Chronicle of the Cid, by Robert Southey

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How the King of Badajoz would have taken Toledo i. In these days King Yahia reigned in Toledo, the grandson of King Alimaymon, who had been the friend of King Don Alfonso; for Alimaymon was dead, and his son Hicem also. Now Yahia was a bad King, and one who walked not in the ways of his fathers. Insolent he was towards the elders, and cruel towards his people: and his yoke was so heavy that all men desired to see his death, because there was no good in him. And the people seeing that he did not protect them, and that their lands were ravaged safely, went to him and said, Stand up, Sir, for thy people and thy country, else we must look for some other Lord who will defend us. But he was of such lewd customs that he gave no heed to their words. And when they knew that there was no hope of him, the Moors sent to the King of Badajoz, inviting him to come and be their protector, saying that they would deliver the city into his hands in spite of Yahia. And the Muzarabes who dwelt in the city sent to King Don Alfonso, exhorting him to win Toledo, which he might well do, now that he was no longer bound by his oath. Then both Kings came, thinking to have the city: and the King of Badajoz came first, and the gates were opened to him in despite of Yahia. Howbeit King Don Alfonso speedily arrived, and the King of Badajoz, seeing that he could not maintain Toledo against him, retreated, and King Don Aifonso pursued him into his own dominions and gave orders that he should be attacked along the whole of his border, and did not leave him till he had plainly submitted. In this manner was Yahia delivered from the King of Badajoz; but King Don Alfonso knowing how that city was to be taken, contented himself with overrunning the country, and despoiling it, even to the walls of the city; and thus he did for four years, so that he was master of the land.

How Diego Rodriguez, the son of the Cid, was slain ii. In all this time did my Cid do good service to King Don Alfonso. And in these days King Don Alfonso fought at Consuegra with King Abenalfange of Denia, and in this battle the Christians were defeated, and Diego Rodriguez, the son of my Cid, was slain. Greatly was his death lamented by the Christians, for he was a youth of great hope, and one who was beginning to tread in the steps of his father. And King Don Alfonso was fain to retire into the Castle of that town. And Abenalfange gathered together the greatest power of the Moors that he could, and entered the land of the Christians, and past the mountains, and came even to Medina del Campo, and there Alvar Fañez Minaya met him. Minaya had but five and twenty hundred horse with him, and of the Moors there were fifteen thousand; nevertheless by God’s blessing he prevailed against them. And by the virtue of God Alvar Fañez gave King Abenalfange a cruel wound in the face, so that he fled away. Great honour did Minaya win for this victory.

How King Don Alfonso went against Toledo, ih iii. Now had King Don Alfonso for many years cut down the bread and the wine and the fruits in all the country round about Toledo, and he made ready to go against the city. The tidings of this great enterprise spread far and wide, and adventurers came from all parts lo be present; not only they of Castille and Leon, Asturias and Nagera, Galicia and Portugal, but King Sancho Ramirez of Aragon came also, with the flower of Aragon and Navarre and Catalonia, and Franks and Germans and Italians, and men of other countries, to bear their part in so great and catholic a war. And the King entertained them well, being full bountiful, insomuch that he was called He of the Open Hand. Never had so goodly a force of Christians been assembled in Spain, nor so great an enterprise attempted, since the coming of the Moors. And of this army was my Cid the leader. So soon as the winter was over they began their march. And when they came to a ford of the Tagus, behold the river was swoln, and the best horsemen feared to try the passage. Now there was a holy man in the camp, by name Lesmes, who was a monk of St. Benedict’s; and he being mounted upon an ass rode first into the ford, and passed safely through the flood; and all who beheld him held it for a great miracle.

Of the taking of Toledo iv. Greatly to be blamed are they who lived in those days for not handing down to everlasting remembrance the worthy feats which were atchieved at this siege. For not only was Toledo a strong city, both by nature and in its walls and towers, but the flower of the chivalry of all Spain and of all Christendom was there assembled, and the Moors of Spain also, knowing that this was, as it were, the heart of their empire, did all they could to defend it: greatly to be blamed are they who neglected to transmit to us the memory of their deeds, and greatly have they wronged the worthy knights whose exploits should else have gained for them a never-dying renown. Nothing more, owing to their default, can we say of this so notable a siege, than that when Don Cabrian, the Bishop of Leon, was earnestly engaged in prayer for the success of the Christian arms, the glorious St. Isidro appeared unto him, and certified that in fifteen days the city should be surrendered; and even so it came to pass, for the gates were opened to the King on Thursday the twenty-fifth of May, in the year of the æera 1123, which is the year of Christ 1085. The first Christian banner which entered the city was the banner of my Cid, and my Cid was the first Christian Alcayde of Toledo. Of the terms granted unto the Moors, and how they were set aside for the honour of the Catholic faith, and of the cunning of the Jews who dwelt in the city, and how the Romish ritual was introduced therein, this is not the place to speak; all these things are written in the Chronicles of the Kings of Spain.

