Principal Navigations, Voyages, Traffiques and Discoveries of the English Nation, by Richard Hakluyt

The first voyage of Robert Baker (to Guinie), with the Minion, and Primrose, set out in October, 1562. by Sir William Garrard, Sir William Chester, M. Thomas Lodge, Anthony Hickman, and Edward Castelin.

As men whose heads be fraught.
with care, haue seldom rest:
(For through the head the body strait
with sorowes is opprest:)
So I that late on bed
lay wake, for that the watch
Pursued mine eye, and causde my hed
no sleepe at all to catch:
To thinke vpon my chaunce
which hath me now betide:
To lie a prisoner here in France,
for raunsome where I bide;
And feeling still such thoughts
so thicke in head to runne,
As in the sommer day the moats
doe fall into the Sunne,
To walke then vp I rose,
fansie to put to flight:
And thus a while I doe purpose
to passe away the night.
Morpheus I perceiu’d The God of Sleepe.
had small regarde of me,
Therefore I should be but deceiu’d
on bed longer to lie.
And thus without delay
rising as voide of sleepe,
I horned Cynthia sawe streight way The Moone.
in at my grate to peepe:
Who passing on her way,
eke knowing well my case,
How I in darke dungeon there lay
alwayes looking for grace:
To, me then walking tho
in darke withouten light,
She wipte her face, and straight did show
the best countnance she might:
Astonneth eke my head
and senses for a space,
And olde fansies away now fled
she putteth new in place.
Then leaning in my grate
wherein full bright she shinde,
And viewing her thus on her gate
she mazeth streight my minde:
And makes me thinke anon
how oft in Ginnie lande
She was my friend, when I haue gone
all night vpon the sande,
Walking and watching efte
least any boate or ship
At any time, while we had slept
perhaps by vs might slip.
And streight with ardent fire
my head inflameth shee,
Eke me inspires with whole desire
to put in memorie,
Those daungers I haue bid
and Laberinth that I
Haue past without the clue of threede,
eke harder ieopardie.
I then gin take in hand
straight way to put in rime,
Such trauell, as in Ginnie lande
I haue past in my time.
But hauing writte a while
I fall faint by the way,
And eke at night I lothe that stile
which I haue writte that day.
And thinke my doings then
vnworthy sure, to be
Set forth in print before all men,
for eueryone to see.
Eke with dispaire therefore
my pen I cast away,
And did intende this neuer more
hereafter to assay.
My fellow prisoner then
sir Edward Gages sonne Sir Edward Gages sonne,
Willes me to take againe my pen whose name was George Gage.

and ende that I begonne.
By this our friends (sayth he)
shall right well vnderstande
And knowe the great trauels that we
haue past in Heathen lande.
Take pen therefore againe
in hande, I you require,
And thinke (saith he) thereof no paine
to graunt this my desire.
Then once againe my hed
my hande a worke doth sette:
But first I fall vpon my bed.
and there deepe sighes I fette,
To see that this to taske
is giuen me silly wight:
And of Minerua helpe I aske
that she me teach aright.
Helpe now without delay,
helpe, helpe, ye Muses nine,
O Cleo, and Calliope,
shew me how to define
In condigne stile and phrase
eche thing in euery line,
To you I giue loe all the praise
the trauell only mine.
Giue care then ye that long
to know of my estate,
Which am in France in prison strong
as I wrote home of late:
Against all lawe or right
as I doe thinke in deede,
Sith that the warre is ended quite, The warre at Newe hauen.
and pease is well agreed
Yet least perchaunce you might
much maruell, how that I
Into a Frenchmans powre should light
In prison here to lie:
Giue now attentiue heede,
a straunge tale gin I tell,
How I this yeare haue bene besteede,
scaping the gates of hell,
More harde I thinke truly,
in more daunger of life,
Than olde Orpheus did when he
through hell did seeke his wife,
Whose musike so did sounde
in pleasant play of string,
That Cerberus that hellish hounde
(who as the poets sing
Hauing three huge heads great,
which doe continually
Still breath out firy flames of heate
most horrible to see)
Did giue him leaue to passe
in at the gates of Hell:
Of which gate he chiefe porter was
the Poets thus me tell.
