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OF PLANTS, BOOK V
Translated by Nahum Tate

Now let my Muse more lofty numbers bring,
Proportion’d to the lofty theme we sing:
The race of trees, whose towring branches rise
In open air, and almost kiss the skies.
Too light those strans that tender flow’rs desir’d, 5
Too low the verse that humbler herbs requir’d.
Those weaklings near the surface of the earth
Reside, nor from the soil that gave them birth
Dare launch too far into the airy main,
The winds rough shock unable to sustain. 10
These to the skies with heads erected go,
Laughing at tender plants that crouch below.
Not Man, the earth’s proud lord, so high can raise
His head, they touch those heav’ns which he surveys.
Between th’ Herculean bounds and golden soil 15
By great Columbus found there lies an isle,
Of those call’d Fortunate the fairest seat,
Indulg’d by heaven, and Natures blest retreat.
A constant settled calm the sky retains,
Disturb’d by no impetuous winds or rains. 20
Zephyr alone with fragrant breath does chear
The florid earth and hatch the fruitful year.
No clouds pour down the tender plants to chill,
But fatning dews instead from heav’n distill,
And friendly stars with vital influence fill. 25
No cold invades the temp’rate summer there,
More rich than autumn, and than spring more fair.
The months without distinction pass away,
The tree at once with leaves, fruit, blossoms gay.
The changing moon all these, and always, does survey. 30
Nature some fruits does to our soil deny,
Nor what we have can ev’ry month supply.
But ev’ry sort that happy earth does bear,
All sorts it bears, and bears ’em all the year.
This seat Pomona now is said to prise, 35
And fam’d Alcinous gardens to despise.
Betwixt th’ old world and new makes this retreat
Of her green empire the imperial seat.
And wisely too, that plants of ev’ry sort
May from both worlds repair to fill her court. 40
Hedges instead of walls this place surround,
Brambles and thorns of various kinds abound,
With haw-thorn that does magick spells confound.
The well rang’d trees within broad walk display
Through which her verdant city we survey. 45
I’ th’ midst her palace stands, of bow’rs compos’d,
With twining branches and green walls enclos’d,
By Nature deck’d with fruits of various kind.
You’d swear some artist had the work design’d.
When autumn’s reign begins the goddess here 50
(Autumn with us eternal summer’s there),
When Scorpio with his venom blasts the year,
The goddess her vertumnal rites prepares
(So call’d from various forms Vertumnus wears).
No cost she spares those honours to perform 55
(For no expence can that rich goddess harm).
She then brings forth her gardens choice delights,
To treat the rural gods whom she invites.
The twelve of heavenly race her guests appear,
Wanton Priapus too is present there, 60
The fair host more attracts him than the fare.
Then Pales came, and Pan, Arcadia’s god,
On his dull ass the fat Silenus rode
Lagging behind. The Fauni next advance
With nimble feet, and to the banquet dance, 65
Nor heavn’s inferiour pow’rs were absent thence,
Whose altars seldom smoak with frankincense.
Picumnus, who the barren land manures,
Tutanus too, who gather’d fruit secures,
Collina from the hlls, from valleys low 70
Vallonia came, Rurina from the plow,
With whom a hundred rustick Nymphs appear,
Who garments form’d of leaves or bark did wear.
To these, strange powers from new-found India came,
Most dreadful in their aspect, form and name.
The hundred mouths of fame cou’d ne’r suffice 75
To taste or tell that banquet’s rarities.
With change of fruits the table still was stor’d,
For ready servants waited on the board
In various dress. The months attending too
In number twelve, twelve times the feast renew. 80
Of apples, pears and dates they fill’d the juice,
The Indian nut supply’d the double use
Of drink and cup. The more luxuriant vine
Afforded various kinds of sprightly wine.
Canaria’s neihbr’ing isle, the most divine. 85
Of this glad Bacchus fils a bowl and cries,
“O sacred juice! O wretched deities,
Who absent hence of sober nectar
Take dull draughts, nor know the joys of potent sack!”
The rest, who Bacchus judgment cou’d not doubt, 90
Pledg’d him in course, and sent the bowl about.
Venus and Flora chocolate alone
Wou’d drink — the reason to themselves best known.
The gods (who scarcely were to wise to spare,
When they both knew their welcome and their fare) 95
Fell freely on, till now discourse began,
And one exclaiming cry’d, “O foolish Man,
That grosly feeds on flesh, when ev’ry field
Does easie and more wholesome banquets yield!
Who in the blood of beasts their hands imbrue, 100
And eat the victims to our altars due.”
From hence the rest occasion take at last
The goddess to extol, and her repast.
The orange one, and one the fig commends,
Another the rich fruit that Persia sends. 105
Some cry the olive up above the rest,
But by the most the grape was judg’d the best.
The Indian god, who heard them nothing say
Of fruits that grow in his America
(Of which her soil affors so rich a store 110
Her golden mines can scarce be valu’d more)
Thus taxes their unjust partiality,
As well he might, the Indian Bacchus he.
“Can prejudice,” said he, “corrupt the powers
Of this old world? Far be that crime from ours. 115
If when to furnish out a noble treat
You seek our fruits, the banquet to compleat
(Which I with greediness have seen you eat),
Are these your thanks, ingrateful deities?
Your tongues reproach what did your palates please. 120
You only praise the growth of your own soil,
Because the product of long ages toil.
But had not fortune been our countreys foe,
And parent Nature’s self forsook us too,
Had not your armed Mars in triumph rode 125
O’r our Ochecus, a poor naked god,
Had not your Neptune’s floating palaces
Sunk our tall Ochus fleet of hollow trees,
Nor thundring Jove made Viracocha yield,
Nor Spaniards yet more fierce laid waste our field, 130
And left alive no tiller to recruit
The breed of plants, and to improve the fruit,
Our products soon had silenc’d this dispute.
But as it is, my climate I’ll defend,
No soil can so much num’rous fruits pretend. 140
We still have many to our conqu’ror’s shame,
Of which you are as yet to learn the name,
So little can you boast to shew the same.
This I assert. If any be so fain
To contradict the truth that I maintain 145
(Since from both worlds this feast has hither brought
All fruits which which our diff’rent climes are fraught),
The deities that are assembled here
Shall judge which world the richest will appear.
In fruits, I mean, for that our lands excell 150
In gold, you to our sorrow know too full well.”
His comrade-gods in this bold challenge join,
Nor did our powers the noble strife decline.
Minerva in her olive safe appear’d,
Bacchus, who with a smile the boaster heard, 155
As in the east his conquest had been shown,
Now reckons the West-Indies too his own.
His courage with ten bumpers first he chear’d,
Then all agree to have the table clear’d,
And each respective tree to plead her worth, 160
The goddess one by one commands them forth.