How Yahia went to spy the state of Valencia v. Now Yahai, when he saw that he could by no means hold Toledo, because on the one hand the Moors would give it to the King of Badajoz, and on the other King Don Alfonso warred against it, he made a covenant with King Don Alfonso to yield the city to him, if he with the help of Alvar Fañez would put him in possession of Valencia, which had belonged unto Hicem and Alimaymon, his fathers, but which the Guazil Abdalla Azis held now as his own, calling himself King thereof. And he covenanted that King Don Alfonso should also put into his hand Santa Maria de Albarrazin, and the kingdom of Denia; and the King assented to the covenant, thinking that in this manner the land would be all his own. Yahia therefore sent Abenfarat, who was his cousin, to Valencia, to spy out what the Guazil would do, whether he would peaceably deliver up the kingdom unto him, or whether he would oppose his coming, which he greatly doubted, because it was rumoured that he was about to give his daughter in marriage to the King of Zaragoza. Abenfarat went his way, and took up his abode in the house of a Moor who was called Abenlupo; and while he sojourned there the marriage of the Guazil’s daughter was effected, and the Guazil himself fell sick and died. Then Abenfarat tarried yet awhile to see what would be the issue, for the men of Valencia were greatly troubled because of the death of their King. He left two sons, between whom there was no brotherly love during his life, and now that he was dead there was less. And they divided between them all that he had left, even the least thing did they divide, each being covetous to possess all that he could; and they made two factions in the town, each striving to possess himself of the power therein. But the men of Valencia who were not engaged on their side, and they also who held the castles round about, were greatly troubled because of this strife which was between them; and they also were divided between two opinions, they who were of the one wishing to give the kingdom to the King of Zaragoza, and they who were of the other to yield themselves unto Yahai the grandson of Alimaymon, because of the covenant which King Don Alfonso had made with him. When Abenfarat knew these things he returned unto Yahia, and told him all even as it was; and Yahia saw that he should have the city, because of the discord which was therein.

How Yahia was received into Valencia vi. Then Yahia gathered together all his people, knights, and cross-bow men, and foot-soldiers, and they of his board, and the officers of his household which are the eunuchs; and he set forward on the way toward Valencia, and Alvar Fañez and his body of Christians with him. And he sent to the townsmen greeting them, and saying that he was coming to dwell among them and to be their King, and that he would deal bountifully by them; and that he should wait awhile in the town which was called Sera. The chief men of the town took counsel together what they should do, and at length they agreed to receive him for their Lord; and this they did more in fear of King Don Alfonso and of Alvar Fañez than for any love towards him. This answer they sent him by Aboeza the Alcayde. Now Aboeza would fain have departed from Valencia when the Guazil Abdalla Azis died, because of the strife which was in the city, and he thought to betake himself to his own Castle of Monviedro and dwell there, away from the troubles which were to come. Upon this purpose he took counsel with his friend Mahomed Abenhayen the Scribe, for there was great love between them; and when the Scribe heard what he purposed to do he was grieved thereat, and represented unto him that it was not fitting for him to forsake the city at such a time, so that Aboeza was persuaded. And they twain covenanted one to the other, to love and defend each other against all the men in the world, and to help each other with their persons and possessions; and Aboeza sent trusty men of his kinsfolk and friends to keep the Castles of Monviedo and Castro and Santa Cruz, and other Castles which were in his possession, and he himself abode in Valencia. And now he went out to Yahia to give unto him the keys of the city, and the good men of the city went out with him, and they made obeisance to him and promised to serve him loyally. Then Yahia, the grandson of Alimaymon, set forth with all his company from Sera, and all the people of Valencia, high and low, went out to meet him with great rejoicings. And Aboeza adorned the Alcazar right nobly, that Yahia and his women and they of his company might lodge within. The most honourable of his knights took up their lodging in the town, and the cross-bow men and others of low degree lodged round about the Alcazar, and in certain dwellings which were between it and the Mosque, and Alvar Fañez and the Christians who were with him, in the village which was called Ruzaf.

Of the tax which was raised for barley for the Christians vii. Yahia being now King in Valencia, made Aboeza his Guazil, and gave him authority throughout all his kingdom. Nevertheless he bore displeasure against him in his heart, because he had served Abdalla Azis; and on his part also Aboeza secretly feared the King, and knew not whether it were better to depart from him, or not; howbeit he thought it best to remain and serve him right loyally and well, that so he might win his good will; and when the King perceived this, his anger abated and was clean put out of mind. And he made Aboeza his favourite, and made a vow unto him and confirmed it by a writing, that he would never take away his favour from him, nor change him for another, nor do any thing in his dominions without him. With this was Aboeza satisfied, and the fear which he felt in his heart was removed. And they who held the castles brought great gifts to Yahia, with much humility and reverence, such as the Moors know how to put on. This they did to set his heart at rest, that he might confide in them, and send away Alvar Fañez into his own country, and not keep him and his people at so great a charge, for it cost them daily six hundred maravedis, and the King had no treasure in Valencia, neither was he so rich that he could support his own company and supply this payment; and for this reason the Moors complained of the great cost. But on the other hand, Yahia feared that if he should send away Alvar Fañez, the Moors would rise against him; and to maintain him he laid a great tax upon the city and its district, saying that it was for barley. This tax they levied upon the rich as well as the poor, and upon the great as well as the little, which they held to be a great evil and breach of their privileges, and thought that by his fault Valencia would be lost, even as Toledo had been. This tribute so sorely aggrieved the people, that it became as it were a bye word in the city, Give the barley. They say there was a great mastiff, with whom they killed beef in the shambles, who, whenever he heard, ‘Give the barley,‘began to bark and growl: upon which a Trobador said, Thanks be to God, we have many in the town who are like the mastiff.

