Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE SPANISH PAGE; OR, THE CITY'S RANSOM, by LETITIA ELIZABETH LANDON



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THE SPANISH PAGE; OR, THE CITY'S RANSOM, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: She was a chieftain's daughter, and he a captive boy
Last Line: The warrior spared the moorish town, for that dead maiden's sake.
Alternate Author Name(s): L. E. L.; Maclean, Letitia


SHE was a chieftain's daughter, and he a captive boy,
Yet playmates and companions they shared each childish joy;
Their dark hair often mingled, they wandered hand in hand,
But at last the golden ransom restored him to his land.
A lovely town is Seville amid the summer air,
But, though it be a little town, Xenilla is as fair;
Fair are the glittering minarets where the purple daylight falls,
And rosy the pomegranates of the gardens in its walls.

But its pleasant days are over, for an army girds it round,
With the banner of the red cross, and the Christian trumpets sound;
They have sworn to raze the city that in the sunshine stood,
And its silvery singing fountains shall flow with Moslem blood.
Fierce is the Christian leader, a young and orphan lord,
For all the nobles of his house fell by the Moorish sword;
Himself was once a captive, till redeemed by Spanish gold,
Now to be paid by Moorish wealth and life an hundred-fold.

The sound of war and weeping reached where a maiden lay,
Fading as fades the loveliest, too soon from earth away,
Dark fell the silken curtains, and still the court below,
But the maiden's dream of childhood was disturbed by wail and woe.
She questioned of the tumult; her pale slaves told the cause;
The colour mounted to her cheek, a hasty breath she draws,
She called her friends around her, she whispered soft and low,
Like music from a wind-touched lute her languid accents flow.

Again upon her crimson couch she laid her weary head;
They looked upon the dark-eyed maid -- they looked upon the dead
That evening, ere the sunset grew red above the town,
A funeral train upon the hills came winding slowly down;
They come with mournful chanting, they bear the dead along,
The sentinels stood still to hear that melancholy song:
To Don Henrique they bore the corpse -- they laid it at his feet,
Pale grew the youthful warrior that pale sweet face to meet.

As if in quiet slumber the Moorish maid was laid,
And her white hands were folded, as if in death she prayed;
Her long black hair on either side was parted on her brow,
And her cold cheek was colder than marble or than snow.
Yet lovelier than a living thing she met the warrior's gaze,
Around her was the memory of many happy days.
He knew his young companion, though long dark years had flown,
Well had she kept her childish faith -- she was in death his own.

"Bring ye this here, a ransom for those devoted walls!"
None answered -- but around the tent a deeper silence falls;
None knew the maiden's meaning, save he who bent above,
Ah! only love can read within the hidden heart of love.
There came from these white silent lips more eloquence than breath,
The tenderness of childhood -- the sanctity of death.
He felt their old familiar love had ties he could not break,
The warrior spared the Moorish town, for that dead maiden's sake.





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