Chronicle of the Cid, by Robert Southey

of the


i. King Don Ferrando succeeded to the states of Castille after the death of his father King Don Sancho el Mayor, in the era 1072, which was the year of the Incarnation 1034, and from the coming of the Patriarch Tubal to settle in Spain 3197, and from the general deluge 3339, and from the creation of the world 4995, according to the computation of the Hebrews, and from the beginning of the false sect of the Moors 413. And in the year 1037 Ferrando slew Bermudo the King of Leon in battle, who was his wife’s brother, and conquered his kingdom, and succeeded to it in right of his wife Doña Sancha. So he was the first person who united the states of Castille and Leon, and the first who was called King of Castille; for till this time the lords of that country had been called Counts. He was a good king, and one who judged justly and feared God, and was bold in all his doings. Before he reigned he had by Doña Sancha his wife the Infanta Doña Urraca, his eldest daughter, who was a right excellent lady, of good customs and bounty and beauty; and after her he had the Infante Don Sancho, his eldest son and heir; and then the Infanta Doña Elvira, whom after the death of the King her father, her brother King Don Alfonso married to the Count Don Garci de Cabra. And after he became King he had the Infante Don Alfonso, and the Infante Don Garcia, who was the youngest of all. And he put his sons to read, that they might be of the better understanding, and he made them take arms, and be shown how to demean themselves in battle, and to be huntsmen. And he ordered that his daughters should be brought up in the studies beseeming dames, so that they might be of good customs, and instructed in devotion and in all things which it behoved them to know.

Of the lineage of Rodrigo of Bivar ii. In those days arose Rodrigo of Bivar. who was a youth strong in arms and of good customs; and the people rejoiced in him, for he bestirred himself to protect the land from the Moors. Now it behoves that ye should know whence he came, and from what men he was descended, because we have to proceed with his history. Ye are to know therefore, that after the treason which King Don Ordoño the Second committed upon the Counts of Castille, that country remained without a chief: the people therefore chose two judges, of whom the one was called Nuño Rasuera, and the other Layn Calvo, who married Nuño’s daughter, Elvira Nuñez. From Nuño Rasuera King Don Ferrando descended, and from Layn Calvo, Diego Laynez, who took to wife Doña Teresa Rodríguez, the daughter of Don Rodrigo Alvarez, Count and Governor of Asturias, and had by her this Rodrigo. In the year of the Incarnation 1026 was Rodrigo born, of this noble lineage, in the city of Burgos, and in the street of St. Martin, hard by the palace of the Counts of Castille, where Diego Laynez had his dwelling. In the church of St. Martin was he baptized, a good priest of Burgos, whose name was Don Pedro de Pernegas, being his godfather: and to this church Rodrigo was always greatly affectionate, and he built the belfry tower thereof.

Of the strife between Count Gomez and Diego Laynez, and how Rodrigo slew him iii. At this time it came to pass that there was strife between Count Don Gomez the Lord of Gormaz, and Diego Laynez the father of Rodrigo; and the Count insulted Diego and gave him a blow. Now Diego was a man in years, and his strength had passed from him, so that he could not take vengeance, and he retired to his home to dwell there in solitude and lament over his dishonour. And he took no pleasure in his food, neither could he sleep by night, nor would he lift up his eyes from the ground, nor stir out of his house, nor commune with his friends, but turned from them in silence as if the breath of his shame would taint them. Rodrigo was yet but a youth, and the Count was a mighty man in arms, one who gave his voice first in the Cortes, and was held to be the best in the war, and so powerful that he had a thousand friends among the mountains. Howbeit all these things appeared as nothing to Rodrigo when he thought of the wrong done to his father, the first which had ever been offered to the blood of Layn Calvo. He asked nothing but justice of Heaven, and of man he asked only a fair field; and his father seeing of how good heart he was, gave him his sword and his blessing. The sword had been the sword of Mudarra in former times, and when Rodrigo held its cross in his hand, he thought within himself that his arm was not weaker than Mudarra’s. And he went out and defied the Count and slew him, and smote off his head and carried it home to his father. The old man was sitting at table, the food lying before him untasted, when Rodrigo returned, and pointing to the head which hung from the horse’s collar, dropping blood, he bade him look up, for there was the herb which should restore to him his appetite. The tongue, quoth he, which insulted you is no longer a tongue, and the hand which wronged you is no longer a hand. And the old man arose and embraced his son and placed him above him at the table, saying, that he who had brought home that head should be the head of the house of Layn Calvo.

