COLUMBUS

- By Joaquin Miller
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Cincinnatus Heine Miller[1] (/ˌsɪnsɪˈneɪtəs ˈhaɪnə/; September 8, 1837 – February 17, 1913), better known by his pen name Joaquin Miller (/hwɑːˈkiːn/), was an American poet, author, and frontiersman. He is nicknamed the "Poet of the Sierras" after the Sierra Nevada, about which he wrote in his Songs of the Sierras (1871). Joaquin Miller's parents were Hulings Miller and Margaret (née Witt), who married January 3, 1836, in Union County, Indiana.[2] Their second son, Cincinnatus Hiner Miller, was born in 1837 near Union County, Indiana.[3][4] For unknown reasons, Miller later claimed his birth date was November 10, 1841.[5] He said he was born in Millersville, Indiana, a town he claimed was founded by his father, while on a wagon heading west.[6] After leaving Union County, Miller's father then moved the family to Grant County, Indiana to a location near the Mississinewa River and near the Miami Indian Reservation. [7] Besides adopting the pen name "Joaquin", he later changed his middle name from Hiner to Heine to evoke the German poet Heinrich Heine.[8]

COLUMBUS

"Christopher Columbus Monument – Barcelona, Spain" by David Berkowitz is licensed under CC by 2.0.

Behind him lay the gray Azores,
Behind the Gates of Hercules;
Before him not the ghost of shores,
Before him only shoreless seas.
The good mate said: "Now must we pray,
For lo! the very stars are gone.
Brave Admiral, speak, what shall I say?"
"Why, say, 'Sail on! sail on! and on!'"
"My men grow mutinous day by day;
My men grow ghastly wan and weak."
The stout mate thought of home; a spray
Of salt wave washed his swarthy cheek.
"What shall I say, brave Admiral, say,
If we sight naught but seas at dawn?"
"Why, you shall say at break of day,
'Sail on! sail on! sail on! and on!'"
They sailed and sailed, as winds might blow,
Until at last the blanched mate said:
"Why, now not even God would know
Should I and all my men fall dead.
These very winds forget their way,
For God from these dread seas is gone.
Now speak, brave Admiral, speak and say"-
He said: "Sail on! sail on! and on!"
They sailed. They sailed. Then spake the mate:
"This mad sea shows his teeth to-night.
He curls his lip, he lies in wait,
With lifted teeth, as if to bite!
Brave Admiral, say but one good word:
What shall we do when hope is gone?"
The words leapt like a leaping sword:
"Sail on! sail on! sail on! and on!"
Then, pale and worn, he kept his deck,
And peered through darkness. Ah, that night
Of all dark nights! And then a speck-
A light! A light! A light! A light!
It grew, a starlit flag unfurled!
It grew to be Time's burst of dawn.
He gained a world; he gave that world
Its grandest lesson: "On! sail on!"

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