Verse > Anthologies > Samuel Kettell, ed. > Specimens of American Poetry
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Samuel Kettell, ed.  Specimens of American Poetry.  1829.
 
A Moor’s Curse on Spain
By James A. Jones (1791–1854)
 
WITH 1 tearful eyes and swelling hearts they leave Granada’s gate,
And the wind blows fair to waft their barks across the narrow strait;
They have hoisted sail, and they are gone,—the last of all the Moors,
Whom bigot zeal hath banish’d from their much-loved Spanish shores.
 
The remnants of those warlike tribes, who trode on Spanish necks,        5
Whom, name you to Castilian ears, if you delight to vex;
Now broken, not by sword and spear, but papal racks alone,
They go, to found, where Dido reign’d, another Moslem throne.
 
There stood upon the deck, a Moor, who had to Mecca been,
Whose hoary hair proclaim’d his years beyond three score and ten.        10
He had tasted of the water of Zemzeim’s holy well,
And could read the monarch’s magic ring, and speak the direful spell.
 
And there he watch’d, that aged man, till they had Calpe past,
And saw, with eye of boding gloom, the land receding fast.
“Blow, blow ye winds, and waft us from Xeres’ glorious plain,        15
Then be ye calm, while I pronounce a Moor’s curse on Spain.
 
“Thou didst bow, Spain, for ages, beneath a Moorish yoke,
And save Asturia’s mountain sons, there were none to strike a stroke;
On mountain top and lowland plain, thy fate was still the same,
Thy soldiers drew dull scymitars, and the crescent overcame.        20
 
“The days, which saw our martial deeds, are fled to come no more;
A warrior monarch rules thee now, and we give the battle o’er;
Abencerrage wakes not, when the battle trumpets call,
And Abderame sleeps in death, beside th’ Alhambra’s wall.
 
“I leave to thee, my curse, proud Spain! a curse upon thy clime;        25
Thou shalt be the land of dastard souls, a nursery of crime;
And yet, as if to mock her sons, and make their dark doom worse,
No land shall boast more glorious skies, than the lovely land I curse.
 
“Thy kings shall wear no royal type, save a diadem alone,
And their sovereignty by cruelty and a withering eye be known.        30
’T were waste of time to speak my curse; for, Spain, thy sons shall see,
That magic can invoke no fiend, worse than thy kings will be.
 
“And that blind faith, thou holdest from the Prophet of the Cross,
A faith thy children have profaned, and its better doctrines lost;
By the lords that faith shall give thee, not less shalt thou be gored,        35
Because they grasp a crucifix, instead of spear and sword.
 
“Bright eyes are in thy land, Spain, and thy virgins want no charms,
But thou art cursed to know no truth in either heart or arms;
Their bosoms shall no pillow be, for aught is kind or brave,
But lull in mere illicit love, the sensual priest and slave.        40
 
“Thy sway shall reach to distant lands, shall yield thee gold and gem,
But a burning and a bloody sword, shall thy sceptre be o’er them,
Till vengeance meet the murderous bands, from thine accursed shore,
And give them of the land they seek,—a grave of clotted gore.”
 
The Guadalquivir’s banks shall be divested of their pride,        45
The castles of our valiant race deck no more the mountain side,
And Ruin’s mouldering hand shall sweep to Spain’s remotest shore,
And all her fertile regions weep the exile of the Moor.
 
Note 1. Jones is of New Bedford, Massachusetts. He has been the editor of a paper in Philadelphia. [back]
 
 
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