How Rodrigo took the five Moorish kings iv. After this Diego being full of years fell asleep and was gathered to his fathers. And the Moors entered Castille, in great power, for there came with them five Kings, and they past above Burgos, and crost the mountains of Oca, and plundered Carrion, and Vilforado, and Saint Domingo de la Calzada, and Logroño, and Najara, and all that land; and they carried away many captives both male and female, and brood mares, and flocks of all kinds. But as they were returning with all speed, Rodrigo of Bivar raised the country, and came up with them in the mountains of Oca, and fell upon them and discomfited them, and won back all their booty, and took all the five Kings prisoners. Then he went back to his mother, taking the Kings with him, and there he divided the whole spoil with the hidalgos and his other companions, both the Moorish captives and all the spoil of whatever kind, so that they departed right joyfully, being well pleased with what he had done. And he gave thanks to God for the grace which had been vouchsafed to him, and said to his mother, that he did not think it good to keep the Kings in captivity, but to let them go freely; and he set them at liberty and bade them depart. So they returned each to his own country, blessing him for their deliverance, and magnifying his great bounty; and forthwith they sent him tribute and acknowledged themselves to be his vassals.

How Ximena Gomez asked Rodrigo of the King in marriage v. King Don Ferrando was going through Leon, putting the Kingdom in order, when tidings reached him of the good speed which Rodrigo had had against the Moors. And at the same time there came before him Ximena Gomez, the daughter of the Count, who fell on her knees before him and said, Sir, I am the daughter of Count Don Gomez of Gormaz, and Rodrigo of Bivar has slain the Count my father, and of three daughters whom he has left I am the youngest. And, Sir, I come to crave of you a boon, that you will give me Rodrigo of Bivar to be my husband, with whom I shall hold myself well married, and greatly honoured; for certain I am that his possessions will one day be greater than those of any man in your dominions. Certes, Sir, it behoves you to do this, because it is for God’s service, and because I may pardon Rodrigo with a good will. The King held it good to accomplish her desire; and forthwith ordered letters to be drawn up to Rodrigo of Bivar, wherein he enjoined and commanded him that he should come incontinently to Palencia, for he had much to communicate to him, upon an affair which was greatly to God’s service, and his own welfare and great honour.

How Rodrigo accepted her for his wife vi. When Rodrigo saw the letters of his Lord the King, he greatly rejoiced in them, and said to the messengers that he would fulfil the King’s pleasure, and go incontinently at his command. And he dight himself full gallantly and well, and took with him many knights, both his own and of his kindred and of his friends, and he took also many new arms, and came to Palencia to the King with two hundred of his peers in arms, in festival guise; and the King went out to meet him, and received him right well, and did him honour; and at this were all the Counts displeased. And when the King thought it a fit season, he spake to him and said, that Doña Ximena Gomez, the daughter of the Count whom he had slain, had come to ask him for her husband, and would forgive him her father’s death; wherefore he besought him to think it good to take her to be his wife, in which case he would show him great favour. When Rodrigo heard this it pleased him well, and he said to the King that he would do his bidding in this, and in all other things which he might command; and the King thanked him much. And he sent for the Bishop of Palencia, and took their vows and made them plight themselves each to the other according as the law directs. And when they were espoused the King did them great honour, and gave them many noble gifts, and added to Rodrigo’s lands more than he had till then possessed: and he loved him greatly in his heart, because he saw that he was obedient to his commands, and for all that he had heard him say.

How Rodrigo took his wife home, and of the vow which he made vii. So Rodrigo departed from the King, and took his spouse with him to the house of his mother, and gave her to his mother’s keeping. And forthwith he made a vow in her hands that he would never accompany with her, neither in the desert nor in the inhabited place, till he had won five battles in the field. And he besought his mother that she would love her even as she loved him himself, and that she would do good to her and show her great honour, for which he should ever serve her with the better good will, his mother promised him so to do: and then he departed from them and went out against the frontier of the Moors.

Of the dispute concerning Calahorra viii. Now the history relates that King Don Ferrando contended with King Don Ramiro of Aragon for the city of Calahorra, which each claimed as his own; in such guise that the King of Aragon placed it upon the trial by combat, confiding in the prowess of Don Martin Gonzalez, who was at that time held to be the best knight in all Spain, King Don Ferrando accepted the challenge, and said that Rodrigo of Bivar should do battle on his part, but that he was not then present. And they plighted homage on both parts to meet and bring each his knight, and the knight who conquered should win Calahorra for his Lord. Having ratified this engagement, they returned into their own lands. And immediately Ferrando sent for Rodrigo of Bivar, and told him all the matter as it then stood, and that he was to do battle. Well pleased was Rodrigo when he heard this, and he accorded to all that the King had said that he should, do battle for him upon that cause; but till the day arrived he must needs, he said, go to Compostella, because he had vowed a pilgrimage; and the King was content therewith, and gave him great gifts.

