Pieces People Ask For/Magdalena

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For works with similar titles, see Magdalena.


Sat we 'neath the dark veranda,
Years and years ago;
And I softly pressed a hand a
Deal more white than snow;
And I cast aside my reina,
As I gazed upon her face,
And I read her-Alagdalena,"
While she smoothed her Spanish lace-
Read her Waller's "Magdalena"—
She had Magdalena's grace,
Read her of the Spanish duel,
Of the brother, courtly, cruel,
Who between the British wooer
And the Seville lady came:
How her lover promptly slew her
Brother, and then fled in shame—
How he dreamed, in long years after,
Of the river's rippling laughter—
Of the love he used to know,
In the myrtle-curtained villa,
Near the city of Sevilla,
Years and years ago.

Ah, how warmly was I reading,
As I gazed upon her face!
And my voice took tones of pleadingj
For I sought to win her grace.
Surely, thought I, in her veins
Runs some drop of foreign strains —
There is something half Castilian
In that lip that shames vermilion ;
In that mass of raven tresses,
Tossing like a falcon's jesses ;
In that eye with trailing lashes —
And its witching upward flashes —
Such, indeed, I know,
Shone where Guadalquivir plashes
Years and years ago.

Looking in her face I read it—
How the metre trips!—
And the god of lovers
On my happy lips—
All those words of mystic sweetness
Spoke I with an airy neatness,
As I never had before—
As I cannot speak them more—
Reja, plaza and mantilla.
"No palabras" and Sevilla,
Caballero and sombrero,
And duenna and Duero,
Spada, sen or, sabe Dios—
Smooth as pipe of Meliboeus—
Ah, how very well I read it,
Looking in her lovely eyes!
When 'twas o'er, I looked for credit,
As she softly moved to rise.

Doting dream, ah, dream fallacious—
Years and years ago!
For she only said, "My gracious—
What a lot of French you know!"