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

Spain: Cuenca

Hard Fare at Cuenca

By Luis de Góngora (1561–1627)

Translated by Edward Churton

TO Cuenca, town of rocks and stony valleys,

A wanderer came, with hunger sore bestead;

And gained dry biscuit, when he asked for bread,

Hard as afflicts poor martyrs in the galleys:

An angel brought this dole, refined in malice,

Cruel as fair; she might as soon have fed

His need with fragments from the flint-worn bed,

Where Jucar tumbles down through greenwood alleys.

“No more of biscuit; give me stones,” he said;

“Perchance your townsmen live upon such commons;

Time scarce could do with cliffs what they have done;

Or have these headlands seen Medusa’s head,

Like Atlas old, and thou, whose form is woman’s,

Art some rock-fairy, in and out all stone?”