Prologue To 'Zobeide'

A poem by Oliver Goldsmith

In these bold times, when Learning's sons explore
The distant climate and the savage shore;
When wise Astronomers to India steer,
And quit for Venus, many a brighter here;
While Botanists, all cold to smiles and dimpling,
Forsake the fair, and patiently go simpling;
When every bosom swells with wond'rous scenes,
Priests, cannibals, and hoity-toity queens:
Our bard into the general spirit enters,
And fits his little frigate for adventures:
With Scythian stores, and trinkets deeply laden,
He this way steers his course, in hopes of trading
Yet ere he lands he 'as ordered me before,
To make an observation on the shore.
Where are we driven? our reck'ning sure is lost!
This seems a barren and a dangerous coast.
____ what a sultry climate am I under!
Yon ill foreboding cloud seems big with thunder.
('Upper Gallery'.)
There Mangroves spread, and larger than I've seen 'em
Here trees of stately size and turtles in 'em
Here ill-condition'd oranges abound
And apples ('takes up one and tastes it'),
bitter apples strew the ground.
The place is uninhabited, I fear!
I heard a hissing there are serpents here!
O there the natives are a dreadful race!
The men have tails, the women paint the face!
No doubt they're all barbarians. Yes, 'tis so,
I'll try to make palaver with them though;
('Making signs'.)
'Tis best, however, keeping at a distance.
Good Savages, our Captain craves assistance;
Our ship's well stor'd; in yonder creek we've laid her;
His honour is no mercenary trader;
This is his first adventure; lend him aid,
Or you may chance to spoil a thriving trade.
His goods, he hopes are prime, and brought from far,
Equally fit for gallantry and war.
What! no reply to promises so ample?
I'd best step back and order up a sample.

Reader Comments

Tell us what you think of 'Prologue To 'Zobeide'' by Oliver Goldsmith

comments powered by Disqus

Home | Search | About this website | Contact | Privacy Policy