Sugar-Cane: A Poem
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The Sugar-Cane: A Poem. In Four Books. With Notes. London: R. and J. Dodsley, 1764
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IN FOUR BOOKS
WITH NOES (omitted)
Agredior primusque novis Helicona movere1.
Cantibus, et viridi nutantes vertice sylvas;
Hospita sacra ferens, nulli memorata priorum.3.
By JAMES GRAINGER, M. D. & c.London:Printed for R. and J. DODSLEY, in Pall-mallXDCCLXIV.
Soon after my arrival in the West-Indies, I conceived the design of writing a poem on the cultivation of the Sugar-Cane. My inducments to this arduous undertaking were, not only the importance and novelty of the subject, but more especially this consideration; that,
as the face of this country was holly different from that of Europe, so whatever hand copied its
appearances, however rude, could not fail to enrich poetry with many new and picturesque
I cannot, indeed, say I have satisified my own ideas in this
yet I must be permitted to recommend the precepts contained in this Poem.
They are the children of Truth, not of Genius; the result of Experience,
not the productions of Fancy. Thus, though I may not be able to please,
I shall stand some chance of instructing the Reader; which, as it is the nobler
end of all poetry, so should it be the principal aim of every writer who wishes
to be thought a good man. 2.
It must, however, be observed, that, though the
general precepts are suited to every climate, where the Cane will grow;
yet, the more minute rules are chiefly drawn from the practice of St.
Christopher. Some selection was necessary, as those I had seen practised
in that island, where it has been my good fortune chiefly to reside since
I came to the West-Indies.3.
I have often been astonished, that
so little has been published on the cultivation of the Sugar-Cane,
while the press has groaned under folios on every other branch of rural
oeconomy. It were unjust to suppose planters were not solicitous for
the improvement of their art, and injurious to assert they were incapable of obliging
mankind with their improvements.4.
And yet, except some scattered hints in Pere
Labat, and other French travellers in America; and Essay, by Colonel Martyn of Antigua,
is the only piece on plantership I have seen deserving a perusal. That gentleman's
pamphlet is, indeed, an excellent performance; and to it I own myself indebted.5.
It must be confessed, that terms of art look awkward in poetry, yet didactic
compositions cannot wholly dispense with them. Accordingly we find that Hesiod and
Virgil, among the ancients, with Philips and Dyer, (not to mention some other poets
now living in our own country); have been obliged to insert them in their poems.
Their example is a sufficient apology for me, for in their steps I shall always be
proud to tread.5.
Vos sequor; o Graiae gentis decus, inque
Fixa pedum pono pressis vestigia signis;
Non ita certandi cupidus, quam propter amorem,
Quod vos imitari aveo.–4.
Yet, like them, too, I have generally preferred the way of description,
wherever that could be done without hurting the subject.6.
Such words as are
not common in Europe, I have briefly explained: because an obscure poem affords both less pleasure and profit to the reader.–For the same reason, some notes have been added, which, it is presumed, will not be disagreeable to those who have never been in the West-Indies.8.
In a West-India georgic, the mention of many indigenous remedies, as well as diseases, was unavoidable. The truth is, I have rather courted opportunities of this nature, than avoided the. Medicines of such amazing efficacy, as I have had occasion to make trials of in these islands, deserve to be universally known. And wherever, in the following poem, I recommend any such, I be leave to be understood as a physician, and not as poet.9.
Basseterre, Jan. 1763
Subject proposed. Invocation and address. What soils
the Cane grows best in. The grey light earth. Praise of St. Christopher. The
red brick mould. Praise of Jamaica, and of Christopher Columbus. The black soil
mixed with clay and gravel. Praise of Barbadoes, Nevis, and Mountserrat.
Composts may improve other soils. Advantages and disadvantages of a level
plantation. Of a mountain-estate. Of a midland one. Advantages of proper
cultivation. Of fallowing. Of compost. Of leaving the Woura, and penning cattle
on the distant Cane-pieces. Whether yams improve the soil. Whether dung should
be buried in each hole, or scattered over the piece. Cane-lands may be holed at
any time. The ridges should be open to the trade-wind. The beauty of holing
regularly by a line. Alternate holing, and the wheel-plough recommended to
trial. When to plant. Wet weather the best. Rain often falls in
West-Indies, almost without any previous signs. The signs of rainy weather. Of
fogs round the high mountains. Planting described. Begin to plant mountain-land
in July: the low ground in November, and the subsequent months, till May. The
advantage of changing tops in planting. Whether the Moon has any influence over
the Cane-plant. What quantity of mountain and of low Cane-land may be annually
planted. The last Cane-piece should be cut off before the end of July. Of
hedges. Of stone inclosures. Myrtle hedges recommended. Whether trees breed the
blast. The character of a good planter. Of weeding. Of moulding. Of
What soil the Cane affects; what care demands;
Beneath what signs to plant; what ills await;
How the hot nectar best to christallize;
And Afric's sable progeny to treat:
A Muse, that long hath wander'd in the groves5.
Of myrtle-indolence, attempts to sing.
Spirit of Inspiration, that did'st lead
Th' Ascrean Poet to the sacred Mount,
And taught'st him all the precepts of the swain;
Descend from Heaven, and guide my trembling steps
To Fame's eternal Dome, where Maro reigns;5.
Where pastoral Dyer, where Pomona's Bard,
And Smart and Sommerville in varying strains,
Their sylvan lore convey: O may I join
This choral band, and from their precepts learn
To deck my theme, which though to song unknown,10.
Is most momentous to my Country's weal!
So shall my numbers win the Public ear;
And not displease Aurelius; him to whom,
Imperial George, the monarch of the main,
Hath given to wield the scepter of those isles,
Where first the Muse beheld the spiry Cane,5.
Supreme of plants, rich subject of my song.
Where'er the clouds relent in frequent rains,
And the Sun fiercely darts his Tropic beam,
The Cane will joint, ungenial tho' the soil.
But would'st thou see huge casks, in order due,
Roll'd numerous on the Bay, all fully fraught 5.
With strong-grain'd muscovado, silvery-grey,
Joy of the planter; and if happy Fate
Permit a choice: avoid the rocky slope,
The clay-cold bottom, and the sandy beach.
But let thy biting ax with ceaseless stroke10.
The wild red cedar, the tough locust fell:
Nor let his nectar, nor his silken pods,
The sweet-smell'd cassia, or vast ceiba save.
Yet spare the guava, yet the guaiac spare;
A wholesome food the ripened guava yields,15.
Boast of the housewife; while the guaiac grows
A sovereign antidote, in wood, bark, gum,
To cause the lame his useless crutch forego,
And dry the sources of corrupted love.
Nor let thy bright impatient flames destroy20.
The golden shaddoc, the forbidden fruit,
The white acajou, and rich sabbaca:
For, where these trees their leafy banners raise
Aloft in air, a grey deep earth abounds,
Fat, light; yet, when it feels the wounding hoe,25.
Rising in clods, which ripening suns and rain
Resolve to crumbles, yet not pulverize:
In this the soul of vegetation wakes,
Pleas'd at the planter's call, to burst on day.
Thrice happy he, to whom such fields are given!
For him the Cane with little labour grows;
'Spite of the dog-star, shoots long yellow joints;
Concocts rich juice, tho' deluges descend.
What if an after-offspring it reject?5.
This land, for many a crop, will feed his mills;
Disdain supplies, nor ask from compost aid.
Such, green St. Christopher, thy happy soil!–
Not Grecian Tempé, where Arcadian Pan,
Knit with the Graces, tun'd his silvan pipe,
While mute Attention hush'd each charmed rill;
Not purple Enna, whose irriguous lap,5.
Strow'd with each fruit of taste, each flower of smell,
Sicilian Proserpine, delighted, sought;
Can vie, blest Isle, with thee.–Tho' no soft sound
Of pastoral stop thine echoes e'er awak'd;
Nor raptured poet, lost in holy trance,10.
Thy streams arrested with enchanting song:
Yet virgins, far more beautiful than she
Whom Pluto ravish'd, and more chaste, are thine:
Yet probity, from principle, not fear,
Actuates thy sons, bold, hospitable, free:15.
Yet a fertility, unknown of old,
To other climes denied, adorns thy hills;
Thy vales, thy dells adorns.–O might my strain
As far transcend the immortal songs of Greece,
As thou the partial subject of their praise!20.
Thy fame should float familiar thro' the world;
Each plant should own thy Cane her lawful lord;
Nor should old Time, song stops the flight of Time,
Obscure thy lustre with his shadowy wing.
Scarce less impregnated, with every
Of vegetation, is the red brick-mould,
That lies on marly beds.–The renter, this
Can scarce exhaust; how happy for the heir!
Such the glad soil, from whence
Derive their opulence: thrice fertile land,
"The pride, the glory of the sea-girt isles,
"Which, like to rich and various gems, inlay
"The unadorned bosom of the deep,"5.
Which first Columbus' daring keel explor'd.
Daughters of Heaven, with reverential
Pause at that godlike name; for not your flights
Of happiest fancy, can outsoar his fame.
Columbus, boast of science, boast of
Yet, by the great, the learned, and the wise,
Long held a visionary; who, like thee,
Could brook their scorn; wait seven long years at court,
A selfish, sullen, dilatory court;5.
Yet never from thy purpos'd plan decline?
No God, no Hero, of poetic times,
In Truth's fair annals, may compare with thee!
Each passion, weakness of mankind, thou knew'st,
Thine own concealing; firmest base of power:10.
Rich in expedients; what most adverse seem'd,
And least expected, most advanc'd thine aim.
What storms, what monsters, what new forms of death,
In a vast ocean, never cut by keel,
And where the magnet first its aid declin'd;15.
Alone, unterrified, didst thou not view?
Wise Legislator, had the Iberian King
Thy plan adopted, murder had not drench'd
In blood vast kingdoms; nor had hell-born Zeal,
And hell-born Avarice, his arms disgrac'd.20.
Yet, for a world, discover'd and subdu'd,
What meed had'st thou? With toil, disease, worn out,
Thine age was spent solliciting the Prince,
To whom thou gav'st the sceptre of that world.
Yet, blessed spirit, where inthron'd thou sit'st,25.
Chief 'mid the friends of man, repine not thou:
Dear to the Nine, thy glory shall remain
While winged Commerce either ocean ploughs;
While its lov'd pole the magnet coyly shuns;
While weeps the guaiac, and while joints the Cane.30.
Shall the Muse celebrate the dark deep
With clay or gravel mix'd? –This soil the Cane
With partial fondness loves; and oft surveys
Its progeny with wonder.–Such rich veins
Are plenteous scatter'd o'er the Sugar-isles:5.
But chief that land, to which the bearded fig,
Prince of the forest, gave Barbadoes name:
Chief Nevis, justly for its hot baths fam'd:
And breezy Mountserrat, whose wonderous springs
Change, like Medusa's head, whate'er they touch,10.
To stony hardness; boast this fertile glebe.
Tho' such the soils the Antillean
Supremely loves; yet other soils abound,
Which art may tutor to obtain its smile.
Say, shall the experienc'd Muse that art recite?
How sand will fertilize stiff barren clay?5.
How clay unites the light, the porous mould,
Sport of each breeze? And how the torpid nymph
Of the rank pool, so noisome to the smell,
May be solicited, by wily ways,
To draw her humid train, and, prattling, run10.
Down the reviving slopes? Or shall she say
What glebes ungrateful to each other art,
Their genial treasures ope to fire alone?
Record the different composts; which the cold
To plastic gladness warm? The torrid, which15.
By soothing coolness win? The sharp saline,
Which best subdue? Which mollify the sour?
To thee, if Fate low level land assign,
Slightly cohering, and of sable hue,
Far from the hill; be parsimony thine.
For tho' this year when constant showers descend;
The speeding gale, thy sturdy numerous stock,5.
Scarcely suffice to grind thy mighty Canes:
Yet thou, with rueful eye, for many a year,
Shalt view thy plants burnt by the torch of day;
Hear their parch'd wan blades rustle in the air;
While their black sugars, doughy to the feel,10.
Will not ev'n pay the labour of thy swains.
Or, if the mountain be thy happier
Let prudent foresight still thy coffers guard.
For tho' the clouds relent in nightly rain,
Tho' thy rank Canes wave lofty in the gale:
Yet will the arrow, ornament of woe,5.
(Such monarchs oft-times give) their jointing stint;
Yet will winds lodge them, ravening rats destroy,
Or troops of monkeys thy rich harvest steal.
The earth must also wheel around the sun,
And half perform that circuit; ere the bill10.
Mow down thy sugars: and tho' all thy mills,
Crackling, o'erflow with a redundant juice;
Poor tastes the liquor; coction long demands,
And highest temper, ere it saccharize;
A meagre produce. Such is Virtue's meed,15.
Alas, too oft in these degenerate days.
Thy cattle likewise, as they drag the wain,
Charg'd from the beach; in spite of whips and shouts,
Will stop, will pant, will sink beneath the load;
A better fate deserving.–20.
Besides, thy land itself is insecure:
For oft the glebe, and all its waving load,
Will journey, forc'd off by the mining rain;
And, with its faithless burden, disarrange
Thy neighbour's vale. So Markley-hill of old,25.
As sung thy bard, Pomona, (in these isles
Yet unador'd;) with all its spreading trees,
Full fraught with apples, chang'd its lofty site.
But, as in life, the golden mean is
So happiest he whose green plantation lies
Nor from the hill too far, nor from the shore.
Planter, if thou with wonder wouldst
Redundant harvests, load thy willing soil;
Let sun and rain mature thy deep-hoed land,
And old fat dung co-operate with these.
Be this great truth still present to thy mind;5.
The half well-cultur'd far exceeds the whole,
Which lust of gain, unconscious of its end,
Ungrateful vexes with unceasing toil.
As, not indulg'd, the richest lands grow poor;
And Liamuiga may, in future times,
If too much urg'd, her barrenness bewail:
So cultivation, on the shallowest soil,
O'erspread with rocky cliffs, will bid the Cane,5.
With spiry pomp, all bountifully rise.
Thus Britain's flag, should discipline relent,
'Spite of the native courage of her sons,
Would to the lily strike: ah, very far,
Far be that woful day: the lily then10.
Will rule wide ocean with resistless sway;
And to old Gallia's haughty shore transport
The lessening crops of these delicious isles.
Of composts shall the Muse descend to
Nor soil her heavenly plumes? The sacred Muse
Nought sordid deems, but what is base; nought fair
Unless true Virtue stamp it with her seal.
Then, Planter, wouldst thou double thine estate;5.
Never, ah never, be asham'd to tread
Thy dung-heaps, where the refuse of thy mills,
With all the ashes, all thy coppers yield,
With weeds, mould, dung, and stale, a compost form,
Of force to fertilize the poorest soil.10.
But, planter, if thy lands lie far
And of access are difficult; on these,
Leave the Cane's sapless foliage; and with pens
Wattled, (like those the Muse hath oft-times seen
When frolic fancy led her youthful steps,5.
In green Dorchestria's plains), the whole inclose:
There well thy stock with provender supply;
The well-fed stock will soon that food repay.
