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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: Ocaña

Rodrigo Manrique

By Don Jorge Manrique (c. 1440–1479)

(From Coplas de Manrique)
Translated by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

AND when so oft, for weal or woe,

His life upon the fatal throw

Had been cast down;

When he had served, with patriot zeal,

Beneath the banner of Castile,

His sovereign’s crown;

And done such deeds of valor strong,

That neither history nor song

Can count them all;

Then, on Ocaña’s castled rock,

Death at his portal came to knock,

With sudden call,

Saying, “Good Cavalier, prepare

To leave this world of toil and care

With joyful mien;

Let thy strong heart of steel this day

Put on its armor for the fray,

The closing scene.

“Since thou hast been, in battle-strife,

So prodigal of health and life,

For earthly fame,

Let virtue nerve thy heart again;

Loud on the last stern battle-plain

They call thy name.”


“My soul is ready to depart,

No thought rebels, the obedient heart

Breathes forth no sigh;

The wish on earth to linger still

Were vain, when ’t is God’s sovereign will

That we shall die.

“O thou, that for our sins didst take

A human form, and humbly make

Thy home on earth;

Thou, that to thy divinity

A human nature didst ally

By mortal birth,

“And in that form didst suffer here

Torment and agony and fear

So patiently,—

By thy redeeming grace alone,

And not for merits of my own,

O, pardon me!”

As thus the dying warrior prayed,

Without one gathering mist or shade

Upon his mind,

Encircled by his family,

Watched by affection’s gentle eye

So soft and kind,

His soul to Him, who gave it, rose;

God lead it to its long repose,

Its glorious rest!

And, though the warrior’s sun has set,

Its light shall linger round us yet,

Bright, radiant, blest.