Page:A Treasury of South African Poetry.djvu/255

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229
J. R.

VASCO DA GAMA.

(CHRISTMAS, 1497.)[1]

They were sick at heart and weary, they were tired of wind and wave,
They saw no beauty in the sea, it seemed to them their grave;
Two moons had grown and gone again since they had looked their last
Upon the mount whose beetling brow braves the Antarctic blast;
Morn after morn had found them still one speck upon the sea,
Eve after eve had left them yet all landless on the lee:
And ever as the day arrived more sad, and stern, and strange
The ocean seemed to be to them; it bore no other change.
And ever as the night came more lonely, lost, and drear
Those seamen felt, as northward, ho! their course they strove to steer.

For all that those old mariners around them heard or saw
Seemed more and more from olden things their present life to draw—

  1. Port Natal was discovered by the great navigator, Vasco da Gama, on Christmas Day 1497, and was accordingly named by him "The Land of the Nativity."