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

Madison Cawein (1865–1914)


LA GITANILLA! Tall dragoons,

In Andalusian afternoons,

With ogling eye and compliment

Smiled on you, as along you went

Some sleepy street of old Seville—

Twirled with military skill

Mustaches; buttoned uniforms

Of Spanish yellow bowed your charms.

Proud, wicked head, and hair blue-black!

Whence your mantilla, half thrown back,

Discovered shoulders and bold breast

Bohemian brown! And you were dressed

In some short skirt of gipsy red

Of smuggled stuff; thence stockings dead

White silk, exposed with many a hole,

Through which your plump legs roguish stole

A fleshly look; and tiny toes

In red morocco shoes with bows

Of scarlet ribbons. Daintily

You walked by me, and I did see

Your oblique eyes, your sensuous lip,

That gnawed the rose you once did flip

At bashful José’s nose, while loud

Laughed the gaunt guards among the crowd.

And in your brazen chemise thrust,

Heaved with the swelling of your bust,

The bunch of white acacia blooms

Whiffed past my nostrils hot perfumes.

As in a cool neveria

I ate an ice with Mérimée,

Dark Carmencita, you passed gay,

All holiday-bedizenèd,

A new mantilla on your head;

A crimson dress bespangled fierce;

And crescent gold hung in your ears,

Shone, wrought morisco; and each shoe,

Cordovan leather spangled blue,

Glanced merriment; and from large arms

To well-turned ankles all your charms

Blew flutterings and glitterings

Of satin bands and beaded strings;

And round each arm’s fair thigh one fold,

And graceful wrists, a twisted gold

Coiled serpents’ tails fixed in each head,

Convulsive-jeweled glossy red.

In flowers and trimmings, to the jar

Of mandolin and low guitar,

You in the grated patio

Danced: the curled coxcombs’ flirting row

Rang pleased applause. I saw you dance,

With wily motion and glad glance

Voluptuous, the wild romalis,

Where every movement was a kiss

Of elegance delicious, wound

In your Basque tambourine’s dull sound;

Or as the ebon castanets

Clucked out dry time in unctuous jets,

Saw angry José through the grate

Glare on us a pale face of hate,

When some indecent colonel there

Presumed too lewdly for his ear.

Some still night in Seville, the street

Candilejo, two shadows meet—

Flash sabres crossed within the moon—

Clash rapidly—a dead dragoon.