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T is the autumnal equinox. The hurricane sweeps with potent breath the leaves of the olive and the vine in the provinces of the south, and directs its course, howling, towards the Basque mountains. The night is dark; the woods of Biscay, the precipitous cliffs of Guipuzcoa, and the and plains of Alava, are full of those tremendous echoes which appal the manliest spirit. The homesteads and granges are stirred to their foundations; the lofty chimneys are shaken; and the proud chestnut which grows near the doors shake their branches in a

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furious manner as though engaged in a noble wrestling with the wind. The hurricane continues its unbridled march. On meeting with the boulders of rocks overtopping the mountains, it seems to wish, in its fury, to wrench them suddenly, and cast them wrathfully down; and then, turning round in its impotent rage, encircles the huge bulks with mighty spirals of whirlwinds; and on witnessing how futile are all its efforts, it casts itself headlong, roaring, into the valleys. Then to that fearful noise is mingled the pitiful cries of nature assailed and beaten.

The Echeco-Jauna 1 sleeps peacefully, as well as his faithful mastiff, without being disturbed by those dismal howlings so familiar to the sons of the mountains and of the forests. The mastiff, however, suddenly raises its enormous head, pricks up its ears, opens its jaws, and utters a howl of alarm. The echeco-jauna lifts his head, and, leaning his elbow on the bed pillow, lends attentive ear, and with feverish hand grasps the bugle of war.

What was it awoke the echeco-jauna? And what alarmed the mastiff? Amid the howlings of the tempest a great voice was heard: this voice resounded from beyond the Ebro. It was the cry of a whole people offended in its dignity and stained in its honour.

Thus did our Basque chieftain and his faithful mastiff

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interpret that cry. They both ascended the summit of the mountains, and to the roaring of the tempest is quickly added the sound of the bugle of war.

All at once huge flames shoot up along the entire chain of mountains from Larum, the frontier of Navarre, to Tolosa, the frontier of Castile. And the echoing sound of the war-bugle rises above the noises of the storm, flies across the woods of Biscay, along the precipices of Guipuzcoa, and sweeps the arid plains of Alava. And the chieftains of the three tribes, from the heights of Gorbea, 1 Amboto, 2 and Aitzgorri, 3 repeat unceasingly the war cry, floating the standards of war lashed by the tempest. From Gorbea, from Amboto, and from Aitzgorri issue the call which no Basque ever leaves unanswered.

Ia, ia, ia, ó, ó, ó! Bill-Zaar, in Vitoria, in Tolosa, and in Guernica! 4

And this call vibrated throughout the whole

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[paragraph continues] Euscuara 1 nation, who replied with tremendous vehemence: "Ia, ia, ia, ó, ó, ó, bill-zaar, bill-zaar!"

"Rise up from your sepulchres, ye warriors and bards of historic times! Shake off the funeral dust of ages; tear asunder the grave-clothes, ye Zurias, ye Ayalas, ye Lavas, and thousands of other heroes of ancient Euscarian epic poetry! Hasten to attend the 'bill-zaar' of Biscay, of Guipuzcoa, and of Alava. Your descendants have not yet become degenerate; there you will hear from mouth to mouth the motto of your ancient shields--Ill, edo guaraitu!"


"In what are you engaged, illustrious Alavese matron?"

"In broidering for my son, who goes to the Holy War, this blessed scapular of Our Lady ad Nives."

"And you, beautiful Bergarese maiden, what work are you doing?"

"I am working for the idol of my heart, who is proceeding to the Holy War, the scapular of Our Lady of Aránzanzu."

"What work is that which so occupies you, noble daughter of Durango?" 2

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"I am busy making a scapular of the Virgin of Begoña for my beloved brother to wear as he goes to the Holy War."

"And do you know where your son and lover and brother are going to, noble Basques?"

"Listen, stranger: they are going across Spain, as in the ancient days they crossed Gallias; they are going to pass the strait, as they formerly passed the Rhodano; they are going to utter their cry of war and victory from the heights of Atlas, as they once did on the plains of Capua. They are going to assist their brothers of Castile; they are going to wash out the affront which stains the face of our common mother; they are going to die or conquer as they did in Regil, 1 as in Cannas, 2 as in Covadonga, 3 and as in Navas.

"Do you see, stranger, those three diaphanous clouds which float on the horizon? They enclose the souls of the ancient heroes who died for their country. Do you hear the sweet melodies which pierce the winds?

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[paragraph continues] They are the voices of those who are praying to God for the victory and triumph of their descendants. Do you perceive the wide ray of light which illumines the whole Euscuara land? It is but the dim reflex of the brilliant aureole which crowns the glorious brows of those who die for their God, for their country, and for their king.

"Our war flags, our standard of the Three Hands shall wave by the side of the glorious flag of Castile, and then, alas! for the standard of Mahomet!

"Should our sons perish, there yet remain ourselves to avenge their death. If our sons die, their souls will ascend in diaphanous clouds, intoning hymns to God, their glorious brows crowned with aureoles which will far exceed the sun in brightness."

Thus spoke the illustrious dames and maidens of the Basque provinces.

"May you be blessed of God one and a thousand times, noble women!" replied the stranger, and then disappeared.


"Come, sons of the mountains! Rise up like one man to the sound of the hymn of war and liberty! Thirty ages of combats and victories have distinguished the three tribes of the Pyrenees and cast over them a splendour--a splendour which has never been dimmed of its pristine glories.

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"Sus, sons of Aitor, the famous and enlightened founder of our progeny! Go, for your brothers from beyond the Ebro are calling ye. Grasp with powerful arm the victorious weapon, and march towards Africa, with your noble faces lifted up, your looks haughty, and your countenances calm. March towards Africa, and may your war-whoop shake the Atlas! There do new combats await you and new triumphs. Wrestle until you die against your enemies, and God grant that your glory may ever shine brightly like the flames of the three lamps in the feasts of the mysterious!"

Thus spoke the Basque chieftain; and three powerful armies replied to the spirited call, and ran to the combat amid the frenzied acclamations of a whole nation, who cried out:

"Ia, ia, ia, ó, ó, ó, ill edo garaitu."



227:1 Echeco-Jauna. The head of the family, proprietor, &c.

228:1 Gorbea. A mountain of Alava, which overlooks the plains upon which stands the city of Vitoria.

228:2 Amboto. A very high cliff situated on the frontiers of Guipuzcoa, Alava, and Biscay.

228:3 Aitzgorri. Mountain of Guipuzcoa: a continuation of Aloña. It rises 1·800 metres above the level of the sea.

228:4 Guernica, Arriaga, and Guerekiz. The three camps where in ancient times were gathered together the bill-zaars, or meetings of the ancients. The first was in Alava, the second in Biscay, and the third in Guipuzcoa.

229:1 "Euscuara, or Euscara. The name given by the Basque to those who speak it." See Essay on the Basque Language, by M. Julien Vinson, in "Basque Legends," by the Rev. Wentworth Webster.

229:2 Durango. Principal town of Biscay.

230:1 Regil. The ancient Errazill. A town close to Tolosa, of Guipuzcoa. Its inhabitants routed the Romans in the time of Augustus.

230:2 Cannas. A celebrated battle gained by Hannibal against the Romans. A vanguard of the Carthaginian army which decided the victory was composed of Basque auxiliaries.

230:3 Covadonga, Navas, and Salado. Three famous sanguinary battles, in which the Moors were routed: in these the Basque legions took an active part.

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