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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.
The Library of the World’s Best Literature. An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

From ‘The Poem of My Cid’

By El Cid (c. 1043–1099)

Translation of John Ormsby

Leaving Burgos

WITH tearful eyes he turned to gaze upon the wreck behind,

His rifled coffers, bursten gates, all open to the wind:

Nor mantle left, nor robe of fur; stript bare his castle hall;

Nor hawk nor falcon in the mew, the perches empty all.

Then forth in sorrow went my Cid, and a deep sigh sighed he;

Yet with a measured voice and calm, my Cid spake loftily,—

“I thank thee, God our Father, thou that dwellest upon high,

I suffer cruel wrong to-day, but of mine enemy!”

As they came riding from Bivar the crow was on the right;

By Burgos’s gate, upon the left, the crow was there in sight.

My Cid he shrugged his shoulders and he lifted up his head:

“Good tidings, Alvar Fañez! we are banished men!” he said.

With sixty lances in his train my Cid rode up the town,

The burghers and their dames from all the windows looking down;

And there were tears in every eye, and on each lip one word:

“A worthy vassal—would to God he served a worthy Lord!”

Farewell to his Wife at San Pedro de Cardeña

THE PRAYER was said, the mass was sung, they mounted to depart;

My Cid a moment stayed to press Jimena to his heart;

Jimena kissed his hand,—as one distraught with grief was she;

He looked upon his daughters: “These to God I leave,” said he….

As when the finger-nail from out the flesh is torn away,

Even so sharp to him and them the parting pang that day.

Then to his saddle sprang my Cid, and forth his vassals led;

But ever as he rode, to those behind he turned his head.

Battle Scene

THEN cried my Cid—“In charity, as to the rescue—ho!”

With bucklers braced before their breasts, with lances pointing low,

With stooping crests and heads bent down above the saddle-bow,

All firm of hand and high of heart they roll upon the foe.

And he that in a good hour was born, his clarion voice rings out,

And clear above the clang of arms is heard his battle shout:

“Among them, gentlemen! Strike home for the love of charity!

The champion of Bivar is here—Ruy Diaz—I am he!”

Then bearing where Bermuez still maintains unequal fight,

Three hundred lances down they come, their pennons flickering white;

Down go three hundred Moors to earth, a man to every blow;

And when they wheel, three hundred more, as charging back they go.

It was a sight to see the lances rise and fall that day;

The shivered shields and riven mail, to see how thick they lay;

The pennons that went in snow-white came out gory red;

The horses running riderless, the riders lying dead;

While Moors call on Mohammed, and “Saint James!” the Christians cry,

And sixty score of Moors and more in narrow compass lie.

The Challenges
[Scene from the challenges that preceded the judicial duels. Ferrando, one of the Infantes, has just declared that the did right in spurning the Cid’s daughters. The Cid turns to his nephew.]

“NOW is the time, ‘Dumb Peter’; speak, O man that sittest mute!

My daughters’ and thy cousins’ name and fame are in dispute:

To me they speak, to thee they look to answer every word.

If I am left to answer now, thou canst not draw thy sword.”

Tongue-tied Bermuez stood; a while he strove for words in vain,

But look you, when he once began he made his meaning plain.

“Cid, first I have a word for you: you always are the same,

In Cortes ever gibing me,—‘Dumb Peter’ is the name;

It never was a gift of mine, and that long since you knew;

But have you found me fail in aught that fell to me to do?—

You lie, Ferrando, lie in all you say upon that score.

The honor was to you, not him, the Cid Campeador;

For I know something of your worth, and somewhat I can tell.

That day beneath Valencia wall—you recollect it well—

You prayed the Cid to place you in the forefront of the fray;

You spied a Moor, and valiantly you went that Moor to slay;

And then you turned and fled—for his approach you would not stay.

Right soon he would have taught you ’twas a sorry game to play,

Had I not been in battle there to take your place that day.

I slew him at the first onfall; I gave his steed to you;

To no man have I told the tale from that hour hitherto.