And how he past alone
through great king Plutos Court
Yea ferried ouer with Charon Caron passenger of Hell.
and yet he did no hurt.
Well to my purpose now,
in Hell what hurt had hee?
Perchance he might strange sights inow
and vgly spirits there see:
Perhaps eke Tantalus,
there, making of his mone,
Who staru’d always: and Sysiphus
still rolling vp the stone.
Yet Orpheus passed by,
and went still on his way,
There was no torment came him nigh
or heate to make him stay.
And I a Gods name woulde
at hazarde play my life
In Guinie lande, to seeke for golde,
as Orpheus sought his wife.
At which saide lande of Guinie His first voyage 1562.
I was eke once before,
And scapt the death as narrowly
As Orpheus did and more.
Which first ill lucke will I
recite, then iudge you plaine,
If loue plagued me not now rightly
this yeare to goe againe.
The other yeere before
when Neptune vs had brought
Safely vnto that burning shore,
for which so long we sought,
One day when shippe was fast
in sea at anker holde,
The sailes vpfirll’d, all businesse past
the boteswaine then I tolde,
That he forthwith shoulde see
the small pinnesse well mande,
Eke all things therin prest to be
that we shoulde haue a lande,
And gunner see that ye
want not bowe, pike, or bill.
Your ordinance well primed be
with lintstocks burning still.
With merchandize a shore,
we hied to traffike then,
Making the sea fome vs before,
by force of nine good men.
And rowing long, at last
a riuer we espie,
In at the which we bare full fast
to see what there might be.
And entring in, we see
a number of blacke soules,
Whose likelinesse seem’d men to be,
but as blacke as coles.
Their Captaine comes to me
as naked as my naile,
Not hauing witte or honestie
to couer once his taile.
By which I doe here gesse
and gather by the way,
That he from man and manlinesse
was voide and cleane astray.
And sitting in a trough,
a boate made of a logge,
The very same wherein you know
we vse to serue a hogge,
Aloofe he staide at first,
put water to his cheeke,
A signe that he would not vs trust
vnlesse we did the like.
That signe we did likewise,
to put him out of feare,
And shewd him much braue marchandise
to make him come vs neare.
The wilde man then did come,
by signes nowe crieth the fiend
Of those gay things to giue him some
and I should be his friend.
I traffikt there that time
for such things as they had,
At night to ship I caried him,
where I with clothes him clad,
Yea, made him there good cheere,
and he by signes againe
Tolde vs that he would fraight vs then
after a day or twaine.
And eene thus as we were
in talke, looking about,
Our boate he sawe with wares that there
was tied at sterne without:
Which boate he viewing still,
as then well stuft with ware.
We thinking he had ment no ill,
had thereof little care.
And the next morne, againe
we caried him a shore,
Eke bartred there that day with them
as we had done before.
But when Phoebus began
somewhat for to draw neare
To Icarus his Court, the sonne
of Dedalus most deare,
(Whose chaunce it is to dwell
amids the Ocean flood,
Because that he obseru’d not well
his fathers counsell good)
We then with saile and ore
to ship began to hie,
That we might fetch aboorde, before
the day had lost his eye.
To ship we come at last,
which rid foure leagues from shore
Refresht vs after trauaile past
taken that day before.
Then, as it was our guise,
our boate at sterne we tie,
Eke therin leaue our marchandise,
as they were wont to be.
With troughes then two or three The theft of the Negroes.
this Captaine comes by night
Aboord our boate, where he with wares
himselfe now fraighteth quight.
The watch now hearing this,
the boate they hal’d vp fast:
But gone was all the marchandise,
and they escapte and past.
The next morne then by day
againe we went to shore,
Amends to haue for that which they
had stolne the night before.
But all in vaine was it,
our signes were now too bad,
They would not vnderstand a whit
of any thing they had.
