More Re: Antedatings in the Yale Book of Quotations -- 26: Line in the Sand

Towse my.cache at GMAIL.COM
Wed Dec 27 00:47:09 UTC 2006

William Prescott  - /History of the Conquest of Peru/

A ray of hope was enough for the courageous spirit of Pizarro. It does
not appear that he himself had entertained, at any time, thoughts of
returning. If he had, these words of encouragement entirely banished
them from his bosom, and he prepared to stand the fortune of the cast
on which he had so desperately ventured. He knew, however, that
solicitations or remonstrances would avail little with the companions
of his enterprise; and he probably did not care to win over the more
timid spirits who, by perpetually looking back, would only be a clog
on his future movements. He announced his own purpose, however, in a
laconic but decided manner, characteristic of a man more accustomed to
act than to talk, and well calculated to make an impression on his
rough followers.

Drawing his sword, he traced a line with it on the sand from east to
west. Then turning towards the south, "Friend and comrades!" he said,
"on that side are toil, hunger, nakedness, the drenching storm,
desertion, and death; on this side, ease and pleasure. There lies Peru
with its riches; here, Panama, and its poverty. Choose, each man, what
best becomes a brave Castilian. For my part, I go to the south." So
saying, he stepped across the line. He was followed by the brave pilot
Ruiz; next by Pedro de Candia, a cavalier, born, as his name imports,
in one of the isles of Greece. Eleven others successively crossed the
line, thus intimating their willingness to abide the fortunes of their
leader, for good or for evil. Fame, to quote the enthusiastic language
of an ancient chronicler, has commemorated the names of this little
band, "who thus, in the face or difficulties unexampled in history,
with death rather than riches for their reward, preferred it all to
abandoning their honor, and stood firm by their leader as an example
of loyalty to future ages."


Prescott must be quoting an earlier source. He refers to "an ancient
chronicler" and Pizarro would have said something more akin to , "Alla
esta Peru y aqui esta Panama. ..."

On 12/26/06, Fred Shapiro <fred.shapiro at> wrote:
> 1853 _Gleason's Pictorial Drawing-Room Companion_ 26 Nov. 350 (American
> Periodical Series)  A couple of well-armed guides came upon us and
> insisted upon disturbing our meditations with their magpie chatter. ...
> Talking did no good, they talked so much faster and in more languages than
> we.  I remembered the brave American adventurer, and drew a line in the
> sand; if they crossed that, I hardly know what terrors were to come upon
> them.  And these stout, well armed men marched like lions to the line --
> there they stopped, and we were molested no more.
> Fred Shapiro
> --------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Fred R. Shapiro                             Editor
> Associate Librarian for Collections and     YALE BOOK OF QUOTATIONS
>    Access and Lecturer in Legal Research     Yale University Press
> Yale Law School                             ISBN 0300107986
> e-mail: fred.shapiro at     
> --------------------------------------------------------------------------
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

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