Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE SPANISH GYPSY: BOOK 4, by MARY ANN EVANS

Poetry Explorer

Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE SPANISH GYPSY: BOOK 4, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Now twice the day had sunk from off the hills
Last Line: Their ignorant misery and their trust in her
Alternate Author Name(s): Eliot, George; Cross, Marian Lewes; Evans, Marian; Ann, Mary
Subject(s): Christianity; Gypsies; Inquisition; Man-woman Relationships; Moors (land); Religion; Spain; War; Gipsies; Male-female Relations; Theology

NOW twice the day had sunk from off the hills
While Silva kept his watch there, with the band
Of strong Zincali. When the sun was high
He slept, then, waking, strained impatient eyes
To catch the promise of some moving form
That might be Juan, — Juan who went and came
To soothe two hearts, and claimed naught for his own:
Friend more divine than all divinities,
Quenching his human thirst in others' joy.
All through the lingering nights and pale chill dawns
Juan had hovered near; with delicate sense,
As of some breath from every changing mood,
Had spoken or kept silence; touched his lute
To hint of melody, or poured brief strains
That seemed to make all sorrows natural,
Hardly worth weeping for, since life was short,
And shared by loving souls. Such pity welled
Within the minstrel's heart of light-tongued Juan
For this doomed man, who with dream-shrouded eyes
Had stepped into a torrent as a brook,
Thinking to ford it and return at will,
And now waked helpless in the eddying flood,
Hemmed by its raging hurry. Once that thought,
How easy wandering is, how hard and strict
The homeward way, had slipped from reverie
Into low-murmured song; — (brief Spanish song
'Scaped him as sighs escape from other men.)

Push off the boat,
Quit, quit the shore,
The stars will guide us back:—
O gathering cloud,
O wide, wide sea,
O waves that keep no track!

On through the pines!
The pillared woods,
Where silence breathes sweet breath:—
O labyrinth,
O sunless gloom,
The other side of death!

Such plaintive song had seemed to please the Duke, —
Had seemed to melt all voices of reproach
To sympathetic sadness; but his moods
Had grown more fitful with the growing hours,
And this soft murmur had the iterant voice
Of heartless Echo, whom no pain can move
To say aught else than we have said to her.
He spoke, impatient: "Juan, cease thy song.
Our whimpering poesy and small-paced tunes
Have no more utterance than the cricket's chirp
For souls that carry heaven and hell within."
Then Juan, lightly: "True, my lord, I chirp
For lack of soul; some hungry poets chirp
For lack of bread. 'T were wiser to sit down
And count the star-seed, till I fell asleep
With the cheap wine of pure stupidity."
And Silva, checked by courtesy: "Nay, Juan,
Were speech once good, thy song were best of speech.
I meant, all life is but poor mockery:
Action, place, power, the visible wide world
Are tattered masquerading of this self,
This pulse of conscious mystery: all change,
Whether to high or low, is change of rags.
But for her love, I would not take a good
Save to burn out in battle, in a flame
Of madness that would feel no mangled limbs,
And die not knowing death, but passing straight —
Well, well, to other flames — in purgatory."
Keen Juan's ear caught the self-discontent
That vibrated beneath the changing tones
Of life-contemning scorn. Gently he said:
"But with her love, my lord, the world deserves
A higher rate; were it but masquerade,
The rags were surely worth the wearing?" "Yes.
No misery shall force me to repent
That I have loved her."
So with wilful talk,
Fencing the wounded soul from beating winds
Of truth that came unasked, companionship
Made the hours lighter. And the Gypsy guard,
Trusting familiar Juan, were content,
At friendly hint from him, to still their songs
And busy jargon round the nightly fires.
Such sounds the quick-conceiving poet knew
Would strike on Silva's agitated soul
Like mocking repetition of the oath
That bound him in strange clanship with the tribe
Of human panthers, flame-eyed, lithe-limbed, fierce,
Unrecking of time-woven subtleties
And high tribunals of a phantom-world.

