SIR FRANCIS BACON’S
DISCOVERED AND DECIPHERED BY
ORVILLE W. OWEN, M. D.
Bacon’s account of the Spanish Armada completed in this volume, must rank as one of the great Historical Poems. The account runs smoothly in the iambic verse of that period, and while prolix, is full of beautiful imagery, allegorical descriptions, flights of fancy, flashes of wit, and deep philosophy. It is deciphered mostly from the Shakespearian Plays, and from the Færie-Queene, but portions are found in the works of Peel, Greene, Marlowe, Burton and Bacon.
Book II closed with the vision of Bacon while in the water in a drowning condition, after the wreck of his little shallop, regaining consciousness to find himself on the deck of the vessel which had caused the disaster, and by the crew of which he and the Spaniard had been rescued. The account of what followed the rescue--the discourse of Bacon and Don Pedro--the efforts of the former to secure for a brave man the merciful consideration of the Queen--the plea of Don Pedro himself for mercy in those well known beautiful lines:
"The quality of mercy is not strained,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest,
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes,
’Tis mightiest in the mightiest, it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown.
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above this sceptred sway,
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,
It is an attribute to God himself,
And earthly power doth then show likest God’s
When mercy seasons justice. This consider
That in the course of justice, none of us
Should see salvation; we do pray for mercy,
And that same prayer, doth teach us all to render
The deeds of mercy, for therein doth lie
Most of our duties and their dignities."
Bacon’s invocation to the Muse to render in poetic lines the vivid words of Admiral Howard, Vice-Admiral Drake and Captain Palmer, with such portions of the battle and storm as were witnessed by Bacon himself, while repetitious, are beautifully told. Some of the language of Howard was too prosaic for the Muse, and a portion of his account is told in prose. The brave words of the prisoner, Don Martin, when presented to the Queen by Captain Palmer, exhibits the true soldier, whose allegience to the King and mother Church, was superior to life.
In the decipherings thus far made, the subject matter of the hidden stories are twice or thrice told, seemingly to prevent the possibility of their being lost through the suppression of any portion of the publications by the Queen, a not infrequent occurrence in those days.
The principal key-words in this story are: Ocean, Sea, Vessel, Carract, Galley, Storm, Tempest, Armado, Spain. The passages about these words when rightly brought together form the connected narrative. No word is used not found in the original text. Each word or passage once used is eliminated, and never used again.
The poem was first written and afterwards "decomposed and composed again," by Bacon, as the passages appear in the 1623 Edition of the Plays and other works through which the cipher is found to run.
When deciphered and replaced in their original form, they mean something, which they do not in the Plays.
The following quotations will illustrate this. Some extracts are given at length, to show the irrelevance and senseless jargon in the context, in the 1623 Edition of the Plays, and by contrast the smoothness, coherency, strength and fitness in the Armada.
Merry Wives of Windsor, Act II., Scene 2:
"Boy, go along with this woman, this news distracts me.
"This Puncke is one of Cupid’s carriers,
Clap on more sailes, pursue: up with your sights
Give fire: she is my prize, or ocean whelm them all."
Thus he the conquest ruthlessly pursued."
--Bacon’s Account of Drake’s Fight
Love’s Labour’s Lost, Act I., Scene 2:
(Enter a Constable with Costard with a letter.)
Con. Which is the Duke’s owne person.
Ber. This fellow, what wouldst?
Con. I myselfe reprehend his owne person, for I am his graces tharborough: But I would see
his own person in flesh and blood.
Ber. This is he.
Con. Signeor Arme, Arme commend you: Ther’s villanie abroad, this letter will tell you more.
Clow. Sir the Contempts thereof are as touching mee.
Fer. A letter from the magnificent Armado.
Ber. How low soever the matter, I hope in God for high words.
Lon. A high hope for a low heaven, God grant us patience.
Ber. To heare, or forbeare hearing.
Lon. To heare meekly sir, and to laugh moderately, or to forbeare both.
Ber. Well sir, be it as the stile shall give us cause to clime in the merrinesse.
Clo. The matter is to me sir, as concerning Jaquenetta. The manner of it is, I was taken with
Ber. In what manner?
Clo. In manner and form following sir all those three. I was seene with her in the Mannor
house, sitting with her upon the Forme, and taken following her into the Park:
which put together, is in manner and forme following. Now sir for the manner;
It is the manner of a man to speake to a woman, for the forme in some forme.
Ber. For the following sir.
Clo. As it shall follow in my correction, and God defend the right.
Fer. Will you hear this letter with attention?
Ber. As we would heare an Oracle.
Clo. Such is the simplicitie of man to harken after the flesh.
Ferd. Great Deputie, the Welkins Vicegerent, and sole dominator of Navar, my soules earths
God, and bodies fostring patrone:
Cost. Not a word of Costard yet.
Ferd. So it is.
Cost. It may be so: but if he say it is so, he is in telling true: but so.
Clow. Be to me, and every man that dares not fight.
Ferd. No words,
Clow. Of other mens secrets I beseech you.
Ferd. So it is besieged with sable coloured melancholie, I did commend the black oppressing
humor to the most wholesome Physicke of thy health-giving ayre: And as I am a
Gentleman, betooke my selfe to walke: the time When? about the sixt houre,
When beasts most grase, birds best pecke, and men sit downe to that
nourishment which is called supper: So much for the time When. Now for the
ground Which? which I mean I walkt upon, it is ycliped, Thy Parke. Then for
the place Where? where I mean I did encounter that obscene and most
preposterous event that draweth from my snow-white pen the ebon coloured
Ink, which heere thou viewest, beholdest, survayest, or seest. But to the place
Where? It standeth North Northeast and by East from the West corner of thy
curious knotted garden; There did I see that low spirited Swaine, that base
Minow of thy myrth (Clown, Mee?), that unlettered small knowing soule (Clow,
Me?), that shallow vassall (Clow, Still mee?) which as I remember hight
Costard (Clow, O me) sorted and consorted contrary to thy established
proclaymed Edict and Continet, Cannon: Which with, o’ with, but with this I
passion to say wherewith:
Clo. With a Wench.
Ferd. With a childe of our Grandmother Eve, a female; or for thy more sweet understanding a
woman: him, I (as my ever esteemed dutie prickes me on) have sent to thee, to
receive the meed of punishment by thy sweet Graces Officer Anthony Dull, a
man of good repute, carriage, bearing, & estimation.
Anth. Me, an’t shall please you? I am Anthony Dull.
Ferd. For Jaquenetta (so is the weaker vessel called) which I apprehended with the aforesaid
Swaine, I keeper her as a vessel of thy Laws furie, and shall at the least of thy
sweet notice, bring her to triall. Thine in all complements of devoted and heart-
burning heat of dutiee.
DON ADRIANA DE ARMADO.
Spanish Armada, Book II., page 322.
"‘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? 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 complement of devoted duty,
(Dispatch to the Queene).
Spanish Armada, Book III., page 442:
"‘News do I bring of a rich laden vessel
Of merchandise wreck’d on the narrow seas,
Which I did apprehend as soon as seen.’
"‘Is it not strange thou couldst put out to sea
So quickly, and the Spanish vessel seize?
"Celerity is never more admir’d
Than by the negligent, ’tis often said.’
"A good rebuke, which well might have becom’d
The best of men to taunt at slackness.’
"‘The Jacquenetta is the vessel call’d,
A bark rich laden, gloriously array’d,
In goodly colors which I chanc’d to see
Ploughing the deep, to the low countries bound,
Laden with jewels and with precious ore--
Treasure oft from the Spanish Islands brought--
In Neptune’s glassy field still toss’d with violence.’
Henry IV., Part I., Act II., Scene 4:
"Shall the blessed Son of Heaven prove a Micher,
And eate blackberries? A question not to be askt.
Shall the son of England prove a thief, and take purses?
A question to be askt."
Spanish Armada, page 443:
"If you will aid me in this enterprise
I have resolv’d the treasure to divide."
"Do it not, detain no jot, I charge thee.
Shall any son of England prove a thief?
His sisters slander and his mothers shame,
Ere be the share of him who could such ill contrive."
--Bacon to Anthony.
Tempest, Act III., Scene 3:
"Art thou afeard?
"No monster, not I.
"Be not afeard the Isle is full of noise."
Spanish Armada, page 445:
"We will be still till that we do discover
Where the place is whence these sounds do put forth.
Be not afear’d, the Isle is full of noise."
--Anthony to Bacon.
Othello, Act II, Scene I:
(Enter Desdemona, Iago, Roderigo, and Æmelia.)
The riches of the ship is come on shore:
You men of Cyprus, let her have your knees."
Hail to thee Ladie; and the grace of Heaven,
Before, behind thee, and on every hand
Enwheel thee round."
Spanish Armada, page 448:
"I find the riches of the ship have come on shore,
Yet in a night the best part was remov’d,
Unwarily devoured by the floods,
And those aboard full hardly have escaped."
--Bacon on the chalky cliffs.
Love’s Labor’s Lost, Act III., Scene I:
Enter. Broggart and Boy.
Bra. Warble childe, make passionate my sense of hearing.
Brag. Sweete Ayer, go tendernesse of years: take this Key, give enlargement to the swaine,
bring him festinatly hither: I must imploy him in a letter to my Love.
Boy. Will you win your love with a French braule?
Bra. How meanest thou, brauling in French?
Boy. No my compleat master, but to Jigge off a tune at the tongues end, canarie to it with the
feete, humour it with turning up your eie: sigh a note and sing a note, sometime
through the throate: if you swallowed love with singing, love sometime through:
nose as if you snuft up love by smelling love with your hat penthouselike ore
the shop of your eies, with your armes crost on your thinbellie doublet, like a
Rabbet on a spit or your hands in your pocket, like a man after the old painting,
and keepe not too long in one tune, but a snip and away: these are complements,
these are humours, these betraie nice wenches that would be betraied without
these, and make them men of note: do you note men that most are affected to
Brag. How hast thou purchased this experience?
Boy. By my pen of observation.
Brag. But O, but O.
Boy. The Hobbie-horse is forgot.
Bra. Cal’st thou my love Hobbie-horse.
Boy. No Master, the Hobbie-horse is but a Colt, and your Love perhaps, a Hacknie:
Spanish Armada, Book III., page 469:
"‘But mighty is the truth and will prevail;
So far as doth the daughter of the Day
All other lesser lights, in light excel,
So far doth she, plac’d in the firmament,
Through the bright heaven lurk much more than’s known.’
Much more there is unkenn’d than thou dost con,
And from men’s knowledge lurk much more than’s known.’
"‘How? By my pen of observation, Madam.
Substance of matter better is, by far,
Than beauty fair of words; contrariwise
Much worse is matter vain, than are vain words.
--Bacon before the Queen.
Comedy of Errors, Act I., Last Scene:
"My mistress and her sister staies for you.
"Now as I am a Christian answer me,
In what safe place you have bestow’d my monie;
Or I shall break that merry sconce of yours
That stands on tricks, when I am undispos’d;
Where is the thousand marks thou hadst of me?"
Armada, page 558:
"In rage she cried, ‘Thy words uncourteous are:
What! wilt thou flout me thus unto my face?
I’ll break that merry sconce of thine,
That stands on tricks when I am undispos’d.
I tread in dust thee and thy monie both,
That were it not for shame,’--
--The Queen to Bacon.
King John, Act III., Scene 3:
(Enter. France, Dolphin, Pandulpho, Attendants.)
"So by a roaring Tempest on the flood,
A whole Armado of convicted sail
Is scattered and disjoyn’d from fellowship.
Courage and comfort, all shall yet goe well."
Spanish Armada, Book III., page 567:
"My lords, attend! This postscript you shall hear:
So by a roaring Tempest on the flood
A whole armado of convicted sail
Is scatter’d and disjoyn’d from fellowship.’
--The Queen to her Lords, (End of the Armada.)
Following the Spanish Armada is Bacon’s account of his trip to France, and his introduction to the French Court, giving details of the scenes so new to him, and illustrating the character of the Court by its pomp and conversation.
This visit to France forms the ground work of parts I., II. and III., of the Play of Henry VI., the scenes of which are laid in the portions of France visited by Bacon between the years 1575-76 and 1579. During this time Bacon collected the material, then fresh in the minds of the people, for the "Massacre of Paris" (St. Bartholomew), attributed to Marlowe. This Play, however, does not contain all the account, and the Cipher collects the missing portions from the Shakespearian Plays and Bacon’s other works (for the story runs through them all), which, when all brought together, form a continuous history of that dreadful period, and what led to the outbreak.
The question why Bacon incorporated the Spanish Armada in cipher is answered on page 22, of Vol. I., of the Cipher Story.
"Our design is frankly and without circumlocution to write and to publish a clear and formal history of our time."
The great sea-fight of 1588 was one of the events of Elizabeth’s reign and could not be left out of the history. Had it been published then it would have called attention to other and more dangerous narratives which the Cipher concealed. Whenever Bacon could do so, he wrote blocks of History into separate plays, but with portions of the secret parts distributed in other places. Witness the "Massacre of Paris." This play has for its theme the poisoning of the Queen of Navarre, the marriage of Henry and Margaret, the murder of Admiral Coligny, the massacre of Saint Bartholomew, the death of Charles IX., the stabbing of the Duke of Guise, and his brother, Cardinal Lorrain, and the assassination of Henry III., embracing a period in French history of about eighteen years. The incomplete history outlined in this play, is completed in Love’s Labour’s Lost, King John, Henry V., Henry VI., parts I., II. and III., Henry VIII., Hamlet, Cymbeline, The Advancement of Learning, History of Henry VII., James IV., of Scotland, and the Færie-Queene. The beheading of Mary, Queen of Scots is found in the plays and works mentioned, with the addition of extracts from the Anatomy of Melancholy, Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay, Orlando Furioso, Edward I., and Edward II. The Massacre of Saint Bartholomew and the beheading of Mary, Queen of Scots related in Bacon’s peculiar style will appear in Book IV.
The results obtained broaden as the decipherings progress, and amazement follows the translations. Is it possible that the six hundred pages so far published can be the product of any brain now on earth? Is it possible that a continuous history of the events of three hundred years ago, could be concocted or compiled from the books used, if not incorporated in them? The current of events is easily traced through them all, but could the account have been deciphered as it now appears, unless placed there by rule for the purpose?
ORVILLE W. OWEN, M. D.
The Spanish Armada
"I begg’d to hear the story of our wrack,
And of our rescue from a watery grave.
A garrulous old salt did tell the tale,
And swerv’d not from the smallest article
In time, matter, or other circumstance.
Said he: ‘Our vessel is th’ Adam and Eve,
Not of the regular navy, but well-armed
Nevertheless, and well supplied. That’s more
Than can be said of the Queen’s ships, alack!
We’ve some great guns, field-pieces and bombards,
Whole barrels of gunpowder, my lord.
When on a sudden those bold Spaniards hear
A shower of stones pelting upon their decks,
They’ll find all the foul fiends of hell let loose,
And none can possibly escape alive.’
"‘But the story, my man; how came we aboard?’
"‘By divine providence, I doubt it not.
Our vessel, by the tempest driven, was borne
Some leagues to sea, but on the second morn
We did descry a speck upon the waves,
The which the master did make out to be
A boat too small for such rough seas, or thus
To venture such a distance from the shore.
It proved a rotten carcass of a butt,
Not rigg’d; nor tackle, sail, nor mast it had.
I’truth, it was but meat for worms, th’ rats
Instinctively had left it.’
"‘That is true.
I recollect it was not sea-worthy.
’Twas all that I could find at hand,
When that the wrack of that so goodly ship
Did cast the helpless wretches on the waves.
Yon Spaniard is my prize. I sav’d him once.
But when again we were thrown overboard,
Ne he nor I could one another aid.
I set my voice to brawling for the ship--
If that my feeble cry can brawl be termed--
Did not the general ear take hold on me?
Did not you spy us where we couched were?’
"‘We saw you, aye, for we, alack, alack,
Bore down upon you, quite against our will,
And cut your helpless vessel clean in twain.
You floated as one ’reft of life, but he,
The lusty Spaniard, was far otherwise.
I saw him beat the surges under him,
And ride upon their backs; he trod the water,
Whose enmity he flung aside, and breasted
The surge most swolne that met him; his bold head
’Bove the contentious waves he kept, and oar’d
Himself, with his good arms in lofty stroke,
To th’ ship, where prompt a rope was low’red,
And stout hands above stoop’d to relieve him
From the rude sea’s enrag’d and foamy mouth.
With mine own hands, did I redeem you, sir,
And give you life, though you did seem a wreck past hope.’
"The tale of our sea sorrow done,
I did him thank with poverty of words
That speaks th’ heaviest debt. He said no more.
"Our morning now was somewhat worn, and I,
Restor’d to something of my former strength,
Gan walk upon the deck, and did approach
More near to the Spaniard, kindly intent,
And did address him in the Spanish tongue:--
"‘Good morrow sir, we are not far from land.’
"‘Pardon I crave, but that gives me no joy.
They’ll bear me to the English shore, and there
I soon shall rest, and have my epitaph
Writ in as many several languages,
As I have conquered kingdoms with my sword.’
"‘Who art thou? Say, that I may honor thee.’
"‘Sir, what art thou, indeed, that questionest thus?’
"‘Men call me Bacon.’
"‘Lordly dost thou look,
As if thou wert learned; thy countenance,
As science there held seat.’
I pray, to question me, I’ll answer not.’
"‘Follow your pleasure.’
"‘Far be it from me
To take exceptions ’yond my privilege."
"‘Yet give me leave to speak. We much affect
Our country as our parents. You’re from Spain.’
"‘Peace, peace, my lord, forbear. You are forsworn
Not to despise me. Narrow ’scape from death
Doth make wise things seem foolish and rich things
But poor. Conscience, that will not die in debt,
Thus proves you wise and rich, for in my eye,
I am a fool and full of poverty.’
"‘Your wits make wise things foolish. When we greet
With eyes best seeing by the light of day,
We lose the light of heaven. But let that pass.
You are a soldier, if I mistake not.
A man of travel that hath seen the world;
Have served thy king, some special honours won,
No doubt. Recount, I pray, all’t pleaseth thee.’
"‘I’ll not reject your challenge, most fair lord.
’Tis true that, more than all the world, my heart
Our royal monarch honours. When mine oath
Most honourably to uphold his cause, I break,
Out of his realm, may I with shame be cast,
In desolation live unvisited, unseen.
Ne’er did I stand in fear of death,
Nor ever shun the field, for fear of wounds.
View me, the man that oft hath conquer’d kings,
And by the wars lost not a drop of blood;
And yet I’ve lanc’d my flesh to teach my men
A wound is nothing, be it ne’er so deep.
