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

The second voyage to Guinie, and the riuer of Sesto, set out in the Moneth of Nouember 1563, by Sir William Gerrard, Sir William Chester, Sir Thomas Lodge, Maister Beniamin Gonston, Maister William Winter, Maister Lionel Ducket, Anthonie Hickman, and Edward Castelin, with two ships, the one called the Iohn Baptist, wherein went for Maister, Laurence Rondell: and the other the Marlin, wherein went also for Maister, Robert Reuell, hauing for Factors, Robert Baker, Iustinian Goodwine, Iames Gleidell, and George Gage: and written in verse by the foresaid Robert Baker.

You heard before, that home I got

from Ginnie at the last,

But by and by, I quite forgot

the sorrowes I had past.

And ships rigged also,

with speed to ship againe,

I being then requir’d to go,

did not denie them plaine,

But granted them to go,

vnhappie foolish wight,

When they command, eke there to do

the best seruice I might.

In fine, to go our way

now serueth time and tide.

We hauing nothing vs to stay,

what should we longer bide?

The hempen band with helpe

of Mariners doth threat

To wey and reare that slouthfull whelpe The anker.

vp from his mothers teat.

The Maister then gan cheere

with siluer whistle blast

His Mariners, which at the Icere

are laboring wondrous fast.

Some other then againe,

the maineyard vp to hoise,

The hard haler doth hale a maine,

while other at a trice

Cut saile without delay:

the rest that be below,

Both sheats abaft do hale straitway

and boleins all let go.

The Helme a Mariner

in hand then strait way tooke,

The Pilot eke what course to stir

within his care did looke.

Againe with siluer blast,

the Maister doth not faile,

To cause his mates fortwith in hast

abroad to put more saile.

We then lanch from the shore,

sith warre we knew it right.

And kept in sea aloofe therefore

two dayes and eke a night.

And, as it is the guise,

to toppe a man we send,

Who straight a saile or two espies,

with whom we then do wend.

Aloofe would some with one,

and roomeward would the rest:

But with the tallest ship we gone,

whom we thinke to be best.

At last, in camming neere

as captaines vse to do,

I hale them, and of whence they were

I did desire to know:

Of France when they had said,

we weaued them a maine,

But they nothing therewith dismaid

did like to vs againe.

We then our selues aduant

through hope of purchase here,

Amaine say we, ye iolly gallant

or you shall buie it deere.

To arme the maine top tho

the boatswaine goeth eke,

His mate to the foretop also

makes hast to do the like.

To top both stones and darts

good fellowes hoise apace:

The quarter maisters with glad hearts

do know ech one his place.

Our topsailes strike we tho

and fit our sailes to fight,

Our bulwarke at maine mast also

is made likewise aright.

Vpon our poope eke then

right subtilly we lay

Pouder, to blow vp all such men,

as enter theraway.

Our Trumpetter aloft

now sounds the feats of war,

The brasen pieces roring oft

fling forth both chain and bar.

Some of the yardes againe

do weaue with naked swoord,

And crying loud to them amaine

they bid vs come aboord.

To bath hir feet in bloud

the graigoose fleeth in hast:

And Mariners as Lions wood,

do crie abroad as fast.

Now firie Faulkons flie

right greedie of their pray,

And kils at first stone dead truely

ech thing within their way.

Alarme ye now my mates I say,

see that ye nothing lacke.

At euery loope then gins straightway

a harquebush to cracke.

Their saile to burne, we shoot

our arrowes of wilde fire,

And pikes burning therewith about

lads tosse with like desire.

Eke straightway forth for wine

the steward call I then,

With fiery spice enough therein

I drinke vnto my men,

And then euen with a woord

our lime pot prest to fall,

This iolly gallant we clap aboord

and enter him withall.

Their nettings now gan teare

dint of heauie stone.

And some mens heads witnesse did beare

who neuer could make mone.

