Spain knows not of kind words from England, for Perfidious Albion has scarcely ever shed the naval dress in which she saw victory at Trafalgar; she does not cease in her boasting of the ‘heroic victory’ against the ‘envious Iberians’ (to quote Stuart Mill, for example) of the Great Armada, but she neglects to mention the extraordinary humiliation suffered by her own fleet at Corunna. In glories past and future prosperity alike, the Anglo-Saxon has clashed with the Iberian; friendships have been only momentary alliances of necessity, not affectionate pacts. Nowhere has the animosity between the two peoples been as evident as in the New World, where England’s son, the American Republic of usurped Roman æsthetics and Lockean convictions, saw it in its interest to defeat an emaciated, ailing Spain.

The baggage of history acknowledged, it is now necessary to speak not of the relations between government parties or opposed armies, but of those of the dauntless Spain of old with observers elsewhere. It is for this reason that I have overseen the gathering of several poems of my liking and opted to share them. They are chiefly united by two characteristics: (a) having been written in English and (b) exalting Spanish virtues. I am no authority to speak of letting bygones be bygones, but it is clear to me that perpetual confrontation is, at best, unnecessary and, at worst, injurious. It is with these brief words that my hand ceases in its production and gives way to the works of past masters. This thread, I hope, will be stocked with the contributions of other members.

Please note that I am not an illiterate buffoon, although my copy-editing is not superb. I have, with minor alterations to improve the formatting, simply left the poems as they were originally written, which is bound to produce rather odd spellings. If a mysterious mention of whan instead of when is encountered, it is not through any fault of my own; I have merely honoured the poet’s wishes. If, for any reason, a poem or a particular part of one is altogether incomprehensible, I will attempt to provide aid. I am, of course, bound by the constraints to time, too; that is to say, I cannot sign any oaths or guarantee my availability at all times.

Lepanto, by G. K. Chesterton The Oak of Guernica, by William Wordsworth
​White founts falling in the courts of the sun, And the Soldan of Byzantium is smiling as they run;
There is laughter like the fountains in that face of all men feared,
It stirs the forest darkness, the darkness of his beard,
It curls the blood-red crescent, the crescent of his lips,
For the inmost sea of all the earth is shaken with his ships.
They have dared the white republics up the capes of Italy,
They have dashed the Adriatic round the Lion of the Sea,
And the Pope has cast his arms abroad for agony and loss,
And called the kings of Christendom for swords about the Cross,
The cold queen of England is looking in the glass;
The shadow of the Valois is yawning at the Mass;
From evening isles fantastical rings faint the Spanish gun,
And the Lord upon the Golden Horn is laughing in the sun.

Dim drums throbbing, in the hills half heard,
Where only on a nameless throne a crownless prince has stirred,
Where, risen from a doubtful seat and half attainted stall,
The last knight of Europe takes weapons from the wall,
The last and lingering troubadour to whom the bird has sung,
That once went singing southward when all the world was young,
In that enormous silence, tiny and unafraid,
Comes up along a winding road the noise of the Crusade.
Strong gongs groaning as the guns boom far,
Don John of Austria is going to the war,
Stiff flags straining in the night-blasts cold
In the gloom black-purple, in the glint old-gold,
Torchlight crimson on the copper kettle-drums,
Then the tuckets, then the trumpets, then the cannon, and he comes.
Don John laughing in the brave beard curled,
Spurning of his stirrups like the thrones of all the world,
Holding his head up for a flag of all the free.
Love-light of Spain—hurrah!
Death-light of Africa!
Don John of Austria
Is riding to the sea.

Mahound is in his paradise above the evening star,
(Don John of Austria is going to the war.)
He moves a mighty turban on the timeless houri’s knees,
His turban that is woven of the sunset and the seas.
He shakes the peacock gardens as he rises from his ease,
And he strides among the tree-tops and is taller than the trees,
And his voice through all the garden is a thunder sent to bring
Black Azrael and Ariel and Ammon on the wing.
Giants and the Genii,
Multiplex of wing and eye,
Whose strong obedience broke the sky
When Solomon was king.

They rush in red and purple from the red clouds of the morn,
From temples where the yellow gods shut up their eyes in scorn;
They rise in green robes roaring from the green hells of the sea
Where fallen skies and evil hues and eyeless creatures be;
On them the sea-valves cluster and the grey sea-forests curl,
Splashed with a splendid sickness, the sickness of the pearl;
They swell in sapphire smoke out of the blue cracks of the ground,—
They gather and they wonder and give worship to Mahound.
And he saith, “Break up the mountains where the hermit-folk can hide,
And sift the red and silver sands lest bone of saint abide,
And chase the Giaours flying night and day, not giving rest,
For that which was our trouble comes again out of the west.
We have set the seal of Solomon on all things under sun,
Of knowledge and of sorrow and endurance of things done,
But a noise is in the mountains, in the mountains, and I know
The voice that shook our palaces—four hundred years ago:
It is he that saith not ‘Kismet’; it is he that knows not Fate ;
It is Richard, it is Raymond, it is Godfrey in the gate!
It is he whose loss is laughter when he counts the wager worth,
Put down your feet upon him, that our peace be on the earth.”
For he heard drums groaning and he heard guns jar,
(Don John of Austria is going to the war.)
Sudden and still—hurrah!
Bolt from Iberia!
Don John of Austria
Is gone by Alcalar.

