Ghost-Song of the Spanish Buccaneers

We are the Spanish Buccaneers, none braver ever died,—
We waded through five hells of sand with nothing but our pride,
Our Spanish pride and our lust for gold and nothing else beside.

Oh, ever our fevered nights were hung with strange new stars a-swim
As we mixed barbaric litanies with credo and with hymn,
While every morn an alien dawn flared up the desert's rim.…

One noon we glimpsed a shining lake that silver-lit the plain;
But trees grew nigh it upside-down, then right-side-up again,—
And we knew it was the Devil's lie, and prayed to God for rain;

And once we saw a fleet of ships that sailed along the sand
Where a sea that never was, broke white on a dim, dissolving strand,—
And we prayed to Christ, as children do, and trudged on hand in hand.…

Oh, ever the Cities of Cibola, we saw them in our sleep:
Their climbing tops sat in the sky like clouds piled heap on heap,
And we laughed apart like madmen, each with his own dream to keep.…
And, though we never got to them, but, one by one, sank down,
The Seven Cities of Cibola belie not their renown,
But, somewhere, yet, they wait our quest, each star-encircled town!
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