A set of six ancient Spanish ballads

Song Cycle by Frances Arkwright (1787 - 1849)

Word count: 1890

1. The Bridal of Andalla [sung text checked 1 time]

"Rise up, rise up, Xarifa, lay your golden cushion down;
Rise up, come to the window, and gaze with all the town.
From gay guitar and violin the silver notes are flowing,
And the lovely lute doth speak between the trumpet's lordly blowing,
And banners bright from lattice light are waving everywhere,
And the tall, tall plume of the bridegroom floats proudly in the air:
    Rise up, rise up, Xarifa, lay your golden cushion down;
    Rise up, come to the window, and gaze with all the town.

"Arise, arise, Xarifa, I see Andalla's face,
He bends him to the people with a calm and princely grace,
Through all the land of Xeres and banks of Guadalquivir
Rode forth bridegroom so brave as he, so brave and lovely never.
Yon tall plume waving o'er his brow of azure mixed with white,
I guess 'twas wreathed by Zara, whom he will wed to-night;
    Rise up, rise up, Xarifa, lay your golden cushion down;
    Rise up, come to the window, and gaze with all the town.

The Zegri lady rose not, nor laid her cushion down,
Nor came she to the window to gaze with all the town;
And though her eyes dwelt on her knee, in vain her fingers strove,
And though her needle pressed the silk, no flower Xarifa wove;
One lovely rose-bud she had traced, before the noise grew nigh --
That rose-bud now a tear effaced, slow drooping from her eye.
    "No -- no," she cries -- "bid me not rise, nor lay my golden cushion down,
    To gaze upon Andalla with all the gazing town."

What aileth thee, Xarifa, what makes thy lovely eyes look down?
Why stay you from the window far, nor gaze with all the town?
Hark, hear the trumpets, how they swell, and how the people cry!
He stops at Zara's palace gate -- why sit ye still -- oh, why?"
"At Zara's gate stops Zara's mate; in him shall I discover
The dark-eyed youth pledged me his truth with tears, and was my lover?
    No, no, she cries, I will not rise, nor lay my golden cushion down,
    To gaze on false Andalla with all the gazing town!"

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Researcher for this text: Johann Winkler

2. The lamentation of Don Roderick [sung text checked 1 time]

The hosts of Don Rodrigo were scattered in dismay,
When lost was the eighth battle, nor heart nor hope had they;
He, when he saw the field was lost, and all his hope was flown,
He turned him from his flying host and took his way alone.

His horse was bleeding, blind, and lame, he could no farther go,
Dismounted, without path or aim, the king stepped to and fro.
It was a sight of pity to look on Roderick,
For sore athirst and hungry he staggered faint and sick.

All stained and strewed with dust and blood, like to some smouldering brand
Pluck'd from the flame, Rodrigo shew'd. His sword was in his hand;
But it was hacked into a saw of dark and purple tint;
His jewell'd mail had many a flaw, his helmet many a dint.

He climbed unto a hill-top, the highest he could see,
Thence all about of that wild route his last long look took he.
He saw his royal banners where they lay drenched and torn,
He heard the cry of victory, the Arabs' shout of scorn.

He look'd for the brave captains that had led the hosts of Spain,
But all were fled except the dead, and who could count the slain?
Where'er his eye could wander, all bloody was the plain;
And while thus he said the tears he shed ran down his checks like rain:

"Last night I was the King of Spain, to-day no king am I;
Last night fair castles held my train, to-night where shall I lie;
Last night a hundred pages did serve me on the knee,
To-night not one I call my own, not one pertains to me.

"O luckless, luckless was the hour, and cursed was the day
When I was born to have the power of this great seigniory;
Unhappy me that I should live to see the sun go down this night,
O Death, why now so slow art thou, why fearest thou to smite?" 


Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

3. The Avenging Childe [sung text not yet checked]

Hurrah! hurrah! avoid the way of the Avenging Childe;
His horse is swift as sands that drift, -- an Arab of the wild;
His gown is twisted round his arm, -- a ghastly cheek he wears;
And in his hand for deadly harm, a hunting-knife he bears.

Avoid that knife in battle-strife: -- that weapon short and thin,
The dragon's gore hath bathed it o'er, seven times 't was steeped therein;
Seven times the smith hath proved its pith, -- it cuts a coulter through;
In France the blade was fashioned, -- from Spain the shaft it drew.

He sharpens it, as he doth ride, upon his saddlebow, --
He sharpens it on either side, he makes the steel to glow:
He rides to find Don Quadros, that false and faitour knight;
His glance of ire is hot as fire, although his cheek be white.

He found him standing by the King within the judgment-hall;
He rushed within the baron's ring, -- he stood before them all:
Seven times he gazed and pondered, if he the deed should do;
Eight times distraught he looked and thought, -- then out his dagger flew.

He stabbed therewith at Quadros: -- the King did step between;
It pierced his royal garment of purple wove with green:
He fell beneath the canopy, upon the tiles he lay.
"Thou traitor keen, what dost thou mean? -- thy King why wouldst thou slay?"

"Now, pardon, pardon," cried the Childe, "I stabbed not, King, at thee,
But him, that caitiff, blood-defiled, who stood beside thy knee;
Eight brothers were we, -- in the land might none more loving be, --
They all are slain by Quadros' hand, -- they all are dead but me.

