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The Eldest swore by our Lady,* the Youngest by his conscience ;t while the Franciscan, sitting by in his gray habit, turned away and crossed himself again and again.
“ Here is a little book," said he at last, " the work of him in his shroud below. It tells of things you have mentioned ; and, were Cortes and Pizarro here, it might perhaps make them reflect for a moment.” The Youngest smiled as he took it into his hand. He read it aloud to his companion with an unfaltering voice ; but, when he laid it down, a silence ensued; nor was he seen to smile again that night.I “The curse is heavy,” said he at parting, “ but Cortes may live to disappoint it.”—“ Ay, and Pizarro too !"
Fernandez, lib. ii. c. 63.
| B. Diaz, c. 203. 1“ After the death of Guatimotzin,” says B. Diaz, " he became gloomy and restless; rising continually from his bed, and wandering about in the dark.”—“ Nothing prospered with him; and it was ascribed to the curses he was loaded with."
** A circumstance, recorded by Herrera, renders this visit not improbable. “ In May, 1528, Cortes arrived unexpectedly at Palos; and, soon after he had landed, he and Pizarro met and rejoiced ; and it was
remarkable that they should meet, as they were two of the most renowned men in the world.” B. Diaz makes no mention of the interview ; but relating an occurrence that took place at this time in Palos, says, “ that Cortes was now absent at Nuestra Senora de la Rábida.” The Convent is within half a league of the
The Poem opens on Friday the 14th of September, 1492.
In the original, El Almirante. “In Spanish America," says M. de Humboldt,“ when El Almirante is pronounced without the addition of a name, that of Columbus is understood; as, from the lips of a Mexican, El Marchese signifies Cortes :" and as among the Florentines, Il Segretario has always signified Machiavel.
P. 250, I. 17.
“ Thee hath it pleased-Thy will be done!” he said,
“ It has pleased our Lord to grant me faith and assurance for this enterprise-He has opened my understanding, and made me most willing to go." See his Life by his son, Ferd. Columbus, entitled, Hist. del Almirante Don Christoval Colon,
c. 4 & 37.
His Will begins thus. “In the name of the most holy Trinity, who inspired me with the idea, and who afterwards made it clear to me, that by traversing the Ocean westwardly," &c.
P. 250, I. 23.
Whose voice is truth, whose wisdom is from heaven,
The compass might well be an object of superstition. A belief is said to prevail even at this day, that it will refuse to traverse when there is a dead body on board.
P. 251, l. 12.
COLUMBUS erred not.
When these regions were to be illuminated, says Acosta, cùm divino concilio decretum esset, prospectum etiam divinitus est, ut tam longi itineris dux certus hominibus præberetur.De Natura Novi Orbis.
A romantic circumstance is related of some early navigator in the Histoire Gén. des Voyages, I. i. 2. “ On trouva dans l'ile de Cuervo une statue équestre, couverte d'un manteau, mais la tête nue, qui tenoit de la main gauche la bride du cheval, et qui montroit l'occident de la main droite. Il y avoit sur le bas d'un roc quelques lettres gravées, qui ne furent point entendues; mais il parut clairement que le signe de la main regardoit l'Amérique.”
P. 251, l. 16.
He spoke, and, at his call, a mighty Wind, The more Christian opinion is, that God, with eyes of compassion, as it were, looking down from heaven, called forth those winds of mercy, whereby this new world received the hope of salvation.-Preambles to the Decades of the Ocean.
P. 252, l. 4.
Folded their arms and sate ;
To return was deemed impossible, as it blew always from home.-Hist. del Almirante, c. 19. Nos pavidi—at pater Anchises-lætus.
P. 252, l. 9.
What vast foundlations in the Abyss are there,
Tasso employs preternatural agents on a similar occasion,
Trappassa, et ecco in quel silvestre loco
Sorge improvisa la città del foco. xiii. 33. Gli incanti d'Ismeno, che ingannano con delusioni, altro non significano, che la falsità delle ragioní, et delle persuasioni, la qual si genera nella moltitudine, et varietà de' pareri, et de' discorsi humani.