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THE trumpet’s voice hath rous’d the land,
—A king to war went past.
The chief is arming in his hall,
Whose young hearts leap so high.
The bard hath ceas'd his song, and bound
BERNARDO DEL CARPIO.
The celebrated Spanish champion, Bernardo del Carpio, having made many ineffectual efforts to procure the release of his father, the Count Saldana, who had been imprisoned by King Alfonso of Asturias, almost from the time of Bernardo's birth, at last took up arms in despair. The war which he maintained proved so destructive, that the men of the land gathered round the king, and united in demanding Saldana's liberty. Alfonso accordingly offered Bernardo immediate possession of his father's person, in exchange for his castle of Carpio. Bernardo, without hesitation, gave up his strong hold with all his captives, and being assured that his father was then on his way from prison, rode forth with the king to meet him. “And when he saw his father approaching, he exclaimed,” says the ancient chronicle, “‘Oh! God, is the Count of Saldana indeed coming?” ‘Look where he is,' replied the cruel king, ‘and now go and greet him whom you have so long desired to see.’”—The remainder of the story will be found related in the ballad. The chronicles and romances leave us nearly in the dark, as to Bernardo's future history after this event.
THE warrior bow’d his crested head, and tam’d his heart of fire, And sued the haughty king to free his long-imprison'd
“I bring thee here my fortress-keys, I bring my captive train, I pledge thee faith, my liege, my lord –oh! break my
father’s chain '''
“Rise, rise ! ev’n now thy father comes, a ransom'd man this day; Mount thy good horse, and thou and I will meet him on his way.”— Then lightly rose that loyal son, and bounded on his steed, And urg'd, as if with lance in rest, the charger's foamy
And lo! from far, as on they press'd, there came a glittering band, With one that 'midst them stately rode, as a leader in the land; —“Now haste, Bernardo, haste for there, in very truth, is he, The father whom thy faithful heart hath yearn’d so long
His dark eye flash'd, his proud breast heav'd,—his cheek’s hue came and went, L
He reach'd that grey-hair’d chieftain's side, and there dismounting bent,
A lowly knee to earth he bent, his father's hand he took—
What was there in its touch that all his fiery spirit shook?—
That hand was cold—a frozen thing—it dropp'd from his like lead—
He look’d up to the face above-the face was of the dead—
A plume wav'd o'er the noble brow—the brow was fix’d and white—
He met at last his father's eyes—but in them was no sight!
Up from the ground he sprang and gaz'd—but who could