"Good King, I fain would wash the stain, -- for vengeance is my cry;
This murderer with sword and spear to battle I defy!"
But all took part with Quadros, except one lovely May, --
Except the King's fair daughter, none word for him would say.

She took their hands, she led them forth into the court below;
She bade the ring be guarded, she bade the trumpet blow;
From lofty place for that stern race the signal she did throw: --
"With truth and right the Lord will fight, -- together let them go!"

The one is up, the other down: the hunter's knife is bare;
It cuts the lace beneath the face, -- it cuts through beard and hair;
Right soon that knife hath quenched his life, the head is sundered sheer;
Then gladsome smiled the Avenging Childe, and fixed it on his spear.

But when the King beholds him bring that token of his truth,
Nor scorn nor wrath his bosom hath: "Kneel down, thou noble youth;
Kneel down, kneel down, and kiss my crown, -- I am no more thy foe;
My daughter now may pay the vow she plighted long ago!"


Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

4. Serenade [sung text not yet checked]

While my lady sleepeth,
  The dark blue heaven is bright, --
Soft the moonbeam creepeth
  Round her bower all night.
Thou gentle, gentle breeze! 
  While my lady slumbers,
Waft lightly through the trees
  Echoes of my numbers,
Her dreaming ear to please.

Should ye, breathing numbers
  That for her I weave,
Should ye break her slumbers,
  All my soul would grieve.
Rise on the gentle breeze,
  And gain her lattice' height
O'er yon poplar trees;
  But be your echoes light
As hum of distant bees.

All the stars are glowing
  In the gorgeous sky;
In the stream scarce flowing
  Mimic lustres lie:
Blow, gentle, gentle breeze! 
  But bring no cloud to hide
Their dear resplendencies;
  Nor chase from Zara's side
Dreams bright and pure as these.


Based on

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

5. Lady Alda's dream [sung text not yet checked]

In [Paris]1 sits the lady that shall be Sir Roland's bride,
Three hundred damsels with her, her bidding to abide;
All clothed in the same fashion, both the mantle and the shoon,
All eating at one table, within her hall at noon:
All, save the Lady Alda, -- she is lady of them all, --
She keeps her place upon the dais, and they serve her in her hall;
The thread of gold a hundred spin, the lawn a hundred weave,
And a hundred play sweet melody within Alda's bower at eve.

With the sound of their sweet playing, the lady falls asleep,
And she dreams a doleful dream, and her damsels hear her weep;
There is sorrow in her slumber, and she waketh with a cry,
And she calleth for her damsels, and swiftly they come nigh.
"Now what is it, Lady Alda," (you may hear the words they say,)
"Bringeth sorrow to thy pillow, and chaseth sleep away?"
"O my maidens!" quoth the lady, "my heart it is full sore, --
I have dreamt a dream of evil, and can slumber never more;

"For I was upon a mountain, in a bare and desert place,
And I saw a mighty eagle, and a falcon he did chase;
And to me the falcon came, and I hid it in my breast:
But the mighty bird, pursuing, came and rent away my vest;
And he scattered all the feathers, and blood was on his beak,
And ever, as he tore and tore, I heard the falcon shriek.
Now read my vision, damsels, -- now read my dream to me,
For my heart may well be heavy that doleful sight to see."

Out spake the foremost damsel was in her chamber there
(You may hear the words she says): "O, my lady's dream is fair:
The mountain is St Denis' choir, and thou the falcon art;
And the eagle strong that teareth the garment from thy heart,
And scattereth the feathers, he is the Paladin,
That, when again he comes from Spain, must sleep thy bower within.
Then be blithe of cheer, my lady, for the dream thou must not grieve,
It means but that thy bridegroom shall come to thee at eve."

"If thou hast read my vision, and read it cunningly," 
Thus said the Lady Alda, "thou shalt not lack thy fee."
But woe is me for Alda! there was heard, at morning hour, 
A voice of lamentation within that lady's bower;
For there had come to Paris a messenger by night,
And his horse it was a-weary, and his visage it was white;
And there's weeping in the chamber, and there's silence in the hall,
For Sir Roland has been slaughtered in the chase of Roncesval.


Based on

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Arkwright: "her bow'r"; further changes may exist not noted.

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

6. The song of the Galley [sung text checked 1 time]

Ye mariners of Spain
  Bend strongly on your oars,
And bring my love again,
  For he lies among the Moors.
Ye galleys fairly built 
  Like castles on the sea,
Oh, great will be your guilt
  If ye bring him not to me!

The wind is blowing strong,
  The breeze will aid your oars,
O swiftly fly along,
  For he lies among the Moors! 
The fresh breeze of the sea
  Cools every cheek but mine,
O hot is its breath to me
  As I gaze upon the brine! 

Lift up, lift up your sail
  And bend upon your oars,
O lose not the fair gale,
  For he lies among the Moors! 
It is a narrow strait,
  I see the blue hills over,
Your coming I'll await,
  And thank you for my lover.
To Mary I will pray
  While ye bend upon your oars,
'Twill be a blessed day
  If ye fetch him from the Moors.


Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]