But as though they had wrong A conflict between the Negros
for to reuenged be, and our men.

As we row’d downe the streame along
after comes hee and hee.
A hundred boats come fro
the steremost towne I say,
At least meets vs as many mo
before, to make vs stay.
In euery boat two men,
and great long targets twaine:
Most of their darts had long strings then
to picke and pull againe.
Now gunners to your charge,
giue fier all arow,
Ech slaue for feare forsakes his barge,
and ducks in water low.
We downe the streame amaine
do row to get the sea,
They ouertake vs soone againe,
and let vs of our way.
Then did the slaues draw neere,
with dart and target thicke,
With diuelish fixed eyes they peere
where they their darts may sticke.
Now Mariners do push
with right good will the pike,
The haileshot of the harquebush
The naked slaue doth strike.
Through targe and body right
that downe he falleth dead
His fellow then in heauie plight,
doth swimme away afraid.
To bathe in brutish bloud,
then fleeth the graygoose wing.
The halberders at hand be good,
and hew that all doth ring.
Yet gunner play thy part,
make haileshot walke againe,
And fellowes row with like good heart
that we may get the maine.
Our arrowes all now spent,
the Negroes gan approach:
But pikes in hand already hent
the blacke beast fast doth broch.
Their captaine being wood,
a villaine long and large,
With pois’ned dart in hand doth shroud
himselfe vnder his targe.
And hard aboord he comes
to enter in our boat,
Our maisters mate, his pike eftsoones
strikes through his targe and throat.
The capteine now past charge
of this brutish blacke gard,
His pike he halde backe which in targe
alas was fixed hard:
And wresting it with might,
to pull it forth in hast,
A deadly dart strikes him too right
and in his flesh sticks fast,
He stands still like a man,
and shrinkes not once therefore,
But strikes him with his owne dart then
which shot at him before.
Then presse they on, and shake
their darts on euery side,
Which, in our flesh doth light, and make
both deadly wounds and wide.
The gunner in that stound
with two darts strooke at last,
Shrinks not yet though the double wound
with streames of bloud out brast.
And eke the maisters mate,
of stomacke bolde and stout,
For all his wound receiu’d of late,
yet stirred not a foot.
But kept his standing still,
till that a deathful dart
Did strike him through the ribs so ill
that scarce it mist his hart.
The dart out hal’d quickly,
his guts came out withall,
And so great streames of bloud that he
for faintnesse downe gan fall.
The Negros seeing this,
how he for dead doth lie,
Who erst so valiant prou’d iwis,
they gladly, shout and crie:
And then do minde as there
to enter in his place,
They thinke so many wounded were
the rest would yeld for grace.
We then stand by the pike,
and foure row on our boat,
Their darts among vs fast they strike
that few were free I wot.
In legge and eke in thigh,
some wounded eke in th’arme,
Yea many darts stucke vs hard by,
that mist and did no harme.
By little thus at last,
in great danger of life
We got the sea, and almost past
the danger erst so rife.
Then gin they all retire
sith all their darts were spent
They had nought to reuenge their ire,
and thus away they went.
Our boat to ship doth roe,
where two ores make soft way
Sixe of vs nine were wounded so, Sixe of our men wounded.
the seuenth for dead there lay.
Lo, heare how cruelly
the fiends ment vs to kill,
Causelesse you see, if they truly
on vs might had their will.
And yet we gaue before
much merchandize away,
Among those slaues, thinking therefore
to haue friendship for aye.
And Orpheus past I wot
the passage quietly,
Among the soules in Charons boat,
and yet to say truly
I neuer read that he
paid for his passage there,
Who past and repast for to see.
if that his wife there were.
Nor yet that he paid ought,
or any bribe there gaue
To any office, while he sought
his wife againe to haue.
Whereby I surely gesse
these men with whom that we
Haue had to do, are fiends more fierce
then those in hell that be.
Well we now scaping thus
the danger I haue tolde,
Aboord we come, where few of vs
could stand now being colde.
