2017: The Columbiad Survives !

Le monde

The Columbiad, in its present form, is such as I shall probably leave it to its fate. Whether it be destined to survive its author, is a question that gives me no other concern than what arises from the most pure and ardent desire of doing good to my country. To my country therefore, with every sentiment of veneration and affection I dedicate my labors.

[Joel Barlow from PREFACE 1809]

My object is altogether of a moral and political nature I wish to encourage and strengthen in the rising generation, a sense of the importance of republican institutions; as being the great foundation of public and private happiness, the necessary aliment of future and permanent ameliorations in the condition of human nature.

This is the moment in America to give such a direction to poetry, painting and the other fine arts, that true and useful ideas of glory may be implanted in the minds of men here, to take place of the false and destructive ones that have degraded the species in other countries; impressions which have become so wrought into their most sacred institutions, that it is there thought impious to detect them and dangerous to root them out, tho acknowledged to be false. Wo be to the republican principle and to all the institutions it supports, when once the pernicious doctrine of the holiness of error shall creep into the creed of our schools and distort the intellect of our citizens!

[Joel Barlow from PREFACE 1809]

 

I sing the Mariner who first unfurl’d
An eastern banner o’er the western world,
And taught mankind where future empires lay
In these fair confines of descending day;
Who sway’d a moment, with vicarious power,
Iberia’s sceptre on the new found shore,
Then saw the paths his virtuous steps had trod
Pursued by avarice and defiled with blood,
The tribes he foster’d with paternal toil
Snatch’d from his hand, and slaughter’d for their spoil.

Slaves, kings, adventurers, envious of his name,
Enjoy’d his labours and purloin’d his fame,
And gave the Viceroy, from his high seat hurl’d.
Chains for a crown, a prison for a world
Long overwhelm’d in woes, and sickening there,
He met the slow still march of black despair,
Sought the last refuge from his hopeless doom,
And wish’d from thankless men a peaceful tomb:
Till vision’d ages, opening on his eyes,
Cheer’d his sad soul, and bade new nations rise;
He saw the Atlantic heaven with light o’ercast,
And Freedom crown his glorious work at last.

Almighty Freedom! give my venturous song
The force, the charm that to thy voice belong;
Tis thine to shape my course, to light my way,
To nerve my country with the patriot lay,
To teach all men where all their interest lies,
How rulers may be just and nations wise:
Strong in thy strength I bend no suppliant knee,
Invoke no miracle, no Muse but thee.

Joel Barlow: The Columbiad  (1809)

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The Columbiad (pt 1)

 

Le mondeEvery circumstance relating to the discovery and settlement of America is an interesting object of inquiry, especially to the great and growing nations of this hemisphere, who owe their existence to those arduous labors. Yet it is presumed that many persons, who might be entertained with a poem on this subject, are but slightly acquainted with the life and character of the hero whose extraordinary genius led him to discover the continent, and whose singular sufferings, arising from that service, ought to excite the indignation of the world.

Christopher Columbus was born in Genoa about the year 1447, when the navigation of Europe was scarcely extended beyond the limits of the Mediterranean and the other narrow seas that border the great ocean. The mariner’s compass had been invented and in common use for more than a century; yet with the help of this sure guide, and prompted by a laudable spirit of discovery, the mariners of those days rarely ventured from the sight of land.

They acquired wonderful applause by sailing along the coast of Africa, and discovering some of the neighboring islands; and after pushing their researches with great industry for half a century, the Portuguese, who were the most fortunate and enterprising, extended their voyages southward no farther than the equator.

The rich commodities of the East had, for several ages, been brought into Europe by the Red Sea and the Mediterranean; and it had now become the object of the Portuguese to find a passage to India by sailing round the southern extremity of Africa, and then taking an eastern course. This great object engaged the general attention, and drew into the Portuguese service adventurers from the other maritime nations of Europe. Every year added to their experience in navigation, and seemed to promise some distant reward to their industry. The prospect however of arriving at India by that route was still by no means encouraging. Fifty years perseverance in the same track having brought them only to the equator, it was probable that as many more would elapse before they could accomplish their purpose.

(from the Introduction)

Joel Barlow: The Columbiad (1809)

 

¡ Viva Colón !

…or whatever the Genovese admiral’s name was.

On this auspicious day, CONNECT/HOOK brings you two jewels of agit-prop.

Maldición del Malinche is a tragically beautiful song, and Soy Cuba is visually compelling – I think these two offerings complement each other today.

You can figure it out from here, as the good mariner did.
Discover new worlds – but don’t sail over the edge of the old one on your way…

HAPPY COLUMBUS DAY 2013

I sing the Mariner who first unfurl’d
An eastern banner o’er the western world,
And taught mankind where future empires lay
In these fair confines of descending day;
Who sway’d a moment, with vicarious power,
Iberia’s sceptre on the new found shore,
Then saw the paths his virtuous steps had trod
Pursued by avarice and defiled with blood,
The tribes he foster’d with paternal toil
Snatch’d from his hand, and slaughter’d for their spoil.

Slaves, kings, adventurers, envious of his name,
Enjoy’d his labours and purloin’d his fame,
And gave the Viceroy, from his high seat hurl’d.
Chains for a crown, a prison for a world
Long overwhelm’d in woes, and sickening there,
He met the slow still march of black despair,
Sought the last refuge from his hopeless doom,
And wish’d from thankless men a peaceful tomb:
Till vision’d ages, opening on his eyes,
Cheer’d his sad soul, and bade new nations rise;
He saw the Atlantic heaven with light o’ercast,
And Freedom crown his glorious work at last…

[from: The Columbiad, Book I , by Joel Barlow, published in 1807]

¡ Viva Cristóbal Colón !

…or whatever the Genovese admiral’s name was.

On this auspicious day, CONNECT/HOOK brings you two jewels of leftist agit-prop.

Maldición del Malinche is a tragically beautiful song, and Soy Cuba is visually compelling –
but that doesn’t mean either one is 100% truthful in its message.
I think these two offerings complement each other today.

You can figure it out from here, as the good mariner did.
Discover new worlds – but don’t sail over the edge of the old one on your way…

HAPPY COLUMBUS DAY 2012

I sing the Mariner who first unfurl’d
An eastern banner o’er the western world,
And taught mankind where future empires lay
In these fair confines of descending day;
Who sway’d a moment, with vicarious power,
Iberia’s sceptre on the new found shore,
Then saw the paths his virtuous steps had trod
Pursued by avarice and defiled with blood,
The tribes he foster’d with paternal toil
Snatch’d from his hand, and slaughter’d for their spoil.

Slaves, kings, adventurers, envious of his name,
Enjoy’d his labours and purloin’d his fame,
And gave the Viceroy, from his high seat hurl’d.
Chains for a crown, a prison for a world
Long overwhelm’d in woes, and sickening there,
He met the slow still march of black despair,
Sought the last refuge from his hopeless doom,
And wish’d from thankless men a peaceful tomb:
Till vision’d ages, opening on his eyes,
Cheer’d his sad soul, and bade new nations rise;
He saw the Atlantic heaven with light o’ercast,
And Freedom crown his glorious work at last…

[from: The Columbiad, Book I , by Joel Barlow, published in 1807]