Tuesday, September 12


Surrender of Boabdil of Granada to the Catholic Monarchs, January 2, 1492.

One of our loyal readers suggested yesterday would be a good day to re-read Chesterton's Lepanto. Today, incidentally, would be an even better one, being the feast of the Holy Name of Mary and the anniversary of the historical event it commemorates, the conclusion of the Battle of Vienna (İkinci Viyana Kuşatması in Turkish) in 1683, where the forces of the great Jan III Sobieski, elected King of Poland and Lion of Lehistan, confounded the machinations of the Grand Turk himself and his general, vizier Merzifonlu Kara Mustafa Pasha.
I am, however, reminded of the defeat of Abu 'abd Allah Muhammad XII, otherwise known as "the little," or el zogoybi, "the unfortunate," by the Catholic Sovereigns Fernando and Ysabel of Aragon and Castile on January 2, 1492, a day which marks the end of Spain's reconquest of the peninsula and the threshhold of her entry into the New World, a day full of the vivid red blood and red gold that is so characteristic of the Iberian Catholic character--gallant, visceral, direct, honorable to the point of touchiness, magnaminity and mercy to the defeated, and even a certain chivalric respect for their foes (when their conduct deserved it, of course), but not incapable of the controlled melancholy of reflection, aspects we find in one of Spain's more famous sons, that of Ignatius Loyola. It is good to recall the words of a popular song of the day, amid our own mourning here after September 11:

Levanta, Pascual, levanta
Aballemos a Granada
Que se suena qu'es tomada.

Lenata toste priado
Toma tu perro y currón,
Tu samarra y samarón,
Tus albogues y cayado
Vamos ver el gasajado
de aquella ciudad nombrada
Que se suena qu'es tomada.

Déxate desso, carillo,
Curemos bien del ganado,
No se meta en lo vedado,
Que nos prenda algún morillo,
Tañamos el caramillo,
Porque todo lo otro no es nada,
Que se suena qu'es tomada.

Yo te diré comó fue:
Que nuestra reina y el rey
Luzeros de nuestra ley,
Partieron de Santafé
Y partieron, soncas,
Que dizen que esta madrugada,
Que se suena qu'es tomada.

Luego allá estarán ya todos
Metidos en la ciudad
Con muy gran solemnidad
Con dulces cantos y modos
!O claridad de los godos,
Reyes de gloria nombrada!
Que se suena qu'es tomada.

¡Que consuelo y qué conhorte
Ver por torres y garitas
Alcar las cruces benditas!
¡O qué plazer y deporte!
Y entraba toda la crote a milagro atavida
Que se suena qu'es tomada.

Por vencer con tal victoria
Los reyes nuestros señores
Demos gracias y lores
Al eterno Rey de Gloria
Que jamás quedó memoria
De reyes tan acabada:
Que se suena qu'es tomada.

Get up, Pascual, get up,
Let's go with our flock to Granada,
They say the city's been taken!

Get up, hurry, make haste,
Get your dog and sack,
Your sheepskin and your apron,
Your shawm and shepherd's crook,
Let's go see the revels,
In that great city of renown:
They say the city's been taken!

I trow you think you've fooled me,
You're pulling my leg, I bet!
I tell you, even more than you,
I wish it were so,
But really, I see no proof
That what you say is true,
They say the city's been taken!

Don't talk such nonsense, my friend,
We had better tend our flocks
Lest they stray into hostile land,
Caught in a Moorish trap.
Let's pipe up a merry tune
For the rest is idle gossip,
They say the city's been taken!

I'll tell you how it came to pass:
Our queen and the kind,
The shining stars of our faith,
Rode out from Santafé
And truly, they both set out
Before the break of day:
They say the city's been taken!

The city with our assembled hosts
Must at this hour be teeming
With solemn celebrations
and manners sweet and singing.
O fairest of the Gothic line,
Our sovereigns of glorious name!
They say the city's been taken!

What comfort and what solace,
To see on every turret high
The blessed cross displayed!
What pleasure and what sport!
And all the Court pass through the gates,
Most splendidly arrayed:
They say the city's been taken!

For this victory of our lord and lady,
Our victorious kind and queen
Let us now give thanks and praise
To the eternal King of Glory
For never so perfect
A king was known to history:
They say the city's been taken!

~Juan del Enzina,
on the fall of the City of Granada to their Catholic Majesties, 2 January 1492

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