to the poem: The
early discoverers used to mark newly found lands with a wooden cross.
King John II ordered those markers to be made of stone, for greater
durability. A typical "padrao" was a stone pillar topped
by a cross beneath which was engraved the Portuguese coat-of-arms.
Some of these stone markers lay unnoticed by all until rediscovered
in the late XIX century, some 400 years after they were erected
and are a moving memento to those who left them to signal "to
the wind and the skies" that the caravels of King John II had
reached those distant strands.
task is great and man is small.
I, Diogo Cão, navigator, have left
This padrao by the sandy shore
And onwards set my course.
The soul is divine and the work is imperfect.
To the wind and the skies this stone signals
That, of the daring deed, mine is what is done:
What is left to do, is God's will.
And to the vast and possible ocean
Tell these escutcheons you see
That the bounded sea may be Greek or Roman:
The sea without bounds is Portuguese.
And the Cross on high says that what goes in my soul,
And causes in me the urge to sail forth,
Will only find in God's eternal calmness
That port forever unfound.