Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Spain, Portugal, Belgium, and Holland: Vols. XIV–XV. 1876–79.

Spain: Madrid

Court Life

By Luis de Góngora (1561–1627)

Translated by Edward Churton

TO live bewitched with beasts of Circe’s crow,

Where harpies leagued your purse’s life-blood draw;

Place-hunting, fooled by hope, with famished maw,

Watching each wind, great statesmen’s grace to sue;

Amidst grooms, coaches, pages, liveries new,

Bright uniforms, fine clothes, but maiden swords;

Or fed with embassies of ladies’ words,

With house-rent dear, and friendships never true:

Midst tricks and shams of pleaders bought and sold;

Churchmen on mules,—and veriest mules are they;

Foul cheats, foul streets, where Dirt and Sloth hold revels;

Poor cripples from the wars, maimed, starved, and old;

High titles, lisping flatteries, Truth made prey:

This is Madrid, Spain’s Court,—more like the Devil’s.