But the third day, though Silva southward gazed
Till all the shadows slanted towards him, gazed
Till all the shadows died, no Juan came.
Now in his stead came loneliness, and thought
Inexorable, fastening with firm chain
What is to what hath been. Now awful Night,
Ancestral mystery of mysteries, came down
Past all the generations of the stars,
And visited his soul with touch more close
Than when he kept that younger, briefer watch
Under the church's roof beside his arms,
And won his knighthood.
Well, this solitude,
This company with the enduring universe,
Whose mighty silence carrying all the past
Absorbs our history as with a breath,
Should give him more assurance, make him strong
In all contempt of that poor circumstance
Called human life, — customs and bonds and laws
Wherewith men make a better or a worse,
Like children playing on a barren mound
Feigning a thing to strive for or avoid.
Thus Silva urged, answering his many-voiced self,
Whose hungry needs, like petulant multitudes,
Lured from the home that nurtured them to strength,
Made loud insurgence. Thus he called on Thought,
On dexterous Thought, with its swift alchemy
To change all forms, dissolve all prejudice
Of man's long heritage, and yield him up
A crude fused world to fashion as he would.
Thought played him double; seemed to wear the yoke
Of sovereign passion in the noonday height
Of passion's prevalence; but served anon
As tribune to the larger soul which brought
Loud-mingled cries from every human need
That ages had instructed into life.
He could not grasp Night's black blank mystery
And wear it for a spiritual garb
Creed-proof: he shuddered at its passionless touch
On solitary souls, the universe
Looks down inhospitablé; the human heart
Finds nowhere shelter but in human kind.
He yearned towards images that had breath in them,
That sprang warm palpitant with memories
From streets and altars, from ancestral homes,
Banners and trophies and the cherishing rays
Of shame and honor in the eyes of man.These made the speech articulate of his
That could not move to utterance of scorn
Save in words bred by fellowship; could not feel
Resolve of hardest constancy to love,
The firmer for the sorrows of the loved,
Save by concurrent energies high-wrought
To sensibilities transcending sense
Through closest citizenship, and long-shared pains
Of far-off laboring ancestors. In vain
He sought the outlaw's strength, and made a right
Contemning that hereditary right
Which held dim habitations in his frame,
Mysterious haunts of echoes old and far,
The voice divine of human loyalty.
At home, among his people, he had played
In sceptic ease with saints and images
And thunders of the Church that deadened fell
Through screens of priests plethoric. Awe, unscathed
By deeper trespass, slept without a dream.
But for such trespass as made outcasts, still
The ancient Furies lived with faces new
And lurked with lighter slumber than of old
O'er Catholic Spain, the land of sacred oaths
That might be broken.
Now the former life
Of close-linked fellowship, the life that made
His full-formed self, as the impregnant sap
Of years successive frames the full-branched tree, —
Was present in one whole; and that great trust
His deed had broken turned reproach on him
From faces of all witnesses who heard
His uttered pledges; saw him hold high place
Centring reliance; use rich privilege
That bound him like a victim-nourished god
By tacit covenant to shield and bless;
Assume the Cross and take his knightly oath
Mature, deliberate: faces human all,
And some divine as well as human: His
Who hung supreme, the suffering Man divine
Above the altar; Hers, the Mother pure
Whose glance informed his masculine tenderness
With deepest reverence; the Archangel armed,
Trampling man's enemy: all heroic forms
That fill the world of faith with voices, hearts,
And high companionship, to Silva now
Made but one inward and insistent world
With faces of his peers, with court and hall
And deference, and reverent vassalage
And filial pieties, — one current strong,
The warmly mingled life-blood of his mind,
Sustaining him even when he idly played
With rules, beliefs, charges, and ceremonies
As arbitrary fooling. Such revenge
Is wrought by the long travail of mankind
On him who scorns it, and would shape his life
Without obedience.
But his warrior's pride
Would take no wounds save on the breast. He faced
The fatal crowd: "I never shall repent!
If I have sinned my sin was made for me
By men's perverseness. There's no blameless life
Save for the passionless, no sanctities
But have the selfsame roof and props with crime,
Or have their roots close interlaced with vileness.
If I had loved her less, been more a craven,
I had kept my place and won the easy praise
Of a true Spanish noble. But I loved,
And, loving, dared, — not Death the warrior
But Infamy that binds and strips and holds
The brand and lash. I have dared all for her.
She was my good, — what other men call heaven
And for the sake of it bear penances;
Nay, some of old were baited, tortured, flayed
To win their heaven. Heaven was their good,
She, mine. and I have braved for her all fires
Certain or threatened; for I go away
Beyond the reach of expiation, — far away
From sacramental blessing. Does God bless
No outlaw? Shut his absolution fast
In human breath? Is there no God for me
Save Him whose cross I have forsaken? — Well,
I am forever exiled, — but with her.
She is dragged out into the wilderness;
I, with my love, will be her providence.
I have a right to choose my good or ill,
A right to damn myself! The ill is mine.
I never will repent!" . . . .
Thus Silva, inwardly debating, all his ear
Turned into audience of a twofold mind;
For even in tumult full-fraught consciousness
Had plenteous being for a Self aloof
That gazed and listened, like a soul in dreams
Weaving the wondrous tale it marvels at.
But oft the conflict slackened, oft strong Love
With tidal energy returning laid
All other restlessness: Fedalma came
And with her visionary presence brought
What seemed a waking in the warm spring morn.
He still was pacing on the stony earth
Under the deepening night; the fresh-lit fires
Were flickering on dark forms and eyes that met
His forward and his backward tread; but she,
She was within him, making his whole self
Mere correspondence with her image: sense,
In all its deep recesses where it keeps
The mystic stores of ecstasy, was transformed
To memory that killed the hour, like wine.
Then Silva said: "She, by herself, is life.
What was my joy before I loved her, — what
Shall Heaven lure us with, love being lost?" —
For he was young.
But now around the fires
The Gypsy band felt freer; Juan's song
Was no more there, nor Juan's friendly ways
For links of amity 'twixt their wild mood
And this strange brother, this pale Spanish duke,
Who with their Gypsy badge upon his breast
Took readier place within their alien hearts
As a marked captive, who would fain escape.
And Nadar, who commanded them, had known
The prison in Bedmár. So now, in talk
Foreign to Spanish ears, they said their minds,
Discussed their chief's intent, the lot marked out
For this new brother. Would he wed their queen?
And some denied, saying their queen would wed
A true Zincalo duke, — one who would join
Their bands in Telemsán. But others thought
Young Hassan was to wed her; said their chief
Would never trust this noble of Castile,
Who in his very swearing was forsworn.
And then one fell to chanting, in wild notes
Recurrent like the moan of outshut winds,
The adjuration they were wont to use
To any Spaniard who would join their tribe:
Words of plain Spanish, lately stirred anew
And ready at new impulse. Soon the rest,
Drawn to the stream of sound, made unison
Higher and lower, till the tidal sweep
Seemed to assail the Duke and close him round
With force demonic. All debate till now
Had wrestled with the urgence of that oath
Already broken; now the newer oath
Thrust its loud presence on him. He stood still,
Close baited by loud-barking thoughts, — fierce hounds
Of that Supreme, the irreversible Past.

