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 Letitia Elizabeth Landon (1802–1838)

HIGH on the rock that fronts the sea

Stands alone our fortress key,

Lady of the southern main,

Lady, too, of stately Spain.

Look which way her eye she bends,

Where’er she will her sway extends.

Free on air her banner thrown,

Half the world it calls its own.

Let her look upon the strand,—

Never was more lovely land:

Had her rule dominion there,

It were free as it is fair.

Let her look across the waves,

They are but her noblest slaves;

Sweeping north or south, they still

Bear around her wealth and will.

Siege and strife these walls have borne,

By the red artillery torn;

Human life has poured its tide

In the galleries at her side.

But the flag that o’er her blows,

Rival nor successor knows,

Lonely on the land and sea

Where it has been, it will be.

Safe upon her sea-beat rock,

She might brave an army’s shock:

For the British banner keeps

Safe the fortress where it sweeps.