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LXXXV. - GENTLE RIVER.

SPANISH BALLAD.

{The sad death of Alonzo de Aguilar and his brave companions, as related in the foregoing lesson, fell mournfully upon the national heart of Spain, and was kept in fresh remembrance by the many expressions of sympathy and admiration which it called forth from the popular literature of the country. The following poem is a translation by the Rev. Thomas Percy, Bishop of Dromore, in Ireland, (born 1728, died 1811,) of one of the ballads in which the fate of the hero is commemorated. The translation is found in the Reliques of Ancient English Poetry, a work edited by Bishop Percy with great taste and judgment, and originally published in 1765. It has since been frequently reprinted, and has exerted a most favorable influence upon English poetical literature of a date subsequent to its publication.]

GENTLE river,* gentle river,

Lo, thy streams are stained with gore;
Many a brave and noble captain

Floats along thy willowed shore.

All beside thy limpid waters,

All beside thy sands so bright,
Moorish chiefs and Christian warriors

Joined in fierce and mortal fight.

Lords, and dukes, and noble princes

On thy fatal banks were slain;
Fatal banks, that gave to slaughter

All the pride and flower of Spain.

There the hero, brave Alonzo,

Full of wounds and glory, died ;
There the fearless Urdiales

Fell a victim by his side.

* The original is Rio Verde, that is, River Verde. But verde in Spanish also means green; and the translator, not being aware that it was a proper name, substituted gentle ; - an epithet not well suited to a mountain. stream.

Lo, where yonder Don Saavedra *

Through their squadrons slow retires ;
Proud Seville, his native city,

Proud Seville his worth admires.

Close behind, a renegado

Loudly shouts, with taunting cry,
"Yield thee, yield thee, Don Saavedra!

Dost thou from the battle fly?

"Well I know thee, haughty Christian ;

Long I lived beneath thy roof;
Oît I've in the lists of glory

Seen thee win the prize of proof.

“Well I know thy aged parents,

Well thy blooming bride I know;
Seven years I was thy captive,

Seven years of pain and woe.

“May our prophet grant my wishes,

Haughty chief, thou shalt be mine ;
Thou shalt drink that

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of sorrow Which I drank when I was thine."

Like a lion turns the warrior,

Back he sends an angry glare ;
Whizzing came the Moorish javelin,

Vainly whizzing, through the air.

Back the hero, full of fury,

Sent a deep and mortal wound;
Instant sank the renegado,

Mute and lifeless, on the ground.

• Don Saavedra is an imaginary personage, no nobleman of that namo aaving really been engaged in the battle.

With a thousaud Moors surrounded,

Brave Saavedra stands at bay ; .
Wearied out, but never daunted,

Cold at length the warrior lay.

Near him fighting, great Alonzo

Stout resists the paynim bands,
From his slaughtered steed dismounted

Firm intrenched behind him stands.

Furious

press

the hostile squadron, Furious he repels their rage; Loss of blood at length enfeebles ;

Who can war with thousands wage?

Where yon rock the plain o'ershadows,

Close beneath its foot retired,
Fainting sank the bleeding hero,

And without a groan expired.

LXXXVI. - BALLAD.*

MRS. HEMANS.

“Thou hast not been with a festal throng,

At the pouring of the wine;
Men bear not from the hall of song
A mien so dark as thine.

- There's blood upon thy shield,
There's dust upon thy plume;
Thou hast brought from some disastrous field

That brow of wrath and gloom !”.

• This ballad is in the form of a dialogue between a young maidon and u knight who has returned from a fieid of battle in which her lover has been slain.

“ And is there blood upon my shield ?

Maiden, it well may be ;
We have sent the streams from our battle field

All darkened to the sea ;
We have given the founts a stain,

'Midst their woods of ancient pine ;
And the ground is wet. but not with rain,

Deep-dyed — but not with wine.

“ The ground is wet — but not with rain ;

We have been in war array,
And the noblest blood of Christian Spain

Hath bathed her soil to-day.
I have seen the strong man die,

And the stripling meet his fate,
Where the mountain winds go sounding by,

In the Roncesvalles * Strait.

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“ Alas, for love, for woman's breast,

If woe like this must be !
Hast thou seen a youth with an eagle crest

And a white plume waving free,

• Roncesvalles (pronounced Ronceval'yes) is a pass in the Pyrenees, between France and Spain. In the year 778, the rear guard of Charlemagne's army was defeated here by the Saracens, in conjunction with the mountaineers of Gascony and Navarre.

With his proud, quick-flashing eye,

And his mien of knightly state ? Doth he come from where the swords flashed high,

In the Roncesvalles Strait ?”

“In the gloomy Roncesvalles Strait

I saw and marked him well;
For nobly on his steed he sate
When the pride of manhood fell.

But it is not youth which turns
From the field of spears again ;
For the boy's high heart too wildly burns

Till it rests amidst the slain."

“ Thou canst not say that he lies low,

The lovely and the brave;
O, none could look on his joyous brow

And think upon the grave.
Dark, dark, perchance the day

Hath been with valor's fate; But he is on his homeward way

From the Roncesvalles Strait !”

“ There is dust upon his joyous brow,

And o'er his graceful head;
And the war horse will not wake him now,
Though it bruise his greensward bed.

I have seen the stripling die,
And the strong man meet his fate,
Where the mountain winds go sounding by,

In the Roncesvalles Strait."

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