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cathedral burnt and his clergy slain, they threw him into a dungeon, whence he was told he could only come forth upon the payment of a heavy ransom.
His flock loved him, and would have striven to raise the sum ; but, miserably used as they were by the enemy, and stripped by the exactions of the Danes, he would not consent that they should be asked for a further contribution on his account. After seven months' patience in his captivity, the Danish chiefs, who were then at Greenwich, desired him to be brought into their camp, where they had just been holding a great feast. It was Easter-eve, and the quiet of that day of calm waiting was disturbed with their songs, and shouts of drunken revelry, as the chained Archbishop was led to the open space where the warriors sat and lay amid the remains of their rude repast. The leader then told him that they had agreed to let him off for his own share with a much smaller payment than had been demanded, provided he would obtain a largesse for them from the king, his master.
“ I am not the man,” he answered, “to provide Christian flesh for Pagan wolves”; and when again they repeated the demand, “ Gold I have none to offer you, save the true wisdom of the knowledge of the living God.” And he began, as he stood in the midst, to “reason to them of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come.”
They were mad with rage and drink. The old man's voice was drowned with shouts of “ Gold, Bishop, — give us gold !” The bones and cups that lay around were hurled at him, and he fell to the ground, with the cry, “ O Chief Shepherd, guard Thine own children!” As he partly raised himself, axes were thrown at him ; and, at last, a Dane, who had begun to love and listen to him in his captivity, deemed it mercy to give him a death-blow with an
The English maintained that Ælfeg had died
to save his flock from cruel extortion, and held him as a saint and martyr, keeping his death-day (the 19th of April) as a holiday; and when the Italian Archbishop of Canterbury' (Lanfranc) disputed his right to be so esteemed, there was strong opposition and discontent. Indeed, our own Prayer-book still retains his nąme, under the altered form of St. Alphege; and surely no one better merits to be remembered, for having loved his people far better than himself.
N the early times of Spanish history, before the or the blight of Western gold had enervated the nation, the old honor and loyalty of the Gothic race were high and pure, fostered by constant combats with a generous enemy. The Spanish Arabs were indeed the flower of the Mahometan races, endowed with the vigor and honor of the desert tribes, yet capable of culture and civilization, excelling all other nations of their time in science and art, and almost the equals of their Christian foes in the attributes of chivalry. Wars with them were a constant crusade, consecrated in the minds of the Spaniards as being in the cause of religion, and yet in some degree freed from savagery and cruelty by the respect exacted by the honorable character of the enemy, and by the fact that the civilization and learning of the Christian kingdoms were far more derived from the Moors than from the kindred nations of Europe.
By the close of the thirteenth century, the Christian kingdoms of Castille and Aragon were descending from their mountain fastnesses, and spreading over the lovely plains of the south, even to the Mediterranean coast, as one beautiful Moorish city after another yielded to the persevering advances of the children of the Goths; and in 1291 the nephew of our own beloved Eleanor of Castille, Sancho V. called El Bravo, ventured to invest the city of Tarifa.
This was the western buttress of the gate of the Mediterranean, the base of the northern Pillar of Hercules, and esteemed one of the gates of Spain. By it five hundred years previously had the Moorish enemy first entered Spain at the summons of Count Julian, under their leader Tarif-abu-Zearah, whose name was bestowed upon it in remembrance of his landing there. The form of the ground is said to be like a broken punch-bowl, with the broken part towards the sea. The Moors had fortified the city with a surrounding wall and twenty-six towers, and had built a castle with a lighthouse on a small adjacent island, called Isla Verde, which they had connected with the city by a causeway.
Their fortifications, always admirable, have existed ever since, and in 1811, another five hundred years after, were successfully defended against the French by a small force of British troops under the command of Colonel Hugh Gough, better known in his old age as the victor of Aliwal. The walls were then unable to support the weight of artillery, for which of course they had never been built, but were perfectly effective against escalade.
For six months King Sancho besieged Tarifa by land and sea, his fleet, hired from the Genoese, lying in the waters where the battle of Trafalgar was to be fought.
The city at length yielded under stress of famine, but the king feared that he had no resources to enable him to keep it, and intended to dismantle and forsake it, when the Grand Master of the military order of Calatrava offered to undertake the defence with his knights for one year, hoping that some other noble would come forward at the end of that time and take the charge upon himself.
He was not mistaken. The noble who made himself responsible for this post of danger was a Leonese knight of high distinction, by name Alonso Perez de Guzman, already called El Bueno, or “The Good,” from the high qualities he had manifested in the service of the late king, Don Alonso VI., by whom he had always stood when the present king, Don Sancho, was in rebellion. The offer was readily accepted, and the whole Guzman family removed to Tarifa, with the exception of the eldest son, who was in the train of the Infant Don Juan, the second son of the late king, who had always taken part with his father against his brother, and on Sancho's accession, continued his enmity, and fled to Portugal.
The king of Portugal, however, being requested by Sancho not to permit him to remain there, he proceeded to offer his services to the king of Morocco, Yusuf-ben-Yacoub, for whom he undertook to recover Tarifa, if 5,000 horse were granted to him for the purpose. The force would have been most disproportionate for the attack of such a city as Tarifa, but Don Juan reckoned on means that he had already found efficacious ; when he had obtained the surrender of Zamora to his father by threatening to put to death a child of the lady in command of the fortress.
Therefore, after summoning Tarifa at the head of his 5,000 Moors, he led forth before the gates the boy who had been confided to his care, and declared that, unless the city were yielded instantly, Guzman should behold the death of his own son at his hand ! Before, he had had to deal with a weak woman on a question of divided allegiance. It was otherwise here. The point was whether the city should be made over to the enemies of the faith and country, whether the plighted word of a loyal knight should be broken. The boy was held in the grasp of the cruel prince, stretching out his hands and weeping