! go in peace for me, my Cid: no more I seek of thee ;
And thou, I think, for one year's space hast won enough of me."
He spurred his steed, but, as he rode, a backward glance he bent,
Still fearing to the last my Cid his promise would repent:
A thing, the world itself to win, my Cid would not have done:
No perfidy was ever found in him, the Perfect One.
In the Cortes called by the King of Spain to hear the cause of the Cid, whose daughters had been shamefully treated and deserted by their husbands, the Infantes of Carrion, Ferran and Diego Gonzalez, the Cid demanded the restitution of his swords and of three thousand marks of gold and silver he had given the Infantes. These being granted, the Cid spoke again :
“So please your grace! once more upon your clemency I call;
A grievance yet remains untold, the greatest grief of all.
And let the court give ear, and weigh the wrong that hath been done.
I hold myself dishonored by the lords of Carrion.
Redress by combat they must yield ; none other will I take.
How now, Infantes! what excuse, what answer do ye make?
Why have ye laid my heartstrings bare? In jest or earnest, say,
Have I offended you? and I will make amends to-day.
My daughters in your hands I placed the day that forth ye went,
And rich in wealth and honors from Valencia were you sent.
Why did you carry with you brides ye loved not, treacherous curs?
Why tear their flesh in Corpes wood with saddle-girths and spurs,
And leave them to the beasts of prey? Villains throughout were ye!
What answer ye can make to this 't is for the court to see."
The Count Garcia was the first that rose to make reply.
"So please ye, gracious king, of all the kings of Spain most high;
Strange is the guise in which my Cid before you hath appeared ;
To grace your summoned court he comes, with that long straggling beard ;
With awe struck dumb, methinks, are some; some look as though they
The noble lords of Carrion of princely race are born;
To take the daughters of my Cid for lemans they should scorn;
Much more for brides of equal birth : in casting them aside
We care not for his blustering talk — we hold them justified.”
Upstood the Champion, stroked his beard, and grasped it in his hands.
“Thanks be to God above," he cried, “ who heaven and earth commands,
A long and lordly growth it is, my pleasure and my pride ;
In this my beard, Garcia, say, what find you to deride?
Its nurture since it graced my chin hath ever been my care ;
No son of woman born hath dared to lay a finger there;
No son of Christian or of Moor hath ever plucked a hair.
Remember Cabra, Count of thine the same thou canst not say:
On both thy castle and thy beard I laid my hand that day:
Nay! not a groom was there but he his handful plucked away.
Look, where my hand hath becn, my lords, all ragged yet it grows !”
With noisy protest breaking in Ferran Gonzalez rose:
“Cid, let there be an end of this; your gifts you have again,
And now no pretext for dispute between us doth remain.
Princes of Carrion are we, with fitting brides we mate;
Daughters of emperors or kings, not squires of low estate :
We brook not such alliances, and yours we rightly spurned."
My Cid, Ruy Diaz, at the word, quick to Bermuez turned.
“Now is the time, Dumb Peter, speak, O man that sittest mute!
My daughters' and thy cousins' name and fame are in dispute ;
To me they speak, to thee they look to answer every word.
If I am left to answer now, thou canst not draw thy sword.”
Tongue-tied Bermuez stood, awhile he strove for words in vain,
But, look you, when he once began he made his meaning plain.
"Cid, first I have a word for you : you always are the same,
In Cortes ever jibing me, “ Dumb Peter' is the name:
It never was a gift of mine, and that long since you knew;
But have you found me fail in aught that fell to me to do?
You lie, Ferrando; lie in all you say upon that score.
The honor was to you, not him, the Cid Campeador ;
For I know something of your worth, and somewhat I can tell.
That day beneath Valencia wall — you recollect it well-
You prayed the Cid to place you in the forefront of the fray;
You spied a Moor, and valiantly you went that Moor to slay ;
And then you turned and fled — for his approach, you would not stay.