The ZINCALI sing.

Brother, hear and take the curse,
Curse of soul's and body's throes,
If you hate not all our foes,
Cling not fast to all our woes,
Turn a false Zincalo!

May you be accurst
By hunger and by thirst,
By spikéd pangs,
Starvation's fangs
Clutching you alone
When none but peering vultures hear your moan.

Curst by burning hands,
Curst by aching brow,
When on sea-wide sands
Fever lays you low;
By the maddened brain
When the running water glistens,
And the deaf ear listens, listens,
Prisoned fire within the vein,
On the tongue and on the lip
Not a sip
From the earth or skies;
Hot the desert lies
Pressed into your anguish,
Narrowing earth and narrowing sky
Into lonely misery.
Lonely may you languish
Through the day and through the night,
Hate the darkness, hate the light,
Pray and find no ear,
Feel no brother near,
Till on death you cry,
Death who passes by,
And anew you groan,
Scaring the vultures all to leave you living lone:
Curst by soul's and body's throes
If you love the dark men's foes,
Cling not fast to all the dark men's woes,
Turn a false Zincalo!
Swear to hate the cruel cross,
The silver cross!
Glittering, laughing at the blood
Shed below it in a flood
When it glitters over Moorish porches;
Laughing at the scent of flesh
When it glitters where the fagot scorches,
Burning life's mysterious mesh:
Blood of wandering Israël,
Blood of wandering Ismaël,
Blood, the drink of Christian scorn,
Blood of wanderers, sons of morn
Where the life of men began:
Swear to hate the cross! —
Sign of all the wanderers' foes,
Sign of all the wanderers' woes, —
Else its curse light on you!
Else the curse upon you light
Of its sharp red-sworded might.
May it lie a blood-red blight
On all things within your sight:
On the white haze of the morn,
On the meadows and the corn,
On the sun and on the moon,
On the clearness of the noon,
On the darkness of the night.
May it fill your aching sight, —
Red-cross sword and sword blood-red, —
Till it press upon your head,
Till it lie within your brain,
Piercing sharp, a cross of pain,
Till it lie upon your heart,
Burning hot, a cross of fire,
Till from sense in every part
Pains have clustered like a stinging swarm
In the cross's form,
And you see naught but the cross of blood,
And you feel naught but the cross of fire:
Curst by all the cross's throes
If you hate not all our foes,
Cling not fast to all our woes,
Turn a false Zincalo!

A fierce delight was in the Gypsies' chant:
They thought no more of Silva, only felt
Like those broad-chested rovers of the night
Who pour exuberant strength upon the air.
To him it seemed as if the hellish rhythm,
Revolving in long curves that slackened now,
Now hurried, sweeping round again to slackness,
Would cease no more. What use to raise his voice,

Or grasp his weapon? He was powerless now,
With these new comrades of his future, — he
Who had been wont to have his wishes feared
And guessed at as a hidden law for men.
Even the passive silence of the night
That left these howlers mastery, even the moon,
Rising and staring with a helpless face,
Angered him. He was ready now to fly
At some loud throat, and give the signal so
For butchery of himself.
But suddenly
The sounds that travelled towards no foreseen close
Were torn right off and fringed into the night;
Sharp Gypsy ears had caught the onward strain
Of kindred voices joining in the chant.
All started to their feet and mustered close,
Auguring long-waited summons. It was come:
The summons to set forth and join their chief.
Fedalma had been called, and she was gone
Under safe escort, Juan following her:
The camp — the women, children, and old men —
Were moving slowly southward on the way
To Almería. Silva learned no more.
He marched perforce; what other goal was his
Than where Fedalma was? And so he marched
Through the dim passes and o'er rising hills,
Not knowing whither, till the morning came.

The Moorish hall in the castle at Bedmár. The morning twilight dimly
shows stains of blood on the white marble floor; yet there has been a careful
restoration of order among the sparse objects of furniture. Stretched on mats
lie three corpses, the faces bare, the bodies covered with mantles. A little way
off, with rolled matting for a pillow, lies ZARCA, sleeping. His chest and
arms are bare; his weapons, turban, mail-shirt, and other upper garments lie on
the floor beside him. In the outer gallery Zincali are pacing, at intervals,
past the arched openings.

ZARCA (half rising and resting his elbow on the pillow while he looks
The morning! I have slept for full three hours;
Slept without dreams, save of my daughter's face.
Its sadness waked me. Soon she will be here,
Soon must outlive the worst of all the pains
Bred by false nurture in an alien home, —
As if a lion in fangless infancy
Learned love of creatures that with fatal growth
It scents as natural prey, and grasps and tears,
Yet with heart-hunger yearns for, missing them.
She is a lioness. And they — the race
That robbed me of her — reared her to this pain.
He will be crushed and torn. There was no help.
But she, my child, will bear it. For strong souls
Live like fire-hearted suns to spend their strength
In furthest striving action; breathe more free
In mighty anguish than in trivial ease.
Her sad face waked me. I shall meet it soon
Waking . . . .

