Alice Cary

April 26, 1820 - 1871


Legend Of Seville

by Alice Cary

Three men that three gray mules bestrode
Went riding through a lonesome road --
Dust from the largest to the least
Up to the fetlock of each beast.

The foremost was a stripling pale;
Comrades, he said, within our hail
I see a hostel, white as snow --
'T is night-fall -- shall we thither go?

Nay, said the other two, in sooth
'T is white enough, but of a truth,
Too lowly for our courtly need --
We'll gain a fairer with good speed.

So, past the hostel white they rode,
These men that three gray mules bestrode,
Till led the pale young moon afar,
By her slim silver horn, one star.

Right wistfully then looking back,
Cried out the middle man, Alack!
I spy a rude black inn -- shalt see
If the host have good wine for three?

Now, said the hindmost, by my troth
Shamed is my knighthood for ye both.
So, pricking sharply, on they rode,
These men who three gray mules bestrode.

Close where a whimpering river lay
Stood huts of fishers; all that day
Drying their loose nets in the sun.
They told how murders might be done.

A moorish tower of yellow stone
Shadowed that river-bridge, o'ergrown
With lichen and the marish moss --
Forward the stripling rode to cross:

Close came the others man by man,
But farther than the shadow ran,
The legend says, they never rode,
These men who three gray mules bestrode.


Copyright 1855
Boston: Ticknor And Fields