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- Journeys Through Bookland - 3/71 -


Live and laugh, as boyhood can! Though the flinty slopes be hard, Stubble-speared the new-mown sward, Every morn shall lead thee through Fresh baptisms of the dew; Every evening from they feet Shall the cool wind kiss the heat; All too soon these feet must hide In the prison cells of pride, Lose the freedom of the sod, Like a colt's for work be shod, Made to tread the mills of toil Up and down in ceaseless moil: Happy if their track be found Never on forbidden ground; Happy if they sink not in Quick and treacherous sands of sin. Ah! that thou couldst know thy joy, Ere it passes, barefoot boy!

RAIN ON THE ROOF [Footnote: Coates Kinney, born in New York in 1826, gives this account of the way in which the song came to be written: "The verses were written when I was about twenty years of age, as nearly as I can remember. They were inspired close to the rafters of a little story- and-a-half frame house. The language, as first published, was not composed, it came. I had just a little more to do with it than I had to do with the coming of the rain. This poem, in its entirety, came to me and asked me to put it down, the next afternoon, in the course of a solitary and aimless wandering through a summer wood."]

When the humid showers hover Over all the starry spheres And the melancholy darkness Gently weeps in rainy tears, What a bliss to press the pillow Of a cottage-chamber bed, And to listen to the patter Of the soft rain overhead!

Every tinkle on the shingles. Has an echo in the heart: And a thousand dreamy fancies Into busy being start, And a thousand recollections Weave their air-threads into woof, As I listen to the patter Of the rain upon the roof.

Now in memory comes my mother, As she was long years agone, To regard the darling dreamers Ere she left them till the dawn: O! I see her leaning o'er me, As I list to this refrain Which is played upon the shingles By the patter of the rain.

Then my little seraph sister, With her wings and waving hair, And her star-eyed cherub brother-- A serene, angelic pair!-- Glide around my wakeful pillow, With their praise or mild reproof, As I listen to the murmur Of the soft rain on the roof.

Art hath naught of tone or cadence That can work with such a spell In the soul's mysterious fountains, Whence the tears of rapture well, As that melody of Nature, That subdued, subduing strain Which is played upon the shingles By the patter of the rain.

CID CAMPEADOR

INTRODUCTION

The national hero of Spain is universally known as the Cid, and around his name have gathered tales as marvelous as those of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table. Some historians have doubted the existence of the Cid, while others, whom we may prefer to believe, give him a distinct place in history. According to the latter, he was a descendant of one of the noblest families of Castile, and as early as 1064 his name is mentioned as that of a great warrior. So far as we are concerned, we need not discuss the matter, for it is our purpose to see him as a great hero whose name stood for honor and bravery, and whose influence upon the youth of Spain has been wonderful. Accordingly, we must know the Cid as he appears in song and story rather than as he is known in history.

There are several prose chronicles in Spanish, which tell the story of the Cid, and numberless poems and legends. The English poet, Robert Southey, has given us the best translation of these, and from his famous work, _Chronicle of the Cid_, we take the selections which are printed in this volume. According to the Spanish accounts, Rodrigo was born in 1026 in Burgos, the son of Diego Laynez, who was then the head of the house of Layn Calvo. As a youth he was strong in arms and of high repute among his friends, for he early bestirred himself to protect the land from the Moors.

While Rodrigo was still in his early youth, his father was grievously insulted and struck in the face by Count Don Gomez. Diego was a man so old that his strength had passed from him, and he could not take vengeance, but retired to his home to dwell in solitude and lament over his dishonor. He took no pleasure in his food, neither could he sleep by night nor would he lift up his eyes from the ground, nor stir out of his house, nor commune with his friends, but turned from them in silence as if the breath of his shame would taint them. The Count was a mighty man in arms and so powerful that he had a thousand friends among the mountains. Rodrigo, young as he was, considered this power as nothing when he thought of the wrong done to his father, and determined to take his own revenge. His father, seeing of how good heart he was, gave him his sword and his blessing. Rodrigo went out, defied the Count, fought with and killed him, and cutting off his head carried it home. The old man was sitting at table, the food lying before him untasted, when Rodrigo returned, and, pointing to the head which hung from the horse's collar, dropping blood, bade him look up, saying, "Here is the herb which will restore to you your appetite. The tongue which insulted you is no longer a tongue, the hand no longer a hand." Then the old man arose, embraced his son and placed him above him at the table, saying, "The man who brought home that head must be the head of the house of Layn Calvo."

