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DEPARTURE OF EL ZAGAL -HIS FATE.

479

lis petty army of two hundred men, followed by the execrations of the people of Granada, and the secret repining of those he had led into the field. No sooner had his subjects heard of the successes of Boabdil el Chico, than they had seized their arms, assembled tumultuously, declared for the young monarch, and threatened the life of El Zagal.* The unfortunate old king had with difficulty evaded their fury; and this last lesson seemed entirely to have cured him of his passion for sovereignty. He now entreated Ferdinand to purchase the towns and castles, and other possessions which had been granted to him; offering them at a low ratc, and begging safe passage for himself and his followers to Africa. King Ferdinand graciously complied with his wishes He purchased of him three-and-twenty towns and villages in the valleys of Andarax and Alhaurin, for which he gave him five millions of maravedies. El Zagal relinquished his right to one half of the salinas or salt-pits of Maleha, in favor of his brother-in-law, Cid Hiaya. Having thus disposed of his petty empire and possessions, he packed up all his treasure, of which he had a great amount, and, followed by many Moorish families, passed over to Africa.

And here let us cast an eye beyond the present period of our chronicle, and trace the remaining career of El Zagal. His short and turbulent reign, and disastrous end, would afford a wholesome lesson to unprincipled ambition, were not all ambition of the kind fated to be blind to precept and example. When he arrived in Africa, instead of meeting with kindness and sympathy, he was seized and thrown into prison by the caliph of Fez, Benimerin, as though he had been his vassal. He was accused of being the cause of the dissensions and downfall of the kingdom of Gra. pada : and the accusation being proved to the satisfaction of the

• Cura de los Palacios, cap. 97.

Coude, part 4, cap. 41.

king of Fez, he condemned the unhappy El Zagal to perpetual darkness. A basin of glowing copper was passed before his eyes, which effectually destroyed his sight. His wealth, which had probably been the secret cause of these cruel measures, was confiscated and seized upon by his oppressor; and El Pagal was thrust forth, blind, helpless, and destitute, upon the world. In this wretched condition, the late Moorish monarch groped his way through the regions of Tingitania, until he reached the city of Velez de la Gomera. The emir of Velez had formerly been his ally, and felt some movement of compassion at his present al. tered and abject state. He gave him food and raiment, and suffered him to remain unmolested in his dominions. Death, which so often hurries off the prosperous and happy from the midst of untasted pleasures, spares on the other hand the miserable, to drain the last drop of his cup of bitterness. El Zagal dragged out a wretched existence of many years, in the city of Velez. He wandered about blind and disconsolate, an object of mingled scorn and pity, and bearing above his raiment a parchment on which was written in Arabic, “ This is the unfortunate king of Andalusia."

* Marmol, de Rebelione Maur. lib. 1, cap. 16. Padraza, Hist. Granat, purt &. c. 4. Suarez, Hist. Obisp. de Guadix y Baza, cap. 10.

PREPARATIONS IN GRANADA.

481

CHAPTER XC.

Preparations of Granada for a desperate doluaco.

How is thy strength departed, oh Granada! how is thy beauty withered and despoiled, oh city of groves and fountains! The commerce that once thronged thy streets is at an end; the mer. chant no longer hastens to thy gates, with the luxuries of foreign lands. The cities which once paid thee tribute are wrested from thy sway; the chivalry which filled thy Vivarrambla with sumptuous pageantry, have fallen in many battles. The Alhambra still rears its ruddy towers from the midst of groves, but melancholy reigns in its marble halls; and the monarch looks down from his lofty balconies upon a naked waste, where once extended the blooming glories of the vega!

Such is the lament of the Moorish writers, over the lamentable state of Granada, now a mere phantom of former greatness. The two ravages of the vega, following so closely upon each other, had swept off all the produce of the year; and the husbandman had no longer the heart to till the field, seeing the ripening harvest only brought the spoiler to his door.

During the winter season, Ferdinand made diligent preparations for the campaign, that was to decide the fate of Granada. As this war was waged purely for the promotion of the Christiau faith, he thought it meet that its enemies should bear the ex

penses He levied, therefore, a general contribution upon the Jews throughout his kingdom, by synagogues and districts : and obliged them to render in the proceeds, at the city of Seville.

On the 11th of April, Ferdinand and Isabella departed for the Moorish froutier, with the solemn determination to lay close siege to Granada, and never quit its walls until they had planted the standard of the faith on the towers of the Alhambra. Many of the nobles of the kingdom, particularly those from parts remote from the scene of action, wearied by the toils of war, and foreseeing that this would be a tedious siege, requiring patience and vigilance rather than hardy deeds of arms, contented themselves with sending their vassals, while they staid at home, to attend to their domains. Many cities furnished soldiers at their cost, and the king took the field with an army of forty thousand infantry and ten thousand horse. The principal captains who followed him in this campaign, were Roderigo Ponce de Leon, the marques

of Cadiz, the master of Santiago, the marques of Ville na, the counts of Tendilla, Cifuentes, Cabra, and Urena, and Don Alonzo de Aguilar.

Queen Isabella, accompanied by her son the prince Juan, and the princesses Juana, Maria, and Cathalina, her daughters, proceeded to Alcala la Real, the mountain fortress and stronghold of the count de Tendilla. Here she remained, to forward supplies to the army, and to be ready to repair to the camp, whenever her presence might be required.

The army of Ferdinand poured into the vega, by various defiles of the mountains; and, on the 23d of April, the royal tent was pitched at a village called Los Ojos de Huescar, about a league and a half from Granada. At the approach of this for. midable force, the harassed inhabitants turned pale, and even

* Garibay, lib. 18, c. 39.

MUZA'S STURDY RESOLUTION.

483

many of the warriors trembled; for they felt that the last despe rate struggle was at hand.

Boabdil el Chico assembled his council in the Alhambra, from the windows of which they could behold the Christian squadrons glistening through clouds of dust, as they poured along the vega. The utmost confusion and consternation reigned in the council. Many of the members, terrified with the horrors impending over their families, advised Boabdil to throw ilimself upon the generosity of the Christian monarch : even several of the bravest sug. gested the possibility of obtaining honorable terms.

The wazir of the city, Abul Casim Abdel Melic, was called upon to report the state of the public means for sustenance and defence. There were sufficient provisions, he said, for a few months' supply, independent of what might exist in the possession of merchants and other rich inhabitants. " But of what avail,” said he, “is a supply for a few months, against the sieges of the Castilian monarch, which are interminable ?"

He produced, also, the lists of men capable of bearing arms “ The number," said he, “ is great; but what can be expected from mere citizen-soldiers? They vaunt and menace, in time of safety; none are so arrogant, when the enemy is at a distancebut when the din of war thunders at the gates, they hide them. selves in terror."

When Muza heard these words, he rose with generous warmth: " What reason have we,” said he, “ to despair ? The blood of those illustrious Moors, the conquerors of Spain, still flows in our veins. Let us be true to ourselves, and fortune will again be

We have a veteran force, both horse and foot, the flower of our chivalry, seasoned in war and scarred in a thousand battles. As to the multitude of our citizens, spoken of so slightly, why should we doubt their valor? There are twenty thousand young men, in the fire of youth, whom I will engage, that in the

with us.

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