The harquebush acroke

which hie on top doth lie,

Discharg’d full of haileshot doth smoke

to kill his enemie.

Which in his enemies top

doth fight, there it to keepe,

Yet he at last a deadly lope

is made from thence to lepe.

Then entreth one withall

into this Frenchman’s top,

Who cuts ech rope, and makes to fall

his yard, withouten stop.

Then Mariners belowe,

as carelesse of the pike,

Do hew, and kill still as they goe,

and force not where they strike.

And still the trumpets sound

with pleasant blast doth cheare

Ech Mariner, so in that stound

that they nothing did feare.

The Maister then also,

his mates to cheare in fight,

His Whistle chearefully doth blow,

whereby strait euery wight

So fierce begins to be,

that Frenchmen gin to stoe,

And English men as right worthy

do catch for pillage tho.

What would you more I say

but tell the truth alway:

We vsde our matters so this day

we caried him away,

Vnto a port in Spaine,

which sure is call’d the Groine,

Whereas we for French lading plaine

receiued readie coine.

Well thus this good lucke past,

we through salt Seas did scoure,

To Ginney coast eke come at last,

O that vnhappie houre.

My hand alas for feare

now shakes, of this to write,

Mine eye almost full fraught with teare,

eke lets me to indite.

What should I here recite

the miserie I had,

When none of you will scarce credit

that ere it was so bad?

Well, yet I would assay

to let it, if I might,

But O Minerua, helpe me aye,

my wits astond be quite.

Yea helpe, ye muses nine,

lot no thought me withstand,

Aid me this thing well to define,

which here I take in hand.

Well, thus it fortuned tho,

in Ginney now arriu’d,

Nine men in boat to shoe we go,

where we traffike espide,

And parting at midday

from ship, on good intent

In hope of traffike there I say

to shore away we went.

Our ships then riding fast

in sea at anker bight,

We minded to dispatch in hast,

cke to returne that night.

But being hard by land,

there suddenly doth rise

A mightie winde, wherewith it raind

and thundred, in such wise,

That we by shore did ride,

where we best Port might finde,

Our ships we thinke from anker slide,

a trice before the winde.

This night Vulcan begins

on vs reueng’d to be,

And thunderbolts about he flings

most terrible to see,

Admixt with fierie flame

which cracks about our cares.

And thus gins he to play his game,

as now to him appeares,

He Eolus hath feed

herein to be his friend,

And all the whirling windes with speed

among vs doth he send,

Thus hard by shore we lay,

this wet and weary night,

But on next morne and all the day

of ship we had no sight.

For Vulcan all this night

from fierie forge so fast

Sent thunder bolts with such great light,

that when the night was passed,

The next day there remaind

so great smoke all about,

Much like a mist, eke therewith raine,

that we were wet throughout.

And thus in smoke mindes he

to part vs from our ship:

Thus nere a one ech other see,

and so haue we the slip.

Our ships then backe againe,

thinking we were behinde,

Do saile by shore a day or twaine

in hope there vs to finde.

And we the contrary,

do row along the shore

Forward thinking our ships to be

still sailing vs before.

They sailing thus two dayes or three,

and could not finde vs than

Do thinke in that foule night we

were drowned euery man.

Our ship then newes doth beare

when she to England wends

That we nine surely drowned were,

and thus doth tell our friends:

While we thus being lost,

aliue in miserie

Do row in hope yet on this coast,

our ships to finde truly.

Well thus one day we spent,

tho next and third likewise,

But all in vaine was our intent,

no man a saile espies:

Three dayes be now cleane past

since any of vs nine,

Of any kinde of food hath tast,

and thus gan we to pine,

Till at the last bare need

bids vs hale in with land,

That we might get some root or weed

our hunger to withstand:

And being come to shore,

with Negros we intreat,

That for our wares which we had there

they would giue vs to eat.

Then fetch they vs of roots,

and such things as they had,

We gaue to them our wares to boote

and were thereof right glad.

