Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

MY CASTLE IN SPAIN.

There was never a castle seen

So fair as mine in Spain ;
It stands embowered in green,
Crowning the gentle slope
Of a hill by Xenil's shore,
And at eve its shade flaunts o'er

The storied Vega plain,
And its towers are hid in the mists of hope ;

And I toil through mists of pain
Its glimmering gates to gain.
In visions wild and sweet

Sometimes its courts I greet;
Sometimes in joy its shining halls

I tread with favored feet ;
But never my eyes in the light of day

Were blessed with its ivied walls,
Where the marble white and the granite gray
Turn alike where the sunbeams play

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 ;
For there does my lady dwell,
My love that I love so well-

That Queen whose gracious reign
Makes glad my Castle in Spain.

Her face so purely fair

Sheds light in the shady places,

And the spell of her maiden graces
Holds charmed the happy air.

A breath of purity
Forever before her flies,

And ill things cease to be
In the glance of her honest eyes,

Around her pathway flutter,
Where her dear feet wander free,
In youth's pure majesty,

The wings of vague desires,
But the thought that love would utter

In reverence expires.

Not yet! not yet shall I see
That face which shines like a star
O'er my storm-swept life afar

Transfigured with love for me ;
Toiling, forgetting, and learning,
With labor and vigils, and prayers,

Pure heart and resolute will,

At last I shall climb the Hill,
And breathe the enchanted airs
Where the light of my life is burning,

Most lovely and fair and free;
Where alone in her youth and beauty,
And bound by her fate's sweet duty,

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

[ocr errors]

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.

1

LITTLE BREECHES.

A Pike County View of Special Providence.
I don't go much on religion,

I never ain't had no show;
But I've got a middlin' tight grip, sir,

On the handful o' things I know.
I don't pan out on the prophets

And free will, and that sort of thing,
But I b'lieve in God and the Angels,

Ever sence one night last spring.

I come into town with some turnips,

And my little Gabe come along,-
No four-year-old in the county

Could beat him for pretty and strong,
Pert and chipper and sassy,

Always ready to swear and fight,-
And I'd larnt him ter chaw terbacker,

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, -
I just flopped on my marrow bones,

Crotch-deep in the snow, and prayed.
By this, the torches was played out.

And me and Isrul Parr
Went off for some wood to a sheep fold

That he said was somewhar thar.

We found it at last, and a little shed

Where they shut up the lambs at night.
We looked in, and seen them huddled thar,

So warm and sleepy and white;
And THAR sot Little Breeches and chirped,

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.

« ForrigeFortsæt »