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Of thee hereafter.-Even amidst
I turn’d aside to pay my homage here;
Forgot the land, the sons, the maids of Spain ;
Her fate, to every freeborn bosom dear,
And hail'd thee, not perchance without a tear.
Now to my theme—but from thy holy haunt
Let me some remnant, some memorial bear ;
Yield me one leaf of Daphne's deathless plant,
Nor let thy votary's hope be deem'd an idle vaunt.
But ne'er didst thou, fair mount! when Greece was young,
See round thy giant base a brighter choir,
Nor e’er did Delphi, when her priestess sung
The Pythian hymni with more than mortal fire,
Behold a train more fitting to inspire
song of love, than Andalusia's maids, Nurst in the glowing lap of soft desire ;
Ah! that to these were given such peaceful shades
As Greece can still bestow, though glory fly her glades.
Fair is proud Seville ; let her country boast
Her strength, her wealth, her site of ancient days;14
But Cadiz, rising on the distant coast,
Calls forth a sweeter, though ignoble praise.
Ah, vice ! how soft are thy voluptuous ways !
While boyish blood is mantling, who can 'scape
The fascination of thy magic gaze ?
A cherub-hydra round us dost thou gape,
And mould to every taste thy dear delusive shape.
When Paphos fell by time-accursed time!
The queen who
conquers all must yield to thee-
The Pleasures fled, but sought as warm a clime;
And Venus, constant to her native sea,
To nought else constant, hither deign’d to flee ;
And fix'd her shrine within these walls of white :
Though not to one dome circumscribeth she
Her worship, but, devoted to her rite,
A thousand altars rise, for ever blazing bright.
From morn till night, from night till startled morn
Peeps blushing on the revel's laughing crew,
The song is heard, the rosy garland worn,
Devices quaint and frolics ever new,
Tread on each other's kibes. A long adieu
He bids to sober joy that here sojourns :
Nought interrupts the riot, though in lieu
Of true devotion monkish incense burns,
And love and prayer unite, or rule the hour by turns.
The sabbath comes, a day of blessed rest;
What hallows it upon this Christian shore ?
Lo! it is sacred to a solemn feast :
Hark! heard you not the forest-monarch's roar!
Crashing the lance, he snuffs the spouting gore
Of man and steed, o'erthrown beneath his horn ;
The throng'd arena shakes with shouts for more;
Yells the mad crowd o'er entrails freshly torn,
Nor shrinks the female eye, nor even affects to mourn.
The seventh day this ; the jubilee of man.
London! right well thou know'st the day of prayer :
Then thy spruce citizen, wash'd artisan,
And smug apprentice, gulp their weekly air :
Thy coach of Hackney, whiskey, one-horse chair,
And humblest gig, through sundry suburbs whirl,
To Hampstead, Brentford, Harrow, make repair ;
Till the tired jade the wheel forgets to hurl,
Provoking envious gibe from each pedestrian churl.
Some o'er thy Thamis row the ribbon'd fair,
Others along the safer turnpike fly;
Some Richmond-hill ascend, some scud to Ware,
And many to the steep of Highgate hie.
ye, Beotian shades ! the reason why? 25 'T is to the worship of the solemn horr, Grasp'd in the holy hand of mystery,
In whose dread name both men and maids are sworn, And consecrate the oath with draught and dance till morn.
All have their fooleries—not alike are thine,
Fair Cadiz, rising o'er the dark blue sea!
Soon as the matin bell proclaimeth nine,
Thy saint adorers count the rosary:
Much is the Virgin teased to shrive them free
(Well do I ween the only virgin there)
From crimes as numerous as her beadsmen be ;
Then to the crowded circus forth they fare:
Young, old, high, low, at once the same diversion share.
The lists are oped, the spacious area clear'd,
Thousands on thousands piled are seated round ;
Long ere the first loud trumpet's note is heard,
Ne vacant space for lated wight is found:
Here dons, grandees, but chiefly dames abound,
Skill'd in the ogle of a roguish eye,
Yet ever well inclined to heal the wound;
None through their cold disdain are doum'd to die,
As moon-struck bards complain, by love's sad archery.
