Poems, &c. written upon several occasions, and to several persons by Edmond Waller.
Waller, Edmund, 1606-1687.
The bloody fight, successless toyl,
And how the Fishes sack'd the Isle.
THe Boat which on the first assault did go
Struck with a harping Iron the younger •o;
Who when he felt his side so rudely goar'd,
Loud as the Sea that nourish't him he roar'd.
•s a broad Bream to please some curious tast,
While yet alive in boyling water cast,
•ex't with unwonted heat, boyls, flings about
The scorching brass, and hurls the liquor out:
So with the barbed Javeling stung, he raves,
And scourges with his tayl the suffering waves:
Like Spencer's Talus with his Iron flayl,
•e threatens ruin with his pondrous tayl;
Page 67 Dissolving at one stroke the battered Boat,
And down the men fall drenched in the Moat:
With every fierce encounter they are forc't
To quit their Boats, and fare like men unhorst.
The bigger Whale like some huge Carrack lay,
Which wanteth Sea room, with her foes to play:
Slowly she swims, and when provok'd she wo'd
Advance her tail, her head salutes the mud;
The shallow water doth her force infringe,
And renders vain her tails 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 cumbred mother and her foes:
With desperate courage he receives her wounds,
And men and boats his active tayl confounds.
Their forces joyn'd, the Seas with billows fill,
And make a tempest, though the winds be still.
Page 68 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
Unto the gap through which they thither came,
Before her swims, and quits the hostile Lake,
A pris'ner there, but for his mothers sake.
She by the Rocks compell'd to stay behind,
Is by the vastness of her bulk confin'd.
They shout for joy, and now on her alone
Their fury falls, and all their Darts are thrown.
Their Lances spent; one bolder than the rest
With his broad sword provok'd the sluggish beast:
Her oily side devours both blade and heft,
And there his Steel the bold Bermudian left.
Courage the rest from his example take,
And now they change the colour of the Lake:
Blood flows in Rivers from her wounded side,
As if they would prevent the tardy tide,
Page 69 And raise the flood to that propitious height,
As might convey her from this fatal streight.
She swims in blood, and blood do's spouting throw
To Heaven, that Heaven mens cruelties might know.
Their fixed Javelins in her side she wears,
And on her back a grove of Pikes appears:
You would have thought, had you the monster seen
Thus drest, she had another Island been.
Roaring she tears the air with such a noise,
(As well resembled the conspiring voice
Of routed Armies, when the field is won)
To reach the ears of her escaped son.
He (though a league removed from the fo)
Hastes to her aid; the pious Trojan so
Neglecting for Creusas life his own,
Repeats the danger of the burning Town.
The men amazed blush to see the seed
Of monsters, human piety exceed:
Page 70 Well proves this kindness what the Grecians sung,
That Loves bright mother from the Ocean sprung.
Their courage droops, and hopeless now they wish
For composition with th'unconquer'd fish:
So she their weapons would restore again,
Through Rocks they'd hew her passage to the main.
But how instructed in each others mind,
Or what commerce can men with monsters find?
Not daring to approach their wounded foe,
Whom her couragious son protected so;
They charge their Muskets, and with hot desire
Of full revenge, renew the fight with fire:
Standing a looff, with lead they bruise the scales,
And tear the flesh of the incensed Whales.
But no success their fierce endeavours found,
Nor this way could they give one fatal wound.
Now to their Fort they are about to send
For the loud Engines which their Isle defend.
Page 71 But what those pieces from'd to batter walls
Would have effected on those mighty Whales,
Great Neptune will not have us know, who sends
A tyde so high, that it relieves his friends.
And thus they parted with exchange of harms;
Much blood the Monsters lost, and they their Arms.