(He rises and stands looking at the corpses.)
As now I look on these pale dead,
These blossoming branches crushed beneath the fall
Of that broad trunk to which I laid my axe
With fullest foresight. So will I ever face
In thought beforehand to its utmost reach
The consequences of my conscious deeds;
So face them after, bring them to my bed,
And never drug my soul to sleep with lies.
If they are cruel, they shall be arraigned
By that true name; they shall be justified
By my high purpose, by the clear-seen good
That grew into my vision as I grew,
And makes my nature's function, the full pulse
Of my Zincalo soul. The Catholics,
Arabs, and Hebrews have their god apiece
To fight and conquer for them, or be bruised
Like Allah, and yet keep avenging stores
Of patient wrath. Zincali have no god
Who speaks to them and calls them his, unless
I Zarca carry living in my frame
The power divine that chooses them and saves.
Life and more life unto the chosen, death
To all things living that would stifle them!
So speaks each god that makes a nation strong;
Burns trees and brutes and slays all hindering men.
The Spaniards boast their god the strongest now;
They win most towns by treachery, make most slaves,
Burn the most vines and men, and rob the most.
I fight against that strength, and in my turn
Slay these brave young who duteously strove.
Cruel? ay, it is cruel. But, how else?
To save, we kill; each blow we strike at guilt
Hurts innocence with its shock. Men might well seek
For purifying rites; even pious deeds
Need washing. But my cleansing waters flow
Solely from my intent.

(He turns away from the bodies to where his garments lie, but does not
lift them.)
And she must suffer!
But she has looked on the unchangeable and bowed
Her head beneath the yoke. And she will walk
No more in chilling twilight, for to-day
Rises our sun. The difficult night is past;
We keep the bridge no more, but cross it; march
Forth to a land where all our wars shall be
With greedy obstinate plants that will not yield
Fruit for their nurture. All our race shall come
From north, west, east, a kindred multitude,
And make large fellowship, and raise inspired
The shout divine, the unison of resolve.
So I, so she, will see our race redeemed.
And their keen love of family and tribe
Shall no more thrive on cunning, hide and lurk
In petty arts of abject hunted life,
But grow heroic in the sanctioning light,
And feed with ardent blood a nation's heart.
That is my work: and it is well begun.
On to achievement!

(He takes up the mail-shirt, and looks at it, there throws it down
No, I 'll none of you!
To-day there'll be no fighting. A few hours,
And I shall doff these garments of the Moor:
Till then I will walk lightly and breathe high.

SEPHARDO (appearing at the archway leading into the outer gallery).
You bade me wake you . . . .

Welcome, Doctor; see,
With that small task I did but beckon you
To graver work. You know these corpses?

I would they were not corpses. Storms will lay
The fairest trees and leave the withered stumps.
This Alvar and the Duke were of one age,
And very loving friends. I minded not
The sight of Don Diego's corpse, for death
Gave him some gentleness, and had he lived
I had still hated him. But this young Alvar
Was doubly noble, as a gem that holds
Rare virtues in its lustre, and his death
Will pierce Don Silva with a poisoned dart.
This fair and curly youth was Arias,A son of the Pachecos; this dark face —

Enough! you know their names. I had divined
That they were near the Duke, most like had served
My daughter, were her friends. So rescued them
From being flung upon the heap of slain.
Beseech you, Doctor, if you owe me aught
As having served your people, take the pains
To see these bodies buried decently.
And let their names be writ above their graves,
As those of brave young Spaniards who died well.
I needs must bear this womanhood in my heart, —
Bearing my daughter there. For once she prayed, —
'T was at our parting, — "When you see fair hair
Be pitiful." And I am forced to look
On fair heads living and be pitiless.
Your service, Doctor, will be done to her.

A service doubly dear. For these young dead,
And one less happy Spaniard who still lives,
Are offerings which I wrenched from out my heart,
Constrained by cries of Israel: while my hands
Rendered the victims at command, my eyes
Closed themselves vainly, as if vision lay
Through those poor loopholes only. I will go
And see the graves dug by some cypresses.

Meanwhile the bodies shall rest here. Farewell.

Nay, 't is no mockery. She keeps me so
From hardening with the hardness of my acts.
This Spaniard shrouded in her love, — I would
He lay here too that I might pity him.

