DISCOVERY OF GUYANA
The West Indies were first offered her Majesty’s grandfather by Columbus, a stranger, in whom there might be doubt of deceit, and besides, it was then thought incredible that there were such and so many islands and regions never written of before. This Empire is made known to Her Majesty by her own vassal, and by him that oweth to her more duty than an ordinary subject….
Guiana is a country that hath yet her maidenhead, never sacked, turned, nor wrought, the face of the earth hath not been torn, nor the virtue and salt of the soil spent by manurance, the graves not been opened for gold, the mines not broken with sledges, nor their images pulled down out of their temples…. The common soldier shall here fight for gold, and pay himself instead of pence, with plates of half a foot broad, whereas he breaketh his bones in other wars for provant and penury. Those commanders and chieftains, that shoot at honour, and abundance, shall find here more rich and beautiful cities, more temples adorned with golden images, more sepulchres filled with treasure, than either Cortez found in Mexico, or Pizarro in Peru.
I never saw a more beautiful country, nor more lively prospects, hills so raised here and there over the valleys, the river winding into diverse branches, the plains adjoining without bush or stubble, all fair green grass, the ground of hard sand easy to march on, either for horse or foot, the deer crossing in every path, the birds towards the evening singing on every tree with a thousand different tunes, cranes and herons of white crimson and carnation perching on the river’s side, the air fresh with a gentle easterly wind, and every stone that we stopped to take up promised either gold or silver by his complexion.