Days of the Discoverers eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 311 pages of information about Days of the Discoverers.

“I do not know.”  Colombo stood up to take his departure.  “If God hath reserved any great work to be done, He hath also chosen the man who is to do it.  His tasks are not done by accident, or left to the blind or the selfish.  Toscanelli thinks that since the world is round, we should reach the Indies by sailing due west from this coast, but in that case India would seem to be far greater than we have believed.  If I had the ships and the men I would venture it.  But at this time the King is altogether taken up with the eastward route to the Indies.  It was said of old time, ‘He that believeth shall not make haste.’”

“But you will sail to Paradise some day, will you not, senhor?” asked Beatriz, treasuring the tiny globe in one careful hand while the other shaded her eyes from the level rays of the evening sun.

“There is only one way to Paradise, little maid.  That is by the will of our Lord.  And if you, my lad, are the first to sail round the world, remember that the sea is His, and He made it.  Man makes his own Sea of Darkness by ignorance, and hate, and fear.”


[1] Prince Henry of Portugal, often called “Henry the Navigator” built the first naval observatory in Europe at Sagres.  He may be said to have laid the foundation of the Portuguese and later Spanish discoveries.  In the time of Columbus the Mappe-Mondo or Map of the World of a Venetian monk was considered the most complete map yet made.

[2] The statement has been carelessly made in some juvenile books dealing with the age of discovery, that in the time of Columbus nobody knew that the world was round.  This of course is not even approximately the case.  The conception of the earth as a sphere was generally set forth in what might be called books of science, and even in some popular works like that of Sir John Maundeville, who died in 1372.  Its acceptance by the public, however, may be said to have followed somewhat the course of the Darwinian theory in the nineteenth century.  Long after evolution was admitted as a truth by scientific men there were schools and even colleges which refused to teach it, and in fact it was not accepted by the public until the generation which first heard of it had died.


    Down upon our seaward light,
      Swept by all the winds that blow,
    Birds come reeling in their flight—­
      (Ay de mi, Cristofero!)
    Petrels tossing on the gale,
    Falcons daring sleet and hail,
    Curlews whistling high and far,
    Waifs that cross the harbor bar
    Borne from isles we do not know—­
      (Ay de mi, Cristofero!)

    Round our island haven blest
      Waves like drifted mountain snow
    Break from out the shoreless West—­
      (Ay de mi, Cristofero!)
    Cast ashore a broken spar
    Born beneath some alien star,
    Broken, beaten by the wave—­
    In what far-off unknown grave
    Lie the hands that shaped it so?
      (Ay de mi, Cristofero!)

Project Gutenberg
Days of the Discoverers from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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