Morning. — The Plaça Santiago in Bedmár. A crowd of townsmen
forming an outer circle: within, Zincali and Moorish soldiers drawn up round the
central space. On the higher ground in front of the church a stake with fagots
heaped, and at a little distance a gibbet. Moorish music. ZARCA enters,
wearing his gold necklace with the Gypsy badge of the flaming torch over the
dress of a Moorish captain, accompanied by a small band of armed Zincali, who
fall aside and range themselves with the other soldiers while he takes his stand
in front of the stake and gibbet. The music ceases, and there is expectant

Men of Bedmár, well-wishers, and allies,
Whether of Moorish or of Hebrew blood,
Who, being galled by the hard Spaniard's yoke,
Have welcomed our quick conquest as release,
I, Zarca, the Zincalo chieftain, hold
By delegation of the Moorish King
Supreme command within this town and fort.
Nor will I, with false show of modesty,
Profess myself unworthy of this post,
For so I should but tax the giver's choice.
And, as ye know, while I was prisoner here,
Forging the bullets meant for Moorish hearts,
But likely now to reach another mark,
I learned the secrets of the town's defence,
Caught the loud whispers of your discontent,
And so could serve the purpose of the Moor
As the edge's keenness serves the weapon's weight
And my Zincali, lynx-eyed, lithe of limb,
Tracked out the high Sierra's hidden path,
Guided the hard ascent, and were the first
To scale the walls and brave the showering stones.
In brief, I reached this rank through service done
By thought of mine and valor of my tribe,
Yet hold it but in trust, with readiness
To lay it down; for I and my Zincali
Will never pitch our tents again on land
The Spaniard grudges us: we seek a home
Where we may spread and ripen like the corn
By blessing of the sun and spacious earth.
Ye wish us well, I think, and are our friends?

Long life to Zarca and his strong Zincali!

ZARCA.Now, for the cause of our assembling here.
'T was my command that rescued from your hands
That Spanish Prior and Inquisitor
Whom in fierce retribution you had bound
And meant to burn, tied to a planted cross.
I rescued him with promise that his death
Should be more signal in its justice, — made
Public in fullest sense, and orderly.
Here, then, you see the stake, — slow death by fire;
And there a gibbet, — swift death by the cord.
Now hear me, Moors and Hebrews of Bedmár,
Our kindred by the warmth of Eastern blood!
Punishing cruel wrong by cruelty
We copy Christian crime. Vengeance is just:
Justly we rid the earth of human fiends
Who carry hell for pattern in their souls.
But in high vengeance there is noble scorn:
It tortures not the torturer, nor gives
Iniquitous payment for iniquity.
The great avenging angel does not crawl
To kill the serpent with a mimic fang;
He stands erect, with sword of keenest edge
That slays like lightning. So too we will slay
The cruel man; slay him because he works
Woe to mankind. And I have given command
To pile these fagots, not to burn quick flesh,
But for a sign of that dire wrong to men
Which arms our wrath with justice. While, to show
This Christian worshipper that we obey
A better law than his, he shall be led
Straight to the gibbet and to swiftest death.
For I, the chief of the Zincali, will,
My people shed no blood but what is shed
In heat of battle or in judgment strict
With calm deliberation on the right.
Such is my will, and if it please you, — well.

It pleases us. Long life to Zarca!

The bell is striking, and they bring even now
The prisoner from the fort. What, Nadar?

NADAR (has appeared, cutting the crowd, and advano ing toward ZARCA till
he is near enough to speak in an undertone).
I have obeyed your word, have followed it
As water does the furrow in the rock.

Your band is here?

Yes, and the Spaniard too.

'T was so I ordered.

Ay, but this sleek hound,
Who slipped his collar off to join the wolves,
Has still a heart for none but kennelled brutes.
He rages at the taking of the town.
Says all his friends are butchered; and one corpse
He stumbled on, — well, I would sooner be
A dead Zincalo's dog, and howl for him,
Than be this Spaniard. Rage has made him whiter.
One townsman taunted him with his escape,
And thanked him for so favoring us. . . . .

You gave him my command that he should wait
Within the castle, till I saw him?

But he defied me, broke away, ran loose
I know not whither; he may soon be here.I came to warn you, lest he work us

Fear not, I know the road I travel by:
Its turns are no surprises. He who rules
Must humor full as much as he commands;
Must let men vow impossibilities;
Grant folly's prayers that hinder folly's wish
And serve the ends of wisdom. Ah, he comes!

[Sweeping like some pale herald from the dead,
Whose shadow-nurtured eyes, dazed by full light,
See naught without, but give reverted sense
To the soul's imagery, Silva came,
The wondering people parting wide to get
Continuous sight of him as he passed on, —
This high hidalgo, who through blooming years
Had shone on men with planetary calm,
Believed in with all sacred images
And saints that must be taken as they were,
Though rendering meagre service for men's praise,
Bareheaded now, carrying an unsheathed sword,
And on his breast, where late he bore the cross,
Wearing the Gypsy badge, his form aslant,
Driven, it seemed, by some invisible chase,
Right to the front of Zarca. There he paused.]

Chief, you are treacherous, cruel, devilish, —
Relentless as a curse that once let loose
From lips of wrath, lives bodiless to destroy,
And darkly traps a man in nets of guilt
Which could not weave themselves in open day
Before his eyes. Oh, it was bitter wrong
To hold this knowledge locked within your mind,
To stand with waking eyes in broadest light,
And see me, dreaming, shed my kindred's blood.
'T is horrible that men with hearts and hands
Should smile in silence like the firmament
And see a fellow-mortal draw a lot
On which themselves have written agony!
Such injury has no redress, no healing
Save what may lie in stemming further ill.
Poor balm for maiming! Yet I come to claim it.

First prove your wrongs, and I will hear your claim.
Mind, you are not commander of Bedmár,
Nor duke, nor knight, nor anything for me,
Save one Zincalo, one of my subject tribe,
Over whose deeds my will is absolute.
You chose that lot, and would have railed at me
Had I refused it you: I warned you first
What oaths you had to take . . . .

