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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: Manzanares, the River

The Flood of the Manzanares

By Luis de Góngora (1561–1627)

Translated by Edward Churton

HAVE mercy, Manzanares! out, alas!

Have mercy on that bridge! For, people say,

A bridge so wide might let the Gulf-stream pass

While half an arch might give thy current way.

How proudly swoln comes down thy watery mass,

Which late, as in the dog-days, lowly lay!

Now, in the name of him whose scheme it was

To scour the town with chickory, and convey

The drench to thee,—why this unusual height?

Why this amazing change to bliss from bale,

Why now in glory, then in penal pain?

Well, if you ’ll keep the secret, yesternight

The laundry-nymphs up-stream each filled her pail,

To-day they ’ve thrown the soap-suds out again.