She summon’d first the nut of double race,
And apple, which in our old world have place.
Of each the noblest breeds, for to the name
A thousand petty families lay claim. 165
The nut-trees name at first the oak did grace,
Who in Pomona’s garden then had place,
Till her nice palate acorns did decline,
Scorning in diet to partake with swine.
At last the filbert and the chestnut sweet 170
Were scarce admitted to her verdant seat.
The airy pine, of form and stature proud,
With much entreaty was at length allow’d.
The hazel with light forces marches up,
The first in field, upon whose nutty top 175
A squirrel sits, and wants no other shade
Than what by his own spreading tail is made.
He culls the soundest, dextrously picks out
The kernels sweet, and throws the shells about.
“You see,” Pomona crys, “the cloyster’d fruit, 180
That with your tooth, Silenus, does not suit.
That therefore useless ’tis you cannot say,
It serves our youths at once for food and play.
But while such toys, my lads, you use too long,
Expecting virgins think you do them wrong. 185
’Tis time that you these childish sports forsake,
Hymen for you has other nuts to crack.”
“O plant most fit for boys to patronize
(Cries Bacchus), who my gen’rous juice despise,
A restive fruit, by nature made to grace 190
The monky’s jaws and humour the grimace.”
The sudden gibe made sober Pallas smile,
Who thus proceeds in a more serious style.
“A strong and wondrous enmity we find
In hazel tree ’gainst poysons of all kind. 195
More wondrous their magnetick sympathy,
That secret beds of metals can descry,
And point directly where hid treasures lie.
In search of golden mines a hazel want
The wise diviner takes in his right hand, 200
In vain alas! he casts his eyes about
To find the rich and secret mansions out,
Which yet, when near, shall with a force divine
The top of the suspended wand incline.
So strong the sense of gain that it affects 205
The very lifeless twig, who straight reflects
His trembling hand, and eager for th’ embrace,
Directly tends to the magnetick place.
What wonders then so strange effects confound
The minds of men, in mists of errour drown’d. 210
It puzzles me, who was at Athens bred,
Ev’n me the off-spring of great Jove’s own head.
Let Phoebus then unfold this mystery.
Much more than Man we know, but Phoebus more than we.”
She said. Apollo, with th’ aenigma vext, 215
And scorning to be pos’d, in words perplext,
Strove to disguise his ignorance, and spent
Much breath on attoms and their wild ferment.
Of sympathy he made a long discourse,
And long insisted on self-acting force. 220
But all confus’d and distant from the mark,
His Delphick oracle was ne’r so dark.
’Twas mirth for Jove to see him tug in vain
At what his wisdome onely cou’d explain.
For those profounder mysteries to hide. 225
From gods and men is sure Jove’s greatest pride.
The shady chestnut next her claim puts in,
Though seldom she is in our gardens seen.
So coarse her fare that ’tis no small dispute
If nuts or acorns we shou’d call her fruit. 230
So vile, the gods from mirth could not forbear
To see such kernels such strong armour wear.
First with a linty wad wrapt close about
(Useful to keep green wounds from gushing out),
Her next defence of solid wood is made. 235
The third has spikes that can her foes invade.
Thersites sure no greater sport cou’d make,
With Ajax sev’nfold shield upon his back.
The pine with awful rev’rence next did rise
Above contempt, and almost touch’d the skies. 240
Carv’d in his sacred bark he wore beside
Great Maro’s words, to justifie his pride.
Pan own’d th’ approaching plant, and, bowing low
His pine-wreath’d head, but just respect did show.
Were Neptune present he had done the same 245
To that fair plant that in his Isthmian Game
The victor crowns, whose loud applauses he
With equal transport hears in either sea.
Neptune of other plants no lover seems,
But good reason he the pine esteems. 250
The pine alone has courage to remove
From’s native hills (where long with winds he strove
In youth) on watry mountains to engage
With’s naked timber fiercer tempests rage.
In vain were floods to plants and men deny’d, 255
In vain design’d for fishes to reside,
Since Natures laws by art are overcome,
And men with ships make seas their native home.
But of all pines Mount Ida makes the best,
By Cybele prefer’d above the rest. 260
This plant a lovely boy was heretofore,
Belov’d by Cybele, upon whose score
He sacrific’d to chastity, but now
Repents him of the rashness of his vow.
His fruit delaying Venus now excites, 265
His wood affords the torch with Hymen lights.
Ia, for whom her father of white-thorn
A torch prepar’d (e’r pine by brides was born),
When she shou’d meet her long expected joy,
Embraced the pine-tree for her lovely boy. 270
Dire change, yet cannot from his trunk retire,
But languishes away with vain desire
Till Cybele afforded her relief
(Her rival once, now partner in her grief),
Transform’d her to the bitter almond-tree, 275
Whose fruit seems still with sorrow to agree.
Her sister, who the dreadful change did mark,
Strove with her hands to stop the spreading bark.
But while the pious office she perform’d
In the same manner found herself transform’d. 280
But as her grief was less severe, we find
Her almond sweet and of a milder kind.
Thus did this plant into her arms receive
Th’ unfortunate and more than once relieve.
Poor Phyllis thus Demophoon’s absence mourn’d, 285
Till she into an almond-tree was turn’d.
Thus Phyllis vanish’d, Ceres saw her bloom,
And prophescy’d a fruitful year to come.
The firm pistachoe next appear’d in view,
Proud of her fruit that serpents can subdue. 290
The wallnut then approach’d, more large and tall,
His fruit, which we a nut, the gods an acorn call
Jove’s acorn, which does no small praise confess,
T’ have call’d it Man’s ambrosia had been less.
Nor can this head-like nut, shap’d like the brain 295
Within, be said that form by chance to gain,
Or caryon call’d by learned Greeks in vain.
For membranes soft as silk her kernel bind,
Whereof the inmost is of tendrest kind,
Like those which on the brain of Man we find, 300
All which are in a seam-join’d shell enclos’d,
Which of this brain the skull may be suppos’d.
This very skull envelop’d is again
In a green coat, his pericranion.
Lastly, that no objection may remain 305
To thwart her near alliance to the brain,
She nourishes the hair, remembring how
Herself deform’d without her leaves does show.
On barren scalps she makes fresh honours grow.
Her timber is for various uses good: 310
The carver she supplies with lasting wood,
She makes the painters fading colours last,
A table she affords us and repast.
Ev’n while we feast, her oil our lamps supplies,
The rankest poison by her virtue dies. 315
The mad-dogs foam, and taint of raging skies.
The Pontick king who liv’d where poisons grew,
Skilful in antidotes, her virtues knew.
