Now does Spains Fleet her spatious wings unfold,
Leaves the new World and hastens for the old:
But though the wind was fair, the slowly swoome
Frayted with acted Guilt, and Guilt to come:
For this rich load, of which so proud they are,
Was rais’d by Tyranny, and rais’d for war;
Every capatious Gallions womb was fill’d,
With what the Womb of wealthy Kingdomes yield,
The new Worlds wounded Intails they had tore,
For wealth wherewith to wound the old once more.
Wealth which all others Avarice might cloy,
But yet in them caus’d as much fear, as Joy.
For now upon the Main, themselves they saw,
That boundless Empire, where you give the law,
Of winds and waters rage, they fearful be,
But much more fearful are your Flags to see
Day, that to these who sail upon the deep,
More wish’t for, and more welcome is then sleep,
They dreaded to behold, Least the Sun’s light,
With English Streamers, should salute their sight:
In thickest darkness they would choose to steer,
So that such darkness might suppress their fear;
At length theirs vanishes, and fortune smiles;
For they behold the sweet Canary Isles.
One of which doubtless is by Nature blest
Above both Worlds, since ’tis above the rest.
For least some Gloominess might stain her sky,
Trees there the duty of the Clouds supply;
O noble Trust which Heaven on this Isle poures,
Fertile to be, yet never need her showres.
A happy People, which at once do gain
The benefits without the ills of rain.
Both health and profit, Fate cannot deny;
Where still the Earth is moist, the Air still dry;
The jarring Elements no discord know,
Fewel and Rain together kindly grow;
And coolness there, with heat doth never fight,
This only rules by day, and that by Night.
Your worth to all these Isles, a just right brings,
The best of Lands should have the best of Kings.
And these want nothing Heaven can afford,
Unless it be, the having you their Lord;
But this great want, will not along one prove,
Your Conquering Sword will soon that want remove.
For Spain had better, Shee’l ere long confess,
Have broken all her Swords, then this one Peace,
Casting that League off, which she held so long,
She cast off that which only made her strong.
Forces and art, she soon will feel, are vain,
Peace, against you, was the sole strength of Spain.
By that alone those Islands she secures,
Peace made them hers, but War will make them yours;
There the indulgent Soil that rich Grape breeds,
Which of the Gods the fancied drink exceeds;
They still do yield, such is their pretious mould,
All that is good, and are not curst with Gold.
With fatal Gold, for still where that does grow,
Neither the Soyl, nor People quiet know.
Which troubles men to raise it when ’tis Oar,
And when ’tis raised, does trouble them much more.
Ah, why was thither brought that cause of War,
Kind Nature had from thence remov’d so far.
In vain doth she those Islands free from Ill,
If fortune can make guilty what she will.
But whilst I draw that Scene, where you ere long,
Shall conquests act, your present are unsung,
For Sanctacruze the glad Fleet takes her way,
And safely there casts Anchor in the Bay.
Never so many with one joyful cry,
That place saluted, where they all must dye.
Deluded men! Fate with you did but sport,
You scap’t the Sea, to perish in your Port.
’Twas more for Englands fame you should dye there,
Where you had most of strength, and least of fear.
The Peek’s proud height, the Spaniards all admire,
Yet in their brests, carry a pride much higher.
Onely to this vast hill a power is given,
At once both to Inhabit Earth and Heaven.
But this stupendious Prospect did not neer,
Make them admire, so much as as they did fear.
For here they met with news, which did produce,
A grief, above the cure of Grapes best juice.
They learn’d with Terrour, that nor Summers heat,
Nor Winters storms, had made your Fleet retreat.
To fight against such Foes, was vain they knew,
Which did the rage of Elements subdue.
Who on the Ocean that does horror give,
To all besides, triumphantly do live.
With hast they therefore all their Gallions moar,
And flank with Cannon from the Neighbouring shore.
Forts, Lines, and Sconces all the Bay along,
They build and act all that can make them strong.
