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A Message to Newfoundland

from John Cabot



[For the source of this poem, see the end of the text.]

King Henry sent me voyaging into the misty West;

Four hundred and fifty years ago, I sailed at his behest.

Small reck had I of landfall, small reck of things to be;

The Flag of Christ flew at my top; my course the open sea.


For seven long weeks the Matthewe stood out from Bristol well,

Nor seas, nor fogs, nor lashing gales could daunt my caravel.

Anon, one day at dawn I looked, and lo! My dream took shape,

For there beyond my starboard bow, loomed Bona Vista Cape .

And, through God's grace and bounteous good, I walked upon the strand,

And named this Island of the West

The New Founde Land.


And navigators, stout and true have come through woe and weal,

Sebastian, who sailed with me, and Gaspar Cortereal,

To seek that Island of the Bleat, this mystic Avalon,

This rugged guardian of the Weat, once envied of the Don.

Jacques Cartier and Frobisher, Sir Humphrey Gilbert-he

That Gloriana proudly sent, to found her Colonie.

And Frenchmen, Basques and Portuguese, and Englishmen galore

Have reckoned it a privilege to tarry on your shore.


I count it good to look on you and see, from age to age,

How centuries have never dimmed your Gracious Heritage.


Sail on, you Ocean Warriors, until the last gale roar,

Until the wave of Ocean cease and sailors sail no more!


And when the Great Dominion takes you in her mighty hand,

God grant she holds in just esteem

The New Founde Land.


Source : Hugh A. ANDERSON, "A Message to Newfoundland from John Cabot", poem published in The Globe and Mail, Friday, April 1, 1949.


Return to Canadian Views of Newfoundland's Entrance into Confederation



© 2004 Claude Bélanger, Marianopolis College