Treasure Island

Adam Lindsay Gordon

(19 October 1833 – 24 June 1870 / Azores)

A Legend of Madrid


Francesca

Crush'd and throng'd are all the places
In our amphitheatre,
'Midst a sea of swarming faces
I can yet distinguish her ;
Dost thou triumph, dark-brow'd Nina ?
Is my secret known to thee ?
On the sands of yon arena
I shall yet my vengeance see.
Now through portals fast careering
Picadors are disappearing ;
Now the barriers nimbly clearing
Has the hindmost chulo flown.
Clots of dusky crimson streaking,
Brindled flanks and haunches reeking,
Wheels the wild bull, vengeance seeking,
On the matador alone.

Features by sombrero shaded,
Pale and passionless and cold ;
Doublet richly laced and braided,
Trunks of velvet slash'd with gold,
Blood-red scarf, and bare Toledo,—
Mask more subtle, and disguise
Far less shallow, thou dost need, oh
Traitor, to deceive my eyes.
Shouts of noisy acclamation,
Breathing savage expectation,
Greet him while he takes his station
Leisurely, disdaining haste;
Now he doffs his tall sombrero,
Fools ! applaud your butcher hero,
Ye would idolize a Nero,
Pandering to public taste.
From the restless Guadalquivir
To my sire's estates he came,
Woo'd and won me, how I shiver !
Though my temples burn with shame.
I, a proud and high-born lady,
Daughter of an ancient race,
'Neath the vine and olive shade I
Yielded to a churl's embrace.
To a churl my vows were plighted,
Well my madness he requited,
Since, by priestly ties, united
To the muleteer's child,
And my prayers are wafted o'er him,
That the bull may crush and gore him,
Since the love that once I bore him
Has been changed to hatred wild.

Nina

Save him ! aid him ! oh Madonna !
Two are slain if he is slain ;
Shield his life, and guard his honour,
Let me not entreat in vain.
Sullenly the brindled savage
Tears and tosses up the sand ;
Horns that rend and hoofs that ravage,
How shall man your shock withstand ?
On the shaggy neck and head lie
Frothy flakes, the eyeballs redly
Flash, the horns so sharp and deadly
Lower, short, and strong, and straight ;
Fast, and furious, and fearless,
Now he charges ;—Virgin peerless,
Lifting lids all dry and tearless,
At thy throne I supplicate.

Francesca

Cool and calm the perjured varlet
Stands on strongly planted heel,
In his left a strip of scarlet,
In his right a streak of steel ;
Ah ! the monster topples over,
Till his haunches strike the plain !—
Low-born clown and lying lover,
Thou hast conquer'd once again.

Nina

Sweet Madonna, Maiden Mother,
Thou hast saved him, and no other ;
Now the tears I cannot smother,
Tears of joy my vision blind ;
Where thou sittest I am gazing,
These glad, misty eyes upraising,
I have pray'd, and I am praising,
Bless thee ! bless thee ! Virgin kind.

Francesca

While the crowd still sways and surges,
Ere the applauding shouts have ceas'd,
See, the second bull emerges—
'Tis the famed Cordovan beast,—
By the picador ungoaded,
Scathless of the chulo's dart.
Slay him, and with guerdon loaded,
And with honours crown'd depart.
No vain brutish strife he wages,
Never uselessly he rages,
And his cunning, as he ages,
With his hatred seems to grow ;
Though he stands amid the cheering,
Sluggish to the eye appearing,
Few will venture on the spearing
Of so resolute a foe.

Nina

Courage, there is little danger,
Yonder dull-eyed craven seems
Fitter far for stall and manger
Than for scarf and blade that gleams ;
Shorter, and of frame less massive,
Than his comrade lying low,
Tame, and cowardly, and passive,—
He will prove a feebler foe.
I have done with doubt and anguish,
Fears like dews in sunshine languish,
Courage, husband, we shall vanquish,
Thou art calm and so am I.
For the rush he has not waited,
On he strides with step elated,
And the steel with blood unsated,
Leaps to end the butchery.

Francesca

Tyro! mark the brands of battle
On those shoulders dusk and dun,
Such as he is are the cattle
Skill'd tauridors gladly shun ;
Warier than the Andalusian,
Swifter far, though not so large,
Think'st thou, to his own confusion,
He, like him, will blindly charge ?
Inch by inch the brute advances,
Stealthy yet vindictive glances,
Horns as straight as levell'd lances,
Crouching withers, stooping haunches ;—
Closer yet, until the tightening
Strains of rapt excitement height'ning
Grows oppressive. Ha ! like lightning
On his enemy he launches.

Nina

O,er the horn'd front drops the streamer,
In the nape the sharp steel hisses,
Glances, grazes,—Christ ! Redeemer !
By a hair the spine he misses.

Francesca

Hark ! that shock like muffled thunder,
Booming from the Pyrenees !
Both are down—the man is under—
Now he struggles to his knees,
Now he sinks, his features leaden,
Sharpen rigidly and deaden,
Sands beneath him soak and redden,
Skies above him spin and veer ;
Through the doublet, torn and riven,
Where the stunted horn was driven,
Wells the life-blood—We are even,
Daughter of the muleteer !

Submitted: Friday, February 26, 2010

Do you like this poem?
0 person liked.
0 person did not like.

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Comments about this poem (A Legend of Madrid by Adam Lindsay Gordon )

Enter the verification code :

There is no comment submitted by members..

Top Poems

  1. Phenomenal Woman
    Maya Angelou
  2. The Road Not Taken
    Robert Frost
  3. If You Forget Me
    Pablo Neruda
  4. Still I Rise
    Maya Angelou
  5. Dreams
    Langston Hughes
  6. Annabel Lee
    Edgar Allan Poe
  7. If
    Rudyard Kipling
  8. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
    Robert Frost
  9. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
    Maya Angelou
  10. A Dream Within A Dream
    Edgar Allan Poe

PoemHunter.com Updates

New Poems

  1. Transparent men, Madhu Kailas
  2. Poet's agenda, Madhu Kailas
  3. Little By Little, Asma Riaz Khan
  4. BY ACCIDENT بالصدفة, MOHAMMAD SKATI
  5. The Blessing of Complication, Caroline Ferrell
  6. BY ACCIDENT, MOHAMMAD SKATI
  7. A Trance In Time, Asma Riaz Khan
  8. smithy works., Gangadharan nair Pulingat..
  9. COPLA 92 INVOCATION: This Bad Guy World, T (no first name) Wignesan
  10. Beauty, Kareem Zedan

Poem of the Day

poet Emily Dickinson

70

"Arcturus" is his other name—
I'd rather call him "Star."
It's very mean of Science
To go and interfere!

I slew a worm the other day—
...... Read complete »

 

Modern Poem

poet Kenneth Allott

 
[Hata Bildir]