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assaulted the southern bastions of Christendom. The Turk and the Saracen were at the opposite extremes of social existence. The first, ignorant and ferocious, retained all the qualities of his Tatar origin, even when he had become lord of the learned East, and ranged among his slaves, the subtle and accomplished Greek. The second, generous and chivalric, carried into Africa and Spain, the high endowments of his nation, and enriched the poverty of European literature by the scientific acquirements and poetic inspirations of Arabian genius. Between them, however, the Turk and the Arab shook Europe to its centre; and though we cannot quite think, with Gibbon, that there was ever much danger lest the budge doctors? of Oxford should be ousted from the pulpit of St. Mary's by an irruption of the Ulema; yet, it is not to be forgotten, that Vienna was only saved from the storm of the Janizaries by the chivalry of Sobieski ; nor that the Moorish war-shout was heard on the banks of the Loire. It should, in fact, seem that the Asiatic armies were, at this time, under a better ordonnance than those of Europe. The men were inferior in strength and hardihood, but the scheme and scale of warfare were scientific and consistent; the infantry was an efficient arm, and available both for tactics and strategy. It is probable that the Easterns were better officered than the troops of the West, inasmuch as their entire system was essentially military, and a long habitude of regular warfare had taught them the nature of an extensive graduation of command. The chivalry of Europe, on the contrary, was little better than a mere groupe of independent soldiers, armed to the teeth and individually expert, as well in the use of their weapons as in the management of their powerful though clumsy horses, but by no means suited for rapid and combined manæuvres. The European infantry was, in most cases, nothing more than a half-disciplined assemblage, always in danger, when beyond the protection of the horsemen, of utter and irrecoverable rout.
Such were the men, of whom and of their concerns, historical, social, and miscellaneous, the books before us profess to tell, and, sooth to say, keep their promise to all reasonable satisfaction. Respecting one of them, we owe to the Author and to our readers, something in the way, if not of apology, at least of explanation. The Conquest of Granada,' as the work of a writer so justly celebrated as Mr. Washington Irving, might seem to have demanded from us a prompt and extensive notice; and we shall frankly acknowledge ourselves somewhat to blame touching that matter. We were, in truth, unfavourably impressed by what we are still inclined to think a cardinal error on the part of Mr. Irving; an error which has lessened the value, and hindered the popularity of an otherwise admirable book. He was strangely illadvised when he determined to clothe veritable history in the vestiture of romance. He may have gained something in point of effect, by the slight, though well-sustained fiction of the monkish chronicler; but he has sacrificed to it the simplicity of truth, and the implicit confidence of his reader. Our first hasty inspection of his book, gave us this unpleasant impression : we every where encountered the man of straw, and we cordially wished the 'venerable Fray Antonio Agapida' at the antipodes. The frequent introduction of the name, as well as the manner in which it was introduced, kept up the vexatious feeling, that we were reading romance with a basis of truth, instead of truth with the rich colouring of romance. We laid the book aside, preferring to pass it by, rather than to apply severe criticism to a favourite author, and not unwilling to believe that our fastidiousness might be more in fault than his discretion,
The publication of “The Alhambra' induced us to take up again the Chronicle of Granada ; and we are much gratified with the correction which has been applied to our rather precipitate conclusions by a second perusal. "We have, in various instances, brought his most highly adorned statements to the test of refer, ence and comparison, and in every case have found his facts thoroughly sustained ; nor have even the decorations been without a sufficient and satisfactory warrant, either in the character of individuals or in existing circumstances. We have not, of course, extended this examination to every portion of the volumes, and cannot, therefore, venture to affirm that there is nothing in them of pure invention ; but, so far as we have gone, nothing has occurred to us, that could in the smallest degree shake the credit of the history. We still think that it was not judicious to assume a mask, and that it would have been wiser to leave Fray Antonio to more congenial company; but, apart from this, we know of no book that we can more cordially recommend. It is, throughout, beautifully and spiritedly written ; it is trustworthy as a narrative; the subject is of romantic interest; and the descriptions, instinct with life and reality, instead of being mere applications of general circumstances, have the advantage of an intimate knowledge of the localities. The work has been too long in the hands of the public, to require from us the usual detail; and we shall limit ourselves to a single extract, exhibiting the humour, quiet and quaint, which few writers have more skil fully employed, and to which the excellent and infidel-abhorring Agapida is made to furnish continual opportunity. At the time referred to in the following passage, the tribute due from the Moorish king of Granada to the Catholic sovereign of Castile, had been withheld, and an embassy demanding its full discharge was admitted to the royal presence.
