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 George Eliot (1819–1880)

(From The Spanish Gypsy)

’T IS the warm South, where Europe spreads her lands

Like fretted leaflets, breathing on the deep:

Broad-breasted Spain, leaning with equal love

(A calm earth-goddess crowned with corn and vines)

On the mid sea that moans with memories,

And on the untravelled ocean, whose vast tides

Pant dumbly passionate with dreams of youth.

This river, shadowed by the battlements

And gleaming silvery towards the northern sky,

Feeds the famed stream that waters Andalus,

And loiters, amorous of the fragrant air,

By Córdova and Seville to the bay

Fronting Algarva and the wandering flood

Of Guadiana. This deep mountain-gorge

Slopes widening on the olive-pluméd plains

Of fair Granada: one far-stretching arm

Points to Elvira, one to eastward heights

Of Alpujarras, where the new-bathed day

With oriflamme uplifted o’er the peaks

Saddens the breasts of northward-looking snows

That loved the night, and soared with soaring stars;

Flashing the signals of his nearing swiftness

From Almería’s purple-shadowed bay

On to the far-off rocks that gaze and glow,—

On to Alhambra, strong and ruddy heart

Of glorious Morisma, gasping now,

A maiméd giant in his agony.

This town that dips its feet within the stream,

And seems to sit a tower-crowned Cybele,

Spreading her ample robe adown the rocks,

Is rich Bedmar; ’t was Moorish long ago,

But now the Cross is sparkling on the Mosque,

And bells make Catholic the trembling air.