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Handy Literal Translations



A Literal Translation, by




31-33-35 West Fifteenth Street, New York City


Cid Campeador is the name given in histories, traditions and songs to
the most celebrated of Spain's national heroes.

His real name was Rodrigo or Ruy Diaz (i.e. "son of Diego"), a
Castilian noble by birth. He was born at Burgos about the year 1040.

There is so much of the mythical in the history of this personage that
hypercritical writers, such as Masdeu, have doubted his existence; but
recent researches have succeeded in separating the historical from the

Under Sancho II, son of Ferdinand, he served as commander of the royal
troops. In a war between the two brothers, Sancho II. and Alfonso VI. of
Leon, due to some dishonorable stratagem on the part of Rodrigo, Sancho
was victorious and his brother was forced to seek refuge with the
Moorish King of Toledo.

In 1072 Sancho was assassinated at the siege of Zamora, and as he left
no heir the Castilians had to acknowledge Alfonso as King. Although
Alfonso never forgave the Cid for having, as leader of the Castilians,
compelled him to swear that he (the Cid) had no hand in the murder of
his brother Sancho, as a conciliatory measure, he gave his cousin
Ximena, daughter of the Count of Oviedo, to the Cid in marriage, but
afterwards, in 1081, when he found himself firmly seated on the throne,
yielding to his own feelings of resentment and incited by the Leonese
nobles, he banished him from the kingdom.

At the head of a large body of followers, the Cid joined the Moorish
King of Saragossa, in whose service he fought against both Moslems and
Christians. It was probably during this exile that he was first called
the Cid, an Arabic title, which means the _lord_. He was very
successful in all his battles.

In conjunction with Mostain, grandson of Moctadir, he invaded Valencia
in 1088, but afterwards carried on operations alone, and finally, after
a long siege, made himself master of the city in June, 1094. He retained
possession of Valencia for five years and reigned like an independent
sovereign over one of the richest territories in the Peninsula, but died
suddenly in 1099 of anger and grief on hearing that his relative, Alvar
Fañez, had been vanquished and the army which he had sent to his
assistance had been defeated.

After the Cid's death his wife held Valencia till 1102, when she was
obliged to yield to the Almoravides and fly to Castile, where she died
in 1104. Her remains were placed by those of her lord in the monastery
of San Pedro de Cardeña.




_Chimène._ Elvira, have you given me a really true report? Do you
conceal nothing that my father has said?

_Elvira._ All my feelings within me are still delighted with it. He
esteems Rodrigo as much as you love him; and if I do not misread his
mind, he will command you to respond to his passion.

_Chimène._ Tell me then, I beseech you, a second time, what makes you
believe that he approves of my choice; tell me anew what hope I ought to
entertain from it. A discourse so charming cannot be too often heard;
you cannot too forcibly promise to the fervor of our love the sweet
liberty of manifesting itself to the light of day. What answer has he
given regarding the secret suit which Don Sancho and Don Rodrigo are
paying to you? Have you not too clearly shown the disparity between the
two lovers which inclines me to the one side?

_Elvira._ No; I have depicted your heart as filled with an
indifference which elates not either of them nor destroys hope, and,
without regarding them with too stern or too gentle an aspect, awaits the
commands of a father to choose a spouse. This respect has delighted
him--his lips and his countenance gave me at once a worthy testimony of
it; and, since I must again tell you the tale, this is what he hastened
to say to me of them and of you: 'She is in the right. Both are worthy
of her; both are sprung from a noble, valiant, and faithful lineage;
young but yet who show by their mien [_lit._ cause to easily be read
in their eyes] the brilliant valor of their brave ancestors. Don Rodrigo,
above all, has no feature in his face which is not the noble [_lit._
high] representative of a man of courage [_lit._ heart], and descends
from a house so prolific in warriors, that they enter into life [_lit._
take birth there] in the midst of laurels. The valor of his father, in
his time without an equal, as long as his strength endured, was
considered a marvel; the furrows on his brow bear witness to [_lit._
have engraved his] exploits, and tell us still what he formerly was. I
predict of the son what I have seen of the father, and my daughter, in
one word, may love him and please me.' He was going to the council, the
hour for which approaching, cut short this discourse, which he had
scarcely commenced; but from these few words, I believe that his mind
[_lit._ thoughts] is not quite decided between your two lovers. The king
is going to appoint an instructor for his son, and it is he for whom an
honor so great is designed. This choice is not doubtful, and his
unexampled valor cannot tolerate that we should fear any competition. As
his high exploits render him without an equal, in a hope so justifiable
he will be without a rival; and since Don Rodrigo has persuaded his
father, when going out from the council, to propose the affair. I leave
you to judge whether he will seize this opportunity [_lit._ whether he
will take his time well], and whether all your desires will soon be

_Chimène._ It seems, however, that my agitated soul refuses this joy,
and finds itself overwhelmed by it. One moment gives to fate different
aspects, and in this great happiness I fear a great reverse.

