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While each, with lofty masts and brightening sheen With heavy sigh and look depress'd, Of fair spread sails, moves like a vested queen ; The greatest men will sometimes hear Or rather, be some distant bark, astray,
The story of their acts address'd Seen like a pilgrim on his lonely way,
To the young stranger's wandering ear, Holding its steady course from port and shore, And check the half-swoln tear. A form distinct, a speck, and seen no more, Is it or modesty or pride How doth the pride, the sympathy, the flame, Which may not open praise abide ? Of human feeling stir his thrilling frame!
No; read his inward thoughts ! they tell, "O Thou ! whose mandate dust inert obey'd ! His deeds of fame he prizes well. What is this creature man whom thou hast made !" But, ah! they in his fancy stand,
As relics of a blighted band,
Ere yet the glorious light of day
Had glitter'd on their bright array.
His mightiest feat had once another,
Of high imagination born,
A loftier and a nobler brother,
From dear existence torn;
And she for those, who are not, steeps Did bark or ship through tempest steer;
Her soul in wo,-like Rachel, weeps.
The signal given, with hasty strides
The sailors climb'd their ships' dark sides ; In wonder seem'd to look their last.
Their anchors weigh'd; and from the shore A form which conscious worth is gracing,
Each stately vessel slowly bore. A face where hope, the lines effacing
High o'er the deeply shadow'd flood, Of thought and care, bestow'd, in truth,
Upon his deck their leader stood, To the quick eyes' imperfect tracing
And turn'd him to the parted land, The look and air of youth.
And bow'd his head and waved his hand
And then, along the crowded strand,
A sound of many sounds combined,
That wax'd and waned upon the wind, Expression of th’ enlighten'd eye,
Burst like heaven's thunder, deep and grand Had recognised in that bright hour
A lengthen'd peal, which paused, and then The disappointed suppliani of dull power,
Renew'd, like that which loathly parts, Who had in vain of states and kings desired Oft on the ear return'd again, The pittance for his vast eroprise required ? The impulse of a thousand hearts. The patient sage, who, by his lamp's faint light, But as the lengthen'd shouts subside, O'er chart and map spent the long silent night? Distincter accents strike the ear, The man who meekly fortune's buffets bore, Wafting across the current wide, Trusting in One alone, whom heaven and earth | Heart-utter'd words of parting cheer: adore?
“O! shall we ever see again III.
Those gallant souls recross the main ?
God keep the brave! God be their guide ! Another world is in his mind,
God bear them safe through storm and tide Peopled with creatures of his kind,
Their sails with favouring breezes swell! With hearts to feel, with minds to soar,
O brave Columbus ! fare thee well!”
From shore and strait, and gulf and bay, (Whisper'd his heart,) a leading star,
The vessels held their daring way, Will guide him on his blessed way;
Left far behind, in distance thrown
All land to Moor or Christian known,
Whose fitful shroud, withdrawn the while,
Shows wood and hill and headland bright IV.
To later seamen's wondering sight,
And tide and sea left far behind
Where ship or bark to shifting gales,
E’er tack'd their course or spread their sails, Hath but fulfill’d, within a parrow scope,
Around them lay a boundless main A stinted portion of his ample hope.
In which to hold their silent reign ;
But for the passing current's flow,
A gentler mien ; relations, friends,
But all undaunted, firm and sage,
He scorns their threats, yet thus he soothes their
rage: What did this trackless waste supply
“ I brought you from your native shore To soothe the mind or please the eye?
An unknown ocean to explore. The rising morn through dim mist breaking,
I brought you, partners, by my side, The flicker'd east with purple streaking;
Want, toil, and danger, to abide. The midday cloud through thin air flying,
Yet weary stillness hath so soon subdued With deeper blue the blue sea dying ;
The buoyant soul, the heart of pride, Long ridgy waves their white mains rearing,
Men who in battle's brunt full oft have firmly stood. And in the broad gleam disappearing;
That to some pearing coast we bear, The broaden'd, blazing sun declining,
How many cheering signs declare! And western waves like fire flood shining;
Wayfaring birds the blue air ranging, The sky's vast dome to darkness given,
Their shadowy line to blue air changing,
Pass o'er our heads in frequent flocks ;
While seaweed from the parent rocks
With fibry roots, but newly torn Full oft upon the deck, while other's slept,
In tressy lengthen'd wreaths are on the clear wave To mark the bearing of each well-known star
borne. That shone aloft, or on th' horizon far,
Nay, has not e'en the drifting current brought The anxious Chief his lonely vigil kept ;
Things of rude art,-of human cunning wrought? The mournful wind, the hoarse wave breaking near, Be yet two days your patience tried, The breathing groans of sleep, the plunging lead, and if no shore is then descried. The steersman's call, and his own stilly tread,
E'en turn your dastard prows again,
And cast your leader to the main."
