Donna Clara.

A poem by Emma Lazarus

(From the German of Heine)

In the evening through her garden
Wanders the Alcalde's daughter,
Festal sounds of drum and trumpet
Ring out hither from the Castle.

"I am weary of the dances,
Honeyed words of adulation
From the knights who still compare me
To the sun with dainty phrases.

"Yes, of all things I am weary,
Since I first beheld by moonlight
Him, my cavalier, whose zither
Nightly draws me to my casement.

"As he stands so slim and daring,
With his flaming eyes that sparkle,
And with nobly pallid features,
Truly, he St. George resembles."

Thus went Donna Clara dreaming,
On the ground her eyes were fastened.
When she raised them, lo! before her
Stood the handsome knightly stranger.

Pressing hands and whispering passion,
These twain wander in the moonlight,
Gently doth the breeze caress them,
The enchanted roses greet them.

The enchanted roses greet them,
And they glow like Love's own heralds.
"Tell me, tell me, my beloved,
Wherefore all at once thou blushest?"

"Gnats were stinging me, my darling,
And I hate these gnats in summer
E'en as though they were a rabble
Of vile Jews with long, hooked noses."

"Heed not gnats nor Jews, beloved,"
Spake the knight with fond endearments.
From the almond-trees dropped downward
Myriad snowy flakes of blossoms.

Myriad snowy flakes of blossoms
Shed around them fragrant odors.
"Tell me, tell me, my beloved,
Looks thy heart on me with favor?"

"Yes, I love thee, O my darling,
And I swear it by our Saviour,
Whom the accursed Jews did murder,
Long ago with wicked malice."

"Heed thou neither Jews nor Saviour,"
Spake the knight with fond endearments.
Far off waved, as in a vision,
Gleaming lilies bathed in moonlight.

Gleaming lilies bathed in moonlight
Seemed to watch the stars above them.
"Tell me, tell me, my beloved,
Didst thou not erewhile swear falsely?"

"Naught is false in me, my darling,
E'en as in my veins there floweth
Not a drop of blood that's Moorish,
Neither of foul Jewish current."

"Heed not Moors nor Jews, beloved,"
Spake the knight with fond endearments.
Then towards a grove of myrtles

Leads he the Alcalde's daughter.

And with Love's slight subtile meshes,
He has trapped her and entangled.
Brief their words, but long their kisses,
For their hearts are overflowing.

What a melting bridal carol
Sings the nightingale, the pure one.
How the fire-flies in the grasses
Trip their sparkling torchlight dances!

In the grove the silence deepens,
Naught is heard save furtive rustling
Of the swaying myrtle branches,
And the breathing of the flowers.

But the sound of drum and trumpet
Burst forth sudden from the castle.
Rudely they awaken Clara,
Pillowed on her lover's bosom.

"Hark! they summon me, my darling!
But before we part, oh tell me,
Tell me what thy precious name is,
Which so closely thou hast hidden."

Then the knight with gentle laughter,
Kissed the fingers of his Donna,
Kissed her lips and kissed her forehead,
And at last these words he uttered:

"I, Senora, your beloved,
Am the son of the respected,
Worthy, erudite Grand Rabbi,
Israel of Saragossa."

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