Page images

Till Capricorn command the cloudy sky;
And moist Aquarius melt in daily showers,
Friend to the Cane isles ; trust not thou thy tops,
Thy future riches, to the low-land plain :
And if kind Heaven, in pity to thy prayers,
Shed genial influence, as the earth revolves
Her annual circuit, thy rich ripened canes
Shall load thy wagons, mules, and Negro train.

Beneath thy branching shade a bannered host
May lie in ambush !) and whose shaggy sides
Trees shade, of endless green, enormous size,
Wondrous in shape, to botany unknown,
Old, as the Deluge. — There, in secret haunts,
The watery spirits ope their liquid court ;
There, with the wood nymphs, linked in festal band
(Soft airs and Phoebus wing them to their arms),
Hold amorous dalliance. Ah, may none profane,
With fire or steel, their mystic privacy :
For there their fluent offspring first see day,
Coy infants sporting ; silver-footed dew
To bathe by night thy sprouts in genial balm ;
The green-stoled Naiad of the tinkling rill,
Whose brow the fern-tree shades; the power of rain
To glad the thirsty soil, on which, arranged,
The gemmy summits of the Cane await
Thy negro train (in linen lightly wrapt),
Who, now that painted Iris girds the sky
(Aerial arch, which fancy loves to stride !),
Disperse, all-jocund, o'er the long-hoed land.


JOINT IN A MOIST MONTH ; JOINTING TIME. But chief thee, planter, it imports to mark (Whether thou breathe the mountain's humid air, Or pant with heat continual on the plain) What months relent, and which from rain are free.

In different islands of the ocean-stream,
Even in the different parts of the same isle,
The seasons vary ; yet attention soon
Will give thee each variety to know.
This once observed, at such a time inhume
Thy plants, that, when they joint (important age,
Like youth just stepping into life), the clouds
May constantly bedew them : so shall they
Avoid those ills which else their manhood kill.
Six times the changeful moon must blunt her

And fill with borrowed light her silvery urn,
Ere thy tops, trusted to the mountain-land,
Commence their jointing : but four moons suffice
To bring to puberty the low-land cane.



The bundles some untie ; the withered leaves Others strip artful off, and careful lay, Twice one junk, distant in the amplest bed : O'er these, with basty hoe, some lightly spread The mounded interval ; and smooth the trench : Well-pleased, the master swain reviews their toil; And rolls in fancy many a full-fraught cask. So, when the shield was forged for Peleus' son, The swarthy Cyclops shared the important task : With bellows some revived the seeds of fire ; Some gold, and brass, and steel, together fused In the vast furnace ; while a chosen few, In equal measures lifting their bare arms, Inform the mass ; and, hissing in the wave, Temper the glowing orb : their sire beholds, Amazed, the wonders of his fusile art.


VERSA. -TIIE DIVINE LOVE. In plants, in beasts, in man's imperial race, An alien mixture meliorates the breed ; Hence canes, that sickened dwarfish on the plain, Will shoot with giant-vigor on the hill. Thus all depends on all ; so God ordains. Then let not man, for little selfish ends (Britain, remember this important truth), Presume the principle to counteract Of universal love ; for God is love, And wide creation shares alike His care.




While Procyon reigns yet fervid in the sky ; While yet the fiery sun in Leo rides ; And the sun's child, the mailed anana, yields His regal apple to the ravished taste ; And thou, green avocato, charm of sense, Thy ripened marrow liberally bestow'st; Begin the distant mountain-land to plant : So shall thy canes defy November's cold, Ungenial to the upland young ; so best, Unstinted by the arrow's deadening power, Long yellow joints shall flow with generous juice.

'T is said by some, and not unlettered they, That chief the planter, if he wealth desire, Should note the phases of the fickle moon. On thee, sweet ompress of the night, depend The tides; st Neptune pays his court to thee; The winds, obedient, at thy bidding shift, And tempests rise or fall ; even lordly man Thine energy controls. Not so the cane ; The cane its independency may boast, Though some less noble plants thine influence own.


