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While Muza was forming his encampment, deserters from the city brought him word that a chosen band intended to sally forth at midnight and surprise his camp. The Arab commander immediately took measures to receive them with a counter surprise. Having formed his plan and communicated it to his principal officers, he ordered that throughout the day, there should be kept up an appearance of negligent confusion in his encampment. The outposts were feebly guarded; fires were lighted in various places, as if preparing for feasting ; bursts of music and shouts of revelry resounded from different quarters, and the whole camp seemed to be rioting in careless security on the plunder of the land. As the night advanced, the fires were gradually extinguished, and silence ensued, as if the soldiery had sunk into a deep sleep after the carousal.
In the mean time, bodies of troops had been secretly and silently marched to reinforce the outposts; and the renegado Magued, with a numerous force, had formed an ambuscade in a deep stone quarry, by which the Christians would have to pass. These preparations being made, they awaited the approach of the enemy in breathless silence.
About midnight, the chosen force intended for the sally assembled, and the command was confided to Count Tendero, a Gothic cavalier of tried prowess. After having heard a solemn mass, and received the benedic. tion of the priest, they marched out of the gate with all possible silence. They were suffered to pass the ambuscade in the quarry without molestation : as they approached the Moslem camp everything appeared quiet; for the foot soldiers were concealed in slopes and hollows, and every Arab horseman lay in his armor beside his steed. The senti. nels on the outposts waited until the Christians were close at hand, and then fed in apparent consternation.
Count Tendero gave the signal for assault, and the Christians rushed confidently forward. In an instant an uproar of drums, trumpets, and shrill war cries burst forth from every side. An army seemed to spring up from the earth; squadrons of horse came thundering on them in front, while the quarry poured forth legions of armed warriors in their
The noise of the terrific conflict that took place was heard on the city walls, and answered by shouts of exultation ; for the Christians thought it rose from the terror and confusion of the Arab camp. In a little while, however, they were undeceived by fugitives from the fight, aghast with terror, and covered with wounds. · Hell itself,' cried they, ‘is on the side of these infidels; the earth casts forth warriors and steeds to aid them. We have fought, not with men, but devils !
The greater part of the chosen troops who had sallied, were cut to pieces in that scene of massacre, for they had been confounded by the tempest of battle which suddenly broke forth around them. Count Tendero fought with desperate valor, and fell covered with wounds. His body was found the next morning, lying among the slain, and transpierced with half a score of lances. The renegado Magued cut off his head and tied it to the tail of his horse, and repaired with this savage trophy to the tent of Muza ; but the hostility of the Arab general was of a less malignant kind. He ordered that the head and body should be placed together upon a bier, and treated with becoming reverence,
In the course of the day, a train of priests and friars came forth from the city to request permission to seek for the body of the count. Muza delivered it to them, with many soldier-like encomiums on the valor of that good cavalier. The priests covered it with a pall of cloth of gold, and bore it back in melancholy procession to the city, where it was received with loud lamentations.
The siege was now pressed with great vigor, and repeated assaults were made, but in vain. Muza saw at length that the walls were too high to be scaled, and the gates too strong to be burst open without the aid of engines; and he desisted from the attack until machines for the purpose could be constructed. The governor suspected from this cessation of active warfare, that the enemy flattered themselves to reduce the place by famine; he caused, therefore, large baskets of bread to be ihrown from the wall, and sent a messenger to Muza to inform him that if his army should be in want of bread he would supply it, having suffi. cient corn in his granaries for a ten years' siege.
The citizens, however, did not possess the undaunted spirit of their governor. When they found that the Moslems were constructing tremendous engines for the destruction of their walls, they lost all courage, and, surrounding the governor in a clamorous multitude, compelled him to send forth persons to capitulate.
The ambassadors came into the presence of Muza with awe; for they expected to find a fierce and formidable warrior in one who had filled the land with terror: but, to their astonishment, they beheld an ancient and venerable man, with white hair, a snowy beard, and à pale, emaciated countenance. He had passed the previous night without sleep, and had been all day in the field : he was exhausted, therefore, by watchfulness and fatigue; and his garments were covered with dust.
• What a devil of a man is this,' murmured the ambassadors to one another, to undertake such a siege when on the verge of the grave! Let us defend our city the best way we can ; surely we can hold out longer than the life of this greybeard.'
