Columbus sailing out of Spain,
Across old Neptune’s wide domain,
Came, joyous, to an unknown land
And lightly leaped upon the strand,
Confronting there a painted cuss
In puris naturalibus —
An aboriginal and rude
But stately occidental dude.
“My friend, you are discovered,” cried
“Not much,” the man replied;
“‘Tis you, my hearty, who are found,
For I’m upon my native ground,
While you, by wave and tempest tossed,
Until you landed here, were lost.”
“Well, well,” said Chris., “we’ll not dispute”
Of that, for either way will suit.
You’re chief, no doubt, of all this isle.”
And the man answered:
“I should smile.”
“So be it. Henceforth you shall reign
As vassal to the King of Spain,
An Indian cazique no more,
But Viceroy of San Salvador.”
“You make me tired,” the native said;
“Get off the roof — go soak your head.
Your ignorance (upon my life
A man could cut it with a knife,
So dense it is) surpasses all
In daisiness except your gall,
And that’s the worst I ever saw.
Now hear me fiddle on my jaw:
I’m not an Injun — I’m a pup
Of Caribs from the grass roots up,
And this is not San Salvador,
No doubt, the fellow would have said,
But Christofer cut off his head,
Which, feathered well on every lock,
Seemed, as it flew, a shuttlecock.