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MY CASTLE IN SPAIN.
There was never a castle seen
So fair as mine in Spain ;
The storied Vega plain,
And I toil through mists of pain
Sometimes its courts I greet;
I tread with favored feet ;
Were blessed with its ivied walls,
When the soft day dimly falls.
I know in its dusky rooms
Are treasures rich and rare ; The spoil of Eastern looms,
And whatever of bright and rare Painters divine have won
From the vault of Italy's air; White gods of Phidian stone
People the haunted glooms : And the song of immortal singers Like a fragrant memory lingers,
I know, in the echoing rooms.
But nothing of these, my soul !
Nor castle, nor treasures, nor skies, Nor the waves of the river that roll,
With a cadence faint and sweet,
In peace by its marble feetNothing of these is the goal
For which my whole heart sighs. 'Tis the pearl gives worth to the shell
The pearl I would die to gain ;
That Queen whose gracious reign
Her face so purely fair
Sheds light in the shady places,
And the spell of her maiden graces
A breath of purity
And ill things cease to be
Around her pathway flutter,
The wings of vague desires,
In reverence expires.
Not yet! not yet shall I see
Transfigured with love for me ;
Pure heart and resolute will,
At last I shall climb the Hill,
Most lovely and fair and free;
Unconscious she waits for me.
BEFORE THE BULL-FIGHT.
One does not soon forget the first sight of the full Coliseum. In the centre is the sanded arena, surrounded by a high barrier. Around this rises the graded succession of stone benches for the people; then numbered seats for the connoisseurs; and above a row of
boxes extending around the circle. The building holds, when full, some fourteen thousand persons; and there is rarely any vacant space. For myself I can say that what I vainly strove to imagine in the Coliseum at Rome, and in the more solemn solitude of Capua and Pompeii, came up before me with the vividness of life on entering the bull-ring of Madrid. This, and none other, was the classic arena. This was the crowd that sat expectant, under the blue sky, in the hot glare of the South, while the doomed captives of Dacia, or the sectaries of Judea commended their souls to the gods of the Danube, or the Crucified of Galilee. Half the sand lay in the blinding sun. Half the seats were illuminated by the fierce light. The other half was in shadow, and the dark crescent crept slowly all the afternoon across the arena as the sun declined in the west.
It is hard to conceive a more brilliant scene. The women put on their gayest finery for this occasion. In the warm light, every bit of color flashes out, every combination falls naturally into its place. I am afraid the luxuriance of hues in the dress of the fair Iberians would be considered shocking in Broadway, but in the vast frame and broad light of the Plaza the effect was very brilliant. Thousands of parti-colored paper fans are sold at the ring. The favorite colors are the national red and yellow, and the flutter of these broad, bright disks of color is dazzlingly attractive. There is a gayety of conversation, a quick fire of repartee, shouts of recognition and salutation, which altogether make up a bewildering confusion. The weary young water-men scream their snow-cold refreshment. The orange-men walk with their gold-freighted baskets along the barrier, and throw their oranges with the most marvellous skill and certainty to people in distant boxes or benches. They never miss their mark. They will throw over the heads of a thousand people a dozen oranges into the outstretched hands of customers, so swiftly that it seems like one line of gold from the dealer to the buyer.
At length the blast of a trumpet announces the clearing of the ring. The idlers who have been lounging in the arena are swept out by the alguacils, and the hum of conversation gives way to an expectant silence. When the last loafer has reluctantly retired, the great gate is
thrown open, and the procession of the torreros enters. They advance in a glittering line ; first the marshals of the day, then the picadors on horseback, then the matadors on foot surrounded each by his squad of chulos. They walk toward the box which holds the city fathers, under whose patronage the show is given, and formally salute the authority.
The municipal authority throws the bowing alguacil a key, which he catches in his hat, or is hissed if he misses it. With this he unlocks the door through which the bull is to enter, and then scampers off with undignified haste through the opposite entrance. There is a bugle-flourish, the door flies open, and the bull rushes out, blind with the staring light, furious with rage, trembling in every limb. This is the most intense moment of the day. The glorious brute is the target of twelve thousand pairs of eyes. There is a silence as of death, while every one waits to see his first movement. -Castilian Days.
A Pike County View of Special Providence.
I never ain't had no show;
On the handful o' things I know.
And free will, and that sort of thing,
Ever sence one night last spring.
I come into town with some turnips,
And my little Gabe come along,-
Could beat him for pretty and strong,
Always ready to swear and fight,-
Jest to keep his milk teeth white.
The snow come down like a blanket
As I passed by Taggert's store;
I went in for a jug of molasses
And left the team at the door. They scared at something and started,
I heard one little squall, And hell-to-split over the prairie
Went team, Little Breeches and all.
Hell-to-split over the prairie !
I was almost froze with skeer; But we rousted up some torches,
And sarched for 'em far and near. At last we struck hosses and wagon,
Snowed under a soft white mound, Upsot, dead beat,- but of little Gabe
No hide nor hair was found.
And here all hope soured on me
Of my fellow critter's aid, -
Crotch-deep in the snow, and prayed.
And me and Isrul Parr
That he said was somewhar thar.
We found it at last, and a little shed
Where they shut up the lambs at night.
So warm and sleepy and white;
As pert as ever you see, “I want a chaw of terbacker,
And that's what's the matter of me."
How did he git thar? Angels.
He could never have walked in that storm. They jest scooped down and toted hiu
To whar it was safe and warm. And I think that saving a little child,
And bringing him to his own, Is a derned sight better business
Than loafing around The Throne.