Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Oceanica: Vol. XXXI. 1876–79.

Various Islands: Bermudas


By Edmund Waller (1606–1687)

(From The Battle of the Summer Islands)

BERMUDA, walled with rocks, who does not know?

That happy island where huge lemons grow,

And orange-trees, which golden fruit do bear,

The Hesperian garden boasts of none so fair;

Where shining pearl, coral, and many a pound,

On the rich shore, of ambergris is found.

The lofty cedar, which to heaven aspires,

The prince of trees! is fuel to their fires;

The smoke by which their loaded spits do turn,

For incense might on sacred altars burn;

Their private roofs on odorous timber borne,

Such as might palaces for kings adorn.

The sweet palmettos a new Bacchus yield,

With leaves as ample as the broadest shield,

Under the shadow of whose friendly boughs

They sit, carousing where their liquor grows.

Figs there unplanted through the fields do grow,

Such as fierce Cato did the Romans show,

With the rare fruit inviting them to spoil

Carthage, the mistress of so rich a soil.

The naked rocks are not unfruitful there,

But, at some constant seasons, every year,

Their barren tops with luscious food abound,

And with the eggs of various fowls are crowned.

Tobacco is the worst of things, which they

To English landlords, as their tribute, pay.

Such is the mould, that the blessed tenant feeds

On precious fruits, and pays his rent in weeds.

With candied plantains, and the juicy pine,

On choicest melons, and sweet grapes, they dine,

And with potatoes fat their wanton swine.

Nature these cates, with such a lavish hand,

Pours out among them, that our coarser land

Tastes of that bounty, and does cloth return,

Which not for warmth, but ornament, is worn;

For the kind spring, which but salutes us here,

Inhabits there, and courts them all the year.

Ripe fruits and blossoms on the same trees live;

At once they promise what at once they give.

So sweet the air, so moderate the clime,

None sickly lives, or dies before his time.

Heaven sure has kept this spot of earth uncursed,

To show how all things were created first.