« 上一页继续 »
noble city has been compared to one of those triumphs which the Romans were accustomed to decree to conquerors. First, were paraded the Indians, painted according to their savage fashion, and decorated with tropical feathers and with their national ornaments of gold; after these were borne various kinds of live parrots, together with stuffed birds and animals of unknown species, and rare plants supposed to be of precious qualities : while great care was taken to make a conspicuous display of Indian coronets, bracelets, and other decorations of gold, which might give an idea of the wealth of the newly discovered regions. After these followed Columbus, on horseback, surrounded by a brilliant cavalcade of Spanish chivalry. The streets were almost impassable, from the countless multitude; the windows and balconies were crowded with the fair; the very roofs were covered with spectators. It seemed as if the public eye could not be sated with gazing on these trophies of an unknown world, or on the remarkable man by whom it had been discovered. There was a sublimity in this event that mingled a solemn feeling with the public joy. It was looked upon as a vast and signal dispensation of Providence in reward for the piety of the monarchs ; and the majestic and venerable appearance of the discoverer, so different from the youth and buoyancy that are generally expected from roving enterprise, seemed in harmony with the grandeur and dignity of his achievement.
To receive him with suitable pomp and distinction, the sovereigns had ordered their throne to be placed in public, under a rich canopy of brocade of gold, in a vast and splendid saloon. Here the king and queen awaited his arrival, seated in state, with the prince Juan beside them; and attended by the dignitaries of their court and the principal nobility of Castile, Valencia, Catalonia, and Arragon; all impatient to behold the man who had conferred so incalculable a benefit upon the nation. At length Columbus entered the ball surrounded by a brilliant crowd of cavaliers, among whom, says Las Casas, he was conspicuous for his stately and commanding person, which, with his countenance rendered venerable by his gray hairs, gave him the august appearance of a senator of Rome. A modest smile lighted up his features, showing that he enjoyed the state and glory in which he came; and certainly nothing could be more deeply moving to a mind inflamed by noble ambition, and conscious of having greatly deserved, than these testimonials of the admiration and gratitude of a nation, or rather of a world. As Columbus approached, the sovereigns rose, as if receiving a person of the highest rank. Bending his knees, he requested to kiss their hands; but there was some hesitation on the part of their majesties to permit this act of vassalage. Raising him in the most gracious manner, they ordered him to seat himself in their presence; a rare honour in this proud and punctilious court.
At the request of their majesties, Columbus now gave an account of the most striking events of his voyage, and a description of the islands which he had discovered. He displayed the specimens he had brought of unknown birds and other animals, of rare plants of medicinal and aromatic virtue; of native gold in dust, in crude masses, or laboured into barbaric ornaments; and, above all, the natives of these conntries, who were objects of intense and inexhaustible interest; since there is nothing to man so curious as the varieties of his own species. All these he pronounced mere harbingers of great discoveries he had yet to make, which would add realms of incalculable wealth to the dominions of their majesties, and whole nations of proselytes to the true faith.
The words of Columbus were listened to with profound emotion by the sovereigns. When he had finished they sunk on their knees, and, raising their clasped hands to heaven, their eyes filled with tears of joy and gratitude, they poured forth thanks and praises to God for so great a providence; all present followed their example; a deep and solemn enthusiasm pervaded that splendid assembly, and prevented all common acclamations of triumph. The anthem of Te Deum Laudamus, chanted by the choir of the royal chapel, with the melodious accompaniments of the instruments, rose up from the midst in a full body of sacred harmony, bearing up as it were the feelings and thoughts of the auditors to heaven; “so that,” says the venerable Las Casas, “it seemed as if in that hour they communicated with celestial delights.” Such was the solemn and pious manner in which the brilliant court of Spain celebrated this sublime event, offering up a grateful tribute of melody and praise, and giving glory to God for the discovery of another world.
HOME AND CLASS WORK. Learn the spellings and meanings at the top of the page; and write sentences containing these words.
THE INCHCAPE BELL. No stir on the air, no swell on the sea, The ship was still as she might be: The sails from heaven received no motion; The keel was steady in the ocean. With neither sign nor sound of shock, The waves flow'd o'er the Inchcape Rock; So little they rose, so little they fell, They did not move the Inchcape Bell. The pious abbot of Aberbrothock Had placed that bell on the Inchcape Rock; On the waves of the storm it floated and swung; And louder and louder its warning rung.
When the Rock was hid by the tempest swell,
The float of the Inchcape Bell was seen,
His eye was on the bell and float,-
Down sunk the bell with a gurling sound;