Blood is the god of war’s rich livery;
Now look I like a soldier with this scar.
Oft have I seen my horsemen charge the foe
Shot through the arms, cut overthwart the hands,
Dyeing their weapons with their streaming blood;
And yet, at night, carouse within my tent,
Filling their empty veins with airy wine,
That being concocted turns to crimson blood.
Whose head has deepest scars, whose breast most wounds,
Is honour’d most. Such men, my gracious lord,
Follow my standard and my thundering drums.’
"He as if wroth, sends lightning from his eyes,
And, in the furrows of his frowning brows,
Harbours revenge, cruelty, war and death.
"‘Thou mind’st me of the conqueror, whom men
Do call the scourge and terror of the world.’
"‘Why may not I, my lord, as well as he,
Be term’d the scourge and terror of the world?’
"‘Shall speech of war suffice? It shall be shown,
By plain and easy demonstration,
If thou hast power enow to win the world.’
"‘Sir, I will not attempt to paint in words,
What I’ll perform in deeds, or have perform’d.
Of all the provinces I have subdued,
I should not have a foot unless I bore
A mind courageous and invincible.
The tatter’d ensign of my ancestors,
Did sweep the desert shores of the Dead Sea;
Their swords and shields there won immortal fame.
With these same weapons, did I go in quest
Of glory and honour in the western world.
There I’ve a country void of fears,
A warlike people to maintain my right,
Whose army shall discomfort all my foes,
And speedily shall put them to the swords.
I hazarded the loss of all I lov’d
And sail’d the frozen Arctic seas;
Long was my ship to northward borne,
Where Phœbus’ fire scarce thaws the ysicles;
In peril dire of waters, winds, and rocks;
Oppress’d with sickness; through the rage of stormy blasts,
And cold, like death, my course did I pursue,
Not knowing in what place anchor I’d cast.
Who fares at sea may not command his way,
Ne wind ne weather at his pleasure call;
The sea is wide, and easy for to stray;
The wind unstable and doth never stay.
Again I’ve sailed the Mediterranean vast,
Where rolling waves do one beget another;
I’ve roam’d clean through the bounds of Asia far;
Five summers have I spent in farthest Greece,
In which I was their woes for to redress,
And ever my chief care ’twas to assuage,
The rancorous rigour of the tyrant’s might.
I go as whirlwinds rage before a storm,
And none might seek to cross me in an enterprise
That e’er I undertook for weal of Spain.’
"‘This shall prove woe of Spain, thou proud ingrate,
And Drake shall chase ye all from England’s gate,
Bid thee thy threat’ning colours to wind up,
And tame the savage spirit of wild strife.
Your breaths first kindled the dead coal of war,
Between this goodly kingdom and thine own,
And brought in matter that should feed this fire,
Till now too huge ’tis grown to be blown out
With that same weak wind which enkindled it.’
"‘England stood out against the Holy Church,
Nor yet hath reconcil’d herself to Rome,
Which gives us warrant from the hand of Heaven,
And on our actions sets the name of right,
With holy breath. She taught me how to know
The face of Right--acquainted me indeed
With interest to this land; into my heart
Did thrust thirst for this holy enterprise,
Before I drew my gallant head of war,
And cull’d these fiery spirits from the world,
That knit their sinews to the strength of mine.’
"‘The Cardinals perchance can make thy peace,
Or to thy Philip ’hap a plaster send,
To heal th’ inveterate canker of one wound,
By making many. Come, come, thou shalt thrust
Thy hand as deep into the purse of pride,
And rich prosperity, as any king
As yet hath done, in the world’s history.
The prodigal gifts thy king bestows on Rome,
Whose idle triumph masks lascivious shows,
Shall draw thy treasury dry, and make thee weak.’
"‘These idle words do ill beseem thy years, my lord.’
"‘I cannot brook that Philip doth in words
Make show of amity, and in his ships,
Thus soon his rancorous mind to us displays.’
"‘Thou knowest well we sent ambassadors
To treat of friendly peace or deadly war.
We said unto thy Queen: ‘Take which thou wilt.’
Her tongue did lash us with defiant scorn.
War shalt thou have, e’en as our legates promis’d thee.
We’ll make fair England, mounted on her bull,
Trapp’d with the wealth and riches of the world,
Alight and wear a woful, mourning weed.
The narrow German Main, where the Thames falls,
Shall, by the battle, be the bloody sea.
The wandering sailors of proud Italy,
Shall meet these English, fleeting with the tide,
Beating in heaps against the argosies.’
"‘Hast thou not heard, bold sir, that this our Queen
Carries the fearful thunderbolts of Jove?
How canst thou think of this, and offer war?
England hath sent thousands of armed men,
To intercept this haughty enterprise,
And save her sacred person free from scathe,
And dangerous chances of the wrathful war.’
"‘Think you we would retire and quake for fear,
E’en if infernal, or eternal Jove,
Meaning to aid you in these English arms,
Should pierce the black circumference of hell,
With millions of strong tormenting spirits,
And ugly furies bearing fiery flags,
And, with the thunder of his martial tools,
Make earthquakes in the hearts of men and heaven?
"‘O fig me, thou bragging Spaniard! Thou roarest
Like the sea, or like the trumpet’s clanging sound.’
"‘If thy Queen’s chair were in a sea of blood,
I would prepare a ship and sail to it,
That I might Philip’s rightful title win--
The title of proud England’s royal king.
Much honour shall redound unto the victor’s part,
And if it be a sin to covet honor,
I am the most offending soul alive.’
"‘Aye, triple honour will it be to him
That gets the victory. Heaven send it be
Not thee, nor Philip.’
"‘This is plain speaking.
The king’s cause being just,
And his quarrel honourable--’
"‘Pardon. That’s more than we know.
Granted he wish’d to overthrow the Queen,
Whose crown and sceptor both he wanted.
With extorted power and borrow’d strength,
In one part of another, Spain has had,
By th’ space of many years, a veteran army
To war ’gainst bordering enemies; and now
He thinks, as may be plainly seen, to be
The master of the sea.’
"‘And so he will.
What can your puny vessels do, in fair
And open fight ’gainst such as ours?
Ours is a navy, strong as well as great,
Invincible, as England’s Queen shall see.’
"‘You think, perchance, to take our island home
In your pocket, and give it to your son
For an apple.’
"‘Aye, and sow the kernels o’t
I’ th’ sea, to bring forth more islands.’
"‘That is well said and in good time.
But our small ships, that lightly, like a bird,
Do skim the water, will sad havoc make
Of Philip’s mighty fleet. The end’s not yet.’
"At that moment the captain did draw near,
To whom I said in our own tongue: ‘This, Sir,
Is the man whom I did rescue from the wrack.’
"‘That face of his I do remember well,
Yet, when I saw it last, it was besmear’d
As black as Vulcan, in the smoke of war:
A bawbling vessel was he captain of,
For shallow draft and bulk unprizable,
With which, such faithful grapple did he make,
With the most noble bottom of our fleet,
That very envy and the tongue of loss
Cried fame and honour on him.’
"‘He is brave,
Of that I am most sure. Me hath he told
Of doubty deeds full many, that argue
Neither a want of courage nor of wit.
A braggadocio is he, too, a braggart,
Fill’d with vain pride and most disdainful spite.
Should you but hear his boasts i’ Phillip’s name,
You’d think his guns could break the frame of heaven,
Batter the shining palace of the sun,
And shiver all the starry firmament.’
"‘What wilt thou do with him? He is thy man.’
"‘I’ll take him to the Queen, for it is meet
She should pass sentence on him, and not I.
I could not well condemn to death, the man
I have myself sav’d from a watery grave,
And ’twould dishonour be t’ abandon him.’
"‘The port is not far distant. We shall see
The shores of England ere the set of sun.’
"‘Then let the man be bound and brought to London
I’ll go before and show unto the Queen
What ’twas that mov’d the Spanish courtier, thus
Against her beauteous freedom to conspire.’
"‘She may entreated be his bravery
Against his devilish despite to weigh.
Pindar in praising Hiero, you wot,
Most elegantly (as is his wont) doth say
That he the tops of all virtues did cull.
I hold that courage and fealty are two
Of the virtues that do crown all the rest.’
"‘But his fealty, good sir, is to our foes.’
"‘’Tis true, ’tis true, I speak but of his worth.’
"‘This is an enemy shows like a vice.’
"‘I would I had a title good enough
To keep his good name company, and ascribe
His proper virtues to him, as is meet,
That from the rest stand all aloof.’
"‘Your praise is barren, shallow and erroneous,
Not being nourish’d and maintain’d by right.
The fellow is a Spaniard, that means boaster;
He must transform himself into a shape
Quite different, ere I can do him homage.
Though he displays ability still greater
Than of his haughty master he relates,
His bootless pains and ill-succeeding might,
Do move me not at all.’
"‘Did we not know
Of strange adventures which abroad did pass,
He might persuade us his is kingly blood,
That by descent from royal lineage came
Of ancient kings and queens that had of yore
Their scepters stretch’d from east to western shore,
And all the earth in their subjection held;
Quarter’d the world, and o’er green Neptune’s back,
Of ships made cities; garner’d in the wealth
Of Araby and Ind, and happy isles
That lie beyond the sea; and early won
The laurel meed of mighty conquerors.’
"‘His tales have more adventure in them, sir,
Than ever poet sung in golden verse.’
"‘I fain would see this meeting with the Queen,
For he will live or die at her behest.
To serve and honour her with faithful mind,
Would be impossible to him, I know.
He must have freedom at her hands or death.
You must, my lord, see that he comes off well.
Though he is glib enow in his own tongue,
His dumbness in ours must one interpret for him,
Yet I will own his grace speaks his true standing.
What mental power his eye shoots forth! How big
Imagination moveth in his lip!’
"‘Aye, if imagination may procure
His liberty, if it hath any power at all,
He may, himself, prevail in his behalf;
And fascination’s ever by the eye.’
"‘My lord, you mock! I comprehend your wit,
But it hath taken wings and bears away
The body of your wisdom.’
"‘Philosophy speaketh too much and laws too little,
Touching the matter whereon we discourse.
Is it the part of policy, think you,
To treat the subject as it were referr’d
To th’ province of my philosophy,
And nothing say touching the country’s good?
’Twere silence strange, indeed.’
"‘This argument, my lord,
Saith more for reason and judgment
Than dignity and honour. ’Tis to be
Reprehended. The framing of the mind of youth,
The seasonings to virtues--such as honour
Obedience and the like--is of great moment.
Virtue in ambition is violent;
But, in authority, settled and calm.
He who would prove himself chief among men,
Must rule himself, and heed how much the mind
Doth overpass the body in desert.
"‘The native errors in the mind of man,
His notions and impressions, do corrupt
And colour. Therein you will doubtless find
That men from children differ not at all.
But still I do not think it matters much
What abstract notions one may entertain
Of honour and the principles of things.
And, without doubt, many old theories
Can be reviv’d and new ones introduc’d
Of this same kind. However, to my mind,
There still remains something to be premis’d
To such a system of philosophy
And doctrine, ere it be receiv’d, good sir,
As refutation of my theories.
Your arguments are very like the dust
Upon the balances, which is a thing
That doth appear, and yet it weigheth not.
The natural human reason left to itself,
Doth teach devotion to our native land,
And loyalty unto the sovereign there.
’Tis heaven’s first truth--a virtue cardinal.
The highest link in nature’s chain doth bind
Man to th’ Creator. The symbol true we find
In the relation ’twixt subject and king.’
"‘Thou art a pattern fair of eloquence
But still my mind inclines, as heretofore,
To the opinions that it held of old.
Experience hath my theories made good,
Advancing virtue and suppressing vice.
Leaving, therefore, divine philosophy,
Or natural theology forsooth,
Let us discourse of dinner my good lord.
Your patience and your virtue, well deserve them.
What will you and your Spanish eat, I pray?’
"‘He longs to eat the English.
I think he would eat all that he might kill.’
"‘By the white hand of my lady,
He is a gallant prince.’
"‘Swear by her foot, she may tread out the oath.’
"‘A gentlemen he is, the most active of Spain.’
"‘Doing’s activity, and he will still be doing.’
"‘He ne’er did harm that e’er I heard of.’
"‘Nor will do none tomorrow; he will keep
That good name still.’
"‘I know him to be valiant.’
"‘I was told by one that knows him, sir,
Better than you.’
"‘Marry, he told me so himself,
And said he cared not who knew it.’
"‘He needs not, ’tis no hidden virtue in him.’
"‘By m’faith, sir, but ’tis. ’Tis hooded valor.
When it appears, ’twill bate.’
"‘Ill will never said well.’
"‘I’ll cap that proverb with, There’s flattery
"‘And I will take up that with,
Give the devil his due."
There stands your friend for the devil:
Have at the very eye of that proverb
With, A pox of the devil.’
"‘You are the better at proverbs,
By how much? A fool’s bolt is soon shot.’
"‘You have shot over.’
"‘’Tis not the first time
That you were overshot.’
"‘No certes, sir.’
"‘But you’ve not said, my lord, what you will take
For dinner; flesh of muttons, beefes, or goats;
Which wilt thou have to supply thy present wants?’
"‘That which our host doth serve.’
"‘Your courtesy I do requite most graciously,
My lord, adieu.’
"In thus discoursing we had drawn aside.
I now return’d to my unwilling guest
And did resume our speech. Th’ unhappy man
Again did loud lament the hard mishap,
That to the sea of peril and disgrace
Had brought him, and did curse the cruel fate
That had such thraldom wrought. Not by the dint
Of dastard’s deed--that could be better met--
But to be buffeted by wrath of heaven,
And driven, helpless, like a swelling tide,
Unto blind anger, given as a prey,
Did sorely smite his heart.’
"‘And yet,’ said he,
‘’Tis better fortune than I looked to have.
Ere that my ship had left the coasts of Spain,
I dream’d that I untowardly should speed;
That I by fortune’s froward gale, should be
Depriv’d of honour, and of glory robb’d.
It sent a tempest to my daunted thoughts,
And made my soul divine her overthrow.
Methought I saw Alphonsus, my dear son,
Plac’d in a throne all glitt’ring clear with gold,
Bedeck’d with diamonds and precious stones,
Which shin’d so clear and glist’red all so bright,
That it might well be term’d Hyperion’s coach.
Above his head, a canopy was set,
Not deck’d with plumes, as other princes use,
But all beset with heads of conquer’d kings,
Install’d with crowns, that made a gallant show,
And struck a terror to the viewer’s heart;
Under his feet lay, hov’ring on the ground,
Thousands of princes, which he, in his wars,
By martial might did conquer and bring low;
Some lay as dead as either stock or stone,
Some others tumbled, wounded to the death;
But most of them, as to their sovereign king
Did offer duly homage unto him.
As thus I stood, beholding of his pomp,
Methought Alphonsus did espy me out,
And, at a trice, leaving his lofty throne,
Came to embrace me in his blessed arms.
The noise of drums and sound of trumpet shrill
Did sudden wake me from this pleasant dream.
And straight I knew something foreshown by this,
That to our enterprise amiss should hap.
I prophesied what it did then import;
And now I prove the piteous pains of hell,
Wherewith it shall excruciate my soul,
Until that I slumber eternally.
Sorrows are pack’d on me in such huge heaps,
Intolerable are the torments that I bear.
I would there were for me appointed place,
In fearful darkness, furth’rest from the sky,
And from the beauteous earth, where I might lie
’Mongst rocks and caves, in black obscurity,
My senses drown’d in deep and senseless wave.
But thou--wear thou the gold of Barbary,
And glitter like the Palace of the Sun,
In honour of the dead which thou hast done.
To me, this direful destiny;
To thee, I know, renown--
To me, the blast of ignominy;
To thee, Dame Honour’s crown.
This is the chance of fickle Fortune’s wheel--
A prince at morn, a prisoner ere the night;
I, which erewhile, did ’dain for to possess
The proudest palace of the western world,
Am to a life condemn’d more hard than death.’
"‘It fortunes thus--High God doth so ordain.
But calm thyself. Some men, in fortunes great,
Unto themselves are strangers. Sad is it
For a man to die, well known to every one,
Still to himself unknown. He should discern,
Not only that which on the surface floats
And plays, but deeper look within his mind.
A tongue in venom steep’d ’gainst Fortune’s state,
Can nothing say that doth not vengeance kindle.
And man must learn that in hyperbole
To speak, in naught is comely but in love.
Boasting, indeed, is no good sign of truth,
Though it be oftimes joinéd with success;
But loyalty’s the loadstar of renown.’
"‘I’m very proud, revengeful, and ambitious,
With more offences at my back, my lord,
Than I have thoughts to put them in, or time
To act them in. God’s body! Use every man
After his just deserts, and who would ’scape
Whipping? Answer me that philosopher.’
"‘That’s not much commendation to ourselves.
The valiant heart’s not whipt out of his trade,
But since the little wit that fools have is silenc’d,
The little foolery that wise men have, makes a great show.’
"‘But when we in our viciousness grow hard,
(O misery on’t) the wise gods seal our eyes
In our own filth, drop our clear judgments, make us
Adore our errors, laugh at ’s while we strut,
To our confusion.’
"‘Wherefore is this? I am not sure, good sir,
Though you can guess what temperance should be,
You know not what it is. ’Tis kin to honour.
’Twill make you vail the top-flag of your pride
And fear to offend the meanest nobleman.’
"‘Rend not my heart with thy too piercing words
My reason in the wind agains’t me sits.
We are thus bad by nature, bad by kind,
But far, far worse by act, and every man
The greatest enemy unto himself.’
"‘’Tis true we are averse from God and good,
By nature bad, and worse by ignorance.
Let the first precept, then, on which doth turn
Knowledge of others, be set down as this--
That we obtain, as far as possible,
That window which Momus did e’en require
To see the angles and recesses of man’s heart.
Methinks we would not so ungently speak
Of nature, nor of our own kind, indeed,
Nor deem all dust inglorious and base.
I do admire truth’s beauty sovereign,
And fain my tongue would speak in praises due,
Witness t’ the world how worthy to be prais’d;
The light whereof hath kindled heavenly fire
In my frail spirit, and the wondrous sight
Of so celestial hue, hath me from baseness rais’d.
If, through the narrowness of our nature,
Of great fragility thereof, we are
Incapable of fortitude, recall
How finely Seneca to this alludes,
Who says, it is a noble thing, at once
To participate i’ th’ frailty of man,
And the security also of a god.
Himself, indeed, was condemned for crimes,
And for corruptions many, but his pen
Did never freeze, and letters are extant
And books, which counsel wise and good do give,
And divers precepts of great caution, too--
Philosophy, that to peruse were good,
Its rules of justice did instruct men well.’
