You, I am sure, remember (time and absence
Cannot have washed so much from memory)
The pleasant time when you were last at Lisbon,
And graced my house by making it your home.
I need not tell of all we did and talk'd,
Save what concerns me now; of the fair lady
You knew me then enamour'd of, (how deeply
I need not say--being a Portuguese,
Which saying, all is said)--Donna Juana,
At whose mere name I tremble, as some seer
Smit with the sudden presence of his God.
Two years we lived in the security
Of mutual love, with so much jealousy
(Without which love is scarcely love at all)
As served to freshen up its sleeping surface,
But not to stir its depths. Ah, dangerous
To warm the viper, or, for idle sport,
Trust to the treacherous sea--sooner or later
They turn upon us; so these jealousies
I liked to toy with first turn'd upon me;
When suddenly a rich young cavalier,
Well graced with all that does and ought to please,
(For I would not revenge me with my tongue
Upon his name, but with my sword in 's blood,)
Demanded her in marriage of her father;
Who being poor, and bargains quickly made
'Twixt avarice and wealth, quickly agreed.
The wedding day drew nigh that was to be
The day of funeral too--mixed dance and dirge,
And grave the bridal chamber both in one.
The guests were met; already night began
Loose the full tide of noisy merriment,
When I strode in; straight through the wedding throng
Up to the bride and bridegroom where they were,
And, seizing her with one hand, with the other
Struck him a corpse; and daring all, to die
Fighting, or fighting carry off my prize,
Carried her off; lifted her on a horse
I had outside; struck spur; and lightning-like
Away, until we reach'd the boundary
Of Portugal, and, safe on Spanish ground,
At last drew breath and bridle. Then on hither,
Where I was sure of refuge in the arms
Of my old friend Gil Perez; whom I pray
Not so much on the score of an old friendship,
So long and warm, but as a fugitive
Asking protection at his generous hands--
A plea the noble never hear in vain.
Nor for myself alone, but for my lady
Who comes with me, and whom I just have left
Under the poplars by the river-side,
Till I had told my news, and heard your answer.
A servant whom we met with on the way,
Pointed your house out--whither, travel-tired,
Press'd for my life, and deep in love with her
I bring, as curst by those I left behind,
And trusting him I come to.
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