His Catholic Majesty, Philip of Spain,
Ruled o'er the West
Coast, the Indies and main;
His ships, heavy laden with pesos and
Sailed o'er the South Sea with tribute of state.
Lima and Quito his galleys pulled forth
For Panama pearls and
gold of the North;
And cargoes of treasure were sent
While his soldiers kept guard from the gulf to the
From Panama Bay to the port "Name of God"
trains of slaves thro' the dense forests trod:
Then, some through
the straights and some from the main,
King Philip's good ships
sought their owner again.
On England's grand throne great Elizabeth reigned,
And on sea
and on land her power maintained;
O'er the hearts of her
subjects, o'er the conquests they made,
O'er their lives and
their fortunes her sceptre she swayed.
But her title of "Queen of
the Seas" to dispute
King Philip essayed from the land of the
And velvet-clad Dons cast their love songs aside
battle the English, and wind, wave and tide.
In many and mortal affray they engaged,
And bravely and
fiercely the struggle they waged,
But the men of old Devon—those
stouts hearts of oak—
As often succesfully parried each
The Drakes and the Gilberts, the Grenvils and
The Oxenhams, Raleighs—the props and the stays
England's first greatness—were the heroes of old
Britain's first queen with the Spanish king's gold.
the arch-robber of ill-gotten gain,
And brought England the glory
they wrested from Spain.
His galleons they captured, his treasure
Outfought him abroad and with zeal
At home they defeated the Armada's great
And laid a world's spoil at Elizabeth's feet.
Alas, that such deeds should grow dim wth the years!
that such men should have trained buccaneers!
That from such
examples--so noble, so true—
A race of marauders and ruffians
That fiends such as Morgan should follow the wake
like John Oxman and Sir Francis Drake,
Who swore by the oak, by
the ash and the thorn,
God helping them always, to sail round the
To fair Panama and the placid South Sea,
Which they saw
one day from the top of the tree!
For old England's glory their
standard to raise,
To cruise the Pacific and its isle-dotted
Four miles from where Ancon looks down on the New
old Panama, whence Pizarro once drew
The bravest of followers
Peru to obtain
And her Incas subject to the power of
Where once stood cathedrals and palaces fair,
altars and vessels and tapestries rare
Were the pride of a people
whose opulence then
Was the envy of kings and the longing of
Where once stately streets to the plains stretched
And warehouses skirted the vessel-lined bay;
plantations and gardens and flowering trees
Once perfumed the
tropical evening breeze—
Stands naught but a ruin half-hidden
A pirate's foul gift to his bloodthirsty crew!
From sacked Porto Bello redhanded they came,
from conquest unworthy the name,
To the mouth of the Chagres,
where, high on the hill,
San Lorenzo kept guard, to plunder and
Its devoted defenders, who courageously fought
wives and children, accounting as naught
Their lives held so
precious, so cherished before,
Could they drive the fierce
pirates away from their shore.
Three days they repulsed them, but
to find every night
The foe still upon them in ne'er-ending
Their arms could not conquer the powers of hell!
Lorenzo surrendered—ingloriously fell!
Burned, famished and
bleeding from many a wound,
They lay while the stronghold was
razed to the ground.
On, up to Cruces the buccaneers sped,
But to find it in ashes,
its inhabitants fled.
Yet on and still on, with Morgan
The pressed down the road that to Panama led.
through the forest unbroken they tramped,
And at last on a mount
near the city they camped.
Before them the ocean for leagues away
Below them the islands lay bathed in the gold
sun, that just setting, looked mournfully down
On the last day of
life of the ill-fated town:
While around them the plains with
groves of bright trees
Sheltered cattle and fountains their wants
The famed "golden cup" lay filled at their
And to drain it at sunrise the buccaneers planned.
ho, for the morrow!" quoth Morgan the bold.
"Oh, ho, for the day
and the tale to be told!"
The dawn's faint purple had scarce 'gan to light
The peak of
Ancon, erst hid in the night,
When the blare of the trumpet and
the beat of the drum
Made known that the day of the struggle had
In the camp of the pirates, "To arms!" is the
"Press forward, my hearties, our treasure is nigh!
the main road—there are ambuscades there—
Push on through the
forest, your firearms prepare!"
Now out on the hill, still called
The buccaneers over their enemy glance.
them they see in the full light of day
The Spaniards drawn up in
Two squadrons of horse, four thousand of
With bullocks and peons their forces combine.
were it safer for them to retreat,
Would Morgan have ordered the
signal to beat?
Too late it is now—it is triumph or
Though desperate to battle, 'twere folly to fly!
useless to falter! "On, onward my men!
We have won against odds,
we shall win once again!"
And "On!" cry the Spaniards, shouting "Viva el Rey!
numbers are greater! Ours, ours is the day!
Our bullocks will
rout them! Huzza for old Spain!
The gore of the thieves shall
enrich the plain!"
Alas, for the hopes so sadly misplaced,
never before such a foe had they faced!
No Indians now, but
trained men of might,
Who had learned in stern schools to die and
Two hours they fought 'neath the tropical sun,
threw down their muskets, and—Morgan had won!
The verdant savanna
like a great river runs
With the blood of six thousands of
"On, on to the city!" cries Morgan the
"Oh, ho, 'tis the day, and the tale is soon told!"
Then awful the combat, as over the walls
pirate in eagerness falls!
With Spartan-like valor did the sons
of those who
Had assisted Pizarro to conquer Peru
o'erpower the fierce buccaneer—
To save city and home and all
they held dear!
But vainly they struggled—repulsed o'er and
The pirates return to the battle once more!
At last they
are vanquished! "Now, comrades we'll sup
On the riches we find in
the West's golden cup!"
"Fire, pillage and slaughter!" the order goes round
palace and cottages are burned to the ground;
Till cathedral and
warehouse no treasures contain,
And in the whole city no gold
Till mother and daughter are captured and
With father and brother, or ransom
Monasteries and hospitals—down with them all!
not a stone standing on yon city wall!
"Oh, ho, 'tis the day!"
quoth Morgan the bold!
"Oh, ho, 'tis the day, and the tale is now
O demon insensate! O offspring of hell!
What pen may thine
awful enormities tell!
How picture the cruelties, useless and
Upon the march back through forest again!
tottering feebly 'neath Time's hoary crown,
Frail women in chains
and with burdens borne down,
Fresh youth and grown man and the
child but just born,
Scourged pitilessly on with the lash and the
While sobs, lamentation and shrieks of
Unceasingly freighted the soft summer air!
turns to tears and corrodes the sad pen
O'er the tortures at
Cruces repeated again.
There, under the shade of the broad mango
'Mid anguish that nothing may ever appease—
and children and husbands and wives,
Condemned without mercy to
Then back down the Chagres the buccaneers hie
To where ships
near the castle awaiting them lie;
And embarked with his slaves,
his treasure and gold,
Once again for Port Royal sails Morgan the
From "Panama Patchwork," © 1894-1913