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BATTLE OF THE SUMMER-ISLANDS.
What fruits they have, and how Heav'n smiles
Upou those late-discover'd isles !
Aid me, Bellona! while the dreadful fight
Betwixt a nation and two whales I write.
Seas stain'd with gore I sing, adventrous toil !
And how these monsters did disarm an isle.
Bermuda, wall’d with rocks, who does not know?
That happy island where huge lemons grow,
And orange trees, which golden fruit do bear,
The Hesperian garden boasts of none so fair ;
Where shining pearl, and coral, many a pound,
On the rich shore, of ambergris is found.
The lofty cedar, which to Heav'n aspires,
The prince of trees ! is fuel for their fires :
The smoke by which their loaded spits do turn,
For incense might on sacred altars burn:
Their private roofs on odorous timber borne,
Such as might palaces for kings adorn.
The sweet palmettos a new Bacchus yield,
With leaves as ample as the broadest shield,
Under the shadow of whose friendly boughs
They sit, carousing where their liquor grows.
Figs there unplanted through the fields do grow,
Such as fierce Cato did the Romans show,
With the rare frnit inviting them to spoil
Carthage, the mistress of so rich a soil.
The naked rocks are not unfruitful there,
But at some constant seasons, every year
Their barren tops with luscious food abound,
And with the eggs of various fowls are crown'd.
Tobacco is the worst of things, which they
To English landlords, as their tribute, pay.
Such is the mould, that the blest tenant feeds
On precious fruits; and pays his rent in weeds.
With candied plantains and the juicy pine,
On choicest melons and sweet grapes they dine,
And with potatoes fat their wanton swine.
Nature these cates with such a lavish hand
Pours out among them, that our coarser land
Tastes of that bounty, and does cloth return,
Which not for warmth, but ornament, is worn:
For the kind Spring, which but salutes us here,
Inhabits there, and courts them all the year.
Ripe fruits and blossoms on the same trees live ;
At once they promise what at once they give.
So sweet the air, so moderate the clime,
None sickly lives, or dies before his time.
Heav'n sure has kept this spot of earth uncurst,
To show how all things were created first.
The tardy plants in our cold orchards plac'd,
Reserve their fruit for the next age's taste :
There a small grain in some few months will be
A firm, a lofty, and a spacious tree.
The palma-christi, and the fair papà,
Now but a seed, (preventing Nature's law)
In half the circle of the hasty year
Project a shade, and lovely fruits do wear.
And as their trees, in our dull region set,
But faintly grow, and no perfection get,
So in this northern tract our hoarser throats
Utter unripe and ill-constrained notes,
While the supporter of the poets' style,
Phæbus, on them eternally does smile.
Oh! how I long my careless limbs to lay
Under the plantain's shade, and all the day
With amorous airs my fancy entertain,
Invoke the Muses, and improve my vein!
No passion there in my, free breast should move,
None but the sweet and best of passions, love.
There while I sing, if gentle Love be by,
That tunes my lute, and winds the string so high,
With the sweet sound of Sacharissa's name
I'll make the listening savages grow. tame.
But while I do these pleasing dreams indite,
I am diverted from the promis'd fight.
of their alarm, and how their foes.
Discover'd were, this Canto shows.
Though rocks so high about this island rise,
That well they may the numerous Turk despise,
Yet is no human fate exempt from fear, 'fhear
Which shakes their hearts, while through the isle they
A lasting noise, as horrid and as loud
As thunder makes before it breaks the cloud.
Three days they dread this murmur ere they know
From what blind cause the unwonted sound may
At length two monsters of unequal size, [grow:
Hard by the shore, a fisherman espies ;
Two mighty whales ! which swelling seas had tost,
And left them prisoners on the rocky coast :
One as a mountain vast, and with her came
A cub, not much inferior to his dam.
Here in a pool, among the rocks engag'd,
They roard, like lions caught in toils, and rag'd.
The man knew what they were, who heretofore
Had seen the like lie murther'd on the shore;
By the wild fury of some tempest cast,
The fate of ships, and shipwreck'd men, to taste.
As careless dames, whom wine and sleep betray
To frantic dreams, their infants overlay ;
So there, sometimes, the raging ocean fails,
And her own brood exposes; when the whales
Against sharp rocks, like reeling vessels quash'd,
Though huge as mountains, are in pieces dash'd ;
Along the shore their dreadful limbs lie scatter'd,
Like hills with earthquakes shaken, torn, and shat-
ter'd. Hearts sure of brass they had who tempted first Rude seas, that spare not what themselves have
nurst. The welcome news through all the nation spread, To sudden joy and hope converts their dread: What lately was their public terror, they Behold with glad eyes as a certain prey ; Dispose already of the' untaken spoil, And, as the purchase of their future toil, These share the bones, and they divide the oil.
So was the huntsman by the bear opprest,
Whose hide he sold-before he caught the beast!
They man their boats, and all their young men arm
With whatsoever may the monsters harm;
Pikes, halberts, spits, and darts that wound so far,
The tools of peace, and instruments of war.
Now was the time for vigorous lads to show
What love and honour could invite them to :
A goodly theatre! where rocks are round
With reverend age and lovely lasses crown’d.
Such was the lake which held this dreadful pair
Within the bounds of noble Warwick's share:
Warwick's bold Earl ! than which no title bears
A greater sound among our British peers ;
And worthy he the memory to renew,
The fate and honour to that title due,
Whose brave adventures have transferr'd his name,
And through the new world spread his growing
fame. But how they fought, and what their valour gain’d, Shall in another Canto be contain'd.
The bloody figbt, successless toil,
And how the fishes suck'd the isle.
The boat which on the first assault did go,
Strook with a harping-iron the younger foe;
Who, when he felt his side so rudely gord,
Loud as the sea that nourish'd him he roar'd.
As a broad bream, to please some curious taste,
While yet alive, in boiling water cast,