Home  »  Poems of Places An Anthology in 31 Volumes  »  Columbus before the University of Salamanca

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Spain, Portugal, Belgium, and Holland: Vols. XIV–XV. 1876–79.

Spain: Salamanca

Columbus before the University of Salamanca

By Lydia Huntley Sigourney (1791–1865)

ST. STEPHEN’S cloistered hall was proud

In learning’s pomp that day,

For there a robed and stately crowd

Pressed on in long array.

A mariner with simple chart

Confronts that conclave high,

While strong ambition stirs his heart,

And burning thoughts of wonder part

From lip and sparkling eye.

What hath he said? With frowning face,

In whispered tones they speak,

And lines upon their tablets trace,

Which flush each ashen cheek;

The Inquisition’s mystic doom

Sits on their brows severe,

And bursting forth in visioned gloom,

Sad heresy from burning tomb

Groans on the startled ear.

Courage, thou Genoese! Old Time

Thy splendid dream shall crown,

Yon western hemisphere sublime,

Where unshorn forests frown,

The awful Andes’ cloud-rapt brow,

The Indian hunter’s bow,

Bold streams untamed by helm or prow,

And rocks of gold and diamonds there

To thankless Spain shalt show.

Courage, World-finder! Thou hast need!

In Fate’s unfolding scroll,

Dark woes and ingrate wrongs I read,

That rack the noble soul.

On! On! Creation’s secrets probe,

Then drink thy cup of scorn,

And wrapped in fallen Cæsar’s robe,

Sleep like that master of the globe,

All glorious, yet forlorn.