Before my Cid and all his men you got yourself a name,

How you in single combat slew a Moor—a deed of fame;

And all believed in your exploit; they wist not of your shame.

You are a craven at the core,—tall, handsome, as you stand:

How dare you talk as now you talk, you tongue without a hand?…

Now take thou my defiance as a traitor, trothless knight:

Upon this plea before our King Alfonso will I fight;

The daughters of my lord are wronged, their wrong is mine to right.

That ye those ladies did desert, the baser are ye then;

For what are they?—weak women; and what are ye?—strong men.

On every count I deem their cause to be the holier,

And I will make thee own it when we meet in battle here.

Traitor thou shalt confess thyself, so help me God on high,

And all that I have said to-day my sword shall verify.”

Thus far these two. Diego rose, and spoke as ye shall hear:

“Counts by our birth are we, of stain our lineage is clear.

In this alliance with my Cid there was no parity.

If we his daughters cast aside, no cause for shame we see.

And little need we care if they in mourning pass their lives,

Enduring the reproach that clings to scorned rejected wives.

In leaving them we but upheld our honor and our right,

And ready to the death am I, maintaining this, to fight.”

Here Martin Antolinez sprang upon his feet: “False hound!

Will you not silent keep that mouth where truth was never found?

For you to boast! the lion scare have you forgotten too?

How through the open door you rushed, across the court-yard flew;

How sprawling in your terror on the wine-press beam you lay?

Ay! never more, I trow, you wore the mantle of that day.

There is no choice; the issue now the sword alone can try:

The daughters of my Cid ye spurned; that must ye justify.

On every count I here declare their cause the cause of right,

And thou shalt own thy treachery the day we join in fight.”

He ceased, and striding up the hall Assur Gonzalez passed;

His cheek was flushed with wine, for he had stayed to break his fast;

Ungirt his robe, and trailing low his ermine mantle hung;

Rude was his bearing to the court, and reckless was his tongue.

“What a to-do is here, my lords! was the like ever seen?

What talk is this about my Cid—him of Bivar I mean?

To Riodouirna let him go to take his millers’ rent,

And keep his mills a-going there, as once he was content.

He, forsooth, mate his daughters with the Counts of Carrion!”

Upstarted Muño Gustioz: “False, foul-mouthed knave, have done!

Thou glutton, wont to break thy fast without a thought or prayer;

Whose heart is plotting mischief when thy lips are speaking fair;

Whose plighted word to friend or lord hath ever proved a lie;

False always to thy fellow-man, falser to God on high,—

No share in thy good-will I seek; one only boon I pray,

The chance to make thee own thyself the villain that I say.”

Then spoke the king: “Enough of words: ye have my leave to fight,

The challenged and the challengers; and God defend the right.”


AND from the field of honor went Don Roderick’s champions three.

Thanks be to God, the Lord of all, that gave the victory!…

But in the lands of Carrion it was a day of woe,

And on the lords of Carrion it fell a heavy blow.

He who a noble lady wrongs and casts aside—may he

Meet like requital for his deeds, or worse, if worse there be!

But let us leave them where they lie—their meed is all men’s scorn.

Turn we to speak of him that in a happy hour was born.

Valencia the Great was glad, rejoiced at heart to see

The honored champions of her lord return in victory:

And Ruy Diaz grasped his beard: “Thanks be to God,” said he,

“Of part or lot in Carrion now are my daughters free;

Now may I give them without shame, whoe’er their suitors be.”

And favored by the king himself, Alfonso of Leon,

Prosperous was the wooing of Navarre and Aragon.

The bridals of Elvira and of Sol in splendor passed;

Stately the former nuptials were, but statelier far the last.

And he that in a good hour was born, behold how he hath sped!

His daughters now to higher rank and greater honor wed:

Sought by Navarre and Aragon, for queens his daughters twain;

And monarchs of his blood to-day upon the thrones of Spain.

And so his honor in the land grows greater day by day.

Upon the feast of Pentecost from life he passed away.

For him and all of us the grace of Christ let us implore.

And here ye have the story of my Cid Campeador.