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as far as I dared, their warmth of colouring and wildness of imagery, led me to conceive the idea of a Poem written not long after his death, when the great consequences of the Discovery were beginning to unfold themselves, but while the minds of men were still clinging to the superstitions of their fathers.
The Event here described may be thought too recent for the Machinery; but I found them together. * A belief in the agency of Evil Spirits prevailed over both hemispheres; and even yet seems almost necessary to enable us to clear up the Darkness,
And justify the ways of God to Men.
• Perhaps even a contemporary subject should not be rejected as such, however wild and extravagant it may be, if the manners be foreign and the place distant-major è longinquo reverentia. L'éloignement des pays, says Racine, répare en quelque sorte la trop grande proximité des temps; car le peuple ne met guere de différence entre ce qui est, si j'ose ainsi parler, à mille ans de lui, et ce qui en est à mille lieues.
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 feet. His journey described. He arrives there. A panic. A mutiny. Columbus re
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 !"
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,
And gazed and gazed and wondered where he went,
'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.