Our wounds now being drest,
to meat went they that list,
But I desired rather rest,
for this in minde I wist.
That if I might get once
a sleepe that were full sound,
I should not feele my weary bones
nor yet my smarting wound.
And lying long aloft
vpon my bed in paine,
Vnto Morpheus call’d I oft
that he would not disdaine
To heare me then poore wight,
but sende me helpe with speed
That I might haue good rest this night
of which I had great need.
Me thought then by and by.
there hung a heauie waight,
At ech eye lid, which clos’d mine eye
and eke my head was fraight.
And being streight sleepe,
I fell into a sweauen,
That of my wound I tooke no keepe
I dream’d I was in heauen.
Where as me thought I see
god Mars in armor bright,
His arming sword naked holdes he
in hand, ready to fight.
Castor and Pollux there
all complet stand him by,
Least if that Mars conuinced were
they might reuenged be.
Then came marching along
the great blacke smith Vulcan,
Hauing a staffe of yron strong,
and thus at last began:
O Mars, thou God of might,
what is the cause that thou
Hast chaleng’d me with thee to fight?
lo present am I now.
Wherefore if that thou hast
any great grudge to me,
Before this day be spent and past
it shall reuenged be.
Then spake god Mars and said,
for that thou churlish wight,
Thy brutish blacke people hast made
with those white men to fight
Which cal’d on me for aid,
I bid thee warre for this.
Then answered Vulcan straight and said
that that coast sure was his.
And therefore he would still
his blacke burnt men defend,
And if he might, all other kill
which to that coast did wend,
Yea thus (said he) in boast
that we his men had slaine,
And ere that we should passe this coast
he would vs kill againe.
Now marcheth Mars amaine
and fiercely gins to fight,
The sturdie smith strikes free againe
whose blowes dint where they light.
But iupiter that sat
in his great royall throne
Hearing this noise maruell’d thereat,
and streightway sendeth one
To know the cause thereof:
but hearing them in fight,
Commandeth them for to leaue off
by vertue of his might,
And of Vulcan demands
the cause: then answered he,
O mightie Loue whose power commands
and rules all things that be,
Who at a word hast power
all things to destroy cleane,
And in the moment of an houre,
canst them restore againe,
The same God licence me
to speake now here my minde:
It is not, Loue, vnknowne to thee,
how that I was assign’d,
And pointed king of most
of all the Ginnie land,
A people lo is on my coast
which doth me now withstand.
They do my people strike,
they do this day them kill,
To whom I minde to do the like
if I may haue my will.
Then Iupiter bespake:
O Vulcan then said he,
Let this thy rage and anger slake
for this time presently,
But if at any time
these men chance there againe,
Doe as thou list, the charge is thine
I will not meddle then.
I know, them well (said he)
these men need not to seeke,
They haue so fruitfull a countrey
that there is none the like.
But if they can not be
therewith content, but still
Will seeke for golde so couetously
worke then with them thy will.
And therewith straight doth send.
a pursuiuant in post,
To whom (saith he) see that thou wend
vnto the windie coast,
To Eolus, the king
command him thus from me,
That he straight way without lingring
do set at libertie,
His seruant Zephirus,
which now is lockt so low,
Eke that he do command him thus,
that he straight way do go
To Vulcans coast in hast,
a ship where he shall finde,
Which ship he must with gentle blast
and eke with moderate winde,
Conduct safe to that coast
which Albion was hight,
And that no stormes do them withstand
by day or eke by night.
I sleeping all this space,
as it were in a trance,
The noise of them that hail’d apace
did waken me by chance.
Then looking out to know
what winde did blow in skie,
The maister straight came to me tho
and thus said by and by.
All our ill lucke is past,
we haue a merie winde,
I hope England, if this winde last,
yet once againe to finde.
When this I vnderstand,
to loue I vowed then,
Forswearing cleane the Ginnie land
for comming there againe.
And passing on in post
with fauourable windes,
We all arriu’d on Englands coast
with passing cheerefull mindes.

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Last updated Monday, March 10, 2014 at 22:44