Some of the skilful teach, and some
That yams improve the soil. In meagre lands,
'Tis known the yam will ne'er to bigness swell;
And from each mould the vegetable tribes,
However frugal, nutriment derive:5.
Yet may their sheltering vines, their dropping leaves,
Their roots dividing the tenacious glebe,
More than refund the sustenance they draw.
Whether the fattening compost, in each
'Tis best to throw; or, on the surface spread;
Is undetermin'd: Trials must decide.
Unless kind rains and fostering dews descend,
To melt the compost's fertilizing salts;5.
A stinted plant, deceitful of thy hopes,
Will from those beds slow spring where hot dung lies:
But, if 'tis scatter'd generously o'er all,
The Cane will better bear the solar blaze;
Less rain demand; and, by repeated crops,10.
Thy land improv'd, its gratitude will show.
Enough of composts, Muse; of soils,
When best to dig, and when inhume the Cane;
A task how arduous! next demands thy song.
It not imports beneath what sign thy
The deep trough sink, and ridge alternate raise:
If this from washes guard thy gemmy tops;
And that arrest the moisture these require.
Yet, should the site of thine estate
Let the trade-wind thy ridges ventilate;
So shall a greener, loftier Cane arise,
And richest nectar in thy coppers foam.
As art transforms the savage face of things,
And order captivates the harmonious mind;
Let not thy Blacks irregularly hoe:
But, aided by the line, consult the site
Of thy demesnes; and beautify the whole.5.
So when a monarch rushes to the war,
To drive invasion from his frighted realm;
Some delegated chief the frontier views,
And to each squadron, and brigade, assigns
Their order'd station: Soon the tented field10.
Brigade and squadron, whiten on the sight;
And fill spectators with an awful joy.
Planter, improvement is the child of
What your sires knew not, ye their offspring know:
But hath your art receiv'd Perfection's stamp?
Thou can'st not say.–Unprejudic'd, then learn
Of ancient modes to doubt, and new to try:5.
And if Philosophy, with Wisdom, deign
Thee to enlighten with their useful lore;
Fair Fame and riches will reward thy toil.
Then say, ye swains, whom wealth and
Might not the plough, that rolls on rapid wheels,
Save no small labour to the hoe-arm'd gang?
Might not the culture taught the British hinds,
By Ceres' son, unfailing crops secure;5.
Tho' neither dung nor fallowing lent their aid?
The cultur'd land recalls the devious
Propitious to the planter be the call:
For much, my friend, it thee imports to know
The meetest season to commit thy tops,
With best advantage, to the well-dug mould.5.
The task how difficult, to cull the best
From thwarting sentiments; and best adorn
What Wisdom chuses, in poetic garb!
Yet, Inspiration, come: the theme unsung,
Whence never poet cropt one bloomy wreath;10.
Its vast importance to my native land,
Whose sweet idea rushes on my mind,
And makes me 'mid this paradise repine;
Urge me to pluck, from Fancy's soaring wing,
A plume to deck Experience hoary brow.15.
Attend.–The son of Time and Truth
Unless the low-hung clouds drop fatness down,
No bunching plants of vivid green will spring,
In goodly ranks, to fill the planter's eye.
Let then Sagacity, with curious ken,5.
Remark the various signs of future rain.
The signs of rain, the Mantuan Bard hath sung
In loftiest numbers; friendly to thy swains,
Once fertile Italy: but other marks
Portend the approaching shower, in these hot climes.10.
Short sudden rains, from Ocean's
Driven by some momentary squalls, will oft
With frequent heavy bubbling drops, down-fall;
While yet the Sun, in cloudless lustre, shines:
And draw their humid train o'er half the isle.5.
Unhappy he! who journeys then from home,
No shade to screen him. His untimely fate
His wife, his babes, his friends, will soon deplore;
Unless hot wines, dry cloaths, and friction's aid,
His fleeting spirits stay. Yet not even these,10.
Nor all Apollo's arts, will always bribe
The insidious tyrant death, thrice tyrant here:
Else good Amyntor, him the graces lov'd,
Wisdom caress'd, and Themis call'd her own,
Had liv'd by all admir'd, had now perus'd15.
"These lines, with all the malice of a friend."
Yet future rains the careful may
Mosquitos; sand-flies, seek the shelter'd roof,
And with fell rage the stranger-guest assail,
Nor spare the sportive child; from their retreats
Cockroaches crawl displeasingly abroad:5.
These, without pity, let thy slaves destroy;
(Like Harpies, they defile whate'er they touch:)
While those, the smother of combustion quells.
The speckled lizard to its hole retreats,
And black crabs travel from the mountain down;10.
Thy ducks their feathers prune; thy doves return,
In faithful flocks, and, on the neighbouring roof,
Perch frequent; where, with pleas'd attention, they
Behold the deepening congregated clouds,
With sadness, blot the azure vault of heaven.15.
Now, while the shower depends, and rattle loud
Your doors and windows, haste ye housewives, place
Your spouts and pails; ye Negroes, seek the shade,
Save those who open with the ready hoe
The enriching water-course: for, see, the drops,5.
Which fell with slight aspersion, now descend
In streams continuous on the laughing land.
The coyest Naiads quit their rocky caves,
And, with delight, run brawling to the main;
While those, who love still visible to glad10.
The thirsty plains from never-ceasing urns,
Assume more awful majesty, and pour,
With force resistless, down the channel'd rocks.
The rocks, or split, or hurried from their base,
With trees, are whirl'd impetuous to the sea:15.
Fluctuates the forest; the torn mountains roar:
The main itself recoils for many a league,
While its green face is chang'd to sordid brown.
A grateful freshness every sense pervades;
While beats the heart with unaccustom'd joy:20.
Her stores fugacious Memory now recalls;
And Fancy prunes her wings for loftiest flights.
The mute creation share the enlivening hour;
Bounds the brisk kid, and wanton plays the lamb.
The drooping plants revive; ten thousand blooms,25.
Which, with their fragrant scents, perfume the air,
Burst into being; while the Canes put on
Glad Nature's liveliest robe, the vivid green.
But chief, let fix'd Attention cast
On the capt mountain, whose high rocky verge
The wild fig canopies, (vast woodland king,
Beneath thy branching shade a banner'd host
May lie in ambush!) and whose shaggy sides,5.
Trees shade, of endless green, enormous size,
Wondrous in shape, to botany unknown,
Old as the deluge:–There, in secret haunts,
The watery spirits ope their liquid court;
There, with the wood-nymphs, link'd in festal band,10.
(Soft airs and Phoebus wing them to their arms)
Hold amorous dalliance. Ah, may none profane,
With fire, or steel, their mystic privacy:
For there their fluent offspring first see day,
Coy infants sporting; silver-footed dew15.
To bathe by night thy sprouts in genial balm;
The green-stol'd Naiad of the tinkling rill,
Whose brow the fern-tree shades; the power of rain
To glad the thirsty soil on which, arrang'd,
The gemmy summits of the Cane await20.
Thy Negroe-train, (in linen lightly wrapt,)
Who now that painted Iris girds the sky,
(Aerial arch, which Fancy loves to stride!)
Disperse, all-jocund, o'er the long-hoed land.
The bundles some untie; the withered
Others strip artful off, and careful lay,
Twice one junk, distant in the amplest bed:
O'er these, with hasty hoe, some lightly spread
The mounded interval; and smooth the trench:5.
Well-pleas'd, the master-swain reviews their toil;
And rolls, in fancy, many a full-fraught cask.
So, when the shield was forg'd for Peleus' Son;
The swarthy Cyclops shar'd the important task:
With bellows, some reviv'd the seeds of fire;10.
Some, gold, and brass, and steel, together fus'd
In the vast furnace; while a chosen few,
In equal measures lifting their bare arms,
Inform the mass; and, hissing in the wave,
Temper the glowing orb: their sire beholds,15.
Amaz'd, the wonders of his fusile art.
While Procyon reigns yet fervid in the
While yet the fiery Sun in Leo rides;
And the Sun's child, the mail'd anana, yields
His regal apple to the ravish'd taste;
And thou green avocato, charm of sense,5.
Thy ripened marrow liberally bestow'st;
Begin the distant mountain-land to plant:
So shall thy Canes defy November's cold,
Ungenial to the upland young; so best,
Unstinted by the arrow's deadening power,10.
Long yellow joints shall flow with generous juice.
But, till the lemon, orange, and the
Amid their verdant umbrage, countless glow
With fragrant fruit of vegetable gold;
'Till yellow plantanes bend the unstain'd bough
With crooked clusters, prodigally full;5.
'Till Capricorn command the cloudy sky;
And moist Aquarius melt in daily showers,
Friend to the Cane-isles; trust not thou thy tops,
Thy future riches, to the low-land plain:
And if kind Heaven, in pity to thy prayers,10.
Shed genial influence; as the earth absolves
Her annual circuit, thy rich ripened Canes
Shall load thy waggons, mules, and Negroe-train.
But chief thee, Planter, it imports to
(Whether thou breathe the mountain's humid air,
Or pant with heat continual on the plain;)
What months relent, and which from rain are free.
In different islands of the
Even in the different parts of the same isle,
The seasons vary; yet attention soon
Will give thee each variety to know.
This once observ'd; at such a time inhume5.
Thy plants, that, when they joint, (important age,
Like youth just stepping into life) the clouds
May constantly bedew them: so shall they
Avoid those ails, which else their manhood kill.
Six times the changeful moon must
blunt her horns,
And fill with borrowed light her silvery urn;
Ere thy tops, trusted to the mountain-land,
Commence their jointing: but four moons suffice
To bring to puberty the low-land Cane.5.
In plants, in beasts, in man's
An alien mixture meliorates the breed;
Hence Canes, that sickened dwarfish on the plain,
Will shoot with giant-vigour on the hill.
Thus all depends on all; so God ordains.5.
Then let not man for little selfish ends,
(Britain, remember this important truth;)
Presume the principle to counteract
Of universal love; for God is love,
And wide creation shares alike his care.10.
'Tis said by some, and not unletter'd
That chief the Planter, if he wealth desire,
Should note the phases of the fickle moon.
On thee, sweet empress of the night, depend
The tides; stern Neptune pays his court to thee;5.
The winds, obedient at thy bidding shift,
And tempests rise or fall; even lordly man,
Thine energy controls.–Not so the Cane;
The Cane its independency may boast,
Tho' some less noble plants thine influence own.10.
Of mountain-lands oeconomy permits
A third, in Canes of mighty growth to rise:
But, in the low-land plain, the half will yield
Tho' not so lofty, yet a richer Cane,
For many a crop; if seasons glad the soil.5.
While rolls the Sun from Aries to the
And till the Virgin his hot beams inflame;
The Cane, with richest, most redundant juice,
Thy spacious coppers fills. Then manage so,
By planting in succession; that thy crops5.
The wondering daughters of the main may waft
To Britain's shore, ere Libra weigh the year:
So shall thy merchant chearful credit grant,
And well-earn'd opulence thy cares repay.
Thy fields thus planted; to secure the
From the Goat's baneful tooth; the churning boar;
From thieves; from fire or casual or design'd;
Unfailing herbage to thy toiling herds
Would'st thou afford; and the spectators charm5.
With beauteous prospects: let the frequent hedge
Thy green plantation, regular, divide.
With limes, with lemons, let thy
Grateful to sense; now children of this clime:
And here and there let oranges erect
Their shapely beauties, and perfume the sky.
Nor less delightful blooms the logwood-hedge,5.
Whose wood to coction yields a precious balm,
Specific in the flux: Endemial ail,
Much cause have I to weep thy fatal sway.–
But God is just, and man must not repine.
Nor shall the ricinus unnoted pass;10.
Yet, if the cholic's deathful pangs thou dread'st,
Taste not its luscious nut. The acassee,
With which the sons of Jewry, stiff-neck'd race,
Conjecture says, our God-Messiah crown'd;
Soon shoots a thick impenetrable fence,15.
Whose scent perfumes the night and morning sky,
Tho' baneful be its root. The privet too,
Whose white flowers rival the first drifts of snow
On Grampia's piny hills; (O might the muse
Tread, flush'd with health, the Grampian hills again!)20.
Emblem of innocence shall grace my song.
Boast of the shrubby tribe, carnation fair,
Nor thou repine, tho' late the muse record
Thy bloomy honours. Tipt with burnish'd gold,
And with imperial purple crested high,25.
More gorgeous than the train of Juno's bird,
Thy bloomy honours oft the curious muse
Hath seen transported: seen the humming bird,
Whose burnish'd neck bright glows with verdant gold;
Least of the winged vagrants of the sky,30.
Yet dauntless as the strong-pounc'd bird of Jove;
With fluttering vehemence attack thy cups,
To rob them of their nectar's luscious store.
But if with stones thy meagre lands
Be these collected, they will pay thy toil:
And let Vitruvius, aided by the line,
Fence thy plantations with a thick-built wall.
On this lay cuttings of the prickly pear;5.
They soon a formidable fence will shoot:
Wild liquorice here its red beads loves to hang,
Whilst scandent blossoms, yellow, purple, blue,
Unhurt, wind round its shield-like leaf and spears.
Nor is its fruit inelegant of taste,10.
Tho' more its colour charms the ravish'd eye;
Vermeil, as youthful beauty's roseat hue;
As thine, fair Christobelle: ah, when will fate,
That long hath scowl'd relentless on the bard,
Give him some small plantation to inclose,15.
Which he may call his own? Not wealth he craves,
But independance: yet if thou, sweet maid,
In health and virtue bloom; tho' worse betide,
Thy smile will smoothe adversity's rough brow.
In Italy's green bounds, the myrtle
A fragrant fence, and blossoms in the sun.
Here, on the rockiest verge of these blest isles,
With little care, the plant of love would grow.
Then to the citron join the plant of love,5.
And with their scent and shade enrich your isles.
Yet some pretend, and not unspecious
The wood-nymphs foster the contagious blast.
Foes to the Dryads, they remorseless fell
Each shrub of shade, each tree of spreading root,
That woo the first glad fannings of the breeze.5.
Far from the muse be such inhuman thoughts;
Far better recks she of the woodland tribes,
Earth's eldest birth, and earth's best ornament.
Ask him, whom rude necessity compels
To dare the noontide fervor, in this clime,10.
Ah, most intensely hot; how much he longs
For cooling vast impenetrable shade?
The muse, alas, th' experienc'd muse can tell:
Oft hath she travell'd, while solstitial beams,
Shot yellow deaths on the devoted land;15.
Oft, oft hath she their ill-judg'd avarice blam'd,
Who, to the stranger, to their slaves and herds,
Denied this best of joys, the breezy shade.
And are there none, whom generous pity warms,
Friends to the woodland reign; whom shades delight?20.
Who, round their green domains, plant hedge-row trees;
And with cool cedars, screen the public way?
Yes, good Montano; friend of man was he:
Him persecution, virtue's deadliest foe,
Drove, a lorn exile, from his native shore;25.
From his green hills, where many a fleecy flock,
Where many a heifer cropt their wholesome food;
And many a swain, obedient to his rule,
Him their lov'd master, their protector, own'd.
Yet, from that paradise, to Indian wilds,30.
