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across the same straits traversed by their triumphant ancestors, as the descendants of Rollo and William and their veteran peers may dream of being driven to the shores of Normandy.
“ With all this, however, the Moslem empire in Spain was but a brilliant exotic, that took no permanent root in the soil it embellished. Severed from all their neighbours in the West by impassable barriers of faith and manners, and separated by seas and deserts from their kindred of the East, they were an isolated people. Their whole existence was a prolonged, though gallant and chivalric, struggle for a foot-hold in an usurped land.
They were the frontiers and out-posts of Islamism. The Peninsula was the great battle-ground where the Gothic conquerors of the North and the Moslem conquerors of the East met and strove for mastery; and the fiery courage of the Arab was at length subdued by the obstinate and persevering valour of the Goth.
Never was the annihilation of a people more complete than that of the Moresco-Spaniards. Where are they? Ask the shores of Barbary and its desert places. The exiled remnant of their once powerful empire disappeared among the barbarians of Africa, and ceased to be a nation. They have not even left a distinct name behind them, though for nearly eight centuries they were a distinct people. The home of their adoption, and of their occupation for ages, refuses to acknowledge them, except as invaders and usurpers. A few broken monuments are all that remain to bear witness to their power and dominion--as solitary rocks, left far in the interior, bear testimony to the extent of some vast inundation. Such is the Alhambra -a Moslem pile in the midst of a Christian land—an Oriental palace amidst the Gothic edifices of the West- -an elegant memento of a brave, intelligent, and graceful people, who conquered, ruled, and passed away!”
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 wretchedness, 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 levelled with those whom the multitude admire and envy.. But it is time to depart.” So saying, he descended to the court, flung 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 came to the middle of the hill that rises above those gardens, the steel of the Spanish armour 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 bare-footed 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.
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 bad 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 course. 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 rivalled 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 colours and sparkling gems, the sterner splendour 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 mien and majesty more a king, the son of Abdallah met his haughty conqueror.
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 remained 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. “Oh, 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 slowly on, leaving the army below, as he ascended the path that led to his new principality beyond the Alpuxarras. 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 Moslem.
Boabdil spurred on at full speed, till his panting charger halted at the little village where his mother, 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 pass 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 abruptly; every eye was turned to the beloved
The proud shame of baffled 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 sun-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.