Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. VII. Descriptive: Narrative
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Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume VII. Descriptive: Narrative.  1904.
 
Narrative Poems: VI. Spain
The Broken Pitcher
William Edmondstoune Aytoun (1813–1865)
 
IT was a Moorish maiden was sitting by a well,
And what that maiden thought of, I cannot, cannot tell,
When by there rode a valiant knight, from the town of Oviedo—
Alphonso Guzman was he hight, the Count of Desparedo.
 
“O maiden, Moorish maiden! why sitt’st thou by the spring?        5
Say, dost thou seek a lover, or any other thing?
Why gazest thou upon me, with eyes so large and wide,
And wherefore doth the pitcher lie broken by thy side?”
 
“I do not seek a lover, thou Christian knight so gay,
Because an article like that hath never come my way;        10
But why I gaze upon you, I cannot, cannot tell,
Except that in your iron hose you look uncommon swell.
 
“My pitcher it is broken, and this the reason is—
A shepherd came behind me, and tried to snatch a kiss;
I would not stand his nonsense, so ne’er a word I spoke,        15
But scored him on the costard, and so the jug was broke.
 
“My uncle, the Alcaydè, he waits for me at home,
And will not take his tumbler until Zorayda come.
I cannot bring him water,—the pitcher is in pieces;
And so I’m sure to catch it, ’cos he wallops all his nieces.”        20
 
“O maiden, Moorish maiden! wilt thou be ruled by me?
So wipe thine eyes and rosy lips, and give me kisses three;
And I’ll give thee my helmet, thou kind and courteous lady,
To carry home the water to thine uncle, the Alcaydè.”
 
He lighted down from off his steed—he tied him to a tree—        25
He bowed him to the maiden, and took his kisses three:
“To wrong thee, sweet Zorayda, I swear would be a sin!”
He knelt him at the fountain, and dipped his helmet in.
 
Up rose the Moorish maiden—behind the knight she steals,
And caught Alphonso Guzman up tightly by the heels;        30
She tipped him in, and held him down beneath the bubbling water,—
“Now, take thou that for venturing to kiss Al Hamet’s daughter!”
 
A Christian maid is weeping in the town of Oviedo;
She waits the coming of her love, the Count of Desperedo.
I pray you all in charity, that you will never tell        35
How he met Moorish maiden beside the lonely well.
 
 
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