Percy's Reliques - Alcanzor and Zayda.

Alcanzor and Zayda.


            The foregoing version was rendered as literal as the nature of the two languages would admit. In the following a wider compass hath been taken. The Spanish poem that was chiefly had in view, is preserved in the same history of the Civil Wars of Granada, f. 22, and begins with these lines

Por la calle de su dama,
Passeando se anda, &c.

SOFTLY blow the evening breezes,
Softly fall the dews of night;
Yonder walks the Moor Alcanzor,
Shunning every glare of light.

In yon palace lives fair Zaida,
Whom he loves with flame so pure:
Lovliest she of Moorish ladies;
He a young and noble Moor.

Waiting for the appointed minute,
Oft he paces to and fro;
Stopping now, now moving forwards,
Sometimes quick, and sometimes slow.

Hope and fear alternate tease him,
Oft he sighs with heart-felt care.---
See, fond youth, to yonder window
Softly steps the timorous fair.

Lovely seems the moon's fair lustre
To the lost benighted swain,
When all silvery bright she rises,
Gilding mountain, grove, and plain.

Lovely seems the sun's full glory
To the fainting seaman's eyes,
When some horrid storm dispersing
O'er the wave his radiance flies.

But a thousand times more lovely
To her longing lover's sight
Steals half seen the beauteous maiden
Thro' the glimmerings of the night.

Tip-toe stands the anxious lover,
Whispering forth a gentle sigh:
"Alla[ 1] keep thee, lovely lady;
Tell me, am I doom'd to die?

"Is it true the dreadful story,
Which thy damsel tells my page,
That seduc'd by sordid riches
Thou wilt sell thy bloom to age?

"An old lord from Antiquera
Thy stern father brings along;
But canst thou, inconstant Zaida,
Thus consent my love to wrong?

"If 'tis true now plainly tell me,
Nor thus trifle with my woes;
Hide not then from me the secret,
Which the world so clearly knows."

Deeply sigh'd the conscious maiden,
While the pearly tears descend:
"Ah! my lord, too true the story;
Here our tender loves must end.

"Our fond friendship is discover'd,
Well are known our mutual vows;
All my friends are full of fury;
Storms of passion shake the house.

"Threats, reproaches, fears surround me
My stern father breaks my heart:
Alla knows how dear it costs me,
Generous youth, from thee to part.

"Ancient wounds of hostile fury
Long have rent our house and thine;
Why then did thy shining merit
Win this tender heart of mine?

"Well thou know'st how dear I lov'd thee
Spite of all their hateful pride,
Tho' I fear'd my haughty father
Ne'er would let me be thy bride.

"Well thou know'st what cruel chidings
Oft I've from my mother borne;
What I've suffer'd here to meet thee
Still at eve and early morn.

"I no longer may resist them;
All to force my hand combine;
And to-morrow to thy rival
This weak frame I must resign.

"Yet think not thy faithful Zaida
Can survive so great a wrong;
Well my breaking heart assures me
That my woes will not be long.

"Farewell then, my dear Alcanzor
Farewell too my life with thee!
Take this scarf, a parting token;
When thou wear'st it think on me.

"Soon, lov'd youth, some worthier maiden
Shall reward thy generous truth;
Sometimes tell her how thy Zaida
Died for thee in prime of youth."

-- To him all amaz'd, confounded,
Thus she did her woes impart:
Deep he sigh'd, then cry'd,-- "O Zaida!
Do not, do not break my heart.

"Canst thou think I thus will lose thee?
Canst thou hold my love so small?
No! a thousand times I'll perish!---
My curst rival too shall fall.

"Canst thou, wilt thou yield thus to them?
O break forth, and fly to me
This fond heart shall bleed to save thee,
These fond arms shall shelter thee."

"'Tis in vain, in vain, Alcanzor,
Spies surround me, bars secure:
Scarce I steal this last dear moment,
While my damsel keeps the door.

"Hark, I hear my father storming!
Hark, I hear my mother chide!
I must go: farewell for ever!
Gracious Alla be thy guide!"


1. Alla is the Mahometan name of God.


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