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SIR FRANCIS BACON’S

 

CIPHER STORY.

 

 

DISCOVERED AND DECIPHERED BY

 

ORVILLE W. OWEN, M. D.

 

VOL. II.

 

 

[1894]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION.

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The first book of the deciphered writings of Sir Francis Bacon has had an unusual experience. It was published and sent forth without preface or word of explanation, with the desire that the public should form its own judgment upon the matter contained in it. The interest it has excited is almost without precedent. It was published without reference to the usual channels through which new books appear, and has therefore had none of the aids which these furnish. The reviews of the Press have been such as naturally spring from the haste of journalism, often entertaining and appreciative, sometimes satirical, occasionally condemning, and not infrequently expressing some doubt as to the sanity of the decipherer, or the validity of his work. On the other hand, more careful students have begun the work of true criticism, and find matter well worth their serious consideration.

Meantime the work of deciphering, has gone forward. In this second book the history of the beginning of the relations of Queen Elizabeth with her favorite, Robert Dudley, afterwards Earl of Leicester, appears. The obvious necessity for the death of Ayme Robsart Dudley, his wife, and the manner of her murder by the agents of Leicester, is explained, as understood by Bacon.

Bacon’s own history is somewhat abruptly interrupted in the present volume at the point of his banishment by the Queen of England to the Court of France, and the history of the immediate causes of the struggle for supremacy between Elizabeth and Philip II., of Spain, and the subsequent destruction of the Spanish Armada by battle and storm, is begun.

Dissatisfaction has been felt by readers that some parts of the deciphered material are not equal in literary power, poetic thought, nor artistic construction to the known efforts of Shakespeare or Bacon. This is doubtless true, but it is true only as to those parts of the story in which the necessities for concealment were so great as to make the difficulties of the cipher serious, and artistic reconstruction impossible.

On the other hand, where the subject admits, as in descriptions and the like, new beauties are developed which are equal to anything that literature contains. Examples of these are the description of Queen Elizabeth, at the opening of the third letter (page 56), entire passages in the Curse, in the diplomatic language of the Jesuit embassadors of Philip II. (page 268), demanding the Queen should be united to him in marriage, or, surrender her throne to him, and the wrathful answer of the mighty Queen.

James the First, of England, said of Bacon’s Novum Organum that "it, like the peace of God, surpasseth all understanding." Bacon understood that he was far in advance of his day and age, and that future generations must unravel his wonders of literature. Dryden, and many other writers of the seventeenth century, looked upon the so-called Shakespeare Plays either with indifference or scarcely concealed contempt, and it was years before this, the greatest collection of plays of the world were understood and appreciated.

The 1623 edition, in which the cipher code is found, is not all beautiful, and, if it were printed to-day for the first time, without emendations and expurgation, would arouse a storm of criticism. Its glaring inconsistencies, rude lines, unmeaning words, sentences, and tawdry suggestions would condemn much of it in the eyes and ears of the nineteenth century.

"Hamlet’s Soliloquy," "The Seven Ages of Man," the opening speech of Richard the Third, the murder scene in Macbeth, and a few other noted passages, are studied, learned, quoted, praised, without regard to other portions, where neither beauty, sense nor fitness mark the lines. It has been urged that the author of the Shakespearian plays could not have written the harsh lines in the Epistle to the decipherer, given in the first volume of this Cipher Story, because of the grandeur, beauty and sublimity in the language of those plays which has become classic. This might seem true if all in the plays were of this classic order, but it is not. Will the reader, who is of that belief, turn to "Winter’s Tale," Act IV., Scene 4 (page 296, 1623 edition), and compare with them Autolicus’ speech; or to "Love Labor’s Lost," the whole of Act III.; or the soliloquy of Bastard in King John, Act I., Scene I, wherein is the beginning of the deciphered writings:

"My dear sir,

Thus leaning on mine elbow, I begin."

Those who have doubted the existence of a cipher in the Plays will be interested to read, in connection with the account of the Spanish Armada, the following passages, as they appear in the 1623 edition, commencing with Love’s Labor’s Lost, Act I.: (page 133.)

"A letter from the magnificent Armado," etc.

On the following page, same act:

"It standeth north-north-east and by east from the west," etc.

A little farther on:

"For Jaquenetta (so is the weaker vessel called)."

In the same scene, (page 125):

"Cupid’s butt-shaft is too hard for Hercules club," etc.--

noting "Spaniard’s Rapier," "The Passado," "The Duello," and other vessels of the English and Spanish fleet.

In the Comedy of Errors, Act III., page 92, the scene of which is laid in Ephesus, more than a thousand years before the countries named were known, note: "A Poland winter," "Ireland," "Scotland," "France," "England," "Between France and it," "Where Spain," "America," The "Indies," "Spain, who sent whole Armados," "Where stood Belgia, the Netherlands," etc.

In King John, Act III., Scene 3, laid in the year 1199, four hundred years before the events of the Spanish Armada:

"So by a roaring tempest on the flood, a whole Armado," etc.

In Othello, Act. I., Scene 3:

"My letters say a hundred and seven gallies."

"And mine a hundred forty."

"And mine two hundred."

"Boorded a Land Carrect."

"If it prove a lawful prize, he’s made forever."

In Twelfth Night, Act V., Scene I:

"Orsino, this is that Antonio that took the Phœnix," etc.

In Love’s Labor’s Lost, Act II.:

"I was as willing to grapple, as he was to boord," etc.

Merry Wives of Windsor, Act II., Scene I:

"Boording, call you it?"

And in the same play, Scene 2:

"This Puncke is one of Cupid’s carriers."

In Twelfth Night, Act I., Scene 2:

"Assure yourself after our ship," etc.

In Tempest, Act II., Scene I:

"Sir, he may live; I saw him beat the surges," etc.

In Comedy of Errors, Act I., Scene I:

"Fastened ourselves at either end of the mast." etc.

The following sentences from portions of the Storm in this book, with references to the works from which they are taken, will give an idea of the building up of the story by means of the Cipher Code.

The day is clear the welkin bright and gay

The lark is merry and records her note (Peele)

The thrush replies the mavis descant plays

The ousel shrills the ruddock warbles soft

So goodly all agree with sweet content

To this gladsome day of merriment (Faerie Queene)

Fair blows the gale (Marlow)

From the South furrowed Neptune’s seas

Northeast as far as the frozen Rhine (Greene)

The bright sun thereon his beams doth beat (Peele)

As if he nought but peace and pleasure meant (Faerie Queene)

A solid mass of gold (Anatomy of Melancholy)

As a mirror glass the surface of the water (Bacon)

Reflected in my sight as doth a crystal mirror in the sun (Peele)

The glorious prey

That in the pebble paved channel lay

Through whose bright gliding current might appear

A thousand naked nymphs whose ivory shine enameling the

bank (Faerie Queen)

Whom weltering waves environ (Peele)

Along the bubbling brooks and silver glides

That at the bottom doth in silence slide

The water flowers and lilies on the banks

Like blazing comets burgen all in ranks (Peele)

And this cloud hath now o’ercast (Peele)

The angry heavens for this fatal jar (Faerie Queen)

The storm begins, a savage clamour (Winter’s Tale)

The sky above was dim’d with hideous clouds of pitch the rest-

less winds from out the ground all the air with rattling

sounds this clime o’erlowering with black congealed clouds

fraught with infectious fogs and misty damps (Peele)

For hell and darkness pitch their pitchy tents and death with

armies of Cimmerian spirits give battle ’gainst (Marlow)

The vapours which they collected into clouds (Bacon)

The thunders which the winds tear from the clouds with crack

of riven air and hideous sound filling the world leaps out

and throws forth fire (Greene)

Since I was man such sheets of fire such burst of horrid thun-

der such groans of roaring wind and rain I never remem-

ber to have heard (King Lear)

Woe the sailor that in cold and quaking tides and whistling

winds the bitter broil and beating blow of billows high

doth bide (Peele)

The town is empty on the brow o’ th’ sea stand ranks of

people (Othello)

From higher ground jutting out into the sea (Bacon)

One man beckoned to the rest below bowing his head against

the steepy mount (Timon)

What from the cape can you discern at sea?

Nothing at all it is a high wrought flood I cannot twixt the

heaven and the maine descry a saile (Othello)

But hark; a saile! a saile! a saile! (Othello)

Towards the sea turning my troubled eye I saw (Faerie Queene)

A pinnace of five hundred tons (Greene)

tossed in troubelous seas whom raging winds

threatening to make the prey of the rough rocks (Faerie Queene)

The mountain tops the surges the threatening winds conspiring

with the floods to overwhelm and drown (Peele)

her in greedy grave (Faerie Queene)

Thou God of winds that reignest in the seas that reignest

also in the continent blow up some gentle gale of ease the

which may bring my ship ere it be rent into the gladsome

port of her intent (Spenser)

 

Without further quotations, the student familiar with the plays will see the frame-work of the battle, the storm, and shipwreck of this "most magnificent Armado," running through them all, the story being completed from sections of Bacon’s other works, through which the Cipher runs.

The destruction of the Spanish Armada is one of the most interesting of events. The Cipher reveals much which is historical and gives new facts not heretofore recorded, which add greatly to the interest which surrounds the subject.

The history begins with a demand made upon Elizabeth, that she should either marry Philip II. of Spain, or should yield the throne of England to him, first by reason of his previous marriage to her sister Mary, and second by virtue of his descent from Katherine and Philippa. The interview between the ambassadors and the Queen is surpassingly dramatic. The language of the ambassadors is that of diplomacy, while the Queen breaks through all barriers of statecraft in her forceful rage.

The claim of Philip to the throne by reason of his descent from the daughters of Gaunt, is powerfully presented by the Jesuit ambassadors, while the minister of Elizabeth presents the opposing claim of the Queen through her decent from the elder brother of John of Gaunt, Lionel, Duke of Clarence. This genealogical tree, as given, passes through a period of nearly two hundred years. It has been given the most careful historical examination, by members of the legal profession, who pronounce the title perfect, if the validity of Anne Boleyn’s marriage is conceded. In order to obtain this genealogical tree, proving the title of Elizabeth to the throne, the Cipher leads through four of the Plays, viz., Richard II., Henry VI. (parts I., II., and III.), Richard III., Henry VIII., and one of Sir Francis Bacon’s works, King Henry VII. These together furnish the chain, which cannot be made complete without the use of the five.

These, followed by a consecutive description of the destruction of the Armada, with the names of the vessels engaged in the battles, the names of the Spanish and English commanders occurring in their proper places, demonstrate beyond cavil, first, the presence of the concealed histories themselves; second, the Cipher through which they are obtained; and, third, the impossibility of substantial mistake on the part of the decipherer.

A natural comment is, how could these masks be used during the lifetime of the alleged authors? In the decipherings which will appear in their regular order, I have found an epitome of the lives of Shakespeare, Marlow, Green, Burton, Peele and Spenser, under whose names Bacon concealed the identity of his writings, the circumstances under which they were employed and the sums of money paid to each for the use of his name. Anthony Bacon, the foster-brother of Francis, was the unknown owner of the Globe Theatre. Shakespeare, while uneducated, possessed a shrewd wit and some talent as an actor. He received, as a bribe, a share in the proceeds of the theatre, and was the reputed manager. Bacon, with his court education and aristocratic associations, could not be known as the author of plays or the associate of play actors, and put Shakespeare forward as the mask which covered his greatest work.

What need for Bacon to hide his history behind these masks?

The character of the Queen yields a ready answer.

Elizabeth, as viewed to day in the cold light of history, was a curious compound of qualities. In her we find the avarice of Henry VIII., with the parsimony of Henry VII. No promise that she made was fulfilled unless it suited her royal convenience. Her temper was displayed on the slightest provocation, the ladies of her Court received punishment by blows from the royal hand, and the ears of Essex himself were soundly boxed on one occasion for turning his back on royalty. It is believed that the character Katharine, in the "Taming of the Shrew," was drawn from the character of Queen Elizabeth; but Leicester had poor success in attempting to play Petruchio. Her intellect was masculine and powerful. Nothing was allowed to stand in the way of the royal will, and imprisonment and murder were common instruments in her hands. Dissimulation was her characteristic. She had the hatred and suspicion of Henry VIII. towards all persons who were in the line of succession, and Bacon, if her son, as related, could not escape it. It as an age of cruelty and bloodshed. Philip II., during this period, had deluged the Low Countries with blood, and more than sixty thousand protestants had fallen victims to the blood-thirsty Duke of Alva. In France, Catharine de Medici held control. The marriage of Catharine’s daughter was the signal for the massacre of St. Bartholomew, and in England the stake had scarcely yet been replaced by the scaffold, for witches, catholics, dissenters and traitors to the Queen.

It was in these times and surrounded by influences such as have been described that Francis Bacon was born, lived and wrote.

Elizabeth determined to hide from the world her marriage with Leicester, and to be known as the Virgin Queen.

Bacon did not dare to assert his rightful position, and while burning under a sense of shame at his humiliation, he sought to right the great wrong heaped upon him, through the aid of masks and cipher which should eventually be discovered and rescue his name and fame from the cloud under which he was compelled to remain, during the life of Queen Elizabeth and her immediate successors.

In those days the business of statesmanship was carried on by force, duplicity, bribery, and concealment. The cipher writing of diplomatic correspondences was itself a science. In this Bacon was an adept. He was master of cryptography, wrote works upon the subject, and at the early age of seventeen, while in diplomatic service at the Court of France, invented the "omnia per omnia" cipher now in almost universal use.

The genius of Bacon has never been fully appreciated, and will not be, until the study of the deciphered writings shall be as deep and searching as has been the study of the Plays.

His authorship of the Plays, and ability to hide within these and his other works, the matter now being disclosed through the means of the Cipher, add immeasurably to the interest in the literature of the Elizabethan period, and throw upon Bacon’s name a fame and lustre, unequaled in brilliancy in the world’s history.

 

ORVILLE W. OWEN, M. D.

 

 

 

BOOK II.

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SYNOPSIS OF BOOK I.

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"MY DEAR SIR:"

"Thus leaning on mine elbow I begin."--

Taken from "King John," is the commencement of the first letter to the Decipherer, which embodies the plan and outline of the Cipher, and the reasons for its use.

The second letter is the "Dedication" to him who shall discover the Cipher, and place before the world Bacon’s greater fame.

The third letter or division, gives a description of the Queen, an exquisitely beautiful word picture; the Curse, which for depth of malignant revenge and hate cannot be equalled; the incident which disclosed to Bacon that he was the son of the Queen; the admission of the fact by Anne Bacon, his foster mother; her account of the early life of Elizabeth; Bacon’s discoveries regarding the life of Elizabeth, and the description of her death, after which his foster mother resumes the history, here continued.

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"‘Upon the gentlest hearts huge misfortune falleth;

For, for nothing

Did she make proof of her cruel spite,

And heaped upon her sister bitt’rest smarts,

And her royal person consigned

Unto the Lord Warden of the Tower.

With her in the ancient Roman Tower

Were a hundred lords, that therein

Bewailed the fortunes of their vile disgrace.

Amongst them was, through his own fault, your father,

Who was in dolorous drent reserved apart;

 

198

 

For he had made

The steel and flinty coach of war his prize.

But alas, he could not fight

Against the golden splendour of the sun;

And fighting more for honour than for gold,

Was detected, taken, seized

And attainted of base treason.

Well, one day it fortuned Elizabeth came by,

And he did see her, hear her and became

A prey unto her beauteous cheeks,

Wherein, with blushes red and white,

The lilies and the native rose sit equal suited.

She was an accomplished, sweet young gentlewoman,

And with any princess in the world in beauty,

Education and in blood, holds hand;

And when she beheld

This honourable, well-born man,

Who was worshipped of all,

She to his honours, and his valient parts

Her fortune and her soul did consecrate,

In virtuous, religious love.

Each of the other worthy were, and both

Were stricken by young Cupid’s dart.

Such fearful fit assailed her trembling heart,

No word to speak, no joint to move she had,

Yet ravish’d was, by the angelic nature of the man,

And the perfection of his form,

And, carried by a whirlwind of stormy love,

Made advancement formal of her love to him,

Beneath deep dissimulation.

She was lodged, by order of the Queen,

In wretched case,

 

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And she suffereth her no company to keep,

Nor living wight her to approach,

But close her mews from all men’s sight,

Deprived of kindly joy and natural delight;

Yet misery doth not bravest minds abate,

Or of fortune and of hope at once forlorn.

Now the sons of England, there assembled,

Loved their native flesh

Against all alien kind,

And to their purpose used their art,

And were driven to find out

Cunning practices to guise

And blind the jailor’s eyes.

Your father found a little child

Who served him in good stead;

For he, in secret, beareth to her princess grace,

Sweet lines that from his pen,

Comes swiftly to her reading;

And to elude her gentlemen, their fair leaves

In flowers lie buried.

Bravely could he write, did play the poet oft,

And thus did lovely verses frame:

"‘Ye gods of love that pity lovers’ pain,

(If any gods the pains of lovers pity,)

Look from above where you in joys remain,

And bow your ears unto my doleful ditty;

And Pan, thou shepherds’ god that once did love,

Pity the pains that thou thyself did prove.

Wherefore my pipe, albe rude Pan thou please,

Yet for thou pleasest not where most I would,

And thou unlucky muse that wont’st to ease

My musing mind, yet canst not when thou should,

 

200

 

Both pipe and muse shall soar the while aby.

Fall heaven’s fleet stairs, shine Phœbus’ lamp no more;

Thou art the planet that lends this world her light.

Star of my fortune, thou that shinest bright,

Queen of my heart, load-star of my delight,

Fair mould of beauty, miracle of fame,

The honour of the sun and stars ye shame.

O let me die, Eliza, in thine arms.

What honour shall I lend thy loyalty

Or praise unto thy sacred deity?

O, madam, had I learned against my need

Of all the ways to woo, one way to speed,

My cunning then had been my fortune’s guide."

"She received his love letters with delight,

And in woman’s fashion magnified his glory and his pride,

Blushed at herself

And saw his visage in her mind and dreams.

There is no passion in the mind of man

So puissant strong as unhappy love;

It is of so flood-gate and o’erbearing nature

That it engluts and swallows other sorrows up,

And is still itself. It mates

And masters fear of death;

Nay, we read, a maiden never bold of spirit,

Still and quiet, if she fall in love,

Will give him cable that she feared to look on;

And to live with him she loves,

Will stand downright violence and storm

Of fortune, and trumpet to the world

Her love’s grace, health, beauty and honour.

For love leads the will to desperate undertaking

As oft as any passion under heav’n

 

201

 

That does afflict our nature.

Thus his fortunes urging, trusting in the gods,

Her heart he conquered,

And into thraldom led her sovereignty.

But they from fear of death

Long while their love concealed,

But having been with pleasure sweet

A long time lulled and fed,

Fearless they became;

And he at last breeds about her heart

The advantage of true and not misgotten love,

And honourably entreats her hand,

Which she did yield.

Hither came one day unto the prisoners

A learned friar and his clark,

To practice anti-christian and tyrannical dominion;

And in the name of his beloved Pope,

To open wide the gate

Of wickedness and insolent base government,

With counterfeited keys of Peter.

This well-seeming saint your father saw,

And cozened him with a proper tale of love,

And did not spare to tell him

He hath wronged a woman’s heart,

But that being a man of honour,

He would by marrying her

Save her from being held up

As a contaminated stale.

"‘Father,’ said he, ‘come sit down by me;

You gentle Monks, for treasure, gold, nor fee

To our Saviour, the Eternal Redeemer, the Lord Christ,

Your lives and fortunes forfeit;

 

202

 

You are the shepherds of the people;

Here in this prison is a maid that loves me,

And that doth deserve as full, as fortunate a bed

As ever honourable lady in the land,

And I sweare in love of her,

I propose to marry her.

She is noble, young and fair faced,

But has no marriage dowry more than a perpetual honour.

I know you’ll say ’tis strange that she is her own dower;

But from me she will get honour and wealth.

When vile misprison shackle not my love,

I have determined, by fair means or foul,

To have this one fair woman for mine own;

And so I sue to you, good father,

To declare thine office to her,

And in love and pity,

Quickly to perform the marriage.’

"Friar Cornelius saith:

"‘You justly deserve God’s wrath

If you have seduced a silly maid;

He from heaven looks down on earth,

That he may hear the mourning of those that suffer

And to ease afflicted soules

That can not cure themselves,

He hath reserved apart the priests

To bestow his, God’s love.

He hath imposed the office on me in this life

And in the life to come,

To deliver the children of Righteousness

Out of purgatory

And from death and damnation,

But to Jews, Protestants, heretics,

 

203

 

And their wicked associates,

God assigns a burden intolerable, a heavy yoke,

The seal of damnation and liberty;

And as a surfeit is the father of much fast,

So every scope of liberty, by use immoderate,

Turns to restraint.

Our natures do pursue our lusts like rats

That raven down their proper bane--

A thirsty evil--

And when we drink, we die.

Look on beauty, and you shall see

’Tis purchased by the weight

Which therein works a miracle in nature,

Making lightest them

That were most heavy of it.

So are those crushed snaky golden locks

Which make such wanton gambols with the wind,

Upon supposed fairness

Often known to be

The dowry of a second head,

The scull that bred them in the sepulcher;

Thus ornament is but the gilded shore

To a most dangerous sea,

And pulls these miseries upon our heads.

And captivated by his inferiour sense,

Man is overcome, tormented, and led headlong

By his appetites and inordinate inclinations

To sin and hell-fire.

Egged on by natural concupiscence

Man wrings his soul for the present and to come.

Men wish and hope for immortality,

Desire to be happy,

 

204

 

And yet by all means

Avoid the necessary passage

To bring their fruitful virtue to him,

That was bound in chains.

I will perform these sacred rites

According to my office,

As marriage is honourable, and an immortal crown

Belongs to virginity.’

"‘Thanks, father, you have on my honour

No need to do with any scruple;

I will be, as it were, a brother of your order

And thus visit her;

Therefore use haste I prithee

And supply me with the habit,

And instruct me how I may formally in person

Beare me like a true friar.’

"‘If you desire,’ saith he,

‘To come into the fair maid’s company,

Put on my good companion’s habit,

To whom the keys of every prison door

By special grace of her our queen committed be,

And who may visit at his will whom he list;

And as we pass along I’ll tell you how

His office to discharge.

In the ambush of his name

You may behold her whom you love.

Without question Friar Patrick will this do for you.’

"‘Willing I am to do him good,

Yet I have scruple of her grace the queen.

It is too credulous to believe

That this light wanton suitor

Feels the stings and motions of the sense of love.

 

205

 

It must be that he jests;

He doth think by our means to speak and converse

With some light or strange gentlewoman,

And he certainly means not to marry as he sings.

He doth conspire and hath a company of brave imps

Ready to convey him far away

When once they him have got from out this cell.

Above all, he is a nobleman by birth,

And if the matter were examined duly,

He is in no distress at all

From such juggling love as this.

He hath no purpose to reclaim her.

He doth make use of so many excuses and lies,

As a hare hath tricks and shifts

To deceive, allure and draw us on

That we cannot look after him.

It is fit to be observed that they should be

In years, birth, fortune and other conditions equal,

Yet virtue and good education he doth omit.

How solicitous should he be

To know her quality and behavior,

And when he is assured of her birth, fortune,

Beauty, bringing up and good conditions,

And that she will continue her honour, good name and credit,

Then I may satisfy him

And will take pity on them both and turn the key.’

"‘The inclination to goodness

Is imprinted deeply in the nature of man,’

Said the other, ‘insomuch that

If it issue not towards men,

It will take unto other living creatures;

 

206

 

Neither is there only a habit of goodness

Directed by right reason,

But there is in some men even in nature

A disposition toward it;

And I believe my lord hath grace in him,

For mark his face; he blushes.’

"‘I warrant you more wanton grace than goodness,

But yet if it be so, let us be keen,

And rather cut a little than fall

And bruise ourselves to death,

For she we serve doth not affect the good of men

Who have not unspotted loyalty,

Nor doth not rain wealth

Nor honour shine upon such men

As have borne arms against their prince and country.

It were a ticklish thing

For us to holpen to free him.’

"‘Now by the honour of my ancestors,

I do applaud your spirit, most noble father,

Yet alas I’ll but let you know

The gentlewoman whom I would serve (and whom

I believe to be most straight in virtue)

Is worthy of an emperour’s love.

Let us withdraw together and touching that point

You may soon have satisfaction.’

"‘I’ll wait upon your honour.’

"‘The base priest whom profitable covetousness,

Rather than honour or virtue,

Had made churlish,

By force of the plea of no less weight than a rich ring

Your father gave him in the interview,

Eftsoones lends him his cloathes.

 

207

 

Your father makes no delay but attires his body

In the garb of the monk,

And putting a cap upon his head, found by proof

He was accounted a divine,

For he did pass the gaoler,

And after the habit of the monks in solemn walk

Did, creeping close behind, follow the shepherd of Rome

Unto your mother’s wicket.

The keeper privily peeped out through a chink

And spied the shepherds, and from them received

Benediction expressed in such learned tongues

And gestures, that he ne’re imagined

But that both characters were real,

And so without examination suffered them to enter

In the cells where Eliza was imprisoned.

The reverend father said;

"‘Where is the provost?’

"‘Heere, if it like your honour.’

"‘The young princess doth intend

Holy confusion, and I beseech you

Give us leave to look upon the lady.’

"‘Sir, I will bring her in heere

Before your good honour.’

"‘We will go thither; for

Our holy exercises will not admit of confederates.

Go presently and tell her we are here.

Away! be gone.’

"The poor constable who bore upon his arm

A bunch of keys which did o’er-grow with rust,

Opened an inner door,

And free entrance made.

There was no bar or stop to the counterfeit priest,

 

208

 

Who with great deliberation

Behind Rome’s fictitious saint did plod away;

At last they came unto an iron door

That was fast locked,

But amongst the bunch to open it withal

No key he found.

In the same a little grate was pight

Through which he sent his voice,

And did call aloud with all his power.

"The princess said:

"‘A man’s voice, gentle Isabella,

Turn you the key and know his business.’

"‘Kind sir, what is your name

And what’s the matter?’

"‘Good morrow, your ladyship,’

Said the priest, stepping from behind,

‘Tell her highness the Holy Legate of the Pope,

The appointed deputies of Heaven

Are here to purge her sins,

And in a word to show her

By auricular confession, the way to heaven

And how the true God is truly worshipped;

Therefore let us in.’

"At his command the gentle lady saith:

"‘If it please you, enter; I dare not deny

Passage to the high priest of Rome,’

"And so admits them.

"‘Gaoler, and you gentlewomen, withdraw yourselves

And leave us heere alone.’

"The princess suddenly coming forth saith;

"‘Hold, stir not; have I, sir priest,

No rights even in mine own chamber?

 

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Do you intend to make of me a new Henry the Sixth?

By my troth I fear my sister Mary; her malice to me

Is both causeless and endless.

I see through this disguise.

Let her hang me since I needs must die;

Is there no respect of place,

Persons or time in you?

Have you come to hear my confession

And then to put me to death?

The rooms of this same Tower record

Miserable slaughters in all ages. May be they

Will witness another more cruel execution.

Mary doth hate and abhor me.

The blood of English shall manure the ground

And future ages groane for this foul act;

Peace shall go to sleep with Turks and infidels,

And in this seat of peace, tumultuous war

Shall kinne with kinne and kind with kind confound.

No greater hate, continuate bitter faction,

Wars nor persecution breed

Than for matters of religion;

No such feral opposition,

Father against son, mother against daughter,

Husband against wife, city against city,

Kingdom against kingdom. As of old

At Tentria and Combos,

Disorder, horror, fear and mutiny shall here inhabit,

And this land be called

The field of Golgotha and dead men’s sculls.

One foul sentence doth more hurt

Than many foul examples,

For these do but corrupt the stream;

 

210

 

The other corrupteth the fountain.

I am not ignorant that it is laid unto me,

That I alone, alone

Do me oppose against the Pope,

And his friends count my foes;

Yet I do assure thee, father, ’tis not so.

Knowing all my peril, how ill it sits

With the same silver head, to mock

My forlorn impotent condition;

My foolish heart is full of darkness

And most miserable fear,

Discomfort guides my tongue and bids

Me speak of nothing but despair;

I fear that I not only for her sins am plagued,

But God hath made her sin and her

The plague on this unhappy land.

Barren and bereft of friends am I;

Yet know ye priests,

My master, God omnipotent,

Is mustering in his clouds on our behalf;

Then if angels fight

Weak men must fall, for heaven still guards the right.

O God Almighty, is there no mercy in heaven for me?

At the point of death I am in misery,

And these devout saints

Like so many vultures watching for a prey,

Are ready to rise by my downfall;

O give some respite to my woes!

Children yet unborn shall feel this day

As sharp to them as thorne.

Now forever may my knees grow to the earth,

My tongue cleave to my roof within my mouth

 

211

 

Unless this gentleman say I shall not die.

Thy behaviour, if my augury deceive me not,

Doth witness good bringing up,

But chiefly for thy face I’ll trust thee;

Run to the warden,

Take this ring with thee, deliver it to him.

O if you rear this house against his house,

It will the wofullest division prove

That ever fell upon this cursed earth;

Prevent it, resist it, and let it not be so,

Least child, child’s children cry against you, woe.

In God’s name venture on and let me stay.

O now I would be glad to find a cottage

Wherein I might hide my condemned head.’

"‘Daughter, why art thou and this company so tragic?

Call to mind that thou a prisoner art

And can be clapt up in chains.

Thy life and death depend upon the hands

Of thy most mortal foe.

All the forces of the triple world

Were insufficient to free thee

For all thy solemn prayers; think then

Thou art a prisoner in a cage of gold.

God and fates have so decreed, and I say

Thy company must be gone;

And before mine companion heere, thou prostrate

On the ground must kneel, and listen well

To what he unto thee doth say.’

"‘I will die

Before I will debase mine honour so;

Since I and my companions

 

212

 

Have God on our side, we mean not

With vain ceremonies to rehearse our sins.

Gentlewomen, prepare yourselves. A woful pagent heere

In this flint bosom of Julius Cæsar’s ill-erected Tower

Shall you now behold.

I am, I doubt not, condemned and doomed,

And needs must die.

Therefore since correction lieth

In those hands which made the fault, strip your swords

Stark naked and this poor body mangle.

Do you not know

The bloody executioners of tyrants to such do go

With an halter about their neck,

So that if they perform not they are

Sure to die for it?’

"‘She railed on thus,

Frightening her women’s waxen hearts

And turning them pale fac’d; her bosom pants,

And she looks pale as if a bear were at her heels.

Your father made signs

Which she could not cipher out,

And at last he did rush forward to her and said:

"‘You mistake! what I have to speak

Alone concerns your ear, dear love.

Believe me, I bring no hideous, fearful matter to you,

But to deliver the continuance of my love

And to comfort you. Assure yourself

I would not tell you in this company.

I am resolved not to proceed

Till your company are gone.

Resolve you for more amazement,

And if you have the mettall of a prince,

 

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Being, as we are, wronged by this peevish queen,

Turn you your company away.

Close your hands and lips with mine,

And presently the rites of marriage

Shall be solemnized.

My bosom full of kindness is, and I

Am yet so near the manners of my mother,

That upon the least occasion more, mine eyes

Will tell tales of me.’

"‘You strain and breed a kind of question

In my heart.

Return from whence ye came.

You love me not, but say so in bitterness

Of a common executioner, whose heart

Th’ accustomed sight of death makes hard.

Falls not the ax upon the humbled neck,

But first begs pardon? You will not sterner be

Then he that lives by bloody drops.

Are you mad, or what are you?

Have you no manners, wit, nor honesty?

But to gabble like a tinker at this time?’

"‘I would not be your executioner;

I would not injure you, my words

Are as full of peace as matter.

You were crowned the nonpareil of beauty.

If you undo what you have done,

Kill him whom you have won

By your sweet face, eyes, action, gestures.’

"‘What are you that my length, breadth,

Height, depth, and the rest of my dimentions,

Have so measured and taken

By astrolabe of phantasy?

 

214

 

What would you?

Proceeds this jest of thy consent, sir priest?’

"‘Be plain, good son, rest honest in thy drift;

Riddling confession hath but riddling shift.’

