Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > Spain, &c.
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Spain, Portugal, Belgium, and Holland: Vols. XIV–XV.  1876–79.
 
Spain: Alcocer, the Castle
The Cid
From The Poem of the Cid
 
Translated by John Hookham Frere

THEY fain would sally forth, but he the noble Cid
Accounted it as rashness, and constantly forbid.
The fourth week was beginning, the third already past,
The Cid and his companions they are now agreed at last.
“The water is cut off, the bread is wellnigh spent,        5
To allow us to depart by night the Moors will not consent.
To combat with them in the field our numbers are but few,
Gentlemen, tell me your minds, what do you think to do?”
Minaya Alvar Fañez answered him again,
“We are come here from fair Castile to live like banished men.        10
There are here six hundred of us, beside some nine or ten;
It is by fighting with the Moors that we have earned our bread,
In the name of God that made us, let nothing more be said,
Let us sally forth upon them by the dawn of day.”
The Cid replied, “Minaya, I approve of what you say,        15
You have spoken for the best, and had done so without doubt.”
The Moors that were within the town they took and turned them out,
That none should know their secret; they labored all that night,
They were ready for the combat with the morning light.
The Cid was in his armor mounted at their head,        20
He spoke aloud amongst them, you shall hear the words he said:
“We must all sally forth! There cannot a man be spared,
Two footmen only at the gates to close them and keep guard;
If we are slain in battle they will bury us here in peace,
If we survive and conquer, our riches will increase.        25
And you, Pero Bermuez, the standard you must bear,
Advance it like a valiant man, evenly and fair;
But do not venture forward before I give command.”
Bermuez took the standard, he went and kissed his hand.
The gates were then thrown open, and forth at once they rushed,        30
The outposts of the Moorish host back to the camp were pushed;
The camp was all in tumult, and there was such a thunder
Of cymbals and of drums, as if earth would cleave in sunder.
There you might see the Moors arming themselves in haste,
And the two main battles how they were forming fast:        35
Horsemen and footmen mixed, a countless troop and vast.
The Moors are moving forward, the battle soon must join,
“My men, stand here in order, ranged upon a line!
Let not a man move from his rank before I give the sign.”
Pero Bermuez heard the word, but he could not refrain.        40
He held the banner in his hand, he gave his horse the rein;
“You see yon foremost squadron there, the thickest of the foes,
Noble Cid, God be your aid, for there your banner goes!
Let him that serves and honors it show the duty that he owes.”
Earnestly the Cid called out, “For Heaven’s sake, be still!”        45
Bermuez cried, “I cannot hold,” so eager was his will.
He spurred his horse, and drove him on amid the Moorish rout;
They strove to win the banner, and compassed him about.
Had not his armor been so true he had lost either life or limb;
The Cid called out again, “For Heaven’s sake succor him!”        50
 
  Their shields before their breasts, forth at once they go,
Their lances in the rest levelled fair and low;
Their banners and their crests waving in a row,
Their heads all stooping down toward the saddle-bow.
The Cid was in the midst, his shout was heard afar,        55
“I am Rui Diaz, the Champion of Bivar;
Strike amongst them, gentlemen, for sweet mercies’ sake!”
There where Bermuez fought, amidst the foe they brake,
Three hundred bannered knights, it was a gallant show:
Three hundred Moors they killed, a man with every blow;        60
When they wheeled and turned, as many more lay slain,
You might see them raise their lances and level them again.
There you might see the breastplates, how they were cleft in twain,
And many a Moorish shield lie shattered on the plain.
The pennons that were white marked with a crimson stain,        65
The horses running wild whose riders had been slain.
The Christians call upon St. James, the Moors upon Mahound,
There were thirteen hundred of them slain on a little spot of ground.
*        *        *        *        *
The Cid rode to King Fariz, and struck at him three blows;
The third was far the best, it forced the blood to flow:        70
The stream ran from his side, and stained his arms below;
The King caught round the rein and turned his back to go,
The Cid has won the battle with that single blow.
 
 
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