We present this work in honor of the poet’s 200th birthday.
Bravo! thou nation of a noble line!
Thou mean’st to fashion after beasts thy men.
How well thy mission thou dost now divine,
Escaping from the Latin Church’s shrine
To intrench thyself around the fighters’ pen!
New Plazas for the bull-figlit let there be;
Build them, Country! pour thy treasures free!
Ah! stranger lands are wiser far than we, —
For here we are but cowherds, we are fools:
Which do we value most, the laws or bulls?
Who cares for liberty, while he doth roar,
The hunted bull, along the spacious plain.
Or tear the arena, and his victim gore?
When swells his passion with the pricking pain,
Who sees the vision of our mournful Spain?
And when he draws his breath with hoarsest sigh,
And from his pierced heart come out the groans,
And men fall down to earth, and horses die,
How sweet to hear the rosy children nigh
Break out in merry laughter’s silvery tones!
But hark! I see before my vision rise,
Brave to uphold the war of beasts and men,
Some spirited hidalgo, listening wise.
“I glory in the speetaele,” he cries;
“The thing is Spanish, — it has always been!”
O patriotie ardor! Lot them bind
A starry crown upon the learned brow
Of every noble knight, who thinks to find
Our highest strength within the bull enshrined,
Our Spanish glory in the Picador’s bow!
With all the fairest ladies of repute
The love of country so refined has grown
They look with rapture even on this brute;
For tenderness is here a foreign shoot,
And cruelty is Spanish-born alone!