How Yahia went against Abenmazot in Xativa viii. When they who held the Castles sent presents to King Yahia, there was one among them, by name Abenmazot, who held Xativa, who neither sent him gifts, nor came to offer obedience. And the King sent to bid him come before him. But then Abenmazot sent a messenger with letters and full rich presents, saying that he could by no means come himself, and this not from any feigning, and that he would alway do him service with a true good will. And he besought him as his Lord to let him remain in Xativa, and he would give him the rents thereof; but if it was his pleasure to appoint some other in his stead, he besought that he would then give him something for himself and his company to subsist upon, seeing that he desired nothing but the King’s favour to be well with him. Then the King took counsel with Aboeza the Guazil, and the Guazil advised him to do unto Abenmazot even as he had requested, and let him keep Xativa; and to send away Alvar Fañez because of the great charge it was to maintain him, and to live in peace, and put his kingdom in order; in all which he advised him like a good counsellor and a true. But the King would not give heed to him; instead thereof he communicated his counsel to the two sons of Abdalla Azis who had submitted unto him, and whom he had taken into his favour, and they told him that Aboeza had advised him ill, and that it behoved him to lead out his host and bring Abenmazot to obedience. And the King believed them and went out and besieged Xativa. And the first day he entered the lower part of the town, but Abenmazot retired to the Alcazar and the fortresses, and defended the upper part; and the King besieged him there for four months, attacking him every day, till food began to fail both in the army of the King and in the town. And they of Valencia could not supply what was to be paid to Alvar Fañez and his company, much less what the King wanted. Then the King understood that he had been ill advised, and for this reason he condemned one of the sons of Abdalla Azis to pay Alvar Fañez for thirty days; and he seized a Jew who was one of his Almoxarifes in Valencia, that is to say, one who collected the taxes, and took from him all that he had, because he had advised him ill, and while this lasted the people of Valencia had some respite.

How Abenalfange came to help Abenmazot ix. When Abenmazot saw that the King was bent upon destroying him, and that every day he prest him more and more, he sent to Abenalfange who was King of Denia and Tortosa, saying, that if he would come and help him, he would make him Lord of Xativa and of all his other Castles, and would be at his mercy; and this he did to escape from the hands of Yahia. When Abenalfange heard this it pleased him well, and he sent one of his Alcaydes, who was called the Left-handed, to enter the Alcazar, and help to defend it till he could collect a company of Christians who might deal with Alvar Fañez. So that Left-handed one entered the Alcazar with his company, and the Lord of the Castle which was called Almenar, was already there to help Abenmazot, and encourage him that he should not submit. Then Abenalfange gathered together all his host and his cavalry, and brought with him Giralte the Roman, with a company of French knights, and came towards Xativa, as a hungry lion goes against a sheep, or like the coming of a flood in its hour; so that Vahia was dismayed at the tidings of his approach, and fled as fast as he could to the Isle of Xucar, and though that Isle was so near, he thought he had done a great thing; and from thence he went to Valencia, holding himself greatly dishonoured. Then Abenalfange had Xativa and all its Castles, so that it was all one kingdom as far as Denia. And he took Abenmazot with all his women and his household and all that he had, to Denia, and gave him possessions there, and did him much honour. And when it was seen that King Yahia was thus dishonoured, and that Alvar Fañez had not helped him as had been looked for, they who held the Castles lost all fear of him, so that their hearts were changed towards him, as well they of Valencia as of the other Castles, and they said that they would rather belong to Abenalfange than to him, because the town could not bear the charge of the Christians, nor the oppressions which they suffered because of them.

How Alvar Fanez plundered the country x. Abenalfange abode some days in Xativa, and then moved on towards Valencia, thinking to win the city; for he knew how greatly the people were oppressed because of the Christians, and that they could not bear it, and that there was no love between them and their Lord. And he passed by a place which was an oratory of the Moors in their festivals, which they call in Arabic Axera, or Araxea; and he halted near Valencia, so that they in the town might see him, and he went round about the town, to the right and to the left, wheresoever he would. The King of Valencia with his knights was near the wall watching him, and Alvar Fañez and his company were in readiness lest the French should defy them. And after Abenalfange had staid their awhile he drew off and went his way to Tortosa. And Yahia was perplexed with Alvar Fañez, and sought for means to pay him, and he threw the two sons of Abdalla Azis into prison, and many other good men of the town also, and took from them great riches. Then he made a covenant with Alvar Fañez, that he should remain with him, and gave him great possessions. And when the Moors saw that Alvar Fañez was in such power, all the ruffians and lewd livers in the town flocked unto him, so that Valencia was in the hands of him and his followers; and the Moors being desperate of remedy deserted the town, and went whither they could, setting at nought their inheritances, for no man was safe, neither in his goods nor person. Then Alvar Fañez made an inroad into the lands of Abenalfange, and overran the lands of Buriana, and other parts; and there went with him a great company of those Moorish desperadoes who had joined him, and of other Moorish Almogavares, and they stormed towns and castles, and slew many Moors, and brought away flocks and herds both of cattle and of brood mares, and much gold and silver, and store of wearing apparel, all which they sold in Valencia.

Of the covenant which one of the sons of Abdalla Azis made with King Don Alfonso xi. Now when one of the sons of Abdalla Azis was loosed from prison, he placed his love upon Alvar Fañez and gave him goodly gifts, and upon Aboeza the King’s Guazil, and upon a Jew who was a messenger from King Don Alfonso. And they all sent to King Don Alfonso to beseech him that he would take the son of Abdalla Azis and all that he had under his protection, so that Yahia might do no evil unto him, neither take by force from him anything that was his; and for this protection he promised to give the King thirty thousand maravedís yearly. This request King Don Alfonso granted, and incontinently he took him under his protection, and sent to the King of Valencia to request that he would do him no wrong. Therefore the son of Abdalla Azis was from that time held in more honour because of the love of King Don Alfonso; nevertheless he was still kept under a guard in his own house, that he should not issue forth. And because of this confinement not thinking himself safe, he made a hole through the wall and got out by night in woman’s apparel, and lay hid all the next day in a garden, and on the following night mounted on horseback and rode to Monviedro. When the Guazil knew this he took his son and his uncle as sureties for him for the thirty thousand maravedís, which the Jew was now come to receive for King Don Alfonso. And they went to Monviedro to him, and communed with him, and accorded with him that he should pay the one-half immediately, and whenever he returned to Valencia and was safe there in possession of all his rents and inheritances, that then he should pay the remainder; so he paid the fifteen thousand forthwith in silver, and in rings of gold, and in cloth, and in strings of pearls, and the Jew returned therewith to King Don Alfonso. At this time his brother was released from prison by desire of the King of Zaragoza, and he went unto him; and many of the rich men of the city also betook themselves to Monviedro, because they were not secure neither in their possessions nor in their bodies.

