Imágenes de páginas

By which inventive demons might proclaim Immortal hate to man, and scorn of God's great name!


The rudest sentinel, in Britain born,

With horror paused to view the havoc done, Gave his poor crust to feed some wretch forlorn,' Wiped his stern eye, then fiercer grasp'd his gun. Nor with less zeal shall Britain's peaceful son Exult the debt of sympathy to pay; Riches nor poverty the tax shall shun,

Nor prince nor peer, the wealthy nor the gay, Nor the poor peasant's mite, nor bard's more worthless lay.2


But thou-unfoughten wilt thou yield to Fate,
Minion of Fortune, now miscall'd in vain!
Can vantage-ground no confidence create,
Marcella's pass, nor Guarda's mountain-chain?
Vainglorious fugitive !3 yet turn again!

Behold, where, named by some prophetic Seer, Flows Honour's Fountain, as foredoom'd the stain From thy dishonour'd name and arms to clearFallen Child of Fortune, turn, redeem her favour here!


Yet, ere thou turn'st, collect each distant aid;
Those chief that never heard the lion roar !
Within whose souls lives not a trace portray'd,
Of Talavera, or Mondego's shore!

Marshal each band thou hast, and summon more;

Of war's fell stratagems exhaust the whole;

Rank upon rank, squadron on squadron pour,
Legion on legion on thy foeman roll,

And, at the bloody spear-point headlong driven, Thy Despot's giant guards fled like the rack of heaven.


Go, baffled boaster! teach thy haughty mood To plead at thine imperious master's throne, Say, thou hast left his legions in their blood, Deceived his hopes, and frustrated thine own; Say, that thine utmost skill and valour shown, By British skill and valour were outvied; Last say, thy conqueror was WELLINGTON ! 7 And if he chafe, be his own fortune triedGod and our cause to friend, the venture we'll abide.


But you, ye heroes of that well-fought day, How shall a bard, unknowing and unknown, His meed to each victorious leader pay,

Or bind on every brow the laurels won ?8 Yet fain my harp would wake its boldest tone, O'er the wide sea to hail CADOGAN brave; And he, perchance, the minstrel-note might own, Mindful of meeting brief that Fortune gave 'Mid yon far western isles that hear the Atlantic



Yes! hard the task, when Britons wield the sword, To give each Chief and every field its fame: Hark! Albuera thunders BERESFORD,

And Red Barosa shouts for dauntless GRÆME!

O for a verse of tumult and of flame,

Bold as the bursting of their cannon sound,
To bid the world re-echo to their fame!
For never, upon gory battle-ground,,

And weary out his arm-thou canst not quell his soul. With conquest's well-bought wreath were braver vic


O vainly gleams with steel Agueda's shore,
Vainly thy squadrons hide Assuava's plain,
And front the flying thunders as they roar,
With frantic charge and tenfold odds, in vain !5
And what avails thee that, for CAMERON slain,"
Wild from his plaided ranks the yell was given-
Vengeance and grief gave mountain-rage the rein,

1 See Appendix, Note P.

2 The MS. has, for the preceding five lines"And in pursuit vindictive hurried on,

And O, survivors sad! to you belong Tributes from each that Britain calls her son, From all her nobles, all her wealthier throng, To her poor peasant's mite, and minstrel's poorer song." 8 See Appendix, Note Q.

4 The literal translation of Fuentes d' Honoro.

5 See Appendix, Note R.

6 See Appendix, Note S.

7 On the 25th of April 1811, Scott writes thus to Mr. Morritt: "I rejoice with the heart of a Scotsman in the success of Lord Wellington, and with all the pride of a seer to boot. I have been for three years proclaiming him as the only man we had to trust to-a man of talent and genius-not deterred by ob

tors crown'd!


