Recollections of Burgos

Richard Chevenix Trench

Most like some aged king it seemed to me,
Who had survived his old regality,
Poor and deposed, but keeping still his state,
In all he had before of truly great;
With no vain wishes and no vain regret,
But his enforced leisure soothing yet
With meditation calm, and books, and prayer,
For all was sober and majestic there, —
The old Castilian, with close finger-tips
Pressing his folded mantle to his lips;
The dim cathedral's cross-surmounted pile,
With carved recess, and cool and shadowy aisle;
The walks of poplar by the river's side,
That wound by many a straggling channel wide;
And seats of stone, where one might sit and weave
Visions, till wellnigh tempted to believe
That life had few things better to be done,
And many worse, than sitting in the sun,
To lose the hours, and wilfully to dim
Our half-shut eyes and veil them till might swin
The pageant by us, smoothly as the stream
And unremembered pageant of a dream.
A castle crowned a neighboring hillock's crest,
But now the moat was level with the rest;
And all was fallen of this place of power,
All heaped with formless stone, save one round tower.
And here and there a gateway low and old,
Figured with antique shape of warrior hold.
And then behind this eminence the sun
Would drop serenely, long ere day was done;
And one who blinded that height might see again
A second setting o'er the fertile plain
Beyond the town, and, glittering in his beam,
Wind far away that poplar-skirted stream.

Main Location:

Burgos, Spain