Yet envious Fates, that still with merit strive,
And Man ingrateful from the orchard drive, 320
This sov’raign plant excluded from the field
Unless some useless nook a station yield
Defenceless in the common road she stands,
Expos’d to restless war of vulgar hands,
By neighb’ring clowns and passing rabble torn, 325
Batter’d with stones by boys, and left forelorn.
To her did all the nutty-tribe succeed,
A hardy race that makes weak gums to bleed.
But to the banquets of the gods prefer’d,
Are said to open of their own accord. 330
’Twixt these and juicy fruits of painted coat,
Such as on sunny apples we may note,
Advanc’d the tribe of those with rugged skin,
More mild than nuts, but to the nut a kin.
Pomegranate chief of these, whose blooming flow’r 335
(Pomona’s pride) may challenge Flora’s bow’r.
The spring-rose seems less fair when she is by,
Nor carbuncle can with her colour vie,
Nor purple streaks that paint the rising morn,
Nor blushes that consenting maids adorn. 340
In the Euboean isle did stand of old
Great Juno’s image, form’d of massy gold.
In one right hand she held a scepter bright
(For with the pow’rs divine both hands are right),
Her Carthage lovely fruit the other grac’d, 345
And fitly in Lucina’s hand was plac’d,
Whose orb within so many cells contains
In form of wombs, and stor’d with seedy grains.
But Proserpine implacable remain’d
Against this plant, for former wrongs sustain’d, 350
Nor Ceres yet her hatred cou’d disguise,
But from pomegranate turn’d her weeping eyes.
For the Elysian Fields (whence fates permit
Nought to return) what tree can be more fit
Than this restringent plant? A single tast 355
Of three small grains kept Ceres daughter fast.
Orange and lemon next like lightning bright
Came in, and dazled the beholders sight.
These were the fam’d Hesperian fruits of old,
Both plants alike ripe fruit and blossoms hold, 360
This shines with pale and that with deeper gold.
Planted by Atlas, who supports the skies,
Proud at his feet to see these brighter stars to rise.
To keep them safe the utmost care he took,
He fenc’d ’em round with walls of solid rock. 365
Nor with Priapus custody content,
A watchful dragon for their guard he sent.
Let vulgar apples boys and beggars fear,
These worth Alcides stealing did appear.
From lands remote he came, and thought his toils 370
Were more than recompenc’d in those rich spoils.
He onely priz’d ’em for their tast and hue,
For half their real worth he never knew.
Nor cou’d his tutor Mars to him impart
The nobler secrets of Apollo’s art. 375
Had he but known their juice ’gainst poison good,
The Hydra’s venom, mixt with Centaur blood,
Had never made Mourt Oeta hear his cries,
Nor th’ oft-slain monster more had pow’r to rise.
The plums came next, by cherry led, whose fruit 380
Th’ expecting gard’ner early does salute
To pay his thanks impatient does appear,
And with red berries first adorns the year.
May, rich in dress, but in provision poor,
Admires and thinks his early fruit a flow’r. 385
To wait for summer’s ripening heat disdains,
Nor puts the planter to immod’rate pains.
The loves the cooler climes, Egyptian Nile
Cou’d ne’r persuade him on her banks to smile.
He scorns the bounty of a two-months tide 390
That leaves him thirsting all the year beside.
Proud Rome herself this plant can scarcely rear.
Ev’n to this day he seems a captive there.
Pris’ner of war from Cerasus he came
(From’s native Cerasus he took his name). 395
From thence transplanted to th’ Italian soil,
Lucullus triumph brought no richer spoil.
Loud paeans to your noble gen’ral sing,
Italian plants, that such a prize did bring.
The conqu’rours laurels as in triumph wear 400
The blushing fruit, and captive cherries bear.
Yet grieve thou not to leave thy native home,
Ere long thou shalt a denizen become
Amongst the plants of world-commanding Rome.
A num’rous host of plums did next succeed, 405
Diff’ring in colour and of various breed.
The damask prune, most antient, led the van,
Who in Damascus first his reign began.
Time out of mind he had subdu’d the East,
’Twas long ere he got footing in the West. 410
But now in northern climates he is known,
A hardy plant makes ev’ry soil his own.
Next him th’ Armenian apricock took place,
Not much unlike, but of a nobler race,
Of richer flavour and of tast divine, 415
Whose golden vestments, streakt with purple, shine.
Then came the glory of the Persian field,
And to Armenia’s pride disdain’d to yield.
The peach with silken vest and pulpy juice,
Of meat and drink at once supplies the use. 420
But take him when he’s ripe, he’ll soon decay,
For next days banquet he disdains to stay.
Of fruits the fairest, as the rose of flow’rs,
But ah! their beauties have but certain hours.
A fruit there is on whom the rose confers 425
Her name, of smell and colour too like hers.
A plum that can itself supply the board,
To hungry stomachs solid food afford.
To please our gust and stomach to recruit (taste
He thinks sufficient tribute for his fruit. 430
For physicks use his other parts are wood:
His leaves, his blossoms, ev’n his gum and weed
Does to us health and joy alike restore,
Friend to our pleasure, to our health much more.
Not so the cornell-tree, design’d for harms, 435
Her wood supplies dire Mars with impious arms.
For such a plant our gardens are too mild,
Harsh is her fruit and fit for desarts wild.
With her the jujube-tree, a milder plant,
Which (tho offensive thorns she does not want) 440
In peace and mirth alone does pleasure take,
Her flow’rs, at feasts, the genial garlands make,
Her wood the harp that keeps the guests awake.
Next comes the lote-tree, in whose dusky hue
Her black and sun-burnt countrey you might view, 445
To whom th’ assembly all rose up (from whence
Came this respect?) and paid her reverence.
Priapus onely with a down-cast look
And conscious blushes at her presence shook.
Th’ all-seeing gods through that obscure disguise 450
Nymph Lotis saw, conceal’d from humane eyes.
They knew how on the Hellespontick shore
T’ escape the dreadful dart Priapus wore,
And zealous to preserve her chastity,
She lost her form and chang’d into a tree. 455
Though now no more a Nymph, a better fate
She does enjoy, and lives with longer date.
A longer date than oaks she does enjoy,
Those long-liv’d oaks that call’d old Nestor boy.
She calls them girls, green branches she display’d 460
When Rome was bult, and when in ashes laid.
’Tis true, she did not long survive the fire
(With grief and flames at once forc’d to expire).
Almost nine hundred years were past away,
Yet then she grudg’d to die before her day. 465
Ev’n after death her trunk appears to live,
Does vocal pipes and breathing organs give,
And fitly, like us poets, may be said
To make the greatest noise when she is dead.
A thousand years are since elaps’d, yet still 470
She flourishes in praise, and ever will.
Her trees rich fruit, with which she charm’d mankind,
Shew’d, when a Nymph, the sweetness of her mind.
