Columbus in Chains
Are these the honors they reserve for me,
Chains for the man who gave new worlds to Spain!
Rest here, my swelling heart! -- O kings, O queens,
Patrons of monsters, and their progeny,
Authors of wrong, and slaves to fortune merely!
Why was I seated by my prince's side,
Honored, caressed like some first peer of Spain?
Was it that I might fall most suddenly
From honor's summit to the sink of scandal?
'Tis done, 'tis done! -- what madness is ambition!
What is there in that little breath of men,
Which they call Fame, that should induce the brave
To forfeit ease and that domestic bliss
Which is the lost of happy ignorance,
Less glorious aims, and dull humility? --
Whoe'er thou art that shalt aspire to honor,
And on the strength and vigor of the mind
Vainly depending, court a monarch's favor,
Pointing the way to vast extended empire;
First could your pay to be ingratitude,
Then chains and prisons, and disgrace like mine!
Each wretched pilot now shall spread his sails,
And treading in my footsteps hail new worlds,
Which, but for me, had still been empty visions.