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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.

Spain: Marbella

The Corsair’s Captive

By Luis de Góngora (1561–1627)

Translated by Edward Churton

BOUND in bonds of toil and sorrow,

Where the Turkish corsair lay,

Gazing on the ruddy morrow,

O’er Marbella’s sparkling bay;

Wearily his pale eye straining

To the far-off sunbright shore,

Dragut’s captive mourned complaining

To the sound of chain and oar:

“Sun of sacred Spain, whose waters

Now in peace unruffled flow,

Heedless of the wreck of slaughters

Heaped in weltering depths below;

“Since thy tide’s resistless power

Bears thee to each shore and strand,

To each rockbuilt town and tower

Fencing round my native land:

“Hast thou seen where, doomed to languish,

Dwells the maid I love so well?

Are they true, those tears of anguish,

Which to me her letters tell?

“For if tears from heart so tender

Have enriched thy watery store,

Thy bright sands must pass in splendor

India’s seas and pearly shore.

“Tell me, waves of sacred glory,

Grant the boon my sorrow craves;

For renowned in ancient story

Are the voices of the waves.

“Vainly do I ask: she lives not;

Else the depth would answer give:

Voice or token since it gives not,

She hath perished, yet I live:

“If ’t is life, to toil despairing,

Bondman to a stranger’s will,

Ten long years of thraldom, wearing

Chains that pain, yet fail to kill.

“Freedom now no hope can waken,

Love no more a joy supply;

Yet I breathe, of Death forsaken;

For the wretched cannot die.”

Here he paused, in distance eying,

O’er the waters far away,

Six tall sails whose ensigns flying

Did the bannered Cross display;

As they came in beauty riding,

Terror seized the roving Moor,

And he spoke in anger chiding,

“Slave, more strongly ply thine oar.”