Of the charity of Rodrigo towards the leper ix. Rodrigo forthwith set out upon the road, and took with him twenty knights. And as he went he did great good, and gave alms, feeding the poor and needy. And upon the way they found a leper, struggling in a quagmire, who cried out to them with a loud voice to help him for the love of God; and when Rodrigo heard this, he alighted from his beast and helped him, and placed him upon the beast before him, and carried him with him in this manner to the inn where he took up his lodging that night. At this were his knights little pleased. And when supper was ready he bade his knights take their seats, and he took the leper by the hand, and seated him next himself, and ate with him out of the same dish. The knights were greatly offended at this foul sight, insomuch that they rose up and left the chamber. But Rodrigo ordered a bed to be made ready for himself and for the leper, and they twain slept together. When it was midnight and Rodrigo was fast asleep, the leper breathed against him between his shoulders, and that breath was so strong that it passed through him, even through his breast; and he awoke, being astounded, and felt for the leper by him, and found him not; and he began to call him, but there was no reply. Then he arose in fear, and called for light, and it was brought him; and he looked for the leper and could see nothing; so he returned into the bed, leaving the light burning. And he began to think within himself what had happened, and of that breath which had passed through him, and how the leper was not there. After a while, as he was thus musing, there appeared before him one in white garments, who said unto him, Sleepest thou or wakest thou, Rodrigo? and he answered and said, I do not sleep; but who art thou that bringest with thee such brightness and so sweet an odour? Then said he, I am Saint Lazarus, and know that I was the leper to whom thou didst so much good and so great honour for the love of God; and because thou didst this for his sake hath God now granted thee a great gift; for whensoever that breath which thou hast felt shall come upon thee, whatever thing thou desirest to do, and shalt then begin, that shalt thou accomplish to thy heart’s desire, whether it be in battle or aught else, so that thy honour shall go on increasing from day to day; and thou shalt be feared both by Moors and Christians, and thy enemies shall never prevail against thee, and thou shalt die an honourable death in thine own house, and in thy renown, for God hath blessed thee; — therefore go thou on, and evermore persevere in doing good; and with that he disappeared. And Rodrigo arose and prayed to our lady and intercessor St. Mary, that she would pray to her blessed son for him to watch over both his body and soul in all his undertakings; and he continued in prayer till the day broke. Then he proceeded on his way, and performed his pilgrimage, doing much good for the love of God and of St. Mary.

Of the combat which was fought for Calahorra x. Now the day came which had been appointed for the combat concerning Calahorra, between Rodrigo and Don Martin Gonzalez, and Rodrigo was not arrived; therefore his cousin Alvar Fañez Minaya undertook the battle in his stead, and ordered his horse to be harnessed right well. While he was arming himself Rodrigo came up and took the horse of Alvar Fañez, and entered the lists; Don Martin Gonzalez did the same, and the judges placed them fairly, each in his place, so that neither should have the sun in his eyes. They ran their career, one against the other, and met so fiercely that their lances brake, and both were sorely wounded; but Don Martin began to address Rodrigo, thinking to dismay him: Greatly dost thou now repent, Don Rodrigo, said he, that thou hast entered into these lists with me: for I shall so handle thee that never shalt thou marry Doña Ximena thy spouse, whom thou lovest so well, nor ever return alive to Castílle. Rodrigo waxed angry at these words, and he replied, You are a good knight, Don Martin Gonzalez, but these words are not suitable to this place, for in this business we have to contend with hands and not with empty speeches; and the power is in God who will give the honour as he thinketh best. And in his anger he made at him, and smote him upon his helmet, and the sword cut through and wounded as much of the head as it could reach, so that he was sorely hurt and lost much blood. And Don Martín Gonzalez struck at Rodrigo, and the sword cut into the shield, and he plucked it towards him that with main force he made Rodrigo lose the shield; but Rodrigo did not forget himself, and wounded him again in the face. And they both became greatly enraged, and cruel against each other, striking without mercy, for both of them were men who knew how to demean themselves. But while they thus struggled Don Martin Gonzalez lost much blood, and for very weakness he could not hold himself upon his horse, but fell from his horse upon the ground; and Rodrigo alighted and went to him and slew him; and when he had slain him he asked the judges if there was any thing more to be done for the right of Calahorra: and they made answer that there was not. Then came the King Don Ferrando to him, and alighted by him, and helped to disarm him, and embraced him much; and when he was disarmed he went with him from the field, he and all the Castillians greatly rejoicing; but as great as was the pleasure of King Don Ferrando and his people, so great was the sorrow of King Don Ramiro of Aragon and of his. And he ordered them to take up Don Martin Gonzalez, and they carried the body into his own lands, and he went with it, and Calahorra remained in the power of King Don Ferrando.