How Alvar Fanez was called away from Valencia xii. In these days the Almoravides arose in Barbary. The rise of this people and all that they did in Spain are not for me to relate in this place. Suffice it to say, that King Don Alfonso being in great danger, sent for Alvar Fañez and all his company; and that he had so much to do for himself that he took no thought for Valencia. And when they who had the keeping of Yahia’s Castles saw this they rose against him, so that few remained unto him, and they of his vassals in whom he put the most trust proved false, so that the heart of the King of Denia and Tortosa grew, and he thought to win Valencia. The chief persons of the town also sent unto him, saying that if he would come they would give the city into his hands. So he gathered together his host, and a company of French also, and sent them forward under the command of his uncle, saying that he would follow and join them on a certain day. But they went forward, and Yahia thinking that if he could conquer them he should be secure, went out and fought against them; and he was defeated and lost a great part of his people and of his arms, and returned into the city with great loss. When Abenalfange, who was a day’s journey off, heard this, he marched all night, and came before Valencia. And King Yahia knew not what to do, and was minded to yield up the town. And he took counsel with his people, and they advised him to send for help to King Don Alfonso, and also to the King of Zaragoza, and he did accordingly. And an Arrayaz of Cuenca, whose name was Abencaño. who was a native of Valencia, went to Zaragoza, and told the King that if he would go thither he would deliver the city into his hands, for it appertained unto him rather than to Abenalfange.

How the Cid went to Zaragoza xiii. And in those days my Cid gathered together a great force, and went to the borders of Aragon, and crost the Douro, and lodged that night in Fresno. From thence he went to Calamocha, where he kept Whitsuntide. While he lay there the King of Albarrazin, being in great fear of him, sent to him requesting that they might meet. And when they saw each other they established great love between them, and the King from that day became tributary to the Cid. Then the Cid went to Zaragoza, where he tas full honourably received. And when Abencaño came to Zaragoza inviting King Almescahen to go and take Valencia, and King Yahia sent also to beg succour at his hands, the King asked the Cid to go with him, and gave him whatever he demanded. So greatly did this King desire to have Valencia, that he looked not whether his force was great or little, nor whether that of the Cid was greater than his own, but went on as fast as he could. When the King of Denia heard that he was coming and the Cid with him, he durst not abide them. And he thought that the King of Zaragoza by the Cid’s help would win the city, and that he should remain with the labour he had undergone, and the cost. Then he placed his love upon King Yahia, and sent him all the food he had, and besought him to help him, saying that he would supply him with whatever he needed. King Yahia was well pleased with this, though he well understood the reason, and firm writings were made to this effect, and then Abenalfange went to Tortosa.

How the King of Zaragoza could not win the city as he thought xiv. And when the King of Zaragoza and the Cid drew nigh unto Valencia, Yahia went out to Welcome them, and thanked them greatly for coming to his assistance; and he lodged them in the great garden, which was called the Garden of Villa Nueva, and honoured them greatly and sent them great presents, and he invited them afterwards to come with their honourable men and be his guests in the Alcazar. But the King of Zaragoza all this while had his eye upon the town, thinking that it would be given up to him as Abencaño had promised; but he saw no sign of this, neither knew he how he could win it. Moreover Yahia had placed his love upon the Cid, and had sent him full noble gifts when he was upon the road, in secret, so that the King of Zaragoza knew not thereof. And the King of Zaragoza asked counsel of the Cid how he might get Valencia into his hands, and besought the Cid to help him. But the Cid made answer, how could that be, seeing that Yahia had received it from the hands of King Don Alfonso, who had given it unto him that he might dwell therein. If indeed King Don Alfonso should give it to the King of Zaragoza, then might the King win it, and he would help him so to do; otherwise he must be against him. When the King heard this he perceived how the Cid stood in this matter, and he left an Alcayde with a body of knights to assist King Yahia, and also to see if he could win the town; and he himself returned to Zaragoza.