"‘With thy magnetic might and wondrous wit,
Thou makest this, thy Justice, prais’d o’er all.
Why lives it not on earth immortally?
For, till the world from its perfection fell
Into a filth of foul iniquity,
Justice did here, ’mongst earthly men once dwell,
And through the world did walk, a sovereign.
From good to bad, from bad to worse,
From worse unto that worst of all,
And then return unto his former fall,
Is but the law of nature and man’s way.
But time shall come when all shall changed be,
And, from thenceforth, none no more change shall see.’
"‘Certainly, some things transitory are,
Others remain and shall when time hath ceas’d.
Celestial bodies do not suffer change;
Assurance and clear evidence, there is
Of facts like these, yet there are prevalent
And popular errors of opinion,
Not only of our life, but future state;
These altogether should excluded be.
Most advantageous would it be, indeed,
To add unto the calendar of doubts,
A calendar of falsehood and of wrong,
In order that the true philosophers
No longer may with them be troubled sore.
Sole comfort and an only remedy,
It were to discontent and misery;
And every cause of man’s perdition dire,
Will soon have fled with wings of idle fear.
Let me but add, that Seneca forbids
All sad companions, and such as lament
Their own misfortune and calamities;
They suffer thus, I ween, a thousand deaths
And shame besides, good sir, and ever miss
The sweet degrees that this brief world affords.
They are by their own minds sore vanquishèd,
And reason, lamb-like, is thus captive led,
Servile to the imagination bold.
This in its turn, as Lemnius well observes,
Fear, sorrow, dullness, terrible conceits
And strange chimeras in the brain doth cause;
Troubles the mind and shakes it in its throne;
Perverts the good estate of body and of mind;
Hinders, indeed, most honourable attempts,
And makes their hearts ache bad and heavy; aye,
It makes them, weary of their lives, cry out
And mourn, for very anguish of their souls;
Their spirits are all but extinguished
By these black humours of the brain, i’ truth,
And the poor patients need a physician,
And choicest med’cine for sick hearts’ relief.
Demetrius great infelicity
Esteemed it, that, in his lifetime long,
He no misfortune had; for miserable
Though men e’er be if fortune them forsake,
Far more if she doth tarry, and with smiles
Their judgments and their consciences o’erwhelm.
And one there was, who plac’d felicity
In the removal from the mind of doubts
And scruples all, esteeming actions good
Or evil, according as they proceed
From mind that regularly and clearly acts,
Or with reluctance and aversion plain.
"‘Then let thy fortune be whate’er it will,
’Tis mind alone that makes thee poor or rich,
Happy or miserable, honourable,
Illustrious and serene--life good or bad.’
"‘I have been happy, honourable and rich,
But now, indeed, distressed am and poor,
A scorn of men and burden to the world,
Irksome unto myself, and others, too,
And full of cares, griefs and anxieties;
’Tis as if I were stabb’d with a sharp sword;
Double corrosive is it e’en to think
Of former fortunes and my present state,
Which may not helpèd be nor altered;
O, ’tis quintessence, sir of misery.’
"‘But stronger than his fortune, is the mind
Of every man, and well should he appear
Of his own dire distress incapable.
Whate’er necessity fortune impose,
The rather may it lead than drag him on.’
"‘Ah! pity me, my lord, and draw your sword.
For no discourse is pleasant in mine ears,
But that where every period ends with death,
And every line begins with death again.
Our God to us forgiveth every hour,
Much more than that, and to His heavenly bower,
Doth He that harrow’d hell with heavy stowre,
Bring all the faulty souls from thence, as safe
And happy as the seraphins on high,
Who ne’er have known the pains of mortal life.
What sin you’d do, in taking thus my life,
Nature dispenses with the deed so far,
That it becomes a virtue, good my lord,
Saves me from shame, whereby I’m much advantag’d,
And still untainted, too, thy honour keeps.
It is of double use, and likewise serves
For purposes contrary but most just.
After my death, I wish no other herald,
No other speaker of my living action,
To keep my honour from corruption foul,
But such an honest chronicler as thou.
I have not long to trouble thee, my lord,
Reject not my petition with disdain,
As ’twere a thing unworthy and unmeet.
Stab, stab, my lord, and mark your weapon’s point
That will be blunted if the blow be great.’
"‘Receive at once my answer, haughty prince.
Useless thy over-subtle reasons are--
Beneath thy dignity; pray leave them off.
When evil comes by human injury,
There’s left the meditation of revenge
From our own selves, or from that Nemesis
Of which we read; or if, perchance, it be
By fortune or by accident, there’s left
A kind of expostulation ’gainst our fate.
It is alone by the compass divine,
The ship of th’ Church rightly directs its course.
Neither will the stars of philosophy,
Which hitherto have on us nobly shone,
Longer supply their light, if I step out
Of the trim bark of human reason thus.
By knowledge, we do learn ourselves to know,
And what to man, and what to God we owe.
Even in regions barbarous, and rude times,
When other learning stood excluded all
This hath had estimation. Its nature
Is that of its Author Divine, with whom
A thousand years are but as one brief day.
But seest thou this? To reason evermore
Why day is day; night, night; and time is time;
Were nothing but to waste night, day and time.’
"‘Strange is it that nature must us compel
Our most persistent deeds soon to lament,
Though bootless ’tis. It sets my heart on fire.
My bread shall be the anguish of my mind,
My drink the tears that fro’ my eyes do rain,
My bed the ground that hardest I may find,
So will I, willfully, increase my pain,
And in affliction waste my bitter age.’
"‘All pain hath end, and every war hath peace.’
"‘But mine no price or prayer may e’er surcease.’
"‘There is a tardiness in nature, sir,
Which often leaves the history unspoke
That she intends to do. But this I say,--
Lift up thy heavy head, curse not so much
At this unhappy chance, excellent friend,
Unconstant Fortune still will have her course.’
"‘There is a wisdom of imparting counsel
To others, and the wisdom of foresight
For one’s own fortunes. These sometimes do meet
But oftener sever, for many are wise
In their own ways, yet weak for government--
Like ants that are wise creatures for themselves,
But very hurtful for the garden fruits.
’Twere tediousness the causes to search out.
"‘You to have helped, I hold myself yet blest.’
Quoth I, ‘Full hard it is to read aright
The course of Heavenly Cause, or understand
The secret meaning of th’ Eternal might,
That rules men’s ways and rules the thoughts of men.
For whether he, through fatal deep foresight,
Me hither sent, for cause to me unguess’d;
Or that fresh bleeding wound, which, day and night,
E’er doth rankle in my riven breast,
With forced fury, following his behest,
Me hither brought, by ways yet never found;
By what adventure, or what high intent,
I know not, but again I come to be
Thy saviour from a foe worse than the sea.
"The casualty of the sea had made us friends,
Though he had wrought us woe on sea and land.
When first his ship appear’d upon our coast,
I would have muster’d all the winds unto his wreck,
And urg’d each element to his utmost annoy.
Yet soon I did repent me of his ruth,
And did regret my causeless words of wrath.
"The hope of new good hap he ’gan to feel,
And yet his look was stern, and seem’d to threat
Cruel revenge, which in his heart did hide.
Thus I did him address: ‘My Sovereign,
Whose glory is in gracious deeds, who joys
Throughout the world her mercy to maintain,
Will soon devise redress for such annoys.’
"Our conversation no continuance
Did further have then, for a time.
But he had promis’d me before I left,
That, as he was a gentleman and a soldier,
He would not hurt himself. He kept his oath."
"Had he any inclination to such folly,
Or did he think ’twould be to his advantage
To have you carry such report unto the Queen?"
"Why, sir, of this I cannot truly say.
But given lights do the opinion favour,
It was, indeed, most genuine subtlety.
Take each one in his vein, ’twas natural.
My wandering fancy, forgetting strife, did range
And cast a secret liking to this captive strange.
Then I ’gan him to comfort all my best,
And with my counsel, strove to mitigate
The stormy passion of his troubled breast.
He, thereby, was far more compassionate,
As stubborn steed that is with curb restrain’d.
Then I, no less disdaining, back return’d
His scornful taunts into his teeth again,
And he straightway with haughty choler burn’d.
Words sharply wound, but greatest grief is scorn,
And useless ’twere, indeed, for me to preach
Hell and damnation, tell him ’twas a sin,--
He’d not believe it; he would not attend,
But, as the enchanted soldier, stop his ears,
All they their consciences had cauteriz’d--
Those Spaniards of King Philip’s faith, you wot.
As after storms, when clouds begin to clear,
The sun more bright and glorious doth appear,
So they their folk, through pains of purgatory,
Do bear to perfect bliss and heaven’s glory."
"He was practis’d well in policy no doubt."
"My dearest friend, to whom right well thou know’st
My soul is knit, my sweetest favorite,
’Tis in regard of thee and of thy future
That I would speak. Many there are, my friend,
Who’ll be aveng’d on thee for all I’ve writ,
But thou shalt scorn their threats and menaces."
"My lord, perceive you how these murmurs swell?"
"Yea, but that matters not. ’Tis but a sound.
Therefore go on in haste, defend your right;
Thou’lt make them stoop; thy head o’erlooks the rest,
As much as thou in mind outwent’st the rest.
Now is it time to cross the seas, make friends
In England first, then sail for France amain.
Thou shalt be famous through all Italy,
And honour’d of the German Emperor.
These deeds shall crown what you are doing now.
Veil’d is your pride, methinks you hang your head.
Is Knowledge, then, so cowardly a knight,
That with no man he dares engage in fight?"
"And shall I, then, frame my excuse, my lord?
I measure all these countries in my thoughts,
Without knowing how thus to enter them.
The mother-tongue alone is all I speak.
And time is short, myself for to prepare
To meet in any court the feeblest there."
"And shall it please thee, then, when thou art known
Throughout the world faint-hearted for to be?"
"Unarmed so I durst not try, my lord."
"Yea, but sith all do know my name, my friend,
Thou canst not miss thy object, that is plain,
Nor love, nor hate, can wrest these words awry.
Thou hast the guides, thou hast the many books,
In which there written are with ciphers plain,
The histories that I’ve conceal’d awhile.
But now the time is ripe, and without fear,
I may bewray myself with freedom fair,
Even on England’s consecrated ground,
And all that now America men call,
Nor may molested be by any power.
Now in thy pages let my fortune be
Writ out so clear that who runs by may read,
Then let some gentle breeze blow all abroad,
That all the world may see how hard the fate,
In former times of England’s proudest prince,
Undone, and forfeited fore’er to cares."
"Mild is the mind where honour builds her bow’r
And yet is earthly honour but a flow’r."
"Good, very good, my friend; so let it be."
"This, only, I content must be to plead,
For safe excusal of my guiltless thought,
Thy honour more makes my mishap the less."
"The heavenly powers do not repent their deeds;
What! can a mortal man, in truth, discern
Betwixt the sacred gifts of this just heaven?
Wert thou not chosen there by full consent?
Of all that nature fram’d, have they not learn’d
To ken the fairest of an earthly flock?
Doth it require a great and thundering speech
To tell the cause? Methinks thou shouldst not be
Disquieted, but ready to receive
All that, in this, I have on thee enjoin’d,
Take now these instruments; all is uneven,
And everything is left at six and seven;
The corner-stone of England’s greatness’s here,
Build thou the palace as I guide thy hand;
The walls will be of colour’d jasper stone,
Wherein is Proteus carv’d, and overhead
A lively vine of green sea-agate spread,
And strew’d with pearls from the low coral grove;
The pavement all of crystal shining bright;
The columns tall and fair, but wondrous massy,
And round about yfett’red all, with gold
And ostentation of displayed arms.
So shall it be an honour to the land,
And long, long after thee shall stately stand,
The palace of the silent Destinies,
Who now, by me, make thee their architect."
"Rome might be won with far less toil, and yet
The honour’s more; you know the saying old--
‘Give arms to youth and honour unto age.’
"Then die in honour for in this thou’rt armed,
And to thy fame, join victory in all.
Those circumstances of time, persons, place,
By which it ebbs and flows, I may annex.
First, thine own death, and after, thy long fame."
"I am a man as other men are, sir,
Indeed I wish you would not name by name,
And yet would tell me plainly of my times."
"Ah! shouldst thou know the very time, my friend,
When Death with golden arrow at thee’ll shoot
With certain aim, thou couldst not then affect
Thy business with such care as it behooves.
So let it rest, and speed thee in thy task.
"All further discourse now must I delay
Until that I’ve rehears’d the story old,
How pass’d we through the tossing watery way,
Ere we gain to England’s shores were brought.
"The captain did most earnestly entreat
My company, and sent some of his men
T’attend my honourable gentlemen,
And my most honour’d self to wait upon
With: ’Will’t please your honour to dine with me?’
"I did assent. No niggard sure was he,
And glad, indeed, was I to find, at sea,
A couple of companions fine and free.
Pray where’s the cup so sweet as that we drank,
In honour of our rescue from the waves,
And blest return to life and light of heaven?
The stars had put their torches out,
And far across the waters, gentle Day,
Before the wheels of Phœbus round about,
Dappled the drowsy east with spots of gray,
Or e’er we took our leave, and bade farewell,
With thanks to our kind host and all our friends.
And, presently, we did begin to speak
Upon the question old, whether the stars
Are real fires; and I, myself, did treat
Of organs, or cradles, of heat and cold--
A subject hitherto unknown to men
And all untouch’d. Indeed I’ve no respect
For that most simple notion of Thales,
Who thought that the celestial fires were fed
On vapours, clarified, of the earth and sea;
And that they thence were nourish’d and repair’d,
Whereas, we know these vapours fall again,
In quantity almost the same as first they rose,
And far, indeed, are they from being enough,
Both earth and the celestial globes t’ refresh.
"My Spaniard, ’twixt half sleeping and awake
Sat sadly dumping while I thus discours’d.
When the occasion and his temper serves,
The thread of his verbosity he draweth out
Much finer than the staple of his argument.
But I abhor phantasms fantastical,
And know not what a man can mean, to speak
As if his thoughts were dancing to the tune
Of war alone, or of revenge and hate.
What man of temper good would this endure?
To him I said: ‘This will we not discuss.
Thou, that in conduct of thy happy stars,
Sleep’st every night with conquests on thy brow,
And yet wouldst shun the wavering turns of war,
In fear and feeling of the like distress
Thou suff’rest now, what key hast thou in hand,
To aid thy thoughts in their so bold escape?
Or dost thou see Briareus shake at once
An hundred bloody swords with bloody hands?’
"He ’gan to rage and inly fret, and cried:--
‘Thinkest thou I will be scarèd with thy words?
I tell thee here, he faceth thee whom naught
In chance of war can daunt, save slavery.
I see, alas! a promontory high,
Nearer to which we do approach apace.
The motion of the ship so vigorous is,
That ’twill o’ercome the distance in short time.
A few short hours do still remain to me
Ere I myself must render to the Queen,
Or you, my lord, must yield your prisoner,
Unto the darksome dungeon’s wretched thrall.
Things that most grievious are to do, or dare.’
"‘Aye, soon we’ll come unto my native soil,
Where first you’ll set your foot upon the shore
In which love’s beauteous Empress most delights.
There dwell, indeed, fair graces many one,
And gentle nymphs, delights of learned wit.’
"‘In thy Queen’s person without paragon,
All goodly bounty and true honour sits.
For dear affection, and unfeigned zeal,
Which to her noble personage you bear,
To do her homage thou wilt haste to approach,
To shine in honour brighter than the sun.
For if thou lik’st the pleasures of the Court,
Thou wilt not stay behind when once we land.’
"‘Why in such sudden sort as now thou say’st
We both should go, I know not my good friend.
I cannot take thee thus to bear me company,
Nor lazing stand as if I’d naught to do.
I’m sorry to give breathing to my purpose--
I must away, mine office to perform
Of right and loyalty unto the Queen.
I’ll say to thee farewell till there we meet.’
"Our vessel happily its anchor cast
On England’s blessed shores, and swift a boat
Did land me on a rock beneath a hill,
Far from the town where all was whist and still,
Save that the sea, playing on yellow sands,
Sent forth a rattling murmur to the land.
’Twas like enchantment, that, through both the eyes,
And both the ears did steal the heart away.
Now being left alone ’mid covert shade,
Under the greenwood I did safely rest.
The sun of heaven, methought, was loath to set,
But stay’d and made the western welkin blush.
But when mine eyes search’d each remotest part
Before my view, e’en to the sharp sea coast,
Lo, pricking towards me with a hasty heat,
One strongly arm’d (and on a courser free
That through his fierceness foamed all for sweat.)
I lightly leapt out of my place of rest,
For well I recogniz’d rider and steed--
It was the body servant of my friend,
(Anthony Cook, a man of noble mind,
For arms and courtship equal to the best.
Valor and virtue sat upon his helm,
Whom love and lowering fortune led along;
Famous beyond the chalky English cliffs,
And lov’d and honour’d in his country’s bounds;)
And I did haste to hear what he might say,
For, by his port, I saw that it was weighty.
"‘My master is at dinner with Valdes--
Hath cast off arms to sit with him in state,
Though him he still detains in captive hold.
They do converse and waste time together,
As sacred peace did lovingly persuade
Their warlike minds to learn her goodly lore.’
"‘Their conference will be more help to me
Than all my labours plod I ne’er so fast,
And, therefore, let me be thus bold with you
To ask you to accompany me thither.’
"‘Certes, my lord, I will attend you there.’
"In silence we return’d unto the town.
In a short, quiet street, my guide did halt.
"‘’Tis the description of their meeting place.
I’m sure the fellow dare not deceive me,’ he said.
"We enter’d and I saw two Spanish guests,
Both whom they goodly well did entertain,
But yet, methinks, their hot heads ne’er had known
Though were the tables taken all away.
My brother Anthony did also feast
With them. ‘Ah, ha!’ I laugh’d, ‘how farest thou?
Anthony, give me thy good hand, I say,
I did not think to see thee here to-day.
The heart of brothers govern in our loves,
And knit our hearts with an unslipping knot.’
"He nodded, and soberly did he stand,
Took my hand, and then did make his eyes
Grow in my brow. ‘After the feast,’ said he,
‘We’ll to the sea, and there we’ll talk.
I know thee now, for I perceive thou livest.’
"‘I see, I see,’ said I, ‘I had forgot!
Thou think’st me dead? Fear not, I am alive.
Clear thy watery eyes, wipe tears away,
And cheerfully give welcome to these arms.’
"Thus assured, after greetings, we sit down,
One, glad to satisfy himself, prepar’d
To tell through what misfortune he had far’d,
In that achievement, what to him befell,
Proud of his highest service, e’en this hap.
