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On the two last leaves, and written in another hand, are some stanzas in the romance or ballad measure of the Spaniards. The subject is an adventure soon related.
The lonely watch-tower, Larenille,
“Those lights are on St. Mary's Isle ;
They ascended by steps hewn out in the rock; and, having asked for admittance, were lodged there.
Brothers in arms the guests appeared ;
The eldest had a rougher aspect, and there was craft in his eye Ho stood a little behind, in a long black mantle, his hand resting on the hilt of his sword; and his white hat and white shoes glittered in the moonshine.3
"Not here unwelcome, though unknown.
When other sounds had died away,
“PEREZ,” thou good old man,” they cried,
Would ye were sleeping side by side ! Of all his friends he loved thee best.
The supper in the chamber done,
The eldest swore by our Lady,10 the youngest by his conscience; 11 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.12 eurse is heavy,” said he at parting, “but Cortes may live to disappoint it.” -“Ay, and Pizarro too !”
*** 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 Neustra Senora de la Rábida.” The convent is within half a league of the town.
(1) IN him was fulfilled the ancient prophecy,
Secula seris, quibus Oceanus
Seneca in Medea, v. 374.
Which Tasso has imitated in his Gierusalemme Liberata.
Tempo verrà, che fian d'Ercole i segni
c. xv. 30. The poem opens on Friday the 14th of September, 1492.
(2) 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.
(3) 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.
(4) 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.
(5) Herrera, dec. I. lib. i. c. 9.
(6) 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'Île 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 gravees, qui ne furent point entendues ; mais il parut clairement que le signe de la main regardoit l'Amérique.”
(7) Rev. 19: 17.
(8) 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.
(9) To return was deemed impossible, as it blew always from home. - Hist. del Almirante, C. 19. Nos pavidi at pater Anchises -- lætus.
(1) Tasso employs preternatural agents on a similar occasion,
Trappassa, et ecco in quel silvestre loco
Gli incanti d'Ismeno, che ingannano con delusioni, altro non significano, che la falsita delle ragioni, et delle persuasioni, la qual si genera nella moltitudine, et varietà de' pareri, et de' discorsi humani.
(2) See Plato's Timæus ; where mention is made of mighty kingdoms, which, in a day and a night, had disappeared in the Atlantic, rendering its waters unnavigable.
Si quæras Helicen et Burin, Achaïdas urbes,
At the destruction of Callao, in 1747, no more than one of all the inhabitants escaped ; and he by a providence the most extraordinary. This man was on the fort that overlooked the harbor, going to strike the flag, when he perceived the sea to retire to a considerable distance ; and then, swelling mountain-high, it returned with great violence. The people ran from their houses in terror and confusion; he heard a cry of Miserere rise from all parts of the city; and immediately all was silent ; the sea had entirely overwhelmed it, and buried it forever in its bosom ; but the same wave that destroyed it drove a little boat by the place where he stood, into which he threw himself and was saved.
(3) The description of a submarine forest is here omitted by the translator.
League beyond league gigantic foliage spread,
(4) Historians are not silent on the subject. The sailors, according to Herrera, saw the signs of an inundated country (tierras anegadas); and it was the general expectation that they should end their lives there, as others had done in the frozen sea, "where St. Amaro suffers no ship to stir backward or forward.” — Hist. del Almirante, c. 19.
(5) The author seems to have anticipated his long slumber in the library of the Fathers.
(6) They may give me what name they please. I am servant of him, &c. - Hist. del Almirante, c. 2.
(7) As St. Christopher carried Christ over the deep waters, so Columbus went over safe, himself and his company. - Hist. c. 1.
(8) Water-spouts. - See Edwards' History of the West Indies, I. 12. Note.