Right soon he would have taught you ’t was a sorry game to play,
Had I not been in battle there to take your place that day.
I slew him at the first onfall; I gave his steed to you;
To no man have I told the tale from that hour hitherto.
Before the Cid and all his men you got yourself a name,
How you in single combat slew a Moor - a deed of fame;
And all believed in your exploit; they wist not of your shame.
You are a craven at the core ; tall, handsome, as you stand :
How dare you talk as now you talk, you tongue without a hand?
Again, Ferrando, call to mind — another tale for you
That matter of the lion; it was at Valencia too.
My Cid lay sleeping when you saw the unchained lion near;
What did you do, Ferrando, then, in your agony of fear?
Low did you crouch behind the couch whereon the Champion lay:
You did, Ferrando, and by that we rate your worth to-day.
We gathered round to guard our lord, Valencia's conqueror.
rose, and to the lion went, the brave Campeador ;
The lion fawned before his feet and let him grasp its mane;
He thrust it back into its cage; he turned to us again :
His trusty vassals to a man he saw around him there :
Where were his sons-in-law ? he asked, and none could tell him where.
Now take thou my defiance as a traitor, trothless knight:
Upon this plea before our King Alfonso will I fight;
The daughters of my lord are wronged, their wrong is mine to right.
That ye those ladies did desert, the baser are ye then;
For what are they ? — weak women; and what are ye? strong men.
On every count I deem their cause to be the holier,
And I will make thee own it when we meet in battle here.
Traitor thou shalt confess thyself, so help me God on high,
And all that I have said to-day my sword shall verify."
Thus far these two. Diego rose, and spoke as ye shall hear :
“Counts by our birth are we, of stain our lineage is clear.
In this alliance with my Cid there was no parity.
If we his daughters cast aside, no cause for shame we see.
And little need we care if they in mourning pass their lives,
Enduring the reproach that clings to scorned rejected wives.
In leaving them we but upheld our honor and our right,
And ready to the death am I, maintaining this, to fight.”
Here Martin Antolinez sprang upon his feet: “False hound !
Will you not silent keep that mouth where truth was never found?
For you to boast! the lion scare have you forgotten too?
How through the open door you rushed, across the court-yard flew;
How sprawling in your terror on the wine press beam you lay?
Ay! never more, I trow, you wore the mantle of that day.
There is no choice; the issue now the sword alone can try;
The daughters of my Cid ye spurned; that must ye justify.
On every count I here declare their cause the cause of right,
And thou shalt own the treachery the day we join in fight."
He ceased, and striding up the hall Assur Gonzalez passed;
His cheek was flushed with wine, for he had stayed to break his fast;
Ungirt his robe, and trailing low his ermine mantle hung;
Rude was his bearing to the court, and reckless was his tongue.
“What a to-do is here, my lords ! was the like ever seen?
What talk is this about my Cid — him of Bivar, I mean?
To Riodouirna let him go to take his millers' rent,
And keep his mills agoing there, as once he was content.
He, forsooth, mate his daughters with the Counts of Carrion !"
Up started Muño Gustioz: “False, foul-mouthed knave, have done!
Thou glutton, wont to break thy fast without a thought of prayer,
Whose heart is plotting mischief when thy lips are speaking fair;
Whose plighted word to friend or lord hath ever proved a lie;
False always to thy fellow-man, falser to God on high.
No share in thy good will I seek; one only boon I pray,
The chance to make thee own thyself the villain that I say."
Then spoke the king : “Enough of words: ye have my leave to fight,
The challenged and the challengers; and God defend the right.”
The marshals leave them face to face and from the lists are gone;
Here stand the champions of my Cid, there those of Carrion;
Each with his gaze intent and fixed upon his chosen foe,
Their bucklers braced before their breasts, their lances pointing low,
Their heads bent down, as each man leans above his saddle-bow.
