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Can anyone explain (in Spanish or English) the meaning of the following lines in "A buen juez, mejor testigo" by José Zorrilla (particularly the last two lines)?

A este lado está la almena
por do sacó vigilante
el conde don Peranzules
al rey, que supo una tarde
fingir tan tenaz modorra,
que político y constante,
tuvo siempre el brazo quedo
las palmas al horadarle.

The author is referring to the merlon through which the legendary count Peranzules helped a king to escape. The king knew how to (or found out how to?) feign such a tenacious sleepiness that, tactful and persevering, he [always held his arm still / the palms when he bored a hole in it]. The portion in square brackets makes no sense, but I can't figure out a better way to interpret those lines.

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According to [1], the epitaph of conde don Peranzules starts with the following (emphasis mine):

Aquí iaze sepultado

un conde diño de fama,

un varón muy señalado,

leal, devoto, esforeado.

Don Perancurez se llama.

El qual sacó de Toledo

de poder del rey pagano

al rey que con pena y miedo

tuvo siempre el brazo quedo

al horadar de la mano.

The same source [1] suggests (page 86) that "al horadar de la mano" is equivalent to "al horadarle la mano" (and appears that way in other sources). On page 83, it says

[...] tuvo siempre el brazo quedo, o sea quieto e inmóvil, al horadarle la mano, o ante la amenaza de horadársela proferida en alta voz por Al-Mámun, como explica Duran [...].

i. e., the meaning is that the king always held his arm still, even after hearing Al-Mámun threaten to drill a hole in his hand.

As suggested on page 86, José Zorrilla's lines

tuvo siempre el brazo quedo

las palmas al horadarle.

seem to refer to the same event. The phrase "las palmas al horadarle" seems to have an unusual word order, and the two lines could be interpreted as "tuvo siempre el brazo quedo / al horadarle las palmas". This would have the same meaning: the king held his arm still when faced with the threat of his palms being drilled through.

This is a very unusual word order and probably only makes sense in poetry. Note though that the Spanish language allows plenty of freedom when it comes to word order in sentences.


[1] JOSÉ ZURITA NIETO, "APUNTES DOCUMENTADOS SOBRE EL AÑO DE LA MUERTE DEL CONDE DON PEDRO ASSUREZ Y ACERCA DE su sepultura, epitafio y aniversario en la S. I. M. de Valladolid", available at https://bibliotecadigital.jcyl.es/es/catalogo_imagenes/grupo.cmd?path=10067861

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