Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > Spain, &c.
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Spain, Portugal, Belgium, and Holland: Vols. XIV–XV.  1876–79.
 
Spain: Arroyo Molinos
For the Affair at Arroyo Molinos
Robert Southey (1774–1843)
 
HE who may chronicle Spain’s arduous strife
Against the Intruder, hath to speak of fields
Profuselier fed with blood, and victories
Borne wider on the wings of glad report;
Yet shall this town, which from the mill-stream takes        5
Its humble name, be storied as the spot
Where the vain Frenchman, insolent too long
Of power and of success, first saw the strength
Of England in prompt enterprise essayed,
And felt his fortunes ebb, from that day forth        10
Swept back upon the refluent tide of war.
Girard lay here, who late from Caceres,
Far as his active cavalry could scour,
Had pillaged and oppressed the country round:
The Spaniard and the Portuguese he scorned,        15
And deemed the British soldiers all too slow
To seize occasion, unalert in war,
And therefore brave in vain. In such belief,
Secure at night he laid him down to sleep,
Nor dreamt that these disparaged enemies        20
With drum and trumpet should in martial charge
Sound his reveille. All day their march severe
They held through wind and drenching rain; all night
The autumnal tempest unabating raged,
While in their comfortless and open camp        25
They cheered themselves with patient hope: the storm
Was their ally; and moving in the mist,
When morning opened, on the astonished foe
They burst. Soon routed horse and foot, the French,
On all sides scattering, fled, on every side        30
Beset, and every where pursued, with loss
Of half their numbers captured, their whole stores,
And all their gathered plunder. ’T was a day
Of surest omen, such as filled with joy
True English hearts. No happier peals have e’er        35
Been rolled abroad from town and village tower
Than gladdened then with their exultant sound
Salopian vales; and flowing cups were brimmed
All round the Wrekin to Sir Rowland’s name.
 
 
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