How the Counts plotted against Rodrigo xi. But when the Counts of Castille saw how Rodrigo increased day by day in honour, they took counsel together that they should plot with the Moors, and fix a day of battle with them on the day of the Holy Cross in May, and that they should invite Rodrigo to this battle, and contrive with the Moors that they should slay him; by which means they should be revenged upon him, and remain masters of Castille, which now because of him they could not be. This counsel they sent to communicate to the Moors and to the Moorish Kings who were Rodrigo’s vassals, being those whom he had made prisoners and set at liberty. But they, when they saw this counsel and the falsehood which was devised, took the letters of the Counts, and sent them to Rodrigo their Lord, and sent to tell him all the secret of the treason. And Rodrigo thanked them greatly for their good faith, and took the letters and carried to the King, and showed him all the enmity of the Counts, and especially of the Count Don Garcia, who was afterwards called of Cabra. When the King saw this as it was, he was astonished at their great falsehood, and he issued his letters in which he ordered them to leave his dominions; then he went to Santiago on a pilgrimage, and ordered Rodrigo to cast these Counts out of the land; and Rodrigo did as the King commanded him. Then Doña Elvira his kinswoman, the wife of the Count Don Garcia, came and fell on her knees before him; but Rodrigo took her by the hand and raised her up, and would not hear her till she was arisen. And when he had raised her up she said. I beseech you, cousin, since you have banished me and my husband, that you would give us a letter to some King who is one of your vassals, enjoining him to befriend us, and give us something for your sake whereon we may live. So he gave her a letter to the King of Cordova, who received her and her husband well for the love of Rodrigo, and gave Cabra to him, that he and his people might dwell therein. This Count was afterwards so ungrateful to the King of Cordova that he made war upon him from Cabra which the King had given him, till Rodrigo came and took it.

How Rodrigo gained a great victory over the Moors xii. The history relateth that at this time while the King was in Galicia, the Moors entered Estremadura, and the people called upon Rodrigo of Bivar to help them. And when he heard the summons he made no delay, but gathered together his kinsmen and his friends, and went against the misbelievers. And he came up with them between Atienza and San Estevan de Gormaz, as they were carrying away a great booty in captives and in flocks, and there he had a brave battle with them in the field; and in fine Rodrigo conquered, smiting and slaying, and the pursuit lasted for seven leagues, and he recovered all the spoil, which was so great that two hundred horses were the fifth, for the whole spoil was worth a hundred times a thousand maravedís. Rodrigo divided the whole among his people without covetousness, and returned with great honour.

Of the taking of Viseu xiii. Now the greater part of these Moors had been they of Merida, Badajoz, Beja and Evora, and the King was minded to requite them in their own land according to their deeds; and he entered into the heart of their country, carrying with him fire and sword, and pressed them sorely so that they yielded vassalage. Then turning through Portugal, he won the town of Sea, which was upon the western slope of the Serra da Estrella; and also another town called Gamne, the site whereof cannot now be known, for in course of years names change and are forgotten. And proceeding with his conquests he laid siege to the city of Viseu, that he might take vengeance for the death of King Don Alfonso, his wife’s father, who had been slain before that city. But the people of Viseu, as they lived with this fear before their eyes, had fortified their city well, and stored it abundantly with all things needful, and moreover, they put their trust in their Alcayde, who was an African, by name Cid Alafum, a man tried in arms. He encouraged them, saying that the city could not be taken in ten years, by a greater power than the Christians; and there were many good arbalisters in the city, who shot so strong that neither shield nor armour availed against their quarrels. King Don Ferrando therefore ordered mantles to be made, and also pavaises to protect his people; and moreover he enjoined them to fasten boards upon their shields, so that the quarrels from the crossbows might not pierce through. And he continued for eighteen days to combat the city, keeping such good watch, that neither could they within receive help from without, nor themselves issue forth; and on the eighteenth day, which was the Vesper of St. Peter’s, he won the city by force of arms; and few were they who escaped from the sword of the conquerors, except those who retreated with Alafum into the castle. And on the following day at the hour of tierce they also came to terms, and yielded themselves to his mercy, saving their lives. In this manner was Viseu recovered by the Christians, and never after did that city fall into the hands of the barbarians. And the Moor who had slain King Don Alfonso fell into Ferrando’s power, and the King took vengeance and punished him in all the parts which had offended; he cut off the foot which had prest down the Armatost, and lopt off the hands which had held the bow and fitted the quarrel, and plucked out the eyes which had taken the mark; and the living trunk was then set up as a butt for the archers.

Of the taking of Lamego xiv. In all these wars there was not a man who bore greater part, or did better feats in arms, than Rodrigo of Bivar. And the King went up against Lamego, and besieged it. Now Zadan Aben Huim, son of Huim Alboazem, the King thereof, was mightier than all the Kings who had reigned before him in Lamego, and he had peopled many places from the Douro even to the rivers Tavora and Vouga. And because he was well beloved and his city well stored and strong, all the chief Moors in that district being dismayed by the fall of Viseu, retired into it, to be under his protection. But maugre all their power. King Don Ferrando girt the city round about, and brought against it so many engines, and so many bastilles, that Zadan submitted, and opened his gates on the twenty-second of July, the day of St. Mary Magdalene, being twenty-five days after the capture of Viseu. And Zadan became tributary to the King, and the King took with him many of the Moors, to be employed in building up the churches which had fallen to ruin since the land was lost.

