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THE VISION OF COLUMBUS.
The crimson sun was sinking down to rest, Pavilioned on the cloudy verge of heaven; And ocean, on her gently heaving breast, Caught and flashed back the varying tints of even; When, on a fragment from the tall cliff riven, With folded arms, and doubtful thoughts opprest, Columbus sat, till sudden hope was given-- A ray of gladness shooting from the West.
Oh, what a glorious vision for mankind Then dawned upon the twilight of his mind; Thoughts shadowy still, but indistinctly grand.
There stood his genie, face to face, and signed (So legends tell) far seaward with her hand, Till a new world sprang up, and bloomed beneath her wand.
He was a man whom danger could not daunt, Nor sophistry perplex, nor pain subdue; A stoic, reckless of the world's vain taunt, And steeled the path of honor to pursue.
So, when by all deserted, still he knew How best to soothe the heart-sick, or confront Sedition; schooled with equal eye to view The frowns of grief and the base pangs of want.
But when he saw that promised land arise In all its rare and beautiful varieties, Lovelier than fondest fancy ever trod, Then softening nature melted in his eyes; He knew his fame was full, and blessed his God, And fell upon his face and kissed the virgin sod!
COLUMBUS' STATUE IN CHICAGO.
The Drake Fountain, Chicago, presented to the city by Mr. John B. Drake, a prominent and respected citizen, is to occupy a space between the city hall and the court house buildings, on the Washington Street frontage.
The monument is to be Gothic in style, and the base will be composed of granite from Baveno, Italy. The design includes a pedestal, on the front of which will be placed a bronze statue of Christopher Columbus, seven feet high, which is to be cast in the royal foundry at Rome. The statue will be the production of an American artist of reputation, Mr. R. H.
Park of Chicago. The fountain is to be provided with an ice-chamber capable of holding two tons of ice, and is to be surrounded with a water-pipe containing ten faucets, each supplied with a bronze cup. The entire cost will be $15,000. Mr. Drake's generous gift to Chicago is to be ready for public use in 1892, and it will, therefore, be happily commemorative of the 400th anniversary of the discovery of America by Columbus. The inscription on the fountain reads: "Ice-water drinking fountain presented to the City of Chicago by John B. Drake 1892." At the feet of the statue of Columbus, who is represented as a student of geography in his youth at the University of Pavia, is inscribed, "Christopher Columbus, 1492-1892."
The fountain is a very handsome piece of bronze art work, and Commissioner Aldrich has decided to place it in a conspicuous place, being none other than the area between the court house and the city hall, facing Washington Street. This central and accessible spot of public ground has been an unsightly stabling place for horses ever since the court house was built. It will now be sodded, flower-beds will be laid out, and macadamized walks will surround the Drake Fountain. The new feature will be a relief to weary eyes, and an ornament to Washington Street and the center of the city.
The red granite base for the fountain has been received at the custom house. It was made in Turin, Italy, and cost $3,300. Under the law, the stone came in duty free, as it is intended as a gift to the municipality.
JOHN WILLIAM DRAPER, a celebrated American chemist and scientist.
Born near Liverpool, England, 1811; died January 4, 1882. From his "Intellectual Development of Europe," 1876. By permission of Messrs. Harper & Brothers, Publishers, New York.
Columbus appears to have formed his theory that the East Indies could be reached by sailing to the west about A. D. 1474. He was at that time in correspondence with Toscanelli, the Florentine astronomer, who held the same doctrine, and who sent him a map or chart constructed on the travels of Marco Polo. He offered his services first to his native city, then to Portugal, then to Spain, and, through his brother, to England; his chief inducement, in each instance, being that the riches of India might be thus secured. In Lisbon he had married. While he lay sick near Belem, an unknown voice whispered to him in a dream, "God will cause thy name to be wonderfully resounded through the earth, and will give thee the keys of the gates of the ocean which are closed with strong chains."
The death of his wife appears to have broken the last link which held him to Portugal, where he had been since 1470. One evening, in the autumn of 1485, a man of majestic presence, pale, careworn, and, though in the meridian of life, with silver hair, leading a little boy by the hand, asked alms at the gate of the Franciscan convent near Palos--not for himself, but only a little bread and water for his child. This was that Columbus destined to give to Europe a new world.
A PEN-PICTURE FROM THE SOUTH.
The Right Rev. ANTHONY DURIER, Bishop of Natchitoches, La., in a circular letter to the clergy and laity of the diocese, printed in the New Orleans _Morning Star_, September 10, 1892.
We cherish the memory of the illustrious sailor, also of the lady and of the monk who were providential instruments in opening a new world to religion and civilization.
[Illustration: HEAD OF COLUMBUS.
Designed by H. H. Zearing of Chicago.]