How Count Ramon Berenguer came against Valencia xv. Then the Cid went to besiege the Castle called Xerica, by advice of the King of Zaragoza, that he might have a frontier against Monviedro. This he did because, when the King came to relieve Valencia, Aboeza had covenanted to give up Monviedro unto him, the which he had not done; and the King thought that if he made war upon these Castles they must either yield unto him, or be at his mercy, because they did not belong to the King of Denia. But when Aboeza knew this he sent to Abenalfange the King of Denia, saying that he would give him the Castle; and the King of Denia incontinently came and took possession of it, and Aboeza became his vassal. When the Cid saw this he understood that Valencia must needs be lost, and thought in his heart that he could win the city for himself, and keep it. Then sent he letters to King Don Alfonso, in which he besought him of his mercy not to think it ill that the people who were with him should remain with him, for he would do God service, and maintain them at the cost of the Moors, and whensoever the King stood in need of their service, he and they would go unto him and serve him freely; and at other times they would make war upon the Moors, and break their power, so that the King might win the land. Well was King Don Alfonso pleased at this, and he sent to say that they who were in the Cid’s company might remain with him, and that as many as would might go join him. And my Cid went to the King to commune with him, and while my Cid was with him, Don Ramon Berenguer, Lord of Barcelona, came to Zaragoza; and the King gave him great gifts, that he might not place his love upon any other for want; for the King had now put away his love from the Cid, thinking that because of him he had lost Valencia. And presently he sent a force to besiege Valencia under Don Ramon Berenguer; and he had two Bastilles built, one in Liria, which King Yahia had given him when he came to relieve him, and the other in Juballa, and he thought to build another on the side of Albuhera, so that none might enter into the city, neither go out from it. And he reedified the Castle of Cebolla, that the Count might retire thither if it should be needful; and every day the Count attacked the city, and King Yahia defended himself, looking for the coming of the Cid to help him, according to the covenant which was between them.

Of the covenant which was made between King Yahia and the Cid xvi. When the Cid returned from Castille and knew that Valencia was besieged by the French, he went to Tares, which is near Monviedro, and encamped there with his people, who were many in number. And when the Count knew that the Cid was so near, he feared him, holding him to be his enemy. And the Cid sent to him to bid him move from that place and raise the siege of Valencia. The Count took counsel with his knights, and they said that they would rather give battle to the Cid. Howbeit the Cid had no wish to fight with them, because the Count was related to King Don Alfonso, and moreover he had defeated him and made him prisoner heretofore: so he sent a second time, bidding him depart. And the Count seeing that he could not abide there in the Cid’s despite, broke up the siege and went his way by Requena, for he would not pass through Zaragoza. Then the Cid went to Valencia, and King Yahia received him full honourably, and made a covenant with him to give him weekly four thousand maravedis of silver, and he on his part was to reduce the Castles to his obedience, so that they should pay the same rents unto him as had been paid unto the former Kings of Valencia; and that the Cid should protect him against all men, Moors or Christians, and should have his home in Valencia, and bring all his booty there to be sold, and that he should have his granaries there. This covenant was confirmed in writing, so that they were secure on one side and on the other. And my Cid sent to all those who held the Castles, commanding them to pay their rents to the King of Valencia as they had done aforetime, and they all obeyed his command, every one striving to have his love.

How Count Ramon came with a great power of Frenchmen against the Cid xvii. When, the Cid had thus set the land in order he went against the King of Denia, and warred against Denia and against Xativa, and he abode there all the winter, doing great hurt, insomuch that there did not remain a wall standing from Orihuela to Xativa, for he laid every thing waste; and all his booty and his prisoners he sold in Valencia, Then he went towards Tortosa, destroying every thing as he went; and he pitched his camp near unto the city of Tortosa, in a place which in Arabic is called Maurelet, and he cut down every thing before him, orchards and vines and corn. When King Abenalfange saw that the land was thus destroyed, and that neither bread, nor wine, nor flocks would be left him, he sent to Count Ramon Berenguer, beseeching him to gather together a great force, and drive the Cid out of the land, for which service he would give him whatever he might stand in need of. And the Count, thinking now to be revenged of the Cid for his former defeat, and because he had taken from him the rents which he used to receive from the land of Valencia, took what the King gave him, and assembled a great host of the Christians. This was so great a power when the Moors had joined, that they surely thought the Cid would fly before them; for the Moors held that these Frenchmen were the best knights in the world, and the best appointed, and they who could bear the most in battle. When the Cid knew that they came resolved to fight him, he doubted that he could not give them battle because of their great numbers, and sought how he might wisely disperse them. And he got among the mountain values, whereunto the entrance was by a narrow strait, and there he planted his barriers, and guarded them well that the Frenchmen might not enter. The King of Zaragoza sent to tell him to be upon his guard, for Count Ramon Berenguer would without doubt attack him: and the Cid returned for answer, Let him come. On the morrow the Count came nearer, and encamped a league off, in sight of him, and when it was night he sent his spies to view the camp of Ruydiez the Cid. The next day he sent to bid him come out and fight, and the Cid answered, That he did not want to fight nor to have any strife with him, but to pass on with his people. And they drew nearer and invited him to come out, and defied him, saying that he feared to meet them in the field; but he set nothing by all this. They thought he did it because of his weakness, and that he was afraid of them: but what he did was to wear out their patience.

Of the letter which Count Ramon sent unto the Cid xviii. Then the Count sent a letter to the Cid after this fashion: I Count Don Ramón Berenguer of Barcelona, and all my vassals with me, say unto thee, Ruydiez, that we have seen thy letter to King Almescahen of Zaragoza, which thou toldest him to show unto us, that we might have the more cause of quarrel against thee. Before this thou hast done great displeasure unto us, so that we ought at all times to bear ill will against thee. And now while thou hast our goods in thy possession as booty, thou sendest thy letter to King Almescahen, saying that we are like our wives. God give us means to show thee that we are not such. And thou saidst unto him, that before we could be with thee thou wouldst come to us; now we will not alight from our horses till we have taken vengeance on thee, and seen what sort of Gods these mountain crows and daws are, in whom thou puttest thy trust to fight with us; whereas we believe in one God alone, who will give us vengeance against thee. Of a truth, tomorrow morning we will be with thee, and if thou wilt leave the mountain and come out to us in the plain, then wilt thou be, as they call thee, Rodrigo the Campeador. But if thou wilt not do this, thou wilt then be what according to the custom of Castille is called alevoso, and bauzador according to the custom of France; that is to say, a false traitor. And if thou wilt not come down from the mountain it shall not avail thee, for we will not depart from hence till we have thee in our hands, either dead or alive, and we will deal with thee as thou hast done by us, and God in his mercy now take vengeance upon thee for his churches which thou hast destroyed.