But, till the lemon, orange, and the lime,
Amid their verdant umbrage, countless glow
With fragrant fruit of vegetable gold ;
Till yel

plan bend the unstained bough With crooked clusters, prodigally full ;


Of mountain-lands economy permits
A third in canes of mighty growth to rise :
But, in the low-land plain, the half will yield,
Though not so lofty, yet

richer cane,
For many a crop ; if seasons glad the soil.

[ocr errors]


While rolls the sun from Aries to the Bull,

And let Vitruvius, aided by the line, And till the Virgin his hot beams inflame,

Fence thy plantations with a thick-built wall. The cane with richest, most redundant juicc,

On this lay cuttings of the prickly pear ; Thy spacious coppers fills. Then manage so, They soon a formidable fence will shoot : By planting in succession, that thy crops

Wild liquorice here its red beads loves to hang, The wondering daughters of the main may waft Whilst scandent blossoms, yellow, purple, blue, To Britain's shore, ere Libra weigh the year : Unhurt, wind round its shield-like leaf and spears. So shall thy merchant cheerful credit grant,

Nor is its fruit inelegant of taste, And well-earned opulence thy cares repay.

Though more its color charms the ravished eye ;

Vermeil, as youthful beauty's roseate hue !

As thine, fair Christobelle : ah, when will Fate, Thy fields thus planted, to secure the canes

That long hath scowled relentless on the bard, From the goat's baneful tooth, the churning boar,

Give him some small plantation to enclose, From thieves, from fire, or casual or designed,

Which he may call his own ? Not wealth he craves, Unfailing herbage to thy toiling herds Wouldst thou afford, and the spectators charm

But independence : yet if thou, sweet maid,

In health and virtue bloom, though worse betide, With beauteous prospects, let the frequent hedge

Thy smile will smooth Adversity's rough brow. Thy green plantation, regular, divide. LEMONS, LIMES, ORANGES, LOGWOOD, RICINCS, AND ACACIA.HEDGES FOR CARE.

In Italy's green bounds the myrtle shoots With limes, with lemons, let thy fences glow, A fragrant fence, and blossoms in the sun. Grateful to sense ; now children of this clime :

Here, on the rockiest verge of these blessed isles, And here and there let oranges erect

With little care, the plant of love would grow. Their shapely beauties, and perfume the sky. Then to the citron join the plant of love, Nor less delightful blooms the logwood-hedge, And with their scent and shade enrich your isles. Whose wood to coction yields a precious balm, Specific in the flux: endemial ail,

SHADE-TREES NOT NOXIOUS ; THEIR UTILITY. Much cause have I to weep thy fatal sway.

Yet some pretend, and not unspecious they, But God is just, and man must not repine.

The wood-nymphs foster the contagious blast. Nor shall the ricinus unnoted pass ;

Foes to the Dryads, they remorseless fell Yet, if the colio's deathful pangs thou dread’st, Each shrub of shade, each tree of spreading root, Taste not its luscious nut. The acassee,

That woo the first glad fannings of the breeze. With which the sons of Jewry, stiff-necked race, Far from the muse be such inhuman thoughts; Conjecture says, our God-Messiah crowned,

Far better recks she of the woodland tribes, Soon shoots a thick, impenetrable fence,

Earth's eldest birth, and earth's best ornament. Whose scent perfumes the night and morning sky, Ask him, whom rude necessity compels Though baneful be its root.

To dare the noontide fervor in this clime

Ah, most intensely hot! – how much he longs THE PRIVET AND CARNATION AS A HEDGE ; HUMMING-BIRDS.

