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The king particularly noted the prowess of two Moorish cavaliers, alike in arms and devices, and whom by their bearing and attendance he perceived to be commanders of the enemy. They were the two brothers, the alcaydes of lllora and Moclin. Wherever they turned, they carried confusion and death into the ranks of the Christians; but they fought with desperation, rather than valour. The count de Cabra, and his brother Don Martin de Cordova, pressed forward with eagerness against them; but having advanced too precipitately, were surrounded by the foe, and in imminent danger. A young Christian knight, seeing their peril, hastened with his followers to their relief. The king recognised him for Don Juan de Arragon, count of Ribargoza, his own nephew; for he was illegitimate son of the duke of Villahermosa, illegitimate brother of King Ferdinand. The splendid armour of Don Juan, and the sumptuous caparison of his steed, rendered him a brilliant object of attack. He was assailed on all sides, and his superb steed slain under him; yet still he fought valiantly, bearing for a time, the brunt of the fight, and giving the exhausted forces of the count de Cabra time to recover breath.
Seeing the peril of these troops and the general obstinacy of the fight, the king ordered the royal standard to be advanced, and hastened, with all his forces, to the relief of the count de Cabra. At his approach, the enemy gave way, and retreated towards the bridge. The two Moorish commanders endeavoured to rally their troops, and animate them to defend this pass to the utmost; they used prayers, remonstrances, menaces—but almost in vain. They could only collect a scanty handful of cavaliers; with these they planted themselves at the head of the bridge, and disputed it inch by inch. The fight was hot and obstinate, for but few could contend hand to hand, yet many discharged cross-bows and arquebusses from the banks. The river was covered with the floating bodies of the slain. The Moorish band of cavaliers was almost entirely cut to pieces; the two brothers fell, covered with wounds, upon the bridge they had so resolutely defended. They had given up the battle for lost, but had determined not to return alive to ungrateful Granada.
When the people of the capital heard how devotedly they had fallen, they lamented greatly their deaths, and extolled their memory: a column was erected to their honour in the vicinity of the bridge, which long went by the name of “the Tomb of the Brothers."
The army of Ferdinand now marched on, and established its camp in the vicinity of Granada. The worthy Agapida gives many triumphant details of the ravages committed in the Vega, which was again laid waste; the grain, fruits, and other productions of the earth, destroyed--and that earthly paradise rendered a dreary desert. He narrates several fierce but ineffectual sallies and skirmishes of the Moors, in defence of their favourite plain; among which one deserves to be mentioned, as it records the achievements of one of the saintly heroes of this war.
During one of the movements of the Christian army, near the walls of Granada, a battalion of fifteen hundred cavalry, and a large force of foot, had sallied from the city, and posted themselves near some gardens, which were surrounded by a canal, and traversed by ditches, for the purpose of irrigation.
The Moors beheld the duke del Infantado pass by, with his two splendid battalions; one of men-at-arms, the other of light cavalry, armed à la gineta. In company with him, but following as a rear-guard, was Don Garcia Osorio, the belligerent bishop of Jaen, attended by Francisco Bovadillo, the corregi. dor of his city, and followed by two squadrons of men-at-arms, from Jaen, Anduxar, Ubeda, and Baeza.* The success of last year's campaign had given the good bishop an inclination for warlike affairs, and he had once more buckled on his cuirass.
The Moors were much given to stratagem in warfare. They looked wistfully at the magnificent squadrons of the duke del Infantado; but their martial discipline precluded all attack: the good bishop promised to be a more easy prey. Suffering the duke and his troops to pass unmolested, they approached the squadrons of the bishop, and, making a pretended attack, skirmished slightly, and fled in apparent confusion. The bishop considered the day his own, and, seconded by his corregidor Bovadillo, followed with valorous precipitation. The Moors fled into the Huerta del Rey, or orchard of the king; the troops of the bishop followed hotly after them.
