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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: Gormaz

The Knight of Saint George

By Johann Ludwig Uhland (1787–1862)

Translated by W. A. Butler

BEFORE Saint Stephen of Gormaz

Loud the brazen trumpets ring;

’T is where Ferdinand of Castile

Holds his camp, the valiant king!

Almanzor, the Moorish monarch,

From Cordova hastening down,

With a mighty host is marching,

To besiege the loyal town;

Armed already, firmly mounted,

Waits the proud Castilian band,

While through all the ranks, impatient,

Rides the gallant Ferdinand.

“Pascal Vivas! Pascal Vivas!

Pride of all the knightly race,

Wherefore, on the eve of battle,

Art thou wanting at thy place?

Thou, who once to arm wast foremost,

Foremost in the deadly fray,

Hear’st thou not the warlike trumpet,

And the battle-cry to-day?

While the Christian ranks are fighting,

Shall they vainly seek thine aid?

Shall thy well-won trophies wither,

And thy laurels droop and fade?”

Pascal Vivas cannot hear him,

In the distant forest glade;

Where Saint George’s holy chapel

Stands beneath the ancient shade.

At the gate his steed is waiting,

There his spear and shield recline,

While the knight, in silence kneeling,

Prays before the sacred shrine;

Buried in a deep devotion,

Thinks not of the distant war,

As its rising din is echoing

Through the forest depths afar;

Marks not now his steed’s loud neighing,

As the tumult strikes his ears;

But Saint George, his Patron, watches,

And the distant battle hears.

From the clouds the Saint descending

Dons the armor of the knight,

Mounts the gallant steed, impatient,

Hastens onward to the fight.

Flashing through the fray, triumphant,

As the lightning from the sky,

See, he grasps Almanzor’s banner,

And the Moorish squadrons fly!

Pascal Vivas’ prayers are ended,

Now he seeks the cloister gate,

Where, as when at first he left them,

Steed and spear and armor wait.

Thoughtful towards the camp he hastens,

And he marvels much to see,

That they come with shouts to greet him,

And the songs of victory:

“Pascal Vivas! Pascal Vivas!

Hail to Castile’s noblest son,

Welcome to the valiant victor

Who Almanzor’s banner won!”

Pascal Vivas vainly wonders,

Fain would still the festive cries,

Humbly bows his head in silence,

Points in silence to the skies!

In her bower, the Donna Julia

Lingers at the close of day;

Fatiman, Almanzor’s kinsman,

Comes and bears her thence away!

With his precious booty swiftly

Through the forest takes his flight,

Ten bold Moorish riders with him

Follow, armed for deadly fight.

On the second morning, early,

Now they gain the distant glade,

Where Saint George’s holy chapel

Stands beneath the ancient shade.

In the distance, through the forest,

Well the sacred shrine is known,

By the Saint’s proud form and lofty,

Sculptured in the solid stone,

As of old he fought the dragon,

Closing in the fatal shock,

While the princess waits in terror

Chained upon the cruel rock.

Weeping, and her fair hands wringing,

Donna Julia, at the sight,

Cries, “Saint George, thou heavenly warrior,

Save me from the dragon’s might!”

See, from out the chapel springing,

On his steed he comes, the brave,

In the breeze his locks so golden,

And his crimson mantle wave.

Fatal is his spear’s encounter,

Fatiman, the robber, dies,—

As of old the slaughtered dragon,

Bleeding on the earth he lies;

And his ten bold Moorish riders,

With a sudden, fearful cry,

Casting shields and lances from them,

Through the fatal forest fly.

On her knees, the Donna Julia

Scarce her weeping eyes can raise;

“Ah, Saint George! thou valiant savior,

Thine forever be the praise!”

But a second glance she ventures,

And though fearful still and faint,

Strangest sight of all, discovers,

Pascal Vivas is the Saint!