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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Spain, Portugal, Belgium, and Holland: Vols. XIV–XV. 1876–79.

Spain: Cangas de Tineo

The Acclamation of Pelayo

By Robert Southey (1774–1843)

NOW, when from Covadonga, down the vale

Holding his way, the princely mountaineer

Came with that happy family in sight

Of Cangas and his native towers, far off

He saw before the gate, in fair array,

The assembled land. Broad banners were displayed,

And spears were sparkling to the sun, shields shone,

And helmets glittered, and the blaring horn,

With frequent sally of impatient joy,

Provoked the echoes round. Well he areads,

From yonder ensigns and augmented force,

That Odoar and the Primate from the west

Have brought their aid; but wherefore all were thus

Instructed as for some great festival,

He found not, till Favila’s quicker eye

Catching the ready buckler, the glad boy

Leapt up, and, clapping his exultant hands,

Shouted, King! King! my father shall be king

This day! Pelayo started at the word,

And the first thought which smote him brought a sigh

For Roderick’s fall; the second was of hope,

Deliverance for his country, for himself

Enduring fame, and glory for his line.


Roderick brought

The buckler: eight for strength and stature chosen

Came to their honored office; round the shield

Standing, they lower it for the chieftain’s feet,

Then, slowly raised upon their shoulders, lift

The steady weight. Erect Pelayo stands,

And thrice he brandishes the burnished sword,

While Urban to the assembled people cries,

“Spaniards, behold your king!” The multitude

Then sent forth all their voice with glad acclaim,

Raising the loud Real; thrice did the word

Ring through the air, and echo from the walls

Of Cangas. Far and wide the thundering shout,

Rolling among reduplicating rocks,

Pealed o’er the hills, and up the mountain vales.

The wild ass starting in the forest glade

Ran to the covert; the affrighted wolf

Skulked through the thicket to a closer brake;

The sluggish bear, awakened in his den,

Roused up and answered with a sullen growl,

Low-breathed and long; and at the uproar scared,

The brooding eagle from her nest took wing.