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

Spain: Santa Maria Rábida, the Convent


By From a Castilian MS

Translated by Samuel Rogers

IN Rábida’s monastic fane

I cannot ask, and ask in vain.

The language of Castile I speak;

Mid many an Arab, many a Greek,

Old in the days of Charlemagne,

When minstrel-music wandered round,

And Science, waking, blessed the sound.

No earthly thought has here a place,

The cowl let down on every face;

Yet here, in consecrated dust,

Here would I sleep, if sleep I must.

From Genoa when Columbus came

(At once her glory and her shame),

’T was here he caught the holy flame,

’T was here the generous vow he made;

His banners on the altar laid.

Here, tempest-worn and desolate,

A pilot journeying through the wild,

Stopped to solicit at the gate

A pittance for his child;

’T was here, unknowing and unknown,

He stood upon the threshold-stone.

But hope was his, a faith sublime,

That triumphs over place and time:

And here, his mighty labor done,

And his course of glory run,

Awhile as more than man he stood,

So large the debt of gratitude!