List while he speaks--
"‘There’s some ill planet reigns,
I must be patient till the heavens look
With aspect favourable, good my lord.
Friends, fortunes, birth, alliance, ebb and flow.’
"‘Long mayest thou live and die in fame at last!
But what think’st thou,’ the host at length enquir’d,
‘Of the smooth smiling villainy of Drake,
Who keeps the prisoners, to his own use,
Which he in this adventure hath surpris’d,
And doth deny that he that number took?’
"‘Nay, not for his own purposes, that’s plain,
Doth he those prisoners keep. You do him wrong.
If he doth any prisoners deny,
’Tis with proviso and exceptions, sir,
That they be ransom’d straight, as sure they will,’
"There seems no words with which to answer this,
And yet ’tis said by some authorities,
Drake kept all the rewards that thus he glean’d.
Of that, indeed, nothing can well be known.
But envy is as the sunbeams that beat
Hotter upon a bank of rising ground,
Than on a flat, as all may well have seen;
And in mankind the lesser parts doth move--
Outrageous anger and woe-working jar,
Direful impatience, and all jealous fear.’
"‘Fill me some wine,’ commands the generous host.
Soon the blithe guests forgot their sorrows, all,
And do proceed to tell, as will appear,
Much that unto their cause, would as it were,
Mean mischief, and do on their allegiance recant.
Folly, reserve thy state and majesty
When wisdom falleth to! How their tongues wag!
"‘It is for you to speak, not for ourselves.’
Saith he of lesser rank, in modest wise.
And yet look on him, mark him well, doth he
A second pause? Impetuous for his speech,
As streams of water fresh from riven rock,
Doth gush, and drown all other speech and voice.
"‘Our orders we did strive to execute.
The king himself, th’ Admiral did direct
Neither to right or left aside to turn
For anything, as all will testify,
But straight to this wish’d haven guide his course,
Where all the other forces could him join,
And friends of a like faith give welcome kind.
The Admiral made a vow not to depart,
As long as he had victuals for his men,
And ready money for his officers.
But presently, Drake clapp’d him on the back,
With hand, i’ faith, mailed so heavily,
Small wonder was it to behold him shrink,
And slip away into the open seas,
Where he will forcèd be to hasten home,
Through all the stormy waters of the North.
I love the man, aye, dearly, dearly well,
And here’s the misery that plucks out my heart,
And burneth worse than any tears can drown,
With strainèd pride, at the last, to perceive
His power and potency before this day
Dissolv’d like dreams, and vanish’d in thin air.’
"‘Think’st thou that duty shall have dread to speak
When pow’r to flattery bows? Listen, my friend,--
Your king’s will ne’er perform’d shall be,
While England hath an arm to give her help.
As for those words the which that boaster threw,
We’ll cast them back into his teeth again.’
"‘Peace! peace! We measure backward our own ground,
And, like a bated and retirèd flood,
Stoop low within these bounds; there’s no more hope
Of reparation, nor can we renew
The daring challenge that so late we sent.
We thought to slay your children and your wives;
To fire the churches, pull the houses down,
Take all the goods, and seize upon the lands;
Aye, even hop’d to see the Queen a slave,
Sold in the market like a common girl;
And all the lords (save those of Philip’s faith)
Slaves, too, rowing in galleys, whipt to death,
Their bodies thrown outside thy cities’ walls,
To be the prey of vultures, and wild beasts;
And every soldier that we found in arms
Should strangled be, or into prison cast,
Where straight the king would send, by word of mouth,
And bid the attendants let the rack be fetcht,
Make fires, heat irons--perchance you know the rest--’
"‘Cease, Sirrah, cease, or by the heavens I’ll cut
Your boasting, lying tongue out by the roots.
Thou’rt guilty of a thousand villainies
By your own words. You’ve murder’d all my faith,
And do deserve the gallows, or a prison
Made all so sure that none can thee deliver.’
"‘Nay, stay my lord, and take a truce. Why rail
So fierce at me? None have escaped thy hand.
A damned slave am I e’en at this hour.
(If for my villainies I am unfit
To dwell on earth, much less I’m fit for heaven.)
I sue for mercy to my conquering foe.’
"‘So shall thy just request not be denied,
For, though thou mak’st my heart a bloody mark,
And dost envenom me with poison’d words,
The courtesy that’s due unto a guest
I’ll not forget, as thou indeed shalt see.
I can ne tune my pipe unto that song;
Pray find some other strain to harp upon.
Greatly I fear we’ve drown’d our wits in wine,
And sottish grown as Parthians of old.
The next course shall be serv’d straightway, my friends.
’Tis better that we eat rather than drink.’
"‘This cup of wine sure grew in Paradise,
And hath in Adam’s cellar since been kept.’
"‘Thanks for your courtesy. Then this great ox
Hath every day fed on a thousand hills;
And this great bird hath laid an egg so big,
Out of the nest tumbling, by chance it broke
And drown’d more than an hundred villages.
This bird stood in the sea up to the knees,
And yet so deep the sea, that in seven years,
A hatchet dropt by chance, into its depth,
Would not indeed, down to the bottom fall.
Choose now one stupend fiction ’mongst the rest.
Which like you best? Think you perchance I jest?’
"‘I think you mock me, sir, thus palpably.’
"‘Men should enlarge their minds to th’ amplitude
Of this great world, and not reduce the world
To th’ narrowness of their own minds, my friend.’
"I saw their anger melt away again,
E’en as a form of wax against the fire,
Resolveth from its figure and outline.
And I did note as the swift time was spent,
How diversely the wine had wrought on them,
When that the fumes did mount unto their brain.
My friend, with watchful eyes, o’erlooked his guests,
Unto his part, but as for the Spaniard,
His tongue was loos’d again and set to wag;
And, though I took it neither for a brag,
Nor for a wish to create feeling ill,
Yet glad was I to note his speech did run
Upon their purposes. I learn’d the means
Preparative, to fall with crushing weight
Upon the port nearest the capital.
For they would stab our country to the heart,
And seek to let her life out through the vein
Of the great Thames, that doth her life supply.
"Although it be but true this was their purpose,
By accident they went not through with it,
But were enforcèd to retire in haste,
Whereof we soon shall speak in proper place.
Oh, bravely came we off as conquerors!
"The thing, no doubt, which e’en did daunt me most,
Was that the Spanish nature only is
Of women spoil to make; it made me vow
To do my devoir ’gainst that haughty king,
Ere he should stain the name of England’s Queen.
O think, I pray, if this doth move your minds,
So that ye hold nor lives nor honors dear,
Spent in a quarrel just and honourable,
What to the lawful, true-succeeding Prince--
Though fate for’er his kingdom should withold--
This dangerous and dreadful war portends!
O glorious Queen! O sacred Sovereign!
Where’s now the hope thou hast of haughty Spain?
Ungrateful mother though thou art, thou’rt mine;
My trembling hands to heaven’s throne I lift
For thee, and for the honor of thy name!
Long mayest thou live in glory and great power!
"The greatest and most glorious thing on ground,
May often need the help of weaker hands
To pluck down scorn of sovereignty betimes,
The right maintain, and violence suppress,
Or tread down bold usurping aspirants--
The chiefest lets and authors of all harms.
For this thy slave am I, my gracious Queen,
Servile as any held with captive bands,
A trusty servant, well approv’d in all."
"There is no less requir’d for government,
A courage to protect, and above all
An honesty and probity of the will,
To abstain from injury to great or small.
Fitness to govern is a business perplex’d.
Some men excel in one ability
Some in the other, therefore the position
Which you intend is not comparative,
But he that wiser is, or juster, e’er should rule.
Fairer, and nobler, liveth none this hour,
Ne like in grace, ne like in learned skill,
Than England’s prince, divorcèd though from power.
But who would govern must himself command--"
"That’s a precept I’ve mention’d oft before.
Not well should I, my so great birth become,
Nor e’er my head justly deserve a crown,
If, first of all, this wisdom I have not,
And manly sternness mine own self to rule.
For this, I wait, that scorn attendance else,
For this, this head, this heart, this hand, this sword
Contrives, imagines, and fully executes
Matters of import aimed at by many."
"Meanwhile DeValdes, prick’d with sudden shame,
As one awaken’d out of slumbering shade,
Reviving thought of glory, and of fame,
United all his powers to purge from blame,
Himself, and noble friend who next him sat,
Like as a fire, the which, in hollow cave,
Hath long been underkept and down supprest,
Breaks out with noise and rumour of the field,
Fiercely his words pour’d forth, with giant force,
As with a kind of fury he were seiz’d.
But these I thought it nought worth while to note--
It were an idle task to undertake.
"‘What needs more words? Good night,’ I said to them,
‘Good Anthony, come, let’s go to the shore,’
And we with sweet celerity do leave them there.
We foot our way then to the hills adjoining
To the city, where we may best look out
And the galleys of our foe discover.
"‘O Anthony, Anthony, Anthony,
Our separation so abides with me,
That I am onion ey’d. I am an asse
To weep. Thou art the armour o’ my heart.
Come, take heed you fall not on this cliff!
Like long lost friends together let us sit.’
"So eager was I to learn ought of my home,
That I did quite forget that we had mounted,
Unto the foreland’s top to cast our eyes
Upon the waste of waves in search of vagrant sail,
That might some tidings bring of either fleet.
An hour we spent in happy converse there,
Then, taking leave of him, I did depart
With great impatience mov’d to find my friend,
Who all that night remain’d with his strange guests,
For fear lest by their art, or some device,
He should their purpose miss, which they close hid.
Inly resolv’d was he not to give over,
Till he the conquest of their wills recover’d.
What man is there so wise, what wit so ware,
As to decry a crafty, cunning train,
By which deceit doth mask in visor fair,
And cast her colours dyed in grain
To seem like truth, whose shape she well can feign?
"‘Restless, recomfortless, with heart deep griev’d
I wandered in the streets right discontent,
When, by a chance, my brother recounterèd,
Accompanied by certain of his friends.
"‘Good morrow to thee, welcome Anthony.
Thou look’st like him that knows a warlike charge
To business that we love and go to with delight;
What is’t you say? Your presence needs must puzzle me.’
"‘News do I bring of a rich laden vessel
Of merchandise wreck’d on the narrow seas,
Which I did apprehend as soon as seen.’
"‘Is it not strange you could put out to sea
So quickly, and the Spanish vessel seize?’
"‘Celerity is never more admir’d
Than by the negligent, ’tis often said.’
"‘A good rebuke, which well might have becom’d
The best of men to taunt at slackness.’
"‘The Jacquenetta is the vessel call’d,
A bark rich laden, gloriously array’d,
In goodly colors which I chanc’d to see
Ploughing the deep to the low countries bound,
Laden with jewels and with precious ore--
Treasure oft from the Spanish Islands brought--
In Neptune’s glassy field still tossed with violence.
A company of loiterers who live
By plundering, gazing seaward from the land,
Did soon the Spanish vessel’s plight espy,
And, like to greedy hawks in haste they sped,
To seize their prey and feast upon this wealth.
The whiles their keels the surges cleave,
And all the sailors merry make for joy,
The wind hath come about east and by south,
And pluck’d from them all hope of the rich spoil.
If you will aid me in this enterprise,
I have resolv’d the treasure to divide.’
"‘Do it not, detain no jot, I charge thee.
Shall any son of England prove a thief?
His sisters’ slander and his mother’s shame,
E’er be the share of him who could such ill contrive.’
"‘Mince thy tongue: rail thou not and taunt my faults.
Most noble sir, be pleas’d that I shake off
Those names you give to me, for never yet
Was Anthony a pirate or a thief.’
"‘The company thou keepest doth defile.
Take heed and guide thy ways lest worse betide.
Though gilded be the ship with beaten sheets
Of gold, thou dost mistake thy business.
The Queen’s a squire more tight at this than thou;
Alack! sir, she is cunning past man’s thought.
She doth already know what thou hast done,
And hath now sent for thee. Do not abuse
The bounty of our majesty, but show
To all the world her nobleness well acted,
The which thy death will never let come forth.’
"‘Speak not against it, I’ll not stay behind.
I shall have share in this most happy wreck;
We bid that welcome which doth come to punish us;
I say let them be left, that leaves itself;
All cowards I instruct to run and show
Their shoulders. Need of you my course hath not.
I’ll lay my head to any good man’s hat,
These oaths and laws will prove an idle scorn.
Mine honest friends I turn you not away;
Rebukable it were, and worthy shameful check
To stand on more mechanic compliment.
Come you that will; now follow close, I’ll bring
You to the ship and of its treasure you possess.’
"‘Such self assurance need not fear the spite
Of grudging foes, ne favor seek of friends,
Yet, weigh what is embrac’d, and what may follow;
So your desires are, make your soonest haste.
My brother, better were the love not yours
Which seeks now to preserve thee from this stain.
Right here doth lie the point that warrants me,
That, notwithstanding thy capacity
Receiveth as the sea, nought enters there--
Of what validity or pitch soe’er--
But falls into abatement and low price.
The order’s given not to dare the people
To reap the harvest which the ocean shatters--
From true reports I did enquire it out,
Though I as well might stand upon the beach
And bid the main flood ’bate his usual height;
Or yet as well forbid the mountain pines
To wag their high tops and make no noise,
When they are fretted with the gusts of heaven,
As ere to question with thee, Anthony.’
"‘It cannot be denied you rightly have
Inform’d us sir of what doth stir abroad;
But I invite you aboard the galley.
Friends he doth make his choice, and if he lose,
Should you his fortunes make a staff to lean upon,
You do, by taking the same course, bereave
Yourselves of my good purposes; and know you,
All bold and crafty counsels ever are,
Though fair in promise, hard in execution,
And in their issue e’er unfortunate.’
"‘My master was he, whilst he stood and spoke.
"‘Know, sir, I will not pinion’d wait at court,
Nor once be chastis’d with the sober eye
Of your partner in this cause ’gainst my peace.
I able am to front this present time,
Till which encounter ’tis my business, too.
Pray tell the Queen the vessel I now keep,
Awaiting notice of the fury of the law
The meed of punishment then to receive.
Go with your speediest, and what she says
And how you find her, bring us word again.
We must of force dispense with this decree;
For thou dost know how much we do o’ercount thee.’
"‘Indeed, you do o’ercount me of thy father’s house.
But what, we’re friends? I do beseech you
That you will let me be partaker, too.
If it must needs be so, Anthony, I’ll help,
And now most apt am I your offer to embrace.’
"So what with hope of good and hate of ill,
He me persuaded forth with them to fare;
Yet I do blush that I did go with him.
"‘Follow me with speed; gladly I invite
You, too, this business brief in hand to view.
Would it please you to carry the lantern?
Surely it draweth on toward midnight now.’
"While Anthony, and we in company,
Were crossing the highway hard by the shore,
To a full stop we suddenly came.
"‘List what noise? Do you hear? Is it not strange?
Come, follow it so far as we have quarter.
We will be still till that we do discover
Where the place is whence these sounds do put forth.
Be not afear’d, the isle is full of noise.
Do you hear? The noise is going away.
Let’s follow it, and after to our work.’
"This luckless chance foretold some mischief was at hand,
Yet howso’er it hapt I cannot tell.
Soon to the sea we came--the sea that is
A world of waters heapèd up on high.
At last we did espy the cause, for near the shore,
Where lay the same ship, rent and torn, which he had found--
I put the case, it hath an owner now,
And he is forc’d the burden of his prize to stay.
There were an hundred knights of that array,
Of which th’ one-half stay’d behind to guard the prize,
Keeping there close with them the precious store;
The other fifty on himself did wait,
Whooping and hallowing on every part,
As if they would have rent the brazen skies,
And gathering him round about more near,
Their direful rancour rather did increase,
Like heralds, ’twixt two dreadful battles set;
Their passion was so ripe it needs must break,
I scarce could shield him from their shrewish blows,
And sure their looks did harbor nought but death.
Them I assail’d with dreadless hardiment
With arguments alone for sword and shield.
"Full quickly Anthony did understand
That all this expedition held, would not
Apply the finder’s turn to profit his estate.
When thus he saw himself reft of his prize--
The wealth one moment more would make his own--
And when he first his cause of grief did find,
He ’gan thus ’plain his case with words unkind:--
"‘All is lost, ’tis thou that hast betray’d me.
Begone! my heart makes only war on thee.
Do you hear? I cannot brook these injuries.’
"The lanthorn’s fire did his pale face display,
For as he spoke his visage waxèd pale,
And change of hue great passion did betray,
Yet still he strove to cloak his inward bale,
Suspicion, and desire to wreak revenge.
"‘Alas, my fortunes have corrupted honest men!
Fortune and Anthony must part here, even here.
Ah! fatal hap, alas! what further shall I say,
Since I am forc’d to break mine oath with you?
Ah! cruel hap of fortune’s spite, which ’sign’d
This luck to me! Do we shake hands? All come to this?’
"He hardly did give audience to me.
"‘Why, look you how you storm. I would be friends
And you’ll not hear me; this is kind, I offer.
Nay then I’m gone, alone I will you leave
If you of th’ fighter’s disposition be;
For this, I’ll never thy pauld fortune follow more.’
"Alone did Anthony but sit and gaze
And sigh his soul out, toward the place, where lay
The ship which he had lost. Indeed I would
It might but prove the end of all his loss!
But experience, manhood, honour ne’er before,
Alas, did eke so violate itself.
"From thence, forth to the town I sadly went
And reach’d my lodgings long ere morning dawn’d.
But ere kind sleep had visited mine eyes,
I heard a voice without, calling my name.
"‘Who bids thee call? I did not bid thee call.’
"‘Such as I am, I come from Anthony.
I was of late as petty to his ends,
As is the morn-dew on the myrtle leaf
To his grand sea. To the sea-side straightway,
Sir, I beseech you go; Anthony expects you,
And said; "Tell him, so please him, come at once
To this place and he shall be satisfied.’"
"‘Where are the rest?’
"‘All stay and wait for you.’
"‘To him again. Tell him he wears the rose
Of youth upon him, from which the world should note
Something particular, and see him bear the palm.
I’ll follow soon to bear him company.’
"As I approach’d I heard Anthony say:--
"‘Has my brother come?’
"‘Thy biddings have been done.’ One answerèd,
‘He’s not arriv’d but shortly will be here.’
"‘O, but I fear! How lost you company?
What, is he far behind? Declare with speed,
For these mine eyes do long his face to view,
Then my desire were fully satisfied.
O how the hours have wrack’d and tortur’d me,
Since I have lost thee, Francis!
Nought, nought, all nought, I can behold no longer,
Mine eyes are blasted with the sight.’