O who shall grudge him Albuera's bays,9

Who brought a race regenerate to the field, Roused them to emulate their fathers' praise, Temper'd their headlong rage, their courage steel'd,10

And raised fair Lusitania's fallen shield,

stacles, nor fettered by prejudices, not immured within the pedantries of his profession-but playing the general and the hero when most of our military commanders would have exhibited the drill serjeant, or at best the adjutant. These campaigns will teach us what we have long needed to know, that success depends not on the nice drilling of regiments, but upon the grand movements and combinations of an army. We have been hitherto polishing hinges, when we should have studied the mechanical union of a huge machine. Now, our army begin to see that the grand secret, as the French call it, consists only in union, joint exertion, and concerted movement. This will enable us to meet the dogs on fair terms as to numbers, and for the rest, My soul and body on the action both.""-Life, vol. iii. p. 313.

8 See Appendix, Editor's Note T.

9 MS.-" O who shall grudge yon chief the victor's havs." 10 Sec Appendix, Note U.

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Thine was his thought in march and tented ground; I strike my red-cross flag and bind my skiff to land.”

1 MS.-" Not greater on that mount of strife and blood,
While Gaul's proud legions roll'd like mist away,
And tides of gore stain'd Albuera's flood,
And Poland's shatter'd lines before him lay,
And clarions hail'd him victor of the day.
Not greater when he toil'd yon legions to array,
'Twas life he peril'd in that stubborn game,
And life 'gainst honour when did soldier weigh?
But, self-devoted to his generous aim,

Far dearer than his life, the hero pledged his fame." MS.-" Nor be his meed o'erpast who sadly tried

With valour's wreath to hide affection's wound, To whom his wish Heaven for our weal denied."

3 MS.-"From war to war the wanderer went his round, Yet was his soul in Caledonia still; Hers was his thought," &c.

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"These lines excel the noisier and more general panegyrics of the commanders in Portugal, as much as the sweet and thrilling tones of the harp surpass an ordinary flourish of drums and trumpets."-Quarterly Review.

"Perhaps it is our nationality which makes us like better the tribute to General Grahame-though there is something, we believe, in the softness of the sentiment that will be felt, even by English readers, as a relief from the exceeding clamour and loud boastings of all the surrounding stanzas." Edinburgh Review.

5 See Appendix, Note V.

"Now, strike your sailes, yee iolly mariners,
For we be come unto a quiet rode,
Where we must land some of our passengers,
And light this weary vessell of her lode.
Here she a while may make her safe abode,
Till she repaired have her tackles spent

And wants supplide; and then againe abroad
On the long voiage whereto she is bent:
Well may she speede, and fairely finish her intent!"
Faerie Queene, Book i. Canto 12.

7 "No comparison can be fairly instituted between compositions so wholly different in style and designation as the present poem and Mr. Scott's former productions. The present poem neither has, nor, from its nature, could have the interest which arises from an eventful plot, or a detailed delineation of character; and we shall arrive at a far more accurate estimation of its merits by comparing it with 'The Bard' of Gray, or that particular scene of Ariosto, where Bradamante beholds the wonders of Merlin's tomb. To this it has many strong and evident features of resemblance; but, in our opinion, greatly surpasses it both in the dignity of the objects represented, and the picturesque effect of the machinery.

"We are inclined to rank The Vision of Don Roderick, not only above The Bard,' but, (excepting Adam's Vision from the Mount of Paradise, and the matchless beauties of the sixth book of Virgil,) above all the historical and poetical prospects which have come to our knowledge. The scenic representation is at once gorgeous and natural; and the language, and imagery, is altogether as spirited, and bears the stamp of more care and polish than even the most celebrated of the author's former productions. If it please us less than these, we must attribute it in part perhaps to the want of contrivance, and in a still greater degree to the nature of the subject itself, which is deprived of all the interest derived from suspense or sympathy, and, as far as it is connected with modern politics, represents a scene too near our immediate inspection to admit the interposition of the magic glass of fiction and poetry."-Quarterly Review, October, 1811.