"‘Madam, I am the man that was so fortunate

As to be cast in prison in a common cause with you.

My name more odious is to Mary

Than is yours. I am called Dudley.

That title you should know, for as I think,

You do remember me, sweet lady, in your brother’s time,

When I was in a better place. Besides,

Our hands are pledged.

I am bold to speak unto your grace

Who am too base to kiss your royall feet,

For I am poor,

Nor have I land nor rent.’

"‘These words do make me rich, most noble sir;

But all this while what say you to these dames

That shine like to the crystal lamps of heaven?’

"‘Such sweet lines and love lays I’ll indite,

As you may wish for, and my liege delights

Shall be to tell these beauties,

Who stand upon the stage of fame

And vaunt their trophies in the courts of love,

That peace from heaven shall harbour

In these leaves, that gorgeous

Beautify this matchless flower.

Apollo’s heliotropian shall stoop,

And Venus’ hyacinth shall veil her top.

Juno shall shut her gilliflowers up,

And Pallas’ bay shall bash her brightest green;

Ceres’ carnation in consort with those,

 

215

 

Shall stoop and wonder at Diana’s rose,

That in her tresses doth the looks infold

Of such as gaze upon her golden hair.

Luna doth boast upon her lovely cheeks,

Her bashful white mix’d with the morning red;

And her sparkling eyes

Do lighten forth sweet love’s alluring fire,

And in her shape fast folded up are all

Merits, praise and virtue of the mind and heart.

And she, that bash’d the Sun-God with her eyes,

Fair Semele the choice of Venus’ maids,

Nor the lovely trull that Mercury entrapped

Within the curious pleasures of his tongue,

Were not so beauteous as is Elizabeth.

Fair pride of morn, sweet beauty of the even,

Whenas mine eyes surveyed your curious shape,

And drew the beauteous glory of your looks,

And when I saw thine eyes, (which downie windows close,)

So beauteous fair that in this great wild world

Golden Phœbus the like ne’re before beheld,

All through the harness of my heart

Did leap the fire whose blush doth thaw

The consecrated snow that lies on Dian’s lap.

Ah Goddess visible on earth,

From forth your bosom quickening fire doth shine,

In which art it shares, sweet maid,

With great creating nature.

For if we marry to the wildest stock

A gentler sien, and make conceive

A bark of baser kind, by bud of noble race,

Nature makes that mean so over, that

 

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Our rustic garden by this art of nature

Is made better.

Then gentle maiden, look on me languishing in love,

And by your art, change its barren cypress slips

Into the roses of the spring.

Be not offended, nature’s miracle,

That I a man of obscure fame

But noble birth, have so aspired to happiness;

O bless me heere with your sweet hand,

And upon this arm of white and spotless hue,

The fairest prisoner of the gods,

I’ll place a manacle of love.’

"‘My lord, touch me not. Stand further off.

I will content your pains

By something that’s brief,

And bid good morrow to you.

Send to your wife, smile upon her;

Such tricks as these do strip you of all honour;

I prethee let your wife attend on you;

Make love’s quick pants within her arms,

And give renewed fire to your extincted love.

By this hand, this is but covetous letcherie,

An index and obscure prologue,

To the history of lust and most foul thoughts;

And be you well assured,

You shall acquire no honour

By splitting the heart of your wife.

I had rather have this tongue

Cut from my mouth than it should

Draw you from your virtuous lady.’

"‘Must I leave you?

Then I have but an houre to live.

 

217

 

I do confess it is a shame to be so fond,

But it is not in my virtue to amend it;

And methinks I could not die

So contented anywhere as in your company.

I am a soldier,

And unapt to weep or to exclaim on fortune’s fickleness,

An there is a remedy that rears

The dejected soule of man

Above the many cares, miseries,

And persecutions that this world affords,

And is an sole ease and comfort

Unspeakable, a sweet reposal to the soul.

So let me die and let some hangman

Put on my shroud and lay me where

No priest shovels dust in my grave obscure.

O what a deal of scorn looks beautiful

In the contempt and anger of her lip.

Sweet, do not scorne me, do not, love.

I have made bold to sue my suit

But I will trouble you no more.

O weary soul break forth from out my breast,

And join with the soul I honour most.

Farewell, dear heart, I will begone.’

"‘Nay, good sir, though thou

Began so rudely, yet since that thou

Can’st talk of love so well,

Thy company which erst was irksome to me

I will endure. Thou art

A subject fit to serve a queen.

Such love I tender thee.

Since we have stepped so far in, I will continue,

And we will be married. But remember,

 

218

 

I will be more jealous of thee

Than a Barbary cock-pigeon over his hens,

More clamorous than a parrot against rain,

More new-fangled than an ape,

More giddy, in my desire, than a monkey.

I will weep for nothing, like Diana in the fountain;

And I will do this when you are

Disposed to be merry.

I will laugh like a Hyen,

And that when thou art inclined to sleep;

Yet by honour, truth, and everything,

I love thee so that maugre all my pride,

Nor wit, nor reason can my passion hide.’

"‘Hold, daughter, join not your hand and his in one.

My lord, you are no husband for her.

Daughter, his wife is not dead, his vows

Are forfeited to her, he is not a widdower;

Sir, have you that craft to reave her

Of what should stead her most?

He hath tricks in him

Which honourable gentlemen have not;

He’ll utter anything

Upon his many protestations,

To marry one to whom he hath made overture.

He won me to friend him.

Will you be put in mind of his black spots?

Speak to me, son, thou hast

Affected fine strains of honour

To imitate the graces of the gods;

Think you it honourable for a nobleman

To wrong a woman?

He watereth her new plants of love,

 

219

 

With dews of flattery seducing her.

O you have won a happy victory,

I blush to say it.

In justice find the girl

Or I will impart unto the Lord Warden all.’

"Father, for what offence, for what default

Or ours are you incensed so

Against our state of gentle love?’

"‘Fie, sir, you do offend first the law of God

And then our countrie’s right.’

"‘Nay, I have ta’en you napping. In this disguise

You did bring me to this bridal chamber,

And thrice made assurance heere,

I was a father of your order.

Obey me, then, or I will be as stern as you,

And will give you as prey to those

That will bring you to the stake.

"‘Happy is he that from the tumults of the world

Is freed; and if my time is come,

I yield to Him the King of christian men.

At the brightness of your hardy looks

Ye may make Venus’ leman bash,

But I will lay my head upon the block

Or by a hired knife come to my death,

Before marriage between the Lady Elizabeth

And you by me shall be solemnized;

And that the world may witness that my end

Was wrought by murder, not by nature

Strike me dead with your own sword.

You bright defiler of Hymen’s purest bed,

You valient Mars, you ever young fresh love

And delicate wooer, open not thy lips.

 

220

 

Firm and irrevocable is the doom

Which I have passed.

O cursed wretch that knewest this

The princess was, and woulds’t adventure

To mingle faith with her. Shame on you.

Daughter, on peril of a curse

Let go the hand of that arch-heretic,

Or by the lawful power that I have,

Thou shalt stand curst and excommunicate.’

"‘Good father, lawful let it be

That I have room with Rome to curse awhile.’

"‘What canst thou say but will perplex thee more

If thou stand excommunicate and curst?

Let go his hand, or the church, our mother,

Shall breathe her curse,

A mother’s curse, on her revolting child.

Thou mayst hold a serpent by the tongue,

A cased lion by the mortal paw,

A fasting tiger safer by the tooth,

Than keep that hand which thou dost hold.’

"‘I may disjoin my hand, but not my faith.’

"‘So makest thou faith an enemy to faith,

And like a civil war set’st oath to oath,

Thy tongue against thy tongue.’

"‘Heere’s a stay

That shakes the rotten carcass of old death

Out of his ragges;

Heere’s a large mouth indeed that spits forth death

And mountains, rocks and seas,

Talks as familiarly of lions

As maids of thirteen do of puppi-dogs.

What cannoneer begot this lusty blood?

 

221

 

He speaks plain cannon, fire and smoke and bounce;

He gives the bastinado with his tongue;

Our ears are cudgel’d; not a word of his

But buffets better than a fist.

Zounds! I was never so bethumped with words

Since first I call’d my father dad.

You crafty priest, you champion of the church,

This lady loves me well,

And you shall not go forth

To make a stale and slave of me.

I have won her consent

And she shall unto me be wedded, and by you,

Else farewell all your hopes of life.

For deliverance to heaven, earth or God,

Trust not, ’tis a false hope;

Consenting to furnish me upon my longing journey

Will end you,

For you have conspired with me,

And pawned your honour for my truth.

If it should prove that you are inhuman,

I’ll play so rough a coarse with you

That you will think me as far

In the devil’s book as you yourself.

You are my prisoner, and there is no flying hence,

And if you venture to depart,

By the bare scalp of Robin Hood’s fat friar,

The wild fury of ungoverned rage

I will cast upon you,

Wreaking little what betideth me.

I tell you to pass me is dangerous.’

"‘Your father’s rolling eyes

Did never rest in place,

 

222

 

But on him loured with dangerous eye-glance,

Showing his nature in his countenance,

And he pointed towards his breast

An all naked, keen, accursed knife

In wavering motion as though therein

It would be entrenched deep.

The silly pilgrim, driven to distress,

Sudden stayed and thus bespake:

"‘From love in course of nature to refrain

Is a lesson too, too hard for living clay;

And by my troth,

If I Lord Pandarus o’ Phrigia must play,

And bring a Troylus to this Cressida

Or die, I yield. When will you

That this unlucky match be celebrated?’

"‘Now.’

"‘It is both impious and unnatural,

A heinous sin, to marry you.

Traitor, if Rome have law or power,

I will remunerate you, and with these limbs of yours

On a pile of wood will make a fire

And will hang this lady, in the prison heere,

And lay the blame upon her own despair,

That she foredid herself.

And by the immortal God

That holds the soules of men within his fists,

This night some fiend or ghost

Shall haunt on your weary steps,

Until they do transport you quick to hell.’

"‘Overdaring priest, no more;

Dishonour not her honourable name,

But tender more your sacred person’s safety.

 

223

 

Run not unluckily against the bias,

But proceed to marry us or else

I’ll send your soul to live and burn

In everlasting fire. You are as far from help

As Limbo is from bliss,

And by all the devils in hell

I will do a deed of death.’

"‘Give me leave to speak.’

"‘No, I will not. We hold our time too precious

To be spent with such a babbler.

Be assured you shall not sigh,

Nor wink, nor nod, nor kneel,

Nor make a sign,

Till you have enriched me with the hand,

Of her gentle Ladyship.’

"‘Son, believe, O believe it,

Most dangerously have you prevailed with me.

Since I cannot fly, I will consent

That the rites of marriage shall be yours.

I will but join you together as they join wainscot,

And one of you will prove a shrunk panel

And like green timber warp.

Draw near and join your hands and lips;

I will give you a wife and you a husband in name.’

"‘With that he marries them.’

"‘Madam, it seems then by this league and marriage,

I am what the rabble call a bastard,

And I am guerdoned at the last with shame.

Mine honour, my credit, and my name

And all that made me happy in ruins.

At one stroke you have taken from me forever

Both comfort and content. What shall I say?

 

224

 

How am I mock’d! O curse the blind priest

That by this marriage so dishonoured me.

Shame on him. Would he were wasted, marrow-bones and all

For this misdeed.

Farewell my fortunes.

Would I a devil were, so I might,

Reaping eternal glory in his restless pains,

Have his company in hell.

I sweare so sharply would I him pursue

That he would have no rest nor day or night.

If he fore-slacked, then for the so rich fruit

That he from me bereft,

Up and down with more than common pains,

Through hills, through dales, through forests and through plains,

In sight of the Saturnine king of hell

I would hew his flesh from off his bones.

By day he should not find a cavern dark enough

To mask his monstrous visage.

Not Erebus itself were dim enough to hide him

From my bloody, fiery and most terrible

Reward and punishment.

O let the fatal murderers of men

The twelve devils of hell,

Ready hold the sharpened knife

To cut my thread,

Ending the scene of all my tragedy!

O parched be the earth to drink up every spring!

Let corn and trees be blasted from above,

Heaven turn to brass and earth to wedge of steel,

The world to cinders; Mars come thundering down

 

225

 

And never sheathe thy swift revenging sword,

Till like the deluge in Ducaleon’s days,

The highest mountains swim in streams of blood.’

"‘My son, sit down;

Sure you have a cruel nature and a bloody.’

"‘O cry amen to my keen curses,

For without my wrong there is no tongue

Hath power to curse them right.’

"‘There’s no law or warrant for your curse.’

"‘What! you promised to tell me that

I from her grace was lineally extract,

And that my parents did

In a true flame of liking chastely wed.

I have been mock’d and so Ile utter

What my sorrows give me leave.’

"‘You utter madness and not sorrow.’

"‘I care not; I was not born in wedlock.

Fain would I have reason taken from me

When I think I am no better than a vild mock.’

"‘You are a king.’

"‘A king?’

"‘Yes, I speak the truth.

Come, I beseech you, sit by me;

I have a secret to reveal wherein

Your secrecy must with your force be equal--

It concerns your honour and your parents.

Your foolish sire blemished his gracious name

By consenting to the death

Of the sweetest young creature in the world.

A rarer piece of beauty, nor one so

Tender, never did I see than was she

The day of their nuptial celebration.

 

226

 

Her death was laid both to the Queen and to your father.

When the bruises that the body wore were shown,

All the country in a general voice cried hate upon them,

For all their prayers on her were set.’

"‘Pray you, how was she killed?’

"‘By cloaked guile.

The Queen gave him a castle that you know

Is placed upon a hill in an open plain,

And which is ’round about

Bordered by a wood of matchless height,

In which the trees all stately stand,

Spreading pavilions for the birds to bow’r

Which in their lower branches sing aloud.

Unto this castle he led his lovely wife

And of his love he reaped the timely fruit

And joyed long in close and sweet felicity,

Till fraught with malice, brute and blind,

The Queen upon him ’gan to frown.

Those that chief on her attend

The long prosperity of the lovers envy,

And so wisely well they did their envies prosecute

That a bitter storm of foul adversity

’Gainst them both blew up.

Through her grace he in our native commodities

Did his revenue maintain

By lawful royal trading and commerce,

And with foreign strangers

Brought in by combination and confederacie

All commodities which our Brittaine merchants buy;

And for such employment he sustained

No small disreputation,

As he might easily have reckoned on

 

227

 

And ought at least to have foreseen;

But resting in security

Of her grace’s loving care,

He thought no danger could ensue to him,

Nor that his boughs could be left naked to the tempest.

He no misfortune fears, no danger dreads,

But in his breast his faith and fortune bears.

The instant that her grace awak’d unto the truth,

And for her travail and your birth did look,

The idea of her evil shame determined her,

Before the world was of her frailty ’ware,

The death of your father’s true and honourable wife to seek,

And presently she did prepare to force

Your father to consent to rob the sweet young creature

Of her mortal life.

And him she called to her

And led unto her private chamber, where she did tell him

That she hath made him

First Lord Lieutenant and Master of her horse,

And by degrees to the most glorious estate

In the whole kingdom. ‘Now,’ said she,

‘My Lord, I claim your hand, the gift my due by promise

For which your honour and your faith is pawned.

And I demand of you that you shall run a certain course,

And in justice to me, with ostentation of all sorrow,

Give forth that your wife is sick and cannot live,

And get one of your gentlemen to send this young Ayme

To her death.’

"‘Madam, what do you mean?

 

228

 

Must I perform murder upon my wife,

You barbarous woman?

What! must I make thick my blood,

Stop up the access and the passage to remorse,

And on the most replenished, sweet work of nature

That from the prime creation ere she framed,

Do fearful murder?

Good Queen, this is but foolery.’

"‘I have noted that you well dote on her.

Who am I, sir, that you teach me?

You will be the schoolmaster and undertake

The teaching of me, and think I will endure it?

Go away! come not between the dragon and her wrath.

Hence! avoid my sight.

I will turn my back on you forever,

And the barbarous Scythian or he that makes

His generation messes to gorge his appetites

Shall to my bosom be well neibured.

Come to my woman’s breast, and take gall for milk,

You murthering ministers,

Wherever in your sightless substances

You wait on nature’s mischief; come thick night

And pall you in the dunnest smoke of hell,

That Heaven may not peep through the blanket of the dark

To cry hold, hold, to my revenge

On this abominable villaine.

You knave, you come of nothing, and by Apollo,

To nothing shall you now return.

I will make you beg at gates like

To the vilest beggar in the land.

Bend not your sturdy knees to me; arise!

 

229

 

Away! away! away!

Have you wisdom? Tarry not.

I know you love the woman

And will not publish it that she is dead

Till I appear unto the world a trull.

I have in short space rained down fortune,

Showering it on your head,

And such a flood of greatness hath fell on you,

That you already try your fortune with me.

It is but squeezing you again,

And you shall be as dry as any sponge.

I will make you ten times more dishonourable

Ragged than an old-faced ancient.

Nay, now I see she is your treasure;

She must have a husband, while

This child within my womb must punished be.

But by the dishonour that I feel,

I will kill you both

Before tittle tattling idiots speak of my condition

And their imaginations feed upon my foul dishonour;

Or else I myself will die.’

"‘Now by the world, dear love,

Myself myself confound, heaven and fortune

Bar me happy houres, day yield me not thy light,

Nor night thy rest; be opposite all planets

Of good luck to my proceeding,

If with dear heart’s love, immaculate devotion

And holy thoughts I tender not to thee,

My beauteous princely Queen, the advancement

Of our child.’

"‘Villain, tell me what state, what dignity,

What honour canst thou demise to any child of mine?

 

230

 

Flatter not my sorrow

By cracking the strong warrant of an oath.

Thou art marked with a blot and

Damned in the book of heaven.

I sweare I’ll not trust him that mocks me once.

I have an eye on you.

If you love me hold not off

Nor keep peace between the effect and hit.

Yet do I feare your nature

Is too full o’ th’ milk of human kindness

To catch the nearest way.’

"‘Madam, I cannot heave my heart into my mouth.

Ah, my love, thy napkin cannot drink a tear;

I will wipe thy cheeks, I understand thy meaning

And by her death I will divorce me

And set myself at liberty.

Her life shall sweetly creep

Into the wildness of unbaited death,

And I will forestall the malice of the world,

For I shall publish she is sick

And shortly she in her grave shall lie.’

"‘If you will obey me, I will give

You thanks in part of your deserts,

And with deeds requite your gentleness.’

"‘I trulie shall obey you, and for your part,

Will you celebrate our happy nuptial?’

"‘Yes, yes, I say.’

"‘Then on the instant this vile deed

Shall with skill be done;

And madam, how like you this proceeding--’

"‘Stop! I tell thee make straight her grave,

But do not trouble me with it.

 

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Take heed that slanders do not live

In the tongues of men against me.

Now get you gone and tell my foole Pace

I would speak with him.

Call hither my foole.

Remember what I have said

And hold thee to it.’

"‘I, your majesty, according to my bond,

No more nor less but--’

"‘Good my Lord, say no more; keep the matter

In your own hands; tell me not your device,

But goe beare your part heere in London;

And if you have not a woman’s gift

To raine a shower of commanded tears,

An onion will do well for such a shift,

Which in a napkin being close convey’d

Shall in despight inforce a watery eye.

Beware my censure and keep your promise;

You must use all means to save me.’

"‘Well madam, I will not fail,

And as I have no shriving work in hand,

I’ll take my leave.’

"‘Your traitorous father thus resolves

To make an end of her, and with all haste

Set on foot the rumor that his wife

Had a deadly disease that was like to end her;

Whereas the truth was, even at the instant

She was in good health; he played it

As if he had been on the stage, and grieved

As heartily as if she were already gone.

I saw him stand within the Arras looking on her picture,

The fair counterfeit of his heavenly wife,

 

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And thus he spake:

‘What demi-god hath come so near creation?

Move these eyes? Or whether resting on the balls of mine,

Seem they in motion?

Heere are severed lips parted with sugar breath,

So sweet a bar should sunder such sweet friends;

Heere in her hair the painter plays the spider,

And hath woven a golden mesh

To entrap the hearts of men

Faster than gnats in cobwebs;

But her eyes, how could he see to do them?

Having made one, methinks it should have power

To steal both his, and leave itself unfurnisht.

Yet look how faire,

The substance of my praise doth wrong this shadow;

In underprising it so farre,

This shadow doth limp behind the substance.

O heaven, shall I nevermore behold my pretty love?

If bloody executioners were to heat their iron hot

Approaching nere these eyes of mine,

Would drink my tears and quench their fiery indignation.

Must I lose thee?

Never was there presented to the marble mansion all above

A face so dear.

Plague, plague, ingrateful heaven.’

"‘I said: ‘This is in you a poor unmanly melancholy;

You hold too heinous a respect of grief.

Is there no remedy?’

At this he talks to me, and said:

 

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"‘None but to sit as quiet as a lamb

And look upon her death.’

"‘Fie, for goodly shame, are you not glad

That your gentle lady is elected

To live a second life in endless mercy?

For so hath heaven provided her escape

From all the pains and cruelty

Of this our mortal world,

Wherein to sin is death.’

"‘Quoth he, ‘’Tis right that I should bear my cross;

But when she is gone, forever gone,

And in such a night as this

When faded locks and dried leaves bred of putrefaction

Lie on her tomb,

As if nature herself bewailed her death,

My spirits mutiny against my Redeemer,

And the grave, yea faith itself

Doth to hollow falsehood change.

’Tis damnation to rib her in sere cloth

And let her lie dead and buried in oblivion.’

"‘Then he did start away

And lend no further ear unto my speech.

We fools thought his half melancholy madness,

And his wild profession of deep love divine,

Until his wife comes to the court in haste,

And for pure love

Unto the danger of the adverse Queen

Did herself expose.

She was no coward and at once

Did to the Queen bid battle.

Many were glad and promised to themselves

Some goodly benefit from the favourite’s overthrow,

 

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And devoid of outward sense stood gazing at her

As she, clad in black attire

With steps full slow did wend unto the throne,

Whereon the mighty Queen Elizabeth

Clad in royal robes, her head uprearing

Proud and high looked round with stern disdain,

And did survey the company ranged about;

For all the court both men and women

In their best array are come,

As to a theatre to feast and sport

Ore the unwelcome coming of the worthy lady.

Holding her hand upon her gentle heart,

Her modest eyes, abashed to behold

So many gazers that do stare upon her,

On the lowly ground affixed are;

On her face sate sober modesty

And comely courtesy, as to her doom

She steadfast walked amongst them all.

Awhile did stand the luckless lady

Before her Queen, who

To display a countenance bold

And to give a colour to her hate,

Under unnatural rage disguised the jealousy

That every person knew was in her breast.

Awhile she chafed and laboured to speak;

At length quoth she:

"‘Welcome, mistress; may God bless thee and thine forever.

Advance more near.

What great despight does fortune to thee beare,

That thou thus lowly abase thy beauty bright?’

"‘My Queen, God bless thee with long life,

 

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With honour and heart’s ease.

I am present heere to desire my gentle husband home

To recomfort me with his sweet company.

Having consorted man and wife so long a time,

To be so sundered and exiled from him,

(For now I rue the loss of his fair love,)

Doth lay me low in dust.

I pray thee, gentle Queen--

And let my prayers so move

That thou for affability and honour mayest be renowned--

Drive him away.

Thy mind, sweet Queen, should be as beautiful

As is thy face, as are thy features,

All fraught with pure honour’s treasure

And enriched with virtue and with glory incomparable.

In honour then, it doth behoove thee

That rule this land and wear the crown of England,

To dry the tears, the never-ending woes of piteous wives,

And not to spend the dowry of a lawful bed.

For his honour, his affairs, his friends, his state,

Neglecting all with swift intent to quench the coal

Which in his liver glows,

He comes to thee, his rash false heart

Wrapped in repentant cold, and me betrays

To wretched hateful days and slanderous tongues,

Or to live as being dead and buried in the ground.

Ah, in equity to me be favourable,

And let Jehovah’s great command

That the man should cleave unto his wife be honoured.’

"‘Mistress,’ said the Queen,

‘Art thou a simple, silly fool, or art thou crazy?

Thou art mercilous froward.

 

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How dare thou mutter or find fault with me?

Art thou not renowned in thy country home

For thy scolding tongue?

I know thou art.

What happy gale blows thee,

Thou irksome brawling scold, unto our court?

Am I unfit for state and majesty?

I do beseech thee take our throne.

Pardon me, sir, I think she’ll prove a soldier.

Iron may hold her, but never lutes.

Upon my life, make much of her, my gentle sir,

By my faith, she is thine.

Yet there’s small choice in rotten apples.

I pray thee, Dudley, doth she not sweare to thee

By my troth and in good earnest

And so God mend me and by all the pretty oaths

That are not dangerous?’

"‘Madam, if he in public justifies thy scorn,

And tells thee that to avoid

Heart burning, contentious uproars and wars,

Or that my bad tongue hath driven him from my side,

Turn your displeasure on my head

And let destruction light on me.’

"‘Come man, thy consort pleads

That thou thyself art false to her,

And that thou by thy rest heere in our court

Hath disgraced forever her good name.’

"‘Woman,’ at length he said, ‘what meaneth this?

How fortuneth this foul uncomely plight?

Dishonour hunts thy foot

And follows thee through every covert shade,

Discovering thy shame and nakedness.

 

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Thou wrongest the fair Queen

With thy undisciplined, misshaped and wretched thoughts.

Doubtest thou her honour

Whose truth maintains the crown?

Forebeare, I say.

My outward action doth demonstrate

The native act and figure of my heart in compliment externe.

Know thou this, that I weare not my heart

Upon my sleeve for daws to peek at.

By thy so sweet and voluble discourse,

Garnished with such bedecking ornaments of praise,

Delivered in such apt and gracious words,

Thou hast made the aged ears of this company

Play truant and ravished the younger hearers quite.’

"‘O what an easy thing it is to descry

The gentle blood however it be wrapt

In misfortune foul and sad.

"‘My love,’ said she, ‘if want of love hath left thy soul,

O do not this dishonour to my love.

This baneful torment of my published shame

For my little fault, is monstrous in thee.

Thou art mine, who can be wise, amazed,

Temperate and furious, loyal and neutral in a moment?

The expedition of my violent love

Outruns the pauser reason. Who could refrain

That hath a heart to love,

And in that heart courage to make love known?

Malicious mistress of inconstancy,

Could not all hell afford thee such another devil?

For well I wote, thou Empress of hell,

 

238

 

He never wags but in thy company.

O revenge,

Come down to this world’s light and welcome me,

Confer with me of murder and of death

And ease the knawing vulture of my mind

By working wreakful vengeance on my foes.

Let there not be a hollow cave or lurking place,

No vast obscurity or misty vale,

Where bloody murder or detested rape

Can couch for fear,

But I pray thee that thou find them out

And in their ears tell them thy dreadful name

Revenge, which makes the foul offenders quake,

And that thou art from the infernal kingdom sent

To do me service and to be a torment to mine enemies.

Stab them or tear them on thy chariot wheels,

And then I’ll come and be thy waggoner

And whirl along with thee about the globe;

Provide thee two proper palfreys as black as jet

To hale thy vengeful wagon swift away,

And find out murder in their guilty ears;

And when thy ear is loaden with their heads,

I will dismount and by thy wagon wheel

Trot like a servile footman all day long,

Even from Epton’s rising in the east

Until his very downfall in the sea.

And day by day I’ll do this heavy task

So thou destroy these devils heere

And do shameful execution on her

That him from my arms lulls to sleep.

Damn’d be thy name that hath obscured my joy;

Thou hast confirmed my doubts;

 

239

 

From thee my heavy haps had their beginnings.

Restore him me, or I will from thy court

And make discourse of thy adulterous deeds.

O who can tell the wonders of my God!

These palaces, the pride of England’s kings

Shall be the bowers of desolation,

Wherein shall sing the solitary birds of night

Who train their young ones to their nests.

Woe to the painted cheeks, thy curious oils,

Thy rich array that have fostered thee in sin.

O who can tell the wonders of my God

Or talk his praises with a fervent tongue!

He bringeth down to hell and lifts to heaven,

He draws the yoke of bondage from the just,

He makes the infant to proclaim his truth,

The asse to speak to save the prophet’s life,

The earth and sea to yield increase to man.

Prostrate He lie before the Lord of Hosts,

And with humble prayers and signs

Entreat that he will take thy diadem.

Farewell, thou devil in the shape of man,

How dare thou let me go from thee

Shamed with so deep misdeeds?

Shame will boil within my breast.

Look round about the wicked streets,

And when thou findest a man that’s like to him,

Good Murder, stab him, he’s a murderer;

Go thou with him, Rapine, and when it is thy hap

To find another that is like to him,

Good Rapine, stab him, he is a ravisher.

Go thou to the court where there is a Queen

Attended by this man; well mayst thou know her

 

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By thy own proportion--for up and down

She doth resemble thee--I pray thee do on her

That hath been violent to me and mine

Some violent death.

Ah, cruel man, unkind and pitiless,

Shut are the day’s bright eyes that make me see,

Locked are the jems of joy in dens of death;

Is all the guerdon of thy chivalry

Ended in this abusing of thy wife?

I like thy pride, I praise thy policy.

Love was my bliss and love is now my bale.

If thou but loved me, heavens, hell and all

Could not have wronged the patience of my mind.

Sorrow hath made me mad,

And these wrongs do wring me to the very heart.

All hail to this royall company

That sit to hear this strange dispute.

It joys me that such men of great esteem,

Such company of cutting knaves,

Do wait upon the damned English Queen

That hath no virtue to maintain her crown.

What fair dames be thou that wait

Attendant on thy accursed Queen?’

"‘To whom speakest thou?’

"‘To thee, base woman, thou mighty rival of my love

The fatal author of my ill,

Unworthy of the English crown.’

"‘What, then! am I threatened against my throne?

Depart my court, thou stale of impudence

Unless thou wouldst be parted from thy limbs.’

"‘These words betray thou art base born

And by descent sprung not from the royall line.’

 

241

 

"‘God’s wounds! this comes too near.

Thou shalt not from our court

Till we torment thee for this injury;

Thou shalt know we may not be abused

Like a forlorn and desperate castaway.

Wert thou our sister, thou dare not say’t.’

"‘Fly! fly! thou wilt be killed,’ an old courtier cried.

"‘Thanks, my good lord, I fear her not,

Nor tremble not a whit;

I am so weary with disaster, rugged with fortunes,

That I would set my life on any chance

To mend it or be rid on’t.

I am not alone when all the world is here to look on me,

But if she will not spare me, then when all is done,

Write me an epitaph I died for love.’

"‘The state of hellish cruelty within the soul

Of our proud and warrior Queen

Did overwhelm her artificial calm,

And upon a sudden, uttering a rude and savage oath,

From her throne she madly shot,

And clad in vestments spotted all with stars,

She (her wombe then rich with thee, my child),

With heavy gaite cross’d to her side,

And armed with her staff, doth fetch

Her such a lusty blow

Between the circled arches of her brows

That it did strike her down unto the ground.’

"‘By that same sphere wherein thy soul shall rest,

If Jove deny not passage to thy ghost,

It now behooves me straight to make all well

And kill thee quick.’

 

242

 

"‘And as the poor young lady swoons

To get her dagger out she strives,

But the fatal stroke was foiled--

Within the sheath so fast ’tis shut

That at the dagger she in vain doth heave.’

"‘I think the devil be within my sheath.

I think I am bewitched and conjured fast

By magic of this traitor heere.

I cannot lift my fist although a thousand hells

Added their force unto my arms.’

"‘My woman’s heart was set on fire with grief

As I amaz’d did gaze upon her as she lies

Past sense and shame upon her back;

And with mine eyes full of tears, my heart with sighs,

Thus I pleaded with the angry Queen to overlook

Love’s foolish rage and spare the gentle lady’s life.

"‘Madam, I beseech thee, stop!

O thy hands conjure too, that thou the hearts

Of all thy subjects do not alienate from thee.’

And ’twixt her body and the Queen myself I threw.’

"‘She hath dishonoured us;

And by our noble mother and our God

And for the honour of our crown, I sweare

’Tis meet this wretched rash intruding fool

Should be forever shent.’