"I find the riches of the ship have come on shore,
Yet in a night the best part was remov’d,
Unwarily devoured by the floods;
And those aboard full hardly have escap’d.’
"‘Ha! what things are these, will money buy em?
How have you made division Anthony?’
"‘Who seeks and will not take when once ’tis offer’d,
Shall never find it more, though he should kneel
And reason his petition with more strength
Than hosts of men could lavish in a life.
Francis, the hearts that panell’d me at heels,
To whom I gave their wishes honourably,
Do melt their sweets on blossoming Cæsar,
(For like to Cæsar do they hold thee brother,)
And this tall pine that overtopp’d them all,
Is barkt. Francis, I am betray’d, and fall
Like to the ruins of a broken tower.’
"‘Anthony, you have thy father’s house.
Why wail as at a woful funeral
When thou hast all this power?
But yet I warn thee thou hast not the force
Eke to command the hasty sun to stray,
Or backward from heaven’s height to turn his course.
Go hide thy head. Fortune hath smit thy crest
With rigour so outrageous, thou must see
Thou hast been much to blame.
But of to-morrow I hope well, my brother,
And I will lead thee to victorious life,
Rather than to disgrace and death.’
"‘Let’s to breakfast, come and drown consideration.’
"‘No, I’ll begone. Gentle adieux I bid thee.
I must to London in the early morn,
And I will practice thine enlargement thence.’
"Though I had borne all with a patient shrug,
Yet now ’twas time from Anthony to depart,
Nor wait to see how Fortune would resolve
Affairs and hazards of this untrod state.
Go with me in my writings and you’ll see,
How calm and gentle I proceeded still;
I could do more to do Anthony good--
Him to advise and not his humour feed--
But ’twould offend him, and in his offence,
I should the sooner him estrange from me,
For I his disposition know full well.
"My foster brother ne’er did urge me in his act;
He rather did discredit my authority,
As his insinuations did express.
"Danger chas’d deep sleep from my enthralled eyes,
And made them watchers of my own heart’s griefs.
But ah! who can deceive his destiny,
Or ween by warning to avoid his fate,
That when he sleeps in most security,
And safest seems, him soonest doth amate
And findeth due effect, or soon, or late?
So feeble is the pow’r of fleshly arm,
He is not, ah! he is not such a foe,
As steel can wound, or strength can overthrow.
This now avails for making me full sad,
Yet whence should come the harm which seems to threat?
Must not the world wend in its common course?
And when the shining sun laugheth once more,
The heart forgets its sorrow, and its pain,
Unless it sorrow sought through wilfulness,
And would its pain like pelf have reckonèd.
Matter of mirth enough though there were none,
One can devise, when goodly seeming Day
Smiles in his face, and whispers in his ear.
A thousand ways he swiftly can invent,
To feed his foolish humour and vain jolliment.
"Thus did I muse, and by and by, my steps
Turned to the shore, where, as it chanc’d I found
An empty fisher’s boat upon the strand,
Wherein I laid me down with sleep o’ercast,
And straight my mind disburden’d of all care.
And soon it seem’d the boat slipp’d from the sands,
And then did lightly float on the dull waves.
Straightway, the nymphs of ocean set the sails,
And bade the winged vessel forward fly,
Swift on its way, of none accompanied,
Save these same trusty guides that led me forth,
The merry mariners of Neptune’s seas.
Methought we sped as swift as glance of eye,
And cut the waves of beauteous opal hue,
Into long rows of glittering shining gems,
Most fit to deck some proud Queen’s diadem.
The boat, it seem’d, was taught the way to go,
And wisely save itself from rocks and flats.
And soon I saw ’twas also trim bedeck’d
With boughs and arbors woven cunningly,
And like a little forest seemèd outwardly,
Where the small birds, in the wide boughs embow’ring,
Chanted their sundry tunes with sweet content.
The little bark along a milk-white way,
Like that clear silver path where walk the gods,
Pass’d fairly forth, and drew at length to land.
There I was met by one of mien most stern,
Who did in haste approach unto the shore,
Drawn on with coal black steeds, foaming and fierce,
In stately chariot of deep device,
Where gloomy Time sat whipping on the team.
A plume, as black as is the raven’s wing,
Back from his helmet floated in the wind.
I could not have withheld my hand, e’en had I wish’d
Though it did tremble like a leaf of aspen green,
As I gave it into his icy palm.
What man is he that boasts of fleshly might,
And vain assurance of mortality?
When he, through grace, hath gainèd victory,
Ne let him then ascribe it to his skill.
"Without constraint I stept into the place
Left vacant at his side, and forth we far’d.
Long travel’d on, through wide and wasteful ground,
That all around show’d naught but wilderness,
And came at last unto a gloomy glade,
Cover’d with boughs and shrubs from heaven’s light;
An uncouth savage, an uncivil wight;
His head and beard with soot were ill bedight;
His coal-black hands did seem to have been sear’d
In smith’s fire-spitting forge; his nails were claws;
His iron coat appeared to have been, of old,
A work of rich entayle, and curious mould,
Woven with antics and wild imagery;
And in his lap, a mass of coin he told,
And turnèd upside down to feed his eye
And covetous desire with his huge treasury;
Some were round plates, withouten moniment,
But most were stamp’d, and in their metal bare
The antique shapes of kings and kaisers gone.
Soon as he saw my face, in great affright
And haste, he rose for to remove aside
Those precious hills, from stranger’s envious sight,
And down them poured, through an hole full wide,
Into the hollow earth, them there to hide.
"‘Who art thou?’ asked he in loud alarm,
’That darest view my direful countenance?
I read thee rash and heedless of thyself,
To trouble my still seat and heaps of gold.
And yet, if me thou deign to serve and sue,
At thy command, lo, all these mountains be.
Or, if to thy great mind or greedy view,
All these may not suffice, there shall to thee
Ten times so much be number’d frank and free.’
"‘What art thou, man (if man at all thou art)
That here in desert hast thine habitance,
And these rich heaps of wealth dost hide apart
From the world’s eyes and from her light usance?
What is this place great wherein I stand?’
"‘This is the House of Riches, and vain man,
I Mammon am, the god of greatest power
That reigneth in the realm beneath the sun.’
"‘Mammon,’ said I, ‘thy godhead’s vaunt is vain,
And idle offers of thy golden fee.
To them that covet such eye-glutting gain
Proffer thy gifts, and fitter servants seek,
Ne thine be kingdoms, ne the sceptre thine,
But realms and rulers thou dost both confound,
And loyal truth to treason doth incline.
Witness the guiltless blood pour’d oft on ground,
The crownèd often slain, the slayers crown’d,
The sacred diadem in pieces rent,
And purple robe gored with many a wound,
Castles surpris’d, great cities sack’d and brent,
So mak’st thou kings and gainèst government.
What secret place, indeed, can safely hold
So huge a mass, and hide from Heaven’s eye?
Or where hast thou thy wonne, that so much gold
Thou canst preserve from wrong and robbery?’
"‘Come thou,’ quoth he, ‘and see.’ So, by and by,
Through that thick covert, he me led, and found
A darksome way which no man could descry,
That deep descended through the hollow ground,
At length, we came into a larger space,
That stretch’d itself into an ample plain,
Through which a beaten, broad highway did trace,
That straight did lead to Pluto’s grisly realm.
By that way’s side, there sat infernal Pain,
And, fast beside him, sat tumultuous Strife;
The one, in hand, an iron whip did strain;
The other, brandishèd a bloody knife,
And both did gnash their teeth, and threaten life.
On th’ other side, in one consort there sate
Cruel Revenge, and rancorous Despight,
Disloyal Treason, and heart-burning Hate;
He brought me through a darksome narrow strait
To a broad gate, all built of beaten gold.
The gate was open, and we enter’d in
A room so large, and wide, as ’twere some guild,
Or solemn temple of an ancient faith.
Many great, golden pillars did upbear
The massy roof, and riches huge sustain;
And every pillar deckèd was, full dear,
With crowns and diadems and titles vain.
"Just then I woke, the sun was shining high,
My boat still lay upon the sands, quite dry,
And much I doubt it had not broke the waves,
Or floated out upon the lazy tide,
Save in the dream that so deceiv’d the sense,
Nor had I seen, indeed, with mortal eye,
Great Mammon--god o’ th’ world and worldling, aye,
To whom he is the greatest ’neath the sky.
"A reaching thought will search his deepest wits,
And cast with cunning, for the time to come.
For evils are apt to happen every day,
And ever seem to walk abroad o’ nights.
Should I take counsel of this troublous dream?
Do Pluto’s bells ring out my fatal knell,
And hags howl for my death at Charon’s shore?
My thoughts are martyr’d with endless torments,
And, in this torment, comfort find I none,
But that my head may one day wear the crown,
And that I, yet, may be fair England’s king.
But I bethought me of the duty due
Unto my country that I’ve ever lov’d,
And then, at once, were all my thoughts and cares
Concerning th’ general good thereof--
Beyond and over and above my place--
And my own interests were all forgot.
Another bliss before my eyes I plac’d,
Another happiness, another end.
It often falls, in course of common life,
That right, long time is overborne of wrong,
Through avarice, or power, or guile, or strife,
But man must keep in mind, what to his country’s owed.
I would not that the people of this blessed land,
Be punish’d with my ever thwarting stars.
The Queen is fortunate in all her deeds,
She hath, indeed, been famed for virtues,
And still may seem as wise as virtuous,
By spying and avoiding Fortune’s wiles.
Thus far her fortune keeps an upward course,
And she with wreaths of victory is grac’d.
And I may conquer yet, by living low,
Where Fortune cannot hurt me if she would.
"‘What noise is this I hear?’ I ask’d myself,
And, like an answer, ‘Westward ho!’ I heard.
It was the watermen upon the shore,
That call’d for passengers who’d westward go.
It fitted well my turn, and I resolv’d
Straight with them up to London I would fare,
And to the court proceed without delay.
There could I wait till that my friend should come,
And then could shortly learn what I would know.
It seem’d a goodly leading and I follow’d it.
The barge convey’d a silly company of poor souls,
All clutterèd together side by side,
Like so many dull pebbles in the tide.
Averse from company, I walk’d alone,
And listen’d to the voices, which proceed
Ah, who shall say from whence? The Holy Ghost
Plays on our hearts like so many harp strings.
We are His temples, He dwelleth in us
And we in Him. The light of life itself
Goes with us where we go, and doth abide
Forever in the hearts of simple men--
Immortal, incorrupted and divine.
It tutors us e’en in our vainer hours.
Now, as I sat alone, sad, serious,
And full of thoughts and secret observations,
It did the passions of my heart suppress,
And then, with mastering discipline, did tame
The spirit in me that had wildly warr’d,
And so bestirr’d me even in my sleep.
It made within my heart, from that time forth,
A purer virtue and a richer honour,
As, in the veins of earth, the parching sun
Doth gold and glittering minerals create.
For, through infusion of celestial power,
The duller earth it quick’neth with delight,
And lifeful spirits privily doth pour,
Into the inner recess of the heart,
And there, as every earthly thing partakes,
Or more or less of influence divine,
So it more fair accordingly it makes,
And the gross matter of this earthly mine,
Which clothèd it, thereafter doth refine,
Doing away the dross, which dims the light
Of that fair being, which is therein empright.
"On did we glide upon the waters strong,
That day by day roll to salute the sea,
And part on either sides, with pleasant floods
The meads so fragrant, and the marshes low.
Sleeping or waking, as alone I lay,
Mine eyes, and ears, and senses all, were serv’d
With every object, perfect in its kind,
And lo, a wonder to my senses all!
Hyperion, throwing forth his beams full hot,
Into the highest top of heaven ’gan climb,
And the world parting, by an equal lot,
Did shed his whirling flames both far and wide,
To the horizon’s most remotest bound,
Which lay, a circlet plain to any eye,
As ’twere the marriage ring of Earth most fair,
When she that day became the bride of Heaven.
I look’d to see if Cupid’s self did trip
Nimbly o’ top o’ th’ waters, strewing flowers,
While Venus follow’d smiling looking on,
As proud as Juno with Heaven’s diadem;
Both messengers from the high courts of Love,
That summon souls unto the bridal feast,
Where Phœbus’ self, that god of poet’s hight,
They say did sing the spousal hymn so clear,
That all the gods were ravish’d with delight
Of his celestial song, and music’s might;
And eke the Graces seeméd all to sing,
The whiles sweet Zephyrus loud whistléd
His treble, a strange kind of harmony;
Hymen, lo Hymen, dancing all around,
His silver harp in hand, gently let fall
Celestial notes, that did all other pass,
And from the woods their echo did rebound,
The silver sounding instruments to meet;
And many Muses and Nymphs, meseem’d,
Did sweetly in accord then tune their voice
To the soft sounding of the water’s fall,
And with their music ravish’d mine ears,
But did endue them to a sense of pain,
For men, indeed, are not Olympian gods,
And we must look unto Love’s votaries,
For such observancie as fits, full well,
This bridal scene, and these, Earth’s nuptial rites.
"Thus on the pleasant Thames we glide along,
To that brave bridge, the bar that thwarts our course.
And straight, without retention or restraint,
With honest care of that poor Spaniard’s hap,
And for his sake, I hie into the town,
And go at once to seek out our fair Queen,
Whose sight my heart doth ever joyful make.
"My tributary tears low at her feet,
I render; tears of joy for my return
Meseem’d she shed, in these consorting greets.
"‘Welcome my friend,’ she said most graciously,
‘It yields me joy seeing thy safe return.
Bacon, thou hast again fair England honourèd.’
"Then with right humble thanks for greeting kind,
And all her favors royally bestow’d,
While in her gracious presence I did kneel,
I humbly ’gan that might Queen entreat
To give me audience of a half hour’s space;
I said: ‘May it please your Majesty to give
Leave unto me to speak of my adventure,
And wilt thou read the letters I have brought?’
"‘Declare with speed what tidings you do bring.
Tell me this instant what full accomplish’d is.’
"Straight from my mind all care I banishèd,
And spoke at her command without persuade:--
"‘In spite of Spain and all the popish pow’r,
That wrongfully would wrest from thee the crown,
The fingers of the Powers above do tune
The harmony of thy peace, most gracious Queen.
False-hearted Philip sees now to his cost,
The heavens have laid on him most heavy hand,
While ruthless Drake pursues him at the heels,
And comes amain to put him to the sword.’
"‘Ha! ha! We’ll make him eat his words. He swore:--
"I fear no woman though ten times a Queen,
And while I live I’ll never fly from man."
Bacon, alas, I see my oversight--
I see his treachery. Warn’d to beware
A face so full of fraud and villany
Was I. I held it but superfluous,
And likewise did think fit Philip should be
Propitiated, that we eke might be
Still equal friends; but when he sought my hand,
’Twas as true lover of the Holy Church,
And for her sake, not with affection honest
Unto ourself. With senses unimpair’d,
And mind well purg’d, myself I did apply
To study of the matter, to unfold
The plan of the bold king, a month agone.
His part I did discover, ’pon my soul,
And may I never pass the river Styx
Till I avengèd be on his curs’d name.
Love’s conquest ends, good sir, in courtesy;
But he staid not an answer to devise,
So that it eke should suit mine ear, indeed,
Nor sought all means my mind to please,
As were most fit, and would full well become
His oath of wedded loyalty unto ourself,
The which he fain would swear. Sir, by my head,
It is the kingdom, merely, he doth want,
As kind of supplement unto his power.
He fain had brought us now in servile bond,
And made us bear the yoke of Inquisition.
His unjust diligence most happily,
Drew on himself just danger and dishonour;
For when he saw and heard his doom aright,
Straightway all mad and furious he grew,
Like a fine mastiff through enraging heat.
Then, when our doubty new Vice-Admiral
Shut up his havens, marr’d his merchants’ trade,
And robb’d his people that full rich had been,
He could not choose but, in God’s name, send forth
His mighty fleet unto this enterprise.’
"‘’Tis certain he hath met his ancient foe,
A man valiant as was Mark Anthony,
I’m sure, albeit he is held, I think,
A man of no estimation i’ the world.
And I did see him do as gallant service
As doth beseem great princes, lords and kings,
When those great ships came sweeping through our seas
With pennons painted in the blood of war.
E’en whiles thy cool and temperate wind of grace
O’erblew the filthy and contagious clouds
Of deadly murder, spoil and villainy.
In any moment did I look to see
The blind and bloody soldiers, with foul hand,
Desire the locks of England’s shrieking daughters;
The fathers taken by their silver beards,
And their most reverend heads dash’t to the walls;
The naked infants spitted upon pikes,
Whiles the mad mothers, with their howls confus’d,
To stay their cruel hands from slaughter fell,
Should break the clouds, as did the wives of Jewry,
When Herod’s bloody hunting slaughter-men
Did put their new-born children to the sword.
Sorry was I our numbers were so few,
But they did rush as sudden on his hosts,
As doth the melted snow upon the valleys.
He may as bootless spend his vain command,
Upon his soldiers in their headlong flight,
Who dropt their hearts into the sink of fear,
As precepts send to the Leviathan
To come ashore and e’er be rul’d by him.
Now in this bloody brunt, he may behold
The sole endeavor of thy princely care,
To plant the true succession of the faith,
In spite of Spain and all his heresies.’
"‘Have you ta’en arms against the Spanish King?’
"‘What need I? God Himself is up in arms,
When violence is offer’d to the Church.
We were not suffer’d to conclude the cause,
And this, to me, most egal doom appears--
The secret judgments that the heavens impos’d,
Upon the drooping state of priest-rid Spain.
No natural exhalation in the sky,
No scope of nature, no distemper’d day,
No common wind, no ’customèd event
Were these, but presages and tongues of heaven,
Plainly denouncing vengeance on the king.
He reaps as he has sown, the whirlwind’s force,
In that world’s wounded part, whose waves yet swell
With everlasting showers of tears that fell,
And bosoms bleed with great effuse of blood.’
"‘Aye, but you see the harvest is far off.
And yet I know the prayers of those nuns
And holy friars, having money for their pains,
Are not wonderous and, indeed, do no man good.
And seeing they’re not idle, but still doing,
’Tis likely they in time may reap some fruit,
I mean, in fulness of perfection.’
"‘’Tis well you have an officer, brave, and bold
Of wit and manhood, gallant, gay, whose fame
Spreads by the gates of Europe, to the Courts
Of Christian kings and heathen potentates.
For sooth he is for warlike feats renown’d
From where the day out of the sea doth spring,
To where the sun doth settle in his wain.
And though his actions are not visible to you,
Report should hourly render him unto your ear,
As truly, as when by your eye perceiv’d,
Or else you never will be well inform’d,
I fear, of things most worthy to be known.
