Page images
PDF
EPUB

THE TRGUMENT.

COLUMBUS, having wandered from kingdom to kingdom, at length obtains three ships and sets sail on the Atlantic. The compass alters from its ancient direction; the wind becomes constant and unremitting; night and day he advances, till he is suddenly stopped in his course by a mass of vegetation, extending as far as the eye can reach, and assuming the appearance of a country overwhelmed by the sea. Alarm and despondence on board. He resigns himself to the care of Heaven, and proceeds on his voyage.

Meanwhile the deities of America assemble in council; and one of the Zemi, the gods of the islanders, announces his approach. “ In vain,” says he,“ have we guarded the Atlantic for ages. A mortal has baffled our power ; nor will our votaries arm against him. Yours are a sterner race. Hence; and, while we have recourse to stratagem, do you array tions round your altars, and prepare for an exterminating war.” They disperse while he is yet speaking; and, in the shape of a condor, he directs his flight to the fleet. His journey described. He arrives there. A panic. A mutiny. Columbus re

the na

GG

stores order ; continues on his voyage; and lands in a New World. Ceremonies of the first interview. Rites of hospitality. The ghost of Cazziva.

Two months pass away, and an Angel, appearing in a dream to Columbus, thus addresses him : “ Return to Europe; though your Adversaries, such is the will of Heaven, shall let loose the hurricane against you. A little while shall they triumph ; insinuating themselves into the hearts of your followers, and making the World, which you came to bless, a scene of blood and slaughter. Yet is there cause for rejoicing. Your work is done. The cross of Christ is planted here; and, in due time, all things shall be made perfect !"

[graphic]
[graphic][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

Night-Columbus on the Atlantic-the Variation of

the Compass, &c. Say who, when age on age had rolled away, And still, as sunk the golden Orb of day, The seaman watched him, while he lingered here, With many a wish to follow, many a fear,

[graphic]

And gazed and gazed and wondered where he went,
So bright his path, so glorious his descent,
Who first adventured-In his birth obscure,
Yet born to build a Fame that should endure,
Who the great secret of the Deep possessed,
And, issuing through the portals of the West,
Fearless, resolved, with every sail unfurled,
Planted his standard on the Unknown World?
Him, by the Paynim bard descried of yore,
And ere his coming sung on either shore,
Him could not I exalt-by Heaven designed
To lift the veil that covered half mankind!
Yet, ere I die, I would fulfil my vow;
Praise cannot wound his generous spirit now.

[blocks in formation]

1

'Twas night. The Moon, o'er the wide wave, disclosed
Her awful face; and Nature's self reposed;
When, slowly rising in the azure sky,
Three white sails shone—but to no mortal eye,
Entering a boundless sea.

In slumber cast,
The very ship-boy, on the dizzy mast,
Half breathed his orisons ! Alone unchanged,
Calmly, beneath, the great Commander ranged,
Thoughtful not sad; and, as the planet grew,
His noble form, wrapt in his mantle blue,
Athwart the deck a deepening shadow threw.

"

“ Thee hath it pleased–Thy will be done !” he said,
Then sought his cabin; and, their garments spread,
Around him lay the sleeping as the dead,
When, by his lamp, to that mysterious Guide,
On whose still counsels all his hopes relied,
That Oracle to man in mercy given,
Whose voice is truth, whose wisdom is from heaven,
Who over sands and seas directs the stray,
And, as with God's own finger, points the way,
Heturned; but what strange thoughts perplexed his soul,
When, lo, no more attracted to the Pole,
The Compass, faithless as the circling vane,
Fluttered and fixed, fluttered and fixed again!
At length, as by some unseen Hand imprest,
It sought with trembling energy the West!*
" Ah no!" he cried, and calmed his anxious brow.
“ Ill, nor the signs of ill, 'tis thine to show ;
Thine but to lead me where I wished to go!"

COLUMBUS erred not. In that awful hour,
Sent forth to save, and girt with God-like power,
And glorious as the regent of the sun, t
An Angel came! He spoke, and it was done!
He spoke, and, at his call, a mighty Wind,
Not like the fitful blast, with fury blind,
But deep, majestic, in its destined course,
Sprung with unerring, unrelenting force,

* Herrera, dec. I. lib. i. c. 9.

+ Rev. xix. 17.

« PreviousContinue »