Of the siege of Coimbra xv. All this while was Coimbra in the power of the misbelievers. And the Abbot of Lorvam took counsel with his Monks, and they said, Let us go to King Ferrando and tell him the state of the city. And they chose out two of the brethren for this errand. When the Moors therefore who came to hunt among the mountains took up their lodging in the Monastery as they were wont to do, these twain said unto them, We would go to the holy Dominicum, to say prayers there for our sins. So feigning this to be their errand they set forth, and came to the King in the town of Carrion, and spake unto him in council, saying, Sir King, we come to you through waters and over mountains and by bad ways, to tell you concerning Coimbra in what plight it is, if you desire to know, and in what guise the Moors dwell therein, what they are and how many, and with how little heed they keep the city. And he said unto them. I beseech ye, for the love of God, say on. Then told they him what they knew: and the King took counsel upon this matter with Rodrigo of Bivar, and Rodrigo said, that certes the Lord would help him to win the city; and he said that he would fain be knighted by the King’s hand, and that it seemed to him now that he should receive knighthood at his hand in Coimbra. A covenant was then made with the two Monks, that they should go with the army against the city in the month of January without fail. Now this was in October. Incontinently the King sent to summon his knights and people, and when one part of them had assembled at Santa Maria, he bade them do all the damage they could against Coimbra, and ravage the country, which accordingly they did. In the meantime the King made a pilgrimage to Santiago, as Rodrigo had exhorted him to do; and he remained there three days and nights in prayer, offering great gifts, and taking upon himself great devotion, that it might please God to fulfil his desire. And with the help of Santiago he gathered together a great host, and went up against Coimbra in the month of January, even as he had covenanted, and laid siege to it. And he fought against the city all February, and March, and April, May and June, five months did he fight, and could not prevail against it. And when July came the food of the besiegers failed them, insomuch that they had only the dole for a few days left; then the baggage was made ready, and the sumpter-beasts and serving-men were ordered to depart for Leon, and proclamation was made in the camp that the army should remain yet four days, and on the fifth they might break up and depart every one to his own house. But then the Monks of Lorvam and the Abbot consulted together and said, Let us now go to the King and give him all the food which we have, both oxen and cows, and sheep and goats and swine, wheat and barley and maize, bread and wine, fish and fowl, even all that we have; for if the city, which God forbid, should not be won, by the Christians, we may no longer abide here. Then went they to the King and gave him all their stores, both of flocks and herds, and pulse, and wine beyond measure, which they had for a long time stored. Then was there abundance in the camp; but they who were within the city waxed feeble for hunger long suffering, because the Christians beset them on all sides, and warred upon them hotly, and brought their engines to bear on every part, and the walls of the city were broken down. When the Moors saw this they came to the King, and fell at his feet, and besought him of his mercy that he would let them depart, leaving to him the city and all that they had therein, for they asked for nothing but their lives. And the King had compassion upon them and granted their prayer; and the city was yielded to him on a Sunday at the hour of tierce, which was before a week had run out since the Monks of Lorvam had succoured the host.

How Santiago appeared to the Greek Bishop xvi. Now it came to pass that while the King lay before Coimbra, there came a pilgrim from the land of Greece on pilgrimage to Santiago; his name was Estiano, and he was a Bishop. And as he was praying in the church he heard certain of the townsmen and of the pilgrims saying that Santiago was wont to appear in battle like a knight, in aid of the Christians. And when he heard this it nothing pleased him, and he said unto them, “Friends, call him not a knight, but rather a fisherman.” Upon this it pleased God that he should fall asleep, and in his sleep Santiago appeared to him with a good and cheerful countenance, holding in his hand a bunch of keys, and said unto him, “Thou thinkest it a fable that they should call me a knight, and sayest that I am not so: for this reason am I come unto thee that thou never more mayest doubt concerning my knighthood; for a knight of Jesus Christ I am, and a helper of the Christians against the Moors.” While he was thus saying a horse was brought him the which was exceeding white, and the Apostle Santiago mounted upon it, being well clad in bright and fair armour, after the manner of a knight. And he said to Estiano, “I go to help King Don Ferrando who has lain these seven months before Coimbra, and tomorrow, with these keys which thou seest, will I open the gates of the city unto him at the hour of tierce, and deliver it into his hand.” Having said this he departed. And the Bishop when he awoke in the morning called together the clergy and people of Compostella, and told them what he had seen and heard. And as he said, even so did it come to pass; for tidings came that on that day, and at the hour of tierce, the gates of the city had been opened.

