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 vig’rous lads to show
What love, or honour, could incite them to;
A goodly theatre! where rocks are round
With rev’rend age, and lovely lasses, crown’d. 120
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, 127
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.
 ‘Warwick’s share’: Robert
Rich, Earl of Warwick, possessed a portion
of the Bermudas, which bore his name. He was a jolly sailor in his
habits, although a Puritan in his profession.
The bloody fight, successless toil,
And how the fishes sack’d the isle.
The boat which, on the first assault did go,
Struck with a harping-iron the younger foe;
Who, when he felt his side so rudely gored,
Loud as the sea that nourished him he roar’d.
As a broad bream, to please some curious taste,
While yet alive, in boiling water cast,
Vex’d with unwonted heat he flings about
The scorching brass, and hurls the liquor out;
So with the barbed jav’lin stung, he raves,
And scourges with his tail the suffering waves. 140
Like Spenser’s Talus with his iron flail,
He threatens ruin with his pond’rous tail;
Dissolving at one stroke the batter’d boat,
And down the men fall drenched in the moat;
With every fierce encounter they are forced
To quit their boats, and fare like men unhorsed.
The bigger whale like some huge carrack lay,
Which wanteth sea-room with her foes to play;
Slowly she swims; and when, provoked, she would
Advance her tail, her head salutes the mud; 150
The shallow water doth her force infringe,
And renders vain her tail’s impetuous swinge;
The shining steel her tender sides receive,
And there, like bees, they all their weapons leave.
This sees the cub, and does himself oppose
Betwixt his cumber’d mother and her foes;
With desp’rate courage he receives her wounds,
And men and boats his active tail confounds.
Their forces join’d, the seas with billows fill,
And make a tempest, though the winds be still. 160
Now would the men with half their hoped prey
Be well content, and wish this cub away;
Their wish they have: he (to direct his dam