The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero)/Poetry/Volume 3/The Girl of Cadiz

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POEMS 1809—1813.



Oh never talk again to me
Of northern climes and British ladies;
It has not been your lot to see,[2]
Like me, the lovely Girl of Cadiz.
Although her eye be not of blue,
Nor fair her locks, like English lasses,
How far its own expressive hue
The languid azure eye surpasses!


Prometheus-like from heaven she stole
The fire that through those silken lashes
In darkest glances seems to roll,
From eyes that cannot hide their flashes:
And as along her bosom steal
In lengthened flow her raven tresses,
You'd swear each clustering lock could feel,
And curled to give her neck caresses.


Our English maids are long to woo,[3][4]
And frigid even in possession;
And if their charms be fair to view,
Their lips are slow at Love's confession;
But, born beneath a brighter sun,
For love ordained the Spanish maid is,
And who,—when fondly, fairly won,—
Enchants you like the Girl of Cadiz?


The Spanish maid is no coquette,
Nor joys to see a lover tremble
And if she love, or if she hate,
Alike she knows not to dissemble.
Her heart can ne'er be bought or sold—
Howe'er it beats, it beats sincerely;
And, though it will not bend to gold,
'Twill love you long and love you dearly.


The Spanish girl that meets your love
Ne'er taunts you with a mock denial,
For every thought is bent to prove
Her passion in the hour of trial.
When thronging foemen menace Spain,
She dares the deed and shares the danger;
And should her lover press the plain,
She hurls the spear, her love's avenger.


And when, beneath the evening star,
She mingles in the gay Bolero,[5]
Or sings to her attuned guitar
Of Christian knight or Moorish hero,
Or counts her beads with fairy hand
Beneath the twinkling rays of Hesper,[6]
Or joins Devotion's choral band,
To chaunt the sweet and hallowed vesper;—


In each her charms the heart must move
Of all who venture to behold her;
Then let not maids less fair reprove
Because her bosom is not colder:
Through many a clime 'tis mine to roam
Where many a soft and melting maid is,
But none abroad, and few at home,
May match the dark-eyed Girl of Cadiz.[7]

[First published, 1832.]

  1. [These stanzas were inserted in the first draft of the First Canto of Childe Harold, after the eighty-sixth stanza. "The struggle 'gainst the Demon's sway" (see stanza lxxxiv.) had, apparently, resulted in victory, for the "unpremeditated lay" poured forth at the time betrays the youth and high spirits of the singer. But the inconsistency was detected in time, and the lines, To Inez, dated January 25, 1810, with their "touches of dreariest sadness," were substituted for the simple and cheerful strains of The Girl of Cadiz (see Poetical Works, 1899, ii. 75, note 1; Life, p. 151).]
  2. For thou hast never lived to see.—[MS. M. erased.]
  3. The Saxon maids ——.—[MS. M.]
  4. [Compare Childe Harold, Canto I. stanza lviii. lines 8, 9, Poetical Works, 1899, ii. 59, note 1.]
  5. [For "Bolero," see Poetical Works, 1898, i. 492, note 1.]
  6. Or tells with light and fairy hand
    Her beads beneath the rays of Hesper.—[MS. M. erased.]

  7. —— the lovely Girl of Cadiz.[MS. M.]