Honor to the sailor, Christopher Columbus, the Christ-bearing dove, as his name tells, gentle as a dove of hallowed memory as Christ-bearer. In fact, he brought Christ to the New World. Look back at that sailor, 400 years ago, on bended knees, with hands uplifted in prayer, on the shores of Guanahani, first to invoke the name of Jesus in the New World; in fact, as in name, behold the Christ-bearing dove. Columbus was a knight of the cross, with his good cross-hilted sword, blessed by the church.
The first aim and ambition of a knight of the cross, at that time, was to plant the cross in the midst of heathen nations, and to have them brought from "the region of the shadow of death" into the life-giving bosom of Mother Church.
Listen to the prayer of Columbus, as he brings his lips to, and kneels on, the blessed land he has discovered, that historic prayer which he had prepared long in advance, and which all Catholic discoverers repeated after him: "O Lord God, eternal and omnipotent, who by Thy divine word hast created the heavens, the earth, and the sea! Blessed and glorified be thy name and praised Thy majesty, who hast deigned by me, thy humble servant, to have that sacred name made known and preached in this other part of the world."
Behold the true knight of the cross, with cross-hilted sword in hand, the name of Jesus on his lips, the glory of Jesus in his heart. He does not say a word of the glory which, from the discovery, is bound to accrue to the name of Spain and to his own name; every word is directed to, and asking for, the glory of the name of Jesus.
The great discoverer has knelt down, kissed the ground, and said his prayer; now, look at that Catholic Spanish sailor standing up, in commanding dignity, and planting his Catholic cross and his Spanish flag on the discovered land; what does it mean? It means--the Spanish flag in America for a time, and the Catholic cross in America forever.
Hail, flag of the discoverer! Spanish flag, the flag of the noble and the daring. That Spanish flag came here first, had its glorious day, and still in glory went back. Hail, Catholic cross! the cross of the discoverer. That cross is not to go back, as the Spanish flag; no, not even in glory. About that cross, only two simple words, and that settles it; that Catholic cross is here to stay. Hail, American flag!
star-spangled banner; the banner of the brave and of the free. That one, our own flag, came long after the Spanish flag, but we trust came to stay as long as the Catholic cross--until doom's-day.
Honor to the lady, Queen Isabella the Catholic. Among all illustrious women, Isabella alone has been graced with the title of "the Catholic,"--a peerless title! And truly did she deserve the peerless title, the lady who threw heart and soul, and, over and above, her gold, in the discovery by which, out of the spiritual domains of the Catholic church, the sun sets no more; the lady who paved the way over the bounding sea to the great discoverer. Bright and energetic lady! She at once understood Columbus and stood resolute, ready to pave him the way even with her jewels. Listen to her words: "I undertake the enterprise for my own crown of Castille, and I will pledge my jewels to raise the necessary funds."
The generous lady had not to pledge her jewels; yet her gold was freely spent, lavished on the expedition; and she stood by Columbus, in storm and sunshine, as long as she lived. Isabella stood by Columbus, in his success, with winsome gentleness, keeping up his daring spirit of enterprise; and, in his reverses, with the balm of unwavering devotion healing his bruised, bleeding heart. Isabella stood by Columbus, as a mother by her son, ever, ever true to her heroic son.
Honor to the humble monk, John Perez, Father John, as he was called in his convent. That monk whose name will live as long as the names of Columbus and Isabella; that monk, great by his learning and still better by his heart; that humble, plain man inspired the sailor with perseverance indomitable, the lady with generosity unlimited, and sustained in both sailor and lady that will power and mount-removing faith the result of which was to give "to the Spanish King innumerable countries and to God innumerable souls." As the Spanish poet, Lope de Vega, beautifully puts it:
_Al Rey infinitas tierras, Y a Dios infinitas almas._
It is the Spanish throne which backed Columbus; but, mind! that monk was "the power behind the throne."
We Louisianians live, may be, in the fairest part of the New World discovered by Columbus. When Chevalier La Salle had explored the land, he gave it the beautiful name of Louisiana, and he wrote to his king, Louis XIV., these words: "The land we have explored and named Louisiana, after your Majesty's name, is a paradise, the Eden of the New World."
Thanks be to God who has cast our lot in this paradise, the Eden of the New World, fair Louisiana! Let us honor and ever cherish the memory of the hero who led the way and opened this country to our forefathers.
Louisiana was never blessed with the footprints of Columbus, yet by him it was opened to the onward march of the Christian nations.
To the great discoverer, Christopher Columbus, the gratitude of Louisiana, the Eden of the New World.
REV. L. A. DUTTO of Jackson, Miss., in an article, "Columbus in Portugal," in the _Catholic World_, April, 1892.
