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

Spain: Granada


By Luis de Góngora (1561–1627)

Translated by Edward Churton

QUEEN of kingdoms proud in story,

When thy lords of Paynim sway,

Zegries, Gomels, names of glory,

Muzas, Reduans, ruled the day:

Whose twin rivers evermore

Pour their unexhausted store;

One in beauty bathes thy towers,

One the peopled city scours:

Thou, whose ruins witness bear

What thy palmy splendors were,

Where the wondering victor now

Veils to thee his laurelled brow;

I am come, no painful suitor

To thy sages of the laws,

Not to bid some keen disputer

Make the worse the better cause;

No poor strife for land or fee

Draws my spellbound steps to thee:

But those Towers uplifted high,

Like the giant-king of yore,

Who Jove’s azure-vaulted sky

On his patient shoulders bore:

And the Alhambra’s guarded fort,

Kingly pile, and meet for kings,

Colonnade, and chequered Court,

Where the Lion-Fountain springs;

Where the pavement’s ruddy stain

Tells the Zegri’s hateful feud,

Where the Abencerrage was slain;

Still the record lives in blood.

Brighter chambers call me soon,

Audience-hall, and wide saloon,

Stage for Beauty’s dark-eyed throng,

Frolic dance and mirth of song;

With sweet voice of waters round,

Heard with lulling, freshening sound,

Milk-white now in summer-flow,

Whiter yet in winter’s snow;

Walls, by Sculpture’s touch of power

Decked with clustering fruit or flower;

Greece, thy vaunted limners ne’er

Wrought in mazy wreaths so fair;

Fruits, whose semblance might prevail

To revive thy wondrous tale,

Cheating eager birds that fly,

Cheating man’s calm reasoning eye.

Shall I leave the baths unseen,

Solace of the Moorish queen,

Solace of her ladies bright,

Met in evening’s tender light?

Where on alabaster base

Firm upheld, clear waters flow

Sparkling from their polished vase

To the crystal pool below:

But the forms are gone, that played

Glancing through the mellow shade,

Or the beams, that fell subdued

On the foaming, sparkling flood.

But a holier summons calls

To thy Temple’s massive walls,

Pile of beauty, stern and solemn,

O’er the Mosque’s old groundworks laid,

Pier, and arch, and stately column,

Reared where once the Moslem prayed,

Where in majesty of stone

Nature yields by art outdone,

In the shafts of marble cold,

In the tall dome tricked with gold;

Where the flickering sunlight streaming,

Through the louvered vault at play,

Wears a glow more brightly beaming

Than the golden shafts of day;

Where the unfinished greatness more

Draws the gaze of wondering eyes,

Than the fane which Rome of yore

Reared to all her deities,

Or the pile of Eastern fame,

Mightiest that the world had seen,

Raised anew from felon flame

To the Ephesian Huntress-Queen.

Now the Tower hath caught my view;

Fair it springs through ether blue,

Chiming sweet with many a bell

From its airy citadel:

Fair the imperfect tiers, so fair,

That if mortals silent were,

Art might speak in tongues of stone,

Here a master’s power was shewn.

But again I turn, and bending,

In the Royal Chauntry kneel,

On the sacred ground, defending

Those dear memories of Castille;

Isabel, Fernando, lying

Pale in marble, side by side,

Warrior Chief of fame undying,

Faithful Victory’s dauntless bride.

Now thy studious bowers I see,

Learning’s fruitful nursery:

Here are wights that can unfold

Mystic lore of sages old;

Gray Bartolo, Avicen,

Wizards, who outwatched the moon,

Clerks of never-wearied pen,

Here might own their spells outdone:

Here are wranglers for degees,

Who have mastered quite and clean

Galen and Hippocrates,

Thomas wise, and Scotus keen:

Here the famous College stands,

Thronged by Wisdom’s reverend forms,

Rivals of the thirsty bands

By the Henares or the Tormes;

Crimson Hoods, well trained to guide

Universities and schools,

Courts, where sharpest wits are tried,

Chairs, where holiest Reason rules.