These sounds express the musick of her tongue,
More sweet than Circe’s or the Syren throng. 475
But Nymph, retire, triumphant Palm appears,
She thrives the more the greater weight she bears.
No pressure for her courage is too hard,
Of virtue both th’ example and reward.
She flourish’d once in Solymaean ground, (Judean 480
Famed Joshua’s and Jessides sacred triumphs crown’d.
But since that land was curst, the gen’rous plant
Grieves to continue her inhabitant.
Pisa bears Olives, Delphi’s laurel yields,
Nemea smallage, pines the Isthmian fields, (celery 485
But all breed palms, the prize of victory,
All lands in honour of the palm agree.
And ’tis but the just tribute of her worth,
Virtue no fairer image has on earth.
Her verdure she inviolate does hold, 490
In spight of summer’s heat and winter’s cold.
Opprest with weight she from the earth does rise,
And bears her load in triumph to the skies.
What various benefits does she impart
To humane kind! Her wine revives the heart, 495
Her dates rich banquets to our tables send,
At once to pleasure and to health a friend.
A love true, and well to love and serve
Is virtues nobles task, and does the palm deserve.
Evadne, who a willing victim prov’d, 500
Nor chast Alcestis so her husband lov’d,
As does the female palm her male. Her arms
To him are stretch’d with most endearing charms.
Nor stops their passion here. Like lovers, they
To more retir’d endearments find their way, 505
In earth’s cold bed their am’rous roots are found
In close embraces twining under ground.
Let arms to learning yield, the palm resign,
The conqu’ring palm to olive more divine.
“Peace all prefer to war ” — thus Pallas spoke, 510
And in her hand a peaceful olive shook.
’Twas with this branch that she the triumph gain’d
(The greatest that can be by gods obtain’d),
On learned Athens to confer her name,
A right which she, most learn’d of pow’rs, might claim. 515
Not gods in heav’n without ambition live,
But, who shall be poor mortals patrons, strive.
First Neptune with his trident stuck the ground.
The warlike steed no sooner heard the sound,
But starts from his dark mansion, shakes his hair, 520
His nostrils snort the unaccustom’d air.
Neighs loud, and of th’ unwonted noise is proud.
With his insulting feet his native field is plough’d,
Intrepid he beholds of gods the circling crowd.
Pallas on th’ other side, with gentle stroke 525
Of her strong spear, earth’s tender surface broke.
Through which small breach a sudden tree shoots up,
Ev’n at this birth with rev’rend hoary top
And vig’rous fruit. The gods applaud the plant,
And to Minerva the precedence grant. 530
The vanquish’d steed and god in rage assail’d
The victors, but ev’n so their malice fail’d,
Wit’s goddess and the peaceful tree prevail’d.
Hail, sacred plant, who well deserv’st to be
By laws secur’d from wrong as well as we. 535
From war’s wild rage respect thou dost command,
When temples fall thou art allow’d to stand.
Neptune’s bold son, revenging the disgrace
His sire sustain’d, fell dead upon the place.
The whirling ax upon his head rebounds, 540
The stroke design’nd on thee himself confounds.
The gods concern’d spectators stood, and smil’d
To see his impious sacrilege beguil’d.
Such be his fate whoe’r presumes to be
A foe to peace and to her sacred tree. 545
Yet ev’n this peaceful plant upon our guard
Warns us to stand, and be for war prepar’d.
In peace delights, but when the cause is just,
Permits not the avenging sword to rust.
With suppling oil and conqu’ring wreaths supplys 550
The martial schools of youthful exercise.
Nor is the strong propension she does bear
To peace th’ effect of luxury or fear.
Earth’s teeming womb affords no stronger birth,
No soil manuring needs to bring her forth. 555
Allow her but warm suns and temp’rate skies,
The vig’rous plant in any soil will rise.
Lop but a branch and fix’t in earth you’ll see
She’ll there take root and make herself a tree.
Her youth, ’tis true, by slow degrees ascends, 560
But makes you with long flourishing years amends.
Nature her care in this did wisely show,
The useful olive long and easily shou’d grow.
Most sov’raign taken inward is her oil,
And outwardly confirms the limbs for toil. (strengthens 565
Lifes passages from all obstruction frees,
Clears Natures walks, to smarting wounds gives ease,
With easie banquets does the poor supply,
And makes cheap herbs with royal banquets vie.
The painters flying colours it binds fast, 570
Makes short-liv’d pictures long as statues last.
The student’s friend, no labour can excel
At last, but of Minerva’s lamp must smell.
Nay, this does so!
Most justly therefore does this liquor rise 575
O’r all in mixture, justly does despise.
T’ incorporate with any other juice,
Sufficient in himself for ev’ry use.
Most justly therefore did Judaea’s land
(Who best religious rites did understand) 580
Oyl, potent, chast, and sacred oyl appoint
Her kings, her priests and prophets to anoint.
Such was th’ appearance which the olive made,
With noble fruit and verdant leaves array’d.
From whom Minerva took, as she withdrew, 585
A joyful branch, and with it wreath’d her brow.
Fresh armies then advanc’d into the plain,
First those whose fruit did many stones contain.
In their first lists the medlar-tree was found,
Proud of his putrid fruit because ’twas crown’d. 590
Of beauties goddess then the plant more fair,
Whose fragrant motion so perfum’d the air.
The smoak of gums when from their altars sent,
Ne’r gave th’ immortal guests such sweet content.
Let Phoebus laurel bloody triumphs lead, 595
The myrtle whose where little blood is shed,
Th’ ovation of a bleeding maiden-head.
No virgin fort impregnable can be
To him that crowns his brow with Venus tree.
The tribe of pears and apples next succeed, 600
Of noble families and num’rous breed.
No monarch’s table e’r despises them,
Nor they the poor man’s board or earthen dish contemn.
Supports of life, as well as luxury,
Nor like their rivals a few months supply, 605
But see themselves succeeded ere they die.
Where Phoebus shines to faint to raise the vine,
They serve for grapes, and make the northern wine.
Their liquor for th’ effects deserves that name,
Love, valour, wit and mirth it can enflame, 610
Care it can drown, lost health, lost wealth restore,
And Bacchus potent juice can do no more.
With cyder stor’d the Norman province sees (Normandy
Without regret the neighb’ring vintages.
Of pear and apple-kinds an army stood 615
Before the court, and seem’d a moving wood.
On them Pomona smil’d as they went off,
But flouring Bacchus was observ’d to scoff.
The quince yet scorn’d to mingle with the crowd,
Alone she came, of signal honours proud, 620
With which by grateful Jove she was endow’d.
A silky down her golden coat o’r-spreads,
Her ripening fuit a grateful odour sheds.