You never warned me
That you had linked yourself with Moorish men
To take this town and fortress of Bedmár, —
Slay my near kinsmen, him who held my place,
Our house's heir and guardian, — slay my friend,
My chosen brother, — desecrate the church
Where once my mother held me in her arms,
Making the holy chrism holier
With tears of joy that fell upon my brow!
You never warned . . . .

I warned you of your oath.
You shrank not, were resolved, were sure your place
Would never miss you, and you had your will.
I am no priest, and keep no consciences:
I keep my own place and my own command.

I said my place would never miss me — yes!
A thousand Spaniards died on that same day
And were not missed; their garments clothed the backs
That else were bare . . . .

But you were just the one
Above the thousand, had you known the die
That fate was throwing then.

You knew it, — you!
With fiendish knowledge, smiling at the end.
You knew what snares had made my flying steps
Murderous; you let me lock my soul with oaths
Which your acts made a hellish sacrament.
I say, you knew this as a fiend would know it,
And let me damn myself.

The deed was done
Before you took your oath, or reached our camp, —
Done when you slipped in secret from the post
'T was yours to keep, and not to meditate
If others might not fill it. For your oath,
What man is he who brandishes a sword
In darkness, kills his friends, and rages then
Against the night that kept him ignorant?
Should I, for one unstable Spaniard, quit
My steadfast ends as father and as chief;
Renounce my daughter and my people's hope,
Lest a deserter should be made ashamed?

Your daughter, — O great God! I vent but madness.
The past will never change. I come to stem
Harm that may yet be hindered. Chief — this stake —
Tell me who is to die! Are you not bound
Yourself to him you took in fellowship?
The town is yours; let me but save the blood
That still is warm in men who were my . . . .

They bring the prisoner.
[Zarca waved his arm
With head averse, in peremptory sign
That 'twixt them now there should be space and silence.
Most eyes had turned to where the prisoner
Advanced among his guards; and Silva too
Turned eagerly, all other striving quelled
By striving with the dread lest he should see
His thought outside him. And he saw it there.
The prisoner was Father Isidor:
The man whom once he fiercely had accused
As author of his misdeeds, — whose designs
Had forced him into fatal secrecy.
The imperious and inexorable Will
Was yoked, and he who had been pitiless
To Silva's love, was led to pitiless death.
O hateful victory of blind wishes, — prayers
Which hell had overheard and swift fulfilled!
The triumph was a torture, turning all
The strength of passion into strength of pain.
Remorse was born within him, that dire birth
Which robs all else of nurture, — cancerous,
Forcing each pulse to feed its anguish, changing
All sweetest residues of a healthy life
To fibrous clutches of slow misery.
Silva had but rebelled, — he was not free;
And all the subtle cords that bound his soul
Were tightened by the strain of one rash leap
Made in defiance. He accused no more,
But dumbly shrank before accusing throngs
Of thoughts, the impetuous recurrent rush
Of all his past-created, unchanged self.
The Father came bareheaded, frocked, a rope
Around his neck, — but clad with majesty,
The strength of resolute undivided souls
Who, owning law, obey it. In his hand
He bore a crucifix, and praying, gazed
Solely on that white image. But his guards
Parted in front, and paused as they approached
The centre, where the stake was. Isidor
Lifted his eyes to look around him, — calm,
Prepared to speak last words of willingness
To meet his death, — last words of faith unchanged,
That, working for Christ's kingdom, he had wrought
Righteously. But his glance met Silva's eyes
And drew him. Even images of stone
Look living with reproach on him who maims,
Profanes, defiles them. Silva penitent
Moved forward, would have knelt before the man
Who still was one with all the sacred things
That came back on him in their sacredness,
Kindred, and oaths, and awe, and mystery.
But, at the sight, the Father thrust the cross
With deprecating act before him, and his face
Pale-quivering, flashed out horror like white light
Flashed from the angel's sword that dooming drave
The sinner to the wilderness. He spoke.]

Back from me, traitorous and accursed man!
Defile not me, who grasp the holiest,
With touch or breath! Thou foulest murderer!
Fouler than Cain who struck his brother down
In jealous rage, thou for thy base delight
Hast oped the gate for wolves to come and tear
Uncounted brethren, weak and strong alike,
The helpless priest, the warrior all unarmed
Against a faithless leader: on thy head
Will rest the sacrilege, on thy soul the blood.
These blind Zincali, misbelievers, Moors,
Are but as Pilate and his soldiery;
Thou, Judas, weighted with that heaviest crime
Which deepens hell! I warned your of this end.
A traitorous leader, false to God and man,
A knight apostate, you shall soon behold
Above your people's blood the light of flames
Kindled by you to burn me, — burn the flesh
Twin with your father's. O most wretched man!
Whose memory shall be of broken oaths, —
Broken for lust, — I turn away mine eyes
Forever from you. See, the stake is ready:
And I am ready too.

It shall not be!

(Raising his sword he rushes in front of the guards who are advancing,
and impedes them.)
If you are human, Chief, hear my demand!
Stretch not my soul upon the endless rack
Of this man's torture!

Stand aside, my lord!
Put up your sword. You vowed obedience
To me, your chief. It was your latest vow.

