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Poems   By: (1835-1905)

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By John Hay

Note to Revised Edition

The Publishers of this volume, desiring to print it in an improved form, have asked me to write something by way of preface or supplement to the new edition. After some deliberation I have found myself unable to comply with this request. These pages were written in the first half of the year 1870, a time of intense interest and importance, to Spain. I left Madrid in the memorable August of that year, passing through Paris when that beautiful city was lying in the torpor which followed the wild excitement of the declaration of war, and preceded the fury of despair that came with the catastrophe of Sedan. I then intended to return to Spain before long; and, in fact, few years have passed since that time in which I have not nourished the dream of revisiting the Peninsula and its scenes of magic and romance. But many cares and duties have intervened; I have never gone back to Spain, and I have arrived at an age when I begin to doubt if I have any castles there requiring my attention.

I have therefore nothing to add to this little book. Reading it again after the lapse of many years, I find much that might be advantageously modified or omitted. But as its merits, if it have any, are merely those of youth, so also are its faults, and they are immanent and structural; they cannot be amended without tearing the book to pieces. For this reason I have confined myself to the correction of the most obvious and flagrant errors, and can only hope the kindly reader will pass over with an indulgent smile the rapid judgments, the hot prejudices, the pitiless condemnations, the lyric eulogies, born of an honest enthusiasm and unchecked by the reserve which comes of age and experience. I venture to hope, though with some anxiety and uncertainty, that the honest enthusiasm may itself be recognized, as well as the candor which the writer tried to preserve in speaking of things which powerfully appealed to his loves and his hates.

I therefore commit this book to the public once more with its imperfections on its head; with its prophecies unfulfilled, its hopes baffled, its observations in many instances rendered obsolete by the swift progress of events. A changed Europe far different from that which I traversed twenty years ago suffers in a new fever dream of war and revolution north of the Pyrenees; and beyond those picturesque mountains the Spanish monarchy enjoys a new lease of life by favor of circumstances which demand a chronicler of more leisure than myself. I must leave what I wrote in the midst of the stirring scenes of the interregnum between the secular monarchy and the short lived Republic whose advent I foresaw, but whose sudden fall was veiled from my sanguine vision without defense or apology, claiming only that it was written in good faith, from a heart filled with passionate convictions and an ardent love and devotion to what is best in Spain. I recorded what I saw, and my eyes were better then than now. I trust I have not too often spoken amiss of a people whose art, whose literature, whose language, and whose character compelled my highest admiration, and with whom I enjoyed friendships which are among the dearest recollections of my life.

John Hay.

Lafayette Square, Washington, April , 1890.


The Pike County Ballads.

Jim Bludso Little Breeches Banty Tim The Mystery of Gilgal Golyer The Pledge at Spunky Point


Sunrise in the Place de la Concorde The Sphinx of the Tuileries The Surrender of Spain The Prayer of The Romans The Curse of Hungary The Monks of Basle The Enchanted Shirt A Woman's Love On Pitz Languard Boudoir Prophecies A Triumph of Order Ernst of Edelsheim My Castle in Spain Sister Saint Luke

New And Old.

Miles Keogh's Horse The Advance Guard Love's Prayer Christine Expectation To Flora A Haunted Room Dreams The Light of Love Quand Même Words The Stirrup Cup A Dream of Bric a Brac Liberty The White Flag The Law of Death Mount Tabor Religion and Doctrine Sinai and Calvary The Vision of St... Continue reading book >>

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