Jove otherwise ingrateful had been sti’ld,
In honey steep’d she fed him when a child.625
In his most froward fits she stopt his cries,
And now he eats ambrosia in the skies,
Reflects sometimes upon his infant years,
And just respect to quince and honey bears.
The noblest of wine-fruits brought up the rear, 630
But all to reckon, endless wou’d appear,
The barberry and currant must escape,
Though her small clusters imitate the grape.
The raspberry and prickled goosberry,
Tree-strawberry must all unmention’d be, 635
With many more whose names we may decline.
Not so the mulberry, the fig and vine,
The stoutest warriours in our combat past,
And of the present field the greatest hope and last.
But cautiously the mulberry did move, 640
And when the temper of the skies wou’d prove,
What sign the sun was in, and if she might
Give credit yet to wint’ers seeming slight.
She dares not venture on his first retreat,
Nor trust her leaves and fruit to doubtful heat. 645
Her ready sap within her bark confines,
Till she of settled warmth has certain signs,
But for her long delay amends does make.
At once her forces the known signal take,
And with tumultuous noise their sally make. 650
In two short months her purple fruit appears,
And of two lovers slain she tincture wears.
Her fruit is rich, but leaves she does produce
That far surpass in worth and noble use.
The frame and colour of her leaves survey, 655
And that they are most vulgar you must day.
But trust not their appearance, they supply
The ornaments of royal luxury.
The beautiful they make more beauteous seem,
The charming sex owes half their charms to them, 660
Effeminate men to them their vestments owe,
How vain that pride which insect-worms bestow!
Such was the mulberry, of wondrous birth.
The fig succeeds, but to recite her worth
And various powers, what numbers can suffice? 665
Hail, Ceres, author of so great a prize.
By thee with food and laws we were supply’d,
And with wild fare wild manners laid aside.
With peace and bread our lives were blest before,
And modest Nature cou’d desire no more. 670
But thou ev’n for luxury took’st care,
And kindly didst this milky fruit prepare.
The poor man’s feast, but such delicious cheer
Did never at Apicius board appear.
The grateful Ceres with his plant is said 675
Her hospitable host to have repaid,
Yet with no vernal bloom the tree supply’s.
“To lighter plants,” said she, “I leave their pride.
To lighter plants I leave that gaudy dress,
Who meretricious qualities confess, 680
And who, like wanton prostitutes, expose
Their bloom to ev’ry hand, their sweets to ev’ry nose.
My fruit, like a chast matron, does proceed,
And has of painted ornament no need.
They study dress, but mine fertility,” 685
Forcing her off-spring from her solid tree.
Through haste sometimes abortive births she bears,
But ever makes amends in those she rears.
For whom her full-charg’d veins supplies afford,
Like a strong nurse with milk she’s ever stor’d. 690
Our voice by thee refresh’d, ingrateful ’twer
If, fig-tree, thy just praise it shou’d forbear.
The passes of our vital breath by thee
Are smooth’d and clear’d, obstructed lungs set free.
Not only dost to speech a friend appear, 695
Ev’n for that speech thou dost unlock the ear,
Set’st ope the gate, and giv’st it entrance there.
The foulest ulcers putrid sinks are drein’d
By the, by thee the tumour’s rage restrain’d.
The gangrene, ring-worm, scurf and leprose, 700
Kings evil, cancers, warts are cur’d by thee.
Of flaming gout thou dost suppress the rage,
Of dropsie thou the deluge dost asswage.
’Twere endless all thy vertues to recite,
With all the hosts of pysons thou dost fight, 705
Aided by rue and nut put’st Africa to flight,
Encounter’st the diseases of the air,
And baneful mischiefs secret stars prepare.
Whence does this vegetative courage rise?
Even angry Jove himself thou dost despise, 710
His lightnings furious sallies thou dost see,
That spares not his own consecrated tree,
While he with temples does wild havock make,
While mountains rend, and earths foundations quake,
Of thy undaunted tree no leaf is seen to shake. 715
Hail Bacchus! Hail, thou powerful god of wine,
Hail Bacchus hail! Here comes thy darling vine.
Drunk with her own rich juice, she cannot stand,
But comes supported by her husbands hand.
The lusty elm supports her stagg’ring tree. 720
My best lov’d plant, how am I charm’d with thee!
Bow down thy juicy clusters to my lip,
Thy nectar sweets I wou’d not lightly sip,
But drink thee deep, drink till my veins were swell’d,
Drink till my soul with joys and thee were fill’d. 725
What god so far a poets friend will be,
Who from great Orpheus draws his pedigree
(And tho his Muse comes short of Orpheus fame,
Yet seems inspir’d, and may the ivy claim),
To place him on Mount Ismarus, or where 730
Campanian hills the sweetest clusters bear,
Where grapes, twice ripen’d, twice concocted grow,
With Phoebus beams above, Vesuvius flames below,
Or in the fortunate Carnarian Isles,
Or where Burgundia’s purple vintage smiles? 735
’Tis fit the poet should beneath their shade
Transported lye, or on their hills run mad,
His veins, his soul swell’d with th’ inspiring god,
Who worthily would celebrate the vine,
And with his grateful voice discharge agen 740
The deity, which with his mouth he drank so largely in.
O vital tree, what blessings dost thou send?
Love, wit and eloquence on the attend,
Mirth, sports, green hopes, ripe joys, and martial fire.
These are thy fruits, thy clusters these inspire. 745
The various poysons which ill Fortune breeds
(Not Pontus so abounds with baneful weeds,
Nor Africa so many serpents feeds)
By thy rich antidote defeated are.
’Tis true, they’ll rally and renew the war, 750
But ’tis when thou our cordial art not by.
They watch their time and take us when w’ are dry.
Thou mak’st the captive to forget his chain,
By thee the bankrupt is enrich’d again,
The exul thou restor’st, the candidate (exile 755
Without the people’s vote thou dost create,
And mak’st him a Caninian magistrate.
Like kind Vespasian thou mankind mak’st glad,
None from thy presence e’r departed sad.
What more can be to wisdom’s school assign’d 760
Than from prevailing mists to purge the mind?
From thee the best philosophy does spring,
Thou canst exalt the beggar to a king.
Th’ unlettered peasant who can compass thee
As much as Cato knows, and is as great as he. 765
Thy transports are but short, I do confess,
But so are the delights mankind possess.
Our life itself is short and will not stay,
Then let us use thy blessing while we may,
And make it in full streams of wine more smoothly pass away. 770
The vine retires, with loud and just applause
Of European gods. As she withdraws,
Each in his hand a swelling cluster prest.
But Bacchus, much more sportive than the rest,
Fills up a bowl with juice from grape-stones drein’d, 775
And puts it in Omelichilus hand.
“Take off this draught,” said he, “if thou art wise,
’Twill purge thy cannibal stomach’s crudities.”
