Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

Upon the hard-fought battle-ground,
Brave steeds and gallant riders found
A common grave;

And there the warrior's hand did gain
The rents, and the long vassal train,
That conquest gave.

And if, of old, his halls displayed
The honoured and exalted grade
His worth had gained,

So, in the dark, disastrous hour,
Brothers and bondsmen of his power
His hand sustained.

After high deeds, not left untold,

In the stern warfare, which of old

"T was his to share,

Such noble leagues he made, that more

And fairer regions, than before,

His guerdon were.

These are the records, half effaced,

Which, with the hand of youth, he traced

On history's page;

But with fresh victories he drew

Each fading character anew

In his old age.

By his unrivalled skill, by great

And veteran service to the state,

By worth adored,

He stood in his high dignity,
The proudest knight of chivalry,
Knight of the Sword.

He found his cities and domains
Beneath a tyrant's galling chains
And cruel power;

But, by fierce battle and blockade,
Soon his own banner was displayed
From every tower.

By the tried valour of his hand,

His monarch and his native land
Were nobly served ;-

Let Portugal repeat the story,

And proud Castile, who shared the glory

His arms deserved.

And when so oft, for weal or woe,

His life upon the fatal throw

Had been cast down;

When he had served, with patriot zeal,

Beneath the banner of Castile,

His sovereign's crown;

And done such deeds of valour strong,

That neither history nor song

Can count them all;

Then, on Ocaña's castled rock,

Death at his portal came to knock,

With sudden call,

Saying, "Good Cavalier, prepare
To leave this world of toil and care
With joyful mien;

Let thy strong heart of steel this day
Put on its armour for the fray,
The closing scene

"Since thou hast been, in battle-strife, So prodigal of health and life,

For earthly fame,

Let virtue nerve thy heart again;

Loud on the last stern battle-plain
They call thy name.

"Think not the struggle that draws near Too terrible for man, -nor fear

To meet the foe;

Nor let thy noble spirit grieve,
Its life of glorious fame to leave
On earth below.

"A life of honour and of worth
Has no eternity on earth,-
"T is but a name;

And yet its glory far exceeds

That base and sensual life, which leads
To want and shame.

"The eternal life, beyond the sky,

Wealth cannot purchase, nor the high

And proud estate;

The soul in dalliance laid,

the spirit

Corrupt with sin,—shall not inherit

A joy so great.

"But the good monk, in cloistered cell,

Shall gain it by his book and bell,

His prayers and tears;

And the brave knight, whose arm endures
Fierce battle, and against the Moors
His standard rears.

"And thou, brave knight, whose hand has poured The life-blood of the Pagan horde

O'er all the land;

In heaven shalt thou receive, at length,
The guerdon of thine earthly strength
And dauntless hand.

"Cheered onward by this promise sure, Strong in the faith entire and pure Thou dost profess,

Depart,

[ocr errors]

thy hope is certainty,

The third-the better life on high
Shalt thou possess."

"O Death! no more, no more delay; My spirit longs to flee away,

And be at rest;

The will of Heaven my will shall be,

I bow to the divine decree,

To God's behest.

"My soul is ready to depart,

No thought rebels, the obedient heart

Breathes forth no sigh;

The wish on earth to linger still

[ocr errors]

Were vain, when 't is God's sovereign will

That we shall die.

"O Thou, that for our sins didst take

A human form, and humbly make

Thy home on earth;

Thou, that to thy divinity

A human nature didst ally
By mortal birth,

"And in that form didst suffer here

Torment, and agony, and fear,

So patiently;

By thy redeeming grace alonc,
And not for merits of my own,
Oh, pardon me!"

As thus the dying warrior prayed,
Without one gathering mist or shade
Upon his mind;

Encircled by his family,

Watched by Affection's gentle eye
So soft and kind;

His soul to Him. who gave it, rose;
God lead it to its long repose,

Its glorious rest!

And, though the warrior's sun has set,
Its light shall linger round us yet,
Bright, radiant, blest.*

* This poem of Manrique is a great favourite in Spain. No less than four poetic Glosses, or running commentaries, upon it have been published, no one of which, however, possesses great poetic merit. That of the Carthusian monk, Rodrigo de Valdepenas, is the best. known as the Glosa del Cartujo. There is also a prose Commentary by Luis de Aranda.

It is

The following stanzas of the poem were found in the author's pocket after his death on the field of battle :

"O World! so few the years we live,

Would that the life which thou dost give

Were life indeed!

Alas! thy sorrows fall so fast,

Our happiest hour is when at last

The soul is freed.

"Our days are covered o'er with grief,

And sorrows neither few nor brief
Veil all in gloom;

« ElőzőTovább »