Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > An American Anthology, 1787–1900
Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  An American Anthology, 1787–1900.  1900.
1022. The Andalusian Sereno
By Francis Saltus Saltus
WITH oaken staff and swinging lantern bright,
  He strolls at midnight when the world is still
Through dismal lanes and plazas plumed with light,
  Guarding the drowsy thousands in Seville.
Gazing upon his ever star-thronged sky,        5
  With careless step he wanders to and fro;
The gloomy streets reëcho with his cry,
  His slow, low, sad, and dreary “Se-re-no!”
He sees the blond moon fleck the rosy towers
  Of old giralda with its opal sheen,        10
And in broad alamedas, warm with flowers,
  He sees the Moorish cypress bend and lean.
Then, vaguely dreaming, he recalls the nights
  His father passed beneath those very stars,
The tales of escaladed walls, the fights,        15
  The mirth, the songs, the Babel of guitars!
And all his sire had told him years ago,
  How, often, in the gardens dim and dark,
He met full many a mantled Romeo,
  And stumbled over corpses cold and stark.        20
But he, alas! had heard no serenade;
  No ladder hangs from Donna Linda’s bars,
And the wan glint of an assassin’s blade
  He ne’er has seen beneath these quiet stars.
So, weary, in the dead calm of the town,        25
  His soul regrets the Past’s romantic glow,
While mute, despondent, pacing up and down,
  He sadly moans his dreary “Se-re-no!”
But sometimes in the grayish light of dawn
  He stops and trembles in his clinging cape,        30
For he can see a lady’s curtain drawn,
  And, in the street below, a phantom shape,
Draped in quaint, antique garb, with sword and glove,
  Sombrero vast, and mandolin on arm,
Which seems to play a weird, wild lay of love,        35
  And at his coming shows no quick alarm;
But turns, and there a skeleton, all lean
  And haggard, leers within the lightless lane!
And the Sereno knows that he has seen
  The spectre of the Past, the ghost of Spain.        40


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