Poems, &c. written upon several occasions, and to several persons by Edmond Waller.
Waller, Edmund, 1606-1687.
Page  193

Of a War with Spain, and a Fight at Sea.

Now for some Ages had the pride of Spain
Made the Sun shine on half the world in vain;
While she bid War to all that durst supply
The place of those her cruelty made dye.
Of Nature's bounty men forbore to taste,
And the best portion of the Earth lay waste.
From the new world her silver and her gold
Came, like a Tempest, to confound the old.
Feeding with these the brib'd Elector's hopes,
Alone she gave us Emperors and Popes;
With these accomplishing her vast designs,
Enrope was shaken with her Indian Mines.
When Britain looking with a just disdain
Upon this gilded Majesty of Spain,
Page  194 And knowing well that Empire must decline,
Whose chief support and sinews are of coin;
Our Nations solid vertue did oppose.
To the rich troublers of the worlds repose.
And now some Months incamping on the Main,
Our Naval Army had besieged Spain.
They that the whole world's Monarchy design'd,
Are to their Ports by our bold Fleet confin'd,
From whence our Red-cross they triumphant see,
Riding without a Rival on the Sea.
Others may use the Ocean as their Road,
Only the English make it their aboad,
Whose ready Sails, with every wind can flie,
And make a Cov'nant with th' unconstant Skie;
Our Oaks secure, as if they there took root,
We tread on billows with a steady foot.
Mean while the Spaniards in America
Near to the Line the Sun approaching saw,
Page  195 And hop'd their European Coasts to sind
Clear'd from our ships by the Autumnal wind:
Their huge capacious Gallions stuft with Plate
The lab'ring winds drive slowly towards their ate.
Before St. Lucar they their Guns discharge,
To tell their joy, or to invite a Barge;
This heard some Ships of ours (though out of view;
And swift as Eagles to the Quarry lew:
So heedless Lambs which for their Mothers bleat,
Wake hungry Lions, and become their meat.
Arriv'd, they soon begin that Tragique play,
And with their smoaky Cannons banish day;
Night, Horror, Slaughter, with Confusion meets,
And in their sable Arms imbrace the Fleets.
Through yielding Planks the angry Bullets, flie,
And of one wound hundreds together die:
Born under different stars one Fate they have,
The Ship their Coffin, and the Sea their Grave.
Page  196 Bold were the Men which on the Ocean first
Spread their new Sails, when shipwrack was the worst;
More danger now from Man alone we find
Than from the Rocks, the Billows, or the Wind;
They that had sail'd from near th' Antarick Pole,
Their Treasure safe, and all their Vessels whole,
In sight of their dear Countrey ruin'd be
Without the guilt of either Rock or Sea.
What they would spare, our siercer Art destroys,
Surpassing storms in terror and in noise;
Oce Iove from Ida, did both Hosts survey,
And when he pleas'd to thunder, part the fray;
Here Heaven in vain that kind retreat shou'd sound,
The louder Cannon had the Thunder drown'd.
Some we made prize, while others burnt and rent
With their rich Lading, to the bottom went,
Down sinks at once (so Fortune with s sports)
The Pay of Armies, and the Pride of Courts.
Page  197 Vain man! whose Rage buries as low that store,
As Avarice had dig'd for it before;
What Earth in her dark bowels could not keep
From greedy hands lies safer in the deep,
Where Thetis kindly does from Mortals hide
Those seeds of Luxury, Debate and Pride.
And now into her Lap the richest prize
Fell with the noblest of our Enemies,
The Marquis glad to see the fire destroy
Wealth, that prevailing Foes were to enjoy,
Out from his flaming Ship his Children sent
To perish in a milder Element;
Then laid him by his burning Ladies side,
And since he could not save her, with her dy'd.
Spices and ums about them melting fry,
And Phoenix-like, in that rich Nest they die;
Alive in flames of equal Love they burn'd,
And now together are to ashes turn'd;
Page  198 Ashes more worth than all their funeral cost,
Than the huge Treasure which was with them lost.
These dying Lovers, and their floating Sons
Suspend the Fight, and silence all our Guns▪
Beauty and Youth about to perish finds
Such Noble pity in brave English minds,
That the rich Spoil forgot, their Valors prize,
All labour now to save their Enemies.
How Frail our Passions how soon changed are
Our wrath and fury to a friendly Care?
They that but now for Honour and for Plate
Made the Sea blush with bloud, resign their hate,
And their young Foes endeav'ring to retrive,
With greater hazard than they fought, they dive.