"The Vision of Don Roderick has been received with less interest by the public than any of the author's other performances; and has been read, we should imagine, with some degree of disappointment even by those who took it up with the most reasonable expectations. Yet it is written with very considerable spirit, and with more care and effort than most of the author's compositions;-with a degree of effort, indeed, which could scarcely have failed of success, if the author had not succeeded so splendidly on other occasions without any

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effort at all, or had chosen any other subject than that which fills the cry of our alehouse politicians, and supplies the gabble of all the quidnuncs in this country, our depending campaigns in Spain and Portugal,-with the exploits of Lord Wellington and the spoliations of the French armies. The nominal subject of the poem, indeed, is the Vision of Don Roderick, in the eighth century; but this is obviously a mere prelude to the grand piece of our recent battles,—a sort of machinery devised to give dignity and effect to their introduction. In point of fact, the poem begins and ends with Lord Wellington; and being written for the benefit of the plundered Portuguese, and upon a Spanish story, the thing could not well have been otherwise. The public, at this moment, will listen to nothing, about Spain, but the history of the Spanish war; and the old Gothic king, and the Moors, are considered, we dare say, by Mr. Scott's most impatient readers, as very tedious interlopers in the proper business of the piece. . . The Poem has scarcely any story, and scarcely any characters; and consists, in truth, almost entirely of a series of descriptions, intermingled with plaudits and execrations. The descriptions are many of them, very fine, though the style is more turgid and verbose than in the better parts of Mr. Scott's other productions; but the invectives and acclamations are too vehement and too frequent to be either graceful or impressive. There is no climax or progression to relieve the ear, or stimulate the imagination. Mr. Scott sets out on the very highest pitch of his voice, and keeps it up to the end of the measure. There are no grand swells, therefore, or overpowering bursts in his song. All, from first to last, is loud, and clamorous, and obtrusive,-indiscriminately noisy, and often ineffectually exaggerated. He has fewer new images than in his other poetry -his tone is less natural and varied.-and he moves, upon the whole, with a slower and more laborious pace.”—JEFFREY, Edinburgh Review, 1811.

"The Edinburgh Reviewers have been down on my poor Don hand to fist; but, truly, as they are too fastidious to approve of the campaign, I should be very unreasonable if I expected them to like the celebration of it. I agree with them, however, as to the lumbering weight of the stanza, and I shrewdly suspect it would require a very great poet indeed to prevent the tedium arising from the recurrence of rhymes. Our language is unable to support the expenditure of so many for each stanza; even Spenser himself, with all the license of using obsolete words and uncommon spellings, sometimes fatigues the ear. They are also very wroth with me for omitting

the merits of Sir John Moore; but as I never exactly discovered in what these lay, unless in conducting his advance and retreat upon a plan the most likely to verify the desponding speculations of the foresaid reviewers, I must hold myself excused for not giving praise where I was unable to see that much was due."-Scott to Mr. Morritt, Sept. 26, 1811. Life, vol. iii. p. 328.

"The Vision of Don Roderick had features of novelty, both as to the subject and the manner of the composition, which excited much attention, and gave rise to some sharp controversy. The main fable was indeed from the most picturesque region of old romance; but it was made throughout the vehicle of feelings directly adverse to those with which the Whig critics had all along regarded the interference of Britain in behalf of the nations of the Peninsula; and the silence which, while celebrating our other generals on that scene of action, had been preserved with respect to Scott's own gallant countryman, Sir John Moore, was considered or represented by them as an odious example of genius hoodwinked by the influence of party. Nor were there wanting persons who affected to discover that the charm of Scott's poetry had to a great extent evaporated under the severe test to which he had exposed it, by adopting, in place of those comparatively light and easy measures in which he had hitherto dealt, the most elaborate one that our literature exhibits. The production, notwithstanding the complexity of the Spenserian stanza, had been very rapidly executed; and it shows, accordingly, many traces of negligence. But the patriotic inspiration of it found an echo in the vast majority of British hearts; many of the Whig oracles themselves acknowledged that the difficulties of the metre had been on the whole successfully overcome; and even the hardest critics were compelled to express unqualified admiration of various detached pictures and passages, which, in truth, as no one now disputes, neither he nor any other poet ever excelled. The whole setting or framework -whatever relates in short to the last of the Goths himselfwas, I think, even then unanimously pronounced admirable; and no party feeling could blind any man to the heroic splen. dour of such stanzas as those in which the three equally gal. lant elements of a British army are contrasted."—LOCKHART, Life, vol. iii. p. 319.