• Muley Aben Hassan received the cavalier in state, seated on a magnificent divan, and surrounded by the officers of his court, in the hall of ambassadors, one of the most sumptuous apartments of the Alhambra. When De Vera had delivered his message, a haughty and bitter smile curled the lip of the fierce monarch. Tell your sovereigns ” (Ferdinand and Isabella), said he, “that the kings of Granada, who used to pay tribute in money to the Castilian crown, are dead. Our mint at present coins nothing but blades of scimetars and heads of lances.” The defiance couched in this proud reply, was heard with stern and lofty courtesy by Don Juan de Vera; for he was a bold soldier, and a devout hater of the infidels, and he saw iron war in the words of the Moorish monarch. He retired from the audience chamber with stately and ceremonious gravity, being master of all points of etiquette. As he passed through the Court of Lions, and paused to regard its celebrated fountain, he fell into a discourse with the Moorish courtiers on certain mysteries of the Christian faith. The arguments advanced by these infidels, says Fray Antonio Agapida, awakened the pious indignation of this most Christian knight and discreet ambassador; but still he restrained himself within the limits of lofty gravity, leaning on the pommel of his sword, and looking down with ineffable scorn on the weak casuists around him. The quick and subtle Arabian witlings redoubled their light attacks upon that stately Spaniard, and thought they had completely foiled him in the contest; but the stern Juan de Vera had an argument in reserve, for which they were but little prepared ; for on one of them, of the race of the Abencerrages, daring to question, with a sneer, the immaculate conception of the blessed Virgin, the Catholic knight could no longer restrain his ire. Elevating his voice of a sudden, he told the infidel, he lied, and raising his arm at the same time, he smote him on the head with his sheathed sword. In an instant, the Court of Lions glistened with the flash of arms, and its fountains would have been dyed with blood, had not Muley Aben Hassan overheard the tumult, and forbad all appeal to force, pronouncing the person of the ambassador sacred, while within his territories.'
The account was settled on a future day, during the siege of Alhama by the Moors. Don Juan de Vera, returning after a successful sally, was challenged by the Abencerrage---Turn • back! Turn back! Thou who canst insult in hall, prove that thou canst combat in the field.”'
• All his holy zeal and pious indignation rekindled at the sight: he put lance in rest, and spurred his steed, to finish this doctrinal dispute. Don Juan was a potent and irresistible arguer with his weapon; and he was aided, says Fray Antonio Agapida, by the peculiar virtue of his cause. At the very first encounter, his lance entered the mouth of the Moor, and hurled him to the earth, never more to utter word or breath. Thus, continues the worthy friar, did this scoffing infidel receive a well-merited punishment through the very organ with which he had offended. Chronicle of the Conquest of Granada.
