Phoebus, on them eternally does smile.
Oh! how I long my careless limbs to lay
Under the plantain’s shade, and all the day
With am’rous 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 Saccharissa’s name
I’ll make the list’ning savages grow tame.—
But while I do these pleasing dreams indite,
I am diverted from the promised fight.
 ‘Summer Islands’: the Bermudas,
which received the name of the
Summer Islands, or more properly, Somers’ Islands, from Sir George
Somers, who was cast away on the coast early in the seventeenth
century, and established a colony there.
 ‘Bacchus yield’: from the palmetto,
a species of palm in the West
Indies, is extracted an intoxicating drink.
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 num’rous Turk despise,
Yet is no human fate exempt from fear,
Which shakes their hearts, while through the isle they hear
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 80
From what blind cause th’unwonted sound may grow.
At length two monsters of unequal size,
Hard by the shore, a fisherman espies;
Two mighty whales! which swelling seas had toss’d,
And left them pris’ners 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 engaged,
They roar’d like lions caught in toils, and raged.
The man knew what they were, who heretofore 90
Had seen the like lie murder’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, 100
Like hills with earthquakes shaken, torn, and shatter’d.
Hearts, sure, of brass they had, who tempted first
Rude seas that spare not what themselves have nursed.
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 th’untaken spoil,
And as the purchase of their future toil,
These share the bones, and they divide the oil. 110
So was the huntsman by the bear oppress’d,
Whose hide he sold—before he caught the beast!