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García Pérez de Vargas (Siglo XIII)

García Pérez de Vargas

Sevilla's under siege, that jewel of the Moors.
That city is the goal of great Castilla's corps.
That shining gem on great Guadalquivir's bright shore
great deeds does witness, stuff of legend, song and lore.

For sixteen months the Moor and Christian hosts do fight.
For now I tell the tale of one good Christian knight.
Garcia Perez, liege of Vargas, left and right
does wield the sword and lance and send the foe to flight.

One day the good knight rides patrol with but one squire.
Along the river's edge they meet with Moorish ire,
for seven paynims, with their weapons gleaming fire,
attack the pair, surrounding on three sides entire.

The squire's courage fails him all, for young was he.
He spurs his horse to flight but turns 'round once to see
his master's visor closed, the lance at rest, ready.
Garcia Perez will not yield, he will not flee.

The Knight of Vargas charges full; he holds naught back.
The seven Moors do marvel much at this attack.
They recognize his shield's device, their courage slacks.
The Moors retreat behind their line and bivouac.

As he returns to camp, the Lord of Vargas notes
his lady's scarf's no longer tied about his throat.
He rides in search of it, his chances quite remote.
Deep into Moorish lands he rides, much time devotes.

He runs across the seven Moors he'd met that day.
The scarf they'd found and looped around a spear displayed.
"Base caitiffs, stand your ground! My lady's pledge convey!"
He shouts and spurs his mount full forward to a fray.

When Don Garcia next returns to camp alone,
the scarf, his lady's favor, 'round his neck is thrown.
His head is bare, his sword is red, and thus bestrewn
around his pommel seven turbans are windblown.


Garcia Perez de Vargas was one of perhaps 24 Castilian knights and their men who followed Fernando III in his last great campaign to take Sevilla. They started from Córdoba in 1246, followed the Guadalquivir and took all of the cities between Córdoba and Sevilla, arriving near the city walls in July of 1247. Much of their fighting took place on the river with boats as well as on land. They effectively cut off all supply routes and lay siege until November of 1248, when the city faced starvation and capitulated. A romance (pronounced roh-MAHN-seh), the Spanish equivalent of a ballad, was written of de Vargas' exploits, but I was only able to find a translation of a fragment. The above is my own composition of that story, in English, written in a variation of a style of poetry, consisting of four-line stanzas of alexandrines, used largely by the intellectual and clerical class of 13th century Castille.


  • Florit, Eugenio. Spanish Poetry: A Selection. Dover Publications: New York, 1965, p. 2. ISBN: 0-486-22673-5
  • O'Callaghan, Joseph F. A History of Medieval Spain. Cornell University Press: Ithaca, NY, 1975, 4th printing 1992, p. 353. ISBN: 0-8014-9264-5.
  • Spence, Lewis. Myths and Legends: Spain. Bracken Books: London, 1985, p. 236-237. ISBN: 1-85891-042-0.

Post Script: This poem was entered in the poetry competition of Kingdoms Crusades in Atlantia and was one point shy of third place.

Fuente: Internet. © Ana Ravaya de Guzman. Texto: D.R.

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