For he as far surpasseth other men
As greatest does the least in every way.’
"‘Better to leave undone, than by his deed,
Acquire too high a fame when him he serves ’s away.’
"‘Cæsar and Anthony did ever win
More in their officers than in person.’
"‘Who does i’ th’ wars more than his captain can,
Becomes his captain’s captain, and ambition
(The soldier’s virtue) rather maketh choice
Of loss, than gain which darkens him he serves.
And you shall find the band that seems to tie
Their friendship thus together, e’er will be
The very strangler of their amity.’
"‘’Tis hard that thus a master’s favor’s lost
For quick accumulation of renown,
Which one achiev’d by th’ minute, for his Queen.
It raises a great war, indeed, ’twixt him
And his discretion. If this it is
To have a name in great men’s fellowship,
I had as live have but a simple reed.
I never hated him, but I have seen him fight
When I have envied his behaviour much.’
"‘I never lov’d him much, but I have prais’d him.’
"‘When he has well deserv’d ten times as much
As you have said, my gracious Sovereign.’
"‘Thy plainness nothing ill becomes thee, sir.
He has done well by water, it is true,
And yet, I think, it cannot be denied
That he hath been a great thief by the sea."
"‘It may be true--I can’t deny it is;
But if our eyes had the authority,
They might take many thieves by land and sea
Other than he. I feel a kind of scorn
Heroical, when rudely one assails
A man, whose valiance as greatly overpeers
His fellows’ as the pine the creeping weed.
I tell you, plainly, England never bred
A better soldier than this doughty man,
And that, bold Philip and his army felt,
In this encounter in our border seas,
When he did all the others far excel.’
"‘His virtues in your speech double and treble,
But you have sung his praises long enough.
These lines, my friend, writ in extremity,
Contain a plea for one who’d re-obtain
His place and fortune at the Spanish court,
Through interchange of prisoners. This doth
Import a princely favor at our hands,
What is it you would say of this, my friend?
For in these lines, marry, your name is writ.’
"‘He is my prisoner, most gracious Queen,
Not for requital of honourable arms,
Nor prize that’s gotten in the champion field--
Not one of these, indeed, nor to be nam’d
With sound of trumpet and parading great.
I sav’d his life at sea in the great storm,
And here I humbly vow, your Majesty,
Wholly to yield and to surrender up
Into thy worthy hands this princely gift,
As erst he was to me by fate assign’d,
And left in charge with me by heavenly favor.
Our duties are unto thy throne and state,
Therefore to thee I yield him prisoner,
And in thy hand, dear Queen, his life is gag’d.
We know that mercy is the mighty’s jewel,
And greater glory ’tis to save than kill.
Thou art Brittania’s Atlas, star of England’s globe,
That sways the massy sceptre of her land,
And holds the royal reins of Albion,
For my belovèd country’s constant good.
Th’ advantage of the time prompts me to call,
In way of taste, now for some benefit
Out of those many register’d in promise,
Which live to come, thou say’st, in my behalf.
I do desire the freedom of this man.’
"‘Content, content, O sir, you are not right!
Can you translate his malice towards us into love?’
"‘I do but partly know, I hope I shall--
The end’s not yet. When thou behold’st the man,
Thou shalt perceive whether or no he’s worthy.
More goodly creature never didst thou see;
So like a giant in each manly part;
Bears he himself with such portly majesty
That one of th’ old heroes he seems to be.’
"‘Though he were sprung from some celestial race,
Yet would I tear his eyes fro’ forth his head,
And feast the birds with their blood-shotten balls.’
"‘Is this then all the thanks that I shall have
For saving him from drowning in the sea?’
If this be all th’ respect, reward and honour,
I wish that I had never wrong’d him so;
Most cruel hate had no worse bondage brought.
Faith, ’twere more honour to have let him die,
And this doth all mine other deeds deface.
Shall it for shame be spoken in these days,
Or fill up chronicles of time to come?’
"‘Well worthy he to taste of wretchedness.’
"Sith pleasing words are like the magic art,
That doth the charmèd snake in slumber lay,
So I to her reveal’d in mirror plain,
Milder behaviour and a better deed.
And in conclusion of my speech I said:--
"Then, whilst the Fates afford me vital breath,
I will spend it in speaking of thy praise,
And sing to thee until that timely death,
By heaven’s doom doth end my earthly days.’
"‘Away, and let me hear no more of this!
If thou dost bend, and pray, and fawn, for him
’Twill not avail, so be thou satisfied.’
"She swore as many oaths as I spake words,
But when she chang’d that threatful mood, I ’gan entreat:--
"‘You are not wood, you are not stone; O list!
And let your heart with pity now be mov’d.
’Tis laudable and fit. It is the nature
And essence of authority itself,
It is imputed for an honour too,
As well as great advancement of the state
And majesty of royal sovereigns.’
"‘O man, thine art can well do everything,
that can be done by art and human means!
Whatever, then, it faileth to attain,
I do declare is quite impossible
Of attainment, save by subtle artifice.’
"‘Then rather lay the blame upon Nature,
For how can art be guilty found, I pray,
When she is ever judge of her own cause?’
"‘This is a goodly stratagem, in truth,
Yet will I not suffer it to produce
Any effect upon my unaided judgment.
Come here to-morrow, speak before my counsellors.
Thou shalt be given audience of them
Who can judge well of consequences grave,
And, by examination timely, smother
The mischief that this action may bring forth.
Dost thou attend me, sir?’
Bear witness God, of my unfeignèd zeal,
And well assure me of a kind success.’
"‘Nay, say no more, ’tis a vain thing, my friend.
Come while on us the early morning breathes
With panting horses. We will hear thee then.’
"‘Thanks, gracious Queen, I will return at morn.’
"‘Farewell then till tomorrow, faithful sir.’
"‘Farewell, the heavens remain thy happy shield.’
"I did acquit myself in that high speech
So well, with spurs and bridle so control
My thoughts, it straightway did occur to me,
The Queen relaxèd something in respect
Of the cold disposition she had held
With equable and perfect constancy;
And on the other hand seem’d not averse,
To listen to free explication now.
Discarding, prompt, logical subtleties,
That from herself, unwares, her to beguile
I erst had sought, I back return’d and ’gan
Again, with more acuteness, then to speak;
But still, with equal pertinacity
Unto the purpose whereof I had come.
My powers were crescent, and my auguring hope
Said it would shortly come into the full,
And let me in this enterprise prevail.
"‘I like your well determin’d mind,’ quoth she,
‘And these high strains of eloquence do work
Some touches of remorse, now in my soul.
My will, enkindl’d by mine eyes and ears--
Two traded pilots--’twixt the dangerous shores
Of will and judgment steers.
May love forbid, my son,
There should be any quarrel ’twixt us now.
But is there not, and will there never be,
An end or limit to this business?
’Tis plain to see that our posterity
Do wish to be e’en greater than ourselves.
These higher wits would other worlds create,
Direct their course, o’er nature domineer,
Nor is it quite unlikely to my mind,
That th’ authority we have impos’d,
Hath wearisome become unto the young.
Vanity and license they would have--
Throw all approv’d opinions to the wind;
Make bold to ask us to give up, withal,
On their own terms of base compulsion,
Invented systems of the universe,
And institutions of the present time,
While, in exchange, they do acceptance crave
Of all those new inventions, theories,
Those silly arts and sciences, in truth,
That have restrain’d all former learning,
And much conjecture in our minds instill’d.
For pure and open light, sure, there is none
On subjects of philosophy, as well
As Nature’s ever new phenomena.’
"‘You undergo too strict a paradox,
Which doth preclude all prospect of improvement.’
"‘This is a subject past the depth of those
That, without heed, do plunge into it, sir.
No marvel, then, their hearts should faint and quail,
When he that entereth far, sinketh so deep.
Those that succeed are like unto ourselves--
Of the same nature, for we daily die,
And as others to us have given place,
So we must, in the end, to others give way.
Knowledge, said Plato, but remembrance is,
And Solomon, as well, his sentence gives,
That there is no new thing upon the earth,
And that all novelty is but oblivion.’
"‘But mighty is the truth and will prevail;
So far as doth the daughter of the Day
All other lesser lights, in light excel,
So far doth she, plac’d in the firmament,
Through the bright heaven her beauteous beams display.
Much more there is unkenn’d than thou dost con,
And from men’s knowledge lurk much more than’s known.’
"‘How hast thou purchas’d this experience
And grace of speech as well, in such short time?’
"‘How? By my pen of observation, Madam.
Substance of matter better is, by far,
Than beauty fair of words; contrariwise
Much worse is matter vain, than are vain words.’
"‘And useless speculations, though scholastic,
Are like the Olympic gamesters, who abstain’d
From needful labors, that they might be fit
For such as were not so. Thine answer’s good.’
"‘Think’st thou there was a time in the world’s history,
When all lov’d virtue; no man was afraid
Of force; ne fraud in wight was to be found;
No war was known, no dreadful trumpet sound;
Peace universal reign’d ’mongst men and beasts;
And all things freely grew out of the ground;
Justice sate high, ador’d with solemn feasts,
And to all people did divide her hests?
I daily do devise experiments,
To bring about conditions, requisite
For such a blessed state of unity,
For simple men o’erthrown by Fortune’s spite.’
"‘I like not well, fair sir, the influence
Of common notions such as these, in faith,
With which thou hast their imaginations
Infected, in so far they will attend
Neither to work, nor claims of family.
And presently, they may the purpose take,
Even to leave this war, and follow you.
Designments such as these, appear to me
Proportionèd for former days; they’ve been
Long time quite out of use, and well at rest.’
"‘In my opinion, ’tis of special praise
That one hath labor’d to restore the good,
And demonstrate to what high points may be
Moulded or wrought, the nature of weak man.’
"‘But they must have some check, sir, or arrest.
Ambition is engend’red easily,
As, in a vicious body, gross disease
Soon grows through humours’ superfluity;
When swol’n with plenty’s pride, thou soon wouldst see
Nor prince, nor peer, nor kin they would abide.’
"‘On land or sea, bold Britons, far or near,
Whatever course their matchless virtues shape,
Whether to Europe’s bounds, or western worlds,
Will ne’er forget their loyalty to thee.’
"‘Then simple truth and mutual good will
Will bring sweet peace--the just reward of both--
And heaven will right the wrongs that they sustain.’
"‘That’s like enough, when you unknit this knot
Of all-abhorrèd war, and move again
In that obedient orb, where thou didst give
A fair and natural light, my gracious Queen.
But when I see, alas, so much blood spilt--
So many murders, horrid massacres,
So many cruel battles fought, I think
’Tis fitter subject for bards to lament,
As Merlin, when he sat by the lake side
With Vortigern, and saw the dragons fight,
Before he ’gan interpret or to speak.
For when the ground with multitudes is mantlèd,
The spring is hinder’d by the smothering hosts;
For neither rain can fall upon the earth,
Nor sun reflect his virtuous beams thereon,
And all the trees are blasted with their breaths.’
"‘O, ceaseless and disconsolate conceits!
Thou hast not leave to wound me with these words.
Christ save me, ’tis no time to discourse so.
What is it then to me, if impious war,
Array’d in flames like to the prince of fiends,
Do with his smirch’d complexion all fell feats?
Would that we were before our armies, and could fight!
I could maintain my argument as well
As any militarie man in all the world.
For, certes, in my nature, I’m a soldier--
A name that in my thoughts becomes me best.
I know the disciplines of war and there’s an end.
Though all the world should come, I shall do well.
The people love me, and the sea is mine,
And sooner shall they drink the ocean dry,
Than conquer England or endanger us.’
"‘Yet ere we put ourselves in arms, fair Queen,
Dispatch we this whereof we have long talkt.’
"‘Perchance thou think’st I jest. No ’tis not so.
Where is that happy land of dear delights,
Which thou so much dost vaunt, yet nowhere show?
Many great regions are discoverèd,
And daily won through hardy enterprise,
Which to late age were never mentionèd.
Is’t one of these? The Indian Peru?
Or fruitfullest Virginia o’er the sea?
Hast thou in venturous vessel measurèd
The Amazon, huge river now found true?
Indeed, ’twould be a pleasant tale to tell!
Why vouch antiquities which none can know?
Rather with better sense let men advise,
That, of the world, to us least part is read;
And teach us all to have aspiring minds,
And souls whose faculties can comprehend
The wondrous architecture of the world.
There is no need of any such redress
As this whereof you speak, Francis, my son.
Or if there were, it nought belongs to thee.
Thou’rt well restor’d, I’m glad, let the rest go.
Know thou it is in us to plant thine honour
And fortune, where we please to have it grow.
Obey our will, which travails in thy good.
Believe not thy disdain, but presently,
Do thine own fortune that obedient right,
Which both thy duty owes and our power claims;
Or I will throw thee from my care forever,
Into the staggers and the careless lapse
Of youth and ignorance; both my revenge
And hate, loosing upon thee in the name
Of Justice without any terms of pity.
The basest waiter that attends thy cups,
Shall be in honour greater than thyself.’
"How fortune tempers lucky haps with frowns,
And wrongs me with the sweets of my delight!
Fond Ate, doomer of bad boding fates,
That wrapst proud fortune in thy snaky locks,
Didst thou enchant my birthday with such stars,
As lighten’d mischief from their infancy?
And shall I never have a merry day,
But lose the fame and honour of my head?
Bootless I saw it was to war with Fate,
That hath so many unresisted friends,
Wherefore I chang’d my counsel with the time,
And planted love where envy erst had sprung.
"‘What blessing great and what dole of fortune
Flies where you bid it, O my righteous Queen!
But these breed honour that is honour’s scorn,
Which challenges itself, as honour’s born,
And there, indeed, thou’lt see they better thrive,
When rather from our acts we them derive
Than our foregoers; good alone is good;
Without a name, fair Queen, vileness is so;
The property by what it is should go,
Not by the title.’
"‘Must I now send to thee most humble treaties,
And dodge and palter in the shifts of lowness,
Who have with half the bulk o’ th’ great world
Play’d as I pleas’d, making and marring fortune?
Faith thou dost know how much thou art my conqueror.
My hand, made weak by my affection,
Would it obey in all--’tis most unnoble swerving.
But ’tis not of much use, sir, to recount
All this, though I commend thy composition,
And argument of honourable disposition.
Sweet sir, thou shouldst not be thyself, did not
With mounting mind thy gifts surmount the rest.
The benediction of these covering heavens
Fall on thy head like dew, for thou art worthy
To inlay heaven with stars. But now farewell,
’Twixt thee and danger will I ever stand.’
"‘Pray give me leave to lay my duty on thy hand,
And crave acceptance of my humblest thanks.
Farewell, my peerless mistress, sovereign of my peace,
Long mayst thou joy with honour’s great increase,
And even so I pray heaven for thy happiness.’
"So having ended my devotion dutiful,
I gently left the presence of the Queen,
And with firm eyes affix’d, the ground I view’d,
Of sorry’st fancies making my companions.
Men judge by the complexion of the sky,
That state and inclination of the day;
So might you, by my dull and heavy eye,
My tongue had but a heavy tale to say.
Fain would I go to meet my prisoner,
But many thousand reasons hold me back.
I am perplext and know not what to say,
Nor can I think at present what to do.
I sight for Anthony who very oft,
When I am dull with care and melancholy,
Lightens my humour with his merry jests.
Lacking his company, to myself I said,
Within this hour it will be dinner time.
Till that I’ll view what’s passing in the town,
Persue the traders, gaze upon the buildings,
And then return and sleep within mine inn,
For with long travel I am stiff and weary.’
Hopeless and helpless did I wend my way,
Till I came to my inn, and in good time,
For there I met the gracious host, who said:
"‘Welcome, you have been hotly call’d for, gentle sir,
Your friends have sent a dozen sequent messengers,
This very hour at one another’s heels.
And when not at your lodgings to be found,
They sent three several quests to search you out.
One waits within who at the table sits,
Himself refreshing with a liquid cold
After his long pursuit.’
"Unwilling I proceed
Unto the open hall at the inn’s front;
There did I find, or rather, I was found
Of this good trusty friend, who there did wait.
I wond’red at his breathless hasty mood,
And his impatient mind.
"‘Something from th’ city.’
"I may divine it is a business of some heat,
His greeting with great humblesse he did make,
Then to my hands a paper he did give,
Which I, disclosing, read and stood amaz’d,
At suddenness at which my purpose
Had prov’d a lawful prize for gossips at the Court.
I take it much unkindly that my business,
The which I thought at least be-leed and calm’d--
Put into circumscription and confine--
Until the morn, should raise, as this writ told,
A breeze of prattle ’yond belief. Abhor me
If ever I did dream of such a matter!
Three great ones of the city send to me,
(And sacred pledges give of secrecy)
And beg that I will not procrastinate the time,
To seek the monie that I needs must have,
For that new, unknown guest from foreign clime.
What mean these idle rancorous threats, in lines
Addrest to me in terms imperious?
"‘Thou hast this day, ere his arrival here,
To beg or borrow to make up the sum,
The which is wanting to redeem his life,
Or he is doom’d to die this very day;
Sith he not being able to buy out his life,
According to the statute of the Crown
Dies ere the wearie sun set in the west,
Unless ten thousand pounds be levied straight,
To quit the penalty and ransom him.
The enmity and discord, which of late
Sprung from the rancorous outrage of this King
To our well-dealing countrymen, you wot,
Who seal’d his rigorous statutes with their bloods,
Excludes all pity from our threat’ning looks;
For since the mortal and intestine jars,
’Twixt the Most Catholic King and us,
It hath in solemn synods been decreed,
Both by the Spanish Council and ourselves,
To admit no traffic to our seaport towns.
Nay more, if any born in England, ere be seen
At any Spanish marts, harbors or towns;
Again, if any in Hispania born,
Come to the bays of England, he shall die,
His goods confiscate to the Queen’s dispose.
Thou art not partial to infringe our laws,
We bid thee be advisèd for the best,
And plead no more against his punishment.
Farewell, we do commend thee to thine own content.’
"Following this were names well-known to all--
Merchants of a distinguish’d, ancient Guild,
Whose wealth, by prosperous voyages increast,
Was a great factor in th’ affairs of State.
Strange words! On them I gaze long time in doubt,
Reflecting on the nature of the speech
To make unto them when I there arrive.
The word ‘content’ drawing mine eye, I thought:
‘He that commends me to mine own content
Commends me to the thing I cannot get.
I to the world am like a drop of water,
That in the ocean seeks another drop,
Who failing there to find his fellow, forth
Unseen, inquisitive, confounds himself.