At about this time, the king, Don Ferrando, who honors upon Rodrigo for his success against the Moors, called him to aid against the King of Aragon, who claimed the city of Calahorra, but had consented to let the ownership of the city rest upon a trial by combat between two of their greatest knights. The King of Aragon chose Don Martin Gonzalez, and Don Ferrando, Rodrigo. The latter was well pleased at the prospect of the battle, but before the day of the combat he started on a pilgrimage, which he had previously vowed.

[Illustration: RODRIGO AND THE LEPER]

"Rodrigo forthwith set out upon the road, and took with him twenty knights. And as he went he did great good, and gave alms, feeding the poor and needy. And upon the way they found a leper, struggling in a quagmire, who cried out to them with a loud voice to help him for the love of God; and when Rodrigo heard this, he alighted from his beast and helped him, and placed him upon the beast before him, and carried him with him in this manner to the inn where he took up his lodging that night. At this were his knights little pleased. And when supper was ready he bade his knights take their seats, and he took the leper by the hand, and seated him next himself, and ate with him out of the same dish. The knights were greatly offended at this foul sight, insomuch that they rose up and left the chamber. But Rodrigo ordered a bed to be made ready for himself and for the leper, and they twain slept together. When it was midnight and Rodrigo was fast asleep, the leper breathed against him between his shoulders, and that breath was so strong that it passed through him, even through his breast; and he awoke, being astounded, and felt for the leper by him, and found him not; and he began to call him, but there was no reply. Then he arose in fear, and called for light, and it was brought him; and he looked for the leper and could see nothing; so he returned into the bed, leaving the light burning. And he began to think within himself what had happened, and of that breath which had passed through him, and how the leper was not there. After a while, as he was thus musing, there appeared before him one in white garments, who said unto him, 'Sleepest thou or wakest thou, Rodrigo?' and he answered and said, 'I do not sleep: but who art thou that bringest with thee such brightness and so sweet an odour?' Then said he, 'I am Saint Lazarus, and know that I was a leper to whom thou didst so much good and so great honour for the love of God; and because thou didst this for His sake hath God now granted thee a great gift; for whensoever that breath which thou hast felt shall come upon thee, whatever thing thou desirest to do, and shalt then begin, that shalt thou accomplish to thy heart's desire, whether it be in battle or aught else, so that thy honour shall go on increasing from day to day; and thou shalt be feared both by Moors and Christians, and thy enemies shall never prevail against thee, and thou shalt die an honourable death in thine own house, and in thy renown, for God hath blessed thee,--therefore go thou on, and evermore persevere in doing good;' and with that he disappeared. And Rodrigo arose and prayed to our lady and intercessor St. Mary, that she would pray to her blessed son for him to watch over both his body and soul in all his undertakings; and he continued in prayer till the day broke. Then he proceeded on his way, and performed his pilgrimage, doing much good for the love of God and of St. Mary."

Rodrigo was successful in his combat against Martin Gonzalez, and after the death of the latter rose much higher in esteem with King Ferrando. At no time was Rodrigo unworthy of his confidence, so that finally the king knighted him after this manner: The king girded on his sword and gave him the kiss, but not the blow. Usually this blow was given with the hand upon the neck, at which time the king said, "Awake, and sleep not in the affairs of knighthood." The king omitted this, knowing that Rodrigo needed no such command. To do the new knight more honour, the queen gave him his horse and her daughter fastened on his spurs. From that day he was called Ruydiez. Ruy is merely an abbreviation of Rodrigo, and Ruydiez means Rodrigo the son of Diego. Thereafter the


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