Then with one impulse every spur is in the charger's side,
And earth itself is felt to shake beneath their furious stride;
Till, midway meeting, three with three, in struggle fierce they lock,
While all account them dead who hear the echo of the shock.
Ferrando and his challenger, Pero Bermuez, close ;
Firm are the lances held, and fair the shields receive the blows.
Through Pero's shield Ferrando drove his lance, a bloodless stroke;
The point stopped short in empty space, the shaft in splinters broke.
But on Bermuez, firm of seat, the shock fell all in vain ;
And while he took Ferrando's thrust he paid it back again.
The armored buckler shattering, right home his lance he pressed,
Driving the point through boss and plate against his fceman's breast.
Three folds of mail Ferrando wore, they stood him in good stead;
Two yielded to the lance's point, the third held fast the head.
But forced into the flesh it sank a hand's breadth deep or more,
Till bursting from the gasping lips in torrents gushed the gore.
Then, the girths breaking, o'er the croup borne rudely to the ground,
He lay, a dying man it seemed to all who stood around.
Bermuez cast his lance aside, and sword in hand came on;
Ferrando saw the blade he bore, he knew it was Tizon:
Quick ere the dreaded brand could fall, “ I yield me," came the cry.
Vanquished the marshals granted him, and Pero let him lie,
And Martin Antolinez and Diego — fair and true
Each struck upon the other's shield, and wide the splinters flew.
Then Antolinez seized his sword, and as he drew the blade,
A dazzling gleam of burnished steel across the meadow played ;
And at Diego striking full, athwart the helmet's crown,
Sheer through the steel plates of the casque he drove the falchion down,
Through coif and scarf, till from the scalp the locks it razed away,
And half shorn off and half upheld the shattered head-piece lay.
Reeling beneath the blow that proved Colada's cruel might,
Diego saw no chance but one, no safety save in fight :
He wheeled and fled, but close behind him Antolinez drew;
With the flat blade a hasty blow he dealt him as he few;
But idle was Diego's sword; he shrieked to Heaven for aid:
"O God of glory, give me help! save me from yonder blade !"
Unreined, his good steed bore him safe and swept bim past the bound,
And Martin Antolinez stood alone upon the ground.
“Come hither," said the king ; "thus far the conquerors are ye.”
And fairly fought and won the field the marshals both agree.
So much for these, and how they fought: remains to tell you yet
How meanwhile Muño Gustioz Assur Gonzalez met.
With a strong arm and steady aim each struck the other's shield,
And under Assur's sturdy thrusts the plates of Muño's yield;
But harmless passed the lance's point, and spent its force in air.
Not so Don Muño's; on the shield of Assur striking fair,
Through plate and boss and foeman's breast his pennoned lance he sent,
Till out between the shoulder blades a fathom's length it went.
Then, as the lance le plucked away, clear from the saddle swung,
With one strong wrench of Muño's wrist to earth was Assur fung;
And back it came, shaft, pennon, blade, all stained a gory red ;
Nor was there one of all the crowd but counted Assur sped,
While o'er him Muño Gustioz stood with uplifted brand.
Then cried Gonzalo Assurez: “In God's name hold thy hand !
Already have ye won the field; no more is needed now."
And said the marshals, “ It is just, and we the claim allow."
And then the King Alfonso gave command to clear the ground,
And gather in the relics of the battle strewed around.
And from the field in honor went Don Roderick's champions three.
Thanks be to God, the Lord of all, that gave the victory.
But fearing treachery, that night upon their way they went, As King Alfonso's honored guests in safety homeward sent, And to Valencia city day and night they journeyed on, To tell my Cid Campeador that his behest was done. But in the lands of Carrion it was a day of woe, And on the lords of Carrion it fell a heavy blow. He who a noble lady wrongs and casts aside — may he Meet like requital for his deeds, or worse, if worse there be. But let us leave them where they lie — their meed is all men's scorn.