To tropic suns, to fell barbaric hinds,
A poor outcast, an alien, did he roam;
His wife, the partner of his better hours,
And one sweet infant, chear'd his dismal way.
Unus'd to labour; yet the orient sun,35.
Yet western Phoebus, saw him wield the hoe.
At first a garden all his wants supplied,
(For Temperance sat chearful at his board,)
With yams, cassada, and the food of strength,
Thrice-wholesome tanies: while a neighbouring dell,40.
(Which nature to the soursop had resign'd,)
With ginger, and with Raleigh's pungent plant,
Gave wealth; and gold bought better land and slaves.
Heaven bless'd his labour: now the cotton-shrub,
Grac'd with broad yellow flowers, unhurt by worms,45.
O'er many an acre shed its whitest down:
The power of rain, in genial moisture bath'd
His cacao-walk, which teem'd with marrowy pods;
His coffee bath'd, that glow'd with berries, red
As Danae's lip, or, Theodosia, thine,50.
Yet countless as the pebbles on the shore;
Oft, while drought kill'd his impious neighbour's grove.
In time, a numerous gang of sturdy slaves,
Well-fed, well-cloath'd, all emulous to gain
Their master's smile, who treated them like men;55.
Blacken'd his Cane-lands: which with vast increase,
Beyond the wish of avarice, paid his toil.
No cramps, with sudden death, surpriz'd his mules;
No glander-pest his airy stables thinn'd:
And, if disorder seiz'd his Negroe-train,60.
Celsus was call'd, and pining Illness flew.
His gate stood wide to all; but chief the poor,
The unfriended stranger, and the sickly, shar'd
His prompt munificence: No surly dog,
Nor surlier Ethiop, their approach debarr'd.65.
The Muse, that pays this tribute to his fame,
Oft hath escap'd the sun's meridian blaze,
Beneath yon tamarind-vista, which his hands
Planted; and which, impervious to the sun,
His latter days beheld.–One noon he sat70.
Beneath its breezy shade, what time the sun
His sultry vengeance from the Lion pour'd;
And calmly thus his eldest hope addrest.
"Be pious, be industrious, be
"From proud oppression guard the labouring hind.
"Whate'er their creed, God is the Sire of man,
"His image they; then dare not thou, my son,
"To bar the gates of mercy on mankind.5.
"Your foes forgive, for merit must make foes;
"And in each virtue far surpass your sire.
"Your means are ample, Heaven a heart bestow!
"So health and peace shall be your portion here;
"And yon bright sky, to which my soul aspires,10.
"Shall bless you with eternity of joy."
He spoke, and ere the swift-wing'd
The mountain-desert startl'd with his hum;
Ere fire-flies trimm'd their vital lamps; and ere
Dun Evening trod on rapid Twilight's heel:
His knell was rung;–5.
And all the Cane-lands wept their father lost.
Muse, yet awhile indulge my rapid
And I'll unharness, soon, the foaming steeds.
If Jove descend, propitious to thy
In frequent floods of rain; successive crops
Of weeds will spring. Nor venture to repine,
Tho' oft their toil thy little gang renew;
Their toil tenfold the melting heavens repay:5.
For soon thy plants will magnitude acquire,
To crush all undergrowth; before the sun,
The planets thus withdraw their puny fires.
And tho' untutor'd, then, thy Canes will shoot:
Care meliorates their growth. The trenches fill10.
With their collateral mold; as in a town
Which foes have long beleaguer'd, unawares
A strong detachment sallies from each gate,
And levels all the labours of the plain.
And now thy Cane's first blades their
And hang their idle heads. Be these stript off;
So shall fresh sportive airs their joints embrace,
And by their dalliance give the sap to rise.
But, O beware, let no unskilful hand5.
The vivid foliage tear: Their channel'd spouts,
Well-pleas'd, the watery nutriment convey,
With filial duty, to the thirsty stem;
And, spreading wide their reverential arms,
Defend their parent from solstitial skies.10.
The END of BOOK
THE SUGAR CANE
ADVERTISEMENT to BOOK IIThe following Book having been originally addressed to WILLIAM SHENSTONE, Esq; and by him approved of; the Author should deem it a kind of poetical sacrilege, now, to addres it to any other. To his memory, therefore, be it sacred; as a small but sincere testimony of the high opinion the Author entertained of that Gentleman's genius and manners; and as the only return now, alas! in his power to make, for the friendship wherewith Mr. SHENSTONE had condescended to honour him.ARGUMENT
Subject proposed. Address to William Shenstone, Esq.
Of monkeys. Of rats and other vermin. Of weeds. Of the yellow fly. Of the
greasy fly. Of the blast. A hurricane described. Of calms and earthquakes. A
Enough of culture.–A less pleasing
What ills await the ripening Cane, demands
My serious numbers: these, the thoughtful Muse
Hath oft beheld, deep-pierc'd with generous woe.
For she, poor exile! boasts no waving crops;5.
For her no circling mules press dulcet streams;
No Negro-band huge foaming coppers skim;
Nor fermentation (wine's dread sire) for her,
With Vulcan's aid, from Cane a spirit draws,
Potent to quell the madness of despair.10.
Yet, oft, the range she walks, at shut of eve;
Oft sees red lightning at the midnight-hour,
When nod the watches, stream along the sky;
Not innocent, as what the learned call
The Boreal morn, which, through the azure air,15.
Flashes its tremulous rays, in painted streaks,
While o'er night's veil her lucid tresses flow:
Nor quits the Muse her walk, immers'd in thought,
How she the planter, haply, may advise;
Till tardy morn unbar the gates of light,20.
And, opening on the main with sultry beam,
To burnish'd silver turns the blue-green wave.
Say, will my SHENSTONE lend a patient ear,
And weep at woes unknown to Britain's Isle?
Yes, thou wilt weep; for pity chose thy breast,
With taste and science, for their soft abode:
Yes, thou wilt weep: thine own distress thou bear'st5.
Undaunted; but another's melts thy soul.
"O were my pipe as soft, my dittied
As smooth as thine, my too too distant friend,
Shenstone; my soft pipe, and my
Should hush the hurricanes tremendous roar,
And from each evil guard the ripening Cane!5.
Destructive, on the upland
The monkey-nation preys: from rocky heights,
In silent parties, they descend by night,
And posting watchful sentinels, to warn
When hostile steps approach; with gambols, they5.
Pour o'er the Cane-grove. Luckless he to whom
That land pertains! in evil hour, perhaps,
And thoughtless of to-morrow, on a die
He hazards millions; or, perhaps, reclines
On Luxury's soft lap, the pest of wealth;10.
And, inconsiderate, deems his Indian crops
Will amply her insatiate wants supply.
From these insidious droles (peculiar
Of Liamuiga's hills) would'st thou defend
Thy waving wealth; in traps put not thy trust,
However baited: Treble every watch,
And well with arms provide them; faithful dogs,5.
Of nose sagacious, on their footsteps wait.
With these attack the predatory bands;
Quickly the unequal conflict they decline,
And, chattering, fling their ill-got spoils away.
So when, of late, innumerous Gallic hosts10.
Fierce, wanton, cruel, did by stealth invade
The peaceable American's domains,
While desolation mark'd their faithless rout;
No sooner Albion's martial sons advanc'd,
Than the gay dastards to their forests fled,15.
And left their spoils and tomahawks behind.
Nor with less waste the whisker'd
A countless clan, despoil the low-land Cane.
These to destroy, while commerce
hoists the sail,
Loose rocks abound, or tangling bushes bloom,
What Planter knows?–Yet prudence may reduce.
Encourage then the breed of savage cats,
Nor kill the winding snake, thy foes they eat.5.
Thus, on the mangrove-banks of Guayaquil,
Child of the rocky desert, sea-like stream,
With studious care, the American preserves
The gallinazo, else that sea-like stream
(Whence traffic pours her bounties on mankind)10.
Dread alligators would alone possess.
Thy foes, the teeth-fil'd Ibbos also love;
Nor thou their wayward appetite restrain.
Some place decoys, nor will they not
Replete with roasted crabs, in every grove
These fell marauders gnaw; and pay their slaves
Some small reward for every captive foe.
So practise Gallia's sons; but Britons trust5.
In other wiles; and surer their success.
With Misnian arsenic, deleterious
Pound up the ripe cassada's well-rasp'd root,
And form in pellets; these profusely spread
Round the Cane-groves, where sculk the vermin-breed:
They, greedy, and unweeting of the bait,5.
Crowd to the inviting cates, and swift devour
Their palatable Death; for soon they seek
The neighbouring spring; and drink, and swell, and die.
But dare not thou, if life deserve thy care,
The infected rivulet taste; nor let thy herds10.
Graze its polluted brinks, till rolling time
Have fin'd the water, and destroyed the bane.
'Tis safer then to mingle nightshade's juice
With flour, and throw it liberal 'mong thy Canes:
They touch not this; its deadly scent they fly,15.
And sudden colonize some distant vale.
Shall the muse deign to sing of humble
That check the progress of the imperial cane?
In every soil, unnumber'd weeds will
Nor fewest in the best: (thus oft we find
Enormous vices taint the noblest souls!)
These let thy little gang, with skilful hand,
Oft as they spread abroad, and oft they spread;5.
Careful pluck up, to swell thy growing heap
Of rich manure. And yet some weeds arise,
Of aspect mean, with wondrous virtues fraught:
(And doth not oft uncommon merit dwell
In men of vulgar looks, and trivial air?)10.
Such, planter, be not thou asham'd to save
From foul pollution, and unseemly rot;
Much will they benefit thy house and thee.
But chief the yellow thistle thou select,
Whose seed the stomach frees from nauseous loads;15.
And, if the music of the mountain-dove
Delight thy pensive ear, sweet friend to thought!
This prompts their cooing, and enflames their love.
Nor let rude hands the knotted grass profane,
Whose juice worms fly: Ah, dire endemial ill!20.
How many fathers, fathers now no more;
How many orphans, now lament thy rage?
The cow-itch also save; but let thick gloves
Thine hands defend, or thou wilt sadly rue
Thy rash imprudence, when ten thousand darts25.
Sharp as the bee-sting, fasten in thy flesh,
And give thee up to torture. But, unhurt,
Planter, thou may'st the humble chickweed cull;
And that, which coyly flies the astonish'd grasp.
Not the confection nam'd from Pontus' King;30.
Not the bless'd apple Median climes produce,
Tho' lofty Maro (whose immortal muse
Distant I follow, and, submiss, adore)
Hath sung its properties, to counteract
Dire spells, slow-mutter'd o'er the baneful bowl,35.
Where cruel stepdames poisonous drugs have brewed;
Can vie with these low tenants of the vale,
In driving poisons from the infected frame:
For here, alas! (ye sons of luxury mark!)
The sea, tho' on its bosom Halcyons sleep,40.
Abounds with poison'd fish; whose crimson fins,
Whose eyes, whose scales, bedropt with azure, gold,
Purple, and green, in all gay Summer's pride,
Amuse the sight; whose taste the palate charms;
Yet death, in ambush, on the banquet waits,45.
Unless these antidotes be timely given.
But, say what strains, what numbers can recite,
Thy praises, vervain; or wild liquorice, thine?
For not the costly root, the gift of God,
Gather'd by those, who drink the Volga's wave,50.
(Prince of Europa's streams, itself a sea)
Equals your potency! Did planters know
But half your virtues; not the Cane itself,
Would they with greater, fonder pains preserve!
Still other maladies infest the
And worse to be subdu'd. The insect-tribe
That, fluttering, spread their pinions to the sun,
Recal the muse: nor shall their many eyes,
Tho' edg'd with gold, their many-colour'd down,5.
From Death preserve them. In what distant clime,
In what recesses are the plunderers hatch'd?
Say, are they wafted in the living gale,
From distant islands? Thus, the locust-breed,
In winged caravans, that blot the sky,10.
Descend from far, and, ere bright morning dawn,
Astonish'd Afric sees her crop devour'd.
Or, doth the Cane a proper nest afford,
And food adapted to the yellow fly?–
The skill'd in Nature's mystic lore observe,15.
Each tree, each plant, that drinks the golden day,
Some reptile life sustains: Thus cochinille
Feeds on the Indian fig; and, should it harm
The foster plant, its worth that harm repays:
But Ye, base insects! no bright
To deck the British Wolf; who now, perhaps,
(So Heaven and George ordain) in triumph mounts
Some strong-built fortress, won from haughty Gaul!
And tho' no plant such luscious nectar yields,
As yields the Cane-plant; yet, vile paricides!25.
Ungrateful ye! the Parent-cane destroy.
Muse! say, what remedy hath skill
To quell this noxious foe? Thy Blacks send forth,
A strong detachment! ere the encreasing pest
Have made too firm a lodgment; and, with care,
Wipe every tainted blade, and liberal lave5.
With sacred Neptune's purifying stream.
But this Augæan toil long time demands,
Which thou to more advantage may'st employ:
If vows for rain thou ever did'st prefer,
Planter, prefer them now: the rattling shower, 10.
Pour'd down in constant streams, for days and nights,
Not only swells, with nectar sweet, thy Canes;
But, in the deluge, drowns thy plundering foe.
When may the planter idly fold his
And say, "My soul take rest?" Superior ills,
Ills which no care nor wisdom can avert,
In black succession rise. Ye men of Kent,
When nipping Eurus, with the brutal force5.
Of Boreas, join'd in ruffian league, assail
Your ripen'd hop-grounds; tell me what you feel,
And pity the poor planter; when the blast,
Fell plague of Heaven! perdition of the isles!
Attacks his waving gold. Tho' well-manur'd;10.
A richness tho' thy fields from nature boast;
Though seasons pour; this pestilence invades:
Too oft it seizes the glad infant-throng,
Nor pities their green nonage: Their broad blades
Of which the graceful wood-nymphs erst compos'd15.
The greenest garlands to adorn their brows,
First pallid, sickly, dry, and withered show;
Unseemly stains succeed; which, nearer viewed
By microscopic arts, small eggs appear,
Dire fraught with reptile-life; alas, too soon20.
They burst their filmy jail, and crawl abroad,
Bugs of uncommon shape; thrice hideous show!
Innumerous as the painted shells, that load
The wave-worn margin of the Virgin-isles!
Innumerous as the leaves the plumb-tree sheds,25.
When, proud of her fæcundity, she shows,
Naked, her gold fruit to the God of noon.
Remorseless to its youth; what pity, say,
Can the Cane's age expect? In vain, its pith
With juice nectarious flows; to pungent sour,30.
Foe to the bowels, soon its nectar turns:
Vain every joint a gemmy embryo bears,
Alternate rang'd; from these no filial young
Shall grateful spring, to bless the planter's eye.–
With bugs confederate, in destructive league,35.
The ants' republic joins; a villain crew,
As the waves, countless, that plough up the deep,
(Where Eurus reigns vicegerent of the sky,
Whom Rhea bore to the bright God of day)
When furious Auster dire commotions stirs:40.
These wind, by subtle sap, their secret way,
Pernicious pioneers! while those invest,
More firmly daring, in the face of Heaven,
And win, by regular approach, the Cane.
'Gainst such ferocious, such
What arts, what arms shall sage experience use?
