The Discovery and Conquest
of the Americas

I.3. Original 1555 Edition
English Verse Translation
Quant la lictiere du tourbillon versée,

When litter by the whirlwind is upset,
Et seront faces de leurs manteaux couvers,

And face is covered by protecting cloak,
La republique par gens nouveaux vexée,

Then shall new folk the very state beset
Lors blancs & rouges jugeront a l’envers.

And judges shall perversely laws invoke.

Source: Presumably Augustin de Zarate’s Historia del descubrimiento y conquista del Perú, (Antwerp, 1555), describing the events that led to the execution of the Inca Emperor, Atahuallpa, in August 1533, which began with his capture at the battle of Caxamalca in November, 1532, (See II.62), after the royal litter, reeling about like a ship being tossed about in a storm, suddenly overturned, throwing the dazed Inca into the clutches of Pizarro, thus leaving the natives in a state of turmoil, with only ‘night’s friendly mantle’ offering them any kind of protection from their savage pursuers. With Atahuallpa captured and imprisoned, Pizarro and his men gained control of the Inca state, but agitation followed after rumours spread of an Inca uprising, forcing Pizarro to bring the fallen Inca emperor before a mock tribunal, where he was wrongly tried and executed on false charges.

I.7. Original 1555 Edition
English Verse Translation
Tard arrivé l’execution faicte

Lately arrived, the execution’s done,
Le vent contraire, letres au chemin prinses
Against the odds, and letters intercepted.
Les conjures. xiiij. dune secte
Fourteen the plotters from one caste alone:
Par le Rosseau senez les entreprinses.
roseau; semez
News of the plot through a reed is reported.

Source: The De orbe novo (‘Concerning the New World’) of 1533 by the Italian historian Pietro Martire d’Anghiera (Peter Martyr), describing the dire results of the native desecration of a Franciscan chapel on Hispaniola during 1496, during Columbus’s absence in Spain. Reacting to the resulting savage repression, the uncomprehending caciques, or local chieftains, plotted a massacre of the Spanish occupiers. Columbus’s brother Bartolomé, the acting Governor, was hastily summoned from Santo Domingo by a letter hidden in a reed disguised as a messenger’s staff, since letters were otherwise liable to be intercepted as ‘magical objects’ by the inhabitants. In fact, the messenger was intercepted, but managed to talk his way out of trouble. At length Bartolomé arrived and, finding himself vastly outnumbered, organised an extremely selective surprise midnight raid on the native villages: ‘The Spaniards rushed into the huts where the chieftains were being lodged, seized and bound fourteen of them and rushed them away to the fortress before anybody could try and defend or rescue them.’ The two ringleaders were subsequently put to death and in this way the rebellion successfully quelled.

I.30. Original 1555 Edition Supplement
English Verse Translation
La nef estrange par le tourment marin

The foreign ship from over the raging sea
Abourdera pres de port incongneu,

At port unknown shall land from out the main
Nonobstant signes de rameau palmerin

Despite palm-fronds, signs of man’s proximity.
Apres mort, pille: bon avis tard venu.

After death, pillage: later, they’ll think again.

Source: Probably Grynaeus and Huttich's Novus Orbis Regionum ac Insularum Veteribus Incognitarum, detailing the voyages of Columbus and other contemporary explorers, and published in Paris in 1532, plus a so-far-unidentified printing of the explorer’s logs. His entry for 26th May 1494, on entering Cuba's Bay of Pigs during his second expedition, reads: 'No people appeared, but there were signs of their presence in cut-down palms.’ On arriving, Columbus had discovered that the entire garrison that he had left at Navidad on Hispaniola at the end of his first expedition had been massacred during his absence. In revenge for their deaths, two of his subordinates, Alonso de Ojeda and Pedro Margarit, then attacked them and took many slaves, apparently with Columbus's connivance. Nevertheless, he remained convinced that he had discovered China, and made his companions sign a declaration to that effect. It was only later that the realisation dawned on others that the orient lay much further on, beyond yet another ocean.

II.62.  Original 1555 Edition
English Verse Translation
Mabus puis tost alors mourra, viendra

Then, Mabus shortly dying, there shall be
De gens & bestes une horrible defaite:  déroute
Of man and beast a most horrible rout:
Puis tout à coup la vengeance on verra
Then all at once the vengeance we will see.
Cent, main, soif, faim, quand courra la comete. Cent 'main' Hundred men, thirst, famine, when comet out.

Source: Augustin de Zarate’s Historia del descubrimiento y conquista del Perú, (Antwerp, 1555), describing events that occurred during the appearance of notable daylight comet C/1532 R1, [as was observed and recorded by both Theophrasus Paracelsus’ and Apianus - chief astrologer of the Emperor Charles V], which ran across the sky from September to November of the year 1532. The verse, in somewhat typical disordered fashion, begins in line four, with the advent of the comet in the month of September, 1532, and Francisco Pizarro’s difficult march from the gates of San Miguel to the city of Caxamalca, which included his leading an advance company consisting of sixty infantry and forty cavaliers, (a total of one hundred men), over the Andes. The first line of the verse then becomes clear, as shortly thereafter we arrive with the death of the famous Flemish painter, Jan Mabuse, (on October 1, 1532, at the city of Antwerp, as recorded in a portrait engraved by Jerome Cock). The second line then follows, with the horrible massacre that took place at the Peruvian city of Caxamalca, on November 16, 1532 and finally, in the third line, the verse concludes, by bringing to mind the wrathful ‘vengeance’ that was behind the Spanish conquistadors’ brutal massacre of the Incas, namely as a consequence of the Inca Emperor, Atahuallpa, throwing the Christian Bible to the ground in an act of indifference, (See I.3). 

V.14. Original 1557 Edition Supplement English Verse Translation
Saturne & Mars en leo Espaigne captifve,
Saturn and Mars in Leo, held in Spain,
Par chef lybique au conflict attrapé:
Caught by an Afric leader in a fight,
Proche de Malthe, Heredde prinse vive, Marthe [Santa Marta]; [Pedro de] Heredia Near Marta shall Heredia live be ta’en
Et Romain sceptre sera par coq frappé.
When Cock shall strike the Roman ruler's might.

Source: The temporary imprisonment in Spain in 1535 of Don Pedro de Heredia, Governor of Santa Marta in Colombia, for alleged embezzlement of Indian property. Both Saturn and Mars were in Leo from early November until mid-December. After the French took nearby Cartagena by surprise in 1543, he was again deposed and sent to Spain in a fleet which was lost at sea in 1555 off the African coast – though until this was established (the verse itself was written between 1555 and 1557) it may well have been assumed that he had been captured by North African pirates.