Thursday, March 18, 2004

More on the New Order in Spain:

On Hearing that Spain Has Capitulated to the Terrorists

From Burgos to Valencia
in the bright Spanish air
The spirit of the Campeador
has journeyed in despair,
The great sword that Alfonso gave
he breaks upon the shore.

El Cid has risen from his tomb,
he's parted with Ximene,
His people, whose bright honor still
has never suffered stain,
Now run from battle, hide their heads:
he is ashamed of Spain.

And now he's passing over sea,
toward the lands of dawn;
A falcon in the falling dusk,
he hears a distant horn;
Another spirit travels there
Roland, the Frankish-born.

High in the snow-swept Pyrenees
where he had thought to lie
Until the last great horn-blast calls
those whose fate is to die,
He's cast the shards of Durandal
into the starry sky,

And in the shades of Roncesvalles
where he kept his last stand
He has renounced his captaincy
and given up command;
For who is there to stand with him
who loves his native land?

And in the night they pass above
the isle of Ithaca,
And over white Naupaktos fades
the rising morning star;
And here the third of the great shades
has met them from afar:

It is the spirit of Don John,
Lepanto's admiral,
Who freed ten thousand galley-slaves
from the grand Turk's long thrall;
He has arisen from his grave
in the Escorial.

Where once the great guns of the fleets
crashed out in victory
Three spirits come in grief to seek
reburial at sea,
For Spain has turned her back upon
their antique chivalry.

And who will speak their requiem?
A poet who bore a gun:
Miguel Cervantes, who was there
in fifteen seventy-one
And boarded the great galley when
the fight was not yet won.

"My masters, on the golden hills
of Leon and Castile
The windmills now unchallenged turn,
the Don in fear will kneel
Before a wooden giant who
is nothing but a wheel;

"But you have kept your honor bright,
and though it was in vain
To guard the walls of Europe then
that would fall down again,
In exile and forgetfulness,
where you are, there is Spain."


-Frederick Turner

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