Some bid the planter load the
With pitch, and sulphur's suffocating steam:–
Useless the vapour o'er the Cane-grove flies,
In curling volumes lost; such feeble arms,
To man tho' fatal, not the blast subdue.5.
Others again, and better their success,
Command their slaves each tainted blade to pick
With care, and burn them in vindictive flames.
Labour immense! and yet, if small the pest;
If numerous, if industrious be thy gang;10.
At length, thou may'st the victory obtain.
But, if the living taint be far diffus'd,
Bootless this toil; nor will it then avail
(Tho' ashes lend their suffocating aid)
To bare the broad roots, and the mining swarms15.
Expose, remorseless, to the burning noon.
Ah! must then ruin desolate the plain?
Must the lost planter other climes explore?
Howe'er reluctant, let the hoe uproot
The infected Cane-piece; and, with eager flames,20.
The hostile myriads thou to embers turn:
Far better, thus, a mighty loss sustain,
Which happier years and prudence may retrieve;
Than risque thine all. As when an adverse storm,
Impetuous, thunders on some luckless ship,25.
From green St. Christopher, or Cathëy bound:
Each nautic art the reeling seamen try:
The storm redoubles: death rides every wave:
Down by the board the cracking masts they hew;
And heave their precious cargo in the main.30.
Say, can the Muse, the pencil in her
The all-wasting hurricane observant ride?
Can she, undazzled, view the lightning's glare,
That fires the welkin? Can she, unappall'd,
When all the flood-gates of the sky are ope,5.
The shoreless deluge stem? The Muse hath seen
The pillar'd flame, whose top hath reach'd the stars;
Seen rocky, molten fragments, slung in air
From Ætna's vext abyss; seen burning streams
Pour down its channel'd sides; tremendous scenes!–10.
Yet not vext Ætna's pillar'd flames, that strike
The stars; nor molten mountains hurl'd on high;
Nor ponderous rapid deluges, that burn
Its deeply-channel'd sides: cause such dismay,
Such desolation, Hurricane! as thou;15.
When the Almighty gives thy rage to blow,
And all the battles of thy winds engage.
Soon as the Virgin's charms ingross
And till his weaker flame the Scorpion feels;
But, chief, while Libra weighs the unsteddy year:
Planter, with mighty props thy dome support;
Each flaw repair; and well, with massy bars,5.
Thy doors and windows guard; securely lodge
Thy stocks and mill-points.–Then, or calms obtain;
Breathless the royal palm-tree's airiest van;
While, o'er the panting isle, the dæmon Heat
High hurls his flaming brand; vast, distant waves10.
The main drives furious in, and heaps the shore
With strange productions: Or, the blue serene
Assumes a louring aspect, as the clouds
Fly, wild-careering, thro' the vault of heaven;
Then transient birds, of various kinds, frequent15.
Each stagnant pool; some hover o'er thy roof;
Then Eurus reigns no more; but each bold wind,
By turns, usurps the empire of the air
With quick inconstancy;
Thy herds, as sapient of the coming storm,20.
(For beasts partake some portion of the sky,)
In troops associate; and, in cold sweats bath'd,
Wild-bellowing, eye the pole. Ye seamen, now,
Ply to the southward, if the changeful moon,
Or, in her interlunar palace hid,25.
Shuns night; or, full-orb'd, in Night's forehead glows:
For, see! the mists, that late involv'd the hill,
Disperse; the midday-sun looks red; strange burs
Surround the stars, which vaster fill the eye.
A horrid stench the pools, the main emits;30.
Fearful the genius of the forest sighs;
The mountains moan; deep groans the cavern'd cliff.
A night of vapour, closing fast around,
Snatches the golden noon.–Each wind appeas'd,
The North flies forth, and hurls the frighted air:35.
Not all the brazen engineries of man,
At once exploded, the wild burst surpass.
Yet thunder, yok'd with lightning and with rain,
Water with fire, increase the infernal din:
Canes, shrubs, trees, huts, are whirl'd aloft in air.–40.
The wind is spent; and "all the isle below
"Is hush as death."
Soon issues forth the West, with sudden burst;
And blasts more rapid, more resistless drives:
Rushes the headlong sky; the city rocks;45.
The good man throws him on the trembling ground;
And dies the murderer in his inmost soul.–
Sullen the West withdraws his eager storms.–
Will not the tempest now his furies chain?
Ah, no! as when in Indian forests, wild,50.
Barbaric armies suddenly retire
After some furious onset, and, behind
Vast rocks and trees, their horrid forms conceal,
Brooding on slaughter, not repuls'd; for soon
Their growing yell the affrighted welkin rends,55.
And bloodier carnage mows th' ensanguin'd plain:
So the South, sallying from his iron caves
With mightier force, renews the aerial war;
Sleep, frighted, flies; and, see! yon lofty palm,
Fair nature's triumph, pride of Indian groves,60.
Cleft by the sulphurous bolt! See yonder dome,
Where grandeur with propriety combin'd,
And Theodorus with devotion dwelt;
Involv'd in smouldering flames.–From every rock,
Dashes the turbid torrent; thro' each street65.
A river foams, which sweeps, with untam'd might,
Men, oxen, Cane-lands to the billowy main.–
Pauses the wind.–Anon the savage East
Bids his wing'd tempests more relentless rave;
Now brighter, vaster corruscations flash;70.
Deepens the deluge; nearer thunders roll;
Earth trembles; ocean reels; and, in her fangs,
Grim Desolation tears the shrieking isle,
Ere rosy Morn possess the ethereal plain,
To pour on darkness the full flood of day.–75.
Nor does the hurricane's all-wasting
Alone bring ruin on its sounding wing:
Even calms are dreadful, and the fiery South
Oft reigns a tyrant in these fervid isles:
For, from its burning furnace, when it breathes,5.
Europe and Asia's vegetable sons,
Touch'd by its tainting vapour, shrivel'd, die.
The hardiest children of the rocks repine:
And all the upland Tropic-plants hang down
Their drooping heads; shew arid, coil'd, adust.–10.
The main itself seems parted into streams,
Clear as a mirror; and, with deadly scents,
Annoys the rower; who, heart-fainting, eyes
The sails hang idly, noiseless, from the mast.
Thrice hapless he, whom thus the hand of fate15.
Compels to risque the insufferable beam!
A fiend, the worst the angry skies ordain
To punish sinful man, shall fatal seize
His wretched life, and to the tomb consign.
When such the ravage of the burning
On the stout, sunny children of the hill;
What must thy Cane-lands feel? Thy late green sprouts
Nor bunch, nor joint; but, sapless, arid, pine:
Those, who have manhood reach'd, of yellow hue,5.
(Symptom of health and strength) soon ruddy show;
While the rich juice that circled in their veins,
Acescent, watery, poor, unwholesome tastes.
Nor only, planter, are thy Cane-groves
Thy life is threatened. Muse, the manner sing.
Then earthquakes, nature's agonizing
Oft shake the astonied isles: The solfaterre
Or sends forth thick, blue, suffocating steams;
Or shoots to temporary flame. A din,
Wild, thro' the mountain's quivering rocky caves,5.
Like the dread crash of tumbling planets, roars.
When tremble thus the pillars of the globe,
Like the tall coco by the fierce North blown;
Can the poor, brittle, tenements of man
Withstand the dread convulsion? Their dear homes,10.
(Which shaking, tottering, crashing, bursting, fall,)
The boldest fly; and, on the open plain
Appal'd, in agony the moment wait,
When, with disrupture vast, the waving earth
Shall whelm them in her sea-disgorging womb.15.
Nor less affrighted are the bestial
The bold steed quivers in each panting vein,
And staggers, bath'd in deluges of sweat:
Thy lowing herds forsake their grassy food,
And send forth frighted, woful, hollow sounds:5.
The dog, thy trusty centinel of night,
Deserts his post assign'd; and, piteous, howls.–
Wide ocean feels:–
The mountain-waves, passing their custom'd bounds,
Make direful, loud incursions on the land,10.
All-overwhelming: Sudden they retreat,
With their whole troubled waters; but, anon,
Sudden return, with louder, mightier force;
(The black rocks whiten, the vext shores resound;)
And yet, more rapid, distant they retire.15.
Vast coruscations lighten all the sky,
With volum'd flames; while thunder's awful voice,
From forth his shrine, by night and horror girt,
Astounds the guilty, and appals the good:
For oft the best, smote by the bolt of heaven,20.
Wrapt in ethereal flame, forget to live:
Else, fair Theana.–Muse, her fate deplore.
Soon as young reason dawn'd in Junio's
His father sent him from these genial isles,
To where old Thames with conscious pride surveys
Green Eton, soft abode of every Muse.
Each classic beauty soon he made his own;5.
And soon fam'd Isis saw him woo the Nine,
On her inspiring banks: Love tun'd his song;
For fair Theana was his only theme,
Acasto's daughter, whom, in early youth,
He oft distinguish'd; and for whom he oft10.
Had climb'd the bending coco's airy height,
To rob it of its nectar; which the maid,
When he presented, more nectarious deem'd.–
The sweetest sappadillas oft he brought;
From him more sweet ripe sappadillas seem'd.–15.
Nor had long absence yet effac'd her form;
Her charms still triumph'd o'er Britannia's fair.
One morn he met her in Sheen's royal walks;
Nor knew, till then, sweet Sheen contain'd his all.
His taste mature approv'd his infant choice.20.
In colour, form, expression, and in grace,
She shone all perfect; while each pleasing art,
And each soft virtue that the sex adorns,
Adorn'd the woman. My imperfect strain,
Which Percy's happier pencil would demand,25.
Can ill describe the transports Junio felt
At this discovery: He declar'd his love;
She own'd his merit, nor refus'd his hand.
And shall not Hymen light his
For this delighted pair? Ah, Junio knew,
His sire detested his Theana's House!–
Thus duty, reverence, gratitude, conspir'd
To check their happy union. He resolv'd5.
(And many a sigh that resolution cost)
To pass the time, till death his sire remov'd,
In visiting old Europe's letter'd climes:
While she (and many a tear that parting drew)
Embark'd, reluctant, for her native isle.10.
Tho' learned, curious, and tho' nobly
With each rare talent to adorn his mind,
His native land to serve; no joys he found.–
Yet sprightly Gaul; yet Belgium, Saturn's reign;
Yet Greece, of old the seat of every Muse,5.
Of freedom, courage; yet Ausonia's clime,
His steps explor'd; where painting, music's strains,
Where arts, where laws, (philosophy's best child),
With rival beauties, his attention claim'd.
To his just-judging, his instructed eye,10.
The all-perfect Medicean Venus seem'd
A perfect semblance of his Indian fair:
But, when she spoke of love, her voice surpass'd
The harmonious warblings of Italian song.
Twice one long year elaps'd, when
Which briefly told him of his father's death.
Afflicted, filial, yet to Heaven resign'd,
Soon he reach'd Albion, and as soon embark'd,
Eager to clasp the object of his love.5.
Blow, prosperous breezes; swiftly
sail, thou Po:
Swift sail'd the Po, and happy breezes blew.
In Biscay's stormy seas an armed
Of force superiour, from loud Charente's wave
Clapt them on board. The frighted flying crew
Their colours strike; when dauntless Junio, fir'd
With noble indignation, kill'd the chief,5.
Who on the bloody deck dealt slaughter round.
The Gauls retreat; the Britons loud huzza;
And touch'd with shame, with emulation stung,
So plied their cannon, plied their missil fires,
That soon in air the hapless Thunderer blew.10.
Blow prosperous breezes, swiftly sail
May no more dangerous fights retard thy way!
Soon Porto Santo's rocky heights they
Like clouds dim rising in the distant sky.
Glad Eurus whistles; laugh the sportive crew;
Each sail is set to catch the favouring gale,
While on the yard-arm the harpooner sits,5.
Strikes the boneta, or the shark insnares.
The little nautilus with purple pride
Expands his sails, and dances o'er the waves:
Small winged fishes on the shrouds alight;
And beauteous dolphins gently played around.10.
Tho' faster than the Tropic-bird they
Oft Junio cried, ah! when shall we see land?
Soon land they made: and now in thought he claspt
His Indian bride, and deem'd his toils o'erpaid.
She, no less amorous, every evening
On the cool margin of the purple main,
Intent her Junio's vessel to descry.
One eve, (faint calms for many a day
The winged dæmons of the tempest rose;
Thunder, and rain, and lightning's awful power.
She fled: could innocence, could beauty claim
Exemption from the grave; the æthereal Bolt,5.
That stretch'd her speechless, o'er her lovely head
Had innocently roll'd.
Mean while, impatient Junio lept
Regardless of the Dæmons of the storm.
Ah youth! what woes, too great for man to bear,
Are ready to burst on thee? Urge not so
Thy flying courser. Soon Theana's porch5.
Receiv'd him: at his sight, the antient slaves
Affrighted shriek, and to the chamber point:–
Confounded, yet unknowing what they meant,
He entered hasty–
Ah! what a sight for one who lov'd so
All pale and cold, in every feature death,
Theana lay; and yet a glimpse of joy
Played on her face, while with faint, faultering voice,
She thus addrest the youth, whom yet she knew.5.
"Welcome, my Junio, to thy native
"Thy sight repays this summons of my fate:
"Live, and live happy; sometimes think of me:
"By night, by day, you still engag'd my care;
"And next to God, you now my thoughts employ:5.
"Accept of this–My little all I give;
"Would it were larger"–Nature could no more;
She look'd, embrac'd him, with a groan expir'd.
But say, what strains, what language
The thousand pangs, which tore the lover's breast?
Upon her breathless corse himself he threw,
And to her clay-cold lips, with trembling haste,
Ten thousand kisses gave. He strove to speak;5.
Nor words he found: he claspt her in his arms;
He sigh'd, he swoon'd, look'd up, and died away.
One grave contains this hapless,
And still the Cane-isles tell their matchless love!
The End of Book
Hymn to the month of January, when crop begins.
Address. Planters have employment all the year round. Planters should be pious.
A ripe Cane-piece on fire at midnight. Crop begun. Cane cutting described.
Effects of music. Great care requisite in feeding the mill. Humanity towards
the maimed recommended. The tainted Canes should not be ground. Their use. How
to preserve the laths and mill-points from sudden squalls. Address to the Sun,
and praise of Antigua. A cattle-mill described. Care of mule,. Diseases to
which they are subject. A water-mill the least liable to interruption. Common
in Guadaloupe and Martinico. Praise of Lord Romney. The necessity of a strong,
clear fire, in boiling. Planters should always have a spare set of vessels,
because the iron furnaces are apt to crack, and copper vessels to melt. The
danger of throwing cold water into a thorough-heated-furnace. Cleanliness, and
skimming well, recommended. A boiling-house should be lofty, and open at top,
to the leeward. Constituent parts of vegetables. Sugar an essential salt. What
retards its granulation. How to forward it. Dumb Cane. Effects of it.