Of the letter which the Cid sent in reply xix. When the Cid had read this letter he wrote another in reply after this manner: I Ruydiez and my vassals: God save you Count! I have seen your letter in which you tell me that I sent one to King Almescahen of Zaragoza speaking contumeliously of you and of all your vassals; and true it is that I did so speak, and I will tell you for what reason. When you were with him you spake contumeliously of me before him, saying of me the worst you could, and affirming that I did not dare enter the lands of Abenalfange for fear of you. Moreover Ramon de Bajaran, and other of your knights who were with him, spake ill of me and of my vassals before King Don Alfonso of Castille, and you also after this went to King Don Alfonso, and said that you would have fought with me, and driven me out of the lands of Abenalfange, but that I was dismayed, and did not dare do battle with you; and you said unto him, that if it had not been for the love of him, you would not have suffered me to be one day in the land. Now then I say that I thank you because you no longer let me alone for the love of him. Come! here I am; this is the plainest ground among these mountains, and I am ready to receive you. But I know you dare not come, for Moors and Christians know that I conquered you once, and took you and your vassals, and took from ye all that ye had with ye: and if ye come now ye shall receive the same payment at my hands as heretofore. As for what thou sayest that I am a false traitor, thou lyest, and art a false traitor thyself.

How the Cid defeated Count Ramon xx. Greatly was the Count enraged when he read this letter, and he took counsel with his vassals, and in the night time took possession of the mountain above the camp of the Cid, thinking that by this means he might conquer him. On the morrow the Cid sent away certain of his company as if they were flying, and bade them go by such ways that the French might see them, and instructed them what to say when they should be taken. When the French saw them, they pursued and took them, and carried them before the Count, and he asked of them what the Cid would do. Then made they answer that he meant to fly, and had only remained that day to put his things in order for flight, and as soon as night came he would make his escape by way of the mountain. Moreover they said that the Cid did not think Count Ramon had it so much at heart to give him battle, or he would not have awaited till his coming; and they counselled the Count to send and take possession of the passes by which he meant to escape, for so he might easily take him. Then the Frenchmen divided their host into four parts, and sent them to guard the passes, and the Count himself remained with one part at the entrance of the straits. The Cid was ready with all his company, and he had sent the Moors who were with him forward to the passes whither his men had directed the Frenchmen, and they lay in ambush there; and when the Frenchmen were in the strong places, and had begun to ascend, little by little, as they could, they rose upon them from the ambush and slew many, and took others of the best, and among the prisoners was Guirabent, the brother of Giralte the Roman, who was wounded in the face. And the Cid went out and attacked the Count, and the battle was a hard one; the Count was beaten from his horse, nevertheless his men remounted him, and he bade them stand to it bravely; and the battle lasted long time; but at the end, he who was never conquered won the day. And the Cid took a good thousand prisoners; among them was Don Bernalte de Tamaris, and Giralte the Roman, and Ricarte Guillen. And he put them all in irons, and reproached them saying, that he well knew what his chivalry was, and his hardihood, and that he should thus beat them all down; and he said to them that he was in God’s service, taking vengeance for the ills which the Moors had done unto the Christians, and had done them no wrong; but they being envious of him, had come to help the Moors, therefore God had helped him, because he was in his service. And he took their tents, and their horses, and their arms, which were many and good; and much gold and silver, and fine linen, and all that they had, so that he and all his company were rich men with the spoils. And when Count Ramon heard in his flight, that the Cid had taken all his chief captains, and that well nigh all his power was either slain or taken, he thought it best to come unto the Cid and trust unto his mercy, and he came full humbly and put himself into his hands. And the Cid received him full well and honoured him greatly, and let him go into his own country. And the Count offered a price for the prisoners which was a full great ransom, and moreover the swords precious above all others, which were made in other times. Bountiful was the Cid when he received this ransom, and great part of it he returned unto them again, and showed them great courtesy, and they did homage to him never to come against him with any man in the world.

Of the death of Abenalfange, and how the Cid became master in the land xxi. When Abenalfange the King of Denia and Tortosa heard this, he was so sorely grieved that he fell sick and died. He left one son who was a little one, and the sons of Buxar were his guardians. One of these held Tortosa for the child, and the other held Xativa, and one who was their cousin held Denia. And they knowing that they could neither live in peace, nor yet have strength for war, unless they could have the love of the Cid, sent humbly to say unto him that if he would do no hurt to their lands they would do whatever he pleased, and pay him yearly what he should think good. And the Cid demanded of them fifty thousand maravedis of silver, every year: and the covenant was made between them, and the whole country from Tortosa to Orihuela was under his protection and at his command. And he fixed the tribute which each Castle was to pay, that it should be certain; and it was as you shall be told. The Lord of Albarrazin was to pay ten thousand, according to covenant as you heard heretofore, and the Lord of Alfuente ten thousand, and Monviedro eight thousand, and Segorbe six thousand, and Xerica four thousand, and Almenara three thousand. Liria at that time paid nothing, for it was in the Lordship of Zaragoza; but the Cid had it in his heart to fight with that King. For every thousand maravedis a hundred more were paid for a Bishop, whom the Moors called Alat Almarian. And you are to know that whatever my Cid commanded in Valencia was done, and whatever he forbad was forbidden. And because the King was sick of a malady which continued upon him long time, so that he could not mount on horseback, and was seen by none, Valencia remained under the command of his Guazil Abenalfarax, whom the Cid had appointed. And then the Cid appointed trusty men in the city who should know to how much the rents amounted, as well those of the land as of the sea; and in every village he placed a knight to protect it, so that none dared do wrong to another, nor take any thing from him. Each of these knights had three maravedis daily. And the people complained greatly of what they gave these knights, and of that also which they paid to King Yahia. Yet were they withal abundantly supplied with bread, and with flocks which the Christians brought in, and with captives both male and female, and with Moorish men and women, who gave great sums for their ransom.

