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The Abencerrage : Canto III.

Felicia Dorothea Hemans 1793 (Liverpool, Lancashire) – 1835 (Dublin, County Dublin)

Heroes of elder days! untaught to yield,
Who bled for Spain on many an ancient field;
Ye, that around the oaken cross of yore
Stood firm and fearless on Asturia's shore,
And with your spirit, ne'er to be subdued,
Hallowed the wild Cantabrian solitude;
Rejoice amidst your dwellings of repose,
In the last chastening of your Moslem foes!
Rejoice! - for Spain, arising in her strength,
Hath burst the remnant of their yoke at length,
And they, in turn, the cup of woe must drain,
And bathe their fetters with their tears in vain.
And thou, the warrior
born in happy hour,

Valencia's lord, whose name alone was power,
Theme of a thousand songs in days gone by,
Conqueror of kings! exult, O Cid! on high.
For still 'twas thine to guard thy country's weal,
In life, in death, the watcher for Castile!

Thou, in that hour when Mauritania's bands
Rushed from their palmy groves and burning lands,
E'en in the realm of spirits didst retain
A patriot's vigilance, remembering Spain!
Then, at deep midnight, rose the mighty sound,
By Leon heard, in shuddering awe profound,
As through her echoing streets, in dread array,
Beings, once mortal, held their viewless way:
Voices from worlds we know not - and the tread
Of marching hosts, the armies of the dead,
Thou and thy buried chieftains - from the grave
Then did thy summons rouse a king to save,
And join thy warriors with unearthly might
To aid the rescue in Tolosa's fight.
Those days are past - the crescent on thy shore,
O realm of evening! sets, to rise no more.
What banner of streams afar from Vela's tower?
The cross, bright ensign of Iberia's power!
What the glad shout of each exulting voice?
Castile and Aragon! rejoice, rejoice!
Yielding free entrance to victorious foes,
The Moorish city sees her gates unclose,
And Spain's proud host, with pennon, shield, and lance,
Through her long streets in knightly garb advance.

Oh! ne'er in lofty dreams hath Fancy's eye
Dwelt on a scene of statelier pageantry,
At joust or tourney, theme of poet's lore,
High masque, or solemn festival of yore.
The giled cupolas, that proudly rise
O'erarched by cloudless and cerulean skies;
Tall minarets, shining mosques, barbaric skies;
Fountains, and palaces, and cypress bowers:
And they, the splendid and triumphant throng,
With helmets glittering as they move along
With broidered scarf, and gem-bestudded mail,
And graceful plumage streaming on the gale;
Shields, gold-embossed, and pennons floating far,
And all the gorgeous blazonry of war,
All brightened by the rich transparent hues
That southern suns o'er heaven and earth diffuse;
Blend in one scene of glory, formed to throw
O'er memory's page a never-fading glow.
And there, too, foremost 'midst the conquering brave,
Your azure-plumes, O Aben-Zurrahs! wave.
There Hamet moves; the chief whose lofty port
Seems nor reproach to shun, nor praise to court;
Calm, stern, collected - yet within his breast
Is there no pang, no struggle, unconfessed?
If such there be, it still must dwell unseen,
Nor cloud a triumph with a sufferer's mien.

Hear'st thou the solemn yet exulting sound
Of the deep anthem floating far around?
The choral voices, to the skies that raise
The full majestic harmony of praise?
Lo! where, surrounded by their princely train,
They come, the sovereigns of rejoicing Spain,
Borne on their trophied car - lo! bursting thence
A blaze of chivalrous magnificence!

Onward their slow and stately course they bend
To where the Alhambra's ancient towers ascend,
Reared and adorned by Moorish kings of yore,
Whose lost descendants there shall dwell no more.

They reached those towers - irregularly vast
And rude they seem, in mould barbaric cast:
They enter - to their wondering sight is given
A genii palace - an Arabian heaven!
A scene by magic raised, so strange, so fair,
Its forms and colour seem alike of air.
Here, by sweet orange-bows, half shaded o'er,
The deep clear bath reveals its marble floor,
Its margin fringed with flowers, whose glowing hues
The calm transparence of its wave suffuse.
There, round the court, where Moorish arches bend,
Aerial columns, richly decked, ascend;
Unlike the models of each classic race,
Of Doric grandeur, or Corinthian grace,
But answering well each vision that portrays
Arabian splendour to the poet's gaze:
Wild, wondrous, brilliant, all - a mingling glow
Of rainbow-tints, above, around, below;
Bright streaming from the many-tinctured veins
Of precious marble, and the vivid stains
Of rich mosai
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Submitted on May 13, 2011

3:51 min read
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Felicia Dorothea Hemans

Felicia Dorothea Hemans was an English poet. Two of her opening lines, "The boy stood on the burning deck" and "The stately homes of England", have acquired classic status. more…

All Felicia Dorothea Hemans poems | Felicia Dorothea Hemans Books

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