Modern Poets and Poetry of Spain/The Tower of Munion

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Dark-shadow'd giant! shame of proud Castille,
Castle without bridge, battlements or towers,
In whose wide halls now loathsome reptiles steal,
Where nobles once and warriors held their bowers!
Tell me, where are they? where thy tapestries gay,
Thy hundred troubadours of lofty song?
Thy mouldering ruins in the vale decay,
Thou humbled warrior! time has quell'd the strong
Thy name and history to oblivion thrown,
The world forgets that there thou standst, Munion.

To me thou art a spectre, shade of grief!
With black remembrances my soul's o'ercast;
To me thou art a palm with wither'd leaf,
Burnt by the lightning, bow'd beneath the blast.
I, wandering bard, proscribed perchance my doom
In the bier's dust nor name, nor glory know;
With useless toil my brow 's consumed in gloom;
Of her I loved, dark dwelling-place below,
Whom I was robb'd of, angel from above,
Cursed be thy name, thy soil, as was my love.

There rest, aye, in thy loftiness,
To shame the plain around,
Warderless castle, matron lone,
In whom no beauty 's found.
At thee time laughs, thy towers o'erthrown,
Scorned by thy vassals, by thy Lord
Deserted, rest, black skeleton!
Stain of the vale's green sward.

Priestless hermitage of Castille,
On thee no banners wave;
Unblazon'd gate, thy pointed vaults
No more their weight can save:
Thou hast no soldier on thy heights,
No echo in thy halls,
And rank weeds festering grow uncheck'd
Beneath thy mouldering walls.

Chieftain dead in a foreign land,
Forgotten of thy race,
While storm-torn fragments from thy brow
Are scatter'd o'er thy place;
And men pass careless at thy feet,
Nor seek thy tale to find;
Because thy history is not read,
Thy name 's not in their mind.

But thou hast one, who in a luckless hour
Inscribed another's name on thy worn stone:
'T was I, and that my deep relentless shame
Remains with thee alone.
When my lips named that name, they play'd me false;
When my hands graved it, 't was a like deceit;
Now it exists not; in time's impious course
'T was swept beneath his feet.

And that celestial name,
To time at length a prey,
A woman for my sin,
For a seraph snatch'd away;
The hurricane of life
Has left me, loved one, worse
For my eternal grief,
In pledge as of a curse,
Thy name ne'er from my thoughts to part,
Nor thy love ever from my heart.

  1. This tower is a shapeless ruin, the remains of an ancient castle in the plain of Arlanza near Burgos. The history of the castle is unknown, further than that Don Fernan Gonzalez assembled there, on one occasion, the Grandees of Castille, during his wars with the Moors.