For cooling, vast, impenetrable shade.
The privet too,

The muse, alas, the experienced musc, can tell : Whose white flowers rival the first drifts of snow

Oft hath she travelled, while solstitial beams On Grampia's piny hills (O, might the muse

Shot yellow deaths on the devoted land; Tread, fushed with health, the Grampian hills Oft

, oft hath she their ill-judged avarice blamed, again!);

Who to the stranger, to their slaves and herds, Emblem of innocence, shall grace my song.

Denied this best of joys, the breezy shade. Boast of the shrubby tribe, carnation fair,

And are there none whom generous pity warms, Nor thou repine, though late the muse record

Friends to the woodland reign, whom shades Thy bloomy honors. Tipt with burnished gold,


[trees, And with imperial purple crested high,

Who, round their green don ins plant hedgerow More gorgeous than the train of Juno's bird,

And with cool cedars screen the public way? Thy bloomy honors oft the curious muse Hath seen transported : seen the humming-bird, THE GOOD PLANTER DESCRIBED ; TIE PROSPEROUS EXILE. Whose burnished neck bright glows with verdant Yes, good Montano ; friend of man was he : Least of the wingéd vagrants of the sky, [gold ; Him persecution, virtue's deadliest foe, Yet dauntless as the strong-pounced bird of Jove ;

Drove, a lorn exile, from his native shore ; With fluttering vehemence attack thy cups,

From his green hills, where many a fleecy flock, To rob them of their nectar's luscious store.

Where many a heifer, cropt their wholesome food; STONE FENCES FOR CANE-FIELDS ; CACTUS ; WILD LIQUORICE ;

And many a swain, obedient to his rule,

Him their loved master, their protector, owned. But if with stones thy meagre lands are spread, Yet, from that paradise, to Indian wilds, Be these collected, — they will pay the toil :

To tropic suns, to fell barbaric hinds,


| And yon bright sky, to which my soul aspires,

Shall bless you with eternity of joy.'


A poor outcast, an alien, did he roam ;
His wife, the partner of his better hours,
And one sweet infant, cheered his dismal way :
Unused to labor ; yet the orient sun,
Yet western Phoebus, saw him wield the hoe.
At first a garden all his wants supplied
(For temperance sat cheerful at bis board),
With yams, cassada, and the food of strength,
Thrice wholesome tanies : while a neighboring dell
(Which nature to the soursop had resigned),
With ginger and with Raleigh's pungent plant,
Gave wealth; and gold bought better land and slaves.

[ocr errors][merged small]


If Jove descend, propitious to thy vows, Heaven blessed his labor : now the cotton shrub,

In frequent floods of rain, successive crops Graced with broad yellow flowers unhurt by worms, | Of weeds will spring. Nor venture to repine, O'er many an acre sheds its whitest down :

Though oft their toil thy little gang renew; The power of rain in genial moisture bathed Their toil ten-fold the melting heavens repay : His cacao-walk, which teemed with marrowy pods ;

For soon thy plants will magnitude acquire, His coffee kathed, that glowed with berries red To crush all undergrowth ; before the sun, As Danae's lip, or, Theodosia, thine,

The planets thus withdraw their puny fires. Yet countless as the pebbles on the shore ;

And though untutored, then, thy canes will shoot : Oft, while drought killed his impious neighbor's Care meliorates their growth. The trenches fill grove.

With their collateral mould ; as in a town In time, a numerous gang of sturdy slaves,

Which foes have long beleaguered, unawares Well-fed, well-clothed, all emulous to gain

A strong detachment sallies from each gate, Their master's smile, who treated them like men, And levels all the labors of the plain. Blackened his cane-lands; which with vast increase,

STRIPPING THE CANE-PLANTS. Beyond the wish of avarice, paid his toil.

And now thy cane's first blades their verdure lose, THE GOOD PLANTER'S CARE OF HIS HANDS AND MULES ; UIS

And hang their idle heads. Be these stripped off ; HOSPITALITY ; HIS SHADY TAMÁRISD-WALK.

