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'Twas an autumn eve; the splendor
Of the day was gone,
Stole so gently on
Like a veil of silver gray,
From the face of heaven away.
O'er the welkin spread,
Gleamed above our head;
Shone in glory meek and sweet,
Underneath Madonna's feet. And we sat outside the villa
Where the waters flow Down to the city of Sevilla
Years and years ago.
There we sat-the mighty river
Wound its serpent course along. Silent, dreamy Guadalquiver,
Famed in many a song. Silver gleaming 'mid the plain Yellow with the golden grain, Gliding down through deep, rich meadows,
Where the sated cattle rove, Stealing underneath the shadows
Of the verdant olive grove; With its plenitude of waters,
Ever flowing calm and slow, Loved by Andalusia's daughters,
Sung by poets long ago.
Seated half within a bower,
Where the languid evening breeze Shook out odors in a shower
From oranges and citron trees,
Sang she from a romancero,
How a Moorish chieftain bold Fought a Spanish caballero
By Sevilla's walls of old,
How they battled for a lady,
Fairest of the maids of Spain-
Pierced the Möslem through the brain.
Then she ceased-her black eyes moving
Flashed, as asked she with a smile “ Say, are maids as fair and loving
Men as faithful, in your isle ?"
“ British maids," I said, " are ever
Counted fairest of the fair;
Moving with a stately air,
“Wooed not quickly, won not lightly
But, when won, forever true;
Time can ne'er the knot undo."
“ And the men ?"_" Ah! dearest lady,
Are-quien sabe ? who can say ?
When they can and where they may;
“ Fixed as waves, as breezes steady
“ Are they faithful ?”—“Ah! quien sabe?
Who can answer that they are ?
Then I took up her guitar,
QUIEN SABE ??
That kisses the orange and shakes out thy hair,
“ The river forever glides singing along,
The rose on the bank bends adown to its song;
“Let me be the breeze, love, that wanders along
The river that ever rejoices in song;
Who knows ?"
As I sang, the lady listened,
Silent save one gentle sigh:
On the dark fringe of her eye.
Then my heart reproved the feeling
Of that false and heartless strain,
What my heart would hide in vain,
Up I sprang. What words were uttered
Bootless now to think or tell
By the mighty master spell.
Love, avowed with sudden boldness,
Heard with flushings that reveal,
Thoughts the heart cannot conceal.
Words half-vague and passion-broken,
Meaningless, yet meaning all
That we never may recall.
« Magdalena, dearest, hear me,"
Sighed I, as I seized her hand“ Hóla! Senor,” very near me,
Cries a voice of stern command.
And a stalwart caballero
Comes upon me with a stride, On his head a slouched sombrero,
A toledo by his side.
From his breast he flung his capa
With a stately Spanish air(On the whole, he looked the chap a
Man to slight would scarcely dare.)
“ Will your worship have the goodness
To release that lady's hand ?”— “Senor,” I replied, “ this rudeness
I am not prepared to stand.
“Magdalena, say"—the maiden,
With a cry of wild surprise, As with secret sorrow laden,
Fainting sank before my eyes.
Then the Spanish caballero
Bowed with haughty courtesy, Solemn as a tragic hero,
And announced himself to me:
“ Senor, I am Don Camillo
Y Žorilla y’'_“No more, sir; 'Tis as good as twenty score, sir,”
Said I to him, with a frown; “ Mucha bulla para nada,
No palabras, draw your 'spada;
Senor, I am PETER BROWN!"
By the river's bank that night,
Foot to foot in strife,
A fight of death or life.
Close, and closer still I pressed;
Through the caballero's breast.
Down to the earth went Don Camillo
Kneeling down, I raised his head;
I never knew, I ne'er shall know. That night from Spain in haste I fled,
Years and years ago.
Oft when autumn eve is closing,
Pensive puffing a cigar
Comes a vision from afar