Bristol-lime the best temper. Various uses of Bristol lime. Good muscovado
described. Bermudas-lime recommended. The Negroes should not be hindered from
drinking the hot liquor. The chearfulness and healthiness of the Negroes in
crop-time. Boilers to be encouraged. They should neither boil the Sugar too
little, nor too much. When the Sugar is of too loose a grain, and about to boil
over the teache, or last copper, a little grease settles it, and makes it boil
closer. The French often mix sand with their Sugars. This practice not followed
by the English. A character. Of the skimmings. Their various uses. Of rum. Its
praise. A West-India prospect, when crop is finished. An address to the
Creoles, to live more upon their estates than they do. The reasons.10.
From scenes of deep distress, the
Emerging joyous, claps her dewy wings.
As when a pilgrim, in the howling waste,
Hath long time wandered, fearful at each step,
Of tumbling cliffs, fell serpents, whelming bogs;5.
At last, from some long eminence, descries
Fair haunts of social life; wide-cultur'd plains,
O'er which glad reapers pour; he chearly sings:
So she to sprightlier notes her pipe attunes,
Than e'er these mountains heard; to gratulate,10.
With duteous carols, the beginning year.
Hail, eldest birth of Time! in other
In the old world, with tempests usher'd in;
While rifled nature thine appearance wails,
And savage winter wields his iron mace:
But not the rockiest verge of these green isles,5.
Tho' mountains heapt on mountains brave the sky,
Dares winter, by his residence, prophane.
At times the ruffian, wrapt in murky state,
Inroads will, sly, attempt; but soon the sun,
Benign protector of the Cane-land isles,10.
Repells the invader, and his rude mace breaks.
Here, every mountain, every winding dell,
(Haunt of the Dryads; where, beneath the shade
Of broad-leaf'd china, idly they repose,
Charm'd with the murmur of the tinkling rill;15.
Charm'd with the hummings of the neighbouring hive;)
Welcome thy glad approach: but chief the Cane,
Whose juice now longs to murmur down the spout,
Hails thy lov'd coming; January, hail!
O M–! thou, whose polish'd mind contains
Each science useful to thy native isle!
Philosopher, without the hermit's spleen!
Polite, yet learned; and, tho' solid, gay!
Critic, whose head each beauty, fond, admires;5.
Whose heart each error flings in friendly shade!
Planter, whose youth sage cultivation taught
Each secret lesson of her sylvan school:
To thee the Muse a grateful tribute pays;
She owes to thee the precepts of her song:10.
Nor wilt thou, sour, refuse; tho' other cares,
The public welfare, claim thy busy hour;
With her to roam (thrice pleasing devious walk)
The ripened cane-piece; and, with her, to taste
(Delicious draught!) the nectar of the mill!15.
The planter's labour in a round
Ends with the year, and with the year begins.
Ye swains, to Heaven bend low in
Worship the Almighty; whose kind-fostering hand
Hath blest your labour, and hath given the cane
To rise superior to each menac'd ill.
Nor less, ye planters, in devotion,
That nor the heavenly bolt, nor casual spark,
Nor hand of malice may the crop destroy.
Ah me! what numerous, deafning bells,
What cries of horror startle the dull sleep?
What gleaming brightness makes, at midnight, day?
By its portentuous glare, too well I see
Palæmon's fate; the virtuous, and the wise!5.
Where were ye, watches, when the flame burst forth?
A little care had then the hydra quell'd:
But, now, what clouds of white smoke load the sky!
How strong, how rapid the combustion pours!
Aid not, ye winds! with your destroying breath,10.
The spreading vengeance.–They contemn my prayer.
Rous'd by the deafning bells, the
cries, the blaze;
From every quarter, in tumultuous bands,
The Negroes rush; and, 'mid the crackling flames,
Plunge, dæmon-like! All, all, urge every nerve:
This way, tear up those Canes; dash the fire out,5.
Which sweeps, with serpent-error, o'er the ground.
There, hew these down; their topmost branches burn:
And here bid all thy watery engines play;
For here the wind the burning deluge drives.
In vain.–More wide the blazing
More loud it roars, more bright it fires the pole!
And toward thy mansion, see, it bends its way.
Haste! far, O far, your infant-throng remove:
Quick from your stables drag your steeds and mules:5.
With well-wet blankets guard your cypress-roofs;
And where thy dried Canes in large stacks are pil'd.–
Efforts but serve to irritate the
Naught but thy ruin can their wrath appease.
Ah, my Palæmon! what avail'd thy care,
Oft to prevent the earliest dawn of day,
And walk thy ranges, at the noon of night?5.
What tho' no ills assail'd thy bunching sprouts,
And seasons pour'd obedient to thy will:
All, all must perish; nor shalt thou preserve
Wherewith to feed thy little orphan-throng.
Oh, may the Cane-isles know few
nights, like this!
For now the sail-clad points, impatient, wait
The hour of sweet release, to court the gale.
The late-hung coppers wish to feel the warmth,
Which well-dried fewel from the Cane imparts:5.
The Negroe-train, with placid looks, survey
Thy fields, which full perfection have attain'd,
And pant to wield the bill: (no surly watch
Dare now deprive them of the luscious Cane:)
Nor thou, my friend, their willing ardour check;10.
Encourage rather; cheerful toil is light.
So from no field, shall slow-pac'd oxen draw
More frequent loaded wanes; which many a day,
And many a night shall feed thy crackling mills
With richest offerings: while thy far seen flames,15.
Bursting thro' many a chimney, bright emblaze
The Æthiop-brow of night. And see, they pour
(Ere Phosphor his pale circlet yet withdraws,
What time grey dawn stands tip-toe on the hill,)
O'er the rich Cane-grove: Muse, their labour sing.20.
Some bending, of their sapless burden
The yellow jointed canes, (whose height exceeds
A mounted trooper, and whose clammy round
Measures two inches full;) and near the root
Lop the stem off, which quivers in their hand5.
With fond impatience: soon it's branchy spires,
(Food to thy cattle) it resigns; and soon
It's tender prickly tops, with eyes thick set,
To load with future crops thy long-hoed land.
These with their green, their pliant branches bound,10.
(For not a part of this amazing plant,
But serves some useful purpose) charge the young:
Not laziness declines this easy toil;
Even lameness from it's leafy pallet crawls,
To join the favoured gang. What of the Cane15.
Remains, and much the largest part remains,
Cut into junks a yard in length, and tied
In small light bundles; load the broad-wheel'd wane,
The mules crook-harnest, and the sturdier crew,
With sweet abundance. As on Lincoln-plains,20.
(Ye plains of Lincoln sound your Dyer's praise!)
When the lav'd snow-white flocks are numerous penn'd;
The senior swains, with sharpen'd shears, cut off
The fleecy vestment; others stir the tar;
And some impress, upon their captives sides,25.
Their master's cypher; while the infant throng
Strive by the horns to hold the struggling ram,
Proud of their prowess. Nor meanwhile the jest
Light-bandied round, but innocent of ill;
Nor choral song are wanting: eccho rings.30.
Nor need the driver, Æthiop
Thence more inhuman, crack his horrid whip;
From such dire sounds the indignant muse averts
Her virgin-ear, where musick loves to dwell:
'Tis malice now, 'tis wantonness of power5.
To lash the laughing, labouring, singing throng.
What cannot song? all nature feels its
The hind's blithe whistle, as thro' stubborn soils
He drives the shining share; more than the goad,
His tardy steers impells.–The muse hath seen,
When health danc'd frolic in her youthful veins,5.
And vacant gambols wing'd the laughing hours;
The muse hath seen on Annan's pastoral hills,
Of theft and slaughter erst the fell retreat,
But now the shepherd's best-beloved walk:
Hath seen the shepherd, with his sylvan pipe,10.
Lead on his flock o'er crags, thro' bogs, and streams,
A tedious journey; yet not weary they,
Drawn by the enchantment of his artless song.
What cannot musick?–When brown Ceres asks
The reapers sickle; what like magic sound,15.
Puff'd from sonorous bellows by the squeeze
Of tuneful artist, can the rage disarm
Of the swart dog-star, and make harvest light?
And now thy mills dance eager in the
Feed well their eagerness: but O beware;
Nor trust, between the steel-cas'd cylinders,
The hand incautious: off the member snapt
Thou'lt ever rue; sad spectacle of woe!5.
Are there, the muse can scarce believe
Are there, who lost to every feeling sense,
To reason, interest lost; their slaves desert,
And manumit them, generous boon! to starve
Maim'd by imprudence, or the hand of Heaven?5.
The good man feeds his blind, his aged steed,
That in his service spent his vigorous prime:
And dares a mortal to his fellow man,
(For spite of vanity, thy slaves are men)
Deny protection? Muse suppress the tale.10.
Ye! who in bundles bind the lopt-off
But chiefly ye! who feed the tight-brac'd mill;
In separate parcels, far, the infected fling:
Of bad Cane-juice the least admixture spoils
The richest, soundest; thus, in pastoral walks,
One tainted sheep contaminates the fold.
Nor yet to dung-heaps thou resign the
Which or the sun hath burnt, or rats have gnaw'd.
These, to small junks reduc'd, and in huge casks
Steept, where no cool winds blow; do thou ferment:–
Then, when from his entanglements inlarg'd5.
Th' evasive spirit mounts; by Vulcan's aid,
(Nor Amphitryte will her help deny,)
Do thou through all his winding ways pursue
The runaway; till in thy sparkling bowl
Confin'd, he dances; more a friend to life,10.
And joy, than that Nepenthe fam'd of yore,
Which Polydamna, Thone's imperial queen,
Taught Jove-born Helen on the banks of Nile.
As on old ocean, when the wind blows high,
The cautious mariner contracts his sail;
So here, when squaly bursts the speeding gale,
If thou from ruin would'st thy points preserve,
Less-bellying canvass to the storm oppose.5.
Yet the faint breeze oft flags on
Nor tremulates the coco's airiest arch,
While the red sun darts deluges of fire;
And soon (if on the gale thy crop depend,)
Will all thy hopes of opulence defeat.5.
"Informer of the planetary train!"
Source undiminished of all-cheering light,
Of roseat beauty, and heart-gladning joy!
Fountain of being, on whose water broods
The organic spirit, principle of life!5.
Lord of the seasons! who in courtly pomp
Lacquay thy presence, and with glad dispatch,
Pour at thy bidding, o'er the land and sea!
Parent of Vegetation, whose fond grasp
The Sugar-Cane displays; and whose green car10.
Soft-stealing dews, with liquid pearls adorn'd,
Fat-fostering rains, and buxom genial airs
Attend triumphant! Why, ah why so oft,
Why hath Antigua, sweetly social isle,
Nurse of each art; where science yet finds friends15.
Amid this waste of waters; wept thy rage?
Then trust not, planter, to the
But in Tobago's endless forests fell
The tall tough hiccory, or calaba.
Of this, be forc'd two pillars in the ground,
Four paces distant, and two cubits high:5.
Other two pillars raise; the wood the same,
Of equal size and height. The Calaba
Than steel more durable, contemns the rain,
And sun's intensest beam; the worm, that pest
Of mariners, which winds its fatal way10.
Through heart of British oak, reluctant leaves
The closer calaba.–By transverse beams
Secure the whole; and in the pillar'd frame,
Sink, artist, the vast bridge-tree's mortis'd form
Of ponderous hiccory; hiccory time defies:15.
To this be nail'd three polish'd iron plates;
Whereon, three steel Capouces, turn with ease,
Of three long rollers, twice-nine inches round,
With iron cas'd, and jagg'd with many a cogg.
The central Cylinder exceeds the rest20.
In portly size, thence aptly Captain nam'd.
To this be rivetted th' extended sweeps;
And harness to each sweep two seasoned mules:
They pacing round, give motion to the whole.
The close brac'd cylinders with ease revolve25.
On their greas'd axle; and with ease reduce
To trash, the Canes thy negroes throw between.
Fast flows the liquor thro' the lead-lin'd spouts;
And depurated by opposing wires,
In the receiver floats a limpid stream.30.
So twice five casks, with muscovado fill'd,
Shall from thy staunchions drip, ere Day's bright god
Hath in the Atlantic six times cool'd his wheels.
Wouldst thou against calamity
Let a well shingled roof, from Raleigh's land,
Defend thy stock from noon's inclement blaze,
And from night-dews; for night no respite knows.
Nor, when their destin'd labour is
Be thou asham'd to lead the panting mules
(The muse, soft parent of each social grace,
With eyes of love God's whole creation views)
To the warm pen; where copious forage strowed,5.
And strenuous rubbing, renovate their strength.
So, fewer ails, (alas, how prone to ails!)
Their days shall shorten; ah, too short at best!
For not, even then, my friend, art
From fortune: spite of all thy steady care,
What ills, that laugh to scorn Machaon's art,
Await thy cattle! farcy's tabid form,
Joint-racking spasms, and cholic's pungent pang,5.
Need the muse tell? which, in one luckless moon,
Thy sheds dispeople; when perhaps thy groves,
To full perfection shot, by day, by night,
Indesinent demand their vigorous toil.
Then happiest he, for whom the Naiads
From rocky urns, the never-ceasing stream,
To turn his rollers with unbought dispatch.
In Karukera's rich well-water'd
In Matanina! boast of Albion's arms,
The brawling Naiads for the planters toil,
Howe'er unworthy; and, thro' solemn scenes,
Romantic, cool, with rocks and woods between,5.
Enchant the senses! but, among thy swains,
Sweet Liamuiga! who such bliss can boast?
Yes, Romney, thou may'st boast; of British heart,
Of courtly manners, join'd to antient worth:
Friend to thy Britain's every blood-earn'd right,10.
From tyrants wrung, the many or the few.
By wealth, by titles, by ambition's lure,
Not to be tempted from fair honour's path:
While others, falsely flattering their Prince,
Bold disapprov'd, or by oblique surmise15.
Their terror hinted, of the people arm'd;
Indignant, in the senate, he uprose,
And, with the well-urg'd energy of zeal,
Their specious, subtle sophistry disprov'd;
The importance, the necessity display'd,20.
Of civil armies, freedom's surest guard!
Nor in the senate didst thou only win
The palm of eloquence, securely bold;
But rear'd'st thy banners, fluttering in the wind:
Kent, from each hamlet, pour'd her marshal'd swains,25.
To hurl defiance on the threatening Gaul.
Thy foaming coppers well with fewel
For a clear, strong, continued fire improves
Thy muscovado's colour, and its grain.–
Yet vehement heat, protracted, will consume
Thy vessels, whether from the martial mine,5.
Or from thine ore, bright Venus, they are drawn;
Or hammer, or hot fusion, give them form.
If prudence guides thee then, thy stores shall hold
Of well-siz'd vessels a complete supply:
For every hour, thy boilers cease to skim,10.
(Now Cancer reddens with the solar ray,)
Defeats thy honest purposes of gain.
Nor small the risque, (when piety, or
Force thee from boiling to desist) to lave
Thy heated furnace, with the gelid stream.
The chemist knows, when all-dissolving fire
Bids the metalline ore abruptly flow;5.
What dread explosions, and what dire effects,
A few cold drops of water will produce,
Uncautious, on the novel fluid thrown.
For grain and colour, wouldst thou
win, my friend,
At every curious mart, the constant palm?
O'er all thy works let cleanliness preside,
Child of frugality; and, as the skum
Thick mantles o'er the boiling wave, do thou5.
The skum that mantles carefully remove.