Columbus in 1492, accompanied by a motley crew of sailors of different nationalities, crossed the Atlantic and discovered America. Hence the glory of that event, second only in importance to the incarnation of Christ, is attributed very generally solely to him. As reflex lights of that glory, history mentions the names of Queen Isabella, of the Pinzon brothers, the friar Juan Perez. There is another name that should be placed at head of the list. That is, Bartolomeo Columbus, the brother of Christopher. From the beginning there existed a partnership between the two in the mighty undertaking; the effect of a common conviction that the land of spices, Cipango and Cathay, the East, could be reached by traveling west. Both of them spent the best years of their life in privation, hardship, and poverty, at times the laughing stock of the courts of Europe, in humbly begging from monarchies and republics the ships necessary to undertake their voyage. While Christopher patiently waited in the antechambers of the Catholic monarchs of Spain, Bartolomeo, map in hand, explained to Henry VII. of England the rotundity of the earth, and the feasibility of traveling to the antipodes. Having failed in his mission to the English king, he passed to France to ask of her what had been refused by Portugal, Spain, Venice, England, and Genoa. While he was there, Columbus, who had no means of communicating with him, sailed from Palos. Had there been, as now, a system of international mails, Bartolomeo would now share with his brother the title of Discoverer of America. Las Casas represents him as little inferior to Christopher in the art of navigation, and as a writer and in things pertaining to cartography as his superior. Gallo, the earliest biographer of Columbus, and writing during his lifetime, has told us that Bartolomeo settled in Lisbon, and there made a living by drawing mariners' charts. Giustiniani, another countryman of Columbus, says in his polyglot Psalter, published in 1537, that Christopher learned cartography from his brother Bartolomeo, who had learned it himself in Lisbon. But what may appear more surprising is the plain statement of Gallo that Bartolomeo was the first to conceive the idea of reaching the East by way of the West, by a transatlantic voyage, and that he communicated it to his brother, who was more experienced than himself in nautical affairs.
FIRST GLIMPSE OF LAND.
CHARLES H. EDEN, English historical writer and traveler. From "The West Indies."
Nearly four centuries ago, in the year 1492, before the southern point of the great African continent had been doubled, and when the barbaric splendor of Cathay and the wealth of Hindustan were only known to Europeans through the narratives of Marco Polo or Sir John Mandeville--early on the morning of Friday, October 12th, a man stood bareheaded on the deck of a caravel and watched the rising sun lighting up the luxuriant tropical vegetation of a level and beautiful island toward which the vessel was gently speeding her way. Three-and-thirty days had elapsed since the last known point of the Old World, the Island of Ferrol, had faded away over the high poop of his vessel; eventful weeks, during which he had to contend against the natural fears of the ignorant and superstitious men by whom he was surrounded, and by the stratagem of a double reckoning, together with promises of future wealth, to allay the murmuring which threatened to frustrate the project that for so many years had been nearest his heart. Never, in the darkest hour, did the courage of that man quail or his soul admit a single doubt of success. When the terrified mariners remarked with awe that the needle deviated from the pole star, their intrepid Admiral, by an ingenious theory of his own, explained the cause of the phenomenon and soothed the alarm that had arisen. When the steady trade-winds were reached, and the vessels flew rapidly for days toward the west, the commander hailed as a godsend the mysterious breeze that his followers regarded with awe as imposing an insuperable barrier to their return to sunny Spain. When the prow of the caravel was impeded, and her way deadened by the drifting network of the Sargasso Sea, the leader saw therein only assured indications of land, and resolutely shut his ears against those prophets who foresaw evil in every incident.
Now his hopes were fulfilled, the yearnings of a lifetime realized.
During the night a light had been seen, and at 2 o'clock in the morning land became, beyond all doubt, visible. Then the three little vessels laid to, and with the earliest streak of dawn made sail toward the coast. A man stood bareheaded on the deck of the leading caravel and feasted his eyes upon the wooded shore; the man was Christopher Columbus, the land he gazed on the "West Indies."
SAN SALVADOR, OR WATLING'S ISLAND.
San Salvador, or Watling's Island, is about twelve miles in length by six in breadth, having its interior largely cut up by salt-water lagoons, separated from each other by low woody hills. Being one of the most fertile of the group, it maintains nearly 2,000 inhabitants, who are scattered about over its surface. Peculiar interest will always attach itself to this spot as being the first land on which the discoverer of the New World set foot.--_Ibid._
THE MYSTERY OF THE SHADOWY SEA.
XERIF AL EDRISI, surnamed "The Nubian," an eminent Arabian geographer. Born at Ceuta, Africa, about 1100. In "A Description of Spain" (Conde's Spanish translation, Madrid, 1799). He wrote a celebrated treatise of geography, and made a silver terrestrial globe for Roger II., King of Sicily, at whose court he lived.