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For lo! from yonder islet within hail
Of the main land, to which it nearest lies,
A sudden fleet of boats with crowded sail
Comes skimming the long seas! In glad surprise,
As if for joy all other senses fail
But sight, the people gaze with asking eyes :
“ What men are these ?” they rather muse than say,
“What rites, what laws, what ruler follow they ? "

Those skiffs for speed were fashioned long and slight,
Sharp-beaked and narrow, delicate to steer,
The sails of palm-tree leaves were firm and light,
So firmly matted was that simple gear.
The strangers' skin was of the hue of night
Bequeathed by Phaëton, the charioteer,
With more of courage than of wit endued,
As Padus knows, and Lampethusa rued.


The cotton down supplies the garb they wear,
Of various colors, white and listed, borne
Loose from the shoulder with a flaunting air;
Or at the girdle tied, succinctly worn,
While all above from waist to brow is bare,
And this the turban's artful folds adorn:
For arms they carried scimiter and shield,
And o'er the waves their clamorous trumpets pealed.


Extended arms and fluttered robes invite
The Lusitanian people to delay :
But these have tacked already, bearing right
Toward the Isles, to anchor in the bay;
The joyous seamen toil with all their might
As if their labors are to end to-day.
They slacken sail : they strike the topsails; dash
The anchors go, the wounded waves upflash.

Ere yet the forked iron finds its bed
The strangers by the cordage nimbly climb;
Their joyful faces speak them free of dread,
And kind their welcome from the Chief sublime;
Who straight commands the tables to be spread,
And juice Lyëan of the Lusian clime,
In crystal goblets served; the ruby draught
With right good will the scorched of Phaëton quaffed.
Regaling merrily, their hosts they plied
In Arab speech with questions whence they came,
What seas had traversed and what coasts descried,
Their name, their country, and their final aim ?
The gallant Lusitanians nothing hide,
Yet in a form discreet their answers frame:

From shores far west, from Portugal our homa, In search of Oriental shores we roam.

“ And all the length of Afric we have run,
Seen many a land and weathered many a sky,
The northern star beheld our course begun,
Now stars antarctic watch us from on high :
And naught that tries our loyalty we shun,
To serve a King for whom we live or die;
Content for him to range the billowy vast,

the Lake that can but once be passed.

“By his command our devious way we feel,
Seeking the land that Indus irrigates;
For him we wander where till now the seal
Has known no voyagers but his uncouth mates.
But reason bids that you in turn reveal,
If truth among you as a virtue rates,
What men ye be, and what the shores around,
And whether trace of India here be found ?"

“ Aliens are we!” – one from the Isle replied -
“Aliens by country, origin, and creed.
The natives of these isles, of sense devoid
As nature made them, law nor reason heed.
But we are true believers; we confide
In that pure Faith, that takes of all the lead ;
The Faith by Abram's famed descendant taught,
Whom Pagan sire of Hebrew wife begot.

“This island where we sojourn, though but small,
Allures the wandering traffic of the coast;
For every trading town a port of call:
Quilóa, Sófala, Mombassa most:
So here for lucre— hardly gained withal,
But patient thrift endures a churlish host –
We dwell with those who call the island theirs,
And Mozambique is the name it bears

“But you, who tempt so far the brawling tide,
Indus, Hydaspes, and the shores of spice
Demanding, here will find a willing guide
Your course to regulate with skill precise.
'Tis opportune too that we here provide
Whatever succors for your store suffice;
And that our Regent see you, and give heed
How best to aid you to what most you need!”

This said, the Moor and all the swarthy crew
Betook them to their slender boats again;
With all the courtesies for kindness due,
From Gama parting and his gallant men:
And Phæbus now beneath the waters blue
Had veiled the glory of his crystal wain;
Charge to his sister given to watch the night,
And while he slumbered soothe the world with light,

In joy unwonted in the weary fleet,
Joy quickened by surprise, the night was past;
Of that far land for which so long they beat
They now had lighted on the trace at last!
About these strangers too, perplexed conceit
Was busy, musing on their manners, cast,
And creed, and wondering how a faith so blind
Beguiled and led such myriads of mankind.