"‘Be not cruel or unnatural.

Speak daggers to her, but use none.

Let not the soul of Nero enter thy firm bosom.

Let the strucken deer go weep;

And give the world assurance of thy faith.

What follows if they say that by this bloody deed,

This murther of the wife, the Queen gets leave

 

243

 

To feed and batten on her love?

By such an act proclaim thou not thy shame,

Even if compulsive ardor gives the charge

Impious ’tis for thee to kill the gentle lady.’

"‘Peace, thou fool,

Anger hath a privilege worse than murder;

’Tis such beastly, violent outrage to do on me,

And I sweare she shall not scape my hand.’

"‘This is but a peevish wife that flies to him she loves.

Why art thou angry, madam?’

"‘Am I not challenged?

Did she not twit me with no father owning?

The very thought that she did laugh at me

And made me her pastime doth urge on my revenge.

Have mind upon thy health; tempt me no further;

I shall forget myself.

I am not a feather for each wind that blows;

Let her look for no less than death.

She called our mother whore.

Leave this weeping for the dead;

Thou art frighted with false fire; she is not dead.

The smallest drop of blood doth fright thee all.

Give her a drink of wine.’

"‘I think my footsteps to be miles and minutes houres

As to the pantry near I hie me straight,

And brought unto the Queen

A bottle of near claret-wine.

She would not drink, and I said:

"‘Madam, she will not drink;

She says she drinks no other drink but tears

Brued with her sorrow, meshed on her cheeks.’

"‘Her words be hippocrites;

 

244

 

But we’ll teach her to drink ere she depart.

Faint-hearted woman, arise and look on me.’

"‘At the Queen’s command, not a whit dismayed,

she rises,

Her freshly bleeding wound a rueful sight.

At her bloody appearance the Queen ’gan vail her stomach

And said, ‘Come, thou fool,

We grant thou can’st outscold us; sit thee down.

Heere is a napkin, rub thy brows;

But remember thou, that she that playeth with a lion

Hath set a baleful period on her life.

Heere is thy husband, he will direct thee hence.

My lord, absent thee from felicity awhile,

But repair hither, we would have speech with thee.’

"‘At Leicester’s return she said:

"‘My lord, I pray thee

Is this thy slender care to help our child?

Thou art too base to be entitled fatherhood

To thy king; there is no trusting thee.

What art thou that dares annoy so great a Queen?

For behold, a dainty minion for the nonce

With her beauty hath subdued thy thoughts,

Hath pleased the liking fancy of thy heart,

As if no more were left as fair as she.

Tell me, is not my state as glorious

As Juno’s pomp, when tired with heaven’s despoil

She sped along the silver path unto her Jove?

Are not my tresses curled with such art

As love delights to hide him in their fair?

Doth not mine eye shine like the morning lamp

That tells Aurora when her love will come?

Have I not stolne the beauty of the heavens

 

245

 

And placed it on the feature of my face?

Can any goddess make compare with me

Or match her with the fair Elizabeth?

The beauties that proud Paris saw from Troy,

Mustering in Ida for the golden ball

Were not so gorgeous as am I,

For I have tricked my trammels up with richest balm,

And made my perfumes of the purest myrrh,

The precious drugs that Egypt’s wealth affords,

Which do entangle love.

Shall I be Helen in my froward fates

As I am Helen in my matchless hue?

Hence with thy begging scold!

Hence, caitiff, clogged with years.

On pain of death revisit not the court.

Was I conceived by such a scurvy trull,

And shall I bring to light a child by such a lump of dirt?

Go, losel, trot it to the cart and spade;

Thou art unmeet to look upon a Queen,

Much less to be the father of a king.

What exorcising charm or hateful hag

Hath ravished the pride of my delight?

What tortourous planets or malevolent star,

Conspiring power, repining destiny,

Hath made the concave of the earth unclose

And shut in ruptures lovely Elizabeth?

If I be Lord Commander of the clouds,

Queen of the earth and Sovereign of the seas,

What daring Saturn from the fiery den

Doth dart these furious flames amidst my court?

I am not chief; there is one more great than I.

It may not be, and yet I feare there is.’

 

246

 

"‘Madam, not Iris in her pride and bravery

Adorns her arch with such variety,

Nor in frosty night doth the milk white way

Appear so fair and beautiful in sight

As thou, sweet Queen of flowers.

But sith nor that nor this may do me boot

And for myself myself must speaker be--

A mortal man amidst this heavenly presence--

Let me not shape a long defense to thee

Wherein consists the full of my offense.

I did command her death, I erred

That she is yet unburried.

But if it shall please thee to suspend

Thy indignation against me, I will rid the house of her.’

"‘Sir, five days do we allot thee to remove her.

Inform thy wife she must away to horse;

Tell her I advise her to be gone. Away!’

"‘Within five days’ space,’ said he, ‘she’ll be dead.’

"‘And he did keep his word.

I have heard he tried to poison her,

But I know not why she swallowed it not,

Unless it be she mouthed it first.

In the end his damned knaves

The last service do for him.

They take advantage of an idle hour,

And the two chief props of the castle’s high stairway

Rive in twain.

Then to deceive this fair young saint,

They adorn and deck with garlands trim

The posts and pillars, that she may enter in.

And as she passed, the sweet smell did she praise.

Then whilst that night she in her chamber lay,

 

247

 

Some one did cry, ‘Ayme! Ayme!’

"‘This, by his voice, should be my lord,’ said she,

And from the great chamber to the landing ran;

And thinking the pillars steadfast and firmly stay’d,

Did lean upon the rail and there awhile

As on a pillory looking through she stood;

But it, not capable to sustain a rush

Or the impressure of her palm, went down.

On the slippery standing

She tremblingly a moment stood and cried to heaven;

Then from human help exiled, with earnest moan

She on the sudden headlong dropt

Down, down, down to the hard court beneath,

And her neck asunder broke

And all the bowels in her body brast.

It fortuned soon after

Her father thither came unto the castle

And late entrance dear besought;

But he of entrance was refused,

And forced was to leave her in this woeful state.

But learning of his loss,

He importuned long space and stiffly strove

With courage bold and great,

Till that he did procure a crowner’s quest.

The crowner sat on her, and first the porter called,

And thus began:

"‘Thou slave, come hither.

How was it thou unto the props look’st not? Speak.’

"‘If your honor please, my mistress I forgot to tell.

I am sorry the props were so weak,

But I thought them strong enough

To support the burden of her body.

 

248

 

I know not how the world will censure me,

Yet certes, it was no fault of mine,

But rashness on her part to trust herself

Out of her room at night.’

"‘Her father cried, ‘Thou say’st true, thou churlish knave.

Darest thou fight in thine own defence?

Here, take this sword and by the mass,

I will ore-bear thee into hell

And in a pass requite thee

For the murder of my daughter.

Thou shalt repent this rape of her fair life.

I consecrate my sword

To make thee hover on the dreadful shore of Styx.

Officers, make way that I may hew his limbs.

Away, I say, thou wilt never speak again;

I will make the measure thy lubber’s length

Upon the ground.’

"‘Peace, sir knight, do me no slander.

By my life, and I dare well maintain it with my life,

I hold as little counsel with weak fear as thou.

Will you ha’ the truth on’t?

If this had not been a gentlewoman,

She should have been buried out of Christian burial.

She was indeed a lunatic

And by her own hand did die.’

"‘I’ll put a question to thee,

If thou wast in my daughter’s confidence.

Did she not sting the Queen with jealousy?’

"‘Whist,’ said the magistrate, ‘thou go too far.

Kneel down, sir knight, and pray her majesty’s pardon.

He is not guilty of her death. Go, sirrah!

 

249

 

His love and fury doth confound his virtue.

Go! unless for thy honour thou wilt give him a fair field.’

"‘The judge finds, by man or men, as she was not thrown over

That by Divine Providence she died,

And rising immediately left the room

Then was the whole assembly quite dismissed

And the knight put down.

The porter with all convenient speed did steal away,

And for him the knight sought in vain;

But God saw that justice was done on him,

For he afterwards did die a violent death.

There was no proof against thy father

More than a lodged hate and a certain loathed scorn

That thus ungently he made away with his sweet wife.

Her majesty, thy mother, so terrified the souls of all,

That the supporters of the commonwealth

In subjection slavish maintained

That Ayme with herself made way or died by accident.

The Queen took this man of evil

And was married to him like a beggar under a bush,

Not in church, but in secret.

My gentle lord performed the marriage service.’

"‘Did you the Queen’s wedding attend?’

"‘I, and I alone of all the attendant train

Of Eliza’s fair ladies, in company of my Lord Puckering,

Saw her nuptial.

But come, my boy, fair Phœbe with her silver hue

The dark canopus of grim night illuminates,

As she in the heavens above doth march.’

"‘Pardon me, madam,

The gray-eyed morn smiles on the frowning night,

 

250

 

Checkering the eastern clouds with streaks of light,

And flecked darkness like a drunkard reels

From forth daie’s pathway and Titan’s burning wheels.’

"‘Then ere the sun advance his burning eye,

The day to cheer and night’s dank dew to dry,

Let’s to our rest.’

"‘I am satisfied the honour of my kin is poor,

And they are Machiavelian counterfeits.

On my life, thou of all the honourable crew

Art blest.’

"‘To-morrow, by one that I’ll procure,

I’ll yield you honour to your heart’s content;

Therefore, now no more, away to bed.

Good-night, dear son, I’ll tell you more anon.’

"‘How can I go forward when my heart is here?

Yet, O madam, I will go.

The rising day ne’re saw so woeful night.

The clock hath strucken four;

The hour is past when sleep divine hath power

To hold my soul senseless of life and breath.

O open then unto my love

How I in spite of death doth still survive.’

"‘Hark, boy!

What noise is that I hear?’

"‘None, madam.’

"‘Prethee, listen well; I heard a bustling;

Mark how they are rushing to the doors.’

"‘Sooth, madam, I hear nothing.’

"‘Who’s there? Speak, hoa! No answer. What is it?’

"‘Look, madam, heere comes the page of the Queen.’

"‘Pardon me, sir, was’t thou that so unkindly knockt?’

 

251

 

"‘I, madam; my worthy youth, thou art my prisoner.’

"‘Dost thou speak seriously?’

"‘On my soul, ’tis true, sir.’

"‘For what?’

"‘Did not her majesty send to thee,

And didst thou not spurn her messenger

Like a cur from out thy way?’

"‘And did he, the low, crooked and base spaniell,

Blaze forth to the princess all the fray?’

"‘Not that I have heard.’

"‘Upon my knee, sir, say I am not well;

Tell the Queen I am sick and must stay at home.’

"‘Shall I say you are not well?

I will not, it is false.’

"‘Many do keep their chambers that are not sick.’

"‘I dare not without cause, as you know,

Tell her you are sick.’

"‘I will not go.

I’ll never such a gosling be as to obey.

Thou disease, thou hast such faint and milky heart

That it will turn in less than two nights to sour cream.

I will not budge.’

"‘If I cannot persuade you to show a noble grace

And depart without a brawl,

You shall march twixt my knaves--for I have help here--

And, sir, if you would save your life,

Give up and foot it with me to hear the sentence

Of your moved prince.

I have not a butry, a pantry or a kitchen about me

For proof of what you say, but by my head,

You shall suffer death unless you end your brave

And turn your face in peace.’

 

252

 

"‘By my heels, I care not;

I had rather suffer a short thrust

Than a long hanging.’

"‘Reason coldly of your grievances

Or else depart with me.

Heere all your servants’ eyes gaze upon us.’

"‘Men’s eyes were made to look and let them gaze;

Yet let us go; come, I dare no longer stay,

I cannot choose.

Look you, I love you well, I’ll give you gold.

Rid me these villaines from your company

And I as patient as the midnight

Will, I sweare, along with you.’

"‘You are not oathable;

Although I know you’ll sweare to come,

I cannot make my heart consent to take a bribe.

Therefore I beseech you, if you are learned,

Be not as the common fools,

As if all your safety and defense were absence.

Undercrest your rage

And come hence with me;

I’ll keep you company.’

"‘Let molten coin be your damnation.’

"‘Sirrah, this unlooked for sport comes not well,

The time is unagreeable to this business;

Cease your importunacie, you must needs go hence with me.

Therefore be not hasty rash. You are sent for,

And this beastly fury is contrary to your nature.’

"‘Sir, vouchsafe me for my meed a smaller boon than this.

I beg to enter an apothecary’s shop.’

 

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"‘Sir, I do remember an apothecary,

And here about dwells, which late I noted

In tattered weeds, with overwhelming brows,

Culling of simples. Meagre were his looks,

Sharp misery had worn him to the bones;

And in his needy shop a tortoise hung,

An allegator stuffed, and other skins

Of ill shap’d fishes, and about his shelves,

A beggarly account of empty boxes,

Green earthen pots, bladders, and musty seeds,

Remnants of packthread, and old cakes of roses

Were thinly scattered to make a show.

Noting this penury, to myself I said,

An if a man did need a poison now,

Whose sale is present death,

Here lives a catiff wretch would sell it him.’

"‘O this same thought did but forerun my need,

And this same needie man must sell it me.’

"‘O mischief, thou art swift

To enter in the thoughts of desperate men.

Come sir, I will bring you to this house.’

And forth we go, and presently he said:

"‘As I remember, this should be the house.

Being early day, the beggar’s shop is shut.

What hoa, apothecary?’

"‘Who calls so loud?’

"‘Come hither, man; I see that thou art poor.

Hold, here is forty duckets; let me have

A dram of poison, such soon speeding gear,

As will disperse itself through all the veins,

That the life-weary-taker may fall dead,

And that the trunk may be discharg’d of breath

 

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As violently as hasty powder fired

Doth hurry from the fatal cannon’s womb.’

"‘Such mortal drugs I have, but London’s law

Is death to any he that utters them.’

"‘Art thou so bare and full of wretchedness,

And fear’st to die? Famine is in thy cheeks,

Need and oppression starveth in thy eyes,

Contempt and beggery hangs upon thy back;

The world is not thy friend, nor the world’s law;

The world affords no law to make thee rich.

Then be not poor, but break it, and take this.’

"‘My poverty, but not my will consents.’

"‘I pray thy poverty, and not thy will.’

"‘Put this in any liquid thing you will

And drink it off, and if you have the strength

Of twenty men, it would dispatch you straight.’

"‘There’s thy gold,

Worse poison to men’s souls,

Doing more murder in this loathsome world,

Than these poor compounds that thou mayst not sell.

I sell thee poison, thou hast sold me none.

Farewell, buy food, and get thyself in flesh.

Come cordial, and not poison, go with me.’

Then we proceed unto the mighty Queen.

When we in presence come, she said to me:

"‘So thou at length hast come, thou groom, hast thou?

Did I not send for thee in the afternoon,

Between the hours of three and four?

And now it is between three and four in the morn.

What! Standest thou?

Down upon thy knees, and pardon beg for thy bad fault.

I’ll teach thee what it is to brave my wrath,

 

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Thou slave, to set a supersedeas to my great command.

Am I a daughter of a Jew, that a boy

With a reed voice and two mincing steps

Should think that he, or one of his,

Hath license to set my power at naught?

If thou run thy wit against my will,

I’ll make thee suffer the deadly pangs of death.

Thou shalt hang.

Pass into my room.’

When we were alone she said:

"‘I know not whether heaven will have it so

For some displeasing service I have done,

That in His secret doom, out of my blood

He’ll breede revengement and a scourge for me;

But thou dost, in thy passages of life,

Make me believe that thou art only marked

For the hot vengeance and the rod of heaven

To punish my mistreadings. Tell me else,

Could such inordinate and low desires,

Such poor, such base, such lewd, such mean attempts,

Such barren pleasures, rude societies

As thou art matcht withal and grafted to,

Accompany the greatness of thy blood,

And hold their level with thy princely heart?’

"‘So please your majesty, I would I could

Quit all offenses with as clear excuse

As I can purge myself of this that I am charged withal

Doubtless I am in reproof of many tales devised,

(Which oft the ear of greatness needs must hear,)

By smiling pick-thankes and base news-mongers,

Yet such extenuation let me beg,

Wherein my youth hath faulty and irregular wandered;

 

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And that I may for something true

Find pardon, on my true submission.’

"‘Heaven pardon thee.

Yet let me wonder, Francis,

At thy affections, which do hold a wing

Quite from the flight of all thy ancestors.

Thou art almost an alien to the hearts

Of all the court and princes of my blood;

The hope and expectation of thy time

Is ruined, and the soul of every man

Prophetically doth forethink thy fall.

Had I so lavish of my presence been,

So common hackney’d in the eyes of men,

So stale and cheap to vulgar company,

Opinion that did help me to my crown

Had still kept loyal to possession.

By being seldom seen I could not stir,

But like a comet I was wondered at,

That men would tell their children: ‘This is she.’

Others would say: ‘Where? Which is Elizabeth?’

And then I stole all courtesy from heaven,

And drest myself in such humility

That I did pluck allegiance from men’s hearts,

Lowd shouts and salutations from their mouths,

Even in the presence of the crowned queen.

Thus I did keep my person fresh and new,

My presence like a robe pontifical,

Ne’er seen but wondered at; and so my state,

Seldom but sumptuous shewed like a feast,

And won by rareness such solemnity.

My sister queen soon kindled and soon burnt

And carded her estate,

 

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Mingled her royalty with carping fooles;

Had her great name profaned with their scornes,

And gave her countenance against her name

To laugh at gibing boys, and stand the push

Of every beardless, vain comparative;

Grew a companion to the common streets,

Enfeoff’d herself to popularity,

That being daily swallowed by man’s eyes,

They surfeited with honey and began to loathe

The taste of sweetness, whereof a little

More than a little is by much too much.

So when she had occasion to be seen,

She was but as the cuckow is in June--

Heard not, regarded; seen, but with such eyes

As sick and blunted with community,

Afford no extraodinary gaze

Such as is bent on sun-like majesty

When it shines seldom in admiring eyes,

But rather drowz’d and hung their eyelids down,

Slept in her face, and rendered such aspect

As cloudie men used to do to their adversaries,

Being with her presence glutted, gorg’d and full.

And in that very line, Francis, standest thou,

For thou hast lost thy princely privilege

With vild participation; not an eye

But is awearie of thy common sight,

Save mine, which hath desire to see thee more,

Which now doth, that I would not have it do,

Make blind itself with foolish tenderness.

Thy companions are the very disturbers of our peace,

A company of irreligious harpies, scarping, griping catchpolls,

 

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Unlettered, rude and shallow;

Thy houres filled up with riots, banquets, sports,

And in thee is noted never any study,

Any retirement, any sequestration

From open haunts and popularity;

Thy addiction is to courses vain

With thy familiars and coadjutors,

And should I make thee mine heir,

Thou wouldst make my throne a seat of baseness.’

"‘No, madam, I would rather add a lustre to it.’

"‘Peace, sir!

Most subject is the fattest soil to weeds,

And thou, the noble, manly image of my youth,

Art overspread with them; therefore my grief

Stretches itself beyond the houre of death.

The blood weeps from my heart when I do shape

(In forms imaginary,) th’ unguided days

And rotten times my kingdom shall look upon

When I am sleeping with my ancestors;

For when thy headstrong riot hath no curb,

When rage and hot blood are thy counsellors,

When means and lavish manners meet together,

Oh, with what wings will thy affections fly

Towards fronting peril and oppos’d decay.

And in this great work,

(Which is (almost) to pluck a kingdom down

And set another up,) I will not be

Like one that draws the model of a house

Beyond his power to build, and who (half through)

Gives o’er, and leaves his part-created cost

A naked subject to the weeping clouds,

And waste for churlish winter’s tyranny;

 

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As in an early spring

We see th’ appearing buds, which to prove fruit

Hope gives not so much warrant as despair

That frosts will bite them.’

"‘I thought that thou hadst hated me;

I will in the perfectness of time

Cast off my followers and their memories,

Shall as a pattern or a measure live.

Thy highness knows,

When we mean to build, we first survey the plot,

Then draw the model;

And when we see the figure of the house,

Then must we rate the cost of the erection,

Which if we find outweighs ability,

What do we then but draw anew the model

In fewer offices, or at least desist to build at all?

And we, by turning past evils to advantages,

Should survey the plot of situation,

And the model consent upon a sure foundation,

Question surveyors, know our own estate,

How able such a work to undergo.

And I but study my companions

Like a strange tongue

Wherein to gain the language; for ’tis needful

That the most immodest word and grosse term

Be looked upon and learned, which once attained

Comes to no further use but to be known

And hated.’

"‘Tis seldom when the bee doth leave her combe

In the dead carrion.

I speak not of the creatures which are useful

In thy kitchen to turn the spit, lick the pan,

 

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And make the fire burn;

But of the train of gallants that at thy heels

Men say doth run.

Art thou not by birth a prince?

Why then dost thou look so low,

As if thou hadst been born of the worst of women?

Thy tastes are not for royal deeds,

And ’twere sin to stain England’s throne

By such a counterfeit image of a king.

And to shield thee from disasters of the world,

I am resolved that thou shall spend some time

In the French emperor’s court.

Muse not that I thus suddainly proceed,

For what I will, I will; and there an end.

To-morrow be in readiness to go;

Excuse it not, for I am peremptory.’

"‘Madam, I cannot so soon be provided;

Please you deliberate a day or two.’

"‘No more; look, what thou wantest

Shall be sent after thee.

And as thou canst not live

On grass, on berries and on water,

As beasts and birds and fishes,

Nor on the beasts themselves, the birds and fishes,

Therefore for thy provision thou shalt receive

Enough from me for thy maintenance.

And so, my son, farewell;

May all happiness bechance to thee.

Wer’t not thy hated affections change thy tender days

To the worse than brutish company

Which hath metamorphos’d thee

And made thee neglect thy studies, lose thy time,

 

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War with good counsell and set the world at naught,

I rather would keep thee at home

And send thee to the studious universities.

But now farewell.

Blest mayest thou be like to the flowering sheaves,

That play with gentle winds in summer-tide;

Like olive branches let thy children spread;

Or as the kids that feed on lepher plains,

So be the seed and offspring of thy loins.

And in long years to come,

May thy pure soul and spright

Enrich the heavens above.

Farewell.’

"Thus was I banished. And on the day following

About the hour of eight, I put to sea

With that gentle knight, Sir Amyas Paulet,

Bound to the court of France.

I will not here pursue the story of my life

But rather will reserve it

Until my return from France.

Now for thy sake whom I so dearly love,

Our Muse intends to vaunt his heavenly verse

With dreadful clamours, noise and trumpets’ sound.

Give ear and hear how war begins his song.

I’ll be the minstrel with my drum and fife,

To play hunts up with a point of war, and you shall hear

A fearful battle rendered you in music.

And so farewell. Good-night.

Fortune smiles once more and turn thy wheel.

(Sig.)

FRANCIS, LORD VISCOUNT ST. ALBANS."

 

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The Spanish Armada

______

 

[PROLOGUE.]

 

"Descend, ye sacred daughters of King Jove;

Apollo, spread thy sparkling wings to mount,

And try some lightsome sweet Castalian springs

That warble to their silver-winding waves,

Making soft music in their gentle glide,

And take survey of England’s Emperess,

And in her praise tune your heroic songs;

Write, write, you chroniclers of time and fame,

Elizabeth by miracles preserved

From perils imminent and infinite;

Clio, proclaim with golden trump and pen

Her happy days, England’s high holidays;

O’er Europe’s bounds take wing, and make thy flight

Through melting air, from where the rising sun

Gallops the zodiac in his fiery wain,

Even to the brink where Thetis in her bower

Of pumey and tralucent pebble-stones

Receives the weary bridegroom of the sea,

Beyond Grand Cair, by Nilus’ slimy bank,

Over the wild and sandy Afric plains,

Along the frozen shore of Tanais,

Whose icy crust Apollo cannot thaw;

Even there and round about this earthly ball

Proclaim the day of England’s happiness.

I humbly crave these verses may be read of her

That with her scourge keeps all the world in awe,

With thund’ring drums awakes the God of War

And calls the furies from Averno’s crags

 

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To range and rage and vengeance to inflict,

Vengeance on the accursed King of Spain.

They tell her famous victory o’er that Spanish fleet

Which by themselves was termed Invincible.

_______

 

"Sir,--

Here is a letter the contents whereof is an account of the sea-fight in which the final empire of the world was, thanks be to God, in spite of Fortune’s spite or enemies’ threats, vested in England’s arms. I do not well understand this prophecy, that

‘There shall be seen upon a day

Between the Baugh and the May

The black fleet of Norway,

When that is come and gone,

England shall build houses of lyme and stone,

For after war shall you have none,’

but they say it was meant to be a prediction touching the Magnificent or Invincible Armada that came upon the coast of England in the miraculous year eighty-eight, for that the King of Spain’s surname, as they say, is Norway.

"That great fleet from tawnie Spain was generally conceived to be the greatest in strength, though probably not in numbers, of all that ever swam upon the sea, for that Philip, the King of Spain, had been building ships for the Spanish fleet since the time of the death of Mary and the succession of Elizabeth that followed. And he did likewise collect the infinite number of ships that were beyond the Atlantic, in America, adding thereto those of Norway and the Low Countries.

"So much of the globe was then subject to Philip, that the king had great taste of empire and thinks the rest

 

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of the earth mought be made parts of the kingdom of Spain if Queen Elizabeth were his wife, and that he as her husband would reign as a Cæsar over the world; and he likewise thinks it no peril to invade England and put the yoke upon us, as his great fleet exceeds our shipping ten to one.

"But the king had forgotten that there is now much difference from the exploits of Alexander in Asia or the exploits of Julius Cæsar, in that our kingdom of Britain is stronger than it was at the time Cæsar made here his conquest. And even Cæsar was carried off our coast twice beaten, and his ships on our terrible seas moved upon their surges and cracked like egg-shells against our rocks. And while the whole compass of Spain is a very great tree and doth clasp and contain a great dominion, yet the Spaniards have been by no means competent to deal with us upon the ocean, for one of the principal dowries of this kingdom of Great Britain is the vantage of strength at sea; and above all, we entertain hopes of triumph, inasmuch as the English navy, however small it be, is always fit to be master of the sea if necessity inforce it to so decide the battle. But Philip, the King of Spain, having peace in the heart of his empire, and by his lieutenants making his wars prosperously in the remote places of his dominions, chose to join his shipping to that of the Low Countrimen and to plough up the seas with flying keels. He, the King of Spain, saw plainly that the kingdom being girt with the sea, this design of his to make a trial of strength in a great battle by sea was the only way for the undoing of the kingdom, remembering that Themistocles says, ‘Whoever is master of the sea is master of the empire;’ and we see from many instances

 

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(where princes or states have risked their whole fortune upon sea-fights,) the great effects of battles by sea. The battle of Actium decided the empire of the world; the battle of Lepanto arrested the greatness of the Turk; and thus much is certain, that he that commands the sea is at great liberty and may take as much or as little of the war as he will, whereas those that be stronger by land are nevertheless many times in great straits.

"The king also saw that the wealth and treasures of both Indies were in great part but an accessory to the command of the sea, and also that the enterprise must not be brought to the notice of the nations; for he considereth that if it be known abroad that he hath a purpose and determination to make a war upon the kingdom of Great Britain, it will be of no small effect in point of keeping good peace with all his neighbor princes and especially with the king of France. And therefore he affecteth the greatest love for Queen Elizabeth of England, and full of secret cunning doth, about this time, forward a dispatch to her by a counsellor and a secretary, in which he asked her hand in marriage; and to say truth he certainly did pack the cards and play them well. For the counsellor and secretary conferred one with the other and kept good quarter between themselves, and taking cunning advantage of Queen Elizabeth’s great affection and vainglory, when they came in place one of them, as by chance, said to the other in the Spanish tongue, ‘Mi venga la muerta;’ and the other goeth backward and forward in an unsteady manner and maketh it appear as if surprise at the great spirit and beauty of the Queen hath, as it were, made him drunken, and he suddenly falls down before the Queen as overcome with her shew

 

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of majesty, and with his hands doth shade his eyes as if the light of the Queen had threatened him with blindness. He lays abait for a question by shewing this visage, countenance and posture to the Queen, and she, hearing their cunning and crafty professions of her beauty in an unknown tongue, conceived their discourse concerneth a secret of empire, and being suspicious both in nature and state, did interrupt them in their speeches and ordered the secretary to let fall his words in the British tongue. The cunning Jesuits, with transparent countenances and demure abashing of their eyes, did not affect to have heard Queen Elizabeth, and the secretary said to the other, ‘In counsel is stability;’ the other straight caught up his words and said, ‘To say truth, Jupiter did marry Metis and she brought forth a childe,’ whereby they intend that sovereignty is married to counsel, and make use of that monstrous fable to raise credit of the business in which they were engaged. But they interrupt their course and let victory escape them, for the Lord Leicester no sooner heard their incorporation and inseparable conjunction of discourse and speech then he said unto them, ‘They say that after Jupiter was married to Metis and she was with child by him, Jupiter suffered her not to stay but ate her up, whereby he became himself with child and was delivered of Pallas armed out of his head.’ The Queen, perceiving at once that their discourse is ridiculous, and discerning, what is true, that praise should be sparingly used, said, ‘You sing a song of Placebo instead of the real business. What would your King with us?’

"The ambassadors keep themselves more in guard and change their speech and speak in English, and the counsellor saith to the Queen, ‘Your Grace, my liege,

 

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King Philip, hath commanded me to declare unto you the causes that have moved him at this time to desire a present assembling of your counsel, craving pardon of your grace and you all if I perform it not as I would. Thus after greeting speaks the King of Spain, that as the great forerunner Death hath robb’d him of his Queen, Anne of Austria, whose worth and honesty is here justified and richly noted, and that, as the Lady Elizabeth, daughter of King Henry, is an unmarried and a virgin Queen, the mighty King Philip doth desire her hand in marriage.’

"‘What follows if we refuse thy King?’

"At this sudden, bold and unexpected question which doth surprise them, the embassy after consultation said, ‘The proud control of fierce and bloody wars, to enforce those rights so forcibly withheld.’

"‘What rights has thy King? Speak!’

"‘First, Philip of Spain, our Right Royal Sovereigne, saith to the borrowed majesty of England here--’

"‘Borrowed majesty? A strange beginning!’

"‘That in right and true behalf of his late deceased wife Mary, Henry’s most lawful daughter, he lays claim to this fair Island and the territories, to Ireland, Poyctiers, Anjou, Touraine and Maine, desiring thee to lay aside the sword which swaies usurpingly these several titles, and put the same into his hands.’

"The Queen did at this start up and said:

"‘Out on thee, rude man, dost thou slander my mother?

Was not Mary the elder daughter and heir of Henry?

And am I not her sister?

Came we not of one father?

Doth Philip lay claim to my inheritance

 

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After the wide gap of time,

With the plea of mine bastardy?

Once before he slandered me.

For certain, before ill suspicion fall upon my mother’s grave,

We will have war for war, and blood for blood,

Controllment for controllment. So answer Philip.’

"The uncle of the Queen, who presides in counsel, did earnestly desire the Queen to hear the embassy and said, ‘Fair madam, please you mark a little while, and pray your majesty not to interpose. The interruption cuts off the embassy. Summon up your dearest spirits, madam. Consider, to parle with the embassy the King sends will stain yourself in the world’s eyes. Therefore it seemeth a needful course to know the pleasure of the King of Spain; and you, dear Queen, are not ignorant that before we cross him in any way, we should know his humours.’

"‘Is’t so, my lord?

Belike you will welcome this matchless king.

He is esteemed a man of sovereign parts,

Well fitted in arts, glorious in arms,

A valiant gentleman and desirous of honour;

And therefore he would be King of England even by marriage

With Elizabeth, bastard daughter of King Henry.

It is an assured sign

Of a worthy and generous spirit whom honour amends

To desire the preservation of this Monarchie

Though it be by marriage with a bastard;

And is it not clear and round dealing in that he offers war

To amend the condition of peace?

 

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By this may truly be read

What kind of man he is,

That a king’s child should be so slandered.

Thou sodden witted lord, silence!

Fie! coward, woman and soft hearted wretch.

Hast thou not spirit to curse thine enemies?

Answer your Philip we are glad he is so pleasant with us.

We understand him well.

