The Poem of the Cid

Ultimately, I found The Poem of the Cid rather disappointing.  The straightforward style lacked both the grandeur of other classic medieval epics–The Song of Roland, The Alexandreis–and the sparse, haunting beauty of the Anglo-Saxon poetry that I enjoy so much.  The first part of the poem, perhaps 50 lines, has apparently been lost, and this loss creates my favorite moment, the opening stanzas which suggest an air of mystery that is unfortunately present nowhere else.

Tears streamed from his eyes as he turned his head and stood looking at them.  He saw doors left open and gates unlocked, empty pegs without fur tunics or cloaks, perches without falcons or moulted hawks.  The Cid sighed, for he was weighed down with heavy cares.  Then he said, with dignity and restraint: ‘I give Thee thanks, O God, our Father in Heaven.  My wicked enemies have contrived this plot against me.’

First Cantar, I


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