The moon's clear radiance falls in silver showers
Resplendent on the surface of the deep;
The firmament is like a field of flowers,
The stars to-night so thronged a vigil keep;
The winds, disarmed of their unruly powers,
Down in their caves profound are locked in sleep,
Yet not the less the Armada's people share
Alternate watch, their long-accustomed care.

But soon as Morn with kindling blush was seen,
Her tresses all dispread and bright with dew,
Opening the purple gates of heaven serene
To let Hyperion, just awakened, through;
Their decks with festal awnings then to screen
And dress their masts with flags, began the crew,
Preparing for a welcome guest at hand,
The coming Regent of the sea-girt land.

Who joyfully advanced, with press of sail,
To view the buoyant armament, and brought
Fresh fruits, the island produce, to regale
These of the race inhuman as he thought
That made the nations Asiatic quail,
When bursting from their Caspian bounds, they wrought
Portentous change, crushing by will Divine,
The reverend empery of Constantine.

The Chief received on deck with smiles benign
The Moor, and all who served him for escort,
And gave him gaudy silks of tissue fine,
For such foreseen occasion stored apart;
And set before him sweet conserves and wine,
The fervor that exhilarates the heart.
The silken gift well pleased him, but the zest
Of juice forbidden pleased the Moslem best.

Aloft, the Lusitanian people manned
The yards, and in the shrouds admiring hung,
Noting the manners of the sable band
And barbarous jargon of their Caffre tongue.
As much perplexed, the subtle Moslem scanned
Their garb, their color, their Armada strong,
And asked, suspicion in his mind at work,
If they were subjects of the Sultan Turk.

Demands he too their sacred books to see;
Their code of faith, of precept, or of law,
That he may know if it with his agree,
Or if— for that way his conjectures draw
They trust in Him who died upon the tree.
And not more shrewd in marking all he saw
Than keen that nothing should escape his sight,
He fain would view the arms they use in fight.

By one well skilled in the dark tongue, the Chief
Of steadfast soul replied: "Illustrious sir,
Of what I am, suffice relation brief,
And what the faith I hold, the arms I bear.
Of Hagar's race I share not the belief,
Nor mine the spurious blood derived from her:
In fair and warlike Europe was I born,
I seek the famous kingdoms of the morn.

- 12


“I hold the faith prescribed by Him who reigns
Over all visible and invisible things;
Who made the world, and all that it contains
Insensible or sentient; bore the stings
Of calumny and scorn, endured the pains
Of unjust death by barbarous sufferings;
Who, in a word, by Heaven to earth was given
To raise the mortals of the earth to heaven.

“Of this Man-God, Most High, and Infinite,
The holy books thou hast desired to see
I carry not, nor need on paper write
The law that graven in the soul should be.
But for the arms wherewith our scores we quit
With foes, we hide them not from friends; to thee
As to a friend we show them, for I know
Thou ne'er wouldst test their temper as a foe.”
Thus saying, them who the command await
He bids the various gear of war disclose,
Trunk harness, habergeons, and coats of plate,
Fine mail entwined, or scaled in artful rows,
And shields with diverse blazonry ornate;
Spingards of seasoned metal, balls, crossbows,
Quivers with arrow stored of point minute,
Curt-handled pikes, and partisans acute;
And, charged with fiery seed, the hollow spheres,
Grenades and shells that burst in ruin blind;
But suffers not the Chief his bombardiers
To rouse the latent thunder; for the mind
Generous as brave solicits not the fears
Of men like these, a weak untutored kind,
With vain ostent of rage, - the triumph cheap
Of power that plays the lion among sheep.
But from the light the Moslem here obtained,
And after all he saw with


A settled hatred in his soul remained,
An evil will on evil purpose bent;
Which not a gesture nor a look explained,
For with a smiling gay allure he meant
To treat them blandly, and his hour await
To show the force and meaning of his hate.
Pilots to lead him to an Indian port
Requests the Lusitanian of the Moor,

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