Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Spain, Portugal, Belgium, and Holland: Vols. XIV–XV. 1876–79.

Spain: Toledo


By Hans Christian Andersen (1805–1875)

Anonymous translation

THOU chivalrous Toledo,—hail!

Thou quaint old town of bygone days;

Where the Moorish sword-blades shone,

Which all the world had learned to praise.

Here naught but solitude now reigns:

Decayed—deserted—silent all!

While Alcazar’s windows and doors

From their old rusty hinges fall.

A lordly castle once, is now

A common inn, in vulgar hands,

Yet still the ancient coat of arms

Over the open portal stands.

These naked, gray-green, gloomy rocks

That from the banks of Tagus rise,

They know the buoyant, stirring past,

Where now but desolation lies.

Where once Mohammed’s name was pealed,

And to Jehovah hymns were sung,

The locomotive’s noise alone

Is heard these solitudes among.

It passes,—all is still again!

Still as where death its dark shade flings;

But gayly smiles the lovely vine

That round the ancient gateway clings.

And here, behind that latticed window

A lovely face looked down on me;

Its beauteous coal-black, speaking eyes,

In fancy oft again I ’ll see!