Down To The Sea

Moran's The Santa Maria, Niña, and Pinta (Evening of October 11, 1492)

I see a galleon of Spanish make
That westward like a wingéd creature flies
Above a sea dawn-bright, and arched with skies
Expectant of the sun and morning-break.
The sailors from the deck their land-thirst slake
With peering o’er the waves, until their eyes
Discern a coast that faint and dream-like lies,
The while they pray, weep, laugh,—or madly take
Their shipmates in their arms and speak no word.
And then I see a figure, tall, removed
A little from the others, as behooved,
That since the dawn has neither spoke nor stirred;
A noble form the looming mast beside,
Columbus, calm, his prescience verified. 

Richard Burton “Columbus, the Discoverer”

Moran's The Debarkation of Columbus (Morning of October 12, 1492)

It was on Friday morning, the 12th of October, that Columbus first beheld the new world. As the day dawned he saw before him a level island, several leagues in extent, and covered with trees like a continual orchard.… Columbus made signal for the ships to cast anchor, and the boats to be manned and armed. He entered his own boat, richly attired in scarlet, and holding the royal standard; whilst Martin Alonzo Pinzon, and Vincent Jañez, his brother, put off in company in their boats, each with a banner of the enterprise emblazoned with a green cross. …

As he approached the shore, Columbus, who was disposed for all kinds of agreeable impressions, was delighted with the purity and suavity of the atmosphere, the crystal transparency of the sea, and the extraordinary beauty of the vegetation. He beheld, also, fruits of an unknown kind upon the trees which overhung the shores. On landing he threw himself on his knees, kissed the earth, and returned thanks to God with tears of joy. His example was followed by the rest, whose hearts indeed overflowed with the same feelings of gratitude. Columbus then rising drew his sword, displayed the royal standard, and assembling round him the two captains, with Rodrigo de Escobedo, notary of the armament, Rodrigo Sanchez, and the rest who had landed, he took solemn possession in the name of the Castilian sovereigns, giving the island the name of San Salvador.

Washington Irving The Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus

Moran's Midnight Mass on the Mississippi over the body of de Soto, 1542

Deep buried in the ooze of centuries,
Wrapped in the mighty river’s winding-sheet,
That which the world once called de Soto lies …
But yet no part of him, no grasp for power,
No strenuous aim, no hope, has passed away,
No wrongful act but blasts this very hour,—
All, all his acts are seeds that sprout to-day:
And yet for him—sleep, and through all the years
The endless drone of waters in deaf ears.

Moran's Henry Hudson Entering New York Bay (September 11, 1609)

Out from the harbour of Amsterdam
The Half Moon turned her prow to sea …
Westward they steered their tiny bark,
Westward through weary weeks they sped,
Till the cold grey strand of a stranger-land
Loomed through the mist ahead. …
They sailed to the North—they sailed to the South—
And at last they rounded an arm of sand
Which held the sea from a harbour’s mouth—
The loveliest in the land …

 Burton Egbert Stevenson “Henry Hudson’s Quest”