No! hew me from the spot, or fasten me
Amid the fagots too, if he must burn.

What should befall that persecuting monk
Was fixed before you came: no cruelty,
No nicely measured torture, weight for weight
Of injury, no luscious-toothed revenge
That justifies the injurer by its joy:
I seek but rescue and security
For harmless men, and such security
Means death to vipers and inquisitors.
These fagots shall but innocently blaze
In sign of gladness, when this man is dead,
That one more torturer has left the earth.
'T is not for infidels to burn live men
And ape the rules of Christian piety.
This hard oppressor shall not die by fire:
He mounts the gibbet, dies a speedy death,
That, like a transfixed dragon, he may cease
To vex mankind. Quick, guards, and clear the path!

[As well-trained hounds that hold their fleetness tense
In watchful, loving fixity of dark eyes,
And move with movement of their master's will,
The Gypsies with a wavelike swiftness met
Around the Father, and in wheeling course
Passed beyond Silva to the gibbet's foot,
Behind their chieftain. Sudden left alone
With weapon bare, the multitude aloof,
Silva was mazed in doubtful consciousness,
As one who slumbering in the day awakes
From striving into freedom, and yet feels
His sense half captive to intangible things;
Then with a flush of new decision sheathed
His futile naked weapon, and strode quick
To Zarca, speaking with a voice new-toned,
The struggling soul's hoarse, suffocated cry
Beneath the grappling anguish of despair.]

Zincalo, devil, blackest infidel!
You cannot hate that man as you hate me!
Finish your torture, — take me, — lift me up
And let the crowd spit at me, — every Moor
Shoot reeds at me, and kill me with slow death
Beneath the midday fervor of the sun, —
Or crucify me with a thieving hound, —
Slake your hate so, and I will thank it: spare me
Only this man!

Madman, I hate you not.
But if I did, my hate were poorly served
By my device, if I should strive to mix
A bitterer misery for you than to taste
With leisure of a soul in unharmed limbs
The flavor of your folly. For my course,
It has a goal, and takes no truant path
Because of you. I am your Chief: to me
You are but a Zincalo in revolt.

No, I am no Zincalo! I disown
The name I took in madness. Here I tear
This badge away. I am a Catholic knight,
A Spaniard who will die a Spaniard's death!

[Hark! while he casts the badge upon the ground
And tramples on it, Silva hears a shout:
Was it a shout that threatened him? He looked
From out the dizzying flames of his own rage
In hope of adversaries, — and he saw above
The form of Father Isidor upswung
Convulsed with martyr throes; and knew the shout
For wonted exultation of the crowd
When malefactors die, — or saints, or heroes.
And now to him that white-frocked murdered form
Which hanging judged him as its murderer,
Turned to a symbol of his guilt, and stirred
Tremors till then unwaked. With sudden snatch
At something hidden in his breast, he strode
Right upon Zarca: at the instant, down
Fell the great Chief, and Silva, staggering back,
Heard not the shriek of the Zincali, felt
Not their fierce grasp, — heard, felt but Zarca's words
Which seemed his soul outleaping in a cry
And urging men to run like rival waves
Whose rivalry is but obedience.

ZARCA (as he falls).
My daughter! call her! Call my daughter!

NADAR (supporting ZARCA and crying to the Gypsies who have clutched
Tear not the Spaniard, tie him to the stake:
Hear what the Chief shall bid us, — there is time!

[Swiftly they tied him, pleasing vengeance so
With promise that would leave them free to watch
Their stricken good, their Chief stretched helplessly
Pillowed upon the strength of loving limbs.
He heaved low groans, but would not spend his breath
In useless words: he waited till she came,
Keeping his life within the citadel
Of one great hope. And now around him closed
(But in wide circle, checked by loving fear)
His people all, holding their wails suppressed
Lest death believed-in should be over-bold:
All life hung on their Chief, — he would not die;
His image gone, there were no wholeness left
To make a world of for Zincali's thought.
Eager they stood, but hushed; the outer crowd
Spoke only in low murmurs, and some climbed
And clung with legs and arms on perilous coigns,
Striving to see where that colossal life
Lay panting, — lay a Titan struggling still
To hold and give the precious hidden fire
Before the stronger grappled him. Above
The young bright morning cast athwart white walls
Her shadows blue, and with their clear-cut line,
Mildly inexorable as the dial-hand's
Measured the shrinking future of an hour
Which held a shrinking hope. And all the while
The silent beat of time in each man's soul
Made aching pulses.
But the cry, "She comes!"
Parted the crowd like waters: and she came.
Swiftly as once before, inspired with joy,
She flashed across the space and made new light,
Glowing upon the glow of evening,
So swiftly now she came, inspired with woe,
Strong with the strength of all her father's pain,
Thrilling her as with fire of rage divine
And battling energy. She knew, — saw all:
The stake with Silva bound, — her father pierced, —
To this she had been born: the second time
Her father called her to the task of life.

She knelt beside him. Then he raised himself,
And on her face there flashed from his the light
As of a star that waned and flames anew
In mighty dissolution: 't was the flame
Of a surviving trust, in agony.
He spoke the parting prayer that was command,
Must sway her will, and reign invisibly.]

