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        THE CAPTIVE

I go, fair Nazarene, tomorrow
    To queenly Cordova again;
Then thou, my song of love and sorrow
    To hear, no longer mayst complain,
    Sung to the compass of my chain.

When home the Christians shall return,
    In triumph o’er the Moorish foe,
My cruel destiny wouldst thou learn?
    The history of my loves to know,
    The blood upon their hands shall show.

Better it were at once to close,
    In this dark tower a captive here,
The life I suffer now of woes,
    Than that today thou sett’st me clear;
    Alas! thou sell’st it very dear.

Adieu! tomorrow o’er, thy slave
    May never vex thy soul again,
But vain is all the hope it gave:
    Still must I bear the captive’s chain,
    Thine eyes my prison still remain.

Fair Christian! baleful is my star;
    What values it this life to me,
If I must bear it from thee far?
    Nor in Granada’s bowers may be,
    Nor, my fair Cordova, with thee?

Today’s bright sun to me will seem
    A lamp unseasonably by:
Daughter of Spain, thy beauties gleam
    Alone my sun and moon on high,
    The dawn and brightness of my sky.

Since then I lose thy light today,
    Without that light I cannot live!
To Cordova I take my way;
    But in the doom my fortunes give,
    Alas! ’tis death that I receive.

A paradise and houri fair
    Has Mahomet promised we shall prove:
Aye, thou wilt be an angel there,
    And in that blissful realm above
    We meet again, and there to love.

autógrafo

José Zorrilla
Translation by James Kennedy


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James Kennedy. "Modern poets and poetry of Spain" (1860). Produced by Cornell University Library, 1992.