Tell the King my mother was an honest and good woman,

And my father was a mighty King,

And I, their heir, sit upon their throne.

For in the book of Numbers it is writ:

‘When the man dies, let the inheritance descend unto the daughter.’

And therefore I will stand for mine own

And unwinde my bloody flag

And shew my sayle of greatness.

And tell your pleasant prince this mock of his

Hath made me rage, and I will keep my state;

And I will rouse me in my throne, and when I do,

I will rise with so full a glory

That I will dazzle all the eyes of Spain,

Yea, strike the King blind to look upon us.

Tell him many thousand widows shall this mock

Mock out of their husbands, mock mothers from their sons,

Mock castles down, and some are yet unborne, ungotten,

That shall have cause to curse this scorn

Of my good lady mother.

And I will guard my mother’s honour and my land

At least till he can prove

I am a bastard of the deceased King.

Good my lord, draw the curtain.

 

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Step forth, my advocate.

Look, behold the picture of our father; compare our faces.

Can you behold this oily painting of my dead father

And say I am not the child of this great King?

And were our father, olde King Harry, living,

Would your king have so much as thought

Of these slanderous rumours?

But great God of heaven,

I am as well begot as was my sister,

And if old Harry did beget us both,

I give thanks I was not like to her.

And if my sister had my shape and I had hers,

If my legs were two such riding rods,

My arms such eelskins stuft, my face so thin

That in mine ear I durst not stick a rose

Lest men should say, ‘Look where three farthings goes,’

And to her shape were heir to all this land,

Would I from off this place might never stirr

But I would give it every foot to have this face.

But that when I was got,

Henry was, in any case, not far away.

And upon his death-bed he by will

Bequeathed his crown and lands to us his children,

And on his death my brother took them,

And then my sister, being eldest, at his death

Held the lands and crown

That our father, old King Harry, did bequeath us.

And now, by the gods, I take up the English crown,

And I swear by that sword

Which gently laid my queenship on my shoulder,

I do defy thy Philip and spit at him,

Call him a slanderous coward and a villain;

 

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Which to maintain, were I a man,

I would allow him odds to run afoot

Even to the frozen ridges of the Alps

Or any other ground inhabitable

Wherever Englishman durst set his foot,

And meet him were I tide.

Fair fall the bones that took such pains for me!

For by all my hope in heaven,

Most falsely doth he lie

Like a false traitor and injurious villain

When he doth accuse my mother of lewd employment;

And by the glorious worth of my descent, this slander of his

I will doubly cram down his throat.

I say this overweening King

Through the false passage of his throat

Shall swallow down this lie.

For I will let no man mock me

As we are mocked by this coward King.

And by my sceptre’s awe, I make a vow

That I will awake our sleeping sword of warre

Against him whose wrongs give edge unto the sword,

And with colours spread, on his unfurnished kingdom

Come pouring like the tide into a breech.

O I will sweeten with gunstones and balls

The bitter mock sent by his majesty,

And his soul shall stand sore charged

For the wasteful vengeance that shall fly with them;

And this sheep in a lion’s skin shall find

He can not set up King Henry or his daughter

To aim and shoot at.

Besides that, all the treasons for these eighteen years,

 

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Compelled and contrived in this land,

Fetched from false Philip their first head and spring.

And further I say and further will maintain

That he did plot my death.

But what need I to speak among my household thus?

The acts of this crafty King are well known,

And under the smile of safety and of peace

With false reports and covert enmity

He wounds my honour to the world.

Aye, from the Orient to the drooping West,

Making the wind his post-horse,

Upon his tongue continual slanders ride,

The which we will stop by the stern tyrant Warre,

Quenching the flame of loud rumour even with the blood

Of that blunt monster, thy King.

Who, who, but only he did noise abroad

That I am a bastard?

Aye, I will make a fearful muster and prepare defense,

And the thirsty entrance of this soil shall daub her lips

With her own children’s blood,

And trenching warre shall channel her fields,

And with the armed hoofs of hostile paces

Bruise her flowrets, before King Harry’s child

Shall under the vent of this king of smiles

Be beaten down; and like the warlike Harry

We will assume the port of Mars, and at our heels

Leasht in like hounds, Famine, Sword and Fire

Shall crouch for employment; and we

Within the vasty fields of this bragging Spaniard

Shall bring forth so great a play

That we will affright the ayre--

With a kingdom for a stage, princes to act,

 

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And monarchs to behold the swelling scenes.

But pardon, gentles all; proceed, proceed,

What would you and the King have more?’

"‘Madam, the King of Spain likewise doth set forth

His right to the English crown

As first prince of the blood,

For that he sprung out of their deep root thus:

Old John of Gaunt, time-honoured Lancaster,

Had issue Henry Hereford, his bold son,

Crowned Henry the fourth. At the death of Henry the fourth,

His son, Harry, Prince of Wales, was

As immediate heir of England

Confirmed unto the throne as Henry the fifth.

This star of England by his sword

Achieved the world’s best garden, and of it

As imperial Lord left his son Henry the sixth,

In infant bands crowned King of France and England.

This king lived small time, but in that small

Lost France and made his England bleed.

For Edward, Duke of York, by usurpation

Did succeed Henry the sixth, whose son

Was killed by lascivious Edward and misshapen Richard.

And even so one viol full of Edward’s sacred blood

Was cracked and all the precious liquor spilt,

One flourishing branch of Gaunt’s most royal root

Hackt down and his summer leaves all vaded

By envy’s hand and murder’s bloody ax.

But Gaunt’s blood did live in his two daughters,

The Lady Katherine, who married the Castilian King Henry third,

And Phillipa who married John of Portugal.

 

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From these two true ornaments of the House of Lancaster

My lord the King doth draw his royal descent

And title to the crown.’

"‘The devil take Philip and thee!

So he studies day and night, doth he,

That he may wear without co-rival all our dignities?

By heaven, I’ll keep them all; from out this realm

He shall not have a crown of straw.

Now, by the Holy Mother of our Lord,

All studies here I solemnly defie

Save how to gall and pinch this King of Spain.

O God forgive me! Good uncle, tell your tale

And satisfy my good lords

My title to the English crown is infallible.

And if my claim be good, I’ll keep it

Although the devil come and roar for it.

We charge you, in the name of God, take heed,

For never two such kingdoms did contend

Without much fall of blood, whose guiltless drops

Are every one a woe, a sore complaint.

Therefore take heed how you impawn our person.

Under this conjuration speak, my lord,

For we will here note and believe in heart

That what you speak is in your conscience washed

As pure as sin with baptism;

And God forbid, my dear and faithful lord,

That you should fashion wrest, or bow your reading.

Or nicely charge your understanding soul

With opening titles miscreate,

Whose right suits not in native colours with the truth.

For God doth know how many now in health

Shall stop their blood in approbation

 

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Of what your gravity shall incite in us.’

"The Queen’s uncle then did thus begin:

"‘Gentle Queen, be patient and forget this grief;

And lords, give me leave and you shall have at full

The title of her grace,

And poyse the cause in Justice’ equal scales

Whose beams stand sure.

Edward the third had seven sons:

The first, Edward the Black-Prince, Prince of Wales;

The second, William of Hatfield; and the third,

Lionel, Duke of Clarence; next of whom

Was John of Gaunt, the Duke of Lancaster;

The fifth was Edmond Langley, Duke of York;

The sixth, was Thomas of Woodstock, Duke of Gloster;

William of Windsor was the seventh, and last.

Edward the Black-Prince died before his father,

And left behind him Richard, his only son,

Who after Edward the third’s death, reigned as king,

Till Henry Bullingbrooke, Duke of Lancaster,

The eldest son and heir of John of Gaunt,

Seized on the realm, deposed the rightful king,

Sent his poor queen to France, from whence she came,

And him to Pumfret; where, as all you know,

Harmless Richard was murdered traitorously

By Sir Pierce of Exton, who came from the king.

Henry of Lancaster thus got the crown,

And by the name of Henry the fourth was crowned,

Which he did hold by force and not by right;

For Richard, the first sonne’s heir, being dead,

The issue of the next son should have reigned.

But William of Hatfield died without an heir.

The third son, Duke of Clarence,

 

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From whose line our Queen doth claim the crown,

Had issue Phillipa, a daughter,

Who married Edmond Mortimer, Earl of March:

Edmond had issue, Roger, Earl of March:

Roger had issue, Edmond, Anne and Elianor.

This Edmond, in the reign of Bullingbrooke,

Lay’d claim unto the crown,

And but for Owen Glendour had been king;

Who kept him in captivity, till he died.

His eldest sister, Anne,

Being heir unto the crown,

Married Richard, Earl of Cambridge,

Who was to Edmond Langley,

Edward the third’s fifth son’s son;

By her your grace doth claim the kingdom,

As heir of the House of York:

For she was heir to Roger, Earl of March,

Who was the son of Edmond Mortimer,

Who married Phillipa, sole daughter

Unto Lionel, Duke of Clarence.

Anne had issue, Richard, Duke of York, and John of Montague.

Richard had three sons, Edward the fourth,

George, Duke of Clarence, and Richard Duke of Gloster.

King Edward for his queen married a widow,

The Lady Elizabeth Grey; this lady’s husband,

Sir Richard Grey,* was slain at St. Alban’s field

In quarrel of the House of York.

By her Edward had three babes,

The Lady Elizabeth, Richard, Duke of York,

And that unfortunate prince King Edward the fifth,

___

* Richard Gray should be John Grey: a mistake of Bacon’s.

 

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Smothered in the Tower by Richard the third.

Clarence for a wife took Warwick’s daughter,

But was drowned in a malmsey-butt by bloody Richard.

Richard was by courageous Richmond slain

At Bosworth field; the Earl of Richmond,

Thenceforth styled Henry the seventh,

And the Lady Elizabeth, the true succeedors of each royal house,

By God’s fair ordinance were conjoined together,

And did unite the white rose and the red.

The queen had two sons, Arthur and Henry.

Arthur died without issue.

Henry married Katherine of Spain, his brother’s widow,

By whom he had a daughter, Mary.

Henry did divorce Katherine, and married

The fair Lady Anne Bullen, by whom he had

The high and mighty princess of England, Elizabeth.’

"‘What now, my honourable lord ambassadours?

Now doth ambitious Spain with holy face

Upon the mighty Gaunt’s name claim my land?’

"‘By us, the chosen orators of Spain,

He wills you, in the name of God Almighty,

That you divest yourself, and lay apart

The borrowed glories, that by the gift of heaven,

By law of nature and of nations ’long to him

And to his heirs: namely, the crown

And all wide stretched honours,

That pertain by custom and the ordinance of time

Unto the crown of Spain; and that you may know

’Tis no sinister nor no awkward claim,

Prickt from the worm-holes of long vanished days,

Nor from the dust of old oblivion rakt,

 

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He sends you this most memorable line,

In every branch demonstrative,

Willing you to overlook this pedigree;

And when you find him evenly derived

From his most fam’d of famous ancestors,

Edward the third, he bids you then resign

Your crown and kingdom indirectly held from him,

The native and true challenger.’

"‘Or else what follows?’

"‘Bloody constraint. He swears, your majesty,

To sail along the coast of England here,

And will with bloody issue arbitrate

The empire of the world; for if you hide the crown

E’en in your hearts, there will he rake for it.

Therefore in fierce tempest is he coming,

In thunder and in earthquake, like a Jove,

That if requiring fail, he will compell;

And bids you in the bowels of the Lord,

Deliver up the crown and take mercy on the poor souls

For whom this hungry war opens his vastie jaws,

On your head turning the widdowes’ tears, the orphans’ cries,

The dead men’s blood, the privy maidens’ groanes

For husbands, fathers and bethrothed lovers

That shall be swallowed in this controversie.

This is his claim, his threat’nings, and our message;

And take our King’s defiance from our mouthes,

The furthest limit of our embassie.

Dispatch us with all speed, least that our King

Come here himself to question our delay.’

"‘Bear mine to him:

Scorn and defiance, slight regard,

 

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Contempt and anything that may not misbecome

The mighty sender;

And be you as lightning in the eye of Spain,

For e’re you can report, I will be there;

And be assured, you’ll find a difference

When the English with full power upon you come;

For we’ll send you bullets wrapped in smoke and fire.

You shall be soon dispatcht with fair condition.

And so depart in peace. Adieu, farewell.--

Now, lords, methinks their faults are open.

Arrest them to answer of the law.

Away with them; let them be clapt up close

And kept asunder.

We will take up the Spaniards short,

And let them know of what a monarchie we are the head.’

"‘Good, my sovereign.’

"‘God before, we’ll chide this King at his father’s very door;

Therefore let every man now task this thought,

That this fair action may on foot be brought;

Therefore, my lords, omit no happy hour

That may give furtherance to our expedition,

For we have now no thought in us but of this merry mock,

Save those to God that run before our business.

Therefore, let our proportions for these wars

Be soon collected, and all things thought upon

That may with reasonable swiftness

Add more feathers to our wings.

Send for the Lord Mayor.’

(Enter Lord Mayor.)

"‘Lord Mayor,

The reason we have sent for you is this:

 

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Your shippes are all well manned, your mariners

Are militars, and this war to further

With Spain’s Catholic King, how many ships

For love and honour will you promise us?’

"‘With bombast circumstance, horribly stuffed

With epithets of war, doth he evade

All aid of vessels, but he promiseth

Levies of arms, i’truth, and men apace;

And overlong it were for me to tell

How that the feeble Britons find supplies,

How nightly toils the subject of the land,

With daily cast of brazen cannon

And foreign mart for implements of war:

Such impress of shipwrights, whose sore task

Does not divide the Sunday from the week,

What might be toward, that this sweaty haste

Doth make the night joint-labourer with the day.

The news is war, war and revenge, for all--

The nobles and the people--think this King,

Through his immediate desire of rule,

The honour of the nation under foot hath trod;

And that the high and mighty King,

Should he the kingdom of England regain,

Would of a surety make merchandise

Of the estates and fortunes, yea, the blood

Of subjects and of noble peers alike,

His coffers to enrich; and had resolved

In order to maintain the Holy Church,

Its liberties, its doctrine, faith and creed,

And doubtless for no other cause, to come

To England, feigning war against the realm.

With happy speed, and with great honour, too,

 

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Our nobles in their haste t’assail the King

And inclination to preserve entire

The privileges and pre-eminence,

As well as honour also of their blood,

From contempt or disparagement, did yield

Money, the true sinews and strength of war;

Yet rested they not upon that alone,

As you shall hear. Full soon the English power

By impresse and by levy was increased.

In mutual and well beseeming ranks,

These with their kindred, allies and their followers

Against the souldiers of the King of Spain

In pomp and circumstance of war did march.

Naught now is to be looked for but wars,

And naught to us more welcome is than wars.

No body without exercise can healthful be

Neither the body natural nor politic.

An honourable war and just

Is to a kingdom or a state

Naught but true exercise. A civil war

Indeed like to the heat of fever is,

But foreign war is heat of exercise,

And serveth most of all to keep in health

The body; for in slothful peace courage

Becomes effeminate, manners corrupt.

And notwithstanding that the toil of war

Is pain, if that the cause of war be just,

This country will uprear and mightily

Defend itself against a foreign foe.

A military people we are not,

Yet will we many battles win i’th name

Of fame and honour."

 

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"My lord, is it not love of dire discordant war

That seems to seek out danger everywhere?

As your great uncle, Edward, the Black-Prince,

Who on French ground once played a tragedy,

Making defeat on the full powers of France,

Whiles his most mighty father, on a hill,

Stood smiling to behold his lion’s whelp

Forage in blood of French nobility.

O noble English, that could entertain

With half their forces the full pride of France,

And let another half stand laughing by

All out of work and cold for action.

And ’tis enough to point at it to prove

No nation which doth not directly arms profess

Ought to expect greatness into their mouth to full.

But ’tis eternal damnation

For matters of religion to make war;

For such like bloody wars and slaughters ought,

And at the last do plagues and miseries

Upon us bring. What can we look for else?"

"My lord, certain it is that the wars made

On distant nations this advantage have,

That the invaders have to fight with those

That of their mode of warefare, form and arms

Have no experience; whereas in war

With neighbors it is otherwise.

Th’ equipment of such expeditions, too,

Better appointed and more perfect is

In general than for a foreign war.

Yet did Spain’s King the realm of England force

War to begin, for he imperiously

Threat’ning the world with high astounding terms,

 

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And scourging kingdoms with his conquering sword,

Prepared or levied forty thousand foot

And horse, an hundred thirty vessels brave,

Galleys and galleons, ships and carracts tall,

To transport all his forces into England.

The whose Armada passed along our coast,

Prepared to rob and spoil and to make prize

Of many ships and vessels of our seas.

And had not direful weather with her thund’ring woke

And poured into his ears her loud alarums,

And if the heavens and meteors with fiery doom,

The globe, earth, sea and all the elements

Had not defeated and dispersed his fleet,

That king of rakehells and those about him

Would in the West have landed, and have rackt

The land with hostile strokes of fire and sword,

And with his voluntaries rash and fiery,

With ladies’ faces and fierce dragons’ spleen,

Who at their native homes their fortunes sold,

Bearing their birthrights proudly on their backs,

Came to make hazard of new fortunes here.

In brief, if God had not withstood his proud desire,

Destroying ships and men with fire from heaven

And tempest turbulent, Philip this day

Would have been Britain’s king, and proudly ruled

In greatest part of Christian Europe now.

But the God of Battles and of Christian arms,

With instruments of his avenging ire--

The deadly lightning and tempestuous fire--

Beneath his feet sent forth the wreckful wind

And tossed the Spanish fleet of vessels huge

As though its ships had been but children’s toys,

 

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And by his foretop took the King of Spain

And rid us of this smooth-tongued Spanish pouch.

And here war’s rage first mightily begins.

And so our scene must to the battaile flye:

Where, O for pitty, we shall much disgrace,

With foure or five most vile and ragged foyles,

(Right ill dispos’d, in brawle ridiculous)

The name of Victory: Yet sit and see,

Minding true things, by what their mock’ries bee.

The Queen doth call her counsel, and her ministers

And superior officers of state attend.

Her highness sits under a royal canopy

Glistering with pendants of the purest gold, most fit

For so great power and peerless majesty,

Like as her seat was spangled all with stars,

And all with gems and jewels gorgeously

Adorned, that brighter than the stars appear,

And make her native brightness seem more clear,

As if the daughter of eternal Ops

Were on her royal throne enthronished.

The world doth wonder at her majesty.

Thus their debate doth grow:

"‘My lords of England, Philip King of Spain,

Making himself powerful in arms and legions

Raised in his opulent and warlike land,

Doth threaten an invasion of our realm,

In order to restore it to the faith

O’th Romish church; and though I do not fear

The incursion of these foreigners,

Yet ’tis most meet we arm us ’gainst the foe.

Defenses, musters and preparations

We should maintain, assemble and collect

 

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In expectation of the coming hither

Of this disturber of England’s state,

Who with his brain-sick dizzards and base whelps,

Greedy for power and for his honour’s sake,

Will have one bowt with us. There’s so much chance in war

I pray thee all to show me what should first be done

To save my wretched land from this barbarous king?’

"‘Madam, propose you to proceed ’gainst Spain?

If so, what kind of war will chosen be?

Invasion open and declared by sea

Or underhand and covert?’

"‘Good my lord,

Sith we are not in number nor in strength

Superior to the Spaniard’s mighty host,

The chance for open war is bad for us.’

"‘Well, then, thy majesty, let us abide,’

Saith Burleigh, ‘the first brunt of battle here.’

"‘O never,’ saith my lord of Leicester,

‘Such chance as willful war affords to us,

Such chances and misfortunes let us take.

Th’ adventurers a strong company are

Of merchants--a company that’s well set

With rich men and good order; men-at-arms,

Marriners and ships have they assembled,

Which in a kind of trade piratical

Do plough and harrow both by sea and land

Beyond the tropics the bold Catholic King.

Two of their captains I’ve in presence brought,

Who, with no less valour than fortune, round

About the world have sailed, and who do say

With their six thousand brave English they will

 

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With expedition and great force assail

The Catholic King of Spain, and put to fire

And sword his ships and men. But it is known

No great confidence can be placed in them.

And if by chance these folk should come to shame,

Thy majesty can well insinuate

That either traders they or pirates are

And can arrest them.’

"‘Fie! sir; fie!’ said she,

‘That would be black dishonour. Are you not

Ashamed, my lord? Where shall we soldiers find

Who on the gallow’s tree will receive death

As guerdon of their toil? If such there be,

Pray bring them in and we will treat with them.’

"‘Behold, your majesty, here’s Francis Drake,

He that with a small company of fools,

As mad as Orestes and Atheneas,

As king of earth and lord of all the seas

Along the furth’rest continents did sail.’

"‘What! is this the man?’

"‘Madam, it is.’

"‘Is this the scourge of Spain?

Is this the captain so much fear’d abroad

That with his name the mothers still their babes?

Come, come, sir; he doth not bestride the narrow world

Like a Colossus, and petty men

Walk not under his legs and peep about.

I thought I should have seen some Hercules,

A second Hector for his grim aspect

And large proportion of his strong-knit limbs.

Alas! this is a child, a silly dwarf;

It cannot be this weak and writhled shrimpe

 

287

 

Should strike such terror to his enemies.’

"‘Madam, I have been bold to trouble you.

I hold myself more worthy than to be laughed at;

And since your ladyship is not at leisure now,

I’ll sort some other time to visit you.’

"‘How’s this, my master? stop! I do believe

That those proud, lofty looks do fear no wrack.

I honour thee for thy great victory

O’re the injurious tyrant. Will you, then,

With visage swart and courage fierce, o’erflow

Like Noye’s great flood the country and the coast

Of this Philip of Spain?’

"‘Yes, your grace.’

"‘When will you go?’

"‘To-morrow, and it please

Your majesty. My men are all aboard.’

"‘I leave thee to thine own liking in that.

Hear my charge, captain. The Spaniards have been

Noted always to be of small dispatch;

Long in coming they will be sure to be,

And easily may you pass into Spain

And cause them to withdraw their forces home,

Lest you subdue the pride of Christendom.

Go in good time, just between twelve and one,

E’en at the turning of the tide. On thee

Most eagerly shall many eyen look.

Have care of honour and the present state.

Farewell.’

"He lost no time by tide

That least advantage mote to him afford,

But spread his sails, and with his men-of-war

I’ th’ glory of an April day put forth

 

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To sea, and with him led a doughty train.

When straight the ruthless destinies did stir

The winds to war, and they in every part

Were driv’n, but they the fury of the storm

Did bide and sailed across to Spain.

"A strong built citadel commands

The opening to the harbour of Cadiz,

And in that place a garrison of men

In order martial in great hosts was kept.

But with rapidity he passage made, and found

A ship, a man-of-war, him ready to repel,

Which him forbade to land and footing did forestall.

But in the midst of the fight that ensued,

This ribaudred old nagge of Spain, the breeze

Upon her, like a cow in inne, hoists sails

And flies. Their ships could not withstand the charge;

T’ avoid their enemies they sound retreat.

Some of the Spaniards in the river swim,

But with short darts the English shoot at them;

Great numbers of the men they wound and slay

And sink them in the stream before they land.

The ships deserted thus, laden with stores,

They set on fire and take what in them lay.

"When this good fortune had already fall’n to him,

He put to sea again. And all the rest

Of that consorted crew of ships dogge him

At th’ heels, but he holds up his head and struts away.

"Westward now along the coast he stands

To cape Vincentio. Certain ships and barks

Fell to him on the way. As prizes these

He took and set on fire. The fury swift

Of the wild flames ruthless destruction threat

 

289

 

And give them to the billows as their prey.

He held as prisoners of war, sailors

And soldiers, the spoils and donatives

To the army in so great store he did

Transport to his own ships with utmost speed.

"For want of water he doth think t’embay

Himself at Farreo, and there to repose,

The final fortune of the fight to try

And prove when that the Spaniards should appear.

And after some days, he resolved to make

Assault upon the fort that guards the town,

He quickly sets his men from ship to shore,

And mustering them before the walls, the foe

With suddenness and violence he did assault

And charge them all amain, and smote so sore

The great tower, that the Spaniards fight in vain.

They fear, they faint, they fly. The day is won!

When he had ta’en the forts, planted thereon

The English flag, he calmly did await

Th’ expected coming of the Spanish fleet.

But the wary Spaniards did not appear.

So he the forts did leave, put out to sea,

And to the bay of Lisbon sailed thence.

Within a little gulf, at anchor rode

The Spanish men of war, but there the Queen

Dispatched letters to the doughty Drake,

Commanding him that he should keep aloof

And not attack the Spanish fleet. But he

Yet ling’ring near, their chief commander thus

Does challenge to come out and battle do

With him: ‘For England’s honour I defy

And here thee challenge make, that thou those arms

 

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Forever do forsake and be

Forever counted cowardly,

Unless thou dare for thy dear country’s sake

And for thine own defense in equal fight

To meet me;’ hoping, since the English ships

Were lighter, nimbler handled and more quick

Than were those of his enemy, he might

Engage in battle, carry it on with ease,

And put the fortune to th’ arbitrament

Of bloody strokes, and hasten thus the war

To a conclusion.

"But Drake mistook

The intention of the Spanish King. To fight,

The Spaniards tacitly refused, and when

At last, at th’ end of three day’s space, they still

Would not debate the challenge of the right,

The valient captain left this bay, and like

A swallow swift, he wandered here and there,

A fortunate robber; near the isle of San Miguel

Surprizes, siezes on and makes a prize,

A gallant ship rich lad’n with merchandise

And other such like things. Thus satiate with spoil

He turns his course to England.

"The beaten mariner,

That long had wandered in the ocean wide,

Oft soused in swelling Tethys’ saltish tear,

And long time having tann’d his tawny hide,

With blust’ring breath of heaven, that none can bide,

Or scorching flames of fierce Orion’s hound,

Soon as the port from far he has espied,

His cheerful whistle merrily doth sound,

And calls his mates to him to pledge around.

 

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"Now, my followers and my loving friends,

The glory of this happy day is yours.

When our enemies’ drums

And rattling cannons thundered in our ears,

E’en in the cannon’s face ye fought,

As you ever did, like conquerors.

I smile to think how, when this war is done

And victory ours, our men will sweat

With carrying pearl and treasure on their backs,

And laurel wreaths to crown us all.

You shall be princes all immediately.

Come fight, ye cankered curs, or yield us victory.

No, we will meet thee, slavish King of Spain.

Thou show’st the difference ’twixt ourselves and thee

In this, thy barbarous, damned tyranny.

Thy victories are grown so violent,

That shortly heaven filled with meteors

Of blood and fire thy tyrannies have made,

Will pour down blood and fire upon thy head,

Whose scalding drops will pierce thy seething brains,

And with our bloods revenge our bloods on thee.

Shroud any thought that may hold my striving hands

From martial justice on thy wretched soul.

I long to pierce his bowels with my sword,

Dare levy arms against our puissance,

That we may tread upon his captive neck.

I thank you all, for doughty handed are you

And have fought, not as you had served the cause,

But as it had been each man’s own.

You have all shown like Hectors.

Some wine, boys. Scant not my cups;

Perchance to-morrow you’ll serve another master.

 

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I look on you as one

That takes his leave and says farewell.’

"‘Our men in arms by me salute your highness

With long life and happiness,

And bid me say their pledge for them.’

The lieutenant thus bespake.

‘The master, the swabber, the boatswain and I,

The gunner and his mate,

Lov’d Moll, Meg, and Marrian, and Margerie,

But none of us cared for Kate.

For she had a tongue with a tang,

Would cry to a sailor go hang;

She loved not the savour of tar nor of pitch,

Yet a tailor might scratch her where’re she did itch,

Then to sea, boys, and let her go hang.’

"‘This is a scurvy tune. But here’s my comfort.’

[Drinks.]

"‘’For heaven, an excellent song.

"‘I learned it in old England, where indeed we are most potent in potting. Your Dane, your Germaine and your swag-bellied Hollander (drink hoa) are nothing to our English.’

"‘Your Englishmen is so exquisite in his drinking.’

"‘Why, he drinks you with facility your Dane dead drunk; he sweats not to overthrow your Almaine; he gives your Hollander a vomit, ere the next pottle can be filled. To the health of our general!’

"‘I am for it, lieutenant, and I’ll do you justice.’

"O sweet England.

[Sings] King Stephen was--and a worthy peer,

His breeches cost him but a crown;

He held them sixpence all too dear,

 

293

 

With that he called the tailor lowne

He was a wight of high renown,

And thou art but of low degree;

’Tis pride that pulls the country down,

And take thy awl’d cloake about thee.’

"‘Ha! ha! O King Stephano, O peer,

O worthy Stephano,

Look what a wardrobe here is for thee.

Another, another. Some wine, hoa.’

 

"‘Be merry, be merry, and make good cheere,

And merrily drinke to the merry year,

When flesh is cheap and females dear,

And lusty lads come there and here,

So merrily, merrily drinke;

And let me the cannakin clinke, clinke,

And let me the cannakin clinke.

A soldier’s a man; O man’s life’s but a span,

Why then let a soldier drink.

 

"‘A cup of sack that is brisk and fine,

A cup of sacke without any lime,

For sacke and sugar be a very good wine,

To drink unto a sweetheart of mine,

So merrily, merrily drinke.

(Chorus.)

 

"‘Be merry, be merry, my wife has all,

And women be shrews, both short and tall,

’Tis merry when beards wag in court and hall,

But a good heart’s the best of all,

So merrily, merrily drinke.

(Chorus.)

 

294

 

"‘A man blows up like a bladder with sighing and grief,

So drinke therefore till you’re blind and you’re deaf,

And when you’re drunk, my little tyne thief,

Why then it is time to fold down the leaf,

So merrily, merrily drinke.

(Chorus.)

 

"‘This merry shrove-tide there’s a welcome to all,

So a merry song sing and lustily call

For drink and for wine, my good fellows all,

Till you’re so drunk, that you reeling ripe fall,

So merrily, merrily drinke;

And let me the cannakin clinke, clinke,

And let me the cannakin clinke.

A soldier’s a man; O man’s life’s but a span,

So then let a soldier drinke.’

 

"‘Why, this is a more exquisite song than the other.’

"‘Will you hear’t again?’

"‘No, for I hold him to be unworthy of his place that do’s those things. Well, heaven’s above all, and there be souls must be saved and there be souls that must not be saved.’

"‘It’s true, good ancient. For my part, no offence to the general nor any man of quality. I hope to be saved.’

"‘And so do I, too, lieutenant.’

"‘I, but (by your leave) not before me. The lieutenant is to be saved before the ancient. Let’s have no more of this; let’s to our affairs. Forgive us our sins. Gentlemen, let’s look to our business. Do not think, gentlemen, I am drunk. This is my ancient, this is my very

 

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right hand and this my left. I am not drunk. Now I can stand well enough and I speak well enough.’

"‘Excellent well.’

"‘Why, very well then, you must not think then that I am drunk. To the platform, masters; come, let’s set the watch.’

"‘You see this fellow that has gone before?

He’s a soldier fit to stand by Cæsar

And give direction. And do but see his vice,

’Tis to his virtue a just equinox,

The one as long as the other. ’Tis pity of him.

I fear the trust Drake puts in him

On some odd time of his infirmity

Will shake the ship.’

"‘But is he often thus?’

"‘’Tis ever more his prologue to his sleep.

He’ll watch the horologe a double set,

If drink rock not his cradle. It were well

The general were put in mind of it.

Perhaps he sees it not, or his good nature

Prizes the virtue that appears in him,

And looks not on his evils. Is not this true?’

"‘’Tis great pity that the noble Drake

Should hazard such a place as his own second

With one of an ingraft infirmity.

It were an honest action to say so

To the general,’

"‘Not I, for this fair ship.

I do love the lieutenant well, and would do much

To cure him of this evil. But hark! what noise?’

(Enter lieutenant, pursuing a sailor.)

"‘You rogue! you rascal!’

 

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"‘What’s the matter, lieutenant?’

"‘A knave teach me my duty?

I’ll beat the knave into a twiggen-bottle.’

"‘Beat me?’

"‘Dost thou prate, rogue?’

"‘Nay, good lieutenant,

I pray you, sir, hold your hand.’

