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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Italy: Vols. XI–XIII. 1876–79.


The King of Arragon

By Spanish Ballad

Translated by John Hookham Frere

THE KING of Arragon looked down

From Campo Veijo, where he stood,

And he beheld the Sea of Spain,

Both the ebb-tide and the flood.

He saw the galleys and the ships,—

How some set sail and others enter;

Some were sailing on a cruise,

And others on a merchant’s venture.

Some were sailing to Lombardy,

And some to Flanders, far away,

And, O, how bright were the ships of war,

With, swelling sails and streamers gay!

He saw the city that spread below,—

Royal Naples, that noble town!

And the three castles, how they stood,

On the great city looking down:

The new castle and the Capuan,

And St. Elmo, far the best,—

Like the sun at the noonday,

It shone so bright above the rest.

The king stood silent for a while,

He gazed and wept at his own thought—

“O Naples, thou ’rt a princely purchase,

But thou hast been dearly bought!

“Many brave and loyal captains

You had cost, e’er you were won,

Besides a dear and valiant brother,

Whom I grieved for like a son,—

“Knights and gallant gentlemen,

Whose like I ne’er shall see again;

Of soldiers and of other subjects,

Many, many thousands slain.

“Two-and-twenty years you cost me,

The best of my life that are passed away;

For here this beard began to grow,

And here it has been turned to gray.”