Pawing the earth, and snorting in his rage
The Bull is tossing up the torrid sand;
The while the horseman's eye serene and bland
Seeks out a point for his red lance to gauge.
Steadied to take the charge, the fight to wage,
The picador holds his impatient stand;
His face, for all its blackness, whiter fanned
To anger as the bull obstructs the stage.
He hesitates; the Spaniard jeers at him;
He shakes his hornéd front; he tears the earth,
Heaving great breaths and straining every limb;
The taunter urges him to prove his worth;
Sudden he charges, fails, and bellows grim,
His shoulder bleeding, the great crowd in mirth!
Born at Valladolid, José Zorrilla achieved fame early for an elegy he wrote which was read at romantic
writer, Mariano José de Larra's funeral. He published a book of verse and wrote many well-received plays. After the death of
his mother, Zorrilla left Spain to live first in France and later Mexico. There he stayed for 11 years but wrote little.
He found himself all but forgotten upon his return to Spain, and endured years of poverty and obscurity. In his old age,
his reputation was restored, he was granted a pension and named poet laureate.