"‘Let me go, sir, or I’ll knock you o’er the mazard.’

"‘By my troth, sir, these are very bitter words.

Come, come; you’re drunk.’

"‘Drunk? Thou art a villaine.’

"‘Lieutenant, the reason I have to love thee

Doth much excuse the appertaining rage

To such a greeting. Villaine am I none.

I beseech you now, aggravate your choler.

Good sir, be quiet; it is very late. Therefore, farewell.’

"‘Boy, this shall not excuse the injuries

That thou hast done me.

Therefore turn and draw.’

"‘I do protest I never injured thee,

But loved thee better than thou can’st devise.

Till thou shalt know the reason of my love

And so be satisfied, begone, good sir.

This will grow to a brawl anon.’

"‘I am not a fool; you cannot conjure me. I have an humour to knock you indifferently well. If you grow foul with me, I will scour you with my rapier, as I may, in fair terms. If you would walk off, I would prick your guts a little in good terms, as I may, and that’s the humor of it.’

"‘O braggard! Vile and damned furious wight! The grave dost gape and doting death is near.

 

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Therefore exhale. What wouldst thou have with me?’

"‘Good King of Cats, nothing but one of your nine lives,

That I mean to make bold withall; and as you shall use me hereafter drie-beat the rest of the eight. Villain, thou diest. Will you pluck your sword out of his pilcher by the ears? Make haste, least mine be about yours ere it be out.’

"‘Gentle sir, put thy rapier up.’

"‘Come sir, your passado. I am for you.’

"‘That thrust had been mine enemy indeed,

But that my coat is better than thou know’st.

I will make proof of thine.’

"‘O I am slain.

I am maimed forever.

Help, hoa! murther, murther.’

"‘What’s the matter here?

What hoa! no watch?

Away, I say; go out and cry a mutiny.

Nay, good lieutenant! Alas, gentlemen!

Help hoa, lieutenant!

Help, masters, here’s a goodly watch indeed.

Who’s that which rings the bell? Diablo hoa!

The men will rise.’

("‘Murther! murther!’)

("‘O help!’)

"‘Hark!’

"‘O wretched villain!’

"‘Two or three groan. ’Tis heavy night.

These may be counterfeits. Let’s think unsafe

To come into the cry without more help.’

 

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("‘Nobody come? then shall I bleed to death.’)

"‘Hark! the voice of the lieutenant.’

"‘Here’s one comes in his shirt with light and weapons.

Who’s there? Whose noise is this that cries on murther?’

"‘We do not know.’

"‘Do you not hear a cry?’

("‘Heere, heere; for heaven’s sake help me.’)

"‘What’s the matter?’

"‘This is the lieutenant, as I take it.’

"‘The same, indeed; a very valiant fellow.’

"‘What are you here that cries so grievously?’

"‘O I am spoiled; undone by villains.’

"‘Hold for your lives!

Draw, men, beat down their weapons.

Hold, hoa! lieutenant. Sir gentlemen,

Have you forgot all place of sense and duty?

Fie, fie, lieutenant; you’ll be shamed forever.’

"‘Hold! the general speaks to you.’

"‘Hold, for shame! what is the matter, hoa?

Who is’t that cried?’

"‘O my dear lieutenant,

I am sorry to see you thus.

Why, how now, hoa? From whence ariseth this?

Are we turned Turks, and to ourselves do that

Which Heaven hath forbid the Ottamites?

For Christian shame put by this barbarous brawl.

He that stirs next to carve for his own rage

Holds his soul light; he dies upon his motion.

Silence that dreadful bell; it frights the ships

From their propriety.

 

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What! are you hurt, lieutenant?’

"‘I, I, a scratch. Marry ’tis enough.

My leg is cut in two.

Where is my page? Go, villain, fetch the surgeon.

Come, boys, and with your fingers search my wound

And in my blood wash all your hands at once,

While I sit smiling to behold the sight.

Now, boys, what think ye of a wound?’

"‘I know not what I should think of it.

Methinks it is a pitiful sight.’

"‘Courage, man, the hurt cannot be much.’

"‘No, ’tis not so deep as a well nor so wide as a church door, but ’tis enough, ’twill serve. Ask for me to-morrow and you shall find me a grave man. I am peppered, I warrant, for this world.’

"Myself will be your surgeon. Light, gentlemen; I’ll bind it with my shirt. Lend me a garter. So. O for a chair to bear him easily hence. Look with care about the ship and silence those whom this vil’d brawl distracted.’

"‘What! a dog, a rat, a mouse, a cat, to scratch a man to death! A braggart, a rogue, a villain, that fights by the book of arithmetic! Why the dev’le came you between us? I was hurt under your arm.’

"‘I thought all for the best.’

"‘I bleed still; I am hurt to the death.

Help me into my bed or I shall faint.’

"‘What villains have done this?’

"‘I think that one of them is hereabouts

And cannot make away.’

"‘O treacherous villaines;

What are you there? Come here and give some help.’

 

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("‘O help me there.’)

"‘That’s one of them.

Oh murderous slave! O villaine!

O damn’d, inhuman dogge!’

"‘Kill men in the dark?

Where be these bloody thieves?

How silent is this ship! Hoa! murther, murther!

Lay hold upon him. If he do resist,

Subdue him at his peril.

What may you be? Are you good or evil?’

"‘Reputation, Reputation, Reputation! O I have lost my Reputation. I have lost the immortal part of myself, and what remains is bestial. My Reputation, my Reputation!’

"‘As I am an honest man, I had thought you had received some bodily wound. There is more sense in that then in Reputation. Reputation is an idle and most false inquisition, oft got without merit and lost without deserving. You have lost no Reputation at all unless you repute yourself such a looser. What, man! there are more ways to recover the general again. You are but now cast in his mood (a punishment more in policy than in malice) even so as one would beat his offenceless dogge to affright an imperious lion. Sue to him again and he’s yours.’

"‘I will rather sue to be despised than to deceive so good a commander with so slight, so drunken, and so indiscreet an officer. Drunk? and speak parrat? and squabble? swagger? swear? and discourse fustian with one’s own shadow? O thou invisible spirit of wine, if thou hast no name to be known by, let us call thee divell.’

 

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"‘What was he that you followed with your sword?

What had he done to you?’

"‘I know not.’

"‘Is’t possible?’

"‘I remember a mass of things, but nothing distinctly; a quarrel, but nothing wherefore. O that men should put an enemy in their mouths to steal away their brains, that we should with joy, presence, revel and applause transform ourselves into beasts!’

"‘Why, but you are now well enough. How came you thus recovered?’

"‘It hath pleased the divell drunkenness to give place to the divell wrath. One unperfectness shows me another to make me frankly despise myself.’

"‘Come, you are too severe a moraller. As the time, the place and the condition of this country stands, I could heartily wish this had not befalne; but since it is as it is, mend it for your own good.’

"‘I will ask him for my place again; he shall tell me I am a drunkard. Had I as many mouths as Hydra, such an answer would stop them all. To be now a sensible man, by and by a fool, and presently a beast! O strange! every inordinate cup is unblessed and the ingredient is a divell.’

"‘Come, come; good wine is a good familiar creature, if it be well used. Exclaim no more against it.’

"‘What is the matter, masters?

Honest sir, that looks dead with grieving,

Speak! who began this? On thy love I charge thee.’

"‘I do not know. Friends all, but now even now

In quarters, and in terms like bride and groom

Divesting themselves for bed; and then, but now,

 

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(As if some planet had unwitted men,)

Swords out, and tilting one at other’s breasts

In opposition bloody. I cannot speak

Any beginning to this peevish oddes.

And would, in action glorious, I had lost

Those legges that brought me to a part of it.’

"‘How comes it they are forgot?’

"‘I pray you, pardon me. I cannot speak.’

"‘Worthy lieutenant, you were wont to be civil.

The gravity and stillness of your youth

The world hath noted, and your name is great

In mouthes of wisest censure.

What’s the matter,

That you unlace your reputation thus,

And spend your rich opinion for the name

Of a night-brawler?

Give me answer to it.’

"‘Worthy general, I am hurt to danger,

Your officer can inform you.

While I spare speech, which something now offends me

Of all that I do know, nor know I ought

By me, that’s said, or done amiss this night,

Unless self-charity be sometimes a vice,

And to defend ourselves, it be a sin

When violence assails us.’

"‘Now, by heaven,

My blood begins my safer guides to rule,

And passion (having my best judgement collied,)

Assaies to lead the way. If once I stir,

Or do but lift this arm, the best of you

Shall sink at my rebuke. Give me to know

How this foul rout began. Who set it on?

 

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And he that is approv’d in this offence,

Though he had twinn’d with me, both at a birth,

Shall loose me. What! in a ship of war,

Yet wild, the men’s hearts brim-full of feare,

To manage private and domestic quarrel!

In night, and on the court and guard of safety?

’Tis monstrous. Sir, who began’t?’

"‘If partially affin’d or league in office,

Thou dost deliver more, or less then truth,

Thou art no soldier.’

"‘Touch me not so neere.

I had rather have this tongue cut from my mouth

Then it should do offence to the lieutenant.

Yet I persuade myself, to speak the truth

Shall nothing wrong him. This it is, General:

This man and myself, being in speech,

There comes a fellow, crying out for helpe,

And the lieutenant following him with determin’d sword

To execute upon him. Sir, this gentleman

Steppes in to the lieutenant, and entreats his pause;

Myself, the crying fellow did pursue,

Least by his clamour (as it so fell out)

The ship might fall in fright. He (swift of foot)

Out-ran my purpose; and I returned then rather

For that I heard the clink, and fall of swords,

And the lieutenant high in oath, which till to-night

I nere might say before. When I came back,

(For this was brief,) I found them close together

At blow and thrust, even as again they were

When you yourself did part them.

More of this matter cannot I report,

But men are men: The best sometimes forget,

 

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Though the lieutenant did some little wrong to him,

As men in rage strike those that with them best.

Yet surely, the lieutenant, I believe, received

From him that fled, some strange indignitie,

Which patience could not passe.

Let all of us entreat your highness’ pardon.’

"‘I know, my man,

Thy honesty and love doth mince this matter,

Making it light to the lieutenant. Lieutenant, I love thee,

But never more be officer of mine.

Lead him off.

Stand up, ye base, unworthy soldiers.

Know ye not yet the argument of arms?

But come, my men, let us away with speed,

And place ourselves in order for the shore.’

"When the midnight bell did with his iron tongue

And brazen mouth sound on into the drowsy race of night,

Suddenly gloomy Orion rose

And led their ships into the port

Where they do anchor safe,

And all of them unburdened of their load.

"Now entertain conjecture of a time

When creeping murmur and the poring dark

Fills the wide vessel of the universe.

From camp to camp through the foul wombe of night,

The hum of gath’ring army stilly sounds,

That the fixt sentinels almost receive

The secret whispers of each other’s watch;

Fire answers fire, and through their paly flames

Each troop sees the other’s umber’d face;

 

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Steed threatens steed, in high and boastful neighs

Piercing the night’s dull ear, and from the tents

The armourers, accomplishing the knights,

With busy hammers closing rivets up,

Give dreadful note of preparation.

Now all the youth of England are on fire

And silken dalliance in the wardrobe lies.

Now thrive the armourers, and honour’s thought

Reigns solely in the breast of every man.

They sell the pasture now, to buy the horse,

Following the mirror of all Christian kings,

With winged heels as English Mercuries.

The Spanish, advised by good intelligence

Of this most dreadful preparation,

Shake in their fear and with pale policy

Seek to divert the English purposes.

Since other means are all forbidden him,

With happy looks of ruth and lenity,

That this device may prove propitious,

Philip melts fury into some remorse,

To hide the folded furrows of his brows

And shadow his displeased countenance.

Then there before the majesty of heaven,

The holy patrons of this crafty king

Convey events of mercy to Elizabeth.

"‘With knees and hearts submissive we entreat

Grace to our words and pity to our looks.

What is beauty, saith my sufferings, then?

If all the pens that ever poet held

Had fed the feelings of their masters’ thoughts,

And every sweetness that inspired their hearts,

Their mind and muses on admired themes,

 

306

 

If all the heavenly quintessence they still

From their immortal flowers of poesy,

Wherein, as in a mirror, we perceive

The highest reaches of human wit,

If these had made one poem’s period

And all combined in beauty’s worthiness,

Yet should there hover in their restless heads

One thought, one grace, one wonder, at the least,

Which into words no virtue can digest.

The moon, the planets and the meteors’ light,

These angels in their crystal armour fight

A doubtful battle with my tempted thoughts:

For all the wealth of Gihon’s golden waves

Of for the love of Venus, wouldst thou leave

The angry god of arms and lie with me,

To cool and comfort me with longer date;

That in the shortened sequel of my life,

I may pour forth my soul into thine arms

With words of love, whose moaning intercourse

Hath hitherto been stayed with wrath and hate

Of our expressless bann’d inflictions.

You see my wife, my queen and emperess,

Brought up and propèd in the hand of fame,

Queen of fifteen contributory queens,

Now thrown to rooms of black objection.

O highest lamp of ever-living Jove!

A cursed day! infected with my griefs,

Hide now thy stained face in endless night,

And shut the windows of the lightsome heavens.

Let ugly darkness with her rusty coach,

Engirt with tempest, wrapt in pitchy clouds,

Smother the earth with never-fading mists!

 

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And let her horses from their nostrils breathe

Rebellious winds and dreadful thunder-claps!

That in this terror Philip still may live;

And my pined soul, resolved in liquid air,

May still excruciate my tormented thoughts.

Then let the stony dart of senseless cold

Pierce through the center of my withered heart

And make a passage for my loathed life.

O pity us!

Thou that hast calmed the fury of my sword,

Which has ere this been bathed in streams of blood

As vast and deep as Euphrates or Nile.

If humble suits or imprecations,

Uttered with tears of wretchedness and blood,

Offer our safeties to thy clemency,

Then through the eyes and ears of my legates,

O bring us pardon and thy cheerful looks,

That purchased kingdoms by thy martial deeds,

Whose sceptre angels kiss and furies dread

As for their liberties, their loves, their lives.

O then for these, and such as we ourselves,

For us, our infants and for all our bloods,

That never nourished thought against thy rule,

Cast off thy armour, put on scarlet robes,

Mount up thy royal places of estate,

Environed with troops of noblemen,

And use us like a loving conqueror.’

"‘Now by the malice of the angry skies,

Whose jealousy admits no second mate,

What motion is it that inflames his thoughts

And stirs his valour to such sudden love?

Forget’st thou that when I sent a shower of darts,

 

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Mingled with powder, shot and feathered steel,

He sent heralds out, who basely on their knees

In all thy names desired a truce of me?

And tell me whether I should stoop so low

As treat of peace with the base Spanish King.

When heaven will cease to move on both the poles,

And when the ground whereon my soldiers march

Shall rise aloft and touch the horned moon,

And not before, my sweet Sir King of Spain.

I here present thee with a naked sword.

Will he have war, then shake this blade at me.

I long to break my spear upon his crest

And prove the weight of his victorious arm.

Such lavish will I make of Spanish blood,

That Jove shall send his winged messenger

To bid me sheath my sword and leave the field;

The sun, unable to sustain the sight,

Shall hide his head in Thetis’ watery lap,

And leave his steeds to fair Boötes’ charge;

For half the world shall perish in this fight,

That such a base, usurping vagabond,

Famous for nothing but for theft and spoil,

Should brave a Queen or wear a princely crown

T’ illume his baseness and obscurity,

And thus deprive me of my crown and life.

Though Mars himself, the angry god of arms,

And all the earthly potentates conspire

To dispossess me of this diadem,

Yet will I wear it in despite of them,

As great commander of this western world.

Merciless villain, peasant, ignorant

Of lawful arms or martial discipline,

 

309

 

Without respect of sex, degree or age,

He razeth all his foes with fire and sword.

Pillage and murder are his usual trades.

Were all the world conspired to fight for him,

Nay, were he devil as he is no man,

This arm should send him down to Erebus

To shroud his name in darkness of the night.

And now, my lords, let them be banished.’

"Then must her kindled wrath be quenched with blood,

And all conjoined to meet this witless king.

And when Aurora mounts the second time,

(As red as scarlet is his furniture,)

Our tents are pitched, our men stand in array,

Our warlike host in complete armour rest,

Bringing the strength of England to this war,

Not sparing any that can manage arms--

Our fighting men and all our royal host.

Sixteen thousand men in armour clad,

Shaking their swords, their spears and iron bills--

Some on their prancing steeds, disdainfully

With wanton paces trampling on the ground--

Environing their standard round, they stood

As bristly pointed as a thorny wood,

Covered the hills, the valleys and the plains,

In number more than all the drops that fall

When Boreas rents a thousand swelling clouds.

Our warlike engines and munition

Exceeds the forces of our martial men.

Nay, could their numbers countervail the stars,

Or even drizzling drops of April showers,

Or withered leaves that autumn shaketh down.

 

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The royal army is esteemed in all

Thirty thousand valiant fighting men.

And then, as blithe as bird of morning’s light,

Inflamed with honour, glistering as the sun,

What time he mounts the strutting lion’s back,

Beset with glorious sunshine of his train,

Bearing the sun upon his armed breast

That, like a precious shining carbuncle

Or Phœbus’ eye, in heaven itself reflects,

Comes Robert Leicester, in or and azure dight,

Rich in his colours, richer in his thoughts,

Rich in his fortune, honour, arms and art,

On fierce and ready horse, bright and beautiful,

Himself, his men and all; and on they speed,

Each in his armour amiable to see,

That in their looks bear love and chivalry.

And like a champion fitted for the war,

His glitt’ring armour shinèd far away,

Like glancing light of Phœbus’ brightest ray;

From top to toe no place appeared bare,

That deadly dint of steel endanger may;

Athwart his breast a baldric brave he ware,

That shined, like twinkling stars, with stones most precious rare:

And in the midst thereof, one precious stone

Of wondrous worth, and eke of wondrous mights,

Shaped like a lady’s head, exceeding shone,

Like Hesperus amongst the lesser lights,

And strove for to amaze the weaker sights:

Thereby his mortal blade full comely hung

In ivory sheath, ycarved with curious sleights,

Whose hilts were burnisht gold; and handle strong

 

311

 

Of mother pearl; and buckled with a golden tongue.

His haughty helmet, horrid all with gold,

Both glorious brightness and great terror bred:

For all the crest a dragon did enfold

With greedy paws, and over all did spread

His golden wings; his dreadful hideous head

Close couched on the beaver, seem’d to throw

From flaming mouth bright sparkles fiery red,

That sudden horror to faint hearts did show,

And scaly tail was stretch’d adown his back full low.

Upon the top of all his lofty crest,

A bunch of hairs discolour’d diversely,

With sprinkled pearl and gold full richly drest,

Did shake and seem’d to dance for jollity;

Like to an almond tree ymounted high

On top of green Selinus all alone,

With blossoms brave bedecked daintily;

Whose tender locks do tremble every one

At every little breath, that under heaven is blown.

His warlike shield all closely cover’d was,

Ne might of mortal eye be ever seen;

Not made of steel, nor of enduring brass,

(Such earthly metals soon consumed been,)

But all of diamonds perfect pure and clear,

It fram’d was, as one massy entire mould,

Hewen out of adamant rock with engines keen

That point of spear it never percen could,

Ne dint of direful sword divide the substance would.

All with a Burning Heart greets he her grace,

Whose gracious countenance he his heaven esteemes,

And to her sacred person it presents,

As one would say, ‘My heart and life is hers

 

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To whom my loyalty this heart prefers.’

Bravely he bears him in his mistress’ eye,

And like a warrior there demean’d himself.

Good Earl, how near he steps unto her side!

"‘Mighty lord,’ said she,

‘Why should so fair a star stand in a vale

And not be seen to sparkle in the sky?

I see in those imperial looks of yours

The brave pursuit of honourable deeds;

And having thee I have a jewel sure.

But such a star hath influence in his sword

As rules the skies, and countermands the gods

More than Cimmerian Styx or destiny.

Come hither, gentle sir,

Whose prowess alone hath been the cause

That we like victors have subdued our foes,

When to sharp wars sweet honour did thee call,

Thy country’s love, religion and thy friends,

Of worthy men the marks, the lives and ends,

And her defence, for whom you labour all.

Do thou but smile, and cloudy heaven will clear,

Whose night and day descendeth from thy brows.

Though we be now in extreme misery,

And rest the map of weather-beaten woe,

Yet shall the aged sun shed forth his hair

To make us live unto our former heat.

Fair branch of honour, flower of chivalry,

That fillest England with thy triumph’s fame,

There is I know not what great difference

Between the vulgar and the noble seed,

Which unto things of valorous pretense

Seems to be born by native influence.’

 

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"Now she adds honour to his hateful name:

She clepes him leader and commander.

"‘All hail, Sir Knight, and well may thee befall,

As all the like which honour have pursued

Through deeds of arms and prowess martial.

Away! I will be bright and shine

In pearl and gold to wait upon our army.

Through the streets I’ll ride

In golden armour like the sun;

And in my helm a triple plume shall spring,

Spangled with diamonds, dancing in the air,

To note me Empress of the threefold world.

Thus, dear, adieu; whom I expect ere long,

The comfort of my future happiness.’

"So having said, away she softly pass’d.

She straight herself did dight and armour don;

Then to herself she gives her ægid shield

And steeled spear, and morion on her head,

Such as she might be seen in warlike field;

Under a plume of murrey and of white,

That like a palm tree beautifully spread.

Thus when she had herself all arrayed.

Another harmless virgin which did stand thereby,

About herself she dight, that the young maid

Might in equal arms accompany her,

And as her squire attend her carefully.

Then in armour bright and sheen,

Mounting to her steed and setting forth,

Bade her companion guide her to the camp.

How well her person with her fame did gree!

When to the shore she came,

Holding in hand a goodly arming sword,

 

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These warlike champions, all in armour shine,

Assembled were in field the challenge to define.

The heaps of thronging men

Do ride each other upon her to gaze;

Her glorious light and glitter doth all men’s eyes amaze,

And turning fear to faint devotion, they

Did worship her as some celestial vision.

Naught under heaven so strongly doth allure

The sense of man and all his mind possess,

As beauty’s lovely baite, that doth procure

Great warriors oft their rigor to repress;

And mighty hands forget their manliness,

Drawn with the power of an heart-robbing eye,

And wrapt in fetters of a golden tress.

"‘Ye gentle knights, whom fortune here hath brought,

Ready for battle ’gainst the Catholic king,

To spend your bloods in honour of our realm,

O sight thrice welcome to my joyful soul!

Since I shall render all into your hands.

Now he that calls himself the scourge of Jove,

The emperor of the world and earthly god,

Shall end the warlike progress he intends

And travel headlong to the lake of hell;

Where legions of devils, (knowing he must die,)

All brandishing their hands of quenchless fire,

Stretching their monstrous paws, grin with their teeth,

And guard the gates to entertain his soul

And give him the reward for such vile outrage due,

That breaks his sword and mildly treats of love;

And dread Bellona, that doth sound on high

Wars and alarums unto nations wide,

 

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Makes heaven and earth to tremble at her pride.

With open cry pursue the wounded stag,

God’s great lieutenant over all the world,

Who means to girt our England’s walls with siege.

Whet all your swords to mangle him,

His men, his captains and his followers.

By Mahomet, not one of them shall live.

The field wherein this battle shall be fought

Forever term the Spanish sepulchre,

In memory of this our victory.

What warlike nation trained in feats of arms,

What barbarous people, stubborn or untamed,

What climate under the meridian signs

Or frozen zones, under his brutal plague,

Erst have not quaked and trembled at the name

Of Britain and her mighty conquerors?

The god of war resigns his room to me,

Meaning to make me empress of the world;

Jove, viewing me in arms, looks pale and wan,

Fearing my power should pull him from his throne;

Where’er I come, the Fatal Sisters sweat

And grisly Death, by runuing to and fro

To do their ceaseless homage to my sword.

As Juno, when the giants were suppressed

That darted mountains at her brother Jove,

Or as Latona’s daughters, bent to arms,

Adding more courage to my conquering mind;

As was the flame of Clymene’s brain-sick son,

That almost brent the axle-tree of heaven,

So shall our swords, our lances and our shots

Fill all the air with fiery meteors.

Then when the sky shall wax as red as blood,

 

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It shall be said I made it red myself

To make me think of naught but blood and war.

Trumpets and drums’ alarums presently,

Our quivering lances shaking in the air,

And bullets like Jove’s dreadful thunderbolts,

Enrolled in flames and fiery smouldering mists,

Shall threat the gods more than Cyclopian wars;

And with our sun-bright armour, as we march,

We’ll chase the stars from heaven, and dim their eyes

That stand and muse at our admired arms.

We are enow to scare the enemy,

And more than needs to make us conquerors.

Millions of souls sit on the banks of Styx,

And wounded bodies, gasping yet for life,

Waiting the back return of Charon’s boat.

Hell and Elysium swarm with ghosts of men

That I have sent from sundry foughten fields

To spread my fame through hell and up to heaven.

Our love of honour loathes to be enthralled

To foreign powers and rough imperious yokes.

"But now, my men, give heed and list to me,

That mean to teach you rudiments of war,

Yet being void of martial discipline;

I’ll have you learn to sleep upon the ground,

March in your armour through the watery fens,

Sustain the scorching heat and freezing cold,

Hunger and thirst, right adjuncts to the war;

And after this to scale the castle wall,

Besiege a fort, to undermine a town,

And make whole cities caper in the air.

The next, the way to fortify your men;

In champion grounds, what figure serves you best,

 

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For which the quinque-angle form is meet,

Because the corners here do fall more flat,

Whereas the fort may fittest be assailed,

And sharpest where th’ assault is desperate.

The ditches must be deep; the counterscarps

Narrow and steep; the walls made high and broad;

The bulwarks and the rampires large and strong,

With cavileros and thick counterforts,

And room within to lodge six thousand men.

It must have privy ditches, countermines,

And secret issuing to defend the ditch;

It must have high argins and covered ways,

To keep the bulwark fronts from battery,

And parapets to hide the musketers;

Casements to place the great artillery;

And store of ordnance that from every flank

May scour the outward curtains of the fort,

Dismount the cannon of the adverse part,

Murder the foe, and save the walls from breach.

When this is reared for service on the land,

I’ll teach you how to make the water-mount,

That you may dry-foot march through lakes and pools,

Deep rivers, havens, creeks and little seas,

And make a fortress in the raging waves,

Fenced with the concave of a monstrous rock,

Invincible by nature of the place.

And I will teach you how to charge your foe,

And harmless run along their pikes.

When this is done, you then are soldiers.

"‘Then see the bringing of our ordnance

Along the trench into the battery,

Where we will have gabions six foot broad,

 

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To save our cannoniers from musket shot,

Betwixt which shall our ordnance thunder forth,

And with the breech’s fall, smoke, fire and dust,

The crack, the echo, and the soldier’s cry,

With harsh resounding trumpet’s dreadful bray,

And grating sound of wrathful iron arms,

Make deaf the ear and dim the crystal sky.

Therefore, in that your safety and our own,

Your honours, liberties and lives are weighed

In equal care and ballance with our own,

Forward! brave soldiers, unto this rightful war.

Ten-times-treble happy men, that fight

Under the cross of Christ and England’s flag!

How can this battle but successful be,

When courage meeteth with a rightful cause?

Fight! maugre fortune strong, our battle’s strong,

And bear thy foes before the pointed lance.

Forward! followers, captains, soldiers; go

But never to return except with victory.

You carry not a heart with you from hence

That grows not in a fair consent with ours,

Nor leave not one behind, that doth not wish

Success and conquest to attend on you.

We therefore have great cause of thankfulness.

Farewell.’

"At eventide, one day in hot July,

When ruddy Phœbus gan to welk in west,

A hardy fisherman, with eager eye,

Espied on the horizon, south-south-west,

Tops of high masts, and widely spreading sails

Like sea-gulls hovering above the waves.

He scarce a moment stays, then shifts his course,

 

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And heads his boat quick for the distant bay,

Where the commander of the royal fleet

Had, with the gallant Drake, a martial crew

Gathered together, in harbour to await

The arrival of the mighty Spanish fleet.

Good cause he had to hasten thus away;

He bears the tidings long looked for by all.

At length he gains the shore. He strives to speak.

"‘What ailst thou, man? What hast thou seen?’ said Drake.

"‘They come, they come, good sir; the Spaniards come!’

"His blazing eyes like two bright shining shields

Did burn with wrath and sparkled living fire;

Like as an eagle, which seeing prey appear

His aery plumes doth rouse, full rudely dight,

While flame his eyes with rage and rancorous ire.

"‘To the shore! Man our boats! To Ram’s Head speed!’

Was the command that sped like lightning’s flash.

‘Put out, then, straightway, nor stay for naught,

I’ll follow ere you’ve gained the nearest point.

You, soldiers, to the hills without delay,

The goodly beacons set in open field!

Send forth their flames, far off to every shire,

Warning to give that enemies conspire

With fire and sword our country to invade!’

"‘Here, officer! Go, hie thee presently

Unto the Queen. Ride post; the way’s but short. Away!’

"‘Marry, sir, you must some other herald send.’

"‘Ha! what sayest thou?’

"‘Master, my ever esteemed duty

 

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Now pricks me on to say that I must stay.

Oh, sir, I like not thus to be transformed

Unto a curtall-dog. My heart’s of steel.

Assur’d am I, that every man that dares to fight

May put his valour in practice here;

And if you do favour me, most gracious lord,

Let now my fortune and my valour sway

To some direction in your martial deeds.’

"‘No words, sir! Hither! Fetch my page. He must

The letter carry to her majesty.’

"‘But he has somewhere gone to dinner, sir.’

"‘Ha! Time their master is! Marry, they’ll go

And come with most preposterous liberties.

The villain, upon my life, shall fast a week

With bran and water for his sumptuous fare.’

"‘Sir, I’ll go to the mart and look for him.

Oh, here he comes.’

"‘How now, sir? How haps it that I must send

For you? Where have you been? I must employ you straight

To take a letter to the Queen.’

"‘I am glad to see thee in this merry vein.

Marry, ’tis a message well sympathized--

A horse to be ambassador to an asse.’

"‘Yea, sir, and is this your merry humour?

Dost thou jeer and flout me in the teeth?

Think’st thou I jest? Take thou that! and that!’

"‘Hold, for God’s sake! Now you jest in earnest.

By your favour, if you thump, then I flee.’

"‘Away, you rogue! This matter requires haste.’

"He rode poste to the Queen, but at the gate

Was by the soldier stopped, who sternly cried:

 

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"‘Soft! whither away so fast? A true man

Or a thief that gallops so? Who sends thee?’

"‘I poste from Lord Howard to the Queen. Let me go!’

"‘God bless the Queen. What presents hast thou there?’

"‘Some certain news of the great Spanish fleet

Now close at hand.’

"‘Ha! take him to the Queen.’

"‘A message in haste to your majesty.’

"‘Thou fellow, a word. This letter, who gave it thee?’

"‘My Lord Howard, your majesty. Let me

Beseech your grace that the letter be read.’

"‘My Lord Leicester, break the neck of the wax,

Read it over. Let every one give ear.’

"‘To Her Majesty, Elizabeth, Sovereign of England.

MADAM:--A merchant ship, the Phœnix, hath put into the Mart. The master sends me word he did see the fleet of Spain between France and England, and swore he ran away from them.

"‘I looked from the Chalkie Cliffs near here, but could find no sign of them. At two o’clock I sent the slaver bark Expedition to seek news of the Spanish fleet. Soon after I saw her turn north in such haste, I sent the Centaur to go seek her. Neither my vessel nor the slave ship has returned. I greatly fear they are not safe, but are prizes of the Spaniards. If it prove so, I will be gone the sooner.

"‘LATER:--About the sixth hour I did encounter a gentleman who said he had seen the Armada, and counted a hundred and seven galleys. I cried: "Where?

 

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When? From what place?" "On the cliffs," said he. I betook myself there, and from where I stood I saw the Armada. Their weaker vessels, the carracts, come first and the whole Armada, from a hundred forty to two hundred saile, standeth north-north-east and by east from the west, the whole fleet bearing up the coast. I did also see the faithful slave ship, which had wandered forth in care to seek me out news, running from a vessel of the enemy. The Centaur is laid up safe at the Mart. I have thirty saile, and I shall bring them to trial to-night, if the wind blow any way from shore.