To sea go we againe,

in hope along the shore,

To finde our ships, yet thinking plaine

that they had beene before.

And thus with saile and ore

twelue dayes we went hard by

The strange vncomfortable shore

where we nothing espie,

But all thicke woods and bush

and mightie wildernesse,

Out of the which oft times do rush

strange beasts both wilde and fierse,

Whereof oft times we see,

at going downe of Sunne,

Diuers descend in companie,

and to the sea they come.

Where as vpon the sand

they lie, and chew the cud:

Sometime in water eke they stand

and wallow in the floud.

The Elephant we see,

a great vnweldie beast,

With water fils his troonke right hie

and blowes it on the rest.

The Hart I saw likewise

delighted in the soile,

The wilde Boare eke after his guise

with snout in earth doth moile.

A great strange beast also,

the Antelope I weene

I there did see, and many mo,

which erst I haue not seene.

And oftentimes we see

a man a shore or twaine,

Who strait brings out his Almadie

and rowes to vs a maine.

Here let we anker fall,

of wares a shew we make,

We bid him choose among them all,

what wares that he will take

To bring to vs some fish,

and fresh water therefore,

Or else of meat some daintie dish,

which their cookes dresse ashore.

They bring vs by and by

great roots and beries eke,

Which grow vpon the high palme tree,

such meat as they do like.

We drinke eke of their wine

much like our whey to see:

Which is the sappe as I haue seene

that runnes out of a tree.

Thus do they bring ech thing

which they thinke to be good,

Sometime wilde hony combes they bring

Which they finde in the wood,

With roots and baggage eke

our corps we thus sustaine

From famine though it be so weake,

that death was figured plaine

In euery ioynt for lacke

of sustenance and rest.

That still we thinke our hearts would breake

with sorrowes so opprest.

We now alongst the coast

haue saild so many a mile,

That sure we be our ships be lost,

what should we do this while?

In Heathen land we be,

impossible it is

That we should fetch our owne countrey

in such a boat as this.

We now gan to perceiue

that wee had ouerpast

The Melegate coast so much,

that we were come at last

Vnto the coast of Myne,

for Niegros came aboord

With weights to poise their golde so fine,

yea speaking euery word

In Portugesse right well

demanding traffike there?

If we had any wares to sell,

and where our ships then were?

We answered them againe,

we had two ships at sea,

The which would come trafike with them

we thought within a day.

The cause why we thus said,

was hope to be well vsde:

But seeing this, as men dismaid

away we went and musde

Whither our ships were gone,

what way were best for vs:

Shall we here perish now saith one?

no, let vs not do thus:

We see all hope is past

our ships to finde againe,

And here our liues do shorten fast

in miserie and paine:

For why the raging heat

of Sunne, being so extreme,

Consumes our flesh away in sweat,

as dayly it is seene.

The Ternados againe

so often in a weeke,

With great lightnings, thunder and raine

with such abundance eke,

Doe so beat vs by night,

that we sleepe not at all,

Whereby our strength is vaded quite.

no man an ore can hale.

How hard liue we, alas?

three whole dayes oft be past,

Ere we poore men (a heauie case)

of any thing doe tast.

These twentie dayes ye see,

we haue sit still ech one,

Which we doe of necessitie,

for place to walke is none.

Our legs now vs deceiue,

swolne euery ioint withall,

With this disease, which, by your leaue,

the Scuruie men doe call.

We cannot long endure

in this case as we be,

To leaue our boat I am right sure,

compeld we must agree.

Three wayes for vs there is,

and this is my request,

That we may of these three deuise,

to choose thereof the best.

The Castle of the Mine

is not farre hence, we know,

To morrow morne we there may be,

if thither you will goe.

There Portingals do lie,

are christened men they be:

If we dare trust their curtesie,

the worst is hanging glee.

Our miserie may make

them pitie vs the more,

Nine such yong men great pains would take

for life to hale an ore.

