Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, BALLAD, by REGINALD HEBER

Poetry Explorer

Classic and Contemporary Poetry

BALLAD, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Oh, captain of the moorish hold
Last Line: The noblest knight of spain!
Subject(s): Courts & Courtiers; Honor; Knights & Knighthood; Moors (people); Spain; Royal Court Life; Royalty; Kings; Queens


"OH, captain of the Moorish hold,
Unbar thy gates to me,
And I will give thee gems and gold,
To set Fernando free.
For I a sacred oath have plight
A pilgrim to remain,
Till I return with Lara's knight,
The noblest knight of Spain."


"Fond Christian youth," the captain said,
"Thy suit is soon denied:
Fernando loves a Moorish maid,
And will with us abide.
Renounced is every Christian rite,
The turban he hath ta'en,
And Lara thus hath lost her knight,
The boldest knight of Spain."


Pale, marble pale, the pilgrim turn'd,
A cold and deadly dye;
Then in his cheeks the blushes burn'd,
And anger in his eye.
(From forth his cowl a ringlet bright
Fell down of golden grain,)
"Base Moor! to slander Lara's knight,
The boldest knight of Spain!


'Go, look on Lugo's gory field!
Go look on Tayo's tide!
Can ye forget the red-cross shield,
That all your host defied?
Alhama's warriors turn'd to flight,
Granada's sultan slain,
Attest the worth of Lara's knight,
The boldest knight of Spain!"


"By Allah, yea!" with eyes of fire
The lordly paynim said,
"Granada's sultan was my sire,
Who fell by Lara's blade;
And tho' thy gold were fortyfold,
The ransom were but vain
To purchase back thy Christian knight,
The boldest knight of Spain."


"Ah, Moor! the life that once is shed
No vengeance can repay;
And who can number up the dead
That fall in battle fray?
Thyself in many a manly fight
Hast many a father slain;
Then rage not thus 'gainst Lara's knight,
The boldest knight of Spain."


"And who art thou, whose pilgrim vest
Thy beauties ill may shroud;
The locks of gold, the heaving breast,
A moon beneath a cloud? --
Wilt thou our Moorish creed recite,
And here with me remain?
He may depart, -- that captive knight,
The conquer'd knight of Spain."


"Ah, speak not so!" with voice of woe,
The shuddering stranger cried;
"Another creed I may not know,
Nor live another's bride!
Fernando's wife may yield her life,
But not her honour stain,
To loose the bonds of Lara's knight,
The noblest knight of Spain!"


"And know'st thou, then, how hard a doom
Thy husband yet may bear!
The fetter'd limbs, the living tomb,
The damp and noisome air?
In lonely cave, and void of light,
To drag a helpless chain,
Thy pride condemns the Christian knight,
The prop and pride of Spain!"


"Oh that within that dungeon's gloom
His sorrows I might share,
And cheer him in that living tomb,
With love, and hope, and prayer!
But still the faith I once have plight
Unbroken must remain,
And God will help the captive knight,
And plead the cause of Spain!"


"And deem'st thou from the Moorish hold
In safety to retire,
Whose locks outshine Arabia's gold,
Whose eyes the diamond's fire!"
She drew a poniard small and bright,
And spake in calm disdain:
"He taught me how, my Christian knight,
To guard the faith of Spain!"


The drawbridge falls! with loud alarm
The clashing portals fly!
She bared her breast, she raised her arm,
And knelt, in act to die!
But ah, the thrill of wild delight
That shot through every vein!
He stood before her, -- Lara's knight,
The noblest knight of Spain!

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