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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: Guadalhorce, the River

The Lover’s Rock

By Robert Southey (1774–1843)

THE MAIDEN, through the favoring night,

From Granada took her flight;

She bade her father’s house farewell,

And fled away with Manuel.

No Moorish maid might hope to vie

With Laila’s cheek or Laila’s eye;

No maiden loved with purer truth,

Or ever loved a lovelier youth.

In fear they fled, across the plain,

The father’s wrath, the captive’s chain;

In hope to Seville on they flee,

To peace and love and liberty.

Chiuma they have left; and now,

Beneath a precipice’s brow,

Where Guadalhorce winds its way,

There in the shade awhile they lay.

For now the sun was near its height,

And she was weary with her flight;

She laid her head on Manuel’s breast,

And pleasant was the maiden’s rest.

While thus the lovely Laila slept,

A fearful watch young Manuel kept;

Alas! her father and his train

He sees come speeding o’er the plain.

The maiden started from her sleep;

They sought for refuge up the steep;

To scale the precipice’s brow

Their only hope of safety now.

But them the angry father sees;

With voice and arm he menaces;

And now the Moors approach the steep:

Loud are his curses, loud and deep.

Then Manuel’s heart grew wild with woe:

He loosened stones, and rolled below;

He loosened crags; for Manuel strove

For life and liberty and love.

The ascent was perilous and high;

The Moors they durst not venture nigh:

The fugitives stood safely there;

They stood in safety and despair.

The Moorish chief unmoved could see

His daughter bend her suppliant knee;

He heard his child for pardon plead,

And swore the offenders both should bleed.

He bade the archers bend the bow,

And make the Christian fall below;

He bade the archers aim the dart,

And pierce the maid’s apostate heart.

The archers aimed their arrows there;

She clasped young Manuel in despair:

“Death, Manuel, shall set us free!

Then leap below, and die with me.”

He clasped her close, and cried, “Farewell!”

In one another’s arms they fell;

And, falling o’er the rock’s steep side,

In one another’s arms they died.

And side by side they there are laid,

The Christian youth and Moorish maid;

But never cross was planted there,

Because they perished for despair.

Yet every Moorish maid can tell

Where Laila lies, who loved so well;

And every youth who passes there

Says for Manuel’s soul a prayer.