St. Michael’s on his mountain in the sea-roads of the north
(Don John of Austria is girt and going forth.)
Where the grey seas glitter and the sharp tides shift
And the sea folk labour and the red sails lift.
He shakes his lance of iron and he claps his wings of stone;
The noise is gone through Normandy; the noise is gone alone;
The North is full of tangled things and texts and aching eyes
And dead is all the innocence of anger and surprise,
And Christian killeth Christian in a narrow dusty room,
And Christian dreadeth Christ that hath a newer face of doom,
And Christian hateth Mary that God kissed in Galilee,
But Don John of Austria is riding to the sea.
Don John calling through the blast and the eclipse
Crying with the trumpet, with the trumpet of his lips,
Trumpet that sayeth ha!
Domino gloria!
Don John of Austria
Is shouting to the ships.

King Philip’s in his closet with the Fleece about his neck
(Don John of Austria is armed upon the deck.)
The walls are hung with velvet that is black and soft as sin,
And little dwarfs creep out of it and little dwarfs creep in.
He holds a crystal phial that has colours like the moon,
He touches, and it tingles, and he trembles very soon,
And his face is as a fungus of a leprous white and grey
Like plants in the high houses that are shuttered from the day,
And death is in the phial, and the end of noble work,
But Don John of Austria has fired upon the Turk.
Don John’s hunting, and his hounds have bayed—
Booms away past Italy the rumour of his raid
Gun upon gun, ha! ha!
Gun upon gun, hurrah!
Don John of Austria
Has loosed the cannonade.

The Pope was in his chapel before day or battle broke,
(Don John of Austria is hidden in the smoke.)
The hidden room in man’s house where God sits all the year,
The secret window whence the world looks small and very dear.
He sees as in a mirror on the monstrous twilight sea
The crescent of his cruel ships whose name is mystery;
They fling great shadows foe-wards, making Cross and Castle dark,
They veil the plumèd lions on the galleys of St. Mark;
And above the ships are palaces of brown, black-bearded chiefs,
And below the ships are prisons, where with multitudinous griefs,
Christian captives sick and sunless, all a labouring race repines
Like a race in sunken cities, like a nation in the mines.
They are lost like slaves that sweat, and in the skies of morning hung
The stair-ways of the tallest gods when tyranny was young.
They are countless, voiceless, hopeless as those fallen or fleeing on
Before the high Kings’ horses in the granite of Babylon.
And many a one grows witless in his quiet room in hell
Where a yellow face looks inward through the lattice of his cell,
And he finds his God forgotten, and he seeks no more a sign—
(But Don John of Austria has burst the battle-line!)
Don John pounding from the slaughter-painted poop,
Purpling all the ocean like a bloody pirate’s sloop,
Scarlet running over on the silvers and the golds,
Breaking of the hatches up and bursting of the holds,
Thronging of the thousands up that labour under sea
White for bliss and blind for sun and stunned for liberty.
Vivat Hispania!
Domino Gloria!
Don John of Austria
Has set his people free!

Cervantes on his galley sets the sword back in the sheath
(Don John of Austria rides homeward with a wreath.)
And he sees across a weary land a straggling road in Spain,
Up which a lean and foolish knight forever rides in vain,
And he smiles, but not as Sultans smile, and settles back the blade....
(But Don John of Austria rides home from the Crusade.)
Oak of Guernica! Tree of holier power
Than that which in Dodona did enshrine
(So faith too fondly deemed) a voice divine,
Heard from the depths of its aerial bower,
How canst thou flourish at this blighting hour?
What hope, what joy, can sunshine bring to thee,
Or the soft breezes from the Atlantic sea,
The dews of morn, or April’s tender shower?
Stroke merciful and welcome would that be
Which should extend thy branches on the ground,
If nevermore within their shady round
Those lofty-minded lawgivers shall meet,
Peasant and lord, in their appointed seat,
Guardians of Biscay’s ancient liberty.

