I. Two great commanders at this place fell out,
A Malta gallant and a Grecian stout;
True Trojans both, equal for birth and valour,
Small difference in habit or in colour;
Ambitious only which should have the honour
To fight the Turks under the English banner.
II. Brave Syracusa, Malta's warlike knight,
Displays his bloody flag much like a wight
Of peerless courage (drawing forth his forces,
Whose Colours were red, both foot and horses).
Thus Hector once, that noble son of Priam
Dared out the Grecian lads, only to try 'um.
III. Rubola, hold as ere was Alexander,
At this place was the merry Greeks' commander;
Like a stout champion and a man of might
Set up his standard, which was red and white.
Thus Ajax with Ulysses had a fray
Which would Achilles' armour bear away
IV. Whilst these two combatants with large pretences
Do praise, and boast, and brag their excellences,
Our English squadron, being much in wrath,
Vowed by St George to be revenged on both.
Thus Jove enraged, with thunder-bolts controlled
The daring giants, 'cause they were so bold.
V. Th' Assistance, Dragon, Dartmouth, all consent
As firm as by an Act of Parliament;
And quickly too, because they were no starters,
Surprised Syracusa in his quarters;
Whilst suddenly our gentry on the shore
Spared not to turn Rubola o'er and o'er.
VI. But two to one is odds, and so we found,
For many of our men were run aground:
Some would have stole away, but could not stand;
Some were aboard, and could not get to land;
Some lost their feeling, and ('twas strange to see't)
they went as well upon their heads as feet.
VII. Some would have fought, but, lifting up their hands
Scarce to their heads, fell backwards on the sands;
One lost his hearing; another could not see
Which was his friend or which his enemy
And, having lost their senses which they had,
they whooped and holloa'd as they had been mad.
VIII. Some by their friends were carried to their hammocks,
And bed-rid lay, with pains in sides and stomachs;
With fiery faces, and with aching brain,
Their hands all dirt, their pulses beat amain;
Which when the doctor did but touch would spue
Good Syracusa and Rubola too.
IX. Some talk, and swear like men in frantic fits,
Whose vain discourse did much outrun their wits;
Some were stroke dumb, not able to afford
Their minds or meanings by a sign or word;
Some, loth to speak, made signs, whose silent speeches
Shewed the disease was sunk into their breeches.
X. Some so outrageous that the corporal
Was forced to cloister them in bilboes-hall;
Some, seized to the mainmast, do their backs expose
To th' nine-tailed cat or cherriliccum's blows;
Some ready to be ducked, some left ashore,
And many mischiefs I could tell you more.
XI. The strangeness of their weapons, and their number,
Caused us to lose a day, the field the plunder:
The English used to fight with swords and guns,
But here they met with barrels, butts and tuns.
Boast now no more: you see what odds will do;
Hector himself would never fight with two."