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

Spain: Saragossa (Zaragoza; Sansueña)


By Spanish Ballad

Translated by J. G. Lockhart

AT Sansueña, in the tower, fair Melisendra lies,

Her heart is far away in France, and tears are in her eyes;

The twilight shade is thickening laid on Sansueña’s plain,

Yet wistfully the lady her weary eyes doth strain.

She gazes from the dungeon strong, forth on the road to Paris,

Weeping, and wondering why so long her Lord Gayferos tarries,

When lo! a knight appears in view,—a knight of Christian mien,

Upon a milk-white charger he rides the elms between.

She from her window reaches forth her hand a sign to make:

“O, if you be a knight of worth, draw near for mercy’s sake;

For mercy and sweet charity, draw near, Sir Knight, to me,

And tell me if ye ride to France, or whither bowne ye be.

“O, if ye be a Christian knight, and if to France you go,

I pr’ythee tell Guyferos that you have seen my woe;

That you have seen me weeping, here in the Moorish tower,

While he is gay by night and day, in hall and lady’s bower.

“Seven summers have I waited, seven winters long are spent,

Yet word of comfort none he speaks, nor token hath he sent;

And if he is weary of my love, and would have me wed a stranger,

Still say his love is true to him,—nor time nor wrong can change her.”

The knight, on stirrup rising, bids her wipe her tears away,—

“My love, no time for weeping, no peril save delay.

Come, boldly spring, and lightly leap; no listening Moor is near us,

And by dawn of day we ’ll be far away,”—so spake the knight Guyferos.

She hath made the sign of the cross divine, and an Ave she hath said,

And she dares the leap, both wide and deep,—that damsel without dread;

And he hath kissed her pale pale cheek, and lifted her behind,

Saint Denis speed the milk-white steed,—no Moor their path shall find.