So shall fresh sportive airs their joints embrace, No cramps with sudden death surprised his mules;

And by their dalliance give the sap to rise. No glander-pest his airy stables thinned :

But, 0, beware! let no unskilful hand And, if disorder seized bis negro-train,

The vivid foliage tear : their channelled spouts, Celsus was called, and pining illness flew.

Well-pleased, the watery nutriment convey, His gate stood wide to all ; but chief the poor,

With filial duty, to the thirsty stem ; The unfriended stranger, and the sickly, shared

And, spreading wide their reverential arms,
His prompt munificence : no surly dog,

Defend their parent from solstitial skies.
Nor surlier Ethiop, their approach debarred.
The Muse, that pays this tribute to his fame,
Oft hath escaped the sun's meridian blaze,
Beneath you tamarind-vista, which his hands

Planted ; and which, impervious to the sun,

ARGUMEXT. His latter days beheld.

Subject proposed. Address to William Shenstone, Esq. Of THE ADVICE OF MONTANO, THE W. I. PLANTER, TO HIS SON ; monkeys. Of rats and other vermin. Of weeds. of the MERCY ; CHARITY.

yellow fly. Of the greasy fly. Of the blast. A hurricane

described. Of calms and earthquakes. A tale. One noon he sat Beneath its breezy shade, what time the sun


His sultry vengeance from the Lion poured ;
And calmly thus his eldest hope addressed.

Enough of culture. — A less pleasing theme, Be pious, be industrious, be humane ;

What ills await the ripening cane, demands From proud oppression guard the laboring hind. My serious numbers : these the thoughtful Muse Whate'er their creed, God is the sire of man,

Hath oft beheld, deep-pierced with generous woe. His image they ; then dare not thou, my son, For she, poor exile ! boasts no waving crops ; To bar the gates of mercy on mankind.

For her no circling mules press dulcet streams ; Your foes forgive, for merit must make foes ; No negro-band huge foaming coppers skim ; And in each virtue far surpass your sire.

Nor fermentation (wine's dread sire) for her, Your means are ample, heaven a heart bestow ! With Vulcan's aid, from cane a spirit draws, So health and peace shall be your portion here ; Potent to quell the madness of despair.


Yet oft the range she walks, at shut of eve; Loose rocks abound, or tangling bushes bloom,
Oft sees red lightning at the midnight hour, What planter knows ?-Yet prudence may reduce.
When nod the watches, stream along the sky; Encourage, then, the breed of savage cats,
Not innocent, as what the learned call

Nor kill the winding snake, thy foes they eat.
The Boreal morn, which, through the azure air, Thus, on the mangrove-banks of Guayaquil,
Flashes its tremulous rays, in painted streaks, Child of the rocky desert, sca-like stream,
While o'er night's veil her lucid tresses flow : With studious care, the American preserves
Nor quits the Muse her walk, immersed in thought, The gallinazo, else that sea-like stream
How she the planter, haply, may advise ;

(Whence traffic pours her bounties on mankind) Till tardy morn unbar the gates of light,

Dread alligators would alone possess,
And, opening on the main with sultry beam, Thy foes, the teeth-filed Ibbos also love ;
To burnished silver turns the blue-green wave. Nor thou their wayward appetite restrain.

Some place decoys, nor will they not avail,

Replete with roasted crabs, in every grove Say, will my Shenstone lend a patient car,

These fell mauraders gnaw; and pay their slaves And weep at woes unknown to Britain's isle ?

Some small reward for every captive foe. Yes, thou wilt weep ; for pity chose thy breast,

So practise Gallia's sons ; but Britons trust
With taste and science for their soft abode :

In other wiles ; and surer their success.
Yes, thou wilt weep: thine own distress thou bearist
Undaunted ; but another's melts thy soul.