And thus a while with steady hand Like some unblessed spirit from the tomb.
He kept in check a wayward band,
Their rebei spirit could restrain.
Oft spurn'd the deck with grating heel;
With stony gaze all listless stood;
Sung, as he strode, some garbled strain,
Timed by his sabre's jangling chain Nor hope delay'd, nor adverse fate subdue,
The proud Castilian, boasted name'
Child of an ancient race
Felt quench'd within him honour's generous flame A wretched, lost, devoted band,
And in his gather'd mantle wrapp'd his face.
So pass'd the day, the night, the second day
With its red setting sun's extinguish'd ray. On some rude-letter'd stone to tell
Dark, solemn midnight coped the ocean wide, On what strange coast our wreck befell. . When from his watchful stand Columbus cried, For us no requiem shall be sung,
“A light, a light !"-blest sounds that rung Nor prayer be said, por passing knell
In every ear.-At once they sprung
With haste aloft, and, peering bright,
“ It moves, it slowly moves like ray
And other lights more distant, seeming All habits of respect that bind
As if from town or hamlet streaming ! With easy tie the human mind.
'Tis land, 'tis peopled land ; man dwelleth there, E'en love and admiration throw
And thou, O God of heaven! hast heard thy ser Their nobler bands aside, nor show
Some on the beach for shell-fish stooping,
Or on the smooth sand gayly trooping;
Or in link'd circles featly dancing The distant shore and headlands blue
With golden braid and bracelet glancing. Of long-sought land. Then rose on air
By shelter'd door were infants creeping, Loud shouts of joy, mix'd wildly strange
Or on the shaded herbage sleeping; With voice of weeping and of prayer,
Gay feather'd birds the air were winging, Expressive of their blessed change
And parrots on their high perch swinging,
While humming-birds, like sparks of light,
They eyed the wondrous strangers o'er and o'er, With every manly feeling wrung,
Those beings of the ocean and the air, Repentant tears, looks that entreat,
With humble, timid reverence; all their store Are kneeling at his worshipp'd feet.
Of gather'd wealth inviting them to share ; “O pardon blinded, stubborn guilt!
To share whate'er their lowly cabins hold; O henceforth make us what thou wilt!
Their feather'd crowns, their fruits, their arms, Our hands, our hearts, our lives, are thine,
their gold. Thou wondrous man ! led on by power divine !"
Their gold, that fatal gift !--O foul disgrace!
Repaid with cruel wreck of all their harmless race. XIV. Ah! would some magic could arrest
XVIII. The generous feelings of the breast,
There some short, pleasing days with them he Which thwart the common baser mass
dwelt, Of sordid thoughts, so fleetly pass,
And all their simple kindness dearly felt. A sun glimpse through the storm!
But they of other countries told, The rent cloud closes, tempests swell,
Not distant, where the sun declines, And its late path we cannot tell;
Where reign Caziques o'er warriors bold, Lost is its trace and form.
Rich with the gold of countless mines. No; not on earth such fugitives are bound;
And he to other islands sail'd, In some veil'd future state will the bless'd charm
And was by other natives hail'd.
Then on Hispaniola's shore,
Where bays and harbours to explore
Much time he spent ; a simple tower Columbus led them to the shore,
Of wood he built, the seat to be, Which ship had never touch'd before ;
And shelter of Spain's infant power; And there he knelt upon the strand
Hoping the nurseling fair to see, To thank the God of sea and land;
Amidst those harmless people shoot And there, with mien and look elate,
Its stately stem from slender root. Gave welcome to each toil-worn mate.
There nine and thirty chosen men he placed, And lured with courteous signs of cheer,
Gave parting words of counsel and of cheer; The dusky natives gathering near ;
One after one his nobler friends embraced, Who on them gazed with wandering eyes,
And to the Indian chieftain, standing near, As mission'd spirits from the skies.
