Home  »  Poems of Places An Anthology in 31 Volumes  »  The Cid’s Wedding

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

Spain: Burgos

The Cid’s Wedding

By Spanish Ballad

Translated by J. G. Lockhart

WITHIN his hall of Burgos the king prepares the feast;

He makes his preparation for many a noble guest.

It is a joyful city, it is a gallant day,

’T is the Campeador’s wedding, and who will bide away?

Layn Calvo, the Lord Bishop, he first comes forth the gate;

Behind him comes Ruy Diaz, in all his bridal state;

The crowd makes way before them as up the street they go;—

For the multitude of people their steps must needs be slow.

The King had taken order that they should rear an arch,

From house to house all over, in the way where they must march;

They have hung it all with lances, and shields, and glittering helms,

Brought by the Campeador from out the Moorish realms.

They have scattered olive branches and rushes on the street,

And the ladies fling down garlands at the Campeador’s feet;

With tapestry and broidery their balconies between,

To do his bridal honor, their walls the burghers screen.

They lead the bulls before them all covered o’er with trappings;

The little boys pursue them with hootings and with clappings;

The fool, with cap and bladder, upon his ass goes prancing,

Amidst troops of captive maidens with bells and cymbals dancing.

With antics and with fooleries, with shouting and with laughter,

They fill the streets of Burgos,—and the Devil he comes after;

For the King has hired the horned fiend for sixteen maravedis,

And there he goes, with hoofs for toes, to terrify the ladies.

Then comes the bride Ximena,—the King he holds her hand;

And the Queen, and, all in fur and pall, the nobles of the land.

All down the street the ears of wheat are round Ximena flying,

But the King lifts off her bosom sweet whatever there is lying.

Quoth Suero, when he saw it, (his thought you understand,)

“’T is a fine thing to be a king; but Heaven make me a hand!”

The King was very merry, when he was told of this,

And swore the bride, ere eventide, must give the boy a kiss.

The King went always talking, but she held down her head,

And seldom gave an answer to anything he said;

It was better to be silent, among such a crowd of folk,

Than utter words so meaningless as she did when she spoke.