When the Moors perceived their pursuers fairly embarrassed among the intricacies of the garden, they turned fiercely upon them, while some of their number threw open the sluices of the Xenel. In an instant, the canal which encircled and the ditches which traversed the garden, were filled with water, and the valiant bishop and his followers found themselves overwhelmed by a deluge.* A scene of great confusion succeeded. Some of the men of Jaen, stoutest of heart and hand, fought with the Moors in the garden, while others struggled with the water, endeavouring to escape across the canal, in which attempt many horses were drowned.
Fortunately, the duke del Infantado perceived the snare into which his companions had fallen, and despatched his light cavalry to their assistance. The Moors were compelled to flight, and driven along the road of Elvira up to the gates of Granada.f. Several Christian cavaliers perished in this affray; the bishop himself escaped with difficulty, having slipped from his saddle in crossing the canal, but saving himself by holding on to the tail of his charger. This perilous achievement seems to have satisfied the good bishop's belligerent propensities. He retired on his lawels, (says Agapida,) to his city of Jaen; where,
in the fruition of all good things, he gradually waxed too corpulent for his corslet, which was hung up in the hall of his episcopal palace; and we hear no more of his military deeds throughout the residue of the holy war of Granada.*
King Ferdinand having completed his ravage of the Vega, and kept El Zagal shut up in his capital, conducted his army back through the pass of Lope to rejoin queen Isabella at Moclin. The fortresses lately taken being well garrisoned and supplied, he gave the command of the frontier to his cousin, Don Fadrique de Toledo, afterwards so famous in the Netherlands as the duke of Alva. The campaign being thus completely crowned with success, the sovereigns returned in triumph to the city of Cordova.
BOABDIL EL CHICO.
My conversation with the Moor in the Court of Lions, set me to musing on the singular fate of Boabdil. Never was surname more applicable than that bestowed upon him by his subjects, of “El Zogoybi,” or “the unlucky." His misfortunes began almost in his cradle. In his tender youth, he was imprisoned and menaced with death by an inhuman father, and only escaped through a mother's stratagem; in after years his life was imbittered and repeatedly endangered, by the hostilities of a usurping uncle; his reign was distracted by external invasions and internal feuds: he was 'alternately the foe, the prisoner, the friend, and always the dupe of Ferdinand, until conquered and dethroned by the mingled craft and force of that perfidious monarch. An exile from his native land, he took refuge with one of the princes of Africa, and fell obscurely in battle, fighting in the cause of a stranger. His misfortunes ceased not with his death. If Boabdil cherished a desire to leave an honourable name on the historic page, how cruelly has he been defrauded of his hopes ! Who is there that has turned the least attention to the romantic history of the Moorish domination in Spain, without kindling with indignation at the alleged atrocities of Boabdil? Who has not been touched with the woes of his lovely and gentle queen, subjected by him to a trial of life and death, on a false charge of infidelity? Who has not been
* “Don Luis Osorio fue obispo de Jaen desde el ano de 1483, y presidio in esta Iglesia hasta elde 1496 in que murio en Flandes, a donde fue accompanando a la princesa Dona Juana, esposa del archiduque Don Felipe.”—Espana Sagrada, por Fr. M. Risco, tom. 41, trat. 77, cap. 4.
hocked by his alleged murder of his sister and her two children, in a transport of passion? Who has not felt his blood boil, at the inhuman massacre of the gallant Abencerrages, thirty-six of whom, it is affirmed, he ordered to be beheaded in the Court of Lions? All these charges have been reiterated in various forms, they have passed into ballads, dramas, and romances, until they have taken too thorough possession of the public mind to be eradicated. There is not a foreigner of education that visits the Alhambra, but asks for the fountain where the Abencerrages were beheaded; and gazes with horror at the grated gallery where the queen is said to have been confined ; not a peasant of the Vega or the Sierra, but sings the story in rude couplets, to the accompaniment of his guitar, while his hearers learn to execrate the very name of Boabdil.
Never, however, was the name more foully and unjustly slandered. I have examined all the authentic chronicles and letters written by Spanish authors, contemporary with Boabdil; some of whom were in the confidence of the Catholic sovereigns, and actually present in the camp throughout the war. I have examined all the Arabian authorities I could get access to, through the medium of transla