"O, were my pipo as soft, my dittied song'
As smooth as thine, my too, too distant friend, With Misnian arsenic, deleterious bane,
Shenstone ; my soft pipe and my dittied song

Pound up the ripe cassada's well-rasped root, Should hush the hurricane's tremendous roar,

And form in pellets ; these profusely spread And from each evil guard the ripening cane ! Round the cane-groves, where skulk the vermin

They, greedy, and unweeting of the bait, [breed : MONKEYS DESTRUCTIVE TO THE SUGAR-CANE ; DOGS.

Crowd to the inviting cates, and swift devour Destructive, on the upland sugar-groves

Their palatable death ; for soon they seek (die. The monkey-nation preys : from rocky heights, The neighboring spring, and drink, and swell, and In silent parties, they descend by night,

But dare not thou, if life deserve thy care, And, posting watchful sentinels to warn

The infected rivulet taste ; nor let thy herds When hostile steps approach, with gambols they Graze its polluted brinks, till rolling time Pour o'er the cane-grove. Luckless he to whom Have fined the water, and destroyed the bane. That land pertains ! in evil hour, perhaps,

'T is safer then to mingle nightshade's juice And thoughtless of to-morrow, on a die

With flour, and throw it liberal 'mong thy canes : He hazards millions ; or, perhaps, reclines

They touch not this ; its deadly scent they fly, On luxury's soft lap, the pest of wealth ;

And sudden colonize some distant vale.
And, inconsiderate, deems his Indian crops
Will amply her insatiate wants supply.
From these insidious droles (peculiar pest

Shall the Muse deign to sing of humble weeds, Of Liamuiga's hills) wouldst thou defend

That check the progress of the imperial cane ? Thy waving wealth ; in traps put not thy trust, In every soil unnumbered weeds will spring; However baited : treble every watch,

Nor fewest in the best (thus, oft we find And well with arms provide them ; faithful dogs, Enormous vices taint the noblest souls !): Of nose sagacious, on their footsteps wait.

These let thy little gang with skilful hand, With these attack the predatory bands ;

Oft as they spread abroad, — and oft they spread, Quickly the unequal conflict they decline,

Careful pluck up, so swell thy growing heap And, chattering, fling their ill-got spoils away.

Of rich manure. And yet some weeds arise, So when, of late, innumerous Gallic hosts,

Of aspect mean, with wondrous virtues fraught Fierce, wanton, cruel, did by stealth invade

(And doth not oft uncommon merit dwell The peaceable American's domains,

In men of vulgar looks, and trivial air ?): While desolation marked their faithless route ; Such, planter, be not thou ashamed to save No sooner Albion's martial sons advanced,

From foul pollution and unseemly rot; Than the gay dastards to their forests fled,

Much will they benefit thy house and thee. And left their spoils and tomahawks behind.



But chief the yellow thistle thou select,
Nor with less waste the whiskered vermin-race, Whose seed the stomach frees from nauseous loads ;
A countless clan, despoil the low-land cane.

And, if the music of the mountain-dove These to destroy, while commerce hoists the sail, Delight thy pensive ear, sweet friend to thought!


This prompts their cooing, and inflames their love.
Nor let rude hands the knotted grass profane,
Whose juice worms fly : ah, dire endemial ill !
How many fathers, fathers now no more,
How many orphans, now lament thy rage ?
The cow-itch also save ; but let thick gloves
Thine hands defend, or thou wilt sadly rue
Thy rash imprudence, when ten thousand darts
Sharp as the bee-sting fasten in thy flesh,
And give thee up to torture. But, unhurt,
Planter, thou mayst the humble chickweed cull;
And that which coyly flies the astonished grasp.

The skilled in Nature's mystic lore observe
Each tree, each plant, that drinks the golden day,
Some reptile life sustains : thus cochinille
Feeds on the Indian fig; and should it harm
The foster plant, its worth that harm repays :
But ye, base insects ! no bright scarlet yield
To deck the British Wolf; who now perhaps
(So heaven and George ordain) in triumph mounts
Some strong-built fortress, won from haughty Gaul !
And though no plant such luscious nectar yields
As yields the cane-plant, yet, vile parricides !
Ungrateful ye the parent-cane destroy.


