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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: Granada

The Lamentation for Celin

By Spanish Ballad

Translated by J. G. Lockhart

AT the gate of old Granada, when all its bolts are barred,

At twilight, at the Vega-gate, there is a trampling heard;

There is a trampling heard, as of horses treading slow,

And a weeping voice of women, and a heavy sound of woe!—

“What tower is fallen? what star is set? what chief come these bewailing?”

“A tower is fallen! a star is set!—Alas! alas for Celin!”

Three times they knock, three times they cry,—and wide the doors they throw;

Dejectedly they enter, and mournfully they go;

In gloomy lines they mustering stand beneath the hollow porch,

Each horseman grasping in his hand a black and flaming torch;

Wet is each eye as they go by, and all around is wailing,—

For all have heard the misery,—“Alas! alas for Celin!”

Him yesterday a Moor did slay, of Bencerrage’s blood,—

’T was at the solemn jousting,—around the nobles stood;

The nobles of the land were by, and ladies bright and fair

Looked from their latticed windows, the haughty sight to share:

But now the nobles all lament,—the ladies are bewailing,—

For he was Granada’s darling knight,—“Alas! alas for Celin!”

Before him ride his vassals, in order two by two,

With ashes on their turbans spread, most pitiful to view;

Behind him his four sisters, each wrapped in sable veil,

Between the tambour’s dismal strokes take up their doleful tale;

When stops the muffled drum, ye hear their brotherless bewailing,

And all the people, far and near, cry,—“Alas! alas for Celin!”

O, lovely lies he on the bier, above the purple pall,

The flower of all Granada’s youth, the loveliest of them all!

His dark, dark eyes are closed, his rosy lip is pale,

The crust of blood lies black and dim upon his burnished mail;

And evermore the hoarse tambour breaks in upon their wailing,—

Its sound is like no earthly sound,—“Alas! alas for Celin!”

The Moorish maid at the lattice stands,—the Moor stands at his door;

One maid is wringing of her hands, and one is weeping sore;

Down to the dust men bow their heads, and ashes black they strew

Upon their broidered garments, of crimson, green, and blue;

Before each gate the bier stands still,—then bursts the loud bewailing,

From door and lattice, high and low,—“Alas! alas for Celin!”

An old, old woman cometh forth, when she hears the people cry,—

Her hair is white as silver, like horn her glazed eye;

’T was she that nursed him at her breast,—that nursed him long ago:

She knows not whom they all lament, but soon she well shall know!

With one deep shriek, she through doth break, when her ears receive their wailing,—

“Let me kiss my Celin, ere I die!—Alas! alas for Celin!”