Days of the Discoverers eBook

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


It is recorded that when Pizarro met Balboa with the order for his arrest Balboa thus addressed him:  “It is not thus, Pizarro, that you were wont to greet me!” Pizarro’s jealousy and ill-will are evident in the recorded facts, though he does not appear to have been actually guilty of treachery to his general.


Alone with all the stars that rule mankind
Ruy Faleiro sought to read the fate
Of his close friend—­now by the King’s rebuke
Sent stumbling out of Portugal to seek
His fortune on the sea-roads of the world. 
But when Faleiro read the horoscope
It seemed to point to glory—­and a grave
Beyond the sunset.

                      When Magalhaens heard
    The prophecy, he smiled, and steadfastly
    Held on his way to that young Emperor,
    The blond shy stripling with the Austrian face,
    And in due time was Admiral of the Fleet
    To sail the seas that lay beyond the world.

Mid-August was it when the fleet set forth,
December, when in that Brazilian bay,
Santa Lucia, they dropped anchor,—­then
Set up a little altar on the beach
And knelt at Mass in that gray solitude.

    Carvagio the pilot knew the place,
    And said the folk were kindly,—­brown, straight-haired,
    Wore feather mantles, used no poisoned flints,
    And only ate man’s flesh on holidays. 
    Whereat a little daunted, not with fear,
    The mariners met them running to the shore,
    Bought swine of them, and plantains, cassava,
    And for one playing card, the king of clubs,
    The wild men gave six fowls!  There were brown roots
    Formed like the turnip, chestnut-like in taste
    And called patata in ship-Spanish—­cane
    Wherefrom is made the sugar and the wine
    Of Hispaniola, and the pineapple
    That was like nectar to their sea-parched throats. 
    And thus they feasted and were satisfied.

    Like an enchanted Eden seemed the land,
    For birds on dazzling many-colored wings
    Made the trees blossom—­parrots red, green, blue,
    Humming-birds like live jewels in the air,
    Strange ducks with spoon-shaped bills,—­and overhead
    Like some fantastic frieze of living gold,
    The little yellow monkeys leaped and swung
    Chattering of Setebos in their unknown tongue.

    The old men lived beyond their sevenscore years—­
    Or so the people said.  They made canots
    Of logs that they carved out with heated stones. 
    They slept in hamacs, woven cotton swings. 
    Their chiefs were called cacichas—­you may find
    All this put down in the thrice precious book
    Written by Pigafetta of Vicenza
    For a queen’s pleasure when the voyage was done.

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