Hilaire Belloc

(27 July 1870 – 16 July 1953 / La Celle-Saint-Cloud)

Tarantella - Poem by Hilaire Belloc

Do you remember an Inn,
Miranda?
Do you remember an Inn?
And the tedding and the spreading
Of the straw for a bedding,
And the fleas that tease in the High Pyrenees,
And the wine that tasted of tar?
And the cheers and the jeers of the young muleteers
(Under the vine of the dark veranda)?
Do you remember an Inn, Miranda,
Do you remember an Inn?
And the cheers and the jeers of the young muleteers
Who hadn't got a penny,
And who weren't paying any,
And the hammer at the doors and the din?
And the hip! hop! hap!
Of the clap
Of the hands to the swirl and the twirl
Of the girl gone chancing,
Glancing,
Dancing,
Backing and advancing,
Snapping of the clapper to the spin
Out and in--
And the ting, tong, tang of the guitar!
Do you remember an Inn,
Miranda?
Do you remember an Inn?

Never more;
Miranda,
Never more.
Only the high peaks hoar;
And Aragon a torrent at the door.
No sound
In the walls of the halls where falls
The tread
Of the feet of the dead to the ground,
No sound:
But the boom
Of the far waterfall like doom.


Comments about Tarantella by Hilaire Belloc

  • Frank Hodgins (4/22/2016 4:24:00 AM)

    I learned this poem as a 15year old in school. I loved it then and still remember it. I think I fell in love with the Flemenco dancer, Miranda. Miranda and Carmen, two beautiful, wonderful women. I'm still in love with both, , hahah! (Report) Reply

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  • Rosemary Macrae (3/2/2016 7:36:00 AM)

    I've just heard that Miranda was actually a general and the song is about a brothel full of soldiers - I can't tell you how disappointed I am! This information is from Robin Tritschler, tenor speaking about a recital of songs by Richard Hagemann in Belfast.
    I've just re-read the poem again and prefer to think of it as an unorthodox romantic jaunt with Miranda being the Muse, however! Perhaps we have our own imaginings and they are as valid - and the song is wonderful evocation of an unorthodox Spain of memory.... (Report) Reply

  • Birgitta Abimbola Heikka Birgitta Abimbola Heikka (8/18/2014 6:21:00 PM)

    Very entertaining poem. Enjoyed it. (Report) Reply

  • Lorraine Margueritte Gasrel Black (8/15/2014 3:48:00 PM)

    Makes me think of Spain in another century...very picturesque poem.. (Report) Reply

  • Gangadharan Nair Pulingat (8/15/2014 10:34:00 AM)

    A beautiful poem with good word power and remembrances. (Report) Reply

  • Edgar Stevens Edgar Stevens (8/15/2014 7:56:00 AM)

    this poem is awesome.... (Report) Reply

  • Terry Craddock Terry Craddock (8/15/2014 6:02:00 AM)

    Yes Miranda remembered
    the straw for a bedding,
    And the fleas that tease in the High Pyrenees,
    And the wine that tasted of tar?
    Miranda said it was impossible to forget the nightmare of that zero star accommodation but the tar wine got everyone romping and stomping falling over each other having fun by nights end :) (Report) Reply

  • Babatunde Aremu Babatunde Aremu (8/15/2014 5:36:00 AM)

    Wonderful poem! This is written from deep old experience. (Report) Reply

  • Talib Deen Talib Deen (8/15/2013 11:19:00 PM)

    view my poems n comment (Report) Reply

  • Arnav Gogoi (8/15/2013 12:11:00 PM)

    Awesome poem...The rhythm of the poem is tantalizing and the words make it good to read and enjoy...You can savour the poem to its full succulence... (Report) Reply

  • Immanuel Santos (8/15/2012 1:21:00 PM)

    And the hip! hop! hap!
    Of the clap
    Of the hands to the swirl and the twirl
    Of the girl gone chancing,
    Glancing,
    Dancing,
    Backing and advancing,
    Snapping of the clapper to the spin
    Out and in-

    beautifully made! 10++ (Report) Reply

  • Carlos Echeverria (8/15/2012 11:11:00 AM)

    How wonderfully, ironically prescient that the words hip! hop! are in this poem-for it has a true funky rhythm. (Report) Reply

  • Bselvey Selvey (7/12/2012 2:20:00 AM)

    I learned this by rote aged 12. I loved it then and love it now. It is so evocative of the flamenco beat and mourns the loss of a friend/dancer. i used to think that it was linked to the Spanish Civil war in some way-but that was only a child's imagination (Report) Reply

  • Ramesh T A Ramesh T A (8/15/2011 3:36:00 PM)

    A light weight poem made joyful to read by the play of words is an art only Hilaire Belloc can do better ever! (Report) Reply

  • Allemagne Roßmann Allemagne Roßmann (8/15/2011 1:47:00 AM)

    Well penned.History. (Report) Reply

  • Adair Cross (2/9/2010 2:07:00 PM)

    I have always believed that this poem was about a girl who was bitten by a tarantula.(Tarentella dance-it was thought that by dancing the spiders venom would wear off) .It has always been a favourite of mine and I won an eisteddfod with it at the precocious age of 10! (Report) Reply

  • Kevin Straw Kevin Straw (8/15/2009 5:00:00 AM)

    The poem is full of the the adventuresome joie de vivre of young men on their travels. (Report) Reply

  • Christopher Honey (12/2/2008 6:35:00 AM)

    This is a magnificent poem: it has mystery, rhythm, atmosphere and pace and is the work of a poet who has mastery of the language. The speculation is stimulates - who was or is Miranda? when and why is he recollecting the scene and asking her about it? - are all part of the enjoyment. (Report) Reply

  • Fabian Wayman-hales (6/11/2008 8:06:00 AM)

    I had always understood that Miranda was the DONKEY that accompanied Belloc on his Pilgrimage to Rome - tghough why a donkey should remember the taste of the wine escapes me. One of my favourite poems but one I can never commit to memory [- always missing out lines or getting them in tghe wrong order when I try to declaim them to myself (Report) Reply

  • Georgie Loton (2/6/2008 3:35:00 PM)

    Miranda, was Captain Miranda, one of Belloc's fellow officers not a women. (Report) Reply

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Read poems about / on: remember, guitar, girl, dark, dance



Poem Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002

Poem Edited: Thursday, September 4, 2008


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