He, unaccustom’d to the acid juice,
Storm’d, and with blows had answer’d the abuse, 780
But fear’d t’ engage the European guest,
Whose strength and courage had subdu’d the east.
He therefore chooses a less dang’rous fray,
And summons all his country’s plants away.
Forthwith in decent order they appear, 785
And various fruits on various branches wear.
Like Amazons they stand in painted arms,
Coco alone appear’d with little charms,
Yet lead the van. Our scoffing Venus scorn’d
The shrub-like tree, and with no fruit adorn’d. 790
“The Indian plants,” said she, “are like to speed
In this dispute of the most fertile breed,
Who chose a dwarf and eunuch for their head.”
Our gods laugh’d out aloud at what she said.
Pachamama defends her darling tree, 795
And said the wanton goddess was too free.
“You only know the fruitfulness of lust,
And therefore here your judgment is unjust.
Your skill in other off-springs we may trust.
With those chast tribes that no distinction know 800
Of sex, your province nothing has to do.
Of all the plants that any soil does bear,
This tree in fruits the richest does appear.
It bears the best, and bears ’em all the year.
Ev’n now fruit ’tis stor’d — why laugh you wet? 805
Behold how thick with leaves it is beset,
Each leaf is fruit, and such substantial fare
No fruit beside to rival it will dare.
Mov’d with his countries coming fate (whose soil
Must for her treasures be expos’d to spoil), 810
Our Varicocha first this coca sent,
Endow’d with leaves of wondrous nourishment,
Whose juice, suck’d in, and to the stomach ta’n,
Long hunger and long labour can sustain,
From which our faint and weary bodies find 815
More succour, more they chear the drooping mind,
Than can your Bacchus and your Ceres join’d.
Three leaves supply for six days march afford,
The Quitoita with this provision stor’d
Can pass the vast and cloudy Andes o’r, 820
The dreadful Andes, placed ’twixt winters store
Of winds, rain, snow, and that more humble earth
That gives the small but valiant coca birth,
This champion that makes war-like Venus mirth.
Not, coca, only useful art at hpme, 825
A famous merchandize thou art become,.
A thousand paci and vicugni groan (llamas and vicuñas
Yearly beneath thy loads, and for thy sake alone
The spacious world’s to us by commerce known.”
Thus spake the goddess (on her painted skin 830
Were figures wrought) and next calls hovia in.
That for its stony fruit may be despis’d,
But for its vertue next to coca priz’d.
Her shade by wondrous influence can compose
And lock the senses in such sweet repose 835
That oft the natives of a distant soil
Long journeys take of voluntary toil,
Only to sleep beneath her branches shade,
Where in transporting dreams entranc’d they lye,
And quite forget the Spaniards tyranny. 840
The plant (at Brasil bacoua call’d) the name
Of th’ eastern plane-tree takes, but not the same.
Bears leaves so large one single leaf can shade
The swain that is beneath her covert laid.
Under whose verdant leaves fair apple grow, 845
Sometimes two hundred on a single bough.
Th’ are gather’d all they year, and all the year
They spring, for like the Hydra they appear:
To ev’ry one you take succeeds a golden heir.
’Twere loss of time to gather one by one, 850
Its boughs are torn, and yet no harm is done.
New-sprouting branches still the loss repair,
What would so soon return ’twere vain to spare.
The Indian fig-tree next did much surprise
With her strange figure all our deities. 855
Amongst whom one too rashly did exclaim
(For gods to be deceiv’d ’tis woful shame)
“This is a cheat, a work of art,” said he,
And therefore stretcht his hand to touch the tree.
At which the Indian gods laugh’d out aloud, 860
And ours no less surpriz’d with wonder stood.
For lo! the plant her trunk and boughs unclos’d,
Wholly of fruit and leaves appear’d compos’d.
New leaves, and still from them new leaves unfold,
A signt ’mongst prodigies to be enroll’d. 865
The tuna, to the Indian fig a kin
(The glory of Tlascalla) next came in,
But much more wonderful her fruit appears
Than th’ other leaves, for living fruit she bears.
To her alone great Varicocha gave 870
The priviledge that she for fruit should have
Live creatures, that with purple dye adorn
Th’ imperial robe. The precious tincture’s worn
With pride ev’n by the conqu’rors of the soil.
But ah! they had not grudg’d that purple spoil 875
Our cochinel they freely might have gain’d,
If with no other blood they had been stain’d.
Guatimala produc’d a fruit unknown
To Europe, which with pride she call’d her own:
Her cacao-nut, with double use endu’d 880
(For chocolate at once is drink and food)
Does strength and vigour to the limbs impart,
Makes fresh the countenance and chears the heart,
In Venus combat strangely does excite
The fainting warriour to renew the fight. 885
Not all Potosi’s silver grove can be
Of equal value to this usefull tree,
Nor cou’d the wretched hungry owner dine,
Rich Cartama, upon thy golden mine.
Of old the wiser Indians never made 890
Their gold or silver the support of trade,
Nor us’d for life’s support what well they knew
Useless to live, at best, and sometimes hurtfull too.
With nuts instead of coin they bought and sold,
Their weath by cacao’s, not by sums, they told. 895
One tree, the growing treasure of the field,
Both food and cloths did to its owner yield,
Procur’d all utensils, and, wanting bread,
The happy hoarder on his money fed.
This was true wealth, those treasures we adore, 900
By custom valu’d, in themselves are poor,
And men may starve amidst their golden store.
Too happy India, had this wealth alone,
And not thy gold, been to the Spaniard known!
The aquacat no less is Venus friend 905
(To th’ Indies Venus conquest does extend),
A fragrant leaf the aguacata bears
Wher fruit in fashion of an egg appears.
With such a white and spermy juice it swells
As represents most life’s first principles. 910
The cacao’s owner anything may buy,
But he that has the metla may supply
Himself with almost all things he can want
From metla’s almost all-sufficient plant.
Metla to pass as money does despise, 915
Or traffick serve, itself is merchandise.
She bears no nuts for boys, nor luscious fruit
That may with nice effeminate palates suit.
Her very tree is fruit, her leaves when young
Are wholesome fruit, for garments serve when strong, 920
Not only so, but to make up the cloth
They furnish you with thread and needle both.
What though her native soil with drought is curst,
Cut but her bark, and you may slake your thirst.
A sudden spring will in the wound appear, 925
Which through streight passes strein’d comes forth more clear.
And though through long meanders of the veins
’Tis carry’d, yet no vicious hue retains,
Limpid and sweet the virgin stream remains.
These gifts for Nature might sufficient be, 930
But, bounteous metla, seem’d too small for thee,
Thou gratifi’st our very luxury.
For liqu’rish palates honey thou doest bear,
For those whose gust wants quickning, vinegar.