My daughter, you have promised, — you will live
To save our people. In my garments here
I carry written pledges from the Moor:
He will keep faith in Spain and Africa.
Your weakness may be stronger than my strength,
Winning more love. I cannot tell the end.
I held my people's good within my breast.
Behold, now I deliver it to you.
See, it still breathes unstrangled, — if it dies,
Let not your failing will be murderer. Rise,
And tell our people now I wait in pain, —
I cannot die until I hear them say
They will obey you.

[Meek, she pressed her lips
With slow solemnity upon his brow,
Sealing her pledges. Firmly then she rose,
And met her people's eyes with kindred gaze,
Dark-flashing, fired by effort strenuous
Trampling on pain.]

Zincali all, who hear!
Your Chief is dying: I his daughter live
To do his dying will. He asks you now
To promise me obedience as your Queen,
That we may seek the land he won for us,
And live the better life for which he toiled.
Speak now, and fill my father's dying ear
With promise that you will obey him dead,
Obeying me his child.

[Straightway arose
A shout of promise, sharpening into cries
That seemed to plead despairingly with death.]

We will obey! Our Chief shall never die!
We will obey him, — will obey our Queen!

[The shout unanimous, the concurrent rush
Of many voices, quiring shook the air
With multitudinous wave: now rose, now fell,
Then rose again, the echoes following slow,
As if the scattered brethren of the tribe
Had caught afar and joined the ready vow.
Then some could hold no longer, but must rush
To kiss his dying feet, and some to kiss
The hem of their Queen's garment. But she raised
Her hand to hush them. "Hark! your Chief may speak
Another wish." Quickly she kneeled again,
While they upon the ground kept motionless,
With head outstretched. They heard his words; for now,
Grasping at Nadar's arm, he spoke more loud,
As one who, having fought and conquered, hurls
His strength away with hurling off his shield.]

Let loose the Spaniard! give him back his sword;
He cannot move to any vengeance more, —
His soul is locked 'twixt two opposing crimes.
I charge you let him go unharmed and free
Now through your midst. . . . .

[With that he sank again, —
His breast heaved strongly tow'rd sharp sudden falls,
And all his life seemed needed for each breath:
Yet once he spoke.]

My daughter, lay your arm
Beneath my head, — so, — bend and breathe on me.
I cannot see you more, — the Night is come.
Be strong, — remember, — I can only — die.

[His voice went into silence, but his breast
Heaved long and moaned: its broad strength kept a life
That heard naught, saw naught, save what once had been,
And what might be in days and realms afar, —
Which now in pale procession faded on
Toward the thick darkness. And she bent above
In sacramental watch to see great Death,
Companion of her future, who would wear
Forever in her eyes her father's form.

And yet she knew that hurrying feet had gone
To do the Chief's behest, and in her soul
He who was once its lord was being jarred
With loosening of cords, that would not loose
The tightening torture of his anguish. This, —
Oh she knew it! — knew it as martyrs knew
The prongs that tore their flesh, while yet their tongues
Refused the ease of lies. In moments high
Space widens in the soul. And so she knelt,
Clinging with piety and awed resolve
Beside this altar of her father's life,
Seeing long travel under solemn suns
Stretching beyond it; never turned her eyes,
Yet felt that Silva passed; beheld his face
Pale, vivid, all alone, imploring her
Across black waters fathomless.

And he passed.
The Gypsies made wide pathway, shrank aloof
As those who fear to touch the thing they hate,
Lest hate triumphant, mastering all the limbs,
Should tear, bite, crush, in spite of hindering will
Slowly he walked, reluctant to be safe
And bear dishonored life which none assailed;
Walked hesitatingly, all his frame instinct
With high-born spirit, never used to dread
Or crouch for smiles, yet stung, yet quivering
With helpless strength, and in his soul convulsed
By visions where pale horror held a lamp
Over wide-reaching crime. Silence hung round:
It seemed the Plaça hushed itself to hear
His footsteps and the Chief's deep dying breath.
Eyes quickened in the stillness, and the light
Seemed one clear gaze upon his misery.
And yet he could not pass her without pause:
One instant he must pause and look at her;
But with that glance at her averted head,
New-urged by pain he turned away and went,
Carrying forever with him what he fled, —
Her murdered love, — her love, a dear wronged ghost,
Facing him, beauteous, 'mid the throngs of hell.

O fallen and forsaken! were no hearts
Amid that crowd, mindful of what had been? —
Hearts such as wait on beggared royalty,
Or silent watch by sinners who despair?

Silva had vanished. That dismissed revenge
Made larger room for sorrow in fierce hearts;
And sorrow filled them. For the Chief was dead.
The mighty breast subsided slow to calm,
Slow from the face the ethereal spirit waned,
As wanes the parting glory from the heights,
And leaves them in their pallid majesty.
Fedalma kissed the marble lips, and said,
"He breathes no more." And then a long loud wail
Poured out upon the morning, made her light
Ghastly as smiles on some fair maniac's face
Smiling unconscious o'er her bridegroom's corse.
The wailing men in eager press closed round,
And made a shadowing pall beneath the sun.
They lifted reverent the prostrate strength,
Sceptred anew by death. Fedalma walked
Tearless, erect, following the dead, — her cries
Deep smothering in her breast, as one who guides
Her children through the wilds, and sees and knows
Of danger more than they, and feels more pangs,
Yet shrinks not, groans not, bearing in her heart
Their ignorant misery and their trust in her

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