The Tomb of Columbus

Henry Howard Brownell

An old cathedral, with its columned aisle,   
And shrines, and pictured saints! The sun yet lingered   
On Cuzco’s mountains, and the fragrant breath   
Of unknown tropic flowers came o’er my path,   
Wafted—how pleasantly! for I had been           
Long on the seas, and their salt waveless glare   
Had made green fields a longing. At the port   
I left our bark, with her tired mariners;   
And wandered on, amid gay-colored dwellings,   
Through the great square, and through the narrow streets,           
Till this old fane, inviting, stayed my steps.   
While all alone, in the religious silence   
And pensive spirit of the place, I stood   
By the High Altar,—near it, on the wall,   
A tablet of plain marble met my view,           
Modestly wrought,—whereon an effigy,   
And a few simple words in a strange tongue,   
Telling “Here lies Columbus.” And that niche,—   
That narrow space held all now left of him   
For whom the ancient world was once too little!


The tomb of Columbus was in the cathedral in Havana until 1898, when his remains were removed to Spain.