So I, to find a mother, or a mother’s heart,
In quest of them, unhappy, lose myself.
By th’ faith of man, I know my price;
I’m worth no worse a place than England’s throne.
And if these merchants here had the election,
(Who’ve oft made suit to make me their lieutenant,
Even without practice in soldiership,)
The world should see me now advancèd high,
And I should yet attain unto the crown.’
"Quoth I, ‘’Tis well that I am found of you.
I will but spend a word here in the house
And go with you.’
"Then to mine host I said:--
‘I am invited sir to dine with friends.
’Tis meet that thou shouldst know of this,
Since thou hast made provision for me here.
And say, if any call for me meanwhile,
I will return at bedtime to the inn.’
"Then did we go with haste, and stayèd not
To look upon the right hand nor the left,
And spake not till we stood before the house,
Where, wishing me good-speed, and charging me
To do exactly in all points as directed,
He bade me enter: ‘Gentle Bacon go,
And thrust thyself into their company.
But tell them first,’ said he in merry mood,
‘You honor much their house them to attend.’
I paus’d one moment at the half op’d door,
The next, I stood within the stately hall
Whose height seem’d many times as great, you wot,
Since without proper light it needs must be.
Many a worthy ornament, howe’r,
Disposèd was its richness to reveal;
And many an ancient badge of honour there,
I did espy most brightly glistening,
With starry beams about them shining bright.
The doubly parted door behind me clos’d
(’Twas not of wood nor of enduring brass,
But of more worthy substance fram’d it was)
And when it lockèd none might through it pass,
Or when it open’d no man might it close;
Still open’d to their friends and clos’d to foes.
With great designs of noble consequence,
And commonwealth affairs they spend their wits.
I saw them every man stall’d in their places,
All meet to be of counsel to a king,
Discoursing of the dreadful, late distress
In which the kingdom was so rudely cast.
Devising what to do in this dire case,
Or how invent some means most excellent,
For conduct of the war. These men may be
Compared, truly, to the body’s sinews,
As sovereignty may be compar’d to spirits.
Their wealth and treasure doth the Crown control,
For well ’tis known that the Queen’s hand doth hold,
Their purse as if the strings had been her own,
Of which mine eyes had seen the proof erstwhiles.
Eke though I were a forcèd guest, indeed,
I did receive a welcome wondrous warm,
And passing well profest in courteous words.
"‘Welcome ten thousand times, my gentle sir,
We lackt your counsel and your help to-night,’
Said he who o’er th’ assembly did preside.
"‘Your Honor’s pardon, pray, so did I yours.’
"Grows not a fairer flower than courtesy,
Though it on lowly stalk doth often bower,
Hidden from view of men, and th’ world’s disdain.
I’ll not confound the time with conference harsh;
Deeds, words and thoughts, shall all be as a king’s,
And my deserts shall counterpoise a king’s,
Why should not I, then, look to be a king?
To temporize is not from truth to swerve,
Ne for advantage terms to entertain.
These prudent heads, that with their counsels wise,
The pillars of the State do well sustain,
Shall now give unto me words good and sound.
"‘Where is your prisoner now, and what of him?
"‘I know not where he is, but this I know,
I dare in ’sdain of wrong and tyranny,
Defend his freedom ’gainst a monarchy.
Is’t not a kingly resolution, sirs?’
"‘It cannot choose because it comes from thee.
It is a resolution sound and just,
According to the law and to the truth.
Sir, cheer thy heart, nor troubled be with th’ times,
Which drive o’er thy content these sad necessities.
Be no whit sad. A Queen gave thee thy name,
A kingly mind, thy God hath given thee,
As bright as is the burning lamp of heaven,’
"‘You citizens of this metropolis,
Whose honour and whose oath I gratulate,
(For well I know that here, amongst you, be
Full many persons of right worthy parts,
Both for report of spotless honesty,
And for profession of all learnèd arts,)
List while I tell you all, and sirs, I pray,
Use not a spur when I do need a bit.
It makes the course of thought to fetch about
Startles and frights consideration, too.
My answer will I give to your demand.
I left my prisoner in th’ Adam and Eve--
That noble ship was a sea-wall’d fort,
Which wandereth on the seas imperial--
I bade the captain tell me first, good sirs,
Whether ‘twere best to send my prisoner on,
As soon as it did seem expedient,
Or wait compulsion of the Queen’s command.
He thought it well that I should send him hither,
And said some friends of his of good esteem,
Were journeying on the morrow to salute the Queen,
And to commend their services to her will.
In this good company should my Spaniard go,
He did not need an army for an usher,
No neighs of horse to tell of his approach.
He gave me good advice. These were his words:
"‘My very hairs do mutiny, for the white
Reprove the brown for rashness, and they them
For fear and doting. Friend, begone, thou shalt
Have letters from me to some friends, that will
Sweep well the way for thee. Pray look not sad
Nor make replies of loathness. Take the hint
Which now I do proclaim and get thee hence,
With all due speed unto Her Majesty.’
"Then I did haste away but other business
Detain’d me in the town until the morn
Did steal upon the night, melting the darkness,
And I, awhile, compellèd was to rest.
It was my purpose to pursue my way
Upon the Thames, for this hot weather, sirs,
Makes riding wearisome, and pleasantly
The river glideth through the breezy ways.
A bark just leaving, my occasion serv’d;
I journey’d with advantage of great ease;
Arriv’d at London near the palace bounds
I hied me straight unto our Sovereign,
Both resolute and full of secrecy.
The Queen’s enchanting presence and discourse
Did almost make me traitor to myself;
Her pleasant jest and courtesy meseem’d
As bombast and as lining to the times,
But maketh sound opinion sick and truth suspect’d,
For putting on so new a fashion’d robe.
At times, my heart ’gan swell in jollity,
And of my friend, great hope and help conceiv’d.
But when a man cannot vary or choose
Particulars, in general, ’tis good
To take the safest and the warièst way,
Like going softly by one that cannot well see.
This knew I passing well, but did not do,
And thinking on it makes me cry alas!
The ablest men that ever were, have had
An openness and frankness of dealing,
And if they did dissimulate in deed,
It was invisible to all men’s eyes,
Hid in the skirts or train of secrecy.
Her Majesty knew when to stop or turn,
Like steeds well manag’d, and did ever change
The subject of discourse to other things,
At such times when I thought the case well won,
And pleasing t’ her to whom I did present it,
She thenceforth straight into some new vein brought
The tide of talk, ere I the victory gain’d,
And made me oft be guilty of self-wrong.
I hardly did myself good, much less him.’
"‘Nay let thy doubts by time be banishèd,’
The eldest merchant said in kindly wise,
‘Fortune brings in some boats that are not steer’d.
Consents must come from the Queen’s Councillors,
Who will be at the Court as soon as we
I warrant thee. Confound them by some course,
And come to me; I’ll give thee gold enough;
And if the Queen forbids to ransom him,
I’ll thunder such a peal into her ears,
As never subject did unto his Queen.
For more than common service I’ve perform’d,
For longer space than three and twenty years,
Through thick and thin, and praise likewise deserv’d
With others that have greater skill in mind--
Greater than those who think themselves more wise,
Though they enforce themselves--our Sovereign
Could nought deny of all which I might claim,
So that I boldly may express my wish.
I will this undertake to have him hence,
And see him re-deliver’d to thy hands.’
"‘What shall I say? I know not what to say.
In my own case service’s no heritage.’
"‘True, true, my friend, we’ve been too sharp with thee.
It may seem strange that I should wish to do
A grace like this to an accursèd Spaniard,
But since he was by Heavenly Powers assign’d
To thee, on whom I fixèd had my hope
In blessed state to see, my heart did frame
This course wholly for thee, my friend, and ne’er
Will cease to seek for to advance the same.
The meanest with the mightiest may, in this,
Express his love and loyalty alike.
(Blazons affection’s force in lord and lown,
Auspiciously beginning many years,
And golden days and infinite to come,
Passing, in number and in happiness,
The best that ever earthly prince enjoy’d)
And with the strings of his unfeignèd heart,
Tune his true joy for all those days of peace--
Those quiet days that Englishmen enjoy
Under our Queen--Fair Queen of Brute’s new Troy.
Great Nature like thy ancestry, the stuff
Moulded so fair, thou’dst serve the praise o’ th’ world.
Sir, thou hast show’d to-day thy valiant strain,
And Fortune led thee well; thou hast the captive,
Who doth appear as a strong argument,
To teach men of thy worth, and cast new lustre
Upon that reputation, great at home
Yet greater far abroad, for bravery.
The greater good is gain’d by our own merit,
Since when we have advantage thus obtain’d,
We have the instruments to use again.
The magnitude and nature of thy deeds,
Assurèd pledges are that we may trust thee.
Our will is something sorted with thy wish
We know, and sure thy friends and followers
Are men, both active and effectual.
Plain ’tis to see thou mean’st friendship to be
An instrument, not an impediment.
Thou must proceed according to thy nature,
For thus are princes best interpreted,
And all, if they be free to make election,
Should heed, accordingly, how that their nature
Sorteth with their profession and their course of life.
Cæsar at first was orator or pleader,
But when he saw the excellence of others--
Hortentius, Cicero, and Catalus--
While for the wars, he saw there was no man
Of reputation great but Pompeus,
On whom the State was forcèd to rely,
Forsook his course begun towards civil greatness,
And his designs transferr’d to martial power.
Let’s see the proudest scholar shift his course
To warlike ways, and we will yield him praise,
Beside the honour in conquests assur’d;
And victory adorn’d with Fortune’s plumes,
Shall eke alike upon his glorious crest,
And, through his prowess and victorious arms,
Our country may be freed from foreign harms.
Bacon do this and thou contentest us.’
"‘My thanks, a thousand times unto you all.
But, sirs, the judgment of antiquity was just.
Honours divine did they award to those
Who were the authors of inventions.
This doth appear to hold, by far, first place.
To others who in th’ State did do good service--
Founders of cities, saviours of their country
From long edurèd evils, tyrannies,
They did decree no higher honours, sirs,
Than the heroic; these three things should be
Alike subordinate only to nature.
And men can hardly make themselves believe,
They ought to change that course which they have found
To be successful, if it pleasant be.
I may, nor will, list to such loathsome change,
That intercepts the course of my desire.’
"‘’Tis the more honour because more dangerous.’
"‘Aye, but give me worship, sirs, and quietness,
I like it better than a dangerous honour.
The praise you give is better than the prize,
The glory eke much greater than the gain.’
"Whilst with delight of this I wisely spake,
Night was far spent, and now, in ocean deep,
Orion, flying fast from hissing snake,
His flaming head did hasten for to steep,
And Dawn blush’d in the east. Come what, come may--
Time and the hour run through the roughest day.
"‘Now God thee speed,’ quoth then my gentle friend,
‘And keep your body from the danger dread,
For thou hast much ado to deal withal.
Be thou in thy departure fortunate,
And eke triumphant in thy safe return.’
"So all took goodly leave and parted several,
And forth we issu’d to the silent streets,
And being there alone left and abandon’d,
My mind doth satisfy itself with shadows
Of things, whose substance cannot be obtain’d.
This maketh all my thoughts heroical,
In which, whatever in this earthly state
Is sweet and pleasing unto living sense,
Or that my daint’est fantasy aggrate
Is pourèd forth with plentiful dispense,
And in some sort these wants of mine are crown’d.
Therewith, awhile, I my fleet fancy feed;
My fickle heart conceiveth hasty ire
(Like sparks of fire which fall in slender flex)
That shortly burns into extreme desire,
And ransacks all my veins with instill’d fire.
Such rage as winter’s reigneth in my heart,
As if my years were waste and waxen old,
And yet, alas! but now my springs begun,
And yet, alas! it is already done.
For this continual, cruel civil war,
The which myself against myself doth make,
Doth in me stir up old rebellious thoughts.
Thus war I for long time against my will,
Till that through weakness I am forc’d at last,
To yield myself unto the mighty ill,
That is the greatest shame and proudest scorn.
O Queen, that thou wouldst once vouchsafe my plaint to hear!
But when I plead, thou ever bid’st me play my part;
And when I weep, thou say’st ‘Tears are but water;’
And when I sigh, thou say’st ‘I know the art;’
And when I wail, thou turn’st thyself to laughter.
Ne ought so strong that may this force withstand,
With which thou armèst Fate’s resistless hand.
‘Faith, it the mildest man alive would make
Forget his patience and yield vengeance due!
Full many times thou prickt me to the heart,
And naught the hurt will heal but salve of sovereign might.
But he who hath endur’d the whole can bear each part,
Though somewhat movèd in his mighty heart,
And with strong reason will I master passion,
Care, grief, and discontents--all in a word,
That in excess exceedeth my own might,
And patience seek to conquer sorrow so.
I’ll leave it all, it mendeth not with words;
Nor herbs, nor time, such remedy affords,
Though each had hidden power and might of magic spell.
"I found that I had wander’d far away,
Still flying from my thoughts and jealous fears,
With grief as guide, my will led me astray;
At disadventure to and fro I stray’d,
Like as a ship whose loadstar suddenly
Cover’d with clouds, her pilot hath dismay’d.
At last the golden oriental gate,
Of greatest heaven ‘gan to open fair,
And Phœbus, fresh as bridgegroom to his mate,
Came dancing forth shaking his dewy hair,
And whirl’d his glist’ring beams through gloomy air;
Whereof some glance doth in my eyes remain,
Of which, beholding the ideal plain,
Through contemplation of my purest part,
With light thereof I do myself sustain.
The heavens declare the glory of our God,
But it is nowhere written that the heavens
Declare the will of God, yet there we learn
To sing His name and praises over all.
I hearken to the bird’s unlearnèd song
The dewy leaves among, for they of joy
And pleasance to me sing, that all the woods
Unto them answer, and their echo ring
With the base murmur of the waters’ fall.
The waters’ fall with difference discreet,
Now soft, now loud, unto the wind doth call,
The gentle warbling wind low answèreth to all.
What world’s delight or joy of living speech,
Doth joyous peace and quietness excel?
I stay’d no longer there, but forth in haste
Departed for the palace of the strand,
To follow this adventure’s first intent,
Which long ago I taken had in hand,
Nor stayèd step till that I came, at last,
Panting for breath and almost out of heart,
To th’ Court from whence I lately did depart.
"My royal mother, waiting for my coming,
Accompanied by divers of her nobles,
Her Chancellor and other Councillors,
(Who took from her fair eyes commandement,
And from her looks conceivèd her intent)
Did bid me welcome, and receivèd me
In royal state in her Chamber of Presence.
I did advance unto th’ upper part,
Where was a stately siege of majesty,
Whereon our Sovereign sate, as gorgeous gay
As fair Aurora in her purple pall,
Endowèd with most royal majesty.
It seem’d that little angels did uphold
The cloth of state, and on their purpled wings
Did bear the pendants through their nimblesse bold.
So richly clad in robes of royalty,
That never earthly prince in such array
His glory did enhance and pride display.
Her face right wondrous fair did seem to be,
And her broad beauty’s beam great brightness threw
Through the dim shade, that all men might it see.
Likest it seemèd to my simple wit,
Unto the fair sunshine in summer day,
At sight whereof, each bird that sits on spray,
And every beast that to his den was fled,
Comes forth afresh out of his late dismay,
And to the light lift up their drooping head.
So my storm-beaten heart likewise is cheer’d
With that sunshine, when cloudy looks are clear’d.
The blazing brightness of her beauty’s beam,
And glorious light of her sunshiny face,
Through the broad world doth spread its goodly ray.
To tell, were as to strive against the stream.
My ragged lines are all too rude and base,
Her heavenly lineaments for to enchase.
Mirror of grace and majesty divine!
Great lady of the greatest Isle, whose light,
Like Phœbus’ lamp throughout the world doth shine,
That all her peers cannot with her compare,
But quite are dimm’d when she is in her place!
Thus sitting in her sovereign majesty,
Holding a sceptre in her royal hand,
The sacred pledge of peace and clemency,
She seem’d the flower of chastity and grace,
Whose glory shineth as the morning star,
And with her light the earth enlumines clear.
Far reach her mercies, and her praises fair
Throughout the world are sounded, far and near,
From icy Tanais to the seven-fold Nile.
As well in state of peace as in rude war.’
"‘O goddess, heavenly bright, live long
In state of bliss and steadfast happiness--
The happiness enjoy’d but of a few,
Or if possess’d as soon decay’d and done,
As is the morning’s silver-melted dew,
And like a summer shade doth pass away,
Soon as the sun doth but the mountains touch.
May God pour on thee all his blessings rich,
And may the hour-glass of thy happy reign
Run at the full and never be at wane.
What more felicity can fall to creatures,
Than to be subjects in thy happy reign
To be thy councillors and ministers,
Is greatest honour to which men aspire.
O gracious Queen, whom I have serv’d so long,
I re-salute thee here with loyal heart,
And thank thy noble majesty for grace
And leave to bring my suit before thy lords.
I do intreat thee to repair the wrong,
That Fate hath done to a most noble prince.
Let all that hear judge wisely of the case,
And counsel give whereof may come relief.’
"‘But he’s a Spaniard,’ said a councillor,
‘This could I ne’er endure. The mere conceit
Of such a thing i’ faith would drive me mad.’
"‘But good my lord,’ said I, ‘doth not our country
Pride itself on its magnanimity,
Which better us beseems ten-thousand-fold
Than any ornaments that we might wear?
Besides he is a noble fellow, too,
Albeit he comes on angry purpose now,
But that’s no fault of his but of his sender.’
"‘We’ll make our judgments on the things themselves,
As they give light to one another, sir;
’Twill not be contrary to his desert.
If in his acts there’s truth enough to save him,
You may prejudge the sentence we shall give.
Proceed, we do vouchsafe justice alone.’
"Therewith, upon advisement, this purpose
To advance I spake, and well night had achiev’d
The end I sought, when lo, in strange accoutrements,
And rich habiliments of peace and war,
The officer-at-arms before, as usher
To th’ train, I saw His Grace, the Lord High Admiral,
The careful Palmer and Sir Anthony Cooke,
Follow’d by Drake and many officers,
Who with them went along as a strong guard,
Enter the Presence Chamber; four captains
Bore Hamlet-like, a soldier in their midst--
A Spanish Don unknown to me before--
And, close behind, that very prisoner
For whom I spake, well pleas’d I saw advance,
Like tall Orion stalking o’er the flood,
When with his brawny breast he cuts the waves,
His shoulders scarce the topmost billow leaves,
So high he tower’d above all common men.
