9.7.05

Letter from the New World

My plight is as I've described it. So far, I have wept my own tears. Now let the skies pity me and the earth weep for me! Of worldly goods, I have not so much a mite for the offertory. Of spiritual comforts, here I am in the Indies, bereft as has been said. I am marooned amid this terrible sorrow; sick, waiting day by day for death; surrounded by a million savages, who seethe with cruelty and hostility towards us; and I am so cut off from the sacraments of holy Church, that my soul shall be forgotten if it leaves my body in this place. I implore the tears of all who love charity, truth and justice ...

Colón, stranded on Jamaica, c. 1504

from Fernández-Armesto, op cit
; who adds: He had, he says, been to within ten days' journey of the River Ganges; he had seen the gold-bridled horses of the Massagetes, who dwell near the Amazons; he had narrowly evaded bewitchment by their sorcerers; in Veragua he had discovered the mines of Solomon; now he would go on, not only to recover Jerusalem but also to convert the emperor of China to Christianity. He repeated his claim to have discovered the earthly Paradise ...

2 comments:

Okir said...

a Cristobal Colon blog (in style like the Thoreau blog) would certainly be fascinating...

just a thought

Martin Edmond said...

there's lot's of writing: a Book of Prophecies and a Book of Privileges; but I've only gone into secondary sources ... fascinating that CC had been both to Iceland & the Bight of Benin before setting off into the west ...