In this short poem Melville attributes two events of 1588 to divine providence - the burning at sea of the Spanish Armada (8 August) that had attempted to invade protestant England, and the assassination of Henri I, Duc du Guise (23 December 1588), one of the leading opponents of the French Huguenots (see Stuart Carroll, Martyrs and Murderers: the Guise Family and the Making of Europe (Oxford, 2009), pp. 265-266, 282-283, 297). The unusual placing of this piece at the end of the Melville collection, and its anti-Catholic themes, suggest that the editors of the DPS wanted it to be seen as a postscript to the 'Antichristus' (d2_MelA_054), or that they had some reason (a manuscript perhaps?) to link the two. If this is the case, and if the poem was written at the same time as the events it depicts, this may mean the 'Antichristus' was written in 1588. Metre: elegiac couplets.
In Classis Iberae et Ducis Guisii interitum (c.1588)
In Classis Iberae et Ducis Guisii interitum
Classis Ibera prius mox Guisius occidit ingens,
terror uterque ingens orbis, et Oceani.
Hic terra, illa mari, sanctis et regibus instans:
hic ferro, haec flamma, regna, polumque petens:
ferrum hunc terra illam petit urgens flamma per undas.
Rex hunc regina hanc, urget utrumque Deus.
Urget utrumque Deus, perditque sequacibus armis.
Sic pereant hostes regibus atque Deo.
On the violent end of the Spanish Armada and the Duke of Guise
First the Spanish Armada is struck down then the mighty Duke of Guise, each a mighty terror to land and sea. He on land, and it on sea, both threatening saintly rulers: he with sword and it with flame, both assailing earthly kingdoms and heaven. The sword ended him by land, and pressing flames ended it by sea. A king attacks him and a queen attacks it, and God attacks each of them. God attacks each, and he slays them with his harrying weapons. Thus may the enemies of God and rulers perish.