Now I stand on hallowed ground

In the Convent’s narrow round,

Where old Jerome’s brethren shew

Thy brave tomb, brave Gonzalo;

Where thy old heroic bones,

Hearsed beneath the pavement stones,

Wait till Heaven shall wake the clay

From the bondage of decay.

Let me boast thy dear renown,

Glory of my native town,

Cordova’s unrivalled knight:

Where thy banner led the fight,

Frenchman’s sword made idle war,

Vain was Moorish scimitar;

For thy arms were Victory’s own,

Battered oft, but ne’er o’erthrown.

Witness bear each warlike token,

Helms, whose din in battle rung,

Turbans cleft, and targes broken,

Blazoned banners, high uphung,

Spoils of fields, where fiercely banded

Fiery Turk and Tartar stood;

Or where peers of France commanded,

Heirs of Roland’s knightly blood;

Spoils of foes that swarmed in galleys

O’er the surging Eastern Sea,

Or came down from Alpine valleys

But to yield new wreaths to thee.

Now the Albaizin steep I climb,

Mindful of the dangerous time

When false Moors, with rebel cry,

Clamored, “Let Ximenes die.”

Calm as death amidst the brawl

Stood the fearless Cardinal.

Still is now the tumult’s roar;

Like a stranded wreck on shore,

From whose hulk all life is gone,

Stands the fort in ruin lone.

But, below the heights I tread,

Lies the Vega’s champaign-ground,

Like a garden wide outspread,

With its wall of mountains round:

Peaceful scene! how calm and fair!

Peaceful now; but here of yore

Battles raged that would not spare

Christian bold and stubborn Moor.

Lo! the pleasant Generalife;

Tier on tier, green alleys rise,

Bowers of never fading leaf,

Like the groves of paradise;

Royal myrtle, cypress tall,

Where nice hands, in many a shade,

Sportful skill o’ermastering all,

Many a wanton freak have played;

Shrubs, like masted ships, so true,

That they seem to gazer’s eye,

If the breeze more strongly blew

Prompt to spread their sails and fly.

Now the vine-clad farms I mark,

Bright in bowering foliage dark,

Lining banks where Darro wanders,

Gay as silk from loom of Flanders:

Where the graceful poplar pale,

Gently wooed by western gale,

Moves its tufts of silver sheen

Mixed with willow’s emerald green;

And the fruit-trees intertwined

Seem in sport to change their kind;

Such a tangled mass they shew,

Scarce the boughs their parent know.

Lo! through Dinadamar flowing

Rills are murmuring: high o’erspread

Towering plants their branches throwing

Veil the secret water’s head;

Veil the roots and trunks upspringing

Round the dewy marge, whose screen

Choirs of birds, their carols singing,

Fill with music’s power unseen.

Lo! Jaragui’s verdant valleys,

Where the unfailing sweetness roves,

Breathed from Spring’s fresh flowery chalice,

Breathed from Autumn’s citron-groves:

Tissues there of Flora’s twining

India’s threads of gold might shame;

Strewn with April’s gems, outshining

Emerald rays or ruby’s flame.

Have I told thy wonders all,

Seat of glory ancestral?

Are thy charms departed? No!

Could thy Paynim beauties shew

Face so fair, or glance so bright,

Step in mazy dance so light,

As the forms that linger still

Round thy old enchanted hill?

Such might tread the courts above,

Where the golden seraphs move.

Genil, boast; thy snowy wave

Ebro’s beauties may outbrave,

Or the shepherd-maids whose bands

Sport on Tayo’s ruddy sands.

And their words are so discreet,

Breathed in tones so low and sweet,

That the reasoning speech, that flows

From within those pearly rows,

Nectar seems, which Graces brew,

Steeped in Love’s own honey-dew.

These, fair seat, thy glories are,

Heralded by Fame afar,

From the realm which Douro laves

To Hydaspes’ Eastern waves.

For thou art Granada, thou

Brightest gem on Moslem brow,

Brightest wreath by Christian won,

Brightest shade of greatness gone.

And thou art Granada, where

Forms of beauty heavenly fair

Make thy evening splendor seem

Brighter than thy morning beam.

Greater ne’er to light upsprung,

Since the World and Time were young.