Of the grant made by the King to the monks of Lorvam xvii. King Don Ferrando then assembled his Counts and chief captains, and told them all that the Monks of Lorvam had done, in bringing him to besiege the city, and in supplying his army in their time of need: and the Counts and chief captains made answer and said, Certes, O King, if the Monks had not given us the stores of their Monastery, thou couldest not have taken the city at this time. The King then called for the Abbot and the brethren, for they were with him in the host, and said the hours to him daily, and mass in St. Andre’s, and buried there and in their Monastery as many as had died during the siege, either of arrow-wounds or by lances, or of their own infirmities. So they came before him and gave him joy of his conquest; and he said unto them, Take ye now of this city as much as ye desire, since by God’s favour and your council I have won it. But they made answer, Thanks be to God and to you, and to your forefathers, we have enough and shall have, if so be that we have your favour and dwell among Christians. Only for the love of God, and for the remedy of your own soul, give us one church with its dwelling-houses within the city, and confirm unto us the gifts made to us in old times by your forefathers, and the good men to whom God give a happy rest. With that the King turned to his sons and his soldiers, and said, Of a truth, by our Creator, these who desire so little are men of God. I would have given them half the city, and they will have only a single church! Now therefore, since they require but this, on the part of God Almighty let us grant and confirm unto them what they ask, to the honour of God and St. Mamede. And the brethren brought him their charters of King Ramiro, and King Bermudo, and King Alfonso, and of Gonzalo Moniz, who was a knight and married a daughter of King Bermudo, and of other good men. And the King confirmed them, and he bade them make a writing of all which had passed between him and them at the siege of Coimbra; and when they brought him the writing, they brought him also a crown of silver and of gold, which had been King Bermudo’s and which Gonzalo Moniz had given to the Monastery in honour of God and St. Mamede. The King saw the crown, how it was set with precious stones, and said to them, To what end bring ye hither this crown? And they said, That you should take it, Sire, in return for the good which you have done us. But he answered, Far be it from me that I should take from your Monastery what the good men before me have given to it! Take ye back the crown, and take also ten marks of silver, and make with the money a good cross, to remain with you for ever. And he who shall befriend you, may God befriend him; but he who shall disturb you or your Monastery, may he be cursed by the living God and by his Saints. So the King signed the writing which he had commanded to be made, and his sons and chief captains signed it also, and in the writing he enjoined his children and his children’s children, as many as should come after him, to honour and protect the Monastery of Lorvam, upon his blessing he charged them so to do, because he had found the brethren better than all the other Monks in his dominions.

How Rodrigo was knighted xviii. Then King Don Ferrando knighted Rodrigo of Bivar in the great mosque of Coimbra, which he dedicated to St. Mary. And the ceremony was after this manner: the King girded on his sword, and gave him the kiss, but not the blow. To do him more honour the Queen gave him his horse, and the Infanta Doña Urraca fastened on his spurs; and from that day forth he was called Ruydiez. Then the King commanded him to knight nine noble squires with his own hand; and he took his sword before the altar, and knighted them. The King then gave Coimbra to the keeping of Don Sisnando, Bishop of Iria, a man, who having more hardihood than religion, had by reason of his misdeeds gone over to the Moors, and sorely infested the Christians in Portugal. But during the siege he had come to the King’s service, and bestirred himself well against the Moors; and therefore the King took him into his favour, and gave him the city to keep, which he kept, and did much evil to the Moors till the day of his death. And the King departed and went to Compostella to return thanks to Santiago.

Of the taking of Montemor xix. But then Benalfagi, who was the Lord of many lands in Estremadura, gathered together a great power of the Moors and built up the walls of Montemor, and from thence waged war against Coimbra, so that they of Coimbra called upon the King for help. And the King came up against the town, and fought against it, and took it. Great honour did Ruydiez win at that siege; for having to protect the foragers, the enemy came out upon him, and thrice in one day was he beset by them; but he, though sorely prest by them, and in great peril, nevertheless would not send to the camp for succour, but put forth his manhood and defeated them. And from that day the King gave more power into his hands, and made him head over all his household.

How Ruydiez was called the Cid xx. Now the men of Leon besought the King that he would repeople Zamora, which had lain desolate since it was destroyed by Almanzor. And he went thither and peopled the city, and gave to it good privileges. And while he was there came messengers from the five Kings who were vassals to Ruydiez of Bivar, bringing him their tribute; and they came to him, he being with the King, and called him Cid, which signifyeth Lord, and would have kissed his hands, but he would not give them his hand till they had kissed the hand of the King. And Ruydiez took the tribute and offered the fifth thereof to the King, in token of his sovereignty; and the King thanked him, but would not receive it, and from that time he ordered that Ruydiez should be called the Cid, because the Moors had so called him.

