British Muslim Heritage > Poetry 
Yahya-en-Nasr Parkinson. IW, viii, 116-9.
A palace on the Tagus stood, a noble pile,
Built by Don Roderic in Gothic style
To gratify the wishes of his Queen:
The turrets mocked the morning with their sheen;
The song of birds resounded on the air,
Perfume of flowers of fragrance rich and rare;
While gushing fountains tossed their mimic sprays
And tiny cascades murmured songs of praise;
In leafy bower and grove the crooning dove
And maiden fair re-told their tales of love.
In this abode, with its enchanting bowers,
The Gothic monarch whiled away the hours;
The pleasures of the table had their charms,
He thought his kingdom safe from foreign arms;
In weak indulgence all his time was spent
And idle courtiers' festive merriment;
Degenerate nobles held him as in thrall
And their example brought about his fall;
The sensual passions that had dormant lain
When first his sabre made him lord of Spain,
Now sapped by pleasure, passed beyond control;
Luxurious life had seared the sovereign's soul.
One summer day, in noontide's scorching ray,
When silver Tagus murmured on its way,
And Nature languished in the sultry heat,
And lazy courtiers sought a cool retreat,
Where grassy slopes 'neath orange trees were laid,
And arbors, myrtle-covered, sank in shade;
To where his Consort's own apartments lay
Don Roderic was constrained to wend his way,
Altho' those private chambers scarce had known,
The voice of man, for woman's voice alone
Those gorgeous arcades, fairy gardens knew,
Where beauty's rarest treasures, fairest grew.
While passing by an alcove, on his ear
The sound of merry laughter rippled clear;
And tho' an eastern casement almost hid
An overgrowth of jasmine flowers amid;
Still thro' the overhanging flowery maze
A scene of beauty met the monarch's gaze.
Around a fountain in an orange court
His Consort's damsels in the sun disport;
Some plucked the myrtle, others ivy twined,
And some asleep on grassy sloped reclined;
And some within the fountain's sparkling wave
Their lithesome limbs with cooling waters lave.
The busy voices told discussion raged,
And some keen rivalry the point engaged;
Among the women of the east and west
Each claimed her nation as the handsomest;
And to maintain the point with fingers deft,
Each maid in haste in twain her garment reft;
The proudest beauties of the Gothic Court
Revealed a row of shining limbs in sport.
Amid the group a Mauritanian maid
A form majestic on the lawn displayed;
A slender waist and finely-curving hip,
And limbs unrivalled in their workmanship;
Eyes dark as sloes that languid lashes crown,
And ruby lips, with skin a deep nut-brown;
And mingling with her cheek's nut-coloured hue
A tinge of crimson roses kindled thro';
In due proportion rose each dusky mound,
Her supple figure seemed to skim the ground.
Amid Espaņa's beauties gathered there
Could any with the Moorish maid compare?
They soon bethought themselves, those damsels gay,
And turned to where the young Florinda lay
Asleep upon a bank. The glow of health
Upon her cheek bestowed an ample wealth
Of loveliness; and youth and innocence
Their lavish store of purity dispense;
Beneath her robe her bosom rose and fell
As gentle as the ocean's tranquil swell;
Her parted lips revealed an ivory set
As white as foam where angry billows fret;
To hide the orbs the eyelids strove in vain
'Behold!' they cried, 'the fairest maid in Spain!'
And in their eagerness to show her charms
Her dress unloosed; she started in their arms;
And thro' the casement bars the Gothic sire
Beheld a size that set his veins on fire;
Her cheek with mantling blushes burned and shone
As faintest sunrise blushing into dawn;
A matchless form as purest marble white
Disclosed itself unto Don Roderic's sight;
No maiden under Mauritanian skies
Displayed a pair of limbs like those fair thighs;
The swelling breasts in perfect contour rose,
And dusky vales in purple shade repose;
The wanton sunlight on her body played,
And every move her virgin charms betrayed;
No lovelier figure dazzled Paris' eyes
When naked Venus claimed the beauty prize,
And Juno strove to win the golden globe
And even virgin Pallas doffed her robe.
From that day henceforth with alluring art
King Roderic tried to win the maiden's heart;
Animal passions roused his sexual heat
And laid him captive at Florinda's feet,
But all in vain; no wanton woman she,
A virgin chaste of spotless purity;
Her silken lashes drooped whene'er he gazed,
The heaving bosom told of anger raised;
On either cheek a red-spot's mounting flame
Enhanced her beauty with a girlish shame;
His amorous glance no secret answer drew,
With each repulse his passion stronger grew;
One fierce desire alone his soul possessed,
To win or die upon Florinda's breast,
His midnight dreams unveiled her agile form,
And daylight visions only swelled the storm;
To conquer, conquer, was his only thought
In spite of all and whether she would or not.
And chance betrayed Espaņa's fairest flower
And placed her in th' adulterous sovereign's power;
No art would tempt her, and no wiles allure,
But force alone would make the victory sure.
Helpless she lies, distraught at her disgrace,
No arm to save her from the King's embrace.
In Afric land, where Moorish turbans stream,
Her father's lances shine and helmets gleam;
She feels his grasp, his hot breath fans her cheek;
Her lips go dry, she tries but fails to speak.
Seduced! A deed of shame is written now
Upon the Spanish monarch's guilty brow;
Florinda ravished by a perjured king;
But Fate shall speedy retribution bring;
As Helen, ravished by a Trojan boy,
Brought woes unnumbered on the homes of Troy,
The doom of Spain is writ in runes of stars,
Beyond the main; the theatening scimitars;
A narrow sea; a fleet of ships appears;
A one-eyed warrior and a host of spears;
A flowing river and a distant coast;
The marshalling squadrons of the Gothic host;
A shout of Allah and a rushing flood;
A crash of steel and thickening pools of blood;
They sink and die; the Muslim banners soar;
The rape's avenged, the Gothic rule is o'er. | British Muslim Heritage