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

Spain: Madrid


By Alfred de Musset (1810–1857)

Anonymous translation

MADRID is princess of all Spain,

O’er every land her beauties reign,

Famed for black as for blue eyes;

Madrid, white city of serenades,

Along whose twilight promenades

Small feet trip when through the skies

Sunset sinks and stars arise.

City of the tauridian game,

Where winking soft hands yield acclaim,

While the scarfs flutter, fans make play;

Where, of a lovely starry night,

The dusk señoras veiled in white,

With step superb, came forth to pray,

Down the blue stairs in Vesper’s ray.

Madrid, Madrid, I love to jest

With thy gay stately dames who rest

Round the fount by the river’s strand;

For one, the rarest of the rare,

With dusk-bright amorous brows is there,

Whose finger-tip I prize beyond

The fair or dark of any land.

One whom an old duenna tends

With eyes demure from sparks or friends;

Nor opes her casement but to me,

When azure silence domes the town,

The sheep bleat on the moorlands brown,

And past the mountain’s purple knee

In cloud, the soft moon nears the sea.