How the Emperor demanded tribute of Spain xxi. In those days Pope Victor II. held a council at Florence, and the Emperor Henry there made his complaint against King Don Ferrando, that he did not acknowledge his sovereignty, and pay him tribute like all other Kings; and he besought the Pope to admonish him so to do. And the Pope being a German, and the friend of Henry, sent to the King to admonish him, and told him that unless he obeyed he would proclaim a crusade against him; and in like manner the Emperor, and the King of France, and the other Kings, sent to exhort him to obedience, defying him if he should refuse. When the King saw their letters he was troubled, for he knew that if this thing were done, great evil would follow to Castille and Leon. And he took counsel with his honourable men. They seeing on the one hand the great power of the Church, and on the other the great evil that it would be if Castille and Leon should be made tributary, knew not what counsel to give: howbeit at length they said to him that he should do the Pope’s bidding. At this council the Cid was not present, for he had lately completed his marriage with Doña Ximena Gomez, and was then with her; but at this time he arrived, and the King showed him the letters, and told him the matter how it then stood, and what had been the advice of his good men, and besought him to speak his advice, as a good and true vassal to his Lord. When the Cid heard what had passed it grieved him to the heart, more for the counsel which had been given to the King, than because of the Pope’s commands; and he turned to the King and said, In an ill day, Sir, were you born in Spain, if it be in your time to be made tributary, which it never was before; for all the honour which God hath given you, and whatever good he hath done to you, is lost if it should be so. And, Sir, whoever hath given you this counsel is not a true man, neither one who regardeth your honour nor your power. But send to defy them since they will have it so, and let us carry the war home to them. You shall take with you five thousand knights, all of whom are hidalgos, and the Moorish Kings who are your vassals will give you two thousand knights; and, Sir, you are such a one as God loves, and he will not that your honour should perish. And the King thought that he was well counselled by him, for the King was of a great heart.

Of the answer which the King sent xxii. Then the King ordered letters to be written, in which he besought the Pope not to proceed farther against him without just cause, for Spain had been conquered by those who dwelt therein, by the blood of them and of their fathers, and they had never been tributary, and never would be so, but would rather all die. Moreover he sent his letters to the Emperor and to the other Kings, telling them that they well knew the wrong which the Emperor did him, having no jurisdiction over him, nor lawful claim; and he besought them to let him alone that he might continue to wage war against the enemies of the faith; but if they persisted to speak against him he then sent them back their friendship, and defied them, and where they all were there would he go seek them. While this reply was on its way he gathered together his people, as he and the Cid had advised, and set forward with eight thousand and nine hundred knights, both of his own and of the Cid, and the Cid led the advanced guard. When they had passed the passes of Aspa they found that the country was up, and the people would not sell them food; but the Cid set his hand to, to burn all the country before him, and plunder from those who would not sell, but to those who brought food he did no wrong. And after such manner did he proceed, that wherever the King and his army arrived they found all things of which they could stand in need; and the news went sounding throughout all the land, so that all men trembled.

How the Cid defeated the Lord of Savoy xxiii. Then Count Remon, Lord of Savoy, with the power of the King of France, gathered together twenty thousand knights and came beyond Tolosa, to hold the road against King Don Ferrando. And he met with his harbinger the Cid, who went before him to prepare lodgings, and they had a hard battle; and the men of the Count were discomfited, and he himself made prisoner and many with him, and many were slain. And the Count besought the Cid of his mercy to set him free, saying that he would give him a daughter he had, the which was right fair; and the Cid did as he besought him, and the daughter was given to him, and he set the Count free. And by this woman King Don Ferrando had his son the Cardinal Ferrando, who was so honourable a man.

How the Pope and the Emperor yielded their demand xxiv. After this the Cid had another battle with all the power of France, and discomfited them, and at neither of these battles did the King and his main army arrive. So the news went sounding before them to the council, of the fierceness of the Cid; and as they all knew that he was the conqueror of battles, they knew not what to advise; and they besought the Pope that he would send to them, begging them to turn back, and saying that they did not require tribute. These letters came to the King when he had past Tolosa, and he took counsel with the Cid and with his good men, and they advised that he should send two of his good men to the Pope, who should tell him to send a Cardinal with power to make a covenant, that this demand should never again be made upon Spain; and that persons from the Emperor and from the other Kings also should come to ratify this, and meanwhile he would abide where he was. But if they did not come he would go on to them. Count Don Rodrigo, and Alvar Fañez Minaya, and certain learned men, were sent with this bidding. And when they came to the Pope and gave him their letters, he was much dismayed, and he assembled the good and honourable men of the council, and asked of them what he should do. And they made answer that he must do as the King willed him, for none was so hardy as to fight against the good fortune of his vassal the Cid. Then the Pope sent Master Roberto, the Cardinal of St. Sabina, with full powers, and the representatives of the Emperor and of the other Kings came also and signed the covenant, that this demand should never again be made upon the King of Spain. And the writings which they made were confirmed by the Pope and by the Emperor and the other Kings, and sealed with their seals.

How the King returned into his own land xxv. While this was doing the King abode where he was, beyond Tolosa; six months did he abide there. And the Pope sent to ask of him the daughter of Count Remon; and she was then five months gone with child; and by the advice of his vassal the Cid the King sent her, and sent to tell the Pope the whole truth, requesting that he would see she was taken care of; and the Pope ordered that she should be taken care of till the event should be. And she was delivered of the Abbot Don Ferrando; the Pope was his godfather, and brought him up right honourably, and dispensed with his bastardry that he might hold any sacred dignity; and in process of time he was made an honourable Cardinal. So the King returned with great honour into his own land, and from that time he was called Don Ferrando the Great, the Emperor’s Peer; and it was said of him in songs that he had passed the passes of Aspa in despite of the Frenchmen.

