GONZALO HERMIGUEZ

                        A poem by the English Poet Robert Southey (1774-1843) wherein
                       he tells the love story of Gonzalo Herminguez and the maiden Fatima

      Southey appears to have also consulted the Chronica de Cister, as this is the introductory paragraph to his poem: "This story is related at length by Bernardo de Brito in his Cronica de Cister., I. vi. c. 1. where he has preserved also part of a poem by Gonzalo Hermiguez. The verses are said to be the oldest in the Portuguese language, and Brito says there were more of them, but he thought it sufficient to cite these for his purpose. If they had been correctly printed, it might have been difficult to make out their meaning, but from a text so corrupted it is impossible."

In arms and in anger,in struggle and strife,
Gonzalo Hermiguez won his wife;
He slew the Moor who from the fray
Was rescuing Fatima that day;
In vain she shriek'd: Gonzalo prest
The Moorish prisoner to his breast;
That breast in iron was array'd,
The gauntlet was bloody that graspt the Maid;
Through the bever-sight his eye
Glared fierce and red and wrathfully,
And while he bore the captive away
His heart rejoiced, and he blest the day.

Under the lemon walk's odorous shade
Gonzalo Hermiguez wooed the Maid;
The ringlets of his raven hair
Waved upon the evening air,
And gentle thoughts that raise a sigh
Softcn'd the warrior's dark-brown eye,
When he with passion and sweet song
Wooed her to forgive the wrong;
Till she no more could say him nay,
And the Moorish Maiden blest the day
When Gonzalo bore her a captive away.

To the holy Church with pomp and pride
Gonzalo Hermiguez led his bride.
In the sacred font that happy day
Her stain of sin was wash'd away;
There did the Moorish Maiden claim
Another faith, another name;
There as a Christian convert plight
Her faith unto the Christian Knight,
And Oriana blest the day
When Gonzalo bore her a captive away.

Of Affonso Henriques' court the pride
Were Gonzalo Hermiguez and his bride;
In battle strongest of the strong,
In peace the master of the song,
Gonzalo of all was first in fame,
The loveliest she and the happiest dame.
But ready for her heavenly birth
She was not left to fade on earth;
In that dread hour with Heaven in view,
The comfort of her faith she knew,
And blest on her death-bed the day
When Gonzalo bore her a captive away.

Through a long and holy life
Gonzalo Hermiguez mourn'd his wife.
The arms wherewith he won his bride,
Sword shield and lance, were laid aside.
That head which the high-plumed helm had worn
Was now of its tresses shaven and shorn,
A Monk of Alcobaca he
Eminent for sanctity.
Contented in his humble cell
The meekest of the meek to dwell,
His business was by night and day
For Oriana's soul to pray.

Never day did he let pass
But scored to her account a mass;
Devoutly for the dear one dead
With self-inflicted stripes he bled;
This was Gonzalo's sole employ,
This was Gonzalo's only joy;
Till love thus purified became
A holy, yea, a heavenly flame;
And now in Heaven both bless the day
When he bore the Moorish captive away.            
                                           Bristol, 1801.

       Southey was renowned as a scholar in both Portuguese and Spanish and translated works from the countries of Portugal and Spain into English.  He is remembered for children's classic, "The Story of the Three Bears, the original Goldilocks story," published in 1834.

Return to Home Page    


Copyright 2005 - John Riedell - All Rights Reserved
Site Last Updated on 08/18/12