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Down they go in deadly wrestle,
Down upon the earth they go, Fierce King Pedro has the vantage, Stout Don Henry falls below.
VI. Marking then the fatal crisis,
Up the page of Henry ran, By the waist he caught Don Pedro,
Aiding thus the fallen man.
“ King to place, or to depose him,
Dwelleth not in my desire,
Now King Pedro lies beneath,
Instant finds its bloody sheath.
ix. Thus with mortal gasp and quiver,
While the blood in bubbles well’d, Fled the fiercest soul that ever
In a Christian bosom dwell’d.
PROCLAMATION OF KING HENRY.
The following ballad, taking up the story just where it is left in the preceding one, gives us the Proclamation and Coronation of Don Henry, surnamed, from the courtesy of his manners, El Cavallero, and the grief of Pedro's lovely and unhappy mistress, Maria de Padilla. From its structure and versification, I have no doubt it is of much more modern origin than most of those in the first Cancionero.
The picture which Mariana gives us of Don Pedro, the hero of so many atrocious and tragical stories, is to me very striking. “He was pale of complexion,” says the historian ; “his features were high and well formed, and stamped with a certain authority of majesty, his hair red, his figure erect, even to stiffness ; he was bold and determined in action and in council ; his bodily frame sank under no fatigues, his spirit under no weight of difficulty or of danger. He was passionately fond of hawking, and all violent exercises.
“In the beginning of his reign, he administered justice among private individuals with perfect integrity. But even then were visible in him the rudiments of those vices which grew with his age, and finally led him to his ruin ; such as a general contempt and scorn of mankind, an insulting tongue, a proud and difficult ear, even to those of his household. These faults were discernible even in his tender years ; to them, as he advanced in life, were added avarice, dissolution in luxury, an utter hardness of heart, and a remorseless cruelty.”—MariANA, Book xvi. ch. 16.
The reader who understands the German language, will find almost the whole of Don Pedro's history clothed in a strain of glowing and elegant poetry, in a very recent performance of the Baron de la Motte Fouqué. See his “ Bertrand Du Guesclin, historisches ritter-gedicht.”—Leipsig, 1822.
PROCLAMATION OF KING HENRY.
Ar the feet of Don Henrique now King Pedro dead is lying,
So dark and sullen is the glare of Pedro's lifeless eyes,
Glad shout on shout from Henry's host ascends unto the sky;
The deed, say those, was justly done-a tyrant's soul is sped ;
vi. “ The Lord's vicegerent," quoth a priest, “ is sovereign of the land, And he rebels 'gainst Heaven's behest, that slights his King's command.”— “ Now Heaven be witness, if he sinn’d,” thus speaks a gallant young, “ The fault was in Padilla's eye, that o'er him magic flung ;
The words he spake they all might hear, yet none vouchsafe reply,