Their Gallies may perhaps

lacke such yong men as we,

And thus it may fall in our laps,

all Galeyslaues to be,

During our life, and this,

we shall be sure to haue,

Although we row, such meate as is

the allowance of a slaue.

But here we rowe and sterue,

our misery is so sore:

The slaue with meat inough they serue,

that he may teare his ore.

If this you will not like.

the next way is to goe:

Vnto the Negros, and to seeke

what friendship they will shew.

But what fauour would ye

of these men looke to haue:

Who beastly sauage people be,

farre worse then any slaue?

If Cannibals they be

in kind, we doe not know,

But if they be, then welcome we,

to pot straightway we goe.

They naked goe likewise,

for shame we cannot so:

We cannot liue after their guise,

thus naked for to go.

By rootes and leaues they liue,

as beasts doe in the wood:

Among these heathen who can thriue,

with this so wilde a food?

The piercing heate againe,

that, scorcheth with such strength,

Piercing our naked flesh, with paine,

will vs consume at length.

The third and last is this,

(if those two you refuse)

To die in miserable wise,

here in the boate you chuse.

And this iudge by the way,

more trust is to be giuen,

Vnto the Portingals alway,

sith they be christned men,

Then to these brutish sort,

which beastly are ye see:

Who of our death will make a sport,

if Canibals they be.

We all with one consent,

now death despising plaine:

(Sith if we die as innocent,

the more it is our gaine)

Our sayle we hoyse in hast,

wih speed we mind to go

Vnto the castell, now not past

a twentie leagues vs fro.

And sayling all this day,

we spied late in the night.

And we past by thus on our way,

vpon the shore a light.

Then sayd our Boateswaine thus,

by this great light a shore,

Trafique there seemes, will you let vs

anker this night therefore,

And trie if we may get,

this next morning by day,

Some kind of food for vs to eate,

and then to goe our way?

We anker there that night,

the next morning to shore:

And in the place, where we the light

did see the night before:

A watch house now there stood,

vpon a rocke without:

Hard by a great blacke crosse of wood,

which putteth vs in doubt,

What place that this should be,

and looking to the shore,

A Castell there we gan espie,

this made vs doubt the more.

Wherein we saw did stand

a Portingall or twaine;

Who held a white flag in his hand,

and waued vs amaine.

Our flesh as fraile now shakes,

whereby we gan retire,

And he at vs a shot then makes,

a Negro giuing fire.

A piece discharged thus,

the hissing pellet lights,

I thinke within a yard of vs,

but none of vs it hits.

We wisht then we had there

a good ship, eke or twaine,

But helpelesse now, we rowe a shore

to know th’end of our paine.

The neerer that we went

to them vnto the shore,

To yeld our selues, as first we ment

they still did shoot the more.

Now Canons loud gan rore,

and Culuerins now crackt,

The Castell eke it thundred sore,

as though the wals were sackt.

Some shot doth light hard by,

some ouer vs againe:

But though the shot so thicke doth flie,

yet rowe we in a maine,

That now so neere we be

vnto the castell wall,

That none of them at vs we see,

can make a shot at all.

We ment a land to goe,

their curtesie to trie:

But from the wall great stones they throw,

and therewith by and by,

The Negros marching downe,

in battell ray do come,

With dart and target from the towne,

and follow all a dromme.

A bowe in hand some hent,

with poisn’d arrow prest,

To strike therewith they be full bent,

a pined English brest.

But stones come downe so fast

on vs on euery side,

We thinke our boats bottom would brast

if long we thus abide.

And arrowes flie so thicke,

hissing at euery eare,

Which both in clothes and flesh do sticke,

that we, as men past feare,

Cry now, Launch, launch in hast,

hale of the boate amaine:

Foure men in banke let them sit fast

and rowe to sea againe.

The other fiue like men,

do manfully in hand,

Take vp each kind of weapon then,

these wolues here to withstand.

