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C.D. Warner, et al., comp. The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

Zara’s Earrings

By John Gibson Lockhart (1794–1854)

From the ‘Spanish Ballads’

“MY earrings! my earrings! they’ve dropt into the well,

And what to Muça I shall say, I cannot, cannot tell.”—

’Twas thus, Granada’s fountain by, spoke Albuharez’s daughter.—

“The well is deep, far down they lie, beneath the cold blue water.

To me did Muça give them, when he spake his sad farewell;

And what to say when he comes back, alas! I cannot tell.

“My earrings! my earrings! they were pearls in silver set,

That when my Moor was far away, I ne’er should him forget;

That I ne’er to other tongue should list, nor smile on other’s tale,

But remember he my lips had kissed, pure as those earrings pale:

When he comes back, and hears that I have dropped them in the well—

Oh, what will Muça think of me, I cannot, cannot tell.

“My earrings! my earrings! he’ll say they should have been,

Not of pearl and silver, but of gold and glittering sheen;

Of jasper and of onyx, and of diamond shining clear,

Changing to the changing light, with radiance insincere;

That changeful mind unchanging gems are not befitting well:

Thus will he think—and what to say, alas! I cannot tell.

“He’ll think when I to market went, I loitered by the way;

He’ll think a willing ear I lent to all the lads might say;

He’ll think some other lover’s hand, among my tresses noosed,

From the ears where he had placed them, my rings of pearl unloosed;

He’ll think when I was sporting so beside this marble well,

My pearls fell in—and what to say, alas! I cannot tell.

“He’ll say I am a woman, and we are all the same;

He’ll say I loved when he was here to whisper of his flame,

But when he went to Tunis my virgin troth had broken,

And thought no more of Muça, and cared not for his token.

My earrings! my earrings! oh, luckless, luckless well!

For what to say to Muça, alas! I cannot tell.

“I’ll tell the truth to Muça, and I hope he will believe—

That I thought of him at morning, and thought of him at eve;

That musing on my lover, when down the sun was gone,

His earrings in my hand I held, by the fountain all alone;

And that my mind was o’er the sea, when from my hand they fell,

And that deep his love lies in my heart, as they lie in the well.”