From bloating dropsy, from pulmonic
Would'st thou defend thy boilers, (prime of slaves,)
For days, for nights, for weeks, for months, involv'd
In the warm vapour's all-relaxing steam;
Thy boiling-house be lofty: all atop5.
Open, and pervious to the tropic breeze;
Whose cool perflation, wooed through many a grate,
Dispells the steam, and gives the lungs to play.
The skill'd in chemia, boast of modern
Know from experiment, the sire of truth,
In many a plant that oil, and acid juice,
And ropy mucilage, by nature live:
These, envious, stop the much desir'd embrace5.
Of the essential salts, tho' coction bid
The aqueous particles to mount in air.
'Mong salts essential, sugar wins the
For taste, for colour, and for various use:
And, in the nectar of the yellowest Cane,
Much acor, oil, and mucilage abound:
But in the less mature, from mountain-land,5.
These harsh intruders so redundant float,
Muster so strong, as scarce to be subdued.
Muse, sing the ways to quell them.
Some use Cane,
That Cane, whose juices to the tongue apply'd,
In silence lock it, sudden, and constrain'd,
(Death to Xantippe,) with distorting pain.
Nor is it not effectual: But wouldst
Have rival brokers for thy cades contend;
Superior arts remain.–Small casks provide,
Replete with lime-stone thoroughly calcin'd,
And from the air secur'd: This Bristol sends,5.
Bristol, Britannia's second mart and eye!
Nor "to thy waters only trust for
Bristol; nor to thy beamy diamonds trust:
Tho' these oft deck Britannia's lovely fair;
And those oft save the guardians of her realm.
Thy marble-quarries claim the voice of praise,5.
Which rich incrusts thy Avon's banks, sweet banks!
Tho' not to you young Shakespear, Fancy's child,
All-rudely warbled his first woodland notes;
Tho' not your caves, while terror stalk'd around,
Saw him essay to clutch the ideal sword,10.
With drops of blood distain'd: yet, lovely banks,
On you reclin'd, another tun'd his pipe;
Whom all the Muses emulously love,
And in whose strains your praises shall endure,
While to Sabrina speeds your healing stream.15.
Bristol, without thy marble, by the
Calcin'd to whiteness, vain the stately reed
Would swell with juice mellifluent; heat would soon
The strongest, best-hung furnaces, consume.
Without its aid the cool-imprison'd stream,5.
Seldom allow'd to view the face of day,
Tho' late it roam'd a denizen of air;
Would steal from its involuntary bounds,
And, by sly windings, set itself at large.
But chief thy lime the experienc'd boiler loves,10.
Nor loves ill-founded; when no other art
Can bribe to union the coy floating salts,
A proper portion of this precious dust,
Cast in the wave, (so showers alone of gold
Could win fair Danae to the God's embrace;)15.
With nectar'd muscovado soon will charge
Thy shelving coolers, which, severely press'd
Between the fingers, not resolves; and which
Rings in the cask; and or a light-brown hue,
Or thine, more precious silvery-grey, assumes.20.
The fam'd Bermuda's ever-healthy
More fam'd by gentle Waller's deathless strains,
Than for their cedars, which, insulting, fly
O'er the wide ocean; 'mid their rocks contain
A stone, which, when calcin'd, (experience says,)5.
Is only second to Sabrina's lime.
While flows the juice mellifluent from
Grudge not, my friend, to let thy slaves, each morn,
But chief the sick and young, at setting day,
Themselves regale with oft-repeated draughts
Of tepid Nectar; so shall health and strength5.
Confirm thy Negroes, and make labour light.
While flame thy chimneys, while thy
How blithe, how jocund, the plantation smiles!
By day, by night, resounds the choral song
Of glad barbarity; serene, the sun
Shines not intensely hot; the trade-wind blows:5.
How sweet, how silken, is its noontide breath?
While to far climes the fell destroyer, Death,
Wings his dark flight. Then seldom pray for rain:
Rather for cloudless days thy prayers prefer;
For, if the skies too frequently relent,10.
Crude flows the Cane-juice, and will long elude
The boiler's wariest skill: thy Canes will spring
To an unthrifty loftiness; or, weighed
Down by their load, (Ambition's curse,) decay.
Encourage thou thy boilers; much
On their skill'd efforts. If too soon they strike,
E'er all the watery particles have fled;
Or lime sufficient granulate the juice:
In vain the thickning liquor is effus'd;5.
An heterogeneous, an uncertain mass,
And never in thy coolers to condense.
Or, planter, if the coction they
Beyond its stated time; the viscous wave
Will in huge flinty masses chrystalize,
Which forceful fingers scarce can crumble down;
And which with its melasses ne'er will part:5.
Yet this, fast-dripping in nectarious drops,
Not only betters what remains, but when
With art fermented, yields a noble wine,
Than which nor Gallia, nor the Indian clime,
Where rolls the Ganges, can a nobler show.10.
So misers in their coffers lock that gold;
Which, if allowed at liberty to roam,
Would better them, and benefit mankind.
In the last coppers, when the
With sudden fury swells; some grease immix'd,
The foaming tumult sudden will compose,
And force to union the divided grain.
So when two swarms in airy battle join,5.
The winged heroes heap the bloody field;
Until some dust, thrown upward in the sky,
Quell the wild conflict, and sweet peace restore.
False Gallia's sons, that hoe the
Mix with their Sugar, loads of worthless sand,
Fraudful, their weight of sugar to increase.
Far be such guile from Britain's honest swains.
Such arts, awhile, the unwary may surprise,
And benefit the Impostor; but, ere long,
The skilful buyer will the fraud detect,5.
And, with abhorrence, reprobate the name.
Fortune had crown'd Avaro's younger
With a vast tract of land, on which the cane
Delighted grew, nor ask'd the toil of art.
The Sugar-bakers deem'd themselves secure,
Of mighty profit, could they buy his cades;5.
For, whiteness, hardness, to the leeward-crop,
His muscovado gave. But, not content
With this pre-eminence of honest gain,
He baser sugars started in his casks;
His own, by mixing sordid things, debas'd.10.
One year the fraud succeeded; wealth immense
Flowed in upon him, and he blest his wiles:
The next, the brokers spurn'd the adulterate mass,
Both on the Avon and the banks of Thame.
Be thrifty, planter, even thy
For, planter, know, the refuse of the Cane
Serves needful purposes. Are barbecues
The cates thou lov'st? What like rich skimmings feed
The grunting, bristly kind? Your labouring mules5.
They soon invigorate: Give old Baynard these,
Untir'd he trudges in his destin'd round;
Nor need the driver crack his horrid lash.
Yet, with small quantities indulge the
Whom skimmings ne'er have fatten'd: else, too fond,
So gluttons use, he'll eat intemperate meals;
And, staggering, fall the prey of ravening sharks.
But say, ye boon companions, in what
What grateful strains, shall I record the praise
Of their best produce, heart-recruiting rum?
Thrice wholesome spirit! well-matur'd with age,
Thrice grateful to the palate! when, with thirst,5.
With heat, with labour, and wan care opprest,
I quaff thy bowl, where fruit my hands have cull'd,
Round, golden fruit; where water from the spring,
Which dripping coolness spreads her umbrage round;
With hardest, whitest sugar, thrice refin'd;10.
Dilates my soul with genuine joy; low care
I spurn indignant; toil a pleasure seems.
For not Marne's flowery banks, nor Tille's green bounds,
Where Ceres with the God of vintage reigns,
In happiest union; not Vigornian hills,15.
Pomona's lov'd abode, afford to man
Goblets more priz'd, or laudable of taste,
To slake parch'd thirst, and mitigate the clime.
Yet, 'mid this blest ebriety, some
For friends I left in Albion's distant isle,
For Johnson, Percy, White, escape mine eyes:
For her, fair Auth'ress! whom first Calpe's rocks
A sportive infant saw; and whose green years5.
True genius blest with her benignest gifts
Of happiest fancy. O, were ye all here,
O, were ye here; with him, my Pæon's son!
Long-known, of worth approv'd, thrice candid soul!
How would your converse charm the lonely hour?10.
Your converse, where mild wisdom tempers mirth;
And charity, the petulance of wit;
How would your converse polish my rude lays,
With what new, noble images adorn?
Then should I scarce regret the banks of Thames,15.
All as we sat beneath that sand-box shade;
Whence the delighted eye expatiates wide
O'er the fair landscape; where in loveliest forms,
Green cultivation hath array'd the land.
See! there, what mills, like giants
raise their arms,
To quell the speeding gale! what smoke ascends
From every boiling house! What structures rise,
Neat tho' not lofty, pervious to the breeze;
With galleries, porches, or piazzas grac'd!5.
Nor not delightful are those reed-built huts,
On yonder hill, that front the rising sun;
With plantanes, with banana's bosom'd-deep,
That flutter in the wind: where frolick goats,
Butt the young negroes, while their swarthy sires,10.
With ardent gladness wield the bill; and hark,
The crop is finish'd, how they rend the sky!–
Nor, beauteous only shows the cultured
From this cool station. No less charms the eye
That wild interminable waste of waves:
While on the horizon's farthest verge are seen
Islands of different shape, and different size;5.
While sail-clad ships, with their sweet produce fraught,
Swell on the straining sight; while near yon rock,
On which ten thousand wings with ceaseless clang
Their airies build, a water spout descends,
And shakes mid ocean; and while there below,10.
That town, embowered in the different shade
Of tamarinds, panspans, and papaws, o'er which
A double Iris throws her painted arch,
Shows commerce toiling in each crowded street,
And each throng'd street with limpid currents lav'd.15.
What tho' no bird of song, here charms
With her wild minstrelsy; far, far beyond,
The unnatural quavers of Hesperian throats!
Tho' the chaste poet of the vernal woods,
That shuns rude folly's din, delight not here5.
The listening eve; and tho' no herald-lark
Here leave his couch, high-towering to descry
The approach of dawn, and hail her with his song:
Yet not unmusical the tinkling lapse
Of yon cool argent rill, which Phoebus gilds10.
With his first orient rays; yet musical,
Those buxom airs that through the plantanes play,
And tear with wantonness their leafy scrolls;
Yet not unmusical the waves hoarse sound,
That dashes, sullen, on the distant shore;15.
Yet musical those little insects hum,
That hover round us, and to reason's ear,
Deep, moral truths convey; while every beam
Flings on them transient tints, which vary when
They wave their purple plumes; yet musical20.
The love-lorn cooing of the mountain-dove,
That woos to pleasing thoughtfulness the soul;
But chief the breeze, that murmurs through yon canes,
Enchants the ear with tunable delight.
While such fair scenes adorn these
Why will their sons, ungrateful, roam abroad?
Why spend their opulence in other climes?
Say, is pre-eminence your partial
Distinction courts you here; the senate calls.
Here, crouching slaves, attendant wait your nod:
While there, unnoted, but for folly's garb,
For folly's jargon; your dull hours ye pass,5.
Eclips'd by titles, and superior wealth.
Does martial ardour fire your generous
Fly to your native isles: Bellona, there,
Hath long time rear'd her bloody flag; these isles
Your strenuous arms demand; for ye are brave!
Nor longer to the lute and taber's sound5.
Weave antic measures. O, could my weak song,
O could my song, like his, heaven-favoured bard,
Who led desponding Sparta's oft-beat hosts,
To victory, to glory; fire your souls
With English ardor! for now England's swains,10.
(The Man of Norfolk, swains of England, thank;)
All emulous, to Freedom's standard fly,
And drive invasion from their native shore:
How would my soul exult with conscious pride;
Nor grudge those wreaths Tyrtæus gain'd of yore.15.
Or are ye fond of rich luxurious
Can aught in Europe emulate the pine,
Or fruit forbidden, native of your isles?
Sons of Apicius, say, can Europe's seas,
Can aught the edible creation yields,5.
Compare with turtle, boast of land and wave?
Can Europe's seas, in all their finny realms,
Aught so delicious as the Jew-fish show?
Tell me what viands, land or streams produce,
The large, black, female, moulting crab excel?10.
A richer flavour not wild Cambria's hills,
Nor Scotia's rocks with heath and thyme o'erspread,
Give to their flocks; than, lone Barbuda, you,
Than you, Anguilla, to your sheep impart.
Even Britain's vintage, here, improv'd, we quaff;15.
Even Lusitanian, even Hesperian wines.
Those from the Rhine's imperial banks (poor Rhine!
How have thy banks been died with brother-blood?
Unnatural warfare!) strength and flavour gain
In this delicious clime. Besides, the Cane20.
Wafted to every quarter of the globe,
Makes the vast produce of the world your own.
Or rather, doth the love of nature
Its mighty love your chief attention claim?
Leave Europe; there, through all her coyest ways,25.
Her secret mazes, nature is pursued:
But here, with savage loneliness, she reigns
On yonder peak, whence giddy fancy looks,
Affrighted, on the labouring main below.
Heavens! what stupendous, what unnumbered trees,30.
"Stage above stage, in various verdure drest,"
Unprofitable shag its airy cliffs!
Heavens! what new shrubs, what herbs with useless bloom,
Adorn its channel'd sides; and, in its caves
What sulphurs, ores, what earths and stones abound!35.
There let philosophy conduct thy steps,
"For naught is useless made:" With candid search,
Examine all the properties of things;
Immense discoveries soon will crown your toil,
Your time will soon repay. Ah, when will cares,40.
The cares of Fortune, less my minutes claim?
Then, with what joy, what energy of soul,
Will I not climb yon mountain's airiest brow!
The dawn, the burning noon, the setting sun,
The midnight-hour, shall hear my constant vows45.
To Nature; see me prostrate at her shrine!
And, O, if haply I may aught invent
Of use to mortal man, life to prolong,
To soften, or adorn; what genuine joy,
What exultation of supreme delight,50.
Will swell my raptured bosom. Then, when death
Shall call me hence, I'll unrepining go;
Nor envy conquerors their storied tombs,
Tho' not a stone point out my humble grave.
The End of Book
Invocation to the Genius of Africa. Address. Negroes
when bought should be young, and strong. The Congo-negroes are fitter for the
house and trades, than for the field. The Gold-Coast, but especially the
Papaw-negroes, make the best field-negroes: but even these, if advanced in
years, should not be purchased. The marks of a sound negroe at a negroe sale.
Where the men do nothing but hunt, fish or fight, and all field drudgery is
left to the women; these are to be preferred to their husbands. The Minnahs
make good tradesmen, but addicted to suicide. The Mundingos, in particular,
subject to worms; and the Congas, to dropsical disorders. How salt-water, or
new negroes should be seasoned. Some negroes eat dirt. Negroes should be
habituated by gentle degrees to field labour. This labour, when compared to
that in lead-mines, or of those who work in the gold and silver mines of South
America, is not only less toilsome, but far more healthy. Negroes should always
be treated with humanity. Praise of freedom. Of the dracunculus, or
dragon-worm. Of chigres. Of the yaws. Might not this disease be imparted by
inoculation? Of worms, and their multiform appearance. Praise of commerce. Of
the imaginary disorders of negroes, especially those caused by their conjurers
or Obiamen. The composition and supposed virtues of a magic-phiol.
