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They hurry to the spot, where Bermuez advances
as many more lie humbled on the field.
There is a remarkably fine passage where the Cid summons his treacherous relations to answer for their perfidy before the Cortes; and the description of the encounter between the Infantes of Carrion and the Defenders of the Hero has been often referred to as full of energy and truth. “ Each thinks now of himself, and of himself alone; They seize their shields, those shields their valiant bosoms cover: They bend their lances down, with their pennons Aying over ; They look upon their steeds, and their harness in their pride, And their spurs have entered deep their fiery horses' side, And the earth beneath them trembles, trembles at their feet : Each, each, must. stand alone for his honor to provide ; For three 'gainst three, in close encounter now they meet.
Antonio puts his hand upon his sword so bright,
*“ A grandes voces lama, el que en buen ora nasco,
Feridlos caballeros por amor de caridad,
Abrazan los escudos delant los corazones
But not for their poetic merits alone, or principally, are these early fragments interesting. They are most valuable historical documents—they are admirable illustrations of manners and character—they introduce us to the daily concerns of those who lived so many centuries ago; and though rude and unpolished, the portraitures of the individuals introduced are singularly bold and vivid. The blind obedience to kingly authority -the influence of the priests—the disorganized state of society, are strikingly developed. There is little of the machinery of the epic; and powerful description, rather than fanciful decoration, distinguishes them. The Cid is usually called “ The born in happy hour.” Over all there is spread a spirit of rude devotion—a constant appeal to the Heavenly Creator, to Holy Mary, Jesus, and the Saints.
The versification is irregular and imperfect. A syllable or two, too much or too little, ne er perplexes the author. Asonantes and consonantes are frequently blended, and seem not to have been distinguished by the ear of the writer. The Poenia del Cid has many examples of that species of rhyme which became universal in the following century, viz. couplets of four lines with the same rhyme, as for example: “ Notó los Don Martino sin
fablaba." There is often too a verbal repetition of the same stanzas, and especially where the lines are such as the writer regarded with particular self-complacency.
As a specimen of the then state of the language of Spain, these early poems are most valuable. So undetermined does it appear, that no less than four words are employed as the third person singular of the perfect tense of the verb nacer; nado, nasco, nasció, nació. A number of Arabic words,-Acaiaz (señor), seid, (cid) alfaya (gift), almofalla (army), almofar (coif), axobda (centinel), &c. now obsolete, are used. The construc
Abaxan las lanzas abueltas con los pendones
Martin Antolinez mano metio al espada
tion is more of a Latin character, and a variety of Latin words are employed, which are no longer understood in Spain : Allaudar (allaudare), monedado (monedatus, Du Cange), cingir (cingere), cuer (cor), dona (pl. donum), eguar (equare), finiestra (fenestra), glera (sea-shore), exir (exire), jogado (jocatus), plorra (plorare), regno (regnum), remaner (remanere), si (sic), toller (tollere), ullo (ullus), &c.
In the following century, Don Gonzalo de Berceo and Don Juan Lorenzo contributed not a little to give character and precision to Castillian poetry. The following verses of the former will serve admirably well for a comparison with those of the latter which we had before occasion to quote. (iii. 283),
* “ To me it once befel, when in Romeria (a) gone,
To tread a fertile plain, with greenest turf o'ergrown,
and many a flower was o'er its bosom thrown;
* “ Yo Maestro Gonzalo de Berceo nomnado
lendo en Romeria caeci en un prado
Daban olor sobeio las flores bien olientes
Avie hy grand abondo de buenas arboledas
(a) Romeria ; a joyous pilgrimage made to some shrine, or in honor of some saint.
The verdure of the fields, the flowers so gay and sweet,
I never, never saw so privileged a spot,
And now 'twas gently soft, and now 'twas boldly loud,
The organ or the harp, the psaltery or the lyre,
La verdura del prado, la olor de las flores,
posar, al mover todas se esperaban,
Non serie organista, nin serie violero,
The field was beautiful, 'twas always fresh and green,
The poet then goes on to explain his allegory. We are pilgrims to a better country, but have one beautiful resting place to relieve our weariness. It is that which he has painted-it is the Virgin Mary—the unchanging green is her virginitythe fountains are the evangelists--the shade of the trees, songs of devotion—the groves are her miracles—the birds are saints and martyrs—the flowers are the names of the virgin.
“Sennores e amigos, en váno contendemos,
Nin estrument, nin lengua, nin tan claro vocero,
que fui en tierra acostado
Los omes e las aves quantas acacien,
Milagros de Nuestra Señora.