See Appendix, Editor's Note, T.



And Cattreath's glens with voice of triumph rung, And mystic Merlin harp'd, and grey-hair'd Llywarch sung!-P. 265.

THIS locality may startle those readers who do not recollect that much of the ancient poetry preserved in Wales refers less to the history of the Principality to which that name is now limited, than to events which happened in the north-west of England, and south-west of Scotland, where the Britons for a long time made a stand against the Saxons. The battle of Cattreath, lamented by the celebrated Aneurin, is supposed, by the learned Dr. Leyden, to have been fought on the skirts of Ettrick Forest. It is known to the English reader by the paraphrase of Gray, beginning,

"Had I but the torrent's might,

With headlong rage and wild affright," &c.

But it is not so generally known that the champions, mourned in this beautiful dirge, were the British inhabitants of Edinburgh, who were cut off by the Saxons of Deiria, or Northumberland, about the latter part of the sixth century.-TURNER'S History of the Anglo-Saxons, edition 1799, vol. i. p. 222. Llywarch, the celebrated bard and monarch, was Prince of Argood, in Cumberland; and his youthful exploits were performed upon the Border, although in his age he was driven into Powys by the successes of the Anglo-Saxons. As for Merlin Wyllt, or the Savage, his name of Caledonia, and his retreat into the Caledonian wood, appropriate him to Scotand. Fordun dedicates the thirty-first chapter of the third book of his Scoto-Chronicon, to a narration of the death of this celebrated hard and prophet near Drumelzier, a village upon Tweed, which is supposed to have derived its name (quasi Tumulus Merlini) from the event. The particular spot in which he is buried is still shown, and appears, from the following quotation, to have partaken of his prophetic qualities:-"There is one thing remarkable here, which is, that the burn called Pausayl runs by the east side of this churchyard into the Tweed; at the side of which burn, a little below the churchyard, the famous prophet Merlin is said to be buried. The particular place of his grave, at the root of a thorn tree, was shown me, many years ago, by the old and reverend minister of the place, Mr. Richard Brown; and here was the old prophecy fulfilled, delivered in Scots rhyme, to this purpose:

'When Tweed and Pausayl meet at Merlin's grave, Scotland and England shall one Monarch have.'

"For, the same day that our King James the Sixth was crowned King of England, the river Tweed, by an extraordinary flood, so far overflowed its banks, that it met and joined with the Pausayl at the said grave, which was never before observed to fall out."-PENNYCUICK's Description of Tweeddale. Edin. 1715, iv. p. 26.


Minchmore's haunted spring.-P. 265.

A belief in the existence and nocturnal revels of the fairies still lingers among the vulgar in Selkirkshire. A copious fountain upon the ridge of Minchmore, called the Cheese well, is supposed to be sacred to these fanciful spirits, and it was customary to propitiate them by throwing in something upon passing it. A pin was the usual oblation; and the ceremony is still sometimes practised, though rather in jest than earnest.


The rude villager, his labour done,

In verse spontaneous chants some favour'd name.-P. 265.

The flexibility of the Italian and Spanish languages, and perhaps the liveliness of their genius, renders these countries distinguished for the talent of improvvisation, which is found even among the lowest of the people. It is mentioned by Baretti and other travellers.


Kindling at the deeds of Grame.-P. 265.