They returned to the city therefore, scoffing at an invader who seemed fitter to lean on a crutch than to wield a lance; and the terms offered by Muza, which would otherwise have been thought favorable, were scornfully rejected by the inhabitants. A few days put an end to this mistaken confidence. Abdalasis, the son of Muza, arrived from Africa at the head of his reinforcement: he brought seven thousand horsemen, and a host of Barbary archers; and made a glorious display as he marched into the camp. The arrival of this youthful warrior was hailed with great acclamations; so much had he won the hearts of the soldiery by the frankness, and suavity, and generosity of his conduct. Immediately after his arrival a grand assault was made upon the city; and several of the huge battering engines being finished, they were wheeled up, and began to thunder against the walls.
The unsteady populace were again seized with terror; and surrounding their governor with fresh clamors, obliged him to send forth ambassadors a second time to treat of a surrender. When admitted to the presence of Muza, the ambassadors could scarcely believe their eyes; or that this was the same withered, white-headed old man, of whom they
had lately spoken with scoffing. His hair and beard were tinged of a ruddy brown; his countenance was refreshed by repose, and flushed with indignation; and he appeared a man in the matured vigor of his days. The ambassadors were struck with awe. Surely,' whispered they one to the other,' this must be either a devil or a magician, who can thus make himself old and young at pleasure !
Muza received them haughtily. Hence!' said he, and tell your people I grant them the same terms I have already proffered, provided the city be instantly surrendered ; but, by the head of Mahomet, if there be any further delay not one mother's son of ye shall receive mercy at
The deputies returned into the city pale and dismayed. "Go forth ! go forth !' cried they, and accept whatever terms are offered : of what avail is it to fight against men who can renew their youth at pleasure ? Behold, we left the leader of the infidels an old and feeble man, and today we find him youthful and vigorous !
The place was, therefore, surrendered forthwith, and Muza entered it in triumph. His terms were merciful. Those who chose to remain were protected in persons, possessions, and religion : he took the property of those only who abandoned the city, or had fallen in battle ; together with all arms and horses, and treasures and ornaments of the churches. Among these sacred spoils was found a cup, made of a sin. gle pearl, which a king of Spain in ancient times, had brought from the temple of Jerusalem when it was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar. This prize was presented by Muza to the caliph, and placed in the principal mosque of the city of Damascus.
Muza knew how to esteem merit even in an enemy. When Sacarus, the governor of Merida, appeared before him, he lauded him greatly for the skill and courage he had displayed in defence of his city; and, taking off his own scimitar, which was of great value, girded it upon him with his own hands. • Wear this,' said he, “as a poor memorial of my admiration; a soldier of such virtue and valor is worthy of far higher honors.'
He would have engaged the governor in his service, or have persuaded him to remain in the city, as an illustrious vassal of the caliph; but the noble-minded Sacarus refused to bend to the yoke of the conquerors; nor could he bring himself to reside contentedly in his country, when subjected to the domination of the infidels. Gathering together all those who chose to accompany him into exile, he embarked, to seek some country where he might live in peace, and in the free exercise of his religion. What shore these ocean-pilgrims landed
has never been revealed; but tradition vaguely gives us to believe that it was some unknown island, far in the bosom of the Atlantic.
Adieu my hall! Welcome blue Sea!
And, when we float upon it,
Speak, speak once more, dear bonnet!
• There's sky o'er land, there's Heaven o'er sea,
Ride, may'st thou, deftly on it!
And take this thought from my deep heart
And pin thy faith upon it:
Thou gentle crimson bonnet !
Guard well the head we love so well
And rest thee lightly on it; My rhyme grows sad - grave now thy spell —
Farewell! thou much-lov'd bonnet!
I MP R I S O N M ENT FOR
D E B T.
*Down with the law that binds them thus,
Unworthy freemen! - let it find
of God and human kind:
Among all the laws which our country ever sanctioned, and all the customs which we as an enlightened nation ever practised, none in barbarity of purpose and cruelty of execution ever equalled that most impious of all human laws, which permits the imprisoning of individuals for debt. This law stands alone, without a single parallel in the history of modern times. It stands as a monitor, warning nations that its approach is danger!' It is an impartial as well as a malicious law; for not only does it exert its force on the guilty, on those who borrow with an intention never to pay, but it also exercises its power with equal malice on the innocent. If it were not for this; if it were not for the fact that those who are unavoidably in debt, those who are in debt to avoid starvation, are confounded with those who are guilty, those who borrow money to spend in delusive pleasures, the cruelty of this law would be somewhat abated. But the power of man cannot always discern the innocent from the guilty; man cannot always fathom what lies concealed in the intricacies of the heart. Hence injustice is often practised in relation to this and every other law. Persons conscious of no guilt whatever, have been seized upon as felons; their cries for mercy disregarded; and they themselves ruthlessly cast into prison. All this proceeds from the mistaken notion of converting debt into crime ; of making debt a criminal transaction. That it is not a criminal transaction, any person who investigates the subject will at once perceive.