"‘We shall not get away till midnight, but I will not harbour in this town to-night.

Thine in all compliment of devoted duty,

HOWARD.’

"‘Give me my boots I say. Saddle my horse!

Now, by my honour, my life, my troth,

I’ll quickly fly to him,’ Lord Robert cried,

‘To aid him to repair his broken ships

And his soldiers victual. Or else, I,

If I fail to provide for his defense,

Will be content by those, thy hands, to die.’

"Good! my lord; wisely said; but we have no

Time for orations when the foe is near.

Our arms must play the orator for us.

I pray, sir, listen to me. Our army,

What of them? Without a good commander

Or general, we cannot keep the town.

Oh woeful time! Oh lamentable day!

I am ever ruled by you.

Send for my secretary, even on the instant.’

(Enter Secretary.)

 

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"‘Write from us to Howard!

Charles Howard, Lord High Admiral of England.

Do not fight by sea. Trust not to rotten planks. Provoke not battle at sea. Do not exceed the prescript of this scroll. Our fortune lies upon this jump. Keep whole, till we may the number of the ships behold, and so proceed accordingly. Your ships are not well manned, your mariners reapers, people ingrossed by swift impress. In Philip’s fleet are those that often have ’gainst us fought. Their ships are heavy, yours light. No disgrace shall fall on you for refusing him at sea. Strike not, my Lord, at sea till our nineteen legions and our twelve thousand horse are ready. It is strange that he could so quickly cut the sea. If you fail, we cannot do it at land.

ELIZABETH.’

"‘Here! post! post-haste dispatch! away!’

"About the time when Vesper in the west

Gan set the evening watch, and silent night,

Richly attended by this twinkling train,

Sent sleep and slumber to possess the world,

The haughty Spanish foeman shipp’d for fight;

To forage England, ploughed the ocean up,

And slunk into the channel that divides

The Frenchmen’s strand, from Britain’s fishy towns--

Sea borderers, disjoined by Neptune’s might,

That watch each other from their distant bounds.

"Where Ram’s Head point doth guard the smiling bay,

Drake’s boat already hath a landing made.

The foremost man, mounting the steepy height,

Cries to the Admiral, who follows close:

‘The news is true, my lord, I do descry

 

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Appearing far off against the sky,

In figure of a semicircled moon,

Th’ Invincible Armada. Here at last!

I judge their number an hundred or more.’

"‘But not sufficient England’s power to daunt.

Look where they come with ensigns spread,

Like unto party-coloured clouds of heaven!

A goodly sight, i’ truth they’re gallant ships.

How proudly do their keels plough up the floods!

How boldly every mast and sail doth vaunt

The pride of Spain! Come on, curs’d miscreants,

With flying flags! We’ll teach you shame,

No less than grievous loss. Some of your ships,

Or ere to-morrow’s sun hath set, shall go

A ducking--commandants and crew together.

Your great magnificence, your pomp and show

To loopt and windowed raggedness shall turn.’

"‘What! shall they seek the lion in his den

And fright him there? And make him tremble there?

O, let it not be said! Forage, and run

To meet displeasure farther from the doors,

And grapple with him ere he come so nigh.

This is no life for men-at-arms to live,

Where dalliance doth consume a soldier’s strength;

Follow your far foreseeing stars in all;

Be stirring as the time, be fire with fire,

Threaten the threatener, and outface the brow

Of bragging horror. So shall inferior eyes,

That borrow their behaviours from the great,

Grow great by your example, and put on

A dauntless spirit of resolution.

Away! and glister like the god of war,

 

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When he intendeth to become the field.

Show boldness and aspiring confidence.

A trump more shrill than Triton’s is at sea.

The same, Renown, precursor of the train,

Doth sound; for who rings louder than Renown,

Or bears so great a sway in arms of chivalry?

It draws the ears and hearts of all my crew.

‘On! on!’ it calls, ‘the Fates do bid aboard,

And slice the sea with sable-colour’d ships,

On whom the nimble winds may all day wait

And follow them as footmen through the deep.’

The sword but late committed to my sway

I will unsheath; boldly will I advance

And shake my colours: these British lions rampant

Have never learned in battle’s rage to yield.

Terror they’ll breathe to proud aspiring foes,

That in their prowess and their politics

Have triumphed over Europe’s feebler powers,

And now with haughty insolence do threat

Death, famine, and destruction to our land.

Th’ audacious Spaniard thinks he doth command

The narrow seas, while in the harbour ride

Our ships unrigged. He means to make us stoop

By force of arms; but ere that shall take place,

This island shall upon the ocean fleet

And wander to the unfrequented Inde.

Aye, let him come! I’ faith, I do desire

Delight no greater than to meet him fair.

Loose forth the bay! Let nothing stay the fleet!

We will set out this night under full saile.

The breeze blows fair from land to waft us yonder.

Here will we wait until that they have passed,

 

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And then the wind that bears them hence, will fill

Our sails, for all our ships are in their trim.

We’ll have their creeping galleys in the chase

All night, and by the earliest morning light

We’ll charge them with great fury, insomuch

That it may brand the fortune of the day.’

"The fleet of mighty vessels slowly passed.

Silent, the royal ships slipp’d out from port

And swift pursued all night, close in their wake.

Like midnight ghosts they smoothly glided on

Under full sail--shadows of fated ships.

The pointers servèd in the lingering night

To be their loadstars and did guide their course.

While winds, that all the world besides do blow,

Did summon the kind waves to bear them on,

And steer their keels with Neptune’s three-forked mace.

"At last, fair Hesperus in highest sky

Had spent his lamp and brought forth dawning light.

By this the northern waggoner had set

His sevenfold team behind the steadfast star,

That in the ocean waves yet was never wet,

But firm is fixed and sendeth light from far

To all that in the wide deep wand’ring are;

And cheerful chanticleer, with his notes shrill,

Had warned once that Phœbus’ fiery car

In haste was climbing up the eastern hill,

Full envious that night so long his room did fill.

When those accursed messengers of hell,

Prickèd with courage and their forces pride,

Came from the watery wilderness,

All with their streaming banners bright bedecked,

As many forms and shapes in seeming wise

 

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As ever Proteus to himself could make:

A Fowl, a Fox, a Dragon fell, a Snake,

A Dog, a Bear, a Hind, a Fish in lake;

One of them like unto an eagle’s claw,

With griping talons armed to greedy fight;

Another like a bear’s uneven paw;

More ugly shapes yet never living creature saw.

So forth they passed.

"The Dragon then, a warlike brigantine,

Like to a tiger that had missed his prey

And with mad blood again upon him flies,

To fight lays forth her threatful pikes afore,

And, horrible and stern, upon her foe

With fury bore. Her iron cannon from her sides,

(The engines which in them sad death doth hide,)

Like ugly teeth, with black rust foully scarred,

Did open wide their devouring grisly jaws.

With black venom charg’d. Down she upon her foe

Did souse, and shot at her with might and main

As thick as it had hailed.

This hideous Dragon, dreadful to behold,

Whose back was arm’d against the dint of spear,

With shields of brass that shone like burnished gold

And forked sting that death in it doth bear,

An Hydra was of warriours glorious.

As that brave son of Æson, which by charm

Achieved the golden fleece in Colchid land,

Out of the earth engend’red men of arms

Of dragon’s teeth sown in the sacred sands,

So this Dragon’s hideous tail did fold

Within her scaly, hollow, wooden breast,

As in a womb might lurk, in hideous nest,

 

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Many warlike dragonets, her fruitful seed,

Who poured forth from hold as thick as hail,

The little buzzing Fly to mock and wound.

Then did this Fly outstretch her fearful horns,

And back rebuts the Dragons roaring loud,

And beating off and on, her warlike crew

Shot manfully her iron hail,

And sharply her assailed and her bested,

With heaps of strokes which she at her let fly;

And sharply lancing every inner part,

Dolours of death into her sides did dart,

And wounded her full sore.

‘These are the wings shall make thee fly as swift

As doth the lightning or the breath of heaven!’

My Lord Howard quoth.

‘Fly at her, Fly, with fearful stead anon,

And stir her up to strife and cruel fight.’

Then like a spider fro out his den

Doth softly run, she greedily seized

On the resistless prey, and with fell despite

Under the left wing struck her weapon sly,

Till she that dread Dragon did overthrow.

The Fly they did so much scorn about

Then flew and with her little stinging horn

Sent, in most happy wrack, her dire foe down

To deepest hell and lake of damned fire,

Where they in darkness and dread horror dwell,

Hating the happy light from which they fell.

So weakest may annoy the most of might.

"Then as Diana or on Cynthus’ green,

Where all the nymphs have her unaware, forlore,

 

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Wandereth alone with bow and arrow keen

To seek her game, the Arrow was sent forth

To shoot her arrows keen. With little wings

Away she did fly towards her game, and

Eftsoones like as a sword-fish small the huge

Leviathan doth dart upon, the Arrow

In brave pursuit of chivalrous emprise,

From the rest did sunder forth the ship

Which of that huge river doth bear the name

Of warlike Amazon, which doth possess the same.

This queen of Amazons, in arms well tried

In sundry battles which she hath achieved

With great success, hath been much glorified

And made more famous than could be believed.

Thus she with hundred turrets all arrayed,

Doth take her way with swelling pompous pride,

Like a great turribant, embattled wide

With tired colours, gaily cover’d o’er,

That, when the wind amongst them did inspire,

Waved like to broad pennons wide dispread.

Fiercely the Arrow flew upon this hulk,

That with her largeness measured much sea

And made wide shadow under her huge waist,

As mountain doth the valley overcast.

With greedy force, she gan the ship assail.

Her subtle engines beat from battery

The tawny Spaniards, who long time

In fair defense and goodly managing

Of arms were wont to fight. Yet nathemoe

Were they abashed; but fighting on

As more enfiercèd through this currish play,

Each strongly gripp’d, and beating to and fro

 

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To overthrow each strongly did assay.

Like the great father of the gods on high,

That most is dreaded for his thunder-darts,

Thrown out by angry Jove in vengeance dire,

When all the gods he threats with thund’ring dart,

The Arrow’s singing shower of sharp balls

’Gan the great ship Amazon to prove.

During which time the warlike Amazon

Was caught to her confusion and gan fly,

Whom seeing fly, she speedily pursued,

With winged sailes, as nimble as the wind;

And ever in her bow she ready showed

The arrow to its deadly mark designed.

So terrible their dreadful strokes did thunder,

That all the men stood maz’d and at their might did wonder.

Then like that famous queen of Amazons,

Whom Pyrrhus did destroy, or

Like as a ship that through the ocean wide

By conduct of some star doth make her way,

Whenas a storm hath dimmed her trusty guide,

Out of her course doth stray,

And then by the great cruel tempest drives

Upon a rock with horrible dismay,

Her shattered ribs in thousand pieces rives,

And spoiling all her gears and goodly ’ray,

So she the great Amazon battered,

Until her planks all in pieces lay,

Her timb’red bones all broken, rudely rumbled,

And the high aspiring ship with huge rain humbled.

"The Venus then, to help the Amazon,

Through the thickest like a lioness flew,

 

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Rashing of planks and riving plates asunder,

That every one their danger did eschew.

On she came to the brave ship, the Vulcan.

This stately builded ship, well-rigg’d and tall,

The ocean maketh more majestical.

At her the Venus flew, as if at least

She did Jove’s thunder hold within her hulk.

Her sharp pointed shot through the purest air

Erstwhile issued from her timb’red loins,

The fierce blacksmith Vulcan’s wild rage to tame.

So side to foe the flashing fire flies,

As from a forge, out of their flaming guns.

As in the smoky forge the rugged smith

Squints the eye, and from a little cold dead spark

The liquid fire blows, and the black steel turns

Unto white heat and then, his foot outset,

His body big and mightily pight,

His arms full strong and largely displayed,

His hammer hanging pendulous in air,

With hoary hand and dewy dropping beard,

With mortal stroke doth rivet armour up,

So the Vulcan kindled hot coals of fire,

Wherewith she fiercely did her foe assail,

And double blows about her stoutly laid,

That, glancing fire out of the iron, played

As sparkles from the anvil used to fly

When heavy hammers on the wedges sway’d.

At every shock the woody shivers fly,

The liquid waves through their metal break,--

Such liquor as Homer speaketh of, when

Vulcan and his Cyclops in the furnace

Of the gods his subtle engines forged

 

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Within the womb of Ætna dark and black.

Therein a hundred ranges weren pight,

An hundred furnaces burning bright.

By every furnace many fiends did bide,

Deformed creatures horrible in sight,

And every fiend his busy pains applied

To melt the golden metal ready to be tried.

One of them with great bellows gather’d filling air,

And with forced wind the fuel did inflame;

Another did the dying brands repair,

With iron tongs, ensprinkled oft the same,

And mastering them renewed their former heat;

Some scumm’d the dross that from the metal came,

Some stirred the molten ore with ladles great,

And every one did swinke and every one did sweat.

Our merry men, like these Cyclops of old,

Heave the iron balls like unto the net

Which limping Vulcan and his Cyclops set,

Wherewith they did entangle the god of war.

On all sides the sulphurous powder flames,

Which the wind, like bellows outblowing air,

Catches and expands till the sun’s clear rays

Through the air shine not, and each ship is seen,

As through a glass, by breath thick covered.

Her consort, the Spanish ship Passado,

To keep the Venus company makes way,

And with great force wounds sea and air. At first

This lusty runner restrain’d and made dance

The Vulcan till the winged god of love

The fleet cross’d, and all inflamed with wrath,

Fiercely at her the Cupido did fly.

The Spaniards are sore daunted with the buff,

 

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And snatch their guns and quitteth cuff with cuff.

‘We’ll clip thy wanton wings, that thou no more shalt fly

By prowess or any other means of treachery,’

The cruel Spaniards cry.

’Tis hard to say which vessel did the best;

Each other’s equal puissance envies,

Till at the last,

Bright Venus’ son entrapped her in a net,

And brake her staves and let the shivers fly.

For Venus’ son, like Mars in armour clad,

Inflamed with love of virtue and of arms,

Came to the tilt like Phœbus in flames;

Like bullet from the cannon’s mouth she flies

And intercepts the warlike Spanish ship.

Her battering cannons forth spitting fire

Doth give them bellyful. Yea, in faith, sir,

With Vulcan’s Cyclops for hot work they vie,

And headlong shipwreck made in warlike wise

Of this cursed Spanish crew.

"Great Venus, queen of beauty and of grace,

The joy of gods and men, that in the sky

Doth fairest shine, and most adorns her place,

Did charm her nimble feet and made her way

Amid the weaker fires of wandering stars;

Attendant was she upon fair Cynthia.

Lo! where she comes,

Under conduct of lovely Venus’ grace.

Upright she rides, and in her silver shield

A bloody cross that quarters all the field

Men do affirm that they therein discovered;

Its sides with dappled circles were indight

Like lovely Venus on her wedding day.

 

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It first grew red, and then to blue did fade;

The air with living sparks was spangled,

And night, deep-drenched in misty Acheron,

Heaved up her head and half the world upon

Breathed darkness forth.

I gazed, and as I looked

Methought a host of aery, armed men

Girt all the vessels round. Anon I saw

Under a canopy of crimson bysse,

Spangled with gold and set with silver bells,

A goodly king in robes most richly dight.

He was the herald of eternity

And pursuivant-at-arms to mighty Jove

His breast above, spotted with purple dye,

On every side did shine like scaly gold,

And his bright eyes, glancing full dreadfully,

Did seem to flame out flakes of fire,

And with stern looks to threaten kindled ire.

I looked to see an end of that I saw.

Yielding clouds gave way, and men-at-arms,

Some armed and mounted in the throng I saw,

And still methought the train did multiply.

Full of the fire of love--thoughts half divine--

The full moon and her attending star call

To my mind the Almighty’s dreadful might,

And thus I prayed:

"‘Ye gentle spirits, breathing from above,

Where ye in Venus’ silver bow’r were bred,

With beauty kindled and with beauty fed,

Such as ye wont, ere these most bitter stounds

Of raging war first ’gan you to torment,

And lance your hearts with lamentable wounds

 

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Of secret sorrow and sad languishment,

Infuse ye into my most mortal breast

Such high conceit of thy celestial fire,

That base-born broods of blindness cannot guess,

Nor never dare their dunghill thoughts aspire

Unto so lofty pitch of perfectness,

But rhyme at riot and do rage at love,

And little wot what doth thereto behove.’

"Now the egg of Nox vail’d from my view

Both sea and ships,

And guarded with a thousand grisly ghosts,

The mighty fleets with folded sails do sleep;

The whiles the sighing deep her cradle rock’d,

And so tossed through irksome weariness, all

In gentle slumb’ring swoon did lightly fall,

Till Phœbus, with fair sunbeams bright displayed,

Upon the body of the ocean played.

"The second day, so soon as morrow light

Appeared in heaven, they together came,

And all day long continued cruel fight

With divers fortunes fit for such a game,

In which all strive with peril to win fame;

Yet whether side was victor note be guessed.

Full many deeds of arms that day were done,

And still this offscum of that cursed fry

Dared to renew the like bold enterprise,

And challenge th’ heritage of this, our sky.

Apollo flies and Daphne holds the chase;

The Dove pursues the Griffin, the mild Hinde

Makes speed to catch the Tiger. Bootless speed,

When cowardice flies though valour swift pursues.

And when they chance to breathe a space,

 

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They’re punished with gunballs so grievously,

That they lie panting on their galleys’ side,

And strive for life at every stroke we give.

"The Admiral, of secret foes afraid,

Like wary sentinel watched on every side,

That none of his ships out of order went.

Thus he bethought, being both stout and wise,

How to prevent the peril that mote rise

Should they join all their force in one, and wage

In battle strong ’gainst their professed fone,

Which he perceived would great mischief breed.

"It fortuned that two ships were by the tide

In ebb or flow driv’n out, or were shot forth

With the loose wind that variably blew,

And from the Spanish navy parted company.

Right on they came, a well-consorted pair,

Standing on the wind straight towards our fleet.

All eyes were on them. On they came amain,

Top and top-gallant, all in brave array,

Proudly through the broad water of the sea.

But one ran foul the other and her bowsprit broke.

In vain the Spaniards strove in tow to take

The disabled ship. This Drake did chance to see.

"‘Hoa! here’s a vessel we shall take, my men.

Let now the batt’ry with loud noise its music make

Unto our ears. Guide well the helm. To her side

Close sheer, and quickly forth a grapple throw.

Then live or die, brave men, or sink or swim,

You fight for Christ and England’s peerless Queen.’

"Like as a tiger that with greediness

Hunts after blood, when he by chance doth find

A feeble beast, doth felly him oppress,

 

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Or like a huntsman after weary chase,

Seeing his game from him escaped away,

Is cruel, unkind, proud and pitiless--

In spirit like to each, was this bold Drake.

Quoth he, ‘I will chase her the whole world through,

Till that I her o’ertake and her subdue.

Clap on more saile! Up with your sights! Pursue!

Give fire! She’s my prize, or ocean whelm them all.’

Thus he the conquest ruthlessly pursued.

Against his fury and unmatchèd force,

They could not wage the fight. Like trumpet loud

Of wrath and sullen presage of defeat,

Was heard his cannon’s thunder in the rear.

The doughty English did pursue so nigh,

And with swift blasts of hot artillery

Did wreak on them for folly’s hardiment

Such wrathful vengeance, ’twas most terrible.

No ship so ’fensible, however strong,

But that continual battery will rive

Or shortly force--no rescue near--to yield

Itself a prize unto the victor’s might.

"The Capitana, with her boasted strength,

Reels to and fro before his flaming guns;

Of all assistance reft, she strikes her flag

At last, and yields herself a prize to him

Who never vanquish’d was in his attempts.

Boldly pursues he with such greediness,

The hot blasts cease. Quick follow the commands:

‘Veer the main-sheet. Steer straight to Dartmouth port.

In harbour safe this crew must landed be.’

"Then the Revenge, bearing the noble Drake

And the officers of his prize just won,

 

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Steers with due course to join the Admiral’s fleet,

And after them apace did straightway ply.

But well the day is worn--so slight the wind--

E’er he recount’red him in equal race,

Where on the seas his vessels harshly jar,

Like untuned golden strings, the Spanish fleet.

"The Hercules, like him that in his infancy

Did pash the jaws of serpents vile and venomous,

Did the Duello club into shameful flight.

The more she strives, the deeper was she strook.

Volleys of shot pierced through her charmed skin,

And every bullet dipped in poisoned drugs.

The roaring cannon sever all her joints,

And loudly brayed with beastly yelling sounds,

That all the ocean rebellowed again--

As great a noise as when in Cambrian plain

An herd of bulls, whom kindly rage doth sting,

Do for the milky mothers’ want complain,

And fill the fields with troublous bellowing,

And neighbouring woods around with hollow murmuring.

Three miles it might be easy heard around,

And echoes three answered it again.

Was never wight that heard that shrilling sound,

But trembling fear did feel in every vein.

The balls come hurtling in full fierce and force

As his hideous club aloft Hercules dights,

And at his foes with furious rigor strikes and smites,

That he strongest oak might seem to overthrow.

Each stroke upon the masts so heavy lights,

That to the sea it doubleth them full low.

What heart of oak could ever bear such monstrous blow?

Down they did tumble as an aged tree,

 

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High growing on the top of mighty cliff,

Whose heart-strings with keen steel nigh hewen be;

The mighty trunk, half rent with rugged rift,

Doth roll adown the rocks and fall with fearful drift.

Or as a castle reared high and round,

By subtle engines and malicious sleight

Is underminèd from the lowest ground,

And her foundation forced and feeble quite,

At last down falls, and with her heaped hight

Her hasty ruin does more heavy make,

And yields itself unto the victor’s might.

Meteor-like betwixt the heaven and earth,

Under Hercules’ club, the iron bright

With such boldness went unto her heart,

That to seek for safety

She fled away with all the speed she might.

"Then full of princely bounty and great mind,

The conqueror cast all wrongs and spite behind,

More glory thought to give life than dread death,

And to the chiefest of his prisoners sent

And asked that to his presence he be brought.

The Spaniard, bowing low with reverence due,

As to the patron of his life, approached,

And thus addressed his gracious conqueror:

"‘You know my colours and the rank I hold.’

"‘Aye, aye, my lord. How far off lies your power?’

"‘Not neere nor farther off than this weak arm.’

"‘One day too late, I fear, my noble lord,

Hath clouded all thy happy days on earth.’

"‘O call back yesterday! bid time return

And thou shalt have thy coffers filled with gold.’

"‘Thy gold’s already mine, and time is God’s.’

 

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"‘Pray let me speak without offence to one

Whose name a symbol is of bravery.

Thou art, indeed, a brave and warlike man,

Valiant as Hector in the battle’s strife,

Invulnerable as e’er Achilles was,

And mighty, with thy instruments of war,

As dauntless Hercules with his huge club.

Thou dost deserve well to enjoy that bliss

For which men strive, few get, and many miss.’

"‘Talk not of worth nor standing; ’tis not fit.

But let me tell you that my sword’s made rich

With the most noble blood of all the world.

Render thy homage therefore to my sword.

There is no instrument of half its worth,

Nor voice more worthy than my own to say’t.’

"‘I would my rude words had the influence

To lead men’s thoughts as thy great deeds do mine.

I would the name of Drake immortalize,

Whom none in strength and skill have e’er surpassed.

But well we know that some have wronged thy name,

Making advantage to revenge their spite,

And thus committed sin that’s worse than perjury.

Men say thy ’haviour’s boisterous and rough,

And that to all that live in high degree

Thou art ensample of a mind intemperate.

They have been much to blame thus foul to blot

The honour and the fame of one so great,

So popular, so affable and so fortunate.

Certes, fair sir, you’ll own that, were these mine,

Then shouldst thou be his prisoner who is thine?’

"‘Are not all soldiers bound by oath to withstand

Oppressor’s power by arms and puissant hand?

 

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Suffice that I have done my due, in place

Of kindness and of courteous aggrace.’

"‘The glass of glory shining bright I find,

Wherein their lives are seen which honour still delights;

And fame shall bruit, with golden trumpet’s sound,

With sweetest incense and with endless light,

The great achievements of bold Francis Drake.

The spacious world cannot again afford

A peer to thee in gifts and wisdom rare.

Thou’rt formed to treat with those more great than kings,

To sit in skies, and sort with powers divine.’

"‘Within the skies, in majesty sublime,

There is a God, full of revenging wrath,

From whom the thunder and the lightning break,

Whose scourge I am and whom I will obey.

How may I credit these, thy flattering terms?

Heere, soldiers, take my prisoner hence. Away!

No more I’ll listen thus to praises meet for gods.

Farewell.’

"Now the sun that through the horizon peeps,

As pitying our wars, downward creeps,

So that in silence of the cloudy night

We see each cloud, a vapour dragonish,

A bear, a lion, a tower’d citadel,

A pendant rock, a forked mountain high,

A promontory blue, and upon’t trees

That nod unto the world and our eyes mock.

Hast thou not seen these airy signs

That are black Vesper’s pageants?"

"Aye, my lord, I have.

That which is now a dancing, coloured horse,

Even with the thought the wrack distimes

 

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And make it as indistinct as water

Is in water."

"It does, my lord. In careless sort the fleet

Of English sail chased that night away.

Far o’er the swelling main, the lights and flame

Of the Spanish vessels, which apparently

Were seen, and their false lights, with sprightly port.

Our captains, with fair, white wings outboard spread,

By the wills of fatal destinies three,

Followed apace. The destinies

Packt cards with Philip and played a game,

Wherein the Queen, whose heart the vessels were,

Lost by the Knave o’ clubs. Our noble captain,

When Phœbus from among the clouds shone clear,

Red for anger that he had thus strayed,

Swore by the kingly, lusty god Neptune

He would murder all the merchantmen

By whom he was deceived.

"Early so soon at Titan’s beams forth burst

Through the thick clouds, in which they steeped lay

All night in darkness dull’d with iron rust,

The third day came, that should due trial lend

Of all the rest, and then the warlike crews

Together met of all to make an end,

And fierce assailing them with all their might,

Gan all upon them lay; then gan a dreadful fight.

Like as a lion ’mongst a herd of deer,

Disperseth them to catch his choicest prey,

And sore oppress, ne any doth he spare,

So when the Lion in the thickest fight,

Did spy the Boar all bent to combat him

And bid him battle for his dearest life,

 

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Then did he fly amongst them here and there,

Made through the waves and thundered as he went,

And all that near him came did hew and slay,

Till all, his danger fearing to abide,

Fled from his wrath and hied themselves away.

But at the summons, out his foeman flies;

As chafed boar his bristles doth uprear

And shakes his scales to battle ready drest,

Eftsoones he gan advance his haughty crest,

As bidding bold defiance to his foeman near,

And cast to seek the Lion where he may,

And makes at him amain. The Boar

Quick sped along and bravely at the face

His force he bends. The rival of his fame,

Who over all with iron scales was armed

Like plated coat of steel, so couched near

That naught mote pierce, ne might his corse be harm’d,

(Therein two deadly weapons fix’d he bore,

Strongly outlanced and coming to a point,

Like two sharp horns, his enemies to gore,)

Fighting for passage makes the welkin howl,

As if Bellona, goddess of the war,

Threw naked swords and sulphur-balls of fire

Upon the heads of all the enemy.

And he doth with his raging charge divide

Their thickest ranks, and round them scatt’reth wide.

But soon as they him nigh approaching spied,

They gan with all their weapons him assay,

And rudely struck at him on every side;

Yet naught they could him hurt ne ought dismay,

Whose raging rigor neither steel nor brass

 

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Could stay, but as it still increased,

His cruel strokes and terrible affright

Ne once for ruth his rigor he released,

And with wide wounds their carcasses did rend;

As when two boars, with rankling malice met,

Their gory sides fresh bleeding fiercely fret,

Till breathless both themselves aside retire,

Where foaming wrath their cruel tusks they whet,

And trample th’ earth, the whiles they may respire,

Then back to fight again new-breathed and entire;

So fiercely when these ships had rested once,

They gan to fight return, increasing more

their puissant force and cruel rage at once,

With heaped strokes more hugely than before.

So long they fight and full revenge pursue,

That fainting each themselves to breathen let,

And oft refreshed battle oft renew.

But when in vain to fight they now assayed,

The other lay so close against the wind,

He ran apace from warlike Lion’s blows.

Like crocodiles that unaffrighted rest,

While thundering cannons rattle on their skins,

The Lion desperate ran through thickest throng,

Dreadless of blows, of bloody wounds and death,

But that the fury of his sturdy blows

Did strike such terror to their daunted minds.

Tho’ when no more could nigh to him approach,

Attacked the foremost that came first to hand,

Fierce battle made against him with cruel might and main

And all his mail y-rived and plates y-rent,

Showed all his body bare unto that cruel dent;

 

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In fine, the cruel steel had pierced his pith.

Then down to ocean deep he sank forthwith.

Then to the next he ran and down the next he bore,

And glancing from his scarlet hulk, did glide

Close under his left side; then broad displayed

The piercing steel, there wrought a wound full wide,

And on his bow him smote so strong and hard,

It forced him back recoil and reel arear,

Like some wild boar roused out of the brakes,

Which being wounded of the huntsman’s hand,

Cannot come near him in the covert wood,

Where he with boughs has built his shady stand,

And fenced himself about with many a flaming brand;

Thus seeing by his side the Lion stand,

With sudden fear he turned and fled away.

"The Dolphin with the doughty Dog-fish joyn’d.

On either side them there are squadrons pitcht,

To wall them from the liberty of flight,

And no way can they turn them for redress.

Hark! hark! the Dolphin’s drumme, a warning bell,

Sings heavy music to his timorous foe.

Now when the fearful Dog-fish heard and saw

The evil stownd that dangered his estate,

Dismayed with so desperate enterprise,

He answered naught at all, but adding new

Fear to his first amazement, staring wild

With iron eyes of heartless hollow hue,

Astonish’d stood, as one that had espied

Infernal furies with their chains untied.

Him yet again, and yet again bespake

The Dolphin; who yet nought to him replied.

If he retired, the Dolphin, well-appointed,

 

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Stands with the snares of war to tangle him.

He smote the sea with all his might and main,

That nought so wondrous puissance might sustain.

Therewith, at last, he forced him to yield.

From his infernal furnace forth he threw

Huge flames, that dimmed all the heaven’s light,

Enroll’d in duskish smoke and brimstone blue,

The heat whereof and harmful pestilence

So sore the Dog annoy’d, it forced him draw

A little backward for his best defence,

To save his body from the scorching fire

Which Dolphin from his hellish entrails did expire,

And did himself to battle ready dight.

But death doth paint him with apparent spoyle,

And pale destruction meets him in the face.

His eager foe, awaiting him beside,

Came ramping forth with proud presumptuous gait;

And then proud Dolphin, full of wrathful spite

And fierce disdain to be affronted so,

Scorning the let of so unequal foe,

Did rush upon him with outrageous pride,

Enforced him yield a passage to his foe.

Again he stricken was with sore affright,

For safety gan devoutly to array,

And armed to point, sought back to turn again.

Nathless, with rage the Dolphin advanced near,

As if late fight had nought him damnified,

And who recount’red, fierce as hawk in flight,

And with outrageous strokes did him restrain.

And now the other, whom he erst did daunt,

Had rear’d himself again to cruel fight,

Three times more furious and puissaunt.

 

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Therewith they gan both furious and fell

To thunder blows and fiercely to assail

Each other, each bent his enemy to quell.

But all in vain; no fort can be so strong,

Ne fleshly breast can armed be so sound,

But will at last be won with batt’ry long

Or unawares at disadvantage found;

Nothing is sure that grows on earthly ground,

And who most trusts in arm of fleshly might

And boasts in warlike chain not to be bound,

Doth soonest fall in disadvent’rous fight,

And yields his captive neck to victor’s most despite.

They both together joined might and main,

With greedy force each other did assail,

And struck so fiercely that they did impress

Deep dinted furrows in the batter’d mail--

A sorry sight arranged in battle new,

Both breathing vengeance, both the heavens affrayed

With hideous horror, both together smote

And boist’rous battle made, each other to avenge.

