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

Spain: Gibraltar


By Robert Southey (1774–1843)

(From Roderick, the Last of the Goths)

AND like a cloud of locusts, whom the South

Wafts from the plains of wasted Africa,

The Musselmen upon Iberia’s shore

Descend. A countless multitude they came,

Syrian, Moor, Saracen, Greek renegade,

Persian and Copt and Tartar, in one bond

Of erring faith conjoined, strong in the youth

And heat of zeal,—a dreadful brotherhood,

In whom all turbulent vices were let loose;

While Conscience, with their impious creed accurst

Drunk as with wine, had sanctified to them

All bloody, all abominable things.

Thou, Calpë, saw’st their coming; ancient rock

Renowned, no longer now shalt thou be called

From gods and heroes of the years of yore,

Kronos, or hundred-handed Briareus,

Bacchus or Hercules; but doomed to bear

The name of thy new conqueror, and thenceforth

To stand his everlasting monument.

Thou saw’st the dark-blue waters flash before

Their ominous way, and whiten round their keels;

Their swarthy myriads darkening o’er thy sands.

There on the beach the Misbelievers spread

Their banners, flaunting to the sun and breeze;

Fair shone the sun upon their proud array,

White turbans, glittering armor, shields engrailed

With gold, and cimeters of Syrian steel;

And gently did the breezes, as in sport,

Curl their long flags outrolling, and display

The blazoned scrolls of blasphemy. Too soon

The gales of Spain from that unhappy land

Wafted, as from an open charnel-house,

The taint of death; and that bright sun, from fields

Of slaughter, with the morning dew drew up

Corruption through the infected atmosphere.