How the King divided his dominions xxvi. Many other things did King Don Ferrando, which are written in the book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Spain, enriching churches and monasteries, and honouring the saints and martyrs, and making war upon the misbelievers. And it came to pass when he was waxed old, that as he was one day saying his prayers, the confessor St. Isidro appeared unto him, and told him the day and hour when he should die, to the intent that he might make ready and confess his sins, and make atonement for them, and take thought for his soul, that so he might appear clean from offence before the face of God. From that day he, being certain that his end was at hand, began to discharge his soul. And he devised within himself how to dispose of the kingdoms which God had given him, that there might be no contention between his sons after his death; and he thought it best to divide his lands among them; but this which he thought best proved to be the worst, and great evil came thereof, for better had it been that he had left all to the eldest. Howbeit it was his pleasure to divide them: he had three sons, Don Sancho who was the eldest, and Don Alfonso who was the second born, and Don Garcia who was the youngest; and two daughters, Doña Urraca and Doña Elvira. The manner in which he divided his lands was this: he gave to Don Sancho the kingdom of Castille as far as to the river Pisuerga, on the side of Leon, with the border, which included the dioceses of Osma, and Segovia, and Avila, and on the side of Navarre as far as the Ebro, as he had won it from his nephew Don Sancho Garcia, King of Navarre. To Don Alfonso he gave the kingdom of Leon, and in Asturias as far as the river Deva, which runs by Oviedo, and part of Campos as far as Carrion and the river Pisuerga, with the border, which contained the dioceses of Zamora, Salamanca, and Ciudad Rodrigo, and the city of Astorga, and other lands in Galicia, with the town of Zebreros. To Don Garcia he gave the kingdom of Galicia, and all the lands which he had won in Portugal, with the title of King of Galicia, which country had had no King of its own since the kingdom of the Suevi had been overthrown by King Leovegildo. And to Doña Urraca he gave the city of Zamora with all its dependencies, and with half the Infantazgo: and the other half, with the city of Toro and its dependencies, to Doña Elvira.

How the Infante Don Sancho complained of the wrong which was done him xxvii. When the Infante Don Sancho knew that the King his father had made this allotment it displeased him, for he was the eldest son; and he said to his father that he neither could nor ought to make this division; for the Gothic Kings had in old time made a constitution for themselves, that the kingdom and empire of Spain never should be divided, but remain one dominion under one Lord. But the King replied that he would not for this forbear to do as he had resolved, for he had won the kingdom; then the Infante made answer, Do as you will, being my father and Lord; but I do not consent unto it. So the King made this division against the right of the Infante Don Sancho, and it displeased many in the kingdom, and many it pleased; but they who were of good understanding perceived the evil which would arise.

Of the death of the King xxviii. After this the King fell sick with the malady whereof he died. And he made himself be carried to Leon, and there on his knees before the bodies of the saints he besought mercy of them. And putting his crown upon his head before the holy body of St. Isidro he called upon God, saying, O Lord Jesus Christ, thine is the power over all, and thine is the kingdom, for thou art King of all kingdoms, and of all Kings, and of all nations, and all are at thy command. And now Lord I return unto thee the kingdom which thou hast given me, but I beseech thee of thy mercy that my soul may be brought to the light which hath no end. Having said thus, he stript himself of the royal robes adorned with gold in which he was arrayed, and took the crown from his head and placed it upon the altar; and he put sackcloth upon the carrion of his body, and prayed to God, confessing all the sins which he had committed against him, and took his acquittal from the Bishops, for they absolved him from his sins; and forthwith he there received extreme unction, and strewed ashes upon himself. After this, by his own order he was carried to St. Mary of Almazan in pilgrimage, and there he remained thrice nine days, beseeching St. Mary that she would have mercy upon him and intercede with her blessed Son for his soul. From thence they carried him to Cabezon, and there the Abbot Don Ferrando came to him, an honourable man, and many other honourable men of his realms, and the Cid Ruydiez, whom the King commended to the Infante Don Sancho, his son. And after he had put all his affairs in order he remained three days lamenting in pain, and on the fourth, being the day of St. John the Evangelist, he called for the Cardinal Abbot, and commended Spain and his other sons to him, and gave him his blessing, and then at the hour of sexts he rendered up his soul without stain to God, being full of years. So they carried him to Leon and buried him near his father, in the Church of St. Isidro, which he had built. Thirty and one years did King Don Ferrando the Great who was peer with the Emperor, Reign over Castille. The Queen his wife lived two years after him, leading a holy life; a good Queen had she been and of good understanding, and right loving to her husband: alway had she counselled him well, being in truth the mirror of his kingdoms, and the friend of the widows and orphans. Her end was a good end, like that of the King her husband: God give them Paradise for their reward. Amen.

Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:59