« AnteriorContinuar »
brought to trial in Westminster Hall before English judges ; and produced him there, crowned in mockery with a green garland, because they said he had been king of outlaws and robbers among the Scottish woods. Wallace was accused of having been a traitor to the English crown, to which he answered, “I could not be a traitor to Edward, for I was never his subject.” He was then charged with having taken and burnt towns and castles, with having killed many men, and done much violence. He replied, with the same calm resolution, “That it was true he had killed very many Englishmen, but it was because they had come to subdue and oppress his native country of Scotland ; and, far from repenting what he had done, he declared he was only sorry that he had not put to death many more of them.”
Notwithstanding that Wallace's defence was a good one, both in law and in common sense (for surely every one has not only a right to fight in defence of his native country, but is bound in duty to do so,) the English judges condemned him to be executed. So this brave patriot was dragged upon a sledge to the place of execution, where his head was struck off and his body divided into four quarters, which, according to the cruel custom of the time, were exposed upon spikes of iron on London Bridge.
THE DISCOVERY OF AMERICA. On the 7th of October 1492, they had come seven hundred and fifty leagues, the distance at which Columbus had computed to find the island of Cipango. There were great flights of small birds to the south-west,4 which seemed to indicate some neighbouring land in that direction, where they were sure5 of food and a resting-place. Yielding to the solicitations of Martin Alonzo
? See § 6.—2 See § 36, 7. _3 They had come seven hundred and fifty leagues, Ils avaient fait sept cent cinquante lienes. —4 Great flights of small birds to the sout/. west, De longues volées de petits oiseaux qui se dirigeaient vers le sud-ouest5 Where they were sure, Où ils étaient certains de trouver.
Pinzon and his brother, Columbus, on the evening of the 7th, altered his course to the south-west.1 As he advanced, the signs of land increased ; the birds came singing about the ships, and herbage floated by as fresh and green as if recently from shore. When, however, on the evening of the third day of this new course, the seamen beheld the sun go down upon a shoreless horizon, they again broke forth into loud clamours, 3 and insisted upon abandoning the voyage. Columbus endeavoured to pacify them by gentle words and liberal promises ; but finding these only increased 4 their violence, he assumed a different tone, and told them it was useless to murmur; the expedition had been sent by the sovereigns to seek the Indies, and, happen what might,5 he was determined to persevere until, by the blessing of God, he should accomplish the enterprise.
He was now 6 at open defiance with his crew, and his situation would have been desperate ; but, fortunately, the manifestations ? of land on the following day were such as no longer to admit of doubt. A fish, such as keeps about rocks, swam by the ships ; and a branch of thom, with berries on it, floated by; they picked up also a reed, a small board, and, above all, a staff artificially 8 carved. All gloom and murmuring was now at an end, and throughout the day each one was on the watch for the longsought land.
In the evening, when, according to custom, the mariners had sung the Salve Regina, or vesper hymn to the Virgin, Columbus made an impressive address to his crew, pointing out' the goodness of God in thus conducting them, by soft and favouring breezes, across a tranquil ocean to the promised land. He expressed a strong confidence of making land that very night, and ordered that a vigilant look-out should be kept from the forecastle, promising
1 Altered his course to the south-west, Changea de route et se dirigea vers le sudouest.-_2 As fresh and green, Aussi fraîche et aussi verte.-3 They again broke forth into loud clamours, Ils recommencèrent à pousser de grands cris.-4 But finding these only increased, Mais voyant que cela ne faisait qu'augmenter.—5 llappen what might, Quoi qu'il pût arriver.-—6 See § 44.—7 Manifestations, Indices.—8 Artificially, Avec art.-9 Columbus made an impressive address to his crew, pointing out, Colomb prononça un discours à son équipage et produisit une vive impression en faisant voir.
to whomsoever made the discovery, a doublet of velvet, in addition to the pension to be given by the sovereigns.