How the Cid went to Requena, thinking to meet the king xxii. Then the Cid sent to the King of Zaragoza, bidding him yield up the Bastilles which he had built against Valencia; and the King returned for answer that he would not until King Yahia had paid him the whole cost which he had been at, when he came to his succour against King Abenalfange. Then the Cid besieged Liria, and the people submitted unto him, that they should pay him yearly two thousand maravedis. And he overran the whole of the King of Zaragoza’s country, and brought great spoils to Valencia. Now at this time a Moor called Ali Abenaxa, the Adelantado of the Almoravides, that is to say, of the Moors from beyond sea, came with a great power of the Moors of Andalusia to besiege the Castle of Aledo. This he did because he knew that King Don Alfonso would come to its relief, and he thought that peradventure the King would bring with him so small a force that he might slay or take him. But when the King heard of it he assembled a great host, and sent to the Cid, bidding him come and aid him. And the Cid went to Requena, believing that he should meet the King there; but the King went another way, and the Cid not knowing this tarried some days in Requena expecting him, because that was the road. And when the Moors knew that King Don Alfonso was coming with so great a host to relieve the Castle, they departed, flying. And King Don Alfonso came to the Castle, and when he came there he found that he was short of victuals, and returned in great distress for want of food, and lost many men and many beasts who could not pass the Sierra. Nevertheless he supplied the Castle well with arms, and with such food as he could.

How King Don Alfonso banished the Cid a second time xxiii. Now they who hated the Cid spake leasing of him to King Don Alfonso, saying that he had tarried in Requena, knowing that the King was gone another way, that so he might give the Moors opportunity to fall upon him. And the King believed them, and was wroth against the Cid, and ordered all that he had in Castille to be taken from him, and sent to take his wife, and his daughters. When the Cid heard this he sent presently a knight to the King to defend himself, saying, that if there were Count or Rico-ome or knight who would maintain that he had a better and truer will to do the King service than he had, he would do battle with him body to body, but the King being greatly incensed would not hear him. And when they who hated the Cid saw this, and knew that the Cid was gone against a Castle near Zaragoza, they besought the King to give them force to go against him; howbeit this the King would not. At this time Ali Abenaxa, the Adelantado of the Almoravides, besieged Murcia, and there was a dearth in the city, and Alvar Fañez who should have relieved them did not, and they were so closely beset that they were compelled to yield up the town. As soon as he had taken Murcia he went against the Castle of Aledo, of which you have heard, and assaulted it vigorously, and took it by force and by famine. And when he had won Murcia and Aledo, he wished to have Valencia also, and they of Valencia, because of the yoke of the Cid, longed to be his vassals, even as the sick man longeth after health. When King Don Alfonso heard what Ali Abenaxa had done, he made ready to go against him. And the Queen his wife, and certain knights who were friends to the Cid, wrote to him that he should now come and serve the King in such a season, that the King might thank him greatly and lay aside his wrath. Having seen these letters the Cid set out from Zaragoza where he was, and went his way with a great host, and advanced as far as Martos, where he found the King. And the King received him honourably, and they continued together till the King passed the Sierra de Elvira, and the Cid went in the plain below before him. And they who wished ill to him said to the King, The Cid came after you like one who was wearied, and now he goes before you. And after this manner they set the King again against him, so that his displeasure was greatly moved. And the Moors did not venture to give him battle, but left the Castle of Aledo and retreated to Murcia, and the King returned to Ubeda. And when the Cid saw that the heart of the King was changed, he returned to Valencia, and the King went back to Toledo.

How the Cid laid waste the lands of King Don Alfonso and the kins did him justice xxiv. After this King Don Alfonso drew forth a great host and went towards Valencia, and sent to all the Castles in that land, saying that for five years they should pay him the tribute which they were wont to pay unto the Cid. When the Cid knew this he sent to the King, saying, he marvelled why the King should thus seek to dishonour him, and that he trusted in God soon to make him know how ill he was advised by those about him. And presently the Cid gathered together a full great host both of Moors and of Christians, and entered the land of King Don Alfonso, burning and destroying whatever he found, and he took Logroño, and Alfaro also, and sacked it. While he was at Alfaro, Count Garci Ordoñez and certain other Ricos-omes of Castille sent to say to him, that if he would tarry for them seven days, they would come and give him battle. He tarried for them twelve days, and they did not dare to come; and when the Cid saw this he returned to Zaragoza. Now when King Don Alfonso knew what the Cid had done in his land, and that the Ricos-omes had not dared fight against him, he saw that he had taken an evil counsel when he set his heart against him. And he sent his letters to the Cid saying, that he forgave him all that he had done, seeing that he himself had given the occasion; and he besought him to come to Castille, where he should find all things free which appertained unto him. Much was the Cid rejoiced at these tidings, and he wrote to the King thanking him for his grace, and beseeching him not to give ear to bad counsellors, for he would alway be at his service.