The wooden walls to ward their blows were weak and frail.

The Dolphin his great pounces all in vain did spend

To truss the prey too heavy for his fight;

Long he him bore before him ’long,

So far as yewen bow a shaft may send,

Ne ever to him yielded foot of ground.

At last they all at once upon him laid,

And sore beset on every side around,

And down him smote, ere well aware he were;

Till, struggling strong, did him at last constrain,

Him forced to leave his prey for to attend,

Himself from deadly danger to defend.

 

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To them he turned in his wrathful stownd,

Against them bent, and fiercely did menace,

And stoutly dealt his blows, and every way

His rude assault and rugged handling

Made them recoil and fly from dread decay,

That none of all the six before him durst assay.

Like dastard curs, that, having at a bay

The savage beast imboss’d in weary chase,

Dare not adventure on the stubborn prey,

Ne bite before, but roam from place to place

To get a snatch when turned is his face,

In such distress and doubtful jeopardy,

They, leaving all behind them, fled away.

"Forth from the ships with fierce and furious ire,

In glory mighty the Saint Anna came

To match the fury of the English fire,

Far from the comp’ny of her followers.

Her masts, whereon the swelling sails did hang,

Were hollow pyramids of silver plate;

The sails were wrought of silk and folded lawn;

Her bulwarks were with golden armour drest;

The common soldiers wore embroidered coats,

And silver whistles did control the wind;

While high above the dauncing restless sea,

The sacred banner of the Spanish King

Did loosely shine and wave.

Great Drake, the mighty martial general,

Delighting all in arms and cruel war,

Was pleased well to see her move so far.

The Victory, Triumph, Mary-Rose

In his train to support him came along.

‘Thus trowls our fortune in by land and sea,’ he cried,

 

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‘And thus enriched we on every side

Out of the gracious ocean will be.

Honour and fair renown, which heaven and earth

Beloves with so much wealth, now do I see.

Ho! in-wheel fly! unfold your milk-white wings!

Spit forth the ringled, hidden, secret fire;

We’ll sack and raze her e’er the sun be set.

Let’s seek revenge on her that wrought this wrong.

Within her hold concealed is from sight

Such heaps of heavy golden treasure,

That the fruits of all your famed sea-fights before

Will pale. Sound trumpets, heralds! Let’s away,

And empty Philip’s golden treasury.

Soldiers, lo! here the goal for which ye strive;

And sith by change we have encountered her,

Let us sound trumpets and cry all as one:

God and St. George, England and victory.

A thousand hearts are great within my bosom.

Advance our vessels, set upon our foe--

Our ancient word of courage, fair St. George,

Inspire us with the fiery spleen of dragons.

Upon her! Victory sits on our helms.’

"Then they descended with such dreadful sway,

That seemed naught their swift course could stay,

No more than lightning from the lofty sky.

With dreadful force, the four did her assail

And round about with boisterous strokes oppress,

That on her sides did rattle like to hail

In a great tempest, that in such distress

She wist not to which side her to address.

And when the wind her listed sadly o’er,

And when the water did her roll and pitch,

 

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Her foes dispersed and drove asunder

Her great frame; thus hewing and slashing, they

Those black sons of hell sealed unto hell;

Then went about and round on every side,

Did hand and foot these greedy-minded dogs,

Thieves, slaves, beat from forth their starting-holes.

Our common soldiers with their fire subdued

And scattered abroad these champions

And flung their slaughtered carcasses down

Into the deep, cold sea.

Twice did she turn her back and purpos’d flight,

But like sucked and hungry lionesses,

The stout Revenge and stronger Victory

Quickly dashed in and did battle give.

The smoke out at their cannons’ mouth did fly,

And ever in a motion circular,

With skill of craftsmen, they about her swim

With saile and helm, and in her eyes

They cast such figures that she restrain’d was kept.

At last a fisher-bark they near behold,

That giveth comfort to their courage cold.

The craven, coward knight his linen flag

To her transferred.

Our captain then did presently haste away,

Where he did behold the Triumph warring now

With ghastly dreadful noise and flaming force

Gainst the chief--for she had challenged

To an wrestling bout the great Saint Martin,

And was in the contest being overcome--

And all desperate headlong threw himself

Into the fight, and with three balls linked

In chains, played his foe and piecemeal

 

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Strewed the sea with her torn white sails and frame.

Her masts, through the force of furious blows

Broken, came tumbling down in shipwreck made.

The sevenfold shield of Ajax

Could not have kept the battering from her heart.

And her torn sails did beaten lay on end;

Through the conduits in her sides, by the balls

Cut out, the water burst in piteous floods;

And as she upon the deep swelling sea

Did rise, with moans the floods did from her clear.

Then like a subtle, shifting knave, she flies,

Her cavileros hale the woven sails,

And with shattered wings away they fly.

"Inaudible and noiseless the foot of Time steals on.

The day was hid in day, night came ere night.

E’en Venus could not through the thick air pierce.

The sun in great diameter

Fires and inflames objects afar,

And heateth, kindly, shining later’ly,

And shot a shaft that burning from him went;

And then behind the waxen clouds he fled;

And night her black veil turned on the world,

And spread her dark, black mantle in the air,

And fettered fast the party-colour’d day

In mourning weeds.

"And now the sun hath reared up

His fiery footed team,

Making his way between the Cup

And golden Diadem;

The rampant Lion hunts he fast,

With dogs of noisome breath,

 

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Whose baleful barking brings in haste

Pine, plagues, and dreary death.

Against his cruel scorching heat,

Where men have coverture,

The wasteful hills unto his threat

Is a plain overture.

Eftsoones the time and place appointed were,

When all for trial of their strength and rights

Shall meet, the battle again to renew.

Assembling all his force and utmost might,

The valiant captain, with fresh courage fraught

Through proud ambition and heart-swelling hate,

Forecast how it must needs to issue come.

The sea, the wind, the day and all things else

That heavens in their surest doom ordaines,

Gave him great heart and hope of victory.

Having by chance a close advantage viewed,

As bent to some malicious enterprise,

And eke desirous of the offered meed,

In which they mote make trial of their might,

In haste he armed and did them fast pursue;

And all combined whatever chance was giv’n

Betwixt them to divide, and them disperse,

And scattered all about, fell on the enemy;

Who, being well prepared,

His first assault full warily did ward.

By this the others came in place likewise,

Whom all, so soon as proud Sidonia spied,

With his own ship he fiercely at them flew,

And struck and foin’d and lash’d outrageously

Withouten reason or regard. With that

Our ships ran at them as they would devour

 

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Their lives at once, who nought could do but shun.

The English fleet is like unto the lark,

The which can mount and sing and please herself;

Know that it holdeth as well of the hawk

That too can soar aloft, and can also

As well descend and strike upon the prey.

Eftsoones again, ere they were thoroughly aware,

Drake left his stand and them pursued apace,

In hope to bring them to their last decay.

He then let drive at them so dreadfully,

He had them surely cloven quite in twain:

But ere his huge strokes ’rived on them near,

With counterstrokes so swift they did meet him,

They would no passage yield unto his purpose vain.

Thenceforth he cared no more which way he strook,

Nor where it light. They ran at him amain,

And wary watched about for their safeguard to keep.

And oft he made them stagger as unstay’d,

And oft recoil to shun his sharp despite.

So creeping close as snake in hidden weeds,

Who with vile tongue and venomous intent,

To be the plague and scourge of wretched man

Doth lie in wait of them he damage might,

Nought could he hurt, but still at ward did lie,

Threat’ning a thousand deaths at every glance,

Again he drove at them with double might,

Pursuing them apace with greedy speed;

Full many mighty strokes on either side

Were sent, yet came they not to closer fight.

But soon the English wend them back again,

And left the doubtful battle hastily.

The sun, shrinking from destruction, descends,

 

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A solid mass of bright resplendent gold,

As big as is the world.

Then did the round wandering moon with speed

Come forth, her satellites on high, Venus

And Mercury, in order regular

Round her their ranks maintained. So the dark night

Infixed her coloured plumes, her pendants

And her lusty mantle of starry hue

About the sea and earth.

"When the fair morn with purple hue gan shine,

Once more like raving bulls they fight and roar,

And with fire and flames they the sweet air vex:

Vulcan, Venus, Tiger, Boar, Bear, Viper,

Lioness, in mighty battles make amain,

And most grievous disquiet and exasperate

The soul of day.

The Ark Royal and Triumph challenge fight

And call the Spanish right to punishment

For their sins due; to spoil the English ships,

As winged furies or vultures vile

The dead carcass flock with foul shame about,

They grisly come, (under their bloody flag

Sadly supplied with pale and ghastly death,

With lightnings darted from their gorges foul,)

To sacrifice our noble Admiral.

His ship upon curled billows lightly swims;

Near by the Triumph, his stout consort, flings

Above the empty air her spotless wings,

Whom foe with double battery doth assail;

But she as a steadfast lofty tower

Them on her bulwarks bears and they nought avail,

As in the winter season tempest fell

 

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Doth pour down showers of snow, ice and hail.

The surcharg’d cursing, scourging, blasting fire,

With direful combust flowed and ebb’d

Like as a tide chafes the troubled shore

Upon a raw and gusty day; and eke

The fight burned hot, while the sea, red with blood,

Ebbed with the tide and turned with the flood,

And with that of men, by fatal fortune

Slain, mixed her salt blood.

After a time, renowned Francis Drake

Doth upon Spain’s left wing in thunder breake;

About his heels the great Victory flew,

With all the rest of his consorted crew;

In speedy pace, Cross in the Hope comes third,

While Captain Fenton, in the Mary-Rose,

Straight through them like a killing bullet goes.

So, standing on in joyous fellowship,

Through the Armada’s left they piercing clip,

Making goodly merriment with their lead,

That wanton issued from breast and head.

Brave Fenner, the Vice-Admiral, first seiz’d

With the Nonpareil, Leader’s counterfeit,

And did most deeply cut, beat and batter her

From deck to waist, and did her paunch until

Like to a log or stock-fish dead she lies

Upon the heaving brine. Then her rent sides

Spring into heart-piercing flame, which the smoke,

Like a most subtle, plenteous veil,

Hung scattered, by weakest air sustained,

Nor did it cover, but adumbrate only.

The inflamed Leander

Burn’d with stern heat, as on an altar old

 

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The beasts were to the rites of beauteous

Sestian Venus sacrificed

By priests, who did fearfully wreak apart

With shameful vaunt and force the living parts

In sacrilege which doth all sins exceed.

Clean past the base-born Spaniards then we fly,

Till our ships are masters of the weather-gage,

Through which advantage down we brought their strength.

Our powers then more equal were.

Them we smote with wondrous might

And overweigh their weary, witless heads,

Until with the shakes of death they fall

Like mellowed fruit.

"The ensign of fearless, princely Palmer,

My foster-brothers and myself support;

And, by these living hands, his name shall be

Immortalized. For love of honour

His life inspires and him doth fealty teach.

Himself to his crew a brave ensample shows,

For in presence of his enemy he sat

In the fore part of his ship, upon the windlass

Leaning, with his bare arms in folds;

The glowing sun on his curl’d head did shine,

And the white hair shows, that his brow concealed

Like to a field of snow o’er meadow wide;

His cheeks wet with the sea-god’s wat’ry brine.

Amongst them all sate he, by nature true,

A man of years, yet fresh as mote appear,

Of swart complexion and of crabbed hue.

And when upon the Spanish bark we flew,

He mounted high upon the shrouds, our deck

 

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Above, and there did he abide alone.

"‘To arms! to arms! to honourable arms,

My mates, I will say to you as Cæsar

Said to his, ‘striving with great Neptune’s hills;

"You bear," quoth he

"Cæsar and Cæsar’s fortune in your ships."

Like Vulcan thrown from heaven and halting

With the fall, we’ll throw them forth; thus we will

Pull these Spaniards down who come this Island

To subdue to their king, filling our seas

With calvars, magars, stately argosies

And hulks of burden great,

And send them home rebated from our coast,

Ballass’d with little wealth and mann’d with dead.’

"His wild, fantastic humours pleased me not,

And to still my beating mind, I gan say,

‘Sir, he that sits at fortune’s feet alow

Shall not taste a further woe;

But those that prank on top of fortune’s ball

Must fear a change, and fearing catch a fall.’

"‘Fair sir,’ Palmer fearlessly answered me,

‘Cowardice is so foul a weed, that

Were spiteful fate or luckless destiny

To let my life out, and were my spirit

To vanish into air by lawless will

Of Spanish weapons, my love of honour,

Rest assured, would with pleasance make me laugh.

And thanks to heaven give, that I did help

The proud Castilian’s shame to repay.

And therefore would I welcome the sour cup

That would deck with sweetest flowers my tomb.

But look! By Hercules, our leaders lead

 

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And we keep whole; we are but women’s men.

Friends, away! drive or take the approaching ship,

Or all disgrace upon our heads will fall.

Look at the Swiftsure there! those bragging jacks

Will call us cowards. We’ll play with them

The first ship for a thousand ducats stake.’

"I stand and view the issue of the fight.

‘We shall ne’er win,’ I thought, for in the fray

Our ventures failed; not one did redeem

The noble swelling spirits that do hold

Their honours cheap. So doubtful thoughts I had,

Like to the wives of Dardinian, they who,

With bleared visages, came forth to view

The virgin tribute that was yearly paid

By howling Troy to the great sea-monster.

Rash embrac’d despair and shuddering fear

Assails my heart; too eagerly my eyes

Fixing to the hurtful attacks, my thoughts

Danced to the tune of gunballs frisking,

And, in a word, neglecting to think that

‘The heavens declare the glory of God,

And the firmament showeth His handiwork,’

I fell into despair.

But return we (leaving these thoughts divine,)

Once again to the merry, dancing time.

"The sun begins to drop and the pale moon

From the surrounding heaven ethereal

Leaps immense, set round with bright little stars

That fair Venus honoured;

For this great fiery star again supports

The moon, and made her vivid way through worlds

That spotted and crossed the heavens, though

 

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They from smallness were almost invisible.

"‘Good-night, good-night, good-night,’ great Palmer cried

Unto his foes, ‘I’ll keep you company.

Follow his torch!’ So all night our helmsman

Steers his course like faithful dog his master following.

"The merry morning comes apace, and Phœbus throws

His beams abroad, though he in clouds is clos’d,

Still glancing by them till he find oppos’d

A loose and rorid vapour, that is fit

T’ event his searching beams, and useth it

To form a tender, twenty-coloured eye,

Cast in a circle round about the sky.

Mild was the wind, calm’d seem’d the sea,

The golden eye of day smiled in delight,

Moistened his fiery beams, yet quenched them not,

On silent waves that sparkled against the sky

Made all of ebon and white ivory;

The sails of gold; of silk, the tackle; all

Of richest substance that on earth might be,

So pure and shiny on the silver flood

Through every channel running; one might see

Where hanging oars that troubled not the seas,

Low dipping in the silver waves,

Did gem themselves with lines of crystal beads,

Fair nature’s ever-moving, watery pearls.

Thereto the heavens, always jovial,

Looked on them, lovely still in steadfast state.

If life-resembling pencil it might paint,

 

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Or portrayed it might be by living art!

But living art may not least part express,

Nor were it Zeuxis nor Parrhasius;

No poet’s wit, that passeth painter far,

So hard a workmanship adventure dare,

For fear, through want of words, beauty to mar.

But let that same delicious poet lend

A little leave unto a rustic muse,

To whom no share in arms and chivalry

They do impart, ne maken memory

Of their brave feats and prowess martial.

"Upon the deck of the Ark Royal that day,

The whiles the crew march forth in trim array

And all his officers do stand thereby,

The Lord High Admiral, in pomp of state,

Turning unto his kinsmen thus bespake:

"‘Ye warlike pair, whose valorous great might

So goodly well ye show’d in late assays,

Your mates shall witness of your worthiness,

And fame shall register your princely deeds,

While poet’s rhyme shall memorize your names,

Which with your virtues you embellish more.

Vouchsafe to take from me this token meet,

That ye have knit yourselves with bravest knights,

Defenders of the gracious sovereign,

As dear to England and true English hearts

As Pompey to the citizens of Rome;

As merciful as Cæsar in his might;

As mighty as the Macedonian king

Or Trojan Hector, terror to the Greeks.

Now will I gratify your former good,

And grace your calling with a greater sway.’

 

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"‘So will we, with our powers and our lives,

Endeavor to preserve and prosper it!’

"‘Receive your swords and knighthood’s high degree.

Advance, brave Frobisher, and kneel thou down.

To thee this humble present I prepare,

To which thou nobly e’er inclined are.

Thou brave ensample of long past days,

In which true honour may ye raise

And fill your mind with magnanimity.

Receive it, therefore, e’en as it was meant--

For honour of thy name. Rise now, more great.

Arise, Sir Martin, and thy good sword take.

"‘And, lastly there is due from me, he said,

Turning towards the side where Hawkins stood,

‘Unto a fourth, who likewise may be ranked

Amongst the greatest of the heroes, who

To death or danger sacrificed themselves

For their fair Queen and for their country’s good.

Thine is a courage of a stouter web than most;

And rarely happeneth it, honour doth grace

Such robust nature, well attempered mind

And heart. Habit of virtue ever hast thou had

And natural inclination to the good;

Thou’rt well advanced towards life’s ripest years,

And yet in all affairs both bold and free.

Thy liberal hand, badge of nobility,

Thy sovereign’s honour to uphold and shield,

Thou vow’st to task, in witness of thy heart,

Till age shake off war’s rough habiliments.

This badge of honour and magnificence,

 

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Meet tokens of our royal highness’ trust,

Of all thy honours, doth become thee best

And make thee great in th’ eyes of all mankind.

Let knights and all the men-at-arms, of deeds

Most bravely done, witness requital due.

Let all receive thee, and, with honour great,

Salute and style thee by thy name, Sir John.

Joy have thou of thy noble victory;

Therein, henceforth, shall lodge a noble peer,

Great England’s glory, and the world’s wide wonder.’

"He, too, did vow, with all his power and wit,

To let not the Queen’s honour be defaced

Of friend or foe. So goodly thus

The golden chain of concord firm was tied.

But where is he whose mighty deeds do match

The best in that same field victorious?

His matchless might, his skill unparalleled,

And wondrous wit to manage high affairs,

Ne named when knights were newly nominate,

Ne thought upon when all things multiplying

To honour the kinsman who by him fought.

Forgotten, whether through the god’s decree,

Or hapless rising of some froward star,

I know not. It may be that both alike

The charge doth merit well, and both did reign.

High hope I had, that they the highest things

On his wise head would lay, as were most meet.

By envy’s sting and spite’s more cruel gall,

He lacked the sword and shield and name of knight.

But nought could force him thus to lose or leave

His enterprise, though nought were him assigned

In meed of these great conquests by him got.

 

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"‘Fie on the pelf for which good name is sold,

And honour with indignity debased!’

They cried in fierce contention and debate;

So shortly was forgot the jeopardy

Which by his hand he lately did appease,

Picking out circumstances of contempt,

In which some men ingenious are, I wot.

"‘All vantages of time and power Drake takes

To reap the fruits of our most valiant deeds.

This rebel, object of wrath and subject of revenge,

Base rascal, bad, and hated of his kind,

Hath wrought his country’s wreck for his own ends.

A thousand deaths could not torment our hearts

More than the thought of this doth vex our souls.’

"From time to time thus spake they, but in this

Is commendation to each brave knight due;

They ne’er forgot that they do love their Queen,

And, in true zeal for her, do all unite.

"The better part of this slow-lingering day

By this, snail-like and slow, had crept away,

For not one puff of wind did there appear;

And now fair Phœbus gan decline in haste,

And evening shadows gather on the waves.

All day the English ships transfix’d had lain,

In sight of that huge royal fleet of Spain,

That threaten’d, ere another day should pass,

To land her crews on England’s blessed shores.

How can these waters bear their vessels up?

This channel, vexed with their impediment,

Disturbed e’en to its confining shores,

Should leave its bed, o’erswell its guarding cliffs,

To rid us of our haughty enemies.

 

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"‘Ashore, with deep-pressed spurs our brave men come,

Eager to see the fate of that proud fleet.

For well the beacons bright had warned the land,

And messengers, through city, town and shire

Swift speeding, had the resolute army roused.

Nor was it long before was heard the sound

Of armed men gath’ring, with close intent,

Strongly to aid their country to withstand

Th’ power of foreign foes, hov’ring too nigh,

And threat’ning an invasion of our land.

But all alike are powerless in the calm.

O would that sails might swolne be with sighs,

Or prayers unto the waves avail for aught!

But list! A fluttering wind does softly blow

From the south-west and glorious fill the sails

Of friend and foe. In sudden wonder waked

The dreaming crews, and thought to see the hosts,

Breathing out fury from their inward gall,

With great affray against them rise; and all

Prepared were against their course t’ oppose

Our entire force. I’ truth, we dared them to’t

And ready were to wage this battle fierce.

But soon we saw the Spaniard did shake off

All offers that served not for his vantage.

Our ships are yare, his heavy; no disgrace

Befalls him for refusing us at sea,

Being prepar’d for land; he still increased

His fame of soldiership, in that he left

Unexecuted further performance

To go the way which promised assurance

And firm security, nor gave himself

 

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Merely to chance and hazard of the fight;

For all his power there nought at all prevailed,

Though fired with most furious despite.

Lastly he frets that we have much effected

By that magical word, the name of Drake,

The which had power to make his soldiers weak

And every quivering heart leap to the throat.

Indeed, he is the Jupiter of men;

Scribes, bards and poets cannot speak or write

The heaped thanks England to him doth owe.

"The Spaniard formed his fleet in proud array,

And, flying with the wind, passed bravely on;

We followed fast, close at his heels,

Fearing he would his ally shortly gain.

Veering before the wind, ploughing the sea,

His stretched sails fitted with the breath of men,

That through the world admires his manliness,

The Lord High Admiral of the royal ships

Is with his vessels wafted by the fleet,

And ne’er does leave them till within a league

Of Calais roads, where, driven by the wind,

The Spaniards refuge seek where anchors hold may find;

Then straight his course he shifts, and lo! at last

Arrived in Dover road, he comes not in

The compass of the port, but sendeth hence

With quick celerity a note unto the Queen,

And does entreat that she swift help will give,

Since at the first they were not well supplied

And now have scant provision for their men.

"‘If but we were for two months victualled,

And had the ammunition that we need,

I would not let the Spanish miscreants

 

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’Scape with a single mast or sail in trim,

Or hull or keel that on the waves could ride.

If no relief or succor comes eftsoones,

Soldiers will mutiny for want of pay.

Of mere necessities there’s scarcity.

’Tis a condition that is surely hard

And most unhappy.’ Thus he writes in haste.

"Forthwith themselves and their said instruments

Of spoil and murder gave they short relief,

To loose their warlike limbs from strong effort.

The sound of trumpet on the stilly air

Did summon to the Admiral’s own ship

All those brave commanders. Then began

Sage counsel for the end they had in view;

And then to them thus did Lord Howard speak:

"‘My lords, you know our causes and our means;

And, my most noble friends, I pray you all

Speak plainly your opinions of our hopes.

O ’tis unfortunate, deplorable,

This moderation in the use of gold,

’Tis altogether madness. I would see

The soldier and the sailor well prepared

And put in readiness for London’s safety,

And for our sovereign’s happiness and weal.

Her helps and safeguards are they, one and all.

Their souls do thirst within them to achieve

High honour and renown in her just cause.

How like the sturdy oaks in forest vast

Do these, our soldiers, circle her about

To shield and shelter her. Why does she thus

Incense her peers, that in their hearts would love

And honour her, with sacrifice of all

 

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They hold most dear, but for these fickle freaks?

The spirit may on shadows feed, perchance,

And like a shadow languish and expire;

Bodies with fasting wax not strong, I wot,

And food more necessary is than faith.

Good Drake, advise, I pray, how to proceed.’

"‘Most gracious lord,’ the gallant Drake replied,

‘If to your entreaty she refuse consent,

We shall be forced to tell her wherein lies

A chance to fail in this, our enterprise.

To draw most pond’rous and substantial things

With idle spider’s strings, we must apply

Craft against vice (for avarice is a vice).

Offence, my lord, fore’er will pardoned be,

When it is born in high authority.

Hard is our hap, if we amongst so many

Light not on some that may our state amend.

I will allow the occasion of our arms,

But gladly will be better satisfied,

If we can conjure up some good device,

How in our means we should advance ourselves,

To look with forehead bold and big enough

Upon the power and puissance of the king.

And every one throws forth reproaches rife

Of his mischievous deeds, and says that he

Is the disturber of all quiet life,

The enemy of peace and author of all strife.’

"‘Good Captain Palmer,’ then Lord Howard quoth,

‘Weigh with the wind that under heaven doth blow,

And like a serpent glide unto the Queen

And say to her, now ’tis our last refuge

To fight the Spanish fleet with fire hot.

 

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Beware that thou be not by Spaniards seen,

Nor be thou not subdued by cloaked guile.’

"Him to obey then he his faith did pight,

And up he rose and clad him hastily,

And back again we homeward turned our feet;

And swiftly with the winged western wind,

With stately port and proud magnificence,

Unto Dover harbour our good vessel ran;

Within which port of rest from troublous toil

Our weary, war-beat vessel safely rides,

The which wherein we did remain all night and day.

"Claiming as his right due the fire to spill,

Unto the Admiral thus Drake bespoke:

"‘This weary vessel cannot back return,

Till she repaired have her tackles spent,

And wants supplied, and then again abroad

On the long voyage whereto she is bent.

She here may make in time her safe abode.

Well may she speed, but, in case Palmer fails,

If thou wilt lay on me this further charge

To set on fire to-night our smaller boats

And send them down upon the Spanish fleet,

By my body, half their ships shall burn right here,

And the poor remnant we can make our prey.’

"‘Thou are most wise. Thy counsel proves as sound

For fortunate success, as if men asked

An oracle of old, and, to the end in view,

I count more on this part’s felicities,

Than upon any other measure known.

Go, then, at once and execute th’ arrest

Of Spanish power. The deed will well suffice

To stop the breath that curseth England’s Queen.’

 

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"Was never man, who most conquests achieved

But sometimes had the worst, and lost by war.

The nation, as the warrior, famed for fight,

After a thousand victories, once foiled,

Though rich in thoughts, and valiant in his deeds,

No whit dishonoured by a word or act,

With heavy heart is of his arms despoiled,

And thrown into neglect and all despised,

While all the rest’s forgot for which he toiled.

"‘But now I’ll say good-morrow, my good lord,

For, as I take it, it is almost day.

I’ll wake the Spaniards from their idle dreams

And wrack them in their fairest fancies free;

Send, with hot haste, their souls to blackest hell,

And drown their bodies in the deepest sea.’

"‘A noble spirit. Speed thee well, my lord.’

"He bent his hasty course then towards his ship,

His huge desire began t’ inspire his veins,

And with the hidden fire he’s inly warmed.

His courage being now most thoroughly roused,

He pants with hope of that adventure’s hap.

He means to make them know their folly’s price,

Nor would he stay his hand, nor treat of truce

If all the angels in high heaven entreat.

"Straightway he found the barks, and brought them out

And thereto a great long chain he tight,

The which did bind the vessels each to each;

And in the midst thereof he quickly placed

All sorts of things, whose substances thin and slight

Made no resistance to the kindling flame;

With fire and brimstone which fore’er remain

 

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Like thousand fiends to do them endless pain,

A flaming fire-brand now one brought to him

And gave into his hand, kindled perchance

In Stygian lake, that aye is burning bright,

And more thereby increased the furor’s might.

Small fire that’s closest kept burns most of all;

With murmurous disdain, it inly raves

And grudges to be pressed in prison straight;

And blown by fiery winds or windy flames,

At last breaks forth, with furious unrest,

And strives to mount unto its native seat;

All that did erst it hinder and molest

It now devours with flames and scorching heat,

And carries into smoke with fury great.

These flaming horrors, ruthless bearing down

Upon the Spanish fleet, did sore amate;

Whiles flashing fire did all about them shine,

Full many a gasping ghost sinks to his fate.

Upon the skies above the waters near,

With flaming letters, by the hand of God,

Their bitter doom of death was writ in fire,

Like to the fateful words on palace wall.

It filled all hearts with dread and piteous fear;

The flaming brands y-mixed with smould’ry smoke

And stinking sulphur, that, with grisly hate,

Nourished the secret fire eternally,

And kindled it to flame with furious might.

Do the Olympian gods encompass them,

Run tilting round about the firmament,

And break their burning lances in the air

With ominous and death-presaging howls?

Do cruel Fates assemble, snatch them hence,

 

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Close wrap them in the fateful, fiery cloud,

And bear them down to deepest, darkest hell--

The painful prison of the damned soul.

These fiends of fire in hundred forms did change,

Fearful in all. And when, at length, the wind,

To blow the fire that all to ashes brent,

Did wrathfully burst out and ’sperse the clouds,

The dreadful shapes were vanished to naught.

Worse is the danger hidden then descried.

Yet all hearts were dismayed, and now, for help

Aloud, in earnest cried to God in heaven.

"Accurst be he that first invented war!

They knew not, ah! they knew not, simple men,

How those, were hit by pelting cannon shot,

Stand staggering like a quivering aspen leaf

Fearing the force of Boreas’ boisterous blasts.

Nor how the spirit of the fire doth say:

‘And now come we to make his sinews shake

With greater power than erst thy pride hath felt.’

Weep, heavens, and vanish into liquid tears;

Fall, stars, that govern his nativity;

And summon all the shining lamps of heaven

To cast their bootless fires to the earth,

And shed their feeble influence in the air.

Then let the earth discover to his ghost

Such tortures as usurpers feel below.

Wrackt let him be on proud Ixion’s wheel;

Pinned let him be to Prometheus’ greedy bird;

Wearied with Sisyphus’ immortal toil;

And, lastly, for revenge, for deep revenge,

Affright his soul, and make him know the spite

Of his inventions. When ’tis overpast,

 

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Old Atlas’ burthen on his shoulders place.

For he should bear the weight of all the world,

Who hath, by curious sovereignty of art,

In fiery circles, compassing the earth,

Fixed his piercing instruments of war

Even within the blazing Torrid Zone.

And let fierce exhalations from high Ætna’s top,

Fighting for passage, tilt within the earth,

And, with the conflict, make the mountains quake,

And all the hills to stagger with astonishment.

For who can fly the fury of the foe,

That rageth as the ramping lioness,

In rescue of her younglings from the bear;

Or princely lions, when they rouse themselves,

Stretching their paws and threat’ning herds of beasts?

There, in his armour, sits the god of war.

Methinks I see kings kneeling at his feet,

And he, with frowning brows and fiery looks,

Spurning their crowns from off their captive heads.

"The golden sun salutes the silver morn,

And having gilt the ocean with his beams,

Gallops the zodiac in his glistering coach

And overlooks the highest piercing hill.

I mount aloft unto the white cliff’s top

To see the overthrow of our Spanish foes.

Calm was the day, and through the swelling air

Sweet-breathing Zephyrus did softly play,

A gentle spirit, that gently did delay

Hot Titan’s beams, which then did glister fair.

All in the west the fleet all jointly move

From east to west,

And with the tide drove forward carelessly.

 

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For th’ air was mild and cleared was the sky,

And all the wind Dan Æolus did keep

From stirring up their stormy enmity.

They waited thus till day was forward spent.

At last fast trickled forth a silver flood

O’er the four corners of the golden sea,

Which made each vessel slip away before

Their cursed wills to wreak. At length they meet,

And ship grappled ship with warlike iron hooks.

The Spaniards seek to board, but our bold men,

Like their own bulwarks, firmly do abide

And so deadly daunt their cruel Spanish foes,

They dare not trust their strength.

Forth flies the grapple; as quickly bursts away.

It seemed each would other riven quite.

I did see the Phœnix fir’d where she lay.

Swiftly then from the fleet, to make herself more light,

Her heavy cargo overboard she throws.

Then, as the inward smoke bursts into fire,

The ship, fair under sail, makes sudden plunge,

And flame and blot together were shut out,

And naught but ashes floating on the sea

Was left. But another Phœnix from them rose;

For Drake with rage extreme forth press’d in fight.

