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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: Burgos

Recollections of Burgos

By Richard Chenevix Trench (1807–1886)

MOST like some aged king it seemed to me,

Who had survived his old regality,

Poor and deposed, but keeping still his state,

In all he had before of truly great;

With no vain wishes and no vain regret,

But his enforcéd leisure soothing yet

With meditation calm, and books, and prayer,

For all was sober and majestic there,—

The old Castilian, with close finger-tips

Pressing his folded mantle to his lips;

The dim cathedral’s cross-surmounted pile,

With carved recess, and cool and shadowy aisle;

The walks of poplar by the river’s side,

That wound by many a straggling channel wide;

And seats of stone, where one might sit and weave

Visions, till wellnigh tempted to believe

That life had few things better to be done,

And many worse, than sitting in the sun,

To lose the hours, and wilfully to dim

Our half-shut eyes, and veil them till might swim

The pageant by us, smoothly as the stream

And unremembered pageant of a dream.

A castle crowned a neighboring hillock’s crest,

But now the moat was level with the rest;

And all was fallen of this place of power,

All heaped with formless stone, save one round tower,

And here and there a gateway low and old,

Figured with antique shape of warrior bold.

And then behind this eminence the sun

Would drop serenely, long ere day was done;

And one who climbed that height might see again

A second setting o’er the fertile plain

Beyond the town, and, glittering in his beam,

Wind far away that poplar-skirted stream.