Hush'd is the din of tongues-on gallant steeds,
With milk-white crest, gold spur, and light-poised lance,
Four cavaliers prepare for venturous deeds,
And lowly bending to the lists advance ;
Rich are their scarfs, their chargers featly prance :
If in the dangerous game they shine to-day,
The crowd's loud shout and ladies' lovely glance,
Best prize of better acts, they bear away,
And all that kings or chiefs e'er gain their toils repay.
In costly sheen and gaudy cloak array'd,
But all a-foot, the light-limb’d Matadore
Stands in the centre, eager to invade
The lord of lowing herds ; • but not before
The ground with cautious tread is traversed o'er,
Lest aught unseen should lurk to thwart his speed :
arms a dart, he fights aloof, nor more
Can man achieve without the friendly steed,
Alas! too oft condem'd for him to bear and bleed.
Thrice sounds the clarion; lo! the signal falls,
The den expands, and expectation mute
Gapes round the silent circle's peopled walls.
Bounds with one lashing spring the mighty brute,
And, wildly staring, spurns, with sounding foot,
The sand, nor blindly rushes on his foe :
Here, there, he points his threatening front, to suit
His first attack, wide waving to and fro
angry tail; red rolls his eye's dilated glow.
Sudden he stops ; his eye is fix'd ; away,
Away, thou heedless boy! prepare the spear :
Now is thy time, to perish, or display
The skill that yet may check his mad career.
With well-timed croupe the nimble coursers veer ;
On foams the bull, but not unscathed he goes ;
Streams from his flank the crimson torrent clear ;
He flies, he wheels, distracted with his throes ;
Dart follows dart ; lance, lance ; loud bellowings speak his woes.
Again he comes; nor dart nor lance avail,
Nor the wild plunging of the tortured horse ;
Though man and man's avenging arms assail,
Vain are his weapons, vainer is his force.
One gallant steed is stretch'd a mangled corse ;
Another, hideous sight! unseam'd appears,
chest unveils life's panting source,
Though death-struck still his feeble frame he rears,
Staggering, but stemming all, his lord unharm'd he bears.
Foil'd, bleeding, breathless, furious to the last,
Full in the centre stands the bull at bay,
'Mid wounds, and clinging darts, and lances brast,
And foes disabled in the brutal frạy:
And now the Matadores around him play,
Shake the red cloak, and poise the ready brand :
Once more through all he bursts his thundering way~
Vain rage! the mantle quits the conynge hand,
Wraps his fierce eye't is past—he sinks upon the sand !
Where his vast neck just mingles with the spine,
Sheathed in his form the deadly weapon lies.
He stops—he starts—disdaining to decline ;
Slowly he falls, amidst triumphant cries,
Without a groan, without a struggle, dies.
The decorated car appears-on high
The corse is piled-sweet sight for vulgar eyes--
Four steeds that spurn the rein, as swift as shy,
Hurl the dark bulk along, scarce seen in dashing by.
Such the ungentle sport that oft invites
The Spanish maid, and cheers the Spanish swain.
Nurtured in blood betimes, his heart delights
In vengeance, gloating on another's pain.
What private feuds the troubled village stain!
Though now one phalanx'd host should meet the foe,
Enough, alas! in humble homes remain,
To meditate 'gainst friends the secret blow,
For some slight cause of wrath, whence life's warm stream must flow.
But jealousy has fled; his bars, his bolts,
His wither'd sentinel, duenna sage!
And all whereat the generous soul revolts,
Which the stern dotard deem'd he could encage,
Have pass'd to darkness with the vanish'd age.
Who late so free as Spanish girls were seen
(Ere war uprose in his volcanic rage),
With braided tresses bounding o'er the green,
While on the gay dance shone night's lover-loving queen ?
Oh! many a time and oft had Harold loved,
Or dream'd he loved, since rapture is a dream;
But now his wayward bosom was unmoved,
For not yet had he drunk of Lethe's stream ;
And lately had he learn'd with truth to deem
Love has no gift so grateful as his wings :
How fair, how young, how soft soe'er he seem,
Full from the fount of joy's delicio springs
Some bitter o'er the flowers its bubbling venom flings."