BETA

The Bullfight of Ganzul

I.

King Almanzor of Granada, he hath bid the trumpet sound,1
He hath summoned all the Moorish Lords, from the hills and plains around ;2
From Vega and Sierra, from Betis and Xenil,3
They have come with helm and cuirass of gold and twisted steel.4

II.

’Tis the holy Baptist’s feast they hold in royalty and state, *5
And they have closed, the spacious lists, beside the Alhamra’s gate ;6
In gowns of black with silver laced within the tented ring,7
Eight Moors to fight the bull are placed in presence of the king.8

III.

Eight Moorish Lords of valour tried, with stalwart arm and true,9
The onset of the beasts abide come trooping furious through ;10
The deeds they’ve done, the spoils they’ve won, fill all with hope and trust,11
Yet ere high in heaven appears the Sun, they all have bit the dust.12

* The day of the Baptist is a festival among the Mussulmans as well as among
Christians.

IV.

Then sounds the trumpet clearly, then clangs the loud tambour,13
Make room, make room for Ganzul—throw wide, throw wide the door ; —14
Blow, blow the trumpet clearer still, more loudly strike the drum,15
The Alcayde of Agalva to fight the bulldoth come.16

V.

And first before the king he passed, with reverence stooping low,17
And next he bowed him to the queen, and the Infantas all a-rowe ;18
Then to his lady’s grace he turned, and she to him did throw19
A scarf from out her balcony was whiter than the snow.20

VI.

With the life-blood of the slaughtered lords all slippery is the sand,21
Yet proudly in the centre hath Ganzul ta’en his stand ;22
And ladies look with heaving breast, and lords with anxious eye,23
But the lance is firmly in its rest, and his look is calm and high.24

VII.

Three bulls against the knight are loosed, and two come roaring on,25
He rises high in stirrup, forth stretching his rejon ;26
Each furious beast upon the breast he deals him such a blow,27
He blindly totters and gives back across the sand to go.28

VIII.

Turn, Ganzul, turn,” the people cry—the third comes up behind,29
Low to the sand his head holds he, his nostrils snuff the wind ; —30
The mountaineers that lead the steers, without stand whispering low,31
Now thinks this proud Alcayde to stun Harpado so ? ”32

IX.

From Guadiana comes he not, he comes not from Xenil,33
From Guadalarif of the plain, or Barves of the hill ;34
But where from out the forest burst Xarama’s waters clear,35
Beneath the oak trees was he nursed, this proud and stately steer.36

X.

Dark is his hide on either side, but the blood within doth boil,37
And the dun hide glows, as if on fire, as he paws to the turmoil.38
His eyes are jet, and they are set in crystal rings of snow ;39
But now they stare with one red glare of brass upon the foe.40

XI.

Upon the forehead of the bull the horns stand close and near,41
From out the broad and wrinkled skull, like daggers they appear ;42
His neck is massy, like the trunk of some old knotted tree,43
Whereon the monster’s shagged mane, like billows curled, ye see.44

XII.

His legs are short, his hams are thick, his hoofs are black as night,45
Like a strong flail he holds his tail in fierceness of his might ;46
Like something molten out of iron, or hewn from forth the rock,47
Harpado of Xarama stands, to bide the Alcayde’s shock.48

XIII.

Now stops the drum—close, close they come—thrice meet, and thrice give back ;49
The white foam of Harpado lies on the charger’s breast of black50
The white foam of the charger on Harpado’s front of dun51
Once more advance upon his lance—once more, thou fearless one !52

XIV.

Once more, once more ; —in dust and gore to ruin must thou reel53
In vain, in vain thou tearest the sand with furious heel54
In vain, in vain, thou noble beast, I see, I see thee stagger,55
Now keen and cold thy neck must hold the stern Alcayde’s dagger !56

XV.

They have slipped a noose around his feet, six horses are brought in,57
And away they drag Harpado with a loud and joyful din.58
Now stoop thee lady from thy stand, and the ring of price bestow59
Upon Ganzul of Agalva, that hath laid Harpado low.60