A harquebush takes one,

another bends his bowe,

Among the slaues then downe fals one

and other hurt I trowe.

At those Portingals then shoot we,

vpon the Fort which stand,

In long fine white shirts as we see,

and lintstocks in their hand.

And of these shirts so white

we painted some full red,

Striking their open corps in sight,

with dint of arrow head.

For we sawe they had there

no Gallies vs to take,

Where threatnings them could vs not feare

or make vs once to shake.

Then Canons loud gan rore,

and pellets flie about,

And each man haleth his ore

and mooued not a foote.

Yea, though the poulder sent

the pellets thicke away,

Yet spite of them cleane through we went

at last, and got the sea,

And pieces charging fast,

they shot after vs so,

That wonder was it how we past

the furie of our foe,

The pinned anne felt not

as now, the heauie ore:

With foure such ores was neuer boat

I thinke, row’d so before.

To seaward scaping so,

three Negroes we see there,

Came rowing after vs to know,

what countrey men we were?

We answered Englishmen,

and that thither we came,

With wares to trafique there with them,

if they had meant the same.

They Portuguse doe speake

right naturall iwis:

And of our ship to know they seeke,

how big and where she is.

We answered them again

we had two ships at sea,

Right well appointed full of men,

that streight would take their way

Along the coast for gold,

they tarry but for vs,

Which came with wares there to haue sold

but that they vs’d vs thus.

Then gan they vs to pray,

if we lackt any thing,

To anker there all that whole day,

and they to vs would bring

All things that we doe want,

they sory say they be:

But we their words yet trusting scant,

refuse their curtesie.

We aske them of this hold

what place that it should be,

Then they againe thus straight vs told

that Portingals there lie.

And how that point they sayd,

which there hard by we see,

Was one of Cape three points that lay

the Westernmost of three.

Withouten further speech,

we hoise our saile to sea:

Minding a friendlier place to seech,

and thus we part our way.

We mind truly to prooue

the Portingals no more:

But now t’assay rather what loue

Negroes will shew a shore.

We then with saile and ore,

went backe againe in hast:

A thirtie leagues I thinke, and more

from thence where we were chast.

And here we anker fall,

aboord the Negros come:

We gaue gay things vnto them all,

and thus their hearts we wonne.

At last aboord comes one,

that was the kings chiefe sonne:

To whom by signes I made great mone,

how that I was vndone,

Had lost our ships, and eke

were almost staru’d for meate,

And knew not where our ships to seeke,

or any thing to eate.

I offred him our wares,

and bid him take them all:

but he perceiuing now the teares,

which from our eyes did fall,

Had great pitie on vs,

and sayd he would haue nought,

But streight by signes he will’d vs then,

that we should take no thought.

As one whom God has sent,

and kept for vs in store,

To know in hast away he went,

the Kings pleasure on shore.

And came foorthwith againe,

yea, bade vs come a land:

Whereof God knowes we were ful faine,

when this we vnderstand.

Each man bankes to his ore,

to hale the boate a land:

Where as we see vpon the shore,

fiue hundred Negros stand.

Our men rowing in a maine,

the billow went so hie,

That straight a waue ouerwhelms vs cleane

and there in sea we lie.

The Negros by and by,

came swimming vs to saue:

And brought vs all to land quickly,

not one durst play the knaue.

The Kings sonne after this,

a stout and valiant man,

In whom I thinke Nature iwis,

hath wrought all that she can,

He then I say commaunds

them straight to saue our boate,

To worke forthwith goe many hands,

and bring the same a floate.

Some swimme to saue an ore,

some diue for things be lost:

I thinke there helpe to hale a shore

fiue hundred men almost.

Our boate thus halde vp drie,

all things streight way were brought

The which we mist or could espie,

no man that durst keepe ought.

Then vs they led away,

knowing we wanted meate.

And gaue to us, euen such as they

themselues do daily eate.