Like to a giant, or like to a fiend,

He issued forth to meet the foe afore,

And with fell fury and dispiteous force,

Like as ye see fell Boreas with sharp blasts

Tossing huge tempests through the troubled sky,

So he made passage through the Spaniards, and

The better has and beat the rascals back.

Eftsoones, having his wide wings spread abroad,

 

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He stops his weary cariere suddenly

And, more regarding victory than gain,

Like to the cruel brothers of the earth,

Sprong from the teeth of dragons venomous,

He gave their ships so deep and lusty wound

That as ye see huge flames diversely spread,

So did this Armado break apart,

As waves, as wind, as fire, far spread away.

And flying thus the cloud of death before,

Eftsoones are hid, but all in vain they fly,

For heavens and destinies on them attend;

For God himself beats down our haughty foes,

Whose flaming gall with rage and high disdain,

Like to sly foxes, try to pull our plumes,

And in our confines with their lawless trains

Make themselves the conquerors of the west.

And as a jolly wanton shepherd’s swain,

Whose flocks do graze upon Aurora’s plain,

When the unpartial skies doth lightning rain,

His bleating flock lets him by false start scape,

While he y-pierc’d with fault, doth blindly sleep,

So the shepherd of our fleet, alas! was blind.

Haply had he but bid them battle strong,

He would have rid of those detested ships

The world, and made us triumph in their overthrow.

But running headlong after greedy spoil,

The foolish shepherd did amiss sheer off

Before victory on his head set safe,

And did not charge the fainting Spanish dogs,

But, careless, deem’d the beasts had been deprived

Of venomed teeth.

Ah! Howard; hadst thou had but equal eyes

 

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With Francis Drake and his great lordly crew,

Thy victorious head and good sword bright

Fair flowers and fresh garlands now had dight.

Hadst thou but beat and bouncèd them amain,

And with dreadful force kept battering down,

Thou hadst with few more strokes of thy iron flail

Dispersed all thy troops in continent,

And sent them home to tell a piteous tale

Of their vain prowess, turned to their proper bale.

Nor had they shaken England’s strength, hadst thou

Turned thy rudder hitherward awhile,

Like greedy wasserman that makes his game

The flying ships with swiftness to pursue.

Their swords and spears were broke, their hauberks rent,

And their proud garlands of triumphant bays

Trodden in dust with fury insolent.

And all about the glistering walls had hong

Thy warlike spoils, and with victorious praise

Of mighty conquerors and captains strong,

Above all knights that ever battle tried,

Thy bright beams had all blinded living men

And crowned thy head with brightest bays.

"But let this pass. Here I alone did stay

Until the sun,

Who, in wide compass arch’d, to stoop his head

Did plunge himself in Thetis’ bosom fair;

While the queen of night,

Uprising by degrees, grew to such a height,

That her great belly spread o’er the dimm’d world,

And made all silver-white both land and sea.

Then turned I back unto the town. But now,

More harsh, at least, more hard, more grave and high,

 

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Our subject runs, and our stern Muse must fly

Unto the storm.’

"The day is clear, the welkin bright and gay,

The lark is merry and records her notes;

The thrush replies, the mavis descant plays,

The ousel shrills, the ruddock warbles soft;

So goodly all agree, with sweet content,

Unto this gladsome day of merriment,

As thou life naught but peace and pleasure meant.

The sun, in golden chariot, with steeds

That blow the morning from their nosterills,

Forth from the fiery gate above the clouds

Issues resplendent. Through the heavens blue clime,

He guides their course, and scatters o’er the earth

Lances of golden light. The glorious prey

That in the pebble-paved channel lay--

A thousand naked nymphs, whose ivory shine

Through the bright gliding current doth appear--

Catch the bright javelins as they fall, and break

The slender shafts upon the crystal waves.

Fair blows the wind, a gentle gale. The ships

Sail blithe, and leave above a snowy foam

To mark their course athwart the vaulting waves,

That sweetly chimed like silver bells

And left me half asleep.

Weary of looking, I laid me down,

Willing to rest as sleepy souls are wont,

When, of a sudden, such a noise I heard

Of shot of ordnance pealing in my ears,

As twenty thousand tire had played at sea,

Or Ætna split had belched her bowels forth,

Or heaven and earth, thundering in arms amain,

 

377

 

Had bent their great artillery for war,

And weary Atlas had let fall his load,

Enough to wake Endymion from his trance.

I looked to see what hideous echoes made

The welkin howl, nor smoke nor dust annoyed mine eyes.

The welkin yet was clear

When, succeeding fast, I saw

At one another’s heels swift, yielding clouds.

Suddenly dim mist; the dampish air awoke

And grisly shadows covered heaven bright--

A misty damp of misconceiving night--

A foggy mist, which drerely overcast

The face of heaven, and the clear air engrossed.

Weird swellings of the sea, confused sounds,

Which in earth’s hollow caves have long been hid

And shut up fast within her prison’s blind,

Made the earth tremble, as it were aghast,

Until that they an issue forth did find.

A sudden change to cold doth threaten storm.

A puff of wind within the waves

A fortress makes. All suddenly a gloomy cloud

Is by the northern blast quite overblown,

And all the sky doth hide with darkness dread.

And when this cloud, which bears the hideous storm

Upon its wings, the angry heavens o’ercasts,

Hell and black darkness, for this fatal jar,

Pitch their pitchy tents, and Death with armies

Of Cimmerian spirits gives battle ’gainst the day.

With savage clamour now the storm begins.

Hollow blasts of wind,

Whose hideous horror and sad trembling sound

Full griesly seemed, from Erebus’ black house

 

378

 

Drive clouds of pitch. The sky above is dimm’d.

A stormy whirlwind blows.

The thunder, which the wind tears from the clouds

With crack of riven air and hideous sound,

Filling the world, leaps out and throws forth fire.

The forked lightning’s brand from riven sky

Affrights poor fearful men and blasts their eyes

With overthwarting flames, then raging shoots

Alongst the air, and not resisting it,

Falls, and returns, and shivers where it lights.

Since I was man, such sheets of fire, such bursts

Of horrid thunder, groans of roaring winds

And rain, I ne’er remember to have heard.

I never saw the heavens so dim by day.

The black congealed cloud conceiveth fire;

The sky, it seems, would pour down stinking pitch

And all the land in stench and horror choke,

But that the sea, mounting to the welkin’s cheek,

Dashes the fire out.

"Woe the sailor that

In cold and quaking tide and whistling winds,

The bitter broil and beating blow of billows high

Doth bide! Tossed in troublous seas,

Pilot and boatswain no assurance know,

But sail, withouten stars, ’gainst tide and winds.

How can they other do

When clouds of deadly night their sails have covered?

O, I have seen tempests, when the scolding winds

Have riv’d the knotty oaks; and I have seen

Th’ ambitious ocean swell and rage and foam

To be exalted with the threat’ning clouds;

But never till to-night, never till now,

 

379

 

Have I gone through a tempest dropping fire.

Either there is a civil strife in heaven,

Or else the world, too saucy with the gods,

Incenses them to send destruction.

A common slave

Held up his left hand, which did flame and burn

Like twenty torches joined; and yet his hand,

Not sensible of fire, remained unscorched.

Against the Citadell I met a lion,

Who gazed upon me, and went surly by

Without annoying me; and there were drawn

Upon a heap a hundred ghastly women,

Transformed with their fears, who swore they saw

Men all in fire walk up and down the streets;

And yesterday the bird of night did sit,

Even at noonday, upon the market place,

Howting and shrieking. When these prodigies

Do so conjointly meet, let not men say

These are their reasons: they are natural;

For I believe they are portentous things

Unto the climate that they point upon.

Men may construe things, after their fashion,

Clean from the purpose of the things themselves;

But those that have known the world so full of faults

Do know why all these fires, why all these gliding ghosts,

Why birds and beasts, from quality and kind,

Why old men, fools and children calculate,

Why all these things change from their ordinance,

Their natures and pre-formed faculties,

To monstrous quality; we find

That heaven hath infused them with these spirits

 

380

 

To make them instruments of fear and warning.

I saw a smith stand with his hammer thus:

(The whilst his iron did on his anvil cool)

With open mouth, swallowing a tailor’s news,

Who, with his shears and measure in his hand,

Standing on slippers, which his nimble haste

Had falsely thrust on contrary feet,

Told of a many thousand warlike men

That were embattled and ranked in Kent.

Another lean, unwashed artificer

Cuts off his tale and talks of death.

I walked about the streets,

Submitting me unto the hideous night,

And bared my bosom to the thunder-stone;

And when the cross blue lightning seemed to open

The breast of heaven, I did present myself

Even in the aim and very flash of it.

Whilst walking thus, I met my foster-brother Anthony

Who said, ‘O Francis, this disturbed city is not to walk in

Who ever knew the heavens menace so?

They fright me. These things are beyond all use,

And I do fear them. Let’s to an inn.’

"‘What can be avoided,

Whose end is purposed by the mighty God?

Cowards die many times before their deaths;

The valiant never taste of death but once.

Of all the wonders that I yet have heard,

It seems most strange that men should fear,

Seeing that death, a necessary end,

Will come when it will come.

But let us go.’ There was one within the inn,

Besides the things that we have heard and seen,

 

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Recounts most horrid sights seen by the watch.

A lioness had whelped in the streets,

And graves had yawn’d and yielded up their dead;

Fierce fiery warriours fought upon the clouds

In ranks and squadrons, and right form of war

Which drizzled blood upon the Citadel:

The noise of battle hurtled in the air;

Horses did neigh, and dying men did groan,

And ghosts did shriek and squeal about the streets.

"‘Ha, brother,

Thou seest the heavens, as troubled with men’s act,

Threatens his bloody stage. By the clock ’tis day,

And yet dark night strangles the travailling lamp.

Is’t night’s predominance, or the day’s shame

That darkness does the face of earth entomb

When living light would kiss it?’

"‘’Tis unnatural.’

"‘Here lies the east; doth not the day break here?’

"‘No.’

"‘O pardon, sir, it doth. And yon gray lines

That fret the clouds are messengers of day.’

"‘You shall confess that you are all deceived.

Here, as I point my sword, the sun arises,

Which is a great way growing on the south,

Weighing the middle season of the year.

Some two months past, up higher towards the north

He first presents his fire in the high east

Standing directly here.

But let’s to the seaside. Methinks I see

Full many people gathered in a crew.

Come captain, will you go?’

"‘Have with you.’

 

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"The town is empty. On the brow of the sea

Stand ranks of people, and from higher ground

Jutting out into the ocean, one man

Beckons to the rest below, bowing his head

Against the steepy mount.

I cry to him:

"‘Ho! what from the cape can you discern at sea?’

"‘Nothing at all. It is a high-wrought flood.

I cannot ’twixt the heaven and the main

Descry a sail.’

"‘Methinks the wind hath spoke aloud at land;

A fuller blast ne’er shook our battlements.

If it hath ruffianed so upon the sea,

What ribs of oak, when mountains melt on them,

Can hold the morties?’

"‘What shall we hear of this?’

"‘A segregation of the Spanish fleet.

For do but stand upon the foaming shore:

The chidden billows seem to pelt the clouds,

The wind-shak’d surge, with high and monstrous main,

Seems to cast water on the burning Bear

And quench the guards of th’ ever fixed pole:

I never did like mollestation view

On the enchafed flood.’

"‘If that the fleet

Be not enshelter’d and embay’d, they’re drowned.

It is impossible to bear it out.

Hark! a cry; a saile, a saile, a saile.’

"‘They do discharge their shot of courtesy.

Our friends, at least.

Let’s to the harbour go,

As well to see the vessel that’s come in,

 

383

As tidings get touching the Spanish loss.

For every minute is expectancy

Of more arrivancy.’

"‘Again they cry; a saile, a saile, a saile.’

"‘’Tis our own fleet,

The vessels of our Lord High Admiral.

If I mistake not, we shall now have news.

We will await the first boat to the shore.’

"‘No boat can live in such a sea, I fear.’

"‘Speakest thou of fear? Britons know not the word.’

"‘Nathless, ’tis a naughty night to swim in.’

"‘Two boats are in the water. See! the first

Dips under, rises again. Ah, brave men,

Courage! there still is hope of heavenly aid.’

"‘They’re tossed upon the sea in such a sort,

Which bark unto the haven safe will get

Tis hard to say. Nor is this any lack

Or default of the pilots, but the tides

And currents e’en so strong have been, as they

Unable were to keep their course aright.

How bravely doth the second boat upbear!

The skies may storm, but do her little hurt.

Steadfast and silently her course she holds.

Now hath she gained the harbour of her rest.’

"‘It is the Admiral. Welcome, my lord,

And welcome, English captains, to you all.

It joyeth us to see this fleet in part

Cast anchor happily upon our coast.

I pray thee, my most honourable lord,

On whom attend the appointed fleet?

How lost you company? How fare the rest?

 

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What of the carracts and the galleons?’

"‘Most fair return of greetings, my good friends.

My ship and these whom weather hath enforced

To lie at road upon this gracious coast,

Did bend our course and make amain for Thames.

The great contention of the sea and sky

Parted our fellowship. The smaller barks,

Fro’ wrath of deepest seas and storm of wave,

The wind made way, the sea affording room--

In fine, the cut and voyage seeming short,

Have safely into port at Harwich come.’

"‘And the Spaniards? the Armada, my lord?’

"‘These captains of the Spanish fleet, my friends,

Will trouble us no more. Our wars are done.

The desperate tempest hath so banged their ships

That their designment halts. A noble ship

Of our own seas hath seen a grievous wracke

And suffrance on most part of their fleet.

On the narrow seas, the Goodwins I think

They call the place, a very dangerous flat

And fatal, where they say the carcasses

Of many a tall ship lie buried.

The remnant of the fleet, which I dispersed,

Are now upon the ocean float again,

Bound safely home for Spain.’

"‘If the winds, my lord,

As equal be to bring them in

As you injurious were to bear them forth,

They ’scape not easily, that fled.

This day in golden letters should be set

Among the high tides in the calendar.’

"‘Hark, lords, afar

 

385

 

The dreadful shrieks and clamours that resound--

Great Jupiter! see, see; a Spanish ship!

Welcome, welcome, thou plotting Spanish dogs,

Thy feet that often have desired to tread

This wished England’s ground will come aland.

Ho! villains, rascals, knaves. Now, Nemesis,

Sound revenge upon these traitors’ souls,

That dare approach unto this realm as foes.

See th’ heaven itself doth them appal.’

"Towards the sea turning my troubled eye,

I saw a pinnace of five hundred tons,

Tossed in the troublous seas, whom raging winds

Threat’ning to make the prey of the rough rocks,

Drave on o’er surges steep as mountain tops.

On either side contrary billows sore assay

And boast to swallow her in greedy grave.

She, scorning both their spites, doth make wide way

And with her breast breaking the foamy wave

Doth ride on both their backs triumphantly.

Had that kind minute lasted!

There suddenly was such a calm of wind,

The ship unmoved stood still upon the sea,

Shrouded above the waist by a dark cloud,

A hapless cloud and black, that now foretold

Her soon succeeding tragedy. Then

The wallowing ocean, full of broken seas

And tides and tempests, hemmed the ship about,

Heaping huge strokes as thick as showers of hail,

And lashing dreadfully in every part,

Rose in his strength and ’gan them fresh assail

With double strokes like dreaded thunder’s threat,

As if the vessel had an iron anvil been;

 

386

 

For flakes of fire, bright as the sunny ray,

Out of her steely arms were flashing seen.

The sea, with such a storm, would have bouyed up

And quenched the steeled fires of Vulcan’s forge.

A shower of wounding thunder-bolts did fall

As thick as hail,

And like to fiery bullets made descent,

And, for its passage, those black vapours rent,

Melting like pitch, and blue as any vein,

And make the waters ’neath its fervour shrink.

In every drop the marriners did think

A torturing spirit flew,

It pierced so deeply and it burned so blue.

The wrestling winds about them flew and filled

Their sails with fear, and hideous uproar made

As if the cruel Fates had borrowed wings,

Cleft the wild region of the wasteful air,

Hasted to all the Winds and made them battle fight.

They came from utmost confines of the sea

And from the sun; like Furies forth they brake.

The sea mixed with the sky and tossed, distressed,

As high as heaven.

A fiery blast from ill-disposed skies

Flamed out with loud report and sudden force.

Had you seen the sea flap-dragon her!

While she with her mainmast boring the moon,

Anon with yest and froth quite swallowed seemed.

Jove’s lightning, the precursors o’ the thunder-claps,

On beak and waiste and deck and cabin flamed,

In many places did divide and burn,

On topmast, yards and bore-sprit, then did meet

And join with fire and crack of sulphurous roar.

 

387

 

Now seems most mighty Neptune to besiege

The ship and make to tremble his bold waves;

Yea, his dread trident shake,

And batter and dissever all the parts.

The gallant vessel now is shipwreck made

In every point and driven to the land,

A piteous sight: unrigg’d, the tackling lost,

The sails all rent in sunder with the wind,

Her crazed keel through storm sore shaked and cracked,

Her mast by furious winds struck overboard.

Poor naked wretches, whosoe’er ye are,

That bide the pelting of this pitiless storm,

Shipwrecked upon the kingdom where no hope,

No friend, no pity and no kindred weep,

How have their hopes prodigiously been cross’d!

(For well we know with what great hopes they sailed

When fortune called.) Their hopes lie drowned;

They heed not in how many fathoms deep

They lie entrenched.

"‘Why, see, sir. These are Spaniards, these are foes

That swim about and so preserve their lives.

That spar still bears a rag of Spanish colours!’

"How the poor souls roared, the most piteous cry!

How the sea mocked them!

Oh, the cry did knock against my heart.

I suffered with those I saw suffer.

Methinks had I been any god of power,

I would have sunk the sea within the earth

Or ere it should the good ship so have swallowed

And all the fraughting souls within her.

I’d lock the winds in wards of brass,

And o’er the ship would soar unto the sun

 

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And execute Jove’s justice on the world,

Take Neptune’s force to me and calm the seas.

It was a brave vessel, who had, no doubt,

Some noble creature in her. Dashed all to pieces!

Again that piteous cry! See the seamen

Floating on the surges. But the cursed Fates

Sit spinning of their death on every wave,

And all are clad in clouds as if they mourned.

But look! is there not one that floats upon

That broken mast? The fellow that I mark’d

Had fastened himself unto a small spare mast

Such as sea-faring men provide for storms,

And floating straight, was carried toward the mole.

The sea would bring him to the shore, we thought;

But from the brink, with force oblique, the tide

Did set and out into the open sea

He beat, with the light foam covered o’er.

I ’gan to cast how I from watery grave

Might rescue him; though I was sick, I quick

Resolved with vent’rous pains one life at least

To save; and through the thickest throng I broke,

The slippery stairs descended to the greedy sea,

Where a slight little shallop lay, a plank,

A shell, a rotten carcass of a butt,

High up upon the shore;

And coming to this fisher’s boat, did hale

Her to the stormy sea and lightly leaped

Into the same, and from the floating strand

Did thrust her with the oar; so safely found

Myself at sea. But I in vain assay

To sieze the man from out the perilous seas,

That like some monster devilish did gape

 

389

 

All greedily as ready for its prey.

I at last, tired, lame, was forced to turn towards land.

From sea to sea my little boat did bound;

With painful ployning I lay hovering

Upon the mighty mound, then sat amongst

The wide waves like a little nest; anon

She, falling over on her side, a wreck

Was made, but not past hope.

"Upon the tides

As a bubble on the water I did float.

It fortuned a high crest did bear me straight

And cast me on the shallop’s stern.

Now ’twixt the sky and sea lightly I tossed

As into a hogshead you’d thrust a cork.

I did not choose to drown, and swimming hard

Into the bark by main will I did leap,

And catching hold of him I’d come to save,

With striving toil I tore him from the sea.

How the poor gentleman did roar and cry

For help! He said he was a nobleman,

His name Don Peter, Marquis of Aragon.

Then the poor thing to one side feebly swayed

And backward he did fall, his face all black

And full of blood, his eyeballs staring out

Full ghastly like a strangled man, his hair

Upreared, his hands abroad display’d as one

That grasp’d and tugg’d for life and was subdued

By strength; his well-proportioned beard made rough

And ragged, like a field of summer’s corn

By tempest lodged;

His nostrils stretched with struggling for air.

I thought it cannot be but he is dead;

 

390

 

The least of all these many signs are probable.

Poor wretch, I cannot weep, but my heart bleeds.

I would that I might get to land. I fear

I’m gone forever. This curst sullen day,

Which frownest more and more, this savage broil

Belike will yet be guilty of my timeless death.

I rue his piteous plight; but, by my soul,

To die of thirst in view of England’s cliffs!

Or by a tempest to ascend to heaven,

Beaten and carried by the air, that doth

Forth issue from the smoky mouths of death

And hell, and ’twixt the fiery orbs above

And the rich sea and wide-spread land beneath

This great vaulted arch, fiercely vomits forth

Jove’s dreadful thunderbolts! Who shall him rue

That drenched deep doth lie where raging noise

Of arms or martial guise ne’er to him come,

Desires of knightly exercise t’revive?

In heaven he doth enjoy eternal rest

And happy ease, which man doth want and crave,

And further from it daily wandereth.

What if some little pain the passage have

That makes frail flesh to fear the bitter wave?

Is not short pain well borne that brings long ease

And lays the soul to sleep in quiet grave?

Sleep after toil, port after stormy seas,

Ease after war, death after life doth greatly please.

Eftsoones our shallow ship away did slide

More swift than swallow sheers the liquid sky;

Withouten oar or pilot it to guide

Or winged canvas, with the wind to fly.

It cut away upon the yielding wave

 

391

 

In this wide inland sea that hight by name

The German Ocean; our wand’ring ship her port

Knew not and sailed not by mine aim.

The Destinies sat dancing on the waves,

To see the glorious winds consume each other,

The more old Neptune raged, the more the Winds

His fortress razed. They rent and tore and burst

And all the air with rattling sound did fill;

The three-forked scepter, they would not obey,

Much greater power than Neptune gave them sway.

Such dire contention would a navy sink.

No longer could the Day nor Destinies

Delay the Night, who now did frowning rise

Into her throne. O Night, O fearful Night!

The element is like thyself in hue,

And this earth-threatning air makes Nature’s building quake;

For all the sway of earth shakes like a thing unfirm

Against my little boat. Loud thund’ring Jove

And swelling Neptune joined make me to mourn.

My bark did safely pass this perilous bourne

And nimbly swift she ran her wonted course

Through the dull billows, thick as troubled mire,

Whom neither wind out of their seat could force

Nor timely tide drive out of sluggish source.

So fickle is th’ unsteady air, i’ truth,

That every hour ’tis changed and altered clean;

With every blast it bloweth foul or fair.

Behold the changes infinite; the fair

Doth it prolong, the foul it doth impair.

Rain, hail and snow do pay me sad penance

And dreadful thunder-claps (that make me quake,)

 

392

 

With flames and flashing lights that thousand changes make.

The wrath of thundering Jove, that rules both night and day

With baleful countenance, makes me to shiver and to shake,

Now boiling hot, straight freezing deadly cold

And bitter storm. The thunder, with which Jove

Dispersed the shadows of the misty night

And down to hell did drive those hellish fiends

And the rebellious powers on high, were loosely shed

And all the world beneath for terror quoke;

And Phœbus, flying so most shameful sight,

His blushing face in foggy cloud implyes

And hides for shame.

The molten stars do drop like weeping eyes.

What wit of mortal wight can now devise

To quit a thrall from such a plight?

"The knight,

In slumbering swoon, nigh void of vital spright,

Ghastly and pale,

Lay covered all day,

While we to southern coast made speedy way.

When from the shore the tempest beat us forth,

I stood upon the bulwarks in the storm

And backward gazed upon old England’s bank

As far as I could ken the chalky cliffs

Of my dear native clime; and when the dusky sky

Began to rob my earnest gaping sight

Of the land’s view, lifting mine heart I said:

"‘O Thou that with a fiery pillar ledst

The sons of Israel through the dismal shades,

 

393

 

Thou God of Winds that reignest in the seas,

That reignest also in the continents,

Blow up some gentle gale of ease

The which may bring my boat, ere it be wrecked,

Into the gladsome port of her intent.

Why do Thy cruel billows beat so strong

And Thy moist mountains each on other throng,

Threat’ning to swallow up my fearful life

Far from the hoped haven of relief?

O do Thy cruel wrath and spiteful wrong

At length allay, and stint thy stormy strife

Which on these troubled seas rageth so rife.’

And e’en with this I lost fair England’s view

And bid mine eyes be packing with my heart,

And call’d them blind and dusky spectacles

For losing ken of Albion’s wished coast.

What did I then? I curst the angry gusts

And he that loosed them forth from brazen caves

And bid them blow towards England’s blessed shore

Or turn our stern upon a dreadful rock.

Yet Æolus would not a murtherer be;

The dreadful vaulting sea refused to drown me.

Strange thing how bold and swift our vessel was,

That neither cared for wind, nor hail, nor rain,

Nor swelling waves, but through them all did pass

So proudly that she made them roar again;

Tho’ tossed in th’ air with every windy blast,

Yet stayed she not, but forward did proceed,

And like a steady ship did strangely part

The raging waves and keep her course aright;

And with the always wind obeying deep,

Coasting along, we came a league from land

 

394

 

Before the rough sea gave tragic instance

Of sudden harm; but longer not much hope

Did we retain, for what obscured light

The heavens did grant did serve but to convey

Unto our fearful minds doubtful warrant

Of our immediate death. A mighty rock

Amidst the sea afore is fairly to be kenned.

The roaring billows beat the ragged shore

As they the earth would shoulder from her seat,

As burning Ætna from his boiling stew

Doth belch out flames, and rocks in pieces break;

Like to heaven’s thunder all the sea did roar

And all the waves were stain’d with filthy hue;

Hills, heaped on hills to scale the starry sky,

Did threat us with a fearful wrack. Eftsoones

The wind and tide did move her thence away;

And as we passed, afar the wrathful sea

In a great mountain heaped with hideous noise;

A thousand billows should’red near, and then

Against the rock did break with fearful poise.

All suddenly out from amid the waves,

His hairy beams and flaming locks dispread,

The sun uprose,

Enwrapt in coal-black clouds and filthy smoke;

As when fair Cynthia in darksome night

Is in a noyous cloud enveloped,

Where she may find the substance thin and light,

Breaks forth her silver beams, and her bright head

Discovers to the world discomfited,

A blazing star did e’en him far outcast.

Anon the rosy red flashed through the heaven’s roof,

Piercing the yielding air, and did displace

 

395

 

The soaring clouds, which into showers y-molt;

And angry Jove a hideous storm of rain

Did pour into his bashful leman’s lap;

Yet naught of tempest doth from it depart.

In dread of death and dangerous dismay,

With which our silly bark was tossed sore,

We do at length descry the happy shore

On which no hope have we safe to arrive.

Fair soil it seemed from far, and fraught with store

Of all that dear and dainty is alive.

The white cliffs stretched all along the shore,

Where waves, the blasts obeying, after beat,

Leaving the chalky shore a great way pale;

Then moist it freshly with another gale,

So ebbed and flowed. To weary wandering men,

Whom welt’ring waves environ in the deep,

No greater joy of joys may be, than when

From out the ocean they may first behold

The altitude of billows to abate.

Looking far forth into the ocean wide,

A goodly ship with banners bravely dight

And flag in her top-gallant I espied,

Through the main sea making her stormy flight.

Fair blew the wind into her bosom right,

And on she comes, as joying to receive

The feeble sign I yet have strength to give.

Alas, my veins are numb’d, my sinews shrink,

My blood is pierced, my breath fleeting away;

And since with God my prayers bear no boot,

And seeing by doom of heaven it’s so decreed,

Methinks the brightness of my day is done,

And that my timeless date is come to end.

 

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At the same time, still with stout courage arm’d,

I do behold what help the ship provides.

With brave intent, she gan her course to break,

But having lost her working power, by chance

Is driven down against our feeble boat;

A stronger vessel might sustain the shock;

Our bark, all rotten and unsound, the force

Doth rive, and she disbowel’d lies upon the waves,

While we are thrown headlong into the sea.

With swift dispatch the sailors lower a boat,

And then I lose my sense of outward things,

And to mine eyes nothing is visible

But an illumination of the air,

And shining bodies floating out through space,

Changing, anon, to bubbles rainbow-hued,

Which break with loud explosions in mine ears.

And, though my life seems hovering

Upon the confines of the other world,

The past doth take possession of my mind,

And cannot be rejected or removed.

I lose the present, woful though my plight,

And see, as in a mirror, what hath been;

But yet inquire what power doth th’ extent

And just proportions so increase of deeds

Seen at that distance. ’Tis like an enchanted glass,

Wherein the beams of things reflected are

According to their true incidence,

Then through a medium passed which doth increase

All the dimensions.

"Soon I seem to hear

God in the whizzing of a pleasant wind,

Marching upon tops of forest trees,

 

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To cool all breasts that burn with any griefs.

As whilom he was good to Moses’ men,

Methought by day he sat within a cloud,

To guide my passage to the fields of joy;

And, in the night, a pillar bright as fire

Did go before me like a second sun,

Wherein the essence of his Godhead is,

That, day and night, I might be brought to peace,

And never swerve from that delightsome way,

That leads to perfect happiness and heaven.

"Eftsoones I heard a most melodious sound,

For all that pleasing is to living ear,

Such as at once might not on any ground,

Save in this paradise, be heard elsewhere,

Was there consorted in one harmony.

Birds, voices, winds and waters all agree,

And make some part of that rare melody.

Th’ angelic voices, trembling, soft, do give

To instruments divine respondence sweet.

Again the strain did have a dying fall;

O, it came on my ear like a sweet sound

That breathes upon a bank of violets;

Stealing and giving odour.

"But with swift change, all disappears anon.

A silence falls; the view dissolves in night.

Now have three moons, with borrowed brother’s light,

Thrice shines fair, and thrice seemed dim and wan;

The alternating sun, burning most bright,

Did vaunt him thrice over the lofty east,

And thrice did sink in couch of darkest clouds.

Then seemed a voice within my heart to say:

"‘Know’st thou the mystery of the three in one?

 

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Body, spirit, and soul of man, and then

God, Holy Spirit and th’ Immortal Son?’

"‘The conscience doth dictate so much, we know

There is a God, and nature doth inform us;

Let man dwell where he will, or in what coast

Soever, there’s no nation so barbarous,

That it is not persuaded there’s a God.’

"‘Dost thou desire to climb the heights divine?

Inquire and seek. ’Tis this that overcomes.

After the inquiry comparative, and learn

What more doth weigh, what less, in balances

Of God’s eternal justice.

What knowest thou?

This learning set within the reach of all.

And by experiments disclose to men

The truths unto the ancients all unknown.

Like many lights shall shine, in future time,

The greatest wit of this most glorious age.’

"Then voices sang of happy victories.

Upon the bosom of an ivory lute,

The cherubims and angels laid their breasts;

And when the consecrated fingers struck

The golden wires of that ravishing harp,

It gave alarum to the hosts of heaven,

That, wing’d with lightning, brake the clouds

And cast their crystal armour at my feet.

I ope my eyes. No more a heavenly host

Doth render homage to a happy king

And emperor of the earth--an image great

Of honour and nobility; but men,

Plebians to be rated, I’ve no doubt,

 

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Are gathered round me in a goodly crew--

Clerks of the market, bakers, brewers these;

While those are merchants, druggists, abbots, monks--

But all men valiant, whatsoe’er their rank,

Who have, in order to maintain the state

And sovereignty of fair England’s Queen,

Come forth in companies, and taken arms

As chief supporters of her majesty.

What! have they not made forfeit to their Queen?

What can they not effect, these men of power,

With means defendant? Our country’s need

The wolfy sting of avarice would pull,

And make the rankest miser bountiful.

"I found myself lying upon the deck,

The ship’s chirurgeon by my side. The man

Whose life had nigh cost mine--my prisoner

By his own sentence, sat nor far removed,

In sullen silence, grim and warlike still.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NOTE.--The story of the Spanish Armada will be continued in Book III.

 

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