Appendix, C.

From: Woman in the Nineteenth Century (1845)
Author: S. Margaret Fuller
Published: Greeley & McElrath 1845 New York



“‘Twas when the fifth Alphonso in Leon held his sway,
King Abdalla of Toledo an embassy did send;
He asked his sister for a wife, and in an evil day
Alphonso sent her, for he feared Abdalla to offend;
He feared to move his anger, for many times before
He had received in danger much succor from the Moor.

Sad heart had fair Theresa, when she their paction knew;
With streaming tears she heard them tell she ‘mong the Moors must go;
That she, a Christian damsel, a Christian firm and true,
Must wed a Moorish husband, it well might cause her wo;
But all her tears and all her prayers they are of small avail;
At length she for her fate prepares, a victim sad and pale.

The king hath sent his sister to fair Toledo town,
Where then the Moor Abdalla his royal state did keep;
When she drew near, the Moslem from his golden throne came down,
And courteously received her, and bade her cease to weep;
With loving words be pressed her to come his bower within;
With kisses he caressed her, but still she feared the sin.

“Sir King, Sir King, I pray thee,”—’twas thus Theresa spake,
“I pray thee, have compassion, and do to me no wrong;
For sleep with thee I may not, unless the vows I break,
Whereby I to the holy church of Christ my Lord belong;
For thou hast sworn to serve Mahoun, and if this thing should be,
The curse of God it must bring down upon thy realm and thee.

“The angel of Christ Jesu, to whom my heavenly Lord
Hath given my soul in keeping, is ever by my side;
If thou do to me dishonor, he will unsheath his sword,
And smite thy body fiercely, at the crying of thy bride;
Invisible he standeth; his sword like fiery flame,
Will penetrate thy bosom, the hour that sees my shame.”

The Moslem heard her with a smile; the earnest words she said,
He took for bashful maiden’s wile, and drew her to his bower:
In vain Theresa prayed and strove,—she pressed Abdalla’s bed,
Perforce received his kiss of love, and lost her maiden flower.
A woful woman there she lay, a loving lord beside,
And earnestly to God did pray, her succor to provide.

The angel of Christ Jesu her sore complaint did bear,
And plucked his heavenly weapon from out his sheath unseen,
He waved the brand in his right hand, and to the King came near,
And drew the point o’er limb and joint, beside the weeping Queen:
A mortal weakness from the stroke upon the King did fall;
He could not stand when day light broke, but on his knees must crawl.

Abdalla shuddered inly, when he this sickness felt,
And called upon his barons, his pillow to come nigh;
“Rise up,” he said “my liegemen,” and round his bed they knelt,
“And take this Christian lady, else certainly I die;
Let gold be in your girdles, and precious stones beside,
And away ride to Leon, and render up my bride.”

When they were come to Leon, Theresa would not go
Into her brother’s dwelling where her maiden years were spent;
But o’er her downcast visage a white veil she did throw,
And to the ancient nunnery of Las Huelgas went.
There, long, from worldly eyes retired, a holy life she led;
There she, an aged saint, expired; there sleeps she with the dead.”

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