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, whose name was George Gage.

Willes me to take againe my pen

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 and our men.

for to reuenged be,

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 Tuesday, August 25, 2015 at 14:09