Field-negroes should not begin to work before six in the morning, and should
leave off between eleven and twelve; and beginning again at two, should finish
before sunset. Of the weekly allowance of negroes. The young, the old, the
sickly, and even the lazy, must have their victuals prepared for them. Of
negroe ground, and its various productions. To be fenced in, and watched. Of an
American garden. Of the situation of the negroe-huts. How best defended from
fire. The great negroe-dance described. Drumming, and intoxicating spirits not
to be allowed. Negroes should be made to marry in their masters plantation.
Inconveniences arising from the contrary practice. Negroes to be cloathed once
a year, and before Christmas. Praise of Lewis XIV. for the Code Noir. A body of
laws of this kind recommended to the English sugar colonies. Praise of the
river Thames. A moon-light landscape and vision.12.
Genius of Africk! whether thou
The castled elephant; or at the source,
(While howls the desart fearfully around,)
Of thine own Niger, sadly thou reclin'st
Thy temples shaded by the tremulous palm,5.
Or quick papaw, whose top is necklac'd round
With numerous rows of party-colour'd fruit:
Or hear'st thou rather from the rocky banks
Of Rio Grandê, or black Sanaga?
Where dauntless thou the headlong torrent brav'st10.
In search of gold, to brede thy wooly locks,
Or with bright ringlets ornament thine ears,
Thine arms, and ankles: O attend my song.
A muse that pities thy distressful state;
Who sees, with grief, thy sons in fetters bound;15.
Who wishes freedom to the race of man;
Thy nod assenting craves: dread Genius, come!
Yet vain thy presence, vain thy
Unless once more the muses, that erewhile
Upheld me fainting in my past career,
Through Caribbe's cane-isles; kind condescend
To guide my footsteps, through parch'd Libya's wilds;5.
And bind my sun-burnt brow with other bays,
Than ever deck'd the Sylvan bard before.
Say, will my Melvil, from the public
Withdraw one moment, to the muses shrine?
Who smit with thy fair fame, industrious cull
An Indian wreath to mingle with thy bays,
And deck the hero, and the scholar's brow!5.
Wilt thou, whose mildness smooths the face of war,
Who round the victor-blade the myrtle twin'st,
And mak'st subjection loyal and sincere;
O wilt thou gracious hear the unartful strain,
Whose mild instructions teach, no trivial theme,10.
What care the jetty African requires?
Yes, thou wilt deign to hear; a man thou art
Who deem'st nought foreign that belongs to man.
In mind, and aptitude for useful
The negroes differ: muse that difference sing.
Whether to wield the hoe, or guide the
Or for domestic uses thou intend'st
The sunny Libyan: from what clime they spring,
It not imports; if strength and youth be theirs.
Yet those from Congo's wide-extended
Through which the long Zaire winds with chrystal stream,
Where lavish Nature sends indulgent forth
Fruits of high flavour, and spontaneous seeds
Of bland nutritious quality, ill bear5.
The toilsome field; but boast a docile mind,
And happiness of features. These, with care,
Be taught each nice mechanic art: or train'd
To houshold offices: their ductile souls
Will all thy care, and all thy gold repay.10.
But, if the labours of the field
Thy chief attention; and the ambrosial cane
Thou long'st to see, with spiry frequence, shade
Many an acre: planter, chuse the slave,
Who sails from barren climes; where art alone,5.
Offspring of rude necessity, compells
The sturdy native, or to plant the soil,
Or stem vast rivers for his daily food.
Such are the children of the Golden
Such the Papaws, of negroes far the best:
And such the numerous tribes, that skirt the shore,
From rapid Volta to the distant Rey.
But, planter, from what coast soe'er
Buy not the old: they ever sullen prove;
With heart-felt anguish, they lament their home;
They will not, cannot work; they never learn
Thy native language; they are prone to ails;5.
And oft by suicide their being end.–
Must thou from Africk reinforce thy
Let health and youth their every sinew firm;
Clear roll their ample eye; their tongue be red;
Broad swell their chest; their shoulders wide expand;
Not prominent their belly; clean and strong5.
Their thighs and legs, in just proportion rise.
Such soon will brave the fervours of the clime;
And free from ails, that kill thy negroe-train,
A useful servitude will long support.
Yet, if thine own, thy childrens life,
Buy not a Cormantee, tho' healthy, young.
Of breed too generous for the servile field;
They, born to freedom in their native land,
Chuse death before dishonourable bonds:5.
Or, fir'd with vengeance, at the midnight hour,
Sudden they seize thine unsuspecting watch,
And thine own poinard bury in thy breast.
At home, the men, in many a sylvan
Their rank tobacco, charm of sauntering minds,
From clayey tubes inhale; or, vacant, beat
For prey the forest; or, in war's dread ranks,
Their country's foes affront: while, in the field,5.
Their wives plant rice, or yams, or lofty maize,
Fell hunger to repel. Be these thy choice:
They, hardy, with the labours of the Cane
Soon grow familiar; while unusual toil,
And new severities their husbands kill.10.
The slaves from Minnali are of
But, when the bill, or hammer, they affect;
They soon perfection reach. But fly, with care,
The Moco-nation; they themselves destroy.
Worms lurk in all: yet, pronest they
Who from Mundingo sail. When therefore such
Thou buy'st, for sturdy and laborious they,
Straight let some learned leach strong medicines give,
Till food and climate both familiar grow.5.
Thus, tho' from rise to set, in Phoebus' eye,
They toil, unceasing; yet, at night, they'll sleep,
Lap'd in Elysium; and, each day, at dawn,
Spring from their couch, as blythsome as the sun.
One precept more, it much imports to
The Blacks, who drink the Quanza's lucid stream,
Fed by ten thousand springs, are prone to bloat,
Whether at home or in these ocean-isles:
And tho' nice art the water may subdue,5.
Yet many die; and few, for many a year,
Just strength attain to labour for their lord.
Would'st thou secure thine Ethiop from
Which change of climate, change of waters breed,
And food unusual? let Machaon draw
From each some blood, as age and sex require;
And well with vervain, well with sempre-vive,5.
Unload their bowels.–These, in every hedge,
Spontaneous grow.–Nor will it not conduce
To give what chemists, in mysterious phrase,
Term the white eagle; deadly foe to worms.
But chief do thou, my friend, with hearty food,10.
Yet easy of digestion, likest that
Which they at home regal'd on; renovate
Their sea-worn appetites. Let gentle work,
Or rather playful exercise, amuse
The novel gang: and far be angry words;15.
Far ponderous chains; and far disheartning blows.–
From fruits restrain their eagerness; yet if
The acajou, haply, in thy garden bloom,
With cherries, or of white or purple hue,
Thrice wholesome fruit in this relaxing clime!20.
Safely thou may'st their appetite indulge.
Their arid skins will plump, their features shine:
No rheums, no dysenteric ails torment:
The thirsty hydrops flies.–'Tis even averr'd,
(Ah, did experience sanctify the fact;25.
How many Lybians now would dig the soil,
Who pine in hourly agonies away!)
This pleasing fruit, if turtle join its aid,
Removes that worst of ails, disgrace of art,
The loathsome leprosy's infectious bane.30.
There are, the muse hath oft abhorrent
Who swallow dirt; (so the chlorotic fair
Oft chalk prefer to the most poignant cates:)
Such, dropsy bloats, and to sure death consigns;
Unless restrain'd from this unwholesome food,5.
By soothing words, by menaces, by blows:
Nor yet will threats, or blows, or soothing words,
Perfect their cure; unless thou, Pæan, deign'st
By medicine's power their cravings to subdue.
To easy labour first inure thy slaves;
Extremes are dangerous. With industrious search,
Let them fit grassy provender collect
For thy keen stomach'd herds.–But when the earth
Hath made her annual progress round the sun,5.
What time the conch or bell resounds, they may
All to the Cane-ground, with thy gang, repair.
Nor, Negroe, at thy destiny
Tho' doom'd to toil from dawn to setting sun.
How far more pleasant is thy rural task,
Than theirs who sweat, sequester'd from the day,
In dark tartarean caves, sunk far beneath5.
The earth's dark surface; where sulphureous flames,
Oft from their vapoury prisons bursting wild,
To dire explosion give the cavern'd deep,
And in dread ruin all its inmates whelm?–
Nor fateful only is the bursting flame;10.
The exhalations of the deep-dug mine,
Tho' slow, shake from their wings as sure a death.
With what intense severity of pain
Hath the afflicted muse, in Scotia, seen
The miners rack'd, who toil for fatal lead?15.
What cramps, what palsies shake their feeble limbs,
Who, on the margin of the rocky Drave,
Trace silver's fluent ore? Yet white men these!
How far more happy ye, than those poor slaves,
Who, whilom, under native, gracious chiefs,
Incas and emperors, long time enjoy'd
Mild government, with every sweet of life,
In blissful climates? See them dragg'd in chains,5.
By proud insulting tyrants, to the mines
Which once they call'd their own, and then despis'd!
See, in the mineral bosom of their land,
How hard they toil! how soon their youthful limbs
Feel the decrepitude of age! how soon10.
Their teeth desert their sockets! and how soon
Shaking paralysis unstrings their frame!
Yet scarce, even then, are they allow'd to view
The glorious God of day, of whom they beg,
With earnest hourly supplications, death;15.
Yet death slow comes, to torture them the more!
With these compar'd, ye sons of Afric,
How far more happy is your lot? Bland health,
Of ardent eye, and limb robust, attends
Your custom'd labour; and, should sickness seize,
With what solicitude are ye not nurs'd!–5.
Ye Negroes, then, your pleasing task pursue;
And, by your toil, deserve your master's care.
When first your Blacks are novel to
Study their humours: Some, soft-soothing words;
Some, presents; and some, menaces subdue;
And some I've known, so stubborn is their kind,
Whom blows, alas! could win alone to toil.5.
Yet, planter, let humanity
Perhaps thy Negroe, in his native land,
Possest large fertile plains, and slaves, and herds:
Perhaps, whene'er he deign'd to walk abroad,
The richest silks, from where the Indus rolls,5.
His limbs invested in their gorgeous pleats:
Perhaps he wails his wife, his children, left
To struggle with adversity: Perhaps
Fortune, in battle for his country fought,
Gave him a captive to his deadliest foe:10.
Perhaps, incautious, in his native fields,
(On pleasurable scenes his mind intent)
All as he wandered; from the neighbouring grove,
Fell ambush dragg'd him to the hated main.–
Were they even sold for crimes; ye polish'd, say!15.
Ye, to whom Learning opes her amplest page!
Ye, whom the knowledge of a living God
Should lead to virtue! Are ye free from crimes?
Ah pity, then, these uninstructed swains;
And still let mercy soften the decrees20.
Of rigid justice, with her lenient hand.
Oh, did the tender muse possess the
Which monarchs have, and monarchs oft abuse:
'Twould be the fond ambition of her soul,
To quell tyrannic sway; knock off the chains
Of heart-debasing slavery; give to man,5.
Of every colour and of every clime,
Freedom, which stamps him image of his God.
Then laws, Oppression's scourge, fair Virtue's prop,
Offspring of Wisdom! should impartial reign,
To knit the whole in well-accorded strife:10.
Servants, not slaves; of choice, and not compell'd;
The Blacks should cultivate the Cane-land isles.
Say, shall the muse the various ills
Which Negroe-nations feel? Shall she describe
The worm that subtly winds into their flesh,
All as they bathe them in their native streams?
There, with fell increment, it soon attains5.
A direful length of harm. Yet, if due skill,
And proper circumspection are employed,
It may be won its volumes to wind round
A leaden cylinder: But, O, beware,
No rashness practise; else 'twill surely snap,10.
And suddenly, retreating, dire produce
An annual lameness to the tortured Moor.
Nor only is the dragon worm to
Fell, winged insects, which the visual ray
Scarcely discerns, their sable feet and hands
Oft penetrate; and, in the fleshy nest,
Myriads of young produce; which soon destroy5.
The parts they breed in; if assiduous care,
With art, extract not the prolific foe.
Or, shall she sing, and not debase her
The pest peculiar to the Æthiop-kind,
The yaw's infectious bane?–The infected far
In huts, to leeward, lodge; or near the main.
With heartning food, with turtle, and with conchs;5.
The flowers of sulphur, and hard niccars burnt,
The lurking evil from the blood expel,
And throw it on the surface: There in spots
Which cause no pain, and scanty ichor yield,
It chiefly breaks about the arms and hips,10.
A virulent contagion!–When no more
Round knobby spots deform, but the disease
Seems at a pause: then let the learned leach
Give, in due dose, live-silver from the mine;
Till copious spitting the whole taint exhaust.–15.
Nor thou repine, tho' half-way round the sun,
This globe, her annual progress shall absolve;
Ere, clear'd, thy slave from all infection shine.
Nor then be confident; successive crops
Of defoedations oft will spot the skin:20.
These thou, with turpentine and guaiac pods,
Reduc'd by coction to a wholesome draught,
Total remove, and give the blood its balm.
Say, as this malady but once
The sons of Guinea, might not skill ingraft
(Thus, the small-pox are happily convey'd;)
This ailment early to thy Negroe-train?
Yet, of the ills which torture Libya's
Worms tyrannize the worst. They, Proteus-like,
Each symptom of each malady assume;
And, under every mask, the assassins kill.
Now, in the guise of horrid spasms, they writhe5.
The tortured body, and all sense o'er-power.
Sometimes, like Mania, with her head downcast,
They cause the wretch in solitude to pine;
Or frantic, bursting from the strongest chains,
To frown with look terrific, not his own.10.
Sometimes like Ague, with a shivering mien,
The teeth gnash fearful, and the blood runs chill:
Anon the ferment maddens in the veins,
And a false vigour animates the frame.
Again, the dropsy's bloated mask they steal;15.
Or, "melt with minings of the hectic fire."
Say, to such various mimic forms of
What remedies shall puzzled art oppose?–
Thanks to the Almighty, in each path-way hedge,
Rank cow-itch grows, whose sharp unnumber'd stings,
Sheath'd in Melasses, from their dens expell,5.
Fell dens of death, the reptile lurking foe.–
A powerful vermifuge, in skilful hands,
The worm-grass proves; yet, even in hands of skill,
Sudden, I've known it dim the visual ray
For a whole day and night. There are who use10.
(And sage Experience justifies the use)
The mineral product of the Cornish mine;
Which in old times, ere Britain laws enjoyed,
The polish'd Tyrians, monarchs of the main,
In their swift ships convey'd to foreign realms:15.
The sun by day, by night the northern star,
Their course conducted.–Mighty commerce, hail!
By thee the sons of Attic's sterile land,
A scanty number, laws impos'd on Greece:
Nor aw'd they Greece alone; vast Asia's King,20.
Tho' girt by rich arm'd myriads, at their frown
Felt his heart wither on his farthest throne.
Perennial source of population thou!
While scanty peasants plough the flowery plains
Of purple Enna; from the Belgian fens,25.
What swarms of useful citizens spring up,
Hatch'd by thy fostering wing. Ah where is flown
That dauntless free-born spirit, which of old,
Taught them to shake off the tyrannic yoke
Of Spains insulting King; on whose wide realms,30.
The sun still shone with undiminished beam?