The French and the Spanish Guerrillas, by William Wordsworth

Hunger, and sultry heat, and nipping blast
From bleak hill-top, and length of march by night
Through heavy swamp, or over snow-clad height—
These hardships ill-sustained, these dangers past,
The roving Spanish Bands are reached at last,
Charged, and dispersed like foam: but as a flight
Of scattered quails by signs do reunite,
So these,—and, heard of once again, are chased
With combinations of long-practised art
And newly-kindled hope; but they are fled—
Gone are they, viewless as the buried dead:
Where now?—Their sword is at the Foeman’s heart;
And thus from year to year his walk they thwart,
And hang like dreams around his guilty bed.

Spanish Guerrillas, by William Wordsworth

They seek, are sought; to daily battle led,
Shrink not, though far outnumbered by their Foes,
For they have learnt to open and to close
The ridges of grim war; and at their head
Are captains such as erst their country bred
Or fostered, self-supported chiefs,—like those
Whom hardy Rome was fearful to oppose;
Whose desperate shock the Carthaginian fled.
In One who lived unknown a shepherd’s life
Redoubted Viriatus breathes again;
And Mina, nourished in the studious shade,
With that great Leader vies, who, sick of strife
And bloodshed, longed in quiet to be laid
In some green island of the western main.

Ah! Where is Palafox? Nor Tongue nor Pen, by William Wordsworth

Ah! where is Palafox? Nor tongue no pen
Reports of him, his dwelling or his grave!
Does yet the unheard-of vessel ride the wave?
Or is she swallowed up, remote from ken
Of pitying human nature? Once again
Methinks that we shall hail thee, Champion brave,
Redeemed to baffle that imperial Slave,
And through all Europe cheer desponding men
With new-born hope. Unbounded is the might
Of martyrdom, and fortitude, and right.
Hark, how thy Country triumphs!—Smilingly
The Eternal looks upon her sword that gleams,
Like his own lightning, over mountains high,
On rampart, and the banks of all her streams.

O’erweening Statesmen Have Full Long Relied, by William Wordsworth

O’erweening Statesmen have full long relied
On fleets and armies, and external wealth:
But from ‘within’ proceeds a Nation’s health;
Which shall not fail, though poor men cleave with pride
To the paternal floor; or turn aside,
In the thronged city, from the walks of gain,
As being all unworthy to detain
A Soul by contemplation sanctified.
There are who cannot languish in this strife,
Spaniards of every rank, by whom the good
Of such high course was felt and understood;
Who to their Country’s cause have bound a life
Erewhile, by solemn consecration, given
To labour and to prayer, to nature, and to heaven.

Spain, by George Gordon, Lord Byron

O lovely Spain! renowned, romantic land!
Where is that standard which Pelagio bore,
When Cava’s traitor-sire first called the band
That dyed thy mountain streams with Gothic gore?
Where are those bloody banners which of yore
Waved o
er thy sons, victorious to the gale,
And drove at last the spoilers to their shore?
Red gleamed the cross, and waned the crescent pale.
While Afric’s echoes thrilled with Moorish matrons
s not each ditty with the glorious tale?
Ah! such, alas, the hero
s amplest fate!
When granite moulders and when records fail,
A peasant
s plaint prolongs his dubious date.
Pride! bend thine eye from heaven to thine estate,
See how the mighty shrink into a song!
Can volume, pillar, pile, preserve thee great?
Or must thou trust Tradition
s simple tongue.
Whan Flattery sleeps with thee, and History does thee

The Siege of Saragossa, by Anon

While prostrate slaves, to virtue dead,
Kiss the foul track where tyrant
s tread,
Still Freedom lifts her dauntless head
In sacred Saragossa.

The practis
d tools of grasping power
Around her walls in legions lour,
Walls little fit in trying hour
To profit Saragossa.

But native valour, noble pride,
Arrange her heroes side by side,
A rampart that defies the tide,
Which threatens Saragossa.

Each house a fortress to defend,
Father and Son refuse to bend,
And sights are seen which hearts might rend,
In struggling Saragossa.

Not so with thee, thou pride of Spain!
Carnage and ruin spread in vain;
Still Sons of Arragon remain
To fight for Saragossa.

In house by house, in street by street,
The Franks a brave resistance meet;
Hopeless and baffled they retreat—
Huzza! for Saragossa.

Second Siege.

Again returns Napoleon’s horde

With all the horrors of the sword,
The Thunder-cloud, with havoc stor
Hangs over Saragossa.

Arragonese! so brave, so true,
If ever branch of laurel grew,
That branch should form a wreath for you,
Who fought in Saragossa.

Again to vast exertion call’d,
By shot, shell, and explosion gall’d,
Firm stood thy Sons and unappall’d,
Unequall’d Saragossa!

Though wasting flames around thee curl’d,
Thou bursting mines to ruin hurled,
Defiance still her flag unfurled,
In gallant Saragossa.

d by numbers and o’ercome,
No hand to parley beat the drum,
Still true at heart, sullen and dumb,
Fell, glorious, Saragossa.