How Abeniaf sent to the Almorávides to come against Valencia xxv. Now it came to pass, that by reason of certain affairs the Cid tarried a long time in Zaragoza. And they of Valencia being no longer kept in awe by his presence, complained one to another of the oppressions and wrongs which they endured from him and from his servants, and from Abenalfarax, the Guazil whom he had appointed; and they conspired with an Alcayde who was called Abeniaf. And when Abenalfarax the Guazil understood how Abeniaf cast about to disturb the peace of the city, he would have taken him and cast him in prison; but this he dared not do till the Cid should come, and moreover he weened that upon his coming the disturbance would cease. Now Abeniaf knew that the Guazil was minded to seize him if he could have dared so to do, and he sent his messengers to Ali Abenaxa the Adelantado of the Almoravides, who was now Lord of Murcia, telling him to come to Valencia, and he would deliver the city into his hands. Moreover he took counsel with the Alcayde of Algezira de Xucar, that the Alcayde also should send to Ali Abenaxa, exhorting him to make good speed himself, or to send an Alcayde with a fitting power, and to come to Algezira, which was near, and then presently proceed to Valencia. So soon as Ali Abenaxa had received this message he made speed to come, and as many Castles as were upon his road submitted unto him. When the Alcayde of Denia heard of his coming, and that all these Castles had submitted, he durst not abide there, but fled to Xativa; and Ali Abenaxa took possession of Denia, and he sent his Alcayde to Algezira de Xucar, and took possession of that also. When these tidings came to Valencia, the Bishop who was there, and the forty knights who were with the messenger of the King of Aragon because of the friendship between their King and the Cid, and all the other Christians who were in the city, would no longer abide there, but took of their goods each as much as he could, and went away in fear. And the Guazil was greatly dismayed, neither knew he what course to take, and Yahia, the King, though he was now healed of his malady, neither mounted on horseback, nor appeared abroad. Abenalfarax went unto him and told him the peril in which they stood. And their counsel was, that they should remove all that they had from Valencia and go to the Castle of Segorbe. Then they sent away many beasts laden with goods and with riches, under the care of a nephew of the Guazil and many others, to the Castle of Benaecab, that is to say, the Castle of the Eagle, to be in charge of the Alcayde thereof. And the King and the Guazil bestirred themselves and gathered together foot-soldiers and cross-bow men to defend the Alcazar, and sent speedily to Zaragoza, telling the Cid to come; but he could not set forth so speedily as need was; and the stir which was in the city endured for full twenty days. Then that Alcayde of Ali Abenaxa who was in Algezira de Xucar set forward in the first of the night with twenty horsemen of the Almoravides, and as many more of Algezira, all clad alike in green, that they might all be taken for Almoravides; and they came by day-break to Valencia, to the gate of Tudela, and sounded their drums, and the rumour in the town was that there were full five hundred knights of the Almoravides, and the Guazil was in great fear. And he went to the Alcazar to take counsel with the King, and they gave order that the gates of the town should be barred, and that the walls should be manned.

How Valencia was won by the Almorávides xxvi. Then the King’s soldiers went to the house of Abeniaf the Alcayde who had sent for the Almoravides, and called unto him to come forth that they might take him before the King; but he was trembling in great fear, and would not come out. And the men of the town came to his help, and when he saw the company that were on his side, he came forth and went with them to the Alcazar, and entered it and took the Guazil of the Cid. And the townsmen ran to the gates and drove away those of the King’s party who guarded them; and they strove to beat the gates down, but they could not, and they set fire to them and burnt them. And others let down ropes from the walls, and drew up the Almoravides. King Yahia put on woman’s apparel, and fled with his women, and hid himself in a dwelling near unto a bath. And the Almoravides took possession of the Alcazar, and plundered it. One Christian they slew who guarded the gates, and another who was of St. Maria de Albarrazin, who guarded one of the towers of the wall. In this manner was Valencia lost.

How Abeniaf put King Yahia to death xxvii. Now when Abeniaf saw that all the people were on his side, and obeyed him, his heart grew and he was puffed up, insomuch that he despised those who were as good as himself or better. Albeit he was of good parentage, for his fathers before him had all been Alcaydes ever since Valencia was in the hands of the Moors. And because he knew that the King had not fled out of the town, he made search for him, and found him in the house where he had hidden himself with his women. Now the King when he fled from the Alcazar had taken with him the best of his treasures, pearls, among which was one the most precious and noble that could be, so that nowhere was there a better one to be found, nor so good; and precious stones, sapphires and rubies and emeralds; he had with him a casket of pure gold full of these things; and in his girdle he had hidden a string of precious stones and of pearls, such that no King had so rich and precious a thing as that carkanet. They say that in former times it had belonged to Queen Seleyda, who was wife to Abanarrexit King of Belcab, which is beyond sea; and afterwards it had come to the Kings called Benivoyas, who were Lords of Andalusia; after that King Alimaymon of Toledo possessed it, and gave it to his wife, and she gave it to the wife of her son, who was the mother of this Yahia. Greatly did Abeniaf covet these treasures and this carkanet, and incontinently he thought in his heart that he might take them and none know thereof, which could no ways be done unless he slew King Yahia. When therefore it was night he gave order to cut off his head, and to throw it into a pond near the house in which he had been taken. This was done accordingly, and Abeniaf took the treasures, and they who were set over King Yahia to guard him and murder him, took also each what he could, and concealed it. And the body lay where it had been slain till the following day; but then a good man who grieved for the death of his Lord took it up, and laid it upon the cords of a bed, and covered it with an old horsecloth, and carried it out of the town, and made a grave for it in a place where camels were wont to lie, and buried it there, without gravecloaths and without any honours whatsoever, as if the corpse had been the corpse of a villain.

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