Poems, by Andrew Marvell

Bermudas

[1653]

WHERE the remote Bermudas ride,

In the ocean’s bosom unespied,

From a small boat, that rowed along,

The listening winds received this song:

“What should we do but sing His praise

That led us through the watery maze,

Unto an isle so long unknown,

And yet far kinder than our own?

Where He the huge sea-monsters wracks,

That lift the deep upon their backs;10

He lands us on a grassy stage,

Safe from the storms, and prelate’s rage.

He gave us this eternal spring,

Which here enamels every thing,

And sends the fowls to us in care,

On daily visits through the air;

He hangs in shades the orange bright,

Like golden lamps in a green night,

And does in the pomegranates close

Jewels more rich than Ormus shows;20

He makes the figs our mouths to meet,

And throws the melons at our feet;

But apples plants of such a price,

No tree could ever bear them twice;

With cedars chosen by His hand,

From Lebanon, He stores the land,

And makes the hollow seas, that roar,

Proclaim the ambergris on shore;

He cast (of which we rather boast)

The Gospel’s pearl upon our coast,30

And in these rocks for us did frame

A temple where to sound His name.

Oh! let our voice His praise exalt,

Till it arrive at Heaven’s vault,

Which, thence (perhaps) rebounding, may

Echo beyond the Mexique Bay.”

Thus sung they, in the English boat,

An holy and a cheerful note;

And all the way, to guide their chime,

With falling oars they kept the time.40

These islands were called Bermudas after theii discoverer, Juan Bermudaz (1522). Oviedo, who was on board Bermudaz’s ship, calls Bermuda “the remotest island in the whole world.” In 1609 Admiral Sir George Somers was wrecked on the islands on his way to Virginia, and they were for long afterwards called Somers’ Isles. Sixty persons from Virginia settled on the islands, under Henry More, and others came from England to escape the tyranny that led to the Civil War. In 1621 the Bermuda Company of London granted a charter, promising the colonists the right, among other things, of worship. See Mr. Thorn Drury’s “Waller,” p. 308.

l.23. — Pineapples.

http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/m/marvell/andrew/poems/poem14.html

Last updated Friday, March 7, 2014 at 23:09