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

Introductory to Spain


By Lord Byron (1788–1824)

(From Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage)

O LOVELY Spain! renowned, romantic land!

Where is that standard which Pelagio bore,

When Cava’s traitor-sire first called the band

That dyed thy mountain streams with Gothic gore?

Where are those bloody banners which of yore

Waved o’er thy sons, victorious to the gale,

And drove at last the spoilers to their shore?

Red gleamed the cross, and waned the crescent pale,

While Afric’s echoes thrilled with Moorish matrons’ wail.

Teems not each ditty with the glorious tale?

Ah! such, alas, the hero’s amplest fate!

When granite moulders and when records fail,

A peasant’s plaint prolongs his dubious date.

Pride! bend thine eye from heaven to thine estate,

See how the mighty shrink into a song!

Can volume, pillar, pile, preserve thee great?

Or must thou trust Tradition’s simple tongue,

When Flattery sleeps with thee, and History does thee wrong?