Over a name sacred for ages to heroic verse, a poet may be allowed to exercise some power. I have used the freedom, here and elsewhere, to alter the orthography of the name of my gallant countryman, in order to apprize the Southern reader of its legitimate sound;-Grahame being, on the other side of the Tweed, usually pronounced as a dissyllable.


What! will Don Roderick here till morning slay, To wear in shrift and prayer the night away? And are his hours in such dull penance past, For fair Florinda's plunder'd charms to pay ?—P. 266.

Almost all the Spanish historians, as well as the voice of tradition, ascribe the invasion of the Moors to the forcible violation committed by Roderick upon Florinda, called by the Moors, Caba or Cava. She was the daughter of Count Julian, one of the Gothic monarch's principal lieutenants, who, when the crime was perpetrated, was engaged in the defence of Ceuta against the Moors. In his indignation at the ingratitude of his sovereign, and the dishonour of his daughter, Count Julian forgot the duties of a Christian and a patriot, and, forming an alliance with Musa, then the Caliph's lieutenant

in Africa, he countenanced the invasion of Spain by a body of Saracens and Africans, commanded by the celebrated Tarik; the issue of which was the defeat and death of Roderick, and the occupation of almost the whole peninsula by the Moors. Voltaire, in his General History, expresses his doubts of this popular story, and Gibbon gives him some countenance; but the universal tradition is quite sufficient for the purposes of poetry. The Spaniards, in detestation of Florinda's memory, are said, by Cervantes, never to bestow that name upon any hman female, reserving it for their dogs. Nor is the tradition less inveterate among the Moors, since the same author mentions a promontory on the coast of Barbary, called "The Cape of the Caba Rumia, which, in our tongue, is the Cape of the Wicked Christian Woman; and it is a tradition among the Moors, that Caba, the daughter of Count Julian, who was the cause of the loss of Spain, lies buried there, and they think il ominous to be forced into that bay; for they never go in otherwise than by necessity."


And guide me, Priest, to that mysterious room,
Where, if aught true in old tradition be,

all: four estado es (i. e. four times a man's height) below it, there was a cave with a very narrow entrance, and a gate cut out of the solid rock, lined with a strong covering of iron, and fastened with many locks; above the gate some Greek letters are engraved, which, although abbreviated, and of doubtful meaning, were thus interpreted, according to the exposition of learned men:- The King who opens this cave, and can discover the wonders, will discover both good and evil things.'Many Kings desired to know the mystery of this tower, and sought to find out the manner with much care; but when they opened the gate, such a tremendous noise arose in the cave, that it appeared as if the earth was bursting; many of those present sickened with fear, and others lost their lives. In order to prevent such great perils, (as they supposed a dangerous enchantment was contained within,) they secured the gate with new locks, concluding, that, though a King was destined to open it, the fated time was not yet arrived. At last King Don Rodrigo, led on by his evil fortune and unlucky destiny, opened the tower; and some bold attendants, whom he had brought with him, entered, although agitated with fear. Having proceeded a good way, they fled back to the entrance, terrified with a frightful vision which they had beheld. The King was greatly moved, and ordered many torches, so contrived that the tempest in the cave could not extinguish them, to be lighted. Then the King entered, not without fear, before all the others. They discovered, by degrees, a splendid hall,

His nation's future fate a Spanish King shall see.-P. 267. apparently built in a very sumptuous manner; in the middle

The transition of an incident from history to tradition, and from tradition to fable and romance, becoming more marvellous at each step from its original simplicity, is not ill exemplified in the account of the "Fated Chamber" of Don Roderick, as given by his namesake, the historian of Toledo, contrasted with subsequent and more romantic accounts of the same subterranean discovery. I give the Archbishop of Toledo's tale in the words of Nonius, who seems to intimate, (though very modestly,) that the fatale palatium of which so much had been said, was only the ruins of a Roman amphitheatre.