Fond men who know not whilst such works they raise,
They only Labour to exalt your praise.
Yet they by restless toyl, because at Length,
So proud and confident of their made strength.
That they with joy their boasting General heard,
Wish then for that assault he lately fear’d.
His wish he has, for now undaunted Blake,
With winged speed, for Sanctacruze does make.
For your renown, his conquering Fleet does ride,
Ore Seas as vast as is the Spaniards pride.
Whose Fleet and Trenches view’d, he soon did say,
We to their Strength are more obilg’d then they.
Wer’t not for that, they from their Fate would run,
And a third World seek out our Armes to shun.
Those Forts, which there, so high and strong appear,
Do not so much suppress, as shew their fear.
Of Speedy Victory let no man doubt,
Our worst works past, now we have found them out.
Behold their Navy does at Anchor lye,
And they are ours, for now they cannot fly.
This said, the whole Fleet gave it their applause,
And all assumes your courage, in your cause.
That Bay they enter, which unto them owes,
The noblest wreaths, that Victory bestows.
Bold Stainer Leads, this Fleets design’d by fate,
To give him Lawrel, as the Last did Plate.
The Thund’ring Cannon now begins the Fight,
And though it be at Noon, creates a Night.
The Air was soon after the fight begun,
Far more enflam’d by it, then by the Sun.
Never so burning was that Climate known,
War turn’d the temperate, to the Torrid Zone.
Fate these two Fleets, between both Worlds had brought.
Who fight, as if for both those Worlds they fought.
Thousands of wayes, Thousands of men there dye,
Some Ships are sunk, some blown up in the skie.
Nature never made Cedars so high a Spire,
As Oakes did then. Urg’d by the active fire.
Which by quick powders force, so high was sent,
That it return’d to its own Element.
Torn Limbs some leagues into the Island fly,
Whilst others lower, in the Sea do lye.
Scarce souls from bodies sever’d are so far,
By death, as bodies there were by the War.
Th’all-seeing Sun, neer gaz’d on such a sight,
Two dreadful Navies there at Anchor Fight.
And neither have, or power, or will to fly,
There one must Conquer, or there both must dye.
Far different Motives yet, engag’d them thus,
Necessity did them, but Choice did us.
A choice which did the highest forth express,
And was attended by as high success.
For your resistless genious there did Raign,
By which we Laurels reapt ev’n on the Mayn.
So prosperous Stars, though absent to the sence,
Bless those they shine for, by their Influence.
Our Cannon now tears every Ship and Sconce,
And o’re two Elements Triumphs at once.
Their Gallions sunk, their wealth the Sea does fill,
The only place where it can cause no ill,
Ah would those Treasures which both Indies have,
Were buryed in as large, and deep a grave,
Wars chief support with them would buried be,
And the Land owe her peace unto the Sea.
Ages to come, your conquering Arms will bless,
There they destroy, what had destroy’d their Peace.
And in one War the present age may boast,
The certain seeds of many Wars are lost,
All the Foes Ships destroy’d, by Sea or fire,
Victorious Blake, does from the Bay retire,
His Seige of Spain he then again pursues,
And there first brings of his success the news;
The saddest news that ere to Spain was brought,
Their rich Fleet sunk, and ours with Lawrel fraught.
Whilst fame in every place, her Trumpet blowes,
And tells the World, how much to you it owes.
Cruising off Cadiz, Admiral Blake (1599-1657) received news that a fleet from America had reached Santa Cruz, Teneriffe. He at once set sail, and arrived at Santa Cruz at daybreak on April 20, 1657. Entering the bay, he found the West Indian fleet anchored round the shore, commanded by the castle and forts; but by the evening all the Spanish vessels were destroyed, without the loss of a single English vessel. The victory was celebrated by a public thanksgiving on June 3; but Blake died on his way home, on August 7, at the entrance of Plymouth Sound (See Hepworth Dixon’s Life of Blake, 346-54).
Last updated Tuesday, October 20, 2015 at 11:14