“ Befriend my friends, and give them aid, And there did he possession claim,
When I am gone,” he kindly said, In Isabella's royal name.
Blest them, and left them there his homeward
course to steer.
His prayer to Heaven for them preferr'd
Was not, alas! with favour heard. Peeping their palmy groves between,
Oft, as his ship the land forsook, Groves, where each dome of sweepy leaves
He landward turn'his farewell look, In air of morning gently heaves,
And cheerd his Spaniards cross the wave, And, as the deep vans fall and rise,
Who distant answer faintly gave; Changes its richly verdant dyes;
Distant but cheerful. On the strand A land whose simple sons till now
He saw their clothed figures stand Had scarcely seen a careful brow;
With naked forms link'd hand in hand ! They spent at will each passing day
Saw thus caress'd, assured, and bold, In lightsome toil or active play.
Those he should never more behold. Some their light canoes were guiding,
Some simple Indians, gently won, Along the shore's sweet margin gliding.
To visit land, where sets the sun
In clouds of amber, and behold,
Stood silent by themselves apart,
How, pressing close, they stood ; With nature's yearnings at their heart,
Look'd on Columbus with amaze,And saw the coast of fading blue
“ Is he," so spake their wondering gaze, Wear soft and sadly from their view.
“ A man of flesh and blood ?” But soon by their new comrades cheerd,
While cannon far along the shore As o'er the waves the ship career'd,
His welcome gave with deafening roar, Their wandering eyes alost were cast
XXIV. On white swoln sails and stately mast,
And then with measured steps, sedate and slow And checkering shrouds, depicted fair,
They to the Christian's sacred temple go. , On azure sea and azure air ;
Soon as the chief within the house of God And felt, as feels the truant boy,
Upon the hallow'd pavement trod,
He bowed with holy fear :-
“ The God of wisdom, mercy, might,
Creator of the day and night, xx.
This sea-girt globe, and every star of light, Then with his two small barks again
Is worshipp'd here.” The dauntless chief traversed the main ;
Then on the altar's steps he knelt, But not with fair and favouring gales
And what his inward spirit felt, That erst had fill'd his western sails :
Was said unheard within that cell
Where saintly thoughts and feelings dwell; Fierce winds with adverse winds contended;
But as the choral chanters raise Rose the dark deep,--dark heaven descended;
Through dome and aisle the hymn of praise And threaten'd, in the furious strife, The ships to sink with all their freight of precious
To heaven his glistening eyes were turn'd,
With sacred love his bosom burn'd.
On all the motley crowd
The generous impulse seized ; high dons of pride In this dread case, well may be guess'd
Wept like the meekest beedsman by their side, What dismal thoughts his soul depress'd :
And women sobb'd aloud. " And must I in th' o'erwhelming deep, Our bold achievement all unknown,
XXV. With these my brave adventurers sleep,
| Nor statesmen met in high debate What we have done to dark oblivion thrown ? Deciding on a country's fate, Sink, body! to thy watery grave,
Nor saintly chiefs with fearless zeal If so God will ; but let me save
Contending for their churches' weal, This noble fruitage of my mind,
Nor warriors, midst the battle's roar,
Who fiercely guard their native shore ;-
No power by earthly coil possest
To agitate the human breast, Upon a scroll, with hasty pen,
Shows, from its native source diverted, His wondrous tale he traced,
Man's nature noble, though perverted, View'd it with tearful eyes, and then
So strongly as the transient power Within a casket placed.
Of link'd devotion's sympathetic hour. « Perhaps,” said he, " by vessel bound
It clothes with soft unwonted grace On western cruise, thou wilt be found;
The traits of many a rugged face, Or make, sped by the current swift,
As bend the knees unused to kneel, To Christian shore they happy drift.
And glow the hearts unused to feel ; Thy story may by friendly eyes be read;
While every soul, with holy passion moved, O’er our untimely fate warm tears be shed; Claims one Almighty Sire, fear'd, and adored, and Our deeds rehearsed by many an eager tongue,
loved. And requiems for our parted souls be sung."
With western treasures, borne in fair display, Appear'd on many a booming wave,
To Barcelona's walls, in grand array, Then floated far away from his still gazing sight.
Columbus slowly held his inland way. Yet, after many a peril braved,
And still where'er he pass'd along, of many an adverse wind the sport,
In eager crowds the people throng. He, by his great Preserver saved,
The wildest way o'er desert drear Anchor'd again in Palos' port.