But those are trifles, thou dost wine impart, 935
That drives dull care and trouble from the heart.
If any wretch of poverty complains,
Thou pour’st a golden stream into his veins.
The poorest Indian still is rich in thee,
In spight of Spanish conquests still is free, 940
The Spaniard’s king is not so blest as he.
If any doubts the liquor to be wine,
Because no crystal water looks more fine,
Let him but drink, he’ll find the weak Nymph fled,
And potent Bacchus enter’d in her stead. 945
To all these gifts of luxury and wealth,
Thou giv’st us sov’reign med’cines too for health.
Choice balm from thy concocted bark breaks forth,
Thou shedst no tear, but ’tis of greater worth
Than fairest gems. No lover more can prize 950
The tears in his consenting mistris eyes,
When in his arms the panting virgin lies.
No antidote affords more present aid
’Gainst doubly mortal wounds by pois’nous arrows made.
Almost all needs thou, motla, dost supply, 955
Yet must not therefore bear thyself too high,
While th’ all-sufficient coccus tree is by.
To coccus thou must yield the victory.
Where she preserves this Indian palm alone,
America can never be undone. 960
Embowell’d and of all her gold bereft,
Her liberty and coccus only left,
She’s richer than the Spaniard with his theft.
What sensless miser, by the gods abhorr’d,
Wou’d covet more than coccus doth afford? 965
House, garments, beds and boards, ev’n while we dine,
Supplies both meat and dish, both cup and wine.
Oyl, honey, milk, the stomach to delight,
And poignant sawce to whet the appetite.
Nor is her service to the land confin’d, 970
For ships intire compos’d of her we find,
Sails, tackle, timber, cables, ribs and mast.
There with the vessel, fitted up, at last
With her own ware is freighted, all she bears
Is coccus growth, except her mariners. 975
Nor need we e’vn her mariners exclude,
Who from the coco-nut have all their food.
The Indian gods with wild and barb’rous voice
And gestures rude, tumultuously rejoice.
Ours as astonish’d, and with envious eyes 980
Each other view’d, as if weak men surmise
Envy can touch immortal deities.
My modest Muse that censure does decline,
Nor dares interpret ill of pow’rs divine.
The Indian pow’rs (though yet they had not shown 985
The hundredth part of plants to India known)
Already did conclude the day their own.
Rash and impatient round the goddess throng,
And think her verdict is deferr’d too long.
Pomona, seated high above the rest, 990
Was cautiously revolving in her brest
(The cause depending was no trifling toy,
That did the patrons of both worlds employ).
T’ express herself at large she did design,
And handsomly the sentence to decline 995
(If I may guess at what the goddess meant).
But lo! a slight and sudden accident
Puts all the court into a wild foment.
For during th’ tryal the most tipling brace, (pair
Omelochilus of the Indian race 1000
And our Lenaeus, at whate’r was spoke (Bacchus
Or done that pleas’d him, a full bumper took
And drank to t’ other. Him the metla-tree
Supply’d with juice, thy vine, Lenaeus, thee.
Each bowl they touch’d they turn’d the bottom up, 1005
And gave a brisk huzza at ev’ry cup.
Their heads at last the rising vapour gains
And proves too hard for their immortal brains.
With mutual repartees they jok’d at first,
Till, growing more incens’d, they swore and curst. 1010
Omelochilus does no longer dread
(With present metla warm’d) the Grecian god,
But throws a coco bowl at Bacchus head.
Which spoil’d his draught, but left his forehead sound
And rests betwixt his horns without a wound. 1015
Bacchus, enrag’d with wine and passion too,
With all his might his massy goblet threw,
Directly levell’d at the rustick’s face,
That laid him bruis’d and sprawling on the place.
He in his native gibb’rish cries aloud, 1020
And with his noise alarms the savage crowd.
Gnashing their foamy teeth, like beasts of prey,
Promiscuously they bellow, roar and bray.
The frighted waves back to the deep rebound,
The very island trembles with the sound. 1025
Next him Vitziliputli sat, in smoak
Of foul tobacco almost hid, that broke
In belches from his gormandizing maw,
Where humane flesh as yet law crude and raw. (undigested
Throwing in rage his kindled pipe aside 1030
And snatching bow and darts, arm, arm, he cry’d.
Tescalipuca (of the salvage band (savage
The next in fierceness) took his spear in hand,
And all in arms the bar’brous legion stand.
The goddessses disperse, and sculk behind 1035
The thickets. Frightned Venus bore in mind
Her former wound, th’ effect of mortal rage:
What must she then expect where gods engage?
Pallas, who onely courage had to stay,
In vain her peaceful olive did display. 1040
Th’ he-gods, with manly weapons in their hand,
Devoted to the dire encounter stand.
Most woful some had that days battel found,
And long been maim’d with many an aking wound
(For to suppose th’ immortals can be slain, 1045
Though with immortals they engage, is vain),
Had not Apollo in the nick of time
Found out a strat’gem to divert that crime,
Which with his double title did agree,
The god of wit and healing deity. 1050
None better know than he to use the bow,
But now resolv’d his nobler skill to show,
Sweet musicks power. He takes his lyre in hand,
And does forthwith such charming sounds command
As struck the ear of gods with new delight, 1055
When Nature did this world’s great frame unite,
When jarring elements their war did cease,
And danc’d themselves into harmonous peace.
Such streins had surely charm’d the Centaur’s rage,
Such streins the raving billows cou’d asswage. 1060
Wild hurricanes had due obedience shown,
And to attend his sounds supprest their own.
The wrangling guests at once appear bereft
Of ev’ry sense, their hearing onely left.
Vitziliputli, fiercest of the crew, 1065
While to the head his venom’d shaft he drew,
Lets fall both dart and bow. With lifted hands,
Astonish’d, and with mouth wide-gaping stands,
So high to raise his greedy ears he’s said,
As forc’d his feather’d di’dem from his head. 1070
Pomona’s altar, hew’d from solid rock,
In both his hands bold Varicoca took,
Which like a thunder-bolt he wou’d have hurld
(He is the thund’rer in the Indian world),
But at the first sweet strain forgot his heat, 1075
Laid down the stone, and us’d it for a seat.
His ravish’d ears the peaceful sounds devour,
His hundred victims never pleas’d him more.
Their magick force, in spight of his disgrace,
And gore yet streaming from his batter’d face, 1080
Omelichilus self did reconcile.
At first, ’tis true, he did but faintly smile,
And laugh’d anon as loud as any there.
For such the sacred charms of measures are.
The ambient air, struck with the healing sounds 1085
Of Phoebus lyre, clos’d up the bleeding wounds.
Ev’n of their own accord the breaches close,
For pow’rful musick all things can compose.
