Page images
PDF
EPUB

(Page enters with large banner on which is written - COLUMBUS, THE DISCOVERER OF THE INDIES. Behind him walks Columbus attended by a man carrying the Spanish flag. Columbus is dressed in handsome cape and wears a sword. He is followed by four Indians all carrying something from the new world: such as fur, some corn, bow and arrows, or Indian baskets. Sailors follow with a box of gold. Columbus kneels before the throne.)

ISABELLA: (extending her hand) Arise, honored

explorer, and be seated while you tell us your story. We desire to hear about your

voyage. COLUMBUS: (sitting in vacant chair) I thank your

Majesties for this great honor, and most gladly will I relate my story:

On the third day of August in the year 1492, I sailed from the port of Palos with three ships, the Niña, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria. My course was first directed toward the Canary Islands, which were the last known lands to the west. Beyond these islands, men called the ocean a sea of darkness, but we braved this sea and left the Canaries, though the sailors believed we were going to our death. They wept and wailed as the last bit of land disappeared from sight.

For days and days, we sailed on, seeing no signs of land, nothing but water everywhere. At one time the sailors threatened to throw me overboard and return, but I calmed their fears and begged them to wait a little longer. Then one day we saw a thorn branch floating by, and a flock of birds flew over us. These gave us much encouragement.

On the night of October 11, I saw a light moving in the distancē. At dawn, a sailor gave the glad cry of “Land!” and there on the morning of October 12, 1492, I raised the Spanish flag on shore and took possession of the land in the name of Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain.

This island, for such I found it to be, I called San Salvador, and it is, I am sure, but one of the islands off the mainland of India. I visited several of the islands and left a colony on one. These strange men I have with me are natives of that new land. I wish to present them to you together with my discoveries. (Rises.)

ISABELLA: (rising) A great explorer have you

proved yourself, Columbus, and we gladly bestow honors upon you. Through your discoveries, Spain stands to-day the greatest nation of the world. The man who has sailed west to find the east and who has succeeded in that attempt is Spain's

greatest subject. All hail to Columbus! King: (rises and lifts his hand) All hail to Co

lumbus!

COLUMBUS*

Behind him lay the gray Azores,

Behind, the Gates of Hercules;
Before him, not the ghost of shores,

Before him, only shoreless seas.
The good mate said: “Now must we pray,

For lo! the very stars are gone.
Brave Admiral, speak; what shall I say?"

“Why say, “Sail on! Sail on! and on!”

“My men grow mutinous day by day;

My men grow ghastly wan and weak.” The stout mate thought of home; a spray

Of salt wave washed his swarthy cheek. *Copyright by Messrs. Whitaker & Ray Company, and used by permission. “What shall I say, brave Admiral, say,

If we sight naught but seas at dawn?” “Why, you shall say at break of day,

‘Sail on! Sail on! Sail on! and on!””

They sailed and sailed, as winds might blow,

Until at last the blanched mate said: “Why, now not even God would know

Should I and all my men fall dead. These very winds forget their way,

For God from these dread seas is gone. Now, speak, brave Admiral, speak and say”.

He said: “Sail on, sail on, and on!”

They sailed. They sailed. Then spake the mate,
“This mad sea shows his teeth to-night:
He curls his lip, he lies in wait,

With lifted teeth, as if to bite!
Brave Admiral, say but one good word;

What shall we do when hope is gone?”
The words leaped like a leaping sword:
“Sail on! sail on! sail on! and on!”

Then, pale and worn, he kept his deck;

And peered through darkness. Ah, that night Of all dark nights! And then a speck — A light! A light! A light! A light!

It grew, a starlit flag unfurled!

It grew to be Time's burst of dawn, He gained a world; he gave that world Its grandest lesson: “On! sail on!”

- Joaquin Miller
The Boy COLUMBUS
“ 'Tis a wonderful story,” I hear you say,
“How he struggled and worked and plead and prayed,
And faced every danger undismayed,
With a will that would neither break nor bend,
And discovered a new world in the end —
But what does it teach to a boy of to-day?
All the worlds are discovered, you know, of course,
All the rivers are traced to their utmost source:
There is nothing left for a boy to find,
If he had ever so much a mind

To become a discoverer famous;
And if we'd much rather read a book
About someone else, and the risks he took,

Why nobody, surely, can blame us.”

So you think all the worlds are discovered now;
All the lands have been charted and sailed about,
Their mountains climbed, their secrets found out;
All the seas have been sailed, and their currents known-
To the uttermost isles the winds have blown
They have carried a venturing prow?

« PreviousContinue »