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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 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.

and

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

sire;

“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

speed.

And lo! from far, as on they press'd, there came a glit

tering 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

to see.”

cheek's hue came and went,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

tookWhat was there in its touch that all his fiery spirit

shook ?

That hand was cold—a frozen thing-it dropp'd from his

like leadHe look'd up to the face above,—the face was of the

deadA 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

paint that gaze? They hush'd their very hearts that saw its horror and They might have chain'd him as before that stony form

amaze

he stood, For the power was stricken from his arm, and from his

lip the blood.

“ Father!” at length he murmur'd low—and wept like

childhood thenTalk not of grief till thou hast seen the tears of warlike

men !He thought on all his glorious hopes, and all his young

renown

He Aung his falchion from his side, and in the dust sat

down.

Then covering with his steel-glov'd hands his darkly

mournful brow, “No more, there is no more,” he said, “to lift the sword

for nowMy king is false, my hope betray'd, my father-oh! the

worth, The glory, and the loveliness are pass'd away from

earth.

“ I thought to stand where banners wav'd, my sire ! beside

thee yet

I would that there our kindred blood on Spain's free soil

had metThou wouldst have known my spirit then—for thee my

fields were won, And thou hast perish'd in thy chains, as though thou hadst

no son!”

Then starting from the ground once more, he seiz'd the

monarch's rein, Amidst the pale and wilder'd looks of all the courtier

train ; And with a fierce o’ermastering grasp the rearing war

horse led, And sternly set them face to face—the king before the

dead

“Came I not forth upon thy pledge, my father's hand to

kiss ? -Be still, and gaze thou op, false king! and tell me what

is this?

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