The Acclamation of Pelayo

Robert Southey

Now, when from Covadonga, down the vale
Holding his way, the princely mountaineer
Came with that happy family in sight
Of Cangas and his native towers, far off
He saw before the gate, in fair array,
The assembled land. Broad banners were displayed,
And spears were sparkling to the sun, shields shone,
And helmets glittered, and the blaring horn,
With frequent sally of impatient joy,
Provoked the echoes round. Well he areads,
From yonder ensigns and augmented force,
That Odoar and the Primate from th.e west
Have brought their aid; but wherefore all were thus
Instructed as for some great festival,
He found not, till Pavila's quicker eye
Catching the ready buckler, the glad boy
Leapt up, and, clapping his exultant hands,
Shouted, King! King! my father shall be king
This day! Pelayo started at the word,
And the first thought which smote him brought a sigh
For Roderick's fall; the second was of hope,
Deliverance for his country, for himself
Enduring fame, and glory for his line.

*    *    *

Roderick brought
The buckler: eight for strength and stature chosen
Came to their honored office; round the shield
Standing, they lower it for tlie chieftain's feet,
Then, slowly raised upon their shoulders, lift
The steady weight. Ereet Pelayo stands,
And three he brandishes the burnished sword,
While Urban to the assembled people cries,
"Spaniards, behold your king!" The multitude
Then sent forth all their voice with glad acclaim,
Raising the loud Real; thrice did the word
Ring through the air, and echo from the walls
Of Cangas. Tar and wide the thundering shout,
Rolling among reduplicating rocks,
Pealed o'er the hills, and up the mountain vales.
The wild ass starting in the forest glade
Ran to the covert; the affrighted wolf
Skulked through the thicket to a closer brake;
The sluggish bear, awakened in his den,
Roused up and answered with a sullen growl,
Low-breathed and long ; and at the uproar scared,
The brooding eagle from her nest took wing.