The Alhambra, our readers are aware, was at once the palace and the citadel of the Moorish kings of Granada. It was their
delight to accumulate within its favoured precincts, all of beautiful and rich that nature or art could furnish. There, they enjoyed the power and magnificence of empire ; and there, they made their final stand against the ascendant fortunes of the Christian monarchs of Spain. The fortress occupied, with its winding and bastioned walls, the summit of one of the counterforts of the Sierra Nevada; and, besides the buildings of the royal residence, contained accommodations for an immense garrison, when foreign invasion or domestic treason might compel the sovereign to take refuge in his last and strongest entrenchments. After the fall of the Mohammedan power, the Castilian kings occasionally tenanted the Alhambra ; and Charles V. commenced the erection of a splendid palace, in vain rivalry of the exquisite structure at its side, but was withheld from completing it by the earthquakes which have frequently shaken to their foundation the edifices of Granada. At length, the place was altogether deserted by the court, and the buildings began to exhibit the usual signs of neglect and decay. The halls were dilapidated ; the gardens ran to waste; and the machinery of the fountains ceased to play. By degrees, a “loose and lawless popu‘lation'usurped the right of residence, and the palace of Alhamar and Hegiag became the dwelling-place of smugglers and thieves. These lawless doings grew, at last, too injurious for endurance; and the apathy of the Spanish Government was roused to energetic measures : the Alhambra was purged of its nuisances, and none but respectable persons were suffered to remain. The French, during their temporary possession of Granada, held the fortress as their head-quarters, and took effectual measures for the preservation and partial restoration of the palace; a course which has been, as far as possible with limited means, followed by the present governor, Don Francisco de Serna. Its actual state, as well as some intimation of its former splendour, may be inferred from the following description. Mr. Irving's first visit to the spot led him through streets and squares, of which both the name and aspect called up lively ideas of the olden time. He first traversed the celebrated Vivarrambla, the wide esplanade in which the Moorish chivalry were wont to joust and tourney: he next passed through the Zacatin, formerly the Grand Bazaar, and still retaining much of the oriental aspect : then the Calle, or street of the Gomeres, led him at once to the entrance of the Alham
• At the gate were two or three ragged and superannuated soldiers, dozing on a stone bench, the successors of the Zegris and the Abencerrages ; while a tall meagre varlet, whose rusty-brown cloak was evidently intended to conceal the ragged state of his nether garments, · was lounging in the sunshine, and gossiping with an ancient sentinel on duty. He joined us as we entered the gate, and offered his services to shew us the fortress.
"I have a traveller's dislike to officious ciceroni, and did not altogether like the garb of the applicant.
“ You are well acquainted with the place, I presume?” c" Ninguno mas; pues Senor, soy hijo de la Alhambra."-(Nobody better; in fact, Sir, I am a son of the Alhambra !)
• The common Spaniards have certainly a most poetical way of expressing themselves. “A son of the Alhambra !”—the appellation caught me at once; the very tattered garb of my new acquaintance assumed a dignity in my eyes. It was emblematic of the fortunes of the place, and befitted the progeny of a ruin.' (The Alhambra.)
Mateo Ximenes, the son of the Alhambra' by a title of several generations, was forthwith installed into his new office as guide and attendant; and under his leading, Mr. Irving passed onward into the magic scenery before him.
• It seemed as if we were at once transported into other times and another realm, and were treading the scenes of Arabian story. We found ourselves in a great court, paved with white marble, and decorated at each end with light Moorish peristyles: it is called the Court of the Alberca. In the centre was an immense basin or fish-pond, a hundred and thirty feet in length by thirty in breadth, stocked with gold-fish, and bordered by hedges of roses. At the upper end of this court rose the great Tower of Comares.
• From the lower end, we passed through a Moorish gateway into the renowned Court of Lions. There is no part of the edifice that gives us a more complete idea of its original beauty and magnificence than this, for none has suffered so little from the ravages of time. In the centre stands the fountain famous in song and story. The alabaster basins still shed their diamond drops; and the twelve lions which support them, cast forth their crystal streams, as in the days of Boabdil. The court is laid out in flower-beds, and surrounded by light Arabian arcades of open filagree-work, supported by slender pillars of white marble. The architecture, like that of all the other parts of the palace, is characterized by elegance, rather than grandeur; bespeaking a delicate and graceful taste, and a disposition to indolent enjoyment. When one looks upon the fairy tracery of the peristyles, and the apparently fragile fretwork of the walls, it is difficult to believe that so much has survived the wear and tear of centuries, the shocks of earthquakes, the violence of war, and the quiet, though no less baneful pilferings of the tasteful traveller; it is almost sufficient to excuse the popular tradition, that the whole is protected by a magic charm.
On one side of the court, a portal, richly adorned, opens into a lofty hall, paved with white marble, and called, the Hall of the Two Sisters. A cupola, or lantern, admits a tempered light from above, and a free circulation of air. The lower part of the walls is encrusted with beautiful Moorish tiles, on some of which are emblazoned the es