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

Spain: Pisuerga, the River


By From the Spanish

(From Sylva de Romances, 1644)
Translated by Sir John Bowring

IN the vale of Pisuerga,

Midst the rocks I saw an angel,

’T was a lovely mountain maiden

’Neath the heaven of Manzanares.

Every river, every streamlet,

Flowed to be her silvery glasses,

Hurrying from their beds to meet her,—

Crystals in the gentle valley.

But her cheeks are pale and gloomy,

Chilled by melancholy sadness,

Careless she of all around her,

Sports, and songs, and joyous dances.

Solitude is her enjoyment,

And to her the day is darkness,

Good and evil, bliss and suffering,

Neither wounds and neither gladdens.

Fellow-maidens now invite her,

Flower-crowned to the vale she hastens,

Witnessing the laughing revels,

Swains and nymphs alike partakers.

Then there came an unknown shepherd,

Thither not in vain he wandered:

When he saw the nymph of beauty,

How his eyes with passion sparkled!

But the dance is still continued,

And the shepherd, as he watched her,

To the song of oaks and willows,

Thus her tale to heaven related:

“Virgin, thy cheeks as the snow are white,

They are ashes sure of love’s fire so bright.”