Page images
PDF
EPUB

tain is the property of other people, subdivided amongst a great many proprietors and protected by law. At the first stroke of the pickax it is ten to one but what you are taken up for a trespass. But the path up the mountain is a right of way uncontested. You

You may be safe at the summit before (even if the owners are fools enough to let you) you could have leveled a "yard. It is more than two thousand years ago," quoth the doctor, “since poor Plato began to level it, and the mountain is as high as ever !'

Thus saying, Riccabocca came to the end of his pipe, and stalking thoughtfully away, left Leonard Fairfield trying to extract light from the smoke.

SURRENDER OF GRENADA.

Day dawned upon Grenada, and the beams of the winter sun, smiling away the clouds of the past night, played cheerily upon the murmuring waves of the Xenil and the Darro. Alone, upon a balcony commanding a view of the beautiful landscape, stood Boabdil,* the last of the Moorish kings. He had sought to bring to his aid all the lessons of the philosophy he had so ardently cultivated.

“What are we,” said the musing prince, “ that we should fill the earth with ourselves, we kings! Earth resounds with the crash of my falling throne; on the ear of races unborn the echo will live prolonged. But what have I lost? Nothing that was necessary to my happiness, my repose ; nothing save the source of all my wretchedless,

the Marah of my life! Shall I less enjoy heaven and earth, or thought and action, or man's more material luxuries of food and sleep,

the common and cheap desires of all ? At the worst, I sink but to a level with chiefs and princes ; I am but leveled with those whom the multitude admire and envy.

But it is time to depart.” So saying, he descended to the court, Alung himself on his barb, and, with a small and saddened train passed through the gate which we yet survey, by a blackened and crumbling tower, overgrown with vines and ivy; thence, amid gardens, now appertaining to the convent of the victor faith, he took his mournful and unnoticed way.

When he caine to the middle of the hill that rises above those gardens, the steel of the Spanish armor gleamed upon him, as the detachment sent to occupy the palace marched over the summit in steady order and profound silence. At the head of the vanguard rode, upon a snow-white palfrey, the Bishop of Avila, followed by a long train of barefooted monks. They halted as Boabdil approached, and the grave bishop saluted him with the air of one who addresses an infidel and an inferior. With the quick sense of dignity common to the great, and yet more to the fallen, Boabdil felt, but resented not the pride of the ecclesiastic. " Go, Christian,” said he, mildly; "the gates of the Alhambra are open, and Allah has bestowed the palace and the city upon your king. May his virtues atone the faults of Boabdil! So saying, and waiting no answer, he rode on, without looking to the right or the left. The Spaniards also pursued their way.

* BOABDIL. The last Moorish king of Granada. Ferdinand of Aragon dethroned him, 1491. Boabdil returned to Africa, and died about 1536. For nearly eight centuries the Moors had held possession of Granada, it being the last province of the Peninsula recovered by the Christians. The reader will find a delightful history of this romantic country and its perpetual wars in Irving's Conquest of Granada.

The sun had fairly risen above the mountains, when Boabdil and his train beheld, from the eminence on which they were, the whole armament of Spain ; and at the same moment, louder than the tramp of horse or the clash of arms, was heard distinctly the solemn chant of Te Deum, which preceded the blaze of the unfurled and lofty standards. Boabdil, himself still silent, heard the groans and acclamations of his train : he turned to cheer or chide them, and then saw, from his own watch-tower, with the sun shining full upon its pure and dazzling surface, the silver cross of Spain. His Alhambra was already in the hands of the foe; while beside that badge of the holy war waved the gay and flaunting flag of St. Jago, the canonized Mars of the chivalry of Spain. At that sight the king's voice died within him; he gave the rein to his barb, impatient to close the fatal ceremonial, and slackened not his speed till almost within bow-shot of the first rank of the army.

Never had Christian war assumed a more splendid and imposing aspect. Far as the eye could reach extended the glittering and gorgeous lines of that goodly power, bristling with sun-lighted spears and blazoned banners; while beside murmured and glowed and danced the silver and laughing Xenil, careless what lord should possess, for his little day, the banks that bloomed by its everlasting

By a small mosque halted the flower of the army. Surrounded by the arch-priests of that mighty hierarchy, the peers and princes of a court that rivaled the Roland of Charlemagne, was seen the kingly form of Ferdinand himself, with Isabel at his right hand, and the high-born dames of Spain, relieving, with their gay colors and sparkling gems, the sterner splendor of the crested helmet and polished mail. Within sight of the royal group, Boabdil halted, composed his aspect so as best to conceal his soul, and a little in advance of his scanty train, but never in men and majesty more a king, the son of Abdallah met his haughty conqueror.

course.

At the sight of his princely countenance and golden hair, his comely and commanding beauty, made more touching by youth, a thrill of compassionate admiration ran through that assembly of the brave and fair. Ferdinand and Isabel slowly advanced to meet their late rival, - their new subject; and as Boabdil would have dismounted, the Spanish king placed his hand upon his shoulder. “Brother and prince," said he, "forget thy sorrows; and may our friendship hereafter console thee for reverses against which thou hast contended as a hero and a king ; resisting man, but resigned at length to God."

