The elaborate precautions taken in Spain to mitigate the effects of such torrents as we’re having at the moment can lead to puzzlement during dry spells. Here‘s Isaac D’Israeli in Curiosities of Literature:

In one of his odes [Gongora] addresses the River of Madrid by the title of the Duke of Streams and the Viscount of Rivers—

“Mançanares, Mançanares,
Os que cn todo el aguatismo,
Estois Duque de Arroyos,
Y Visconde de los Rios.”

He did not venture to call it a Spanish grandee, for, in fact, it is but a shallow and dirty stream; and as Quevedo wittily informs us, “Mançanares is reduced, during the summer season, to the melancholy condition of the wicked rich man, who asks for water in the depths of hell.”

Concerning this river a pleasant witticism is I recorded. Though so small, this stream in the time of a flood can spread itself over the neighbouring fields; for this reason Philip the Second built a bridge eleven hundred feet long!—A Spaniard passing it one day, when it was perfectly dry, observing this superb bridge, archly remarked, “That it would be proper that the bridge should be sold to purchase water.”—Es menester, vender la puente, por comprar agua.

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