_Elvira._ You see this fear happily deceived.

_Chimène._ Let us go, whatever it may be, to await the issue.

Scene II.--The INFANTA, LEONORA, and a PAGE.

_Infanta (to Page_). Page, go, tell Chimène from me, that to-day she is
rather long in coming to see me, and that my friendship complains of her
tardiness. [_Exit Page._]

_Leonora._ Dear lady, each day the same desire urges you, and at your
interview with her, I see you every day ask her how her love proceeds.

_Infanta._ It is not without reason. I have almost compelled her to
receive the arrows with which her soul is wounded. She loves Rodrigo,
and she holds him from my hand; and by means of me Don Rodrigo has
conquered her disdain. Thus, having forged the chains of these lovers, I
ought to take an interest in seeing their troubles at an end.

_Leonora._ Dear lady, however, amidst their good fortune you exhibit a
grief which proceeds to excess. Does this love, which fills them both
with gladness, produce in this noble heart [of yours] profound sadness?
And does this great interest which you take in them render you unhappy,
whilst they are happy? But I proceed too far, and become indiscreet.

_Infanta._ My sadness redoubles in keeping the secret. Listen, listen
at length, how I have struggled; listen what assaults my constancy
[_lit._ virtue or valor] yet braves. Love is a tyrant which spares no
one. This young cavalier, this lover which I give [her]--I love him.

_Leonora._ You love him!

_Infanta._ Place your hand upon my heart, and feel [_lit._ see] how it
throbs at the name of its conqueror! how it recognizes him!

_Leonora._ Pardon me, dear lady, if I am wanting in respect in blaming
this passion; a noble princess to so far forget herself as to admit in
her heart a simple [_or_, humble] cavalier! And what would the King
say?--what would Castile say? Do you still remember of whom you are the

_Infanta._ I remember it so well, that I would shed my blood rather than
degrade my rank. I might assuredly answer to thee, that, in noble souls,
worth alone ought to arouse passions; and, if my love sought to excuse
itself, a thousand famous examples might sanction it. But I will not
follow these--where my honor is concerned, the captivation of my
feelings does not abate my courage, and I say to myself always, that,
being the daughter of a king, all other than a monarch is unworthy of
me. When I saw that my heart could not protect itself, I myself gave
away that which I did not dare to take; and I put, in place of my self,
Chimène in its fetters, and I kindled their passions [_lit._ fires] in
order to extinguish my own. Be then no longer surprised if my troubled
soul with impatience awaits their bridal; thou seest that my happiness
[_lit._ repose] this day depends upon it. If love lives by hope, it
perishes with it; it is a fire which becomes extinguished for want of
fuel; and, in spite of the severity of my sad lot, if Chimène ever has
Rodrigo for a husband, my hope is dead and my spirit, is healed.
Meanwhile, I endure an incredible torture; even up to this bridal.
Rodrigo is dear to me; I strive to lose him, and I lose him with regret,
and hence my secret anxiety derives its origin. I see with sorrow that
love compels me to utter sighs for that [object] which [as a princess] I
must disdain. I feel my spirit divided into two portions; if my courage
is high, my heart is inflamed [with love]. This bridal is fatal to me, I
fear it, and [yet] I desire it; I dare to hope from it only an
incomplete joy; my honor and my love have for me such attractions, that
I [shall] die whether it be accomplished, or whether it be not

_Leonora._ Dear lady, after that I have nothing more to say, except
that, with you, I sigh for your misfortunes; I blamed you a short time
since, now I pity you. But since in a misfortune [i.e. an ill-timed
love] so sweet and so painful, your noble spirit [_lit._ virtue]
contends against both its charm and its strength, and repulses its
assault and regrets its allurements, it will restore calmness to your
agitated feelings.

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