Pleas’d with his art’s success, Apollo smil’d
To see the aukward mirth and gestures wild 1090
Of his charm’d audience. Having thus subdu’d
Their ravish’d sense, his conquest he pursu’d,
And still to make the pleasing spell more strong,
Joins to his lyre his tuneful voice and song.
He sung how th’ inspired hero’s mind beheld 1095
A world that for long ages lay conceal’d.
“Most happy thou, whose fancy cou’d descry
A world seen onely by my circling eye.
Thou who alone in toils hast equal’d me,
Great Alexander is out-done by thee, 1100
By thee whose skill cou’d find and courage gain
That other world for which he wish’d in vain.
Not my own poets tales cou’d thee deceive,
No credit to their fables thou didst give.
Me, weary’d with my day’s hard course, they feign1105
To rest each night in the Hesperian main.
Can Phoebus tire? My great Columbus, thou
Didst better judg, and Phoebus better know.
For I myself did then thy thoughts incline,
Inspir’d by skill, and urg’d the bold design. 1110
Herculean limits cou’d not thee contain,
Nor terrour of an unexperienc’d main,
Nor Nature’s awful darkness cou’d restrain.
Thy native worlds dear sight for three months lost,
For three long months on the wide ocean tost. 1115
New stars, new floods, and monsters thou didst spy,
Unterrify’d thyself, new gods didst terrifie.
Thou only, thou undaunted didst appear
While thy faint comrades half expir’d with fear.
They urge thee to return and threaten high, 1120
When, Guanahan, thy watch-light they descry.
Thy flaming beacon from afar they spy,
Whose happy light to their transported eyes
Discloses a new world. With joyful cries
They hail the sign that to a golden soil 1125
Unlock’d the gate, forgetting now their toil.
They hug their guide, at whom they late repin’d.
From this small fire, and for small use design’d,
How great a light was open’d to mankind!
How easily did courage find the way 1130
By this approach to seize the golden prey,
That in a secret world’s dark entrails lay!
For courage what attempt can be too bold?
Or rather what for thirst of pow’r and gold?
While to the shoar the Spanish navy drew, 1135
The Indian natives with amazement view
Those floating palaces, which fondly they (foolishly
Mistook for living monsters of the sea,
Wing’d whales — nor at the Spaniards less admire,
A race of men with beards and strange attire, 1140
Whose iron-dress their native skin they deem’d.
The horse-man mounted on his courser seem’d
To them a centaur of prodigious kind,
A compound monster of two bodies joined,
That cou’d at once in sev’ral accents break, 1145
Neigh with one mouth, and with the other speak.
But most the roaring cannon they admire,
Dicharging sulph’rous clouds of smoak and fire.
Mock-thunder now they hear, mock-light’ning view,
With greater dread then e’r they did the true. 1150
Ev’n thou, the Thunderer of th’ Indian sky
(Nor wilt thou, Varicocha, this deny),
Ev’n thou thyself astonish’d didst appear
When mortals louder thunder thou didst hear.
“Strange figures, and th’ unwonted face of things 1155
No less amazement to the Spaniard brings.
Thew forms of animals their sight surprise,
New plants, new fruits, new men and deities,
Intirely a new Nature meets their eyes,
But most transported with the glitt’ring mould, 1160
And wealthy streams whose sands were fraught with gold,
These they too much admire, with too much love behold.
For these forthwith against their hosts engage
The treach’rous guests in impious war and rage.
From these inhumane slaughter did ensue, 1165
Which now I grieve to tell, as then I blush’d to view.
By sudden force, like some demolish’d town,
I saw the Indian world at once o’rthrown.
What can this land by this dispute intend?
About her fruits she does in vain contend, 1170
Who knows not how her entrails to defend.
Thy slaughers past, do thou at length forget,
For with no small revenge thy wrongs have met,
And heav’n will give thee greater comforts yet.
Enjoy thy fate, whose bitter part is o’r, 1175
And all the sweet for thee reserv’d in store.”
Here Phoebus his most chearful airs employs,
And melts their savage hearts in promis’d joys.
They felt his musick glide through ev’ry vein,
Their brawny limbs from dancing scarce restrain, 1180
But fear’d to interrupt his charming strain.
“That gold which Europe ravish’d from your coast,
O’r Europe now a tyrants pow’r does boast.
Already has more mischiefs brought on Spain
Than from insulting Spaniards you sustain. 1185
Where e’r it comes all laws are straight dissolv’d,
In gen’ral ruin all things are involvd.
No land can breed a more destructive pest.
Grieve not that of your bane y’ are dispossest,
Call in more Spaniards to remove the rest. 1190
The fatal Helen drive from your aboads,
Th’ Erinnys that has set both worlds at odds. (avenging Fury
Fire, sword and slaughter on her footsteps wait,
Whole empires she betrays to utmost fate.
Meanwhile these benefits of life you reap: 1195
Consider, and you’ll find th’ exchange was cheap.
Your former salvage customs are remov’d,
The manners of your men and gods improv’d.
With humane flesh no more they shall be fed,
Whether dire famine first that practice bred, 1200
Or more detested luxury —
Not long shalt thou, Vitziliputli, feed
On bloudy feasts, or smoak thy Indian weed.
E’r long (like us) with pure ambrosial fare
Thou shalt be pleas’d, and tast celestial air. 1205
To live by wholesom laws you now begin,
Buildings to raise and fence your cities in,
To plow the earth, to plow the very main,
And traffick with the universe maintain.
Defensive arms and ornaments of dress, 1210
All implements of life you know possess.
To you the arts of war and peace are known,
And whole Minerva is become your own.
Our Muses, to your sires an unknown band,
Already have got footing in your land, 1215
And like the soil —
Inca’s already have historians been,
And Inca poets shall er long be seen.
But (if I fail not in my augury,
And who can better judg events than I?) 1220
Long rowling years shall late bring on the times,
When, with your gold debauch’d and ripen’d crimes,
Europe (the world’s most noble part) shall fall,
Upon her banish’d gods and virtue call
In vain, while forein and domestick war 1225
At once shall her distracted bosom tear.
Forlorn, and to be pity’d ev’n by you.
Meanwhile your rising glory you shall view.
Wit, learning, virtue, discipline of war,
Shall for protection to your world repair, 1230
And fix a long illustrious empire there.
Your native gold (I would not have it so,
But fear th’ event) in time will follow too.
O should that fatal prize return once more,
’Twill hurt your countrey as it did before! 1235
Late destiny shall high exalt your reign,
Whose pomp no crowds of slaves, a needless train,
Nor gold (the rabble’s idol) shall support
Like Motezume’s or Guanapaci’s court,
But such true grandeur as old Rome maintain’d, 1240
Where fortune was a slave, and virtue reign’d.”

Go to Book VI