The Vision of Don Roderick

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The Vision of Don Roderick is a poem by Sir Walter Scott, published in 1811. It celebrated the recent victories of the Duke of Wellington during the Peninsular War, and proceeds of its sale were to raise funds for Portugal. It is based on an account given by Ginés Pérez de Hita of a legendary consultation of an oracle by the last Visigothic King of Spain, Roderic, around 711.

The King, camped outside of Toledo, ponders the outcome of his campaign against the Moors. After confession, he demands that the prelate lead him to a certain sealed chamber, known to be enchanted, which according to legend would reveal the future — but only to the "last" King of Spain.

When the chamber is opened, the king and prelate find themselves in a vast marble hall, with two giant bronze statues standing on either side. The left-hand giant carries a scythe and an hourglass, and the right-hand giant carries a mace. The hourglass runs out almost immediately after their entrance, and the other giant turns and demolishes the far wall with his mace, revealing a magic panorama.

The panorama depicts various phases in the future of Spain: first, the conquest by the Moors; second, the Spanish Inquisition; third, the conquest by Napoleon I of France, and the arrival of British forces to liberate the country.

External links

  • First edition by Google Books
  • Article on the poem at the website of the University of Edinburgh Library