Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

followed [says he] immediately after the king, with great pomp, and, in an extraordinary manner, taking precedence of all the rest. He was mounted ‘a la guisa,’ or with long stirrups, on a superb chestnut horse, with trappings of azure silk which reached to the ground. The housings were of mulberry, powdered with stars of gold. He was armed in proof, and wore over his armor a short French mantle of black brocade ; he had a white French hat with plumes, and carried on his left arm a small round buckler, banded with gold. Five pages attended him, apparelled in silk and brocade, and mounted on horses sumptuously caparisoned; he had also a train of followers, bravely attired after the fashion of his country. “He advanced in a chivalrous and courteous manner, making his reverences first to the queen and infanta, and afterwards to the king. Queen Isabella received him graciously, complimenting him on his courageous conduct at Loxa, and condoling with him on the loss of his teeth. The earl, however, made light of his disfiguring wound, saying that “our blessed Lord, who had built all that house, had opened a window there, that he might see more readily what passed within ; ” whereupon the worthy Fray Antonio Agapida is more than ever astonished at the pregnant wit of little distance by the side of the royal family, complimenting them all with courteous speeches, his horse curveting and caracoling, but being managed with great grace and dexterity, - leav. ing the grandees and the people at large not more filled with admiration at the strangeness and magnificence of his state than at the excellence of his horsemanship. “To testify her sense of the gallantry and services of this noble English knight, who had come from so far to assist in their wars, the queen sent him the next day presents of twelve horses, with stately tents, fine linen, two beds with coverings of gold brocade, and many other articles of great value.” The protracted siege of the city of Granada was the occasion of feats of arms and hostile courtesies which rival in brilliancy any in the romances of chivalry. Irving's pen is never more congenially employed than in describing these desperate but romantic encounters. One of the most picturesque of these was known as “the queen's skirmish.” The royal encampment was situated so far from Granada that only the general aspect of the city could be seen as it rose from the vega, covering the sides of the hills with its palaces and towers. Queen Isabella expressed a desire for a nearer view of the city, whose beauty was renowned throughout the world, and the courteous Marques of Cadiz proposed to give her this perilous gratification.

this island cavalier. The earl continued some

“On the morning of June the 18th, a magnificent and powerful train issued from the Christian camp. The advanced guard was composed of legions of cavalry, heavily armed, looking like moving masses of polished steel. Then came the king and queen, with the prince and princesses, and the ladies of the court, surrounded by the royal body-guard, sumptuously arrayed, composed of the sons of the most illustrious houses of Spain; after these was the rear-guard, a powerful force of horse and foot ; for the flower of the army sallied forth that day. The Moors gazed with fearful admiration at this glorious pageant, wherein the pomp of the court was mingled with the terrors of the camp. It moved along in radiant line, across the vega, to the melodious thunders of martial music, while banner and plume, and silken scarf, and rich brocade, gave a gay and gorgeous relief to the grim visage of iron war that lurked beneath.

“The army moved towards the hamlet of Zubia, built on the skirts of the mountain to the left of Granada, and commanding a view of the Alhambra, and the most beautiful quarter of the city. As they approached the hamlet, the Marques of Villena, the Count Ureña, and Don Alonzo de Aguilar filed off with their battalions, and were soon seen glittering along the side of the mountain above the village. In the mean time the Marques of Cadiz, the Count de Tendilla, the Count de Cabra, and Don Alonzo Fernandez, senior of Alcaudrete and Montemayor, drew up their forces in battle array on the plain below the hamlet, presenting a living barrier of loyal chivalry between the sovereigns and the city. “Thus securely guarded, the royal party alighted, and, entering one of the houses of the hamlet, which had been prepared for their reception, enjoyed a full view of the city from its terraced roof. The ladies of the court gazed with delight at the red towers of the Alhambra, rising from amid shady groves, anticipating the time when the Catholic sovereigns should be enthroned within its walls, and its courts shine with the splendor of Spanish chivalry. “The reverend prelates and holy friars, who always surrounded the queen, looked with serene satisfaction,’ says Fray Antonio Agapida, “at this modern Babylon, enjoying the triumph that awaited them, when those mosques and minarets should be converted into churches, and goodly priests and bishops should succeed to the infidel alfaquis.”

“When the Moors beheld the Christians thus drawn forth in full array in the plain, they supposed it was to offer battle, and hesitated not to accept it. In a little while the queen beheld a body of Moorish cavalry pouring into the vega, the riders managing their fleet and fiery steeds with admirable address. They were richly armed, and clothed in the most brilliant colors, and the caparisons of their steeds flamed with gold and embroidery. This was the favorite squadron of Muza, composed of the flower of the youthful cavaliers of Granada. Others succeeded, some heavily armed, others à la gineta, with lance and buckler; and lastly came the legions of foot-soldiers, with arquebus and cross-bow, and spear and scimiter.

“When the queen saw this army issuing from the city, she sent to the Marques of Cadiz, and forbade any attack upon the enemy, or the acceptance of any challenge to a skirmish; for she was loth that her curiosity should cost the life of a single human being.

“The marques promised to obey, though sorely against his will; and it grieved the spirit of the Spanish cavaliers to be obliged to remain with sheathed swords while bearded by the foe. The Moors could not comprehend the meaning of this inaction of the Christians, after having apparently invited a battle. They sallied several

[graphic]
« AnteriorContinuar »