Page:The Coming Race, etc - 1888.djvu/190

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176
Leila.

daring valour, mature age, and military sagacity, had won him a powerful party within the city—had been, some months since, conquered by Ferdinand; and, in yielding the possessions he held, had been rewarded with a barren and dependent principality. His defeat, far from benefiting Boabdil, had exasperated the Moors against their king. "For," said they, almost with one voice, "the brave El Zagal never would have succumbed had Boabdil properly supported his arms." And it was the popular discontent and rage at El Zagal's defeat, which had, indeed, served Boabdil with a reasonable excuse for shutting himself in the strong fortress of the Alhambra. It now happened, that El Zagal, whose dominant passion was hatred of his nephew, and whose fierce nature chafed at its present cage, resolved, in his old age, to blast all his former fame by a signal treason to his country. Forgetting everything but revenge against his nephew, whom he was resolved should share his own ruin, he armed his subjects, crossed the country, and appeared at the head of a gallant troop in the Spanish camp, an ally with Ferdinand against Granada. When this was heard by the Moors, it is impossible to conceive their indignant wrath: the crime of El Zagal produced an instantaneous reaction in favour of Boabdil; the crowd surrounded the Alhambra, and with prayers and tears entreated the forgiveness of the king. This event completed the conquest of Boabdil over his own irresolution. He ordained an assembly of the whole army in the broad space of the Vivarrambla: and when at break of day he appeared in full armour in the square, with Muza at his right hand, himself in the flower of youthful beauty, and proud to feel once more a hero and a king, the joy of the people knew no limit; the air was rent with cries of" Long live Boabdil el Chico!" and the young monarch, turning to Muza, with his soul upon his brow, exclaimed, "The hour has come—I am no longer El Zogoybi!"