“Deem me not faithless,
if all day
Among my dusty books I linger,
No pipe, like thee, for June to play
With fancy-led, half-conscious finger. 40
“A bird is singing in
And bubbling o’er with mingled fancies,
Gay, tragic, rapt, right heart of Spain
Fed with the sap of old romances.
“I ask no ampler skies
than those 45
His magic music rears above me,
No falser friends, no truer foes,—
And does not Dona Clara love me?
“Cloaked shapes, a twanging
A rush of feet, and rapiers clashing, 50
Then silence deep with breathless stars,
And overhead a white hand flashing.
“O music of all moods
Vengeful, forgiving, sensuous, saintly,
Where still, between the Christian chimes, 55
The moorish cymbal tinkles faintly!
“O life borne lightly
in the hand,
For friend or foe with grace Castilian!
O valley safe in Fancy’s land,
Not tramped to mud yet by the million! 60
“Bird of to-day, thy
songs are stale
To his, my singer of all weathers,
My Calderon, my nightingale,
My Arab soul in Spanish feathers.
“Ah, friend, these singers
dead so long, 65
And still, God knows, in purgatory,
Give its best sweetness to all song,
To Nature’s self her better glory.”
When I was a beggarly boy,
And lived in a cellar damp,
I had not a friend nor a toy,
But I had Aladdin’s lamp;
When I could not sleep for cold, 5
I had fire enough in my brain,
And builded with roofs of gold
My beautiful castles in Spain!
Since then I have toiled day
I have money and power good store, 10
But, I’d give all my lamps of silver bright
For the one that is mine no more;
Take, Fortune, whatever you choose,
You gave, and may snatch again;
I have nothing ’t would pain me to lose, 15
For I own no more castles in Spain!
Hushed with broad sunlight
lies the hill,
And, minuting the long day’s loss,
The cedar’s shadow, slow and still,
Creeps o’er its dial of gray moss.
Warm noon brims full the valley’s
The aspen’s leaves are scarce astir;
Only the little mill sends up
Its busy, never-ceasing burr.
Climbing the loose-piled wall
The road along the mill-pond’s brink, 10
From ’neath the arching barberry-stems,
My footstep scares the shy chewink.