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 Felicia Hemans (1793–1835)

(From The Abencerrage)

FAIR land! of chivalry the old domain,

Land of the vine and olive, lovely Spain!

Though not for thee with classic shores to vie

In charms that fix the enthusiast’s pensive eye,

Yet hast thou scenes of beauty, richly fraught

With all that wakes the glow of lofty thought;

Fountains and vales and rocks whose ancient name

High deeds have raised to mingle with their fame.

Those scenes are peaceful now; the citron blows,

Wild spreads the myrtle, where the brave repose.

No sound of battle swells on Douro’s shore,

And banners wave on Ebro’s banks no more.

But who, unmoved, inlawed, shall coldly tread

Thy fields that sepulchre the mighty dead?

Blest be that soil! where England’s heroes share

The grave of chiefs, for ages slumbering there;

Whose names are glorious in romantic lays,

The wild, sweet chronicles of elder days

By goatherd lone and rude serrano sung

Thy cypress dells and vine-clad rocks among.

How oft those rocks have echoed to the tale

Of knights who fell in Roncesvalles’ vale:

Of him, renowned in old heroic lore,

First of the brave, the gallant Campeador;

Of those, the famed in song, who proudly died

When Rio Verde rolled a crimson tide;

Or that high name by Garcilaso’s might

On the Green Vega won in single fight.