Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 2.djvu/102

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Long ere the first loud trumpet's note is heard,
Ne vacant space for lated wight is found:
Here Dons, Grandees, but chiefly Dames abound,
Skilled in the ogle of a roguish eye,
Yet ever well inclined to heal the wound;
None through their cold disdain are doomed to die,
As moon-struck bards complain, by Love's sad archery.


Hushed is the din of tongues—on gallant steeds,
With milk-white crest, gold spur, and light-poised lance,
Four cavaliers prepare for venturous deeds,

And lowly-bending to the lists advance;

    the picadores or horsemen, the matadores or espadas the executioners. Each bull-fight, which lasts about twenty minutes, is divided into three stages or acts. In the first act the picadores receive the charge of the bull, defending themselves, but not, as a rule, attacking the foe with their lances or garrochas. In the second act the chulos, who are not mounted, wave coloured cloaks or handkerchiefs in the bull's face, and endeavour to divert his fury from the picadores, in case they have been thrown or worsted in the encounter. At the same time, the banderilleros are at pains to implant in either side of the bull's neck a number of barbed darts ornamented with cut paper, and, sometimes, charged with detonating powder. It is de rigeur to plant the barbs exactly on either side. In the third and final act, the protagonist, the matador or espada, is the sole performer. His function is to entice the bull towards him by waving the muleta or red flag, and, standing in front of the animal, to inflict the death-wound by plunging his sword between the left shoulder and the blade. "The teams of mules now enter, glittering with flags and tinkling with bells, whose gay decorations contrast with the stern cruelty and blood; the dead bull is carried oft at a rapid gallop, which always delights the populace."—Handbook for Spain, by Richard Ford. 1898, i. 67-76.]