Parent of wealth! in vain, coy nature hoards
Her gold and diamonds; toil, thy firm compeer,
And industry of unremitting nerve,
Scale the cleft mountain, the loud torrent brave,35.
Plunge to the center, and thro' Nature's wiles,
(Led on by skill of penetrative soul)
Her following close, her secret treasures find,
To pour them plenteous on the laughing world.
On thee Sylvanus, thee each rural god,40.
On thee chief Ceres, with unfailing love
And fond distinction, emulously gaze.
In vain hath nature pour'd vast seas between
Far-distant kingdoms; endless storms in vain
With double night brood o'er them; thou dost throw,45.
O'er far-divided nature's realms, a chain
To bind in sweet society mankind.
By thee white Albion, once a barbarous clime,
Grew fam'd for arms, for wisdom, and for laws;
By thee she holds the balance of the world,50.
Acknowledg'd now sole empress of the main.
Coy though thou art, and mutable of love,
There may'st thou ever fix thy wandering steps;
While Eurus rules the wide atlantic foam!
By thee, thy favourite, great Columbus found55.
That world, where now thy praises I rehearse
To the resounding main and palmy shore;
And Lusitania's chiefs those realms explor'd,
Whence negroes spring, the subject of my song.
Nor pine the Blacks, alone, with real
That baffle oft the wisest rules of art:
They likewise feel imaginary woes;
Woes no less deadly. Luckless he who owns
The slave, who thinks himself bewitch'd; and whom,5.
In wrath, a conjurer's snake-mark'd staff hath struck!
They mope, love silence, every friend avoid;
They inly pine; all aliment reject;
Or insufficient for nutrition take:
Their features droop; a sickly yellowish hue10.
Their skin deforms; their strength and beauty fly.
Then comes the feverish fiend, with firy eyes,
Whom drowth, convulsions, and whom death surround,
Fatal attendants! if some subtle slave
(Such, Obia-men are stil'd) do not engage,15.
To save the wretch by antidote or spell.
In magic spells, in Obia, all the
Of sable Africk trust:–Ye, sacred nine!
(For ye each hidden preparation know)
Transpierce the gloom, which ignorance and fraud
Have render'd awful; tell the laughing world5.
Of what these wonder-working charms are made.
Fern root cut small, and tied with
many a knot;
Old teeth extracted from a white man's skull;
A lizard's skeleton; a serpent's head:
These mix'd with salt, and water from the spring,
Are in a phial pour'd; o'er these the leach5.
Mutters strange jargon, and wild circles forms.
Of this possest, each negroe deems
Secure from poison; for to poison they
Are infamously prone: and arm'd with this,
Their sable country dæmons they defy,
Who fearful haunt them at the midnight hour,5.
To work them mischief. This, diseases fly;
Diseases follow: such its wonderous power!
This o'er the threshold of their cottage hung,
No thieves break in; or, if they dare to steal,
Their feet in blotches, which admit no cure,10.
Burst loathsome out: but should its owner filch,
As slaves were ever of the pilfering kind,
This from detection screens;–so conjurers swear.
'Till morning dawn, and Lucifer
His beamy chariot; let not the loud bell
Call forth thy negroes from their rushy couch:
And ere the sun with mid-day fervour glow,
When every broom-bush opes her yellow flower;5.
Let thy black labourers from their toil desist:
Nor till the broom her every petal lock,
Let the loud bell recall them to the hoe.
But when the jalap her bright tint displays,
When the solanum fills her cup with dew,10.
And crickets, snakes, and lizards 'gin their coil;
Let them find shelter in their cane-thatch'd huts:
Or, if constrain'd unusual hours to toil,
(For even the best must sometimes urge their gang)
With double nutriment reward their pains.15.
Howe'er insensate some may deem their
Nor 'bove the bestial rank; far other thoughts
The muse, soft daughter of humanity!
Will ever entertain.–The Ethiop knows,
The Ethiop feels, when treated like a man;5.
Nor grudges, should necessity compell,
By day, by night, to labour for his lord.
Not less inhuman, than unthrifty
Who, half the year's rotation round the sun,
Deny subsistence to their labouring slaves.
But would'st thou see thy negroe-train encrease,
Free from disorders; and thine acres clad5.
With groves of sugar: every week dispense
Or English beans, or Carolinian rice;
Iërne's beef, or Pensilvanian flour;
Newfoundland cod, or herrings from the main
That howls tempestuous round the Scotian isles!10.
Yet some there are so lazily
And so neglectful of their food, that thou,
Would'st thou preserve them from the jaws of death;
Daily, their wholesome viands must prepare:
With these let all the young, and childless old,5.
And all the morbid share;–so heaven will bless,
With manifold encrease, thy costly care.
Suffice not this; to every slave
Some mountain-ground: or, if waste broken land
To thee belong, that broken land divide.
This let them cultivate, one day, each week;
And there raise yams, and there cassada's root:5.
From a good dæmon's staff cassada sprang,
Tradition says, and Caribbees believe;
Which into three the white-rob'd genius broke,
And bade them plant, their hunger to repel.
There let angola's bloomy bush supply,10.
For many a year, with wholesome pulse their board.
There let the bonavist, his fringed pods
Throw liberal o'er the prop; while ochra bears
Aloft his slimy pulp, and help disdains.
There let potatos mantle o'er the ground;15.
Sweet as the cane-juice is the root they bear.
There too let eddas spring in order meet,
With Indian cale, and foodful calaloo:
While mint, thyme, balm, and Europe's coyer herbs,
Shoot gladsome forth, nor reprobate the clime.20.
This tract secure, with hedges or of
Or bushy citrons, or the shapely tree
That glows at once with aromatic blooms,
And golden fruit mature. To these be join'd,
In comely neighbourhood, the cotton shrub;5.
In this delicious clime the cotton bursts
On rocky soils.–The coffee also plant;
White as the skin of Albion's lovely fair,
Are the thick snowy fragrant blooms it boasts:
Nor wilt thou, cocô, thy rich pods refuse;10.
Tho' years, and heat, and moisture they require,
Ere the stone grind them to the food of health.
Of thee, perhaps, and of thy various sorts,
And that kind sheltering tree, thy mother nam'd,
With crimson flowerets prodigally grac'd;15.
In future times, the enraptur'd muse may sing:
If public favour crown her present lay.
But let some antient, faithful slave
His sheltered mansion near; and with his dog,
His loaded gun, and cutlass, guard the whole:
Else negro-fugitives, who skulk 'mid rocks
And shrubby wilds, in bands will soon destroy5.
Thy labourer's honest wealth; their loss and yours.
Perhaps, of Indian gardens I could sing,
Beyond what bloom'd on blest Phæacia's isle,
Or eastern climes admir'd in days of yore:
How Europe's foodful, culinary plants;
How gay Pomona's ruby-tinctured births;5.
And gawdy Flora's various-vested train;
Might be instructed to unlearn their clime,
And by due discipline adopt the sun.
The muse might tell what culture will entice
The ripened melon, to perfume each month;10.
And with the anana load the fragrant board.
The muse might tell, what trees will best exclude
"Insuperable height of airiest shade")
With their vast umbrage the noon's fervent ray.
Thee, verdant mammey, first, her song should praise:15.
Thee, the first natives of these Ocean-isles,
Fell anthropophagi, still sacred held;
And from thy large high-flavour'd fruit abstain'd,
With pious awe; for thine high-flavoured fruit,
The airy phantoms of their friends deceas'd20.
Joy'd to regale on.–Such their simple creed.
The tamarind likewise should adorn her theme,
With whose tart fruit the sweltering fever loves
To quench his thirst, whose breezy umbrage soon
Shades the pleas'd planter, shades his children long.25.
Nor, lofty cassia, should she not recount
Thy woodland honours! See, what yellow flowers
Dance in the gale, and scent the ambient air;
While thy long pods, full-fraught with nectared sweets,
Relieve the bowels from their lagging load.30.
Nor chirimoia, though these torrid isles
Boast not thy fruit, to which the anana yields
In taste and flavour, wilt thou coy refuse
Thy fragrant shade to beautify the scene.
But, chief of palms, and pride of Indian-groves,35.
Thee, fair palmeto, should her song resound:
What swelling columns, form'd by Jones or Wren,
Or great Palladio, may with thee compare?
Not nice-proportion'd, but of size immense,
Swells the wild fig-tree, and should claim her lay:40.
For, from its numerous bearded twigs proceed
A filial train, stupendous as their sire,
In quick succession; and, o'er many a rood,
Extend their uncouth limbs; which not the bolt
Of heaven can scathe; nor yet the all-wasting rage45.
Of Typhon, or of hurricane, destroy.
Nor should, tho' small, the anata not be sung:
Thy purple dye, the silk and cotton fleece
Delighted drink; thy purple dye the tribes
Of Northern-Ind, a fierce and wily race,50.
Carouse, assembled; and with it they paint
Their manly make in many a horrid form,
To add new terrors to the face of war.
The muse might teach to twine the verdant arch,
And the cool alcove's lofty roof adorn,55.
With ponderous granadillas, and the fruit
Call'd water-lemon; grateful to the taste:
Nor should she not pursue the mountain-streams,
But pleas'd decoy them from their shady haunts,
In rills, to visit every tree and herb;60.
Or fall o'er fern-clad cliffs, with foaming rage;
Or in huge basons float, a fair expanse;
Or, bound in chains of artificial force,
Arise thro' sculptured stone, or breathing brass.–
But I'm in haste to furl my wind-worn sails,65.
And anchor my tir'd vessel on the shore.
It much imports to build thy
Or on the sounding margin of the main,
Or on some dry hill's gently-sloping sides,
In streets, at distance due.–When near the beach,
Let frequent coco cast its wavy shade;5.
'Tis Neptune's tree; and, nourish'd by the spray,
Soon round the bending stem's aerial height,
Clusters of mighty nuts, with milk and fruit
Delicious fraught, hang clattering in the sky.
There let the bay-grape, too, its crooked limbs10.
Project enormous; of impurpled hue
Its frequent clusters glow. And there, if thou
Would'st make the sand yield salutary food,
Let Indian millet rear its corny reed,
Like arm'd battalions in array of war.15.
But, round the upland huts, bananas plant;
A wholesome nutriment bananas yield,
And sun-burnt labour loves its breezy shade.
Their graceful screen let kindred plantanes join,
And with their broad vans shiver in the breeze;20.
So flames design'd, or by imprudence caught,
Shall spread no ruin to the neighbouring roof.
Yet nor the sounding margin of the
Nor gently sloping side of breezy hill,
Nor streets, at distance due, imbower'd in trees;
Will half the health, or half the pleasure yield,
Unless some pitying naiad deign to lave,5.
With an unceasing stream, thy thirsty bounds.
On festal days; or when their work is
Permit thy slaves to lead the choral dance,
To the wild banshaw's melancholy sound.
Responsive to the sound, head feet and frame
Move aukwardly harmonious; hand in hand5.
Now lock'd, the gay troop circularly wheels,
And frisks and capers with intemperate joy.
Halts the vast circle, all clap hands and sing;
While those distinguish'd for their heels and air,
Bound in the center, and fantastic twine.10.
Meanwhile some stripling, from the choral ring,
Trips forth; and, not ungallantly, bestows
On her who nimblest hath the greensward beat,
And whose flush'd beauties have inthrall'd his soul,
A silver token of his fond applause.15.
Anon they form in ranks; nor inexpert
A thousand tuneful intricacies weave,
Shaking their sable limbs; and oft a kiss
Steal from their partners; who, with neck reclin'd,
And semblant scorn, resent the ravish'd bliss.20.
But let not thou the drum their mirth inspire;
Nor vinous spirits: else, to madness fir'd,
(What will not bacchanalian frenzy dare?)
Fell acts of blood, and vengeance they pursue.
Compel by threats, or win by soothing
Thy slaves to wed their fellow slaves at home;
So shall they not their vigorous prime destroy,
By distant journeys, at untimely hours,
When muffled midnight decks her raven-hair5.
With the white plumage of the prickly vine.
Would'st thou from countless ails
preserve thy gang;
To every Negroe, as the candle-weed
Expands his blossoms to the cloudy sky,
And moist Aquarius melts in daily showers;
A woolly vestment give, (this Wiltshire weaves)5.
Warm to repel chill Night's unwholesome dews:
While strong coarse linen, from the Scotian loom,
Wards off the fervours of the burning day.
The truly great, tho' from a hostile
The sacred Nine embalm; then, Muses, chant,
In grateful numbers, Gallic Lewis' praise:
For private murder quell'd; for laurel'd arts,
Invented, cherish'd in his native realm;5.
For rapine punish'd; for grim famine fed;
For sly chicane expell'd the wrangling bar;
And rightful Themis seated on her throne:
But, chief, for those mild laws his wisdom fram'd,
To guard the Æthiop from tyrannic sway!10.
Did such, in these green isles which
Did such obtain; the muse, at midnight-hour,
This last brain-racking study had not ply'd:
But, sunk in slumbers of immortal bliss,
To bards had listned on a fancied Thames!5.
All hail, old father Thames! tho' not
Thy springing waters roll; nor countless streams,
Of name conspicuous, swell thy watery store;
Tho' thou, no Plata, to the sea devolve
Vast humid offerings; thou art king of streams:5.
Delighted Commerce broods upon thy wave;
And every quarter of this sea-girt globe
To thee due tribute pays; but chief the world
By great Columbus found, where now the muse
Beholds, transported, slow vast fleecy clouds,10.
Alps pil'd on Alps romantically high,
Which charm the sight with many a pleasing form.
The moon, in virgin-glory, gilds the pole,
And tips yon tamarinds, tips yon Cane-crown'd vale,
With fluent silver; while unnumbered stars15.
Gild the vast concave with their lively beams.
The main, a moving burnish'd mirror, shines;
No noise is heard, save when the distant surge
With drouzy murmurings breaks upon the shore!–
Ah me, what thunders roll! the sky's
Now sudden darkness muffles up the pole!
Heavens! what wild scenes, before the affrighted sense,
Imperfect swim!–See! in that flaming scroll,
Which Time unfolds, the future germs bud forth,5.
Of mighty empires! independent realms!–
And must Britannia, Neptune's favourite queen,
Protect'ress of true science, freedom, arts;
Must she, ah! must she, to her offspring crouch?
Ah, must my Thames, old Ocean's favourite son,10.
Resign his trident to barbaric streams;
His banks neglected, and his waves unsought,
No bards to sing them, and no fleets to grace?–
Again the fleecy clouds amuse the eye,
And sparkling stars the vast horizon gild–15.
She shall not crouch; if Wisdom guide the helm,
Wisdom that bade loud Fame, with justest praise,
Record her triumphs! bade the lacquaying winds
Transport, to every quarter of the globe,
Her winged navies! bade the scepter'd sons20.
Of earth acknowledge her pre-eminence!–
She shall not crouch; if these Cane ocean-isles,
Isles which on Britain for their all depend,
And must for ever; still indulgent share
Her fostering smile: and other isles be given,25.
From vanquish'd foes.–And, see, another race!
A golden æra dazzles my fond sight!
That other race, that long'd-for æra, hail!
The British George now reigns, the Patriot
Britain shall ever triumph o'er the
The End of Book