Rio Verde


Rio Verde, Rio Verdel
Many a corpse is bathed in thee,
Both of Moors and eke of Christians,
Slain with swords most cruelly.

And thy pure and crystal waters
Dappled are with crimson gore;
For between the Moors and Christians
Long the fight has been and sore.
Dukes and counts fell bleeding near thee,
Lords of high renown were slain,
Perished many a brave hidalgo
Of the noblemen of Spain.


Don Nuno, Count of Lara,
In anger and in pride,
Forgot all reverence for the King
And thus in wrath replied:
" Our noble ancestors, " quoth he,
" Ne'er such a tribute paid;
Nor shall the King receive of us
What they have once gainsaid.

" The base-born souls who deem it just
May here with thee remain;
But follow me, ye cavaliers,
Ye gentlemen of Spain. "
Forth followed they the noble Count,
They marched to Glera's plain;
Out of three thousand gallant knights
Did only three remain.
They tied their tribute to their spears,
They raised it in the air,
And they sent to tell their lord the King
That his tax was ready there.

" He may send and take by force, " said they,
" This paltry sum of gold,
But the goodly gift of liberty
Cannot be bought and sold. "


The peasant leaves his plough afield,
The reaper leaves his hook,
And from his hand the shepherd-boy
Lets fall the pastoral crook.

The young set up a shout of joy,
The old forget their years,
The feeble man grows stout of heart,
No more the craven fears.

All rush to Bernard's standard,
And on liberty they call;
They cannot brook to wear the yoke,
When threatened by the Gaul.

" Free were we born, " 'tis thus they cry,
" And willingly pay we
The duty that we owe our king
By the divine decree.

" But God forbid that we obey
The laws of foreign knaves,
Tarnish the glory of our sires,
And make our children slaves.

" Our hearts have not so craven grown,
So bloodless all our veins,
So vigorless our brawny arms,
As to submit to chains.

" Has the audacious Frank, forsooth,
Subdued these seas and lands?
Shall he a bloodless victory have?
No, not while we have hands.

" He shall learn that the gallant Leonese
Can bravely fight and fall,
But that they know not how to yield;
They are Castilians all.

" Was it for this the Roman power
Of old was made to yield
Unto Numantia's valiant hosts
On many a bloody field?

" Shall the bold lions that have bathed
Their paws in Libyan gore,
Crouch basely to a feebler foe,
And dare the strife no more?

" Let the false king sell town and tower
But not his vassals free;
For to subdue the free-born soul
No royal power hath he! "
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