Did like a city's mart appear.
The shepherd swain forsook his sheep;
The goatherd from his craggy steep 0, who can tell the acclamation loud
Shot like an arrow to the plain ; That, bursting, rose from the assembled crowd Mechanics, housewives, left amain To hail the hero and his gallant train,
Their broken tasks, and press'd beside Prom such adventure bold return'd again !
The truant youth they meant to chide :
The dull hidalgo left his tower,
Together press'd, fair and uncouth,
Proud was the don of high degree, All motley forms of age and youth.
Whose honour'd guest he deign'd to be. And, still along the dark-ranged pile
Whate'er his purposed service wanted, Of clustering life, was heard the while
With ready courtesy was granted: Max'd brawling joy, and shouts that rung
No envious foe durst cross his will. From many a loud and deafening tongue.
While eager shipwrights ply their skill, Ah! little thought the gazing throng,
To busy dockyard, quay, or port, As pass'd that pageant show along,
Priests, lords, and citizens resort: How Spain should rue, in future times,
Their wains the heavy planks are bringing, With desert plains and fields untillid,
And hammers on the anvil ringing; And towns with listless loiterers fll'd.
The far-toss'd boards on boards are falling, The withering spoil received from foreign climes! | And brawny mate to work-mate calling: Columbus gave thee, thankless Spain !
The cable strong on windlass winding; A new-found world o'er which to reign ;
On wheel of stone the edge tool grinding; But could not with the gift impart
Red fire beneath the caldron gleaming, A portion of his liberal heart
And pitchy fumes from caldron steaming, And manly mind, to bid thee soar
To sea and land's men too, I ween, Above a robber's lust of ore,
It was a gay, attractive scene; Which hath a curse entail'd on all thy countless Beheld, enjoyed, day after day, store.
Till all his ships, in fair array,
Were bounden for their course at last,
And araply stored and bravely mann'd,
Bore far from blue, receding land. Such glorious deeds to grace, his sovereigns greet | Thus soon again, th’ Atlantic vast Their mariner's return. Or hall,
With gallant fleet he past.
By peaceful natives bail'd with kindly smiles, Their gorgeous thrones were placed ;
He shortly touch'd at various pleasant isles; And near them on an humbler seat,
And when at length her well-known shore appear'd, While on each hand the titled great,
And he to fair Hispaniola near'd, Standing in dizen'd rows, were seen,
Upon the deck, with eager eyes Priests, guards, and crowds, a living screen, Some friendly signal to descry, Columbus sat, with noble mien,
He stood; then fired his signal shot, With princely honours graced.
But answering fire received not. There to the royal pair his tale he told:
“ What may this dismal silence mean? A wondrous tale, that did not want
No loating flag in air is seen, Or studied words or braggart's vaunt;
Nor e'en the Tower itself, though well When at their royal feet were laid
Its lofty site those landmarks tell. Gems, pearls, and plumes of many a shade, Ha! have they so regardless proved And stores of virgin gold,
Of my command ?-their station moved !" Whilst, in their feathered guise arrayed,
As closer to the shore they drew, The Indians low obeisance paid.
To hail them came no light canoe; And at that wondrous story's close
The beach was silent and forsaken: The royal pair with reverence rose,
Nor clothed nor naked forms appear'd, And kneeling on the ground, aloud
Nor sound of human voice was heard ; Gave thanks to Heaven. Then all the crowd, Naught but the sea birds from the rock, Joining, from impulse of the heart,
With busy stir that fluttering broke ; The banded priest's ecstatic art,
Sad signs, which in his mind portentous fears awaken With mingled voice Te Deum sang;
XXXI. With the grand choral burst, walls, towers, and welkin rang.
Then eagerly on shore he went,
His scouts abroad for tidings sent;
But to his own loud echo'd cry
An Indian came with fearful eye,
| Who guess 'd his questions' hurried sound,
The loosen'd mould aside was cast.
Bodies, alas! within that grave were found,
Which had not long been laid to rest, xxix.
Though so by changeful death defaced, With kingly favour brighten'd, all
Nor form nor visage could be traced. His favour court, obey bis call.
In Spanish garments dress'd. At princely boards, above the rest,
Back from each living Spaniard's cheek the blood He took his place, admired, caress'd :
| Ran chill, as round their noble chief they stood,