I looked over the balustrade—
The twilight had come—
And saw the pretty waiting-maid
Kiss Roland, the page.
My lady heard the wolf-dog’s chain
Clank on the floor;
Sly Roland caught it up again,
And whistled a song.
Oh! they think that my heart is cold,
Under my gown;
Not till I blacken into mould
Will it cease to burn.
Burn, burn for such sweet red lips!
I am almost mad,
Even to touch her finger tips,
When we meet alone.
Roland, the page, goes here and there,
Loving, and loved,
Women like his devil-may-care,
Till they are forgot!
Whether I am in castle or inn,
With sinner or saint,
Never can I a woman win,—
I am but a priest!
In the still, dark shade of the palace
Where the peacocks strut,
Where the queen may have heard my madrigal,
Together we sat.
My sombrero hid the fire in my eyes,
And shaded her own:
This serge cloak stifled her sweet little cries,
When I kissed her mouth!
The pale olive trees on the distant plain,
The jagged blue rocks,
The vaporous sea-like mountain chain,
Dropped into the night.
We saw the lights in the palace flare;
The musicians played:
The red guards slashed and sabred the stair,
And cursed the old king.
In the long black shade of the palace
We sat the night through;
Under my cloak—but I cannot tell all—
The queen may have seen!
Under a sultry, yellow sky,
On the yellow sand I lie;
The crinkled vapors smite my brain,
I smoulder in a fiery pain.
Above the crags the condor flies;
He knows where the red gold lies,
He knows where the diamonds shine;—
If I knew, would she be mine?
Mercedes in her hammock swings;
In her court a palm-tree flings
Its slender shadow on the ground,
The fountain falls with silver sound.
Her lips are like this cactus cup;
With my hand I crush it up;
I tear its flaming leaves apart;—
Would that I could tear her heart!
Last night a man was at her gate;
In the hedge I lay in wait;
I saw Mercedes meet him there,
By the fireflies in her hair.
I waited till the break of day,
Then I rose and stole away;
But left my dagger in the gate;—
Now she knows her lover’s fate!
Here are our cups of chocolate.
Montez will fight the bulls to-day—
All Madrid knows that:
Queen Christina is going in state:
Dolores will go with her little fan!