The Roll Of The De Silva Race.

A poem by Victor Marie Hugo

("Celui-ci, des Silvas, c'est l'aîné.")

[HERNANI, Act III.]


In that reverend face
Behold the father of De Silva's race,
Silvius; in Rome he filled the consul's place
Three times (your patience for such honored names).
This second was Grand Master of St. James
And Calatrava; his strong limbs sustained
Armor which ours would sink beneath. He gained
Thirty pitched battles, and took, as legends tell,
Three hundred standards from the Infidel;
And from the Moorish King Motril, in war,
Won Antiquera, Suez, and Nijar;
And then died poor. Next to him Juan stands,
His son; his plighted hand was worth the hands
Of kings. Next Gaspar, of Mendoza's line -
Few noble stems but chose to join with mine:
Sandoval sometimes fears, and sometimes woos
Our smiles; Manriquez envies; Lara sues;
And Alancastre hates. Our rank we know:
Kings are but just above us, dukes below.
Vasquez, who kept for sixty years his vow -
Greater than he I pass. This reverend brow,
This was my sire's - the greatest, though the last:
The Moors his friend had taken and made fast -
Alvar Giron. What did my father then?
He cut in stone an image of Alvar,
Cunningly carved, and dragged it to the war;
He vowed a vow to yield no inch of ground
Until that image of itself turned round;
He reached Alvar - he saved him - and his line
Was old De Silva's, and his name was mine -
Ruy Gomez.

King CARLOS. Drag me from his lurking-place
The traitor!

[DON RUY leads the KING to the portrait behind
which HERNANI is hiding.]

Sire, your highness does me grace.
This, the last portrait, bears my form and name,
And you would write this motto on the frame!
"This last, sprung from the noblest and the best,
Betrayed his plighted troth, and sold his guest!"

LORD F. LEVESON GOWER (1ST EARL OF ELLESMERE)

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