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

Spain: Xerez


By From the Spanish

Translated by J. Bowring

NOW appears the star of Venus,

Sol’s last ray the mountain gilds,

While the night, in dusky mantle,

Travels o’er the darkening fields.

See yon Moorish warrior flying

From Sidonia’s open gate,

Near the sunny banks of Xerez,

Fierce and proud, but desolate.

By the stream of Guadalete,

To that port of splendid fame,

Honored by far distant ages

With Our Lady’s blessed name.

He is born of lineage noble,

All his sires of high degree,

But his once-loved maid has left him,

Taunting him with poverty.

Faithless fair one! and this evening

She has pledged her recreant hand

To proud Seville’s base alcalde,

Dignified with high command.

To the careless winds of heaven,

To the rocks and woods he cries;

Naught but pitying Echo hears him,—

Pitying Echo still replies.

“Zayde! Zayde! far more cruel

Than the wreck-absorbing wave;

Harder than the hardest mountain,

Whose old feet the waters lave;

Tell me, cruel maiden! tell me

Shall the charms that once were mine

Be devoted to another?

Wilt thou call another thine?

Wilt thou twine thy youthful tendrils

Round a proud and rugged tree,

Leaving mine all stripped and blasted;

Flowerless, fruitless, left by thee?”

He, thy choice, is poor, though wealthy,—

Him whom thou fleest rich, though poor:

Hast thou learnt than wealth of spirit

Wealth of clay to value more?

Wilt thou then Gazul abandon,

Six sweet years of love now flown,

For this treacherous Albenzayde,

For this stranger all unknown?


Thus he spoke; and straight to Xerez,

Full of madness, sped along,

And he finds the alcalde’s palace

Bright with torches, gay with song.

There a thousand lamps are burning,

Thousand voices shouting there;

All is gayety and gladness,—

What does this intruder here?

He his trusty steed has mounted,

To the bridegroom swift he hies,

And the crowds make way before him,

While he pays his courtesies.

Ha! his bloody lance has traversed

The alcalde’s fluttering breast,

And his life-blood now is flowing,

Flowing through his purple vest.

O, what horror! what confusion,

Desolation, and dismay!

While the stern, unnoticed murderer

To Medina takes his way.