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

Spain: Seville


By Luis de Góngora (1561–1627)

(From The Grief of the Moriscoes)
Translated by Edward Churton

FROM noble Seville, loyal town, as clerks the sum have told,

Have gone some thirty thousand souls, men, women, young and old;

The age-worn sire and little child, the rich ones and the poor:

A mighty solitude it makes, this clearance of the Moor.

From Aljarafe’s olive-yards five thousand twenty-three;

The gazer’s heart it pierced with pain the piteous sight to see.

For why, they looked like Christian folk, and spoke with bitter moan,

“Alas! dear land! what cruel fate debars us from our own?

Alas! but wherefore ask? our sins have brought this penal day.”

So passed they on with lingering looks of anguish and dismay.

Then came the Moorish women sad: their lily hands they wrung;

They raised their tear-swoln eyes to heaven; and wailing filled each tongue:

“Alas! dear Seville! fatherland! alas! dear steeples all,

Marina’s, Mark’s, and Andrew’s kirk, Saint Julian, and Saint Paul.”

For there they went to shrift and mass in happier days, I ween,

If not to pray as Christians pray, to see and to be seen.

And some Morisco men there were, who mournfully surveyed

With genuine grief the streets and marts, where late they drove their trade,

And muttered many a well-known name, the Butcher-Row, the Strand,

The Oil-Mart, where their oily cakes must now be contraband;

The Vintry, where hard Fate had dashed the beverage from their lips,

The Sun-Gate, where the sun to them henceforth is in eclipse.

But others called for help at need with voices loud and high,

And prayed Our Lady of her grace to hear their parting cry.

Young infants borne in arms partook their mothers’ woes and fears,

At their sad breasts all scantly fed, instead of milk, with tears.

And of devotion’s inward grace some shewed the tokens fair,

White comely cloaks, which Christian wives at kirk are wont to wear.

Their strings of beads full oft they told; their rosaries counted o’er;

And high above their mourning bands a crucifix they bore:

On this they gazed, as on they moved; and some rich offerings gave

To churches which they named before they crossed the ocean-wave.

A merchant of St. Julian’s ward four thousand ducats paid

To our dear Lady of the Palm, and humble vows he made:

And others left their gifts and alms, that masses might ascend,

And memory might be kept in prayer of some departed friend.