The breeze had been fresh all day, with more sea than usual : at sunset, they stood again to the west, and were ploughing the waves at a rapid rate, the Pinta keeping the lead from her superior sailing. The greatest animation prevailed throughout the ships ; not an eye was closed that night. As the evening darkened, Columbus took his station on the poop of his vessel. However he might carry a cheerful and confident countenance during the day, it was to him a time of the most painful anxiety; and now, when he was wrapped from observation by the shades? of night, he maintained an intense and unremitting watch, ranging his eyes 3 along the dusky horizon in search of the most vague indications of land. Suddenly, about ten o'clock, he thought he beheld a light glimmering at a distance. Fearing that his eager hopes might deceive him, he called to Pedro Gutierez, gentleman of the king's bedchamber, and demanded whether he saw a light in that direction ; the latter replied in the affirmative. Columbus, yet doubtful whether it might not be some delusion of the fancy, called Rodrigo Sanchez of Segovia, and made the same inquiry. By the time the latter had ascended the round-house, the light had disappeared. They saw it once or twice afterwards in sudden and passing gleams, as if it were a torch in the bark of a fisherman, rising and sinking with the waves; or in the hands of some person on shore, borne up and down as he walked from house to house. So transient and uncertain were these gleams, that few attached any importance to them ; Columbus, however, considered them as certain signs of land, and, moreover, that the land was inhabited.4
They continued their course until two in the morning, when a gun from the Pinta gave the joyful signal of land. It was first
i From her superior sailing, À cause de la supériorité de sa voilure.—2 Wrapped from observation by the shades, Caché aux regards par les ombres.-3 He maintained an intense and unremitting watch, ranging his eyes, Il ne cessa de veiller avec la plus grande attention, promenant ses yeux.—4 As certain signs of land, and, moreover, that the land was inhabited, Comme des indices certains d'une terre, et même d'une terre habitée.
discovered by a mariner named Rodriguez Bermejo, resident of Triana, a suburb of Seville, but native of Alcala de la Guadaira ; but the reward was afterwards adjudged to the admiral, for having previously perceived the light. The land was now clearly seen, about two leagues distant; whereupon they took in sail, and laid to,' waiting impatiently for the dawn.
The thoughts and feelings of Columbus in this little space of time must have been tumultuous and intense. At length, in spite of every difficulty and danger, he had accomplished his object. The great mystery of the ocean was revealed ; his theory, which had been the scoff of sages, was triumphantly established; he had secured to himself a glory which must be as durable as the world itself !2
It is difficult even for the imagination to conceive the feelings of such a man at the moment of so sublime a discovery. What a bewildering crowd of conjectures must have thronged upon his mind as to the land which lay before him, covered with darkness ! That it was fruitful was evident from the vegetables which floated from its shores. He thought too, that he perceived in the balmy air the fragrance of aromatic groves. The moving light which he had beheld proved that it was the residence of man. But what were its inhabitants ? Were they like those of other parts of the globe, or were they some strange and monstrous race, such as the imagination in those times was prone to give to all remote and unknown regions? Had he come upon some wild island far in the Indian seas, or was this the famed Cipango itself, the object of his golden fancies ? A thousand speculations of the kind must have swarmed upon him,3 as he watched for the night to pass away, wondering whether the morning light would reveal a savage wilderness, or dawn upon spicy groves, and glittering fanes, and gilded cities, and all the splendours of oriental civilisation.
W. IRVING. 1782-1859.
I Whereupon they took in sail, and laid to, Alors on serra les voiles et l'on mit en panne.—2 He had secured to himself a glory, which must be as durable as the world itself, Il s'était assuré une gloire, qui durerait aussi longtemps que le monde. - A thousand speculations of the kind must have swarmed upon him, Mille réflexions de cette nature, doivent s'être présentées en foule à son esprit.
MURDER OF ARTHUR OF BRITTANY.1 PRINCE ARTHUR was the right heir to the throne of England, and went to war against his uncle John, who had usurped. Arthur and his army were resting at Mirebeau, a town near Poictiers in France, when one summer night, King John, by treachery, got his men into the town, and surprised Arthur's force. He took two hundred of Arthur's knights, and seized the prince himself in bed. The knights were put in heavy irons,” and driven away in open carts drawn by bullocks, to various dungeons, where they were most inhumanly treated, and where some of them were starved to death. Prince Arthur was sent to the castle of Falaise.
One day, while he was in prison in that castle, mournfully thinking it strange that one so young should be in so much trouble, and looking out of the small window in the deep dark wall, at the summer sky, and the birds, the door was softly opened, and he saw his uncle the king standing in the shadow of the archway, looking very grim.4
“ Arthur,” said the king, with his wicked eyes more on the stone floor than on his nephew, “ will you not trust to the gentleness, and the friendship, and the truthfulness of your loving uncle?”
“I will tell my loving uncle that,” replied the boy, “ when he does me right. Let him restore to me my kingdom of England, and then come to me and ask the question.”
The king looked at 5 him, and then went out. “Keep that boy close prisoner,”6 said he to the warden of the castle.
Then the king took secret counsel with the worst of his nobles, how the prince was to be got rid of.7 Some said, put out his eyes and keep him in prison, as Robert of Normandy was kept; others said, have him stabbed; others, have him hanged; others, have him poisoned.
1 A.D. 1200.—Put in heavy irons, Chargés de lourdes chaînes. --3 Mournfully thinking it strange that one so young should be in, Pensant tristement combien il était étrange que, si jeune, il eût. — 4 See $ 55, 30.-_5 See $ 36, 4.–6 Close prisoner, Étroitement prisonnier.—7 How the prince was to be got rid of, Pour savoir comment se débarrasser du prince.