Not the confection named from Pontus' king; Not the blessed apple Median climes produce, Though lofty Maro (whose inmortal muse Distant I follow, and, submiss, adore) Hath sung its properties, to counteract Dire spells, slow-muttered o'er the baneful bowl, Where cruel stepdames poisonous drugs have

brewed ; Can vie with these low tenants of the vale, In driving poisons from the infected frame.


For here, alas ! (ye sons of luxury, mark !) The sea, though on its bosom Halcyons sleep, Abounds with poisoned fish ; whose crimson fins, Whose eyes,

whose scales, bedropt with azure, gold, Purple, and green, in all gay Summer's pride, Amuse the sight; whose taste the palate charms ; Yet death, in ambush, on the banquet waits, Unless these antidotes be timely given. But, say what strains, what numbers can recite

REMEDIES AGAINST THE YELLOW FLY ; RAIN. Muse! say what remedy hath skill devised To quell this noxious foe? Thy blacks send forth, A strong detachment, ere the increasing pest Have made too firm a lodgment; and, with care, Wipe every tainted blade, and liberal lave With sacred Neptune's purifying stream. But this Augæan toil long time demands, Which thou to more advantage mayst employ : If vows for rain thou ever didst prefer, Planter, prefer them now : the rattling shower, Poured down in constant streams for days and

nights, Not only swells with nectar sweet thy canes, But in the deluge drowns thy plundering foe.

THE 'BLAST ; ' OCCASIONED BY BCGS. When may the planter idly fold his arms, And say, “My soul, take rest'? Superior ills, Ills which no care nor wisdom can avert, In black succession rise. Ye men of Kent, When nipping Eurus, with the brutal force Of Boreas joined in ruffian league, assail Your ripened hop-grounds, tell me what you feel, And pity the poor planter when the blast, Fell plague of heaven! perdition of the isles ! Attacks his waving gold. Though well-manured ; A richness though thy fields from nature boast ; Though seasons pour ; this pestilence invades : Too oft it seizes the glad infant-throng, Nor pities their green nonage : their broad blades, Of which the graceful wood-nymphs erst composed The greenest garlands to adorn their brows, First pallid, sickly, dry, and withered show ; Unseemly stains succeed ; which, nearer viewed By microscopic arts, small eggs appear, Dire fraught with reptile-life ; alas ! too soon They burst their filmy jail, and crawl abroad, Bugs of uncommon shape ; thrice hideous show ! Innumerous as the painted shells that load The wave-worn margin of the virgin isles ! Innumerous as the leaves the plum-tree sheds, When, proud of her fecundity, she shows Naked her gold fruit to the God of noon.


Thy praises, vervain ; or, wild liquorice, thine ?
For not the costly root, the gift of God,
Gathered by those who drink the Volga's wave
(Prince of Europa's streams, itself a sea),
Equals your potency! Did planters know
But half your virtues, not the cane itself
Would they with greater, fonder pains preserve !


COCHINILLE. -- WOLFE. Still other maladies infest the cane, And worse to be subdued. The insect-tribe, That, fluttering, spread their pinions to the sun, Recall the muse : nor shall their many eyes, Though edged with gold, their many-colored down, From death preserve them. In what distant clime, In what recesses, are the plunderers hatched ? Say, are they wafted in the living gale From distant islands? Thus, the locust-breed, In wingéd caravans, that blot the sky, Descend from far, and, ere bright morning dawn, Astonished Afric sees her crop devoured. Or, doth the cane a proper nest afford, And food adapted to the yellow fly?

EFFECTS OF THE BLAST.' Remorseless to its youth, what pity, say, Can the cane's age expect? In vain its pitch

« PreviousContinue »