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Never the little seed stops in its growing;
Till from its nourishing stem it is riven.
Flowers droop and die in the stillness of noon;
- Frances Osgood.
syrens, tempters to evil.
the silkworm confines itself be-
QUEEN ISABELLA'S RESOLVE.
QUEEN ISABELLA OF SPAIN, DON GOMEZ, AND COLUMBUS.
Isabella. And so, Don Gomez, it is your conclusion that we ought to dismiss the proposition of this worthy Genoese.
Don Gomez. His scheme, your majesty, seems to me fanciful in the extreme; but I am a plain matter-of-fact man, and do not see visions and dreams like some.
Isa. And yet Columbus has given us cogent reasons for believing that it is practicable to reach the eastern coast of India by sailing in a westerly direction.
Don G. Admitting that his theory is correct, namely, that the earth is a sphere, how would it be possible for him to return, if he once descended that sphere in the direction he proposes? Would not the coming back be all uphill ? Could a ship accomplish it with even the most favourable wind ?
Columbus. Will your majesty allow me to suggest that, if the earth is a sphere, the same laws of adhesion and motion must operate at every point on its surface; and the objection of Don Gomez would be quite as valid against our being able to return from crossing the Strait of Gibraltar.
Don G. This gentleman, then, would have us believe the monstrous absurdity, that there are people on the earth who are our antipodes, who walk with their heads down, like flies on the ceiling.
Col. But, your majesty, if there is a law of attraction which makes matter gravitate to the earth, and prevents its flying off into space, may not this law operate at every point on the round earth's surface ?
Isa. Truly, it so seems to me; and I perceive nothing absurd in the notion that this earth is a globe floating or revolving in space.
Don G. May it please your majesty, the ladies are privileged to give credence to many wild tales which we plain matter-of-fact men cannot admit. Every step I take confutes this visionary idea of the earth's rotundity. Would not the blood run into my head if I were standing upside down? Were I not fearful of offending your majesty, I would quote what the great Lactantius says.
Isa. We are not vain of our science, Don Gomez; so let us have the quotation.
Don G. “Is there anyone so foolish,” he asks, believe that there are antipodes with their feet opposite branches downward, and where it rains and snows upward ?”
ours—that there is a part of the world in which all things are topsy-turvy, where the trees grow with their
Col. I have already answered this objection. If there
are people on the earth who are our antipodes, it should be remembered that we are theirs also.
Don G. Really, that is the very point wherein we matter-of-fact men abide by the assurance of our own
We know that we are not walking with our heads downwards.
Isa. To cut short the discussion, you think that the
enterprise which the Genoese proposes, is one unworthy of our serious consideration; and that his theory of an unknown shore to the westward of us is a fallacy.
Don G. As a plain matter-of-fact man, I must confess that I so regard it. Has your majesty ever seen an ambassador from this unknown coast?
Isa. Don Gomez, do you believe in the existence of a world of spirits? Have you ever seen an ambassador from that unknown world?
Don G. Certainly not. By faith we look forward to it.
Isa. Even so by faith does the Genoese look forward, far over misty ocean, to an undiscovered shore.
Col. Your majesty is right; but let it be added that I have reasons, oh! most potent and resistless reasons,
for the faith that is in me; the testimony of many navigators who have picked up articles that must have drifted from this distant coast; the nature of things admitting that the earth is round; the reports current among the people of one of the northern nations, that many years ago their mariners had sailed many leagues westward till they reached a shore where the grape grew abundantly; these and other considerations have made it the fixed persuasion of my mind that there is a great discovery reserved for the man who will sail patiently westward, trusting in God's good providence, and turning not back till he has achieved his purpose.
Don G. Then truly we should never hear of him again. Speculation! mere speculation, your majesty! When this gentleman can bring forward some solid facts that will induce us plain matter-of-fact men to risk money
in forwarding his enterprise, it will then be time enough for royalty to give it heed. Why, your majesty, the very boys in the streets point at their foreheads as he passes along
Isa. And so you bring forward the frivolity of boys jeering at what they do not comprehend, as an argument why Isabella should not give heed to this great and glorious scheme? Ay, sir, though it should fail, still, it has been urged in language so intelligent and convincing grave and earnest man,
think to undervalue by calling him an adventurer, that I am resolved to test the "absurdity," as you style it, and that forth with,
Don G. Your majesty will excuse me if I remark, that I have from your royal consort himself the assurance that the finances are so exhausted by the late wars, that he cannot consent to advance the necessary funds for fitting out an expedition of the kind proposed.
Isa. Be mine, then, the privilege! I have jewels by the pledging of which I can raise the amount required; and I have resolved that they shall be pledged to this enterprise without any more delay.
Col. Your majesty shall not repent your heroic resolve. I will return, your majesty; be sure I will return, and lay at your
feet such a jewel as never queen wore yet, an imperishable fame,-a fame that shall couple with your memory the benedictions of millions yet unborn, in climes yet unknown to civilized man. There is an uplifting presentiment in my mind, a conviction that your majesty will live to bless the hour you came to this decision.
Don G. A presentiment! A plain matter-of-fact man, like myself, must take leave of your majesty, if his practical common sense is to be met and superseded by presentiment. An ounce of fact, your majesty, is worth a ton of presentiment.
Isa. That depends altogether upon the source of the presentiment, Don Gomez. If it comes from the fountain of all truth shall it not be good?
Don G. I humbly take my leave of your majesty.--Vinet.