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Ancient Spanish Ballads


Ralph Waldo Emerson left the ministry to pursue a career in writing and public speaking. Emerson became one of America's best known and best-loved 19th-century figures.
More About Emerson

Emerson Quotes

"Every man has his own courage, and is betrayed because he seeks in himself the courage of other persons."
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” 
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ancient Spanish Ballads, Historical and Romantic. Translated, By J. G. LOCKHART. New York: Wiley & Putnam.

The enterprising publishers, Messrs. Wiley & Putnam, who have reprinted, in a plain but very neat form, Mr. Lockhart's gorgeously illustrated work, have judiciously prefixed to it, by way of introduction, a critique on the book from the Edinburgh Review, and have added at the end of the volume an analytical account, with specimens of the Romance of the Cid, from the Penny Magazine. This is done with the greatest propriety, for the Cid seems to be the proper centre of Spanish legendary poetry. The Iliad, the Nibelungen, the Cid, the Robin Hood Ballads, Frithiof's Saga, (for the last also depends for its merit on its fidelity to the legend,) are five admirable collections of early popular poetry of so many nations; and with whatever difference of form, they possess strong mutual resemblances, chiefly apparent in the spirit which they communicate to the reader, of health, vigor, cheerfulness, and good hope. In this day of reprinting and of restoration, we hope that Southey's Chronicle of the Cid, which is a kind of "Harmony of the Gospels" of the Spanish Romance, may be republished in a volume of convenient size. That is a strong book, and makes lovers and admirers of "My Cid, the Perfect one, who was born in a fortunate hour." Its traits of heroism and bursts of simple emotion, once read, can never be forgotten; "I am not a man to be besieged;" and "God! What a glad man was the Cid on that day," and many the like words still ring in our ears. The Cortes at Toledo, where judgment was given between the Cid and his sons-in-law, is one of the strongest dramatic scenes in literature. Several of the best ballads in Mr. Lockhart's collection recite incidents of the Cid's history. The best ballad in the book is the "Count Alarcos and the Infanta Solisa," which is a meet companion for Chaucer's Griselda. The "Count Garci Perez de Vargas" is one of our favorites; and there is one called the "Bridal of Andalla," which we have long lost all power to read as a poem, since we have heard it sung by a voice so rich, and sweet, and penetrating, as to make the ballad the inalienable property of the singer.


Ralph Waldo Emerson left the ministry to pursue a career in writing and public speaking. Emerson became one of America's best known and best-loved 19th-century figures.
More About Emerson

Emerson Quotes

"Every man has his own courage, and is betrayed because he seeks in himself the courage of other persons."
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” 
– Ralph Waldo Emerson