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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

The Bull-fight

By Carolina Coronado (1823–1911)

Anonymous translation

BRAVO! thou nation of a noble line!

Thou mean’st to fashion after beasts thy men.

How well thy mission thou dost now divine,

Escaping from the Latin Church’s shrine

To intrench thyself around the fighters’ pen!

New Plazas for the bull-fight let there be;

Build them, O Country! pour thy treasures free!

Ah! stranger lands are wiser far than we,—

For here we are but cowherds, we are fools:

Which do we value most, the laws or bulls?

Who cares for liberty, while he doth roar,

The hunted bull, along the spacious plain,

Or tear the arena, and his victim gore?

When swells his passion with the pricking pain,

Who sees the vision of our mournful Spain?

And when he draws his breath with hoarsest sigh,

And from his piercéd heart come out the groans,

And men fall down to earth, and horses die,

How sweet to hear the rosy children nigh

Break out in merry laughter’s silvery tones!


But hark! I see before my vision rise,

Brave to uphold the war of beasts and men,

Some spirited hidalgo, listening wise.

“I glory in the spectacle,” he cries;

“The thing is Spanish,—it has always been!”

O patriotic ardor! Let them bind

A starry crown upon the learned brow

Of every noble knight, who thinks to find

Our highest strength within the bull enshrined,

Our Spanish glory in the Picador’s bow!

With all the fairest ladies of repute

The love of country so refined has grown

They look with rapture even on this brute;

For tenderness is here a foreign shoot,

And cruelty is Spanish-born alone!