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from Ireland, a group of isles which he designates as the “Fortunate Islands of St. Brandan.” " This twofold appellation was derived from the legend of the holy man, the principal object of whose voyages is said to have been the seeking of the Land of the Blessed. But this important point of the story was misleading for the European scholars, who were familiar with Pliny's and Ptolemy's classic “Fortunate Islands;” and they shifted on their maps the northwestern St. Brendan's isle, to confound it with one of the ancient “Fortunatae,” now the Madeira and the Canary Islands. The giant move was first made during the fourteenth century by Richard Haldingham, who through his Map of the World assures us that the six Fortunate Islands are the Islands of “Brantan;” and by the Venetian geographer Pizzigani, on whose chart of the year 1367, preserved in the library of Parma, the saint is nicely painted, extending his arms to the group of the Canary Islands, here called the “Fortunate Islands of St. Brandan.” The same mistake was made on two Italian maps, respectively of the years 1424 and 1426,” and by Bartholomew de Pareto, who, in the year 1455, gives the Madeiras and the Canaries the general name of “Fortunate Islands of St. Brandan,” while he locates on the southwest coast of Ireland a place also called “St. Brandan.” So also does Andrew Benincasa, in the year 1480, confound St. Brendan's Island with those of the Canary group." When, however, the Madeira Islands, whose location seemed to agree better than that of the neighboring archipelago with the location of St. Brendan's, had been discovered in the year 1420, they failed to correspond with the description of the saint's legend, and St. Brendan's Island, giving way to known reality, politely retired to more mysterious quarters. It actually sailed northward on the Weimer chart of the year 1424, where we find the “Islands of St. Brandan” between Madeira and the Azores." Afterwards—namely, in the year 1453—it was thought that the saint, in a southern course, had doubled the cape Bojador.” Martin Behaim, in 1492, very unceremoniously moved St. Brendan's Island sixty-eight degrees to the west of the Canaries, setting it down between the equator and the eighth degree of northern latitude, with the remark that “565 years after the birth of Christ, St. Brandam came with his ship to this island, where he saw many wonders for the space of seven years, after which he went back to his country.” The island, however, he called “Antilia or Septeriade.” Behaim's direction was right, but his distance from the Canaries was excessive; for, from these islands, where the imaginations are as bright as the mirages, the isle of St. Brendan was at intervals seen in perfectly clear and serene weather; and to some it seemed one hundred leagues distant; to others, forty; to others yet, only fifteen or eighteen. In the year 1526 an expedition set out from the Canaries to sail to it, but in vain. In 1570 the optical illusion was so frequent that, after mature deliberations, another expedition was fitted out on the island of Palma; but it was equally fruitless. Thirty-four years after, or in 1605, the people of Palma sent in quest another ship, commanded by an accomplished pilot and accompanied by the friar Lorenzo Piñedo. St. Brendan, however, refused to reveal his island to either monk or mariner. The last search for the isle was made in the year 1721; and it is useless to say that the vessel returned from her cruise as unsuccessful as her predecessors." And no wonder, for, if anywhere, St. Brendan's Island was to be looked for in its original place, in the northwestern regions of the Atlantic. Here it had been kept by the geographers who had wisely preferred to classic lore the information directly bearing upon the geographical question. It was but natural that the holy voyager should have made discoveries and found the monks of his kith and kin on the waters that were Washing his native coast, rather than on the distant billows breaking against the African cliffs. A catalan of the fifteenth century remembers “San Brandan” on his island “Gataforda,” north of Ireland.” Sebastian Cabot, who had seen much and heard more of the seas north and west of the British isles, adorns his map of the year 1544 with “St. Brandon’s” islet, located twenty-four degrees due west of Dublin. The map of Peter Desceliers, drawn in A.D. 1546, which repeats the Christian names given by Cabot to some places of America's eastern coast, represents the island “St. Brandon” half-way between Ireland and the St. Lawrence River.” We find, on the rich parchment Ordered drawn by Henry II. of France about the year 1550, the small island “St. Brandon” placed on a line between Ireland and Anticosti." Mercator, in 1569, marks “St. Brandain” east of the mouth of the St. Lawrence River,” and so does Thevet in his Cosmographie Universelle;” while Michael Lok, on his map of the year 1582, agrees with them in placing his “St. Brandam” between Ireland and America, much nearer, however, to the latter." Five years after, Ortelius moves the isle closer to Iceland;" but as late as 1605, when numerous voyages should have elucidated the famous legend of St. Brendan, we still find the island located where the reader of the story might look for it, —namely, in the near proximity of Newfoundland." About the same time Honorius Philoponi tells us that the island of “St. Brandon” is situated in the northern ocean, just opposite the Land of Corterreal or New France of North America;' and, finally, a rather recent Portuguese map, preserved in the Riccardiana Library of Florence, sets down the island of “St. Brandam” to the west of Ireland.”