Boabdil did not affect to return this bitter but unintentional mockery of compliment. He bowed his head, and rem..ined a moment silent ; then motioning to his train, four of his officers approached, and, kneeling beside Ferdinand, proffered to him, upon a silver buckler, the keys of the city. “O king !” then said Boabdil, “ accept the keys of the last hold which has resisted the arms of Spain. The empire of the Moslem is no more. Thine are the city and the people of Grenada ; yielding to thy prowess, they yet confide in thy mercy.” “They do well,” said the king ; our promises shall not be broken. But since we know the gallantry of Moorish cavaliers, not to us, but to gentler hands, shall the keys of Grenada be surrendered.”

Thus saying, Ferdinand gave the keys to Isabel, who would have addressed some soothing flatteries to Boabdil, but the emotion and excitement were too much for her compassionate heart, heroine and queen though she was; and when she lifted her eyes upon the calm and pale features of the fallen monarch, the tears gushed from them irresistibly, and her voice died in murmurs. A faint flush overspread the features of Boabdil, and there was a momentary pause of embarrassment, which the Moor was the first to break.

"Fair queen,” said he, with mournful and pathetic dignity, " thou canst read the heart that thy generous sympathy touches and subdues : this is my last, but not least glorious conquest. But I detain ye; let not my aspect cloud your triumph. Suffer me to say farewell.”

Farewell, my brother,” replied Ferdinand, “and may fair fortune go with you! Forget the past !” Boabdil smiled bitterly, saluted the royal pair with profound respect and silent reverence, and rode

[ocr errors]

slowly on, leaving the army below, as he ascended the path that led to his new principality beyond the Alpuxerras. As the trees snatched the Moorish cavalcade from the view of the king, Ferdinand ordered the army to recommence its march ; and trumpet and cymbal presently sent their music to the ear of the Moslemn.

Boabdil spurred on at full speed, till his panting charger halted at the little village where his inother, his slaves, and his faithful wife, Armine (sent on before), awaited him. Joining these, he proceeded without delay upon his melancholy path. They ascended that eminence which is the piss into the Alpuxarras. From its height, the vale, the rivers, the spires, and the towers of Grenada broke gloriously upon the view of the little band. They halted mechanically and alruptly ; every eye was turned to the beloved scene. The proud shame of bafiled warriors, the tender memories of home, of childhood, of fatherland, swelled every heart, and gushed from every eye.

Suddenly the distant boom of artillery broke from the citadel, and rolled along the suu-lighted valley and crystal river. A universal wail burst from the exiles; it smote, it overpowered the heart of the ill-starred king, in vain seeking to wrap himself in Eastern pride or stoical philosophy. The tears gushed from his eyes, and he covered his face with his hands. The band wound slowly on through the solitary defiles; and that place, where the king wept at the last view of his lost empire, is still called THE LAST SIGH OF THE MOOR.

CLAUDE MELNOTTE'S APOLOGY AND DEFENSE.*

PAULINE, by pride
Angels have fallen ere thy time; by pride,
That sole alloy of thy most lovely mould,
The evil spirit of a bitter love
And a revengeful heart, had power upon thee.
From my first years my soul was filled with thee;
I saw thee midst the flowers the lowly boy
Tended, unmarked by thee, -- a spirit of bloom,
And joy and freshness, as spring itself
Were made a living thing, and wore thy shape!
I saw thee, and the passionate heart of man
Entered the breast of the wild-dreaming boy ;

* The extract is from the play, The Lady of Lyons.

And from that hour I grew — what to the last
I shall be thine adorer! Well, this love,
Vain, frantic, - guilty, if thou wilt, - became
A fountain of ambition and bright hope;
I thought of tales that by the winter hearth
Old gossips tell, — how maidens sprung from kings
Have stooped from their high sphere; how Love, like Death,
Levels all ranks, and lays the shepherd's crook
Beside the scepter. Thus I made my home
In the soft palace of a fairy Future !
My father died; and I, the peasant-born,
Was my own lord. Then did I seek to rise
Out of the prison of my mean estate ;
And, with such jewels as the exploring mind
Brings from the caves of Knowledge, buy my ransom
From those twin jailers of the daring heart, —
Low birth and iron fortune. Thy bright image,
Glassed in my soul, took all the hues of glory,
And lured me on to those inspiring toils
By which man masters men! For thee, I grew
A midnight student o’er the dreams of sages !
For thee, I sought to borrow from each Grace
And every Muse such attributes as lend
Ideal charms to Love. I thought of thee,
And passion taught me poesy, -- of thee,
And on the painter's ĉanvas grew the life
Of beauty ! — Art became the shadow
Of the dear starlight of thy haunting eyes !
Men called me vain, some, mad, — I heeded not;
But still toiled on, hoped on, - for it was sweet,
If not to win, to feel more worthy, thee !

.

At last, in one mad hour, I dared to pour
The thoughts that burst their channels into song,
And sent them to thee, — such a tribute, lady,
As beauty rarely scorns, even from the meanest.
The name — appended by the burning heart
That longed to show its idol what bright things
It had created — yea, the enthusiast's name,

« PreviousContinue »