"Extra muros, septentrionem versus, vestigia magni olim theatri sparsa visuntur. Auctor est Rodericus, Toletanus Archiepiscopus ante Arabum in Hispanias irruptionem, hic fatale palatium fuisse; quod invicti vectes æterna ferri robora claudebant, ne reseratum Hispaniæ excidium adferret ; quod in fatis non vulgus solum, sed et prudentissimi quique credebant. Sed Roderici ultimi Gothorum Regis animum infelix curiositas subiit, sciendi quid sub tot vetitis claustris observaretur; ingentes ibi superiorum regum opes et arcanos thesauros servari ratus. Seras et pessulos perfringi curat, invitis omnibus; nihil præter arculam repertum, et in ea linteum, quo explicato novæ et insolentes hominum facies habitusque apparuere, cum inscriptione Latina, Hispania excidium ab illa gente imminere; Vultus habitusque Maurorum erant. Quamobrem ex Africa tantam cladem instare regi cæterisque persuasum; nec falso ut Hispaniæ annales etiamnum que runtur."-Hispania Ludovic. Nonij. cap. lix.

But, about the term of the expulsion of the Moors from Grenada, we find, in the "Historia Verdadeyra del Rey Don Rodrigo," a (pretended) trànslation from the Arabic of the sage Alcayde Abulcacim Tarif Abentarique, a legend which puts to shame the modesty of the historian Roderick, with his chest and prophetic picture. The custom of ascribing a pretended Moorish original to these legendary histories, is ridiculed by Cervantes, who affects to translate the History of the Knight of the Woful Figure, from the Arabic of the sage Cid Hamet Benengeli. As I have been indebted to the Historia | Verdadeyra for some of the imagery employed in the text, the following literal translation from the work itself may gratify the inquisitive reader:

"One mile on the east side of the city of Toledo, among some rocks, was situated an ancient tower, of a magnificent structure, though much dilapidated by time, which consumes

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stood a Bronze Statue of very ferocious appearance, which held a battle-axe in its hands. With this he struck the floor violently, giving it such heavy blows, that the noise in the cave was occasioned by the motion of the air. The King, greatly affrighted and astonished, began to conjure this terrible vision, promising that he would return without doing any injury in the cave, after he had obtained a sight of what was contained in it. The statue ceased to strike the floor, and the King, with his followers, somewhat assured, and recovering their courage, proceeded into the hall; and on the left of the statue they found this inscription on the wall, Unfortunate King, thou hast entered here in evil hour.' On the right side of the wall these words were inscribed, By strange nations thou shalt be dispossessed, and thy subjects foully degraded.' On the shoulders of the statue other words were written, which said, 'I call upon the Arabs.' And upon his breast was written, I do my office.' At the entrance of the hall there was placed a round bowl, from which a great noise, like the fall of waters, procceded. They found no other thing in the hall: and when the King, sorrowful and greatly affected, had scarcely turned about to leave the cavern, the statue again commenced its accustomed blows upon the floor. After they had mutually promised to conceal what they had seen, they again closed the tower, and blocked up the gate of the cavern with earth, that no memory might remain in the world of such a portentous and evil-boding prodigy. The ensuing midnight they heard great crics and clamour from the cave, resounding like the noise of battle, and the ground shaking with a tremendous roar; the whole edifice of the old tower fell to the ground, by which they were greatly affrighted, the vision which they had beheld appearing to them as a dream.

"The King having left the tower, ordered wise men to explain what the inscriptions signified; and having consulted upon and studied their meaning, they declared that the statue of bronze, with the motion which it made with its battleaxe, signified Time; and that its office, alluded to in the inscription on its breast, was, that he never rests a single moment. The words on the shoulders, I call upon the Arabs, they expounded, that, in time, Spain would be conquered by the Arabs. The words upon the left wall signified the destruction of King Rodrigo; those on the right, the dreadful calamities which were to fall upon the Spaniards and Goths, and that the unfortunate King would be dispossessed of all his states. Finally, the letters on the portal indicated, that good would betide to the conquerors, and evil to the conquered, of

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