* “Insules fortunate sante Bran- p. 206; Jomard, pl. 44, 45; Peschel, dane.” (Boletín, t. xxi. p. 244.) Zeitalter der Entdeckungen, S. 30. * Isole dicte Fortunate St. Bran- * Kunstmann, S. 10. dany; von Humboldt, Examen, t. * Kretschmer, Tafel v. ii. p. 170; Gaffarel, Découv., t. i. * Peschel, Zeitalter der Entdeckungen, S. 30.
1 Von Humboldt, Examen, t. ii. chel, Zeitalter der Entdeckungen, p. 187. S. 30, n. 2.)
* Bem he que alguís deziam, que * Jomard, pl.xv, 1 ; Kretschmer, passara per ally—cabo Bojador— Tafel vi. 2; Peschel and Gaffarel, Sam Brantam. (Azurara, Chron. ubi supra. de Guiné, cap. vii. p. 44, ap. Pes
* O'Donoghue, pp. 291–296; Pes- * Kretschmer, Tafel iv., n. 8. chel, Zeitalter der Entdeckungen, * Ibid., Tafel xvii. S. 30; von Humboldt, Examen, t. ii. p. 170.
From all these geographical particulars it would appear that the most learned men of Europe have generally admitted, during these last ten centuries, that the Irish monk, St. Brendan, has been a remarkable explorer of the Atlantic Ocean, and the discoverer of unknown land situated, according to the more plausible opinion of the greater number, in a westerly direction from his native country, close by or on the eastern shores of North America.
* Jomard, pl. xix, 1 ; pl. XX, 2. * Title-page of the book: “War* Ibid., pl. xxi, 1. achtige ende grondige beschry* P. 903, ap. Gaffarel, Découv., vinge van het groot en goutryck t. i. p. 206. Coningryck van Guiana.” * Hakluyt, p. 55. * Navigationes Patrum Ord. S.
5 Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, Bened., p. 14, ap. von Humboldt, chart v., ap. Gaffarel, Découv., t. i. Examen, t. ii. p. 166, n. 1. p. 207. * Kretschmer, Tafel xxxiii.
This conclusion is singularly borne out by the narrative of the legend of St. Brendan; unless it should be objected that the two arguments are but a single one, from the fact, as Thomas Wright' and others reversely assert, that the legend exercised an influence on geographical science down to a late epoch. Such may be the case; but, if it is, we feel justified in attaching to the legend a greater importance than modern criticism accords to it, on the principle that the nearer to the events the fuller the records and the better understood.
It was one of the most remarkable and widely spread legends of the middle ages, and it is highly probable that even Arabian geographers have taken from it some of their Atlantic islands.” The number of its ancient copies carefully preserved until this day, its various translations, and its learned commentaries, published of late, sufficiently testify to the lively interest which the “Navigatio” of St. Brendan has excited, an interest such as was never taken, especially by the learned, in a work devoid of important historical truth.
The oldest version of the legend or “Voyage” of St. Brendan that has come down to us is undoubtedly the “Betha Brenainn,” contained in the Book of Lismore and other manuscripts; but the incidents of the story are few and baldly related in these copies, while the structure of the tale is rather disjointed and fragmentary, seemingly made up of scraps and fragments from two or more earlier Irish versions which have been lost. It differs considerably in those respects from the Latin “Navigatio.” The latter was the most popular version during the middle ages, and even now there is scarcely any large collection of manuscripts in
* Preface to the edition of the English Prose Life of St. Brendan, Early English Metrical and Early ap. O'Donoghue, p. 356. * O’Donoghue, p. 356.