Was neuer Owle in wood

halfe so much wondered at,

As we were then poore men, alas,

which there among them sat.

We feared yet our part,

and wisht a moneth were past,

For each man there went with his dart,

which made vs oft agast.

We lay vpon the ground,

with them there all that night:

But fearing still a deadly wound,

we could not sleepe a whit.

Two dayes thus past we well,

no man vs offred wrong:

The cause thereof I gin you tell,

they thought this them among:

Our ships had bene at sea,

and would come there before

Two dayes, to fetch vs thence away,

and giue them wares good store.

But when they thus heare tell

how that our ships be lost,

And that we know not very well,

when ships will come to coast:

They then waxe wearie streight,

and they which did before

At sundry times giue vs to eate,

did giue vs now no more.

Our lowance waxt so small,

that neuer nine gesse,

Were seru’d the like, yet still withall,

it waxed lesse and lesse.

Some run now in the wood,

and there for rootes do seeke,

Base meat would here be counted good

too bad that we mislike

Our clothes now rot with sweat,

and from our backs do fall,

Saue that whom nature wils for shame,

we couer nought at all.

One runs to seeke for clay

to fashion straight a pot,

And hardens it in Sunne all day:

another faileth not

To fetch home wood for night,

and eke for fire sought,

That we our roots and things seeth might

if any home were brought.

The rest the wood doth seeke,

eke euery bush and tree

For berries and such baggage like,

which should seeme meate to bee.

Our fingers serue in steed,

both of pickaxe and spade,

To dig and pull vp euery weed,

that grew within the shade.

Eke diged for rootes the ground,

and searcht on euery brier

For berries, which if we had found,

then streight way to the fire:

Where we rost some of those,

the rest seeth in a pot,

And of this banket nought we lose,

nor fragment resteth not.

The night as beasts we lie

the bare hard earth, vpon,

And round by vs a great fire light

to keepe wilde beasts vs from.

But what should I recite,

or couet to declare

My sorrowes past, or eke t’endite

of my hard Ginnie fare?

I cease here to enlarge

my miserie in that land,

A toy in head doth now me charge,

as here to hold my hand.

In fine, what would ye more,

the heat did so exceed,

That wanting cloths it scorcht so sore

no man could it abide.

The countrey eke so wilde,

and vnhealthfull withall,

That hungry stomacks neuer fill’d,

doth cause faint bodies fall.

Our men fall sicke apace,

and cherishing haue none:

That now of nine, within short space,

we be left three alone,

Alas, what great agast

to vs three liuing yet,

Was it to see, that death so fast

away our fellowes fet?

And then to loue on hie

we call for helpe and grace,

And him beseech vnfainedly,

to fetch vs from this place.

From this wild heathen land,

to Christendome againe,

Or else to lay on vs his hand,

and rid vs from our paine.

Lest that we ouerprest

with too much miserie,

Perhaps as weake breake our behest

which we owe God on high.

And least we liuing here

among this heathen, might

Perchance for need do that which were

right hainous in his sight.

Well, to my purpose then,

when we to loue thus crie,

To helpe vs hence poore silly men

from this our miserie.

He hearing vs at length,

how we to him doe call,

He helps vs with his wonted strength,

and straight thither withall,

A French ship sends at last,

with whom we three go hence:

But six in earth there lie full fast,

and neuer like come thence.

This Frenchman as I say,

through salt and surging seas,

Vs brought from Ginnie land, away

to France, the Lord we praise.

And warre he proues it plaine

when we entered his ship,

A prisner therefore I remaine,

and hence I cannot slip

Till that my ramsome be

agreed vpon, and paid,

Which being leuied yet so hie,

no agreement cant be made.

And such is lo my chance,

the meane time to abide

A prisner for ransome in France,

till God send time and tide.

From whence this idle rime

to England I doe send:

And thus till I haue further time,

this Tragedie I end.

R. Baker.

Last updated Monday, December 22, 2014 at 10:51