Then merchants, lawyers, country-gentlemen,
Did after pass encompassing the throne,
Where, angel-like, the heir of ancient kings
And mighty conquerors in royal state,
Our gracious Queen sat, brave embellishèd
In glistering gold and peerless precious stone,
That shinèd wide as the fair moon at full,
And did these merchants fixèd eyes so ’maze
That, what through wonder and what through delight,
Awhile on her they silently did gaze,
Ere they advanc’d and their obedience paid.
The whiles the Spaniards to her presence mount,
Whose glorious view might frail amazed senses
Quite confound, and at her feet did fall.
Her majesty receiv’d them graciously,
And from her lofty siege these words did sound:--
"‘Now that my lords and captains may perceive
My mind, in this, single and pure to be--
As pure as is the water of the brook--
My dearest son, to thee I do engage
Thy prisoner first to hear. Don Pedro, speak.’
"Then with bold grace and comely gravity,
Drawing to him the eyes of all around,
Thus pleaded he his cause in Spanish tongue,
And I there standing by, it did translate.
"‘Great and most glorious virgin Queen alive.
That with thy sovereign power and sceptre sheen
All England doth so peaceably susteen,
List the sad ’hersal of my heavy stress,
And on me deign thy kindness to bestow.
In thee the riches of all heavenly grace
In chief degree are heapèd up on high,
And all that else this world’s enclosure base
Hath great or glorious in mortal eye,
Adorns the person of thy majesty.
In widest ocean thou thy throne dost rear,
That over all the earth it may be seen,
As morning sun, thy beams dispredden clear,
For this fair isle is but thy footstool here.
In thy fair face let mercy now appear.
"‘The quality of mercy is not strain’d,
It droppeth as the gentle raine from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest,
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes,
’Tis mightiest in the mightiest, it becomes
The thronèd monarch better than his crown.
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above this sceptred sway,
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,
It is an attribute to God himself,
And earthly power doth then show likest God’s
When mercy seasons justice. This consider
That in the course of justice, none of us
Should see salvation; we do pray for mercy,
And that same prayer, doth teach us all to render
The deeds of mercy, for therein doth lie
Most of our duties and their dignities."
"‘How silverly his speech like rills progress!
My heart hath melted at the silver sounds,
And even there methinks an angel spoke.
But things must undergo their own due course,
Because I will not jump with common spirits,
Nor rank me with the lowly of the earth.
Bid him to step aside and bide his time.
I ’gin to be aweary of his speech,
And wish to hear my Admiral’s report,
And what good Captain Drake says of himself.
Let them approach.’
"As they advanc’d she said:--
"‘Welcome, thrice welcome, honourable friends
Who see your vanquish’d foes before you fly.
Well worthy be you of that armoury,
Wherein we have with glory won the day,
And prov’d your strength on a strong enemy.
What is his strength by land, however great,
Since you by sea are masters absolute?
He never meant with words, but swords, to plead his right--
Or what he pleases to foredeem his right--
His forces fail, he can no longer fight,
Whose courage, rudely fallen to the ground,
Groaning full deadly all with troublous fear,
To seek some place the which mote yield some ease,
End of the doubtful battle doth devise;
But sith the Heavens and your fair handèling
Have made you masters of the land and sea,
Now tell me, if you please, of the good success
Which ye have had in your late enterprise.’
"To her the Admiral then ’gan t’ express
His whole exploit and valorous emprize:--
Now, O thou sacred Muse, most learned dame,
The nurse of Time and everlasting Fame,
That warlike hands ennoblest with immortal name,
O, favor my beginnings graciously.
"‘Your Majesty," he said, ‘I will relate
How war with vicious gall doth rage apace.
The warlike Dragon first in perilous fight,
That nought but spoil and vengeance did require,
Did brawl and rayl, yet cowardly withal,
Till that there enter’d on the other side
The Fly, to take defiance from her foe,
Who seeing her come on so furiously,
Met her mid-way with equal hardiment;
Against her ran, full of dispiteous ire,
And therewithal at her right doughty strook.
Greatly she grew enrag’d, and furiously
Roared and ragèd to be underkept;
Yet she, perforce, her held and strokes upon her hept;
Full many wounds in her she did engrave,
And riv’d asunder all her huge great beam,
And she did sink down to the deepest sea.
The warlike Amazon came forth to fight;
The Arrow upon her did fly with fresh assault,
And ’gan renew her former cruelness,
And lay incessant battery to her heart.
A mortal bow and arrows keen did hold,
With which she shot at random where she list;
And though she still retir’d, yet, natheless,
With huge redoubl’d strokes she on her laid;
Nought could she do but shun the dread despite
Of her fierce wrath, and backward still retire,
And with her lofty sides, well as she might,
Bear off the burden of her raging ire.
And evermore she greatly did desire
To stay her strokes, and she herself would yield,
Yet neither would she heark, ne let her once respire;
But leapt to her as doth an eager hound
Thrust to an hind within some covert glade,
And many wounds made in her waiste of oak,
And tore her all with terrible mischance,
Till she a wreck was made all bruis’d and broken up.
"‘Then like a lion that had long time sought
His robbèd whelps, and at the last them find,
The Venus forth advancing towards them came,
Cross-cut the Vulcan, who was nothing slow
Himself to save from that so deadly throw.
She found herself assail’d with great perplexity;
Yet from thenceforth more warily she fought,
As one in fear th’ Stygian gods t’ offend,
Ne follow’d on so fast, but rather sought
Herself to save, ’gainst danger to defend,
Than strength and labor both in vain to spend.
And then another Spanish ship did come--
The stout Passado consort of the Venus--
To her relief. With courage though she fights,
Ne can her aid, ne can her foes dismay.
He ’gan at them let drive more fiercely than afore.
Now Cupid came that was well skill’d in fight,
And to the battle whylome ready dight,
And rushing forth into the open sea,
Against the Spaniard fiercely him address’d
Who, him affronting, soon to fight was ready press’d.
But her so rudely they two fiercely smit,
That they empiercèd to the very pith,
And with sharp blows did rive her quite in tway;
As when two greedy wolves do break in force
Into an herd far from the husband farm,
They spoil and ravin all without remorse.
Full sad and dreadful is that ship’s event;
She’s like a ship in midst of tempest left,
Withouten helm or pilot her to stay.
"‘By that the gloomy evening on us fell,
That forcèd us from fighting to refrain,
And trumpets’ sound to cease all did compel.
Two days incessantly we fought.’
"‘Speak now the events of the second day,
And tell us what the varied fortunes were,
Of these fierce battles. Captain Drake, begin.’
"Then did she pause, in order to give place
Unto the valiant captain, who thus spake:--
"‘I have a glory set unto this hand
By a sea-fight. A ship, forc’d from its course,
Courageously did coast around where fear forbids
To harbor; and her every wind did whip.
Quickly I did pursue in the Revenge;
And she, hedg’d by the main, could not escape
But to the rescue of the noble prey,
The vessels of her fleet came swelling in;
Their noble minds all dastard to defy,
And now no sooner is she so surpris’d,
Than semblance of fair fight she quick doth make;
But in that moment that we call them ours,
Then, even then, this lapwing runs away.
Quit from the danger, forth their course they kept,
And, as they went, we heard over the sea
A rueful cry--th’ resounding plaints of one that wail’d
And painfully did weep. Then like a falcon
We issued forth and hover’d about this fowl,
She making speedy way; and creeping still,
We lightly slippèd unawares behind,
And did encounter them, and turn on them
Our fire, and then a hot fight did begin.
And then the devilish engine, wrought
In deepest hell and fram’d by Furies’ skill,
With windy nitre and quick sulphur fraught,
And ramm’d with bullets round ordain’d to kill
Conceiveth fire; the heavens it doth fill
With thundering noise; and all the air doth choke
That none can breathe, nor see, nor hear, at will
Through smouldry clouds of duskish stinky smoke,
That th’ breath him daunts who hath escap’d the stroke.
Their wooden ribs are shaken nigh asunder.
They who from shore behold the dreadful sight
Of flashing fire, and hear the ordnance thunder,
Do greatly stand amaz’d at such unwonted wonder.
When that she saw she forcèd was to fight,
She flew at us like to an hellish fiend.
Long very doubtful was the battle’s event,
Uncertain whether had the better side;
For both were skill’d in that experiment,
And both in arms were train’d and throughly trièd.
But we were lighter and more quick,
And our men better breathèd were beside,
And towards the end grew greater in their might.
Our noble crew like dreadful fight ne’er saw,
Whose flame and fatal smoke work’d their sad end
And such confusion on her. Suddenly,
All wrapping up her wreathèd stern around,
We fir’d our broadsides clean across her deck,
That all her planks in pieces nigh we broke.
Then, tossing like a cork upon the waves,
Her mighty host against my bulwarks brought
Her light artillery, and all her force;
And fire for fire we fiercely interchang’d.
So both together ylike felly bent,
Like fiercely met; but I at last was stronger,
And though at last by force I conquer’d her,
Yet she, like hound full greedy of his prey,
Being impatient of impediment,
Continu’d still her course and at us ran,
Who, seeing her come still so fiercly on,
Against her made amain with furious might.
At last dull weariness of former fight,
Having y-rock’d asleep her hardy spright,
She ever then did list to make her irksome flight,
And every way did try, but all in vain;
Which being shown, we ’gan ourselves straightway
Upon the bulwarks of her hold to play
Volleys of ordnance, till a breach was made,
’Gainst which she saw no means to be defended;
And speedily she pull’d her colours down.
"‘Then all at once the Hercules came on,
And running straight into the thickest fight
Did warn his foe to battle soon be prest,
And with his club him smote with greedy force;
But ere his stroke attainèd his intent,
Or deep embowl’d was in middle part.
E’en as his hand was heavèd up on high,
Th’ Duello him did meet in th’ middle fall,
Preventing his desire, beat back his club,
And foilèd thus the foe of easy prey.
But fortune did not with his will conspire,
For soon the Hercules with greater speed,
Upon him turned, and with greedy force
And fury to be crossèd in this way,
Without remorse, did rush full furious
To be aveng’d on him and to redress;
Encount’ring fierce, with puissance at him flew,
And, threat’ning high, his dreadful stroke did pass.
Him thought at first encounter to defeat,
But wise and wary was his noble foe,
And, ‘scaping him, made quickly a retreat.
"‘Then, when as cheerless night ycover’d had
Fair heaven with an universal cloud,
That every sight dismay’d with darkness sad,
The fleets resting from battle and from weary fight,
In silence and deep sleep did shroud themselves.
As soon as day, forth dawning from the east,
Night’s humid curtain from the heavens withdrew,
And, early calling forth both man and beast,
Commanded them their daily works renew,
These noble warriors, mindful to pursue
The last day’s purpose of their vowèd fight,
Themselves thereto prepar’d in order due,
To fairly try whether had greater might.
"‘It fortunèd out of the thickest fight
The ramping Lion rushèd suddenly,
Hunting full greedy after savage blood.
Straight down the Boar ran, like an enraged cow,
That is berobbed of her youngling dear;
Against him turning all his fell intent,
With beastly brutish rage ’gan him assail,
Like to a fierce boar, that being busy bent.
To fight with many foes about him ment.
He turns about with fell avengèment,
And he against his power ’gan to prepare;
And after adding more impetuous force,
The Lion the more with furious rage was fir’d,
Threat’ning the point of his avenging blade,
With full intent against the other came.
The mortal steel stay’d not till it was seen
To gore her side, yet was the wound not deep,
But lightly raz’d her body broad and high.
The Boar struck at him with more manly force,
Resolv’d in mind all suddenly to win,
Or soon to lose before he once would lin.
But when he saw his foe not hurt at all,
He turn’d about and fled away apace.
"‘Enflam’d with fury and fierce hardyhed,
The Dolphin ’gan prepare for fight,
And of his puissance trial make extreme.
He lightly left the foe with whom he fought;
And now again was on his former way,
To follow his first quest, whenas he spied
The Dog-fish bold, fighting not far away,
And ’gan him straight to buckle to the fight;
And therewithal he fiercely at him flew,
And with importun’d outrage him assail’d.
His puissant foe, with envious despite,
His proud presumèd force increasèd more,
Disdaining to be held so long in fight.
The Dog preparèd soon his mighty strokes,
Half in amaze with ’stonishment,
And half in rage to be eluded thus;
With wrathful fire his courage kindl’d bright,
Thereof devising shortly to be wroke,
And, doubling all his powers, redoubl’d every stroke,
And with his burdenous blows him sore did overlade.
At that they all upon him flew,
And struck at him so sternly that they forc’d
Him backward to recoil, forego his prey,
And to betake himself to fearful flight.
All suddenly he turnèd wrathfully,
And buckling him eftsoones unto the fight,
Rush’d fiercely forth the battle to renew;
And passing through with furious affret,
He set upon those ships with all his power and might.
So he them forcèd backward to retreat
Like scatter’d sheep, in vain to seek for safety.
He them encount’red, and so fiercely chas’d
He them defeated in victorious fight;
And them dispers’d in a confusèd rout;
And whenas all were put to shameful flight,
Therewith enrag’d, he fiercely at them flew,
That none of them foul mischief could eschew,
But with those dreadful strokes were all dismay’d;
Yet gathering force, with courage valorous,
They encount’red him in battle well-ordain’d.
Nathless he fast pursu’d with courage stout,
And did amongst them cruel havoc make,
That forc’d their leader, for his safety’s sake,
Forth issue and away him to betake,
Leaving the Dolphin to his victory.
"‘With hugest force and insupportable main,
The Santa Anna’s front all sturdy came.
Towards her at once with dreadful fury prance
Th’ Revenge, Triumph, Victory and Mary-Rose,
Redoubted battle ready to darrayne.
And down they let their cruel weapons fall.
Scarce yielding her due chance of timely rest,
With cruel rigour her did much molest,
And with their might they did her captive keep.
So leave we her in wretched thraldom bound.
Then all the prisoners which they here had hent,
Were by them slain by general consent.
Where shall I then conclude this woful tale?
The captain of that ship still stronger grew through strife,
Though himself weaker through infirmity;
And fierce he did appear the more we did him thresh,
We wist not how him to despoil of life,
Ne how to win the wishèd victory.
His fiery eyes with furious sparks did stare
New matter adding to his former fire,
Lightly he started up out of that stound,
With blasphemous banns High God in pieces tare;
And, snatching forth his direful, deadly blade,
Hurling his sword away, he lightly leapt
Into a tender-ship and took his bloody flag.
Then, Your Grace, I with my ship th’ Revenge,
Advancing swift to where the Triumph lay,
With respite small did myself address
To battle and the weary war renew
With the Saint Martin, who, to hardy fight inur’d,
Disdain’d to yield unto the first assay.
At last, when long she struggl’d had in vain,
She fled away in ghastly dreriment.’
"‘In this I count me highly gratified,’
The Queen said, when she had heard all that he did say;
‘And now,’ said she, ‘it draweth tÇ ward night,
And well I wote that of your later fight
Ye all forewearied be; for what so strong,
But, wanting rest, will also want of might?
And for to tell their lamentable case,
And eke this battle’s end, will need another place.
The sun, that measures heaven all day long,
At night doth bate his steeds the ocean waves among.
Then with the sun take, sirs, your timely rest,
And with new day new work at once begin;
Untroubled night, they say, gives counsel best.’
"The morrow next, so soon as dawning light
Bade do away the damp of drowsy sleep,
The royal lady shook off drowsyhed,
And, raising forth out of her noble bow’r,
She causèd straight a trumpet loud to shrill,
To warn those warriors great prepare for day--
She long before awake, for she full ill
Could sleep at night, that with unquiet breast
Did closely harbour such distinguished guests.
So forth they went, the dwarf them guided ever right.
Now, when their bodies were refresh’d with due repast,
They, passing by, were guarded by degree,
Unto the presence of that haughty Queen;
Who sat on high, in dreaded sovereignty
And princely grace, that she might all men see
And might of all men royally be seen,
Upon a throne as bright as sunny day,
Adornèd with all gems of endless price,
As either might for wealth have gotten been,
Or could be fram’d by workman’s rare device;
And all emboss’d with lions and fleur-de-lice.
Yet her bright blazing beauty did assay
To dim the brightness of her glorious throne,
As envying herself, that too exceeding shone:
Exceeding shone, like Phœbus’ fairest child,
That did presume his father’s fiery wain,
And flaming mouths of steed unwonted wild,
Through highest heaven with weaker hand to rein,
Proud of such glory and advancement vain;
While flashing beams do daze his feeble eye,
He leaves the welkin way most beaten plain,
And, rapt with whirling wheels, inflames the sky
With fire not made to burn, but fairly for to shine.
So proud she shined in her princely state.
"In living prince’s court none ever knew
Such endless riches and so sumptuous shew;
Ne Persia’s self, the nurse of pompous pride,
Like ever saw; for there a noble crew
Of lords and ladies stood on every side,
And with their presence fair the place much beautified.
High above all a cloth of state was spread,
Like to the walls, which were on every side
With rich array and costly arras dight.
Within the hall most gorgeously array’d
An infinite sort of people did there bide,
Awaiting long to win the wishèd sight
Of her that was the lady of the palace bright.
Her lords and ladies all this while devise
Themselves to setten forth to strangers’ sight;
Some frounce their curlèd hair in courtly guise;
Some prank their ruffs; and others trimly dight
Their gay attire, each other’s greater pride to spite.
"There to her presence were the brave men brought
Who, bowing low before her majesty,
Did do her mild obedience, as they ought.
And meekest boon that they imagine mought;
To whom she eke inclining her withal,
As a fair stoop of her high-soaring thought,
A cheerful countenance on them let fall,
Yet temp’red with some majesty imperial.
As the bright sun, what time his fiery team
Towards the western brim begins to draw,
’Gins to abate the brightness of his beam,
And fervor of his flames somewhat adaw,
So did this mighty lady, when she saw
Those two brave warriors such homage to her make,
Bate somewhat of that majesty and awe
That whylome wont to do so many quake,
And with more mild respect those two ’gan entertake.
Whenas they now approaching near to her,
She not confusèd by a troublous thought,
Was kindness all and gentle courtesy;
Filled with courage and with joyous glee,
And glad to hear of arms and deadly wars,
She bade Drake to begin and open bold
That she the faces of her foes might see.
"‘Great glory and gay spoil sure hast thou got,
And stoutly prov’d thy puissance here in fight,
And shew’d the ensample of thy avenging might.
Yet, notwithstanding that in former fight
Thy name renownèd is in arms and derring-do,
Of thy great deeds and valorous emprise,
What trophy then shall I most fit devise,
In which I may record the memory
Of thy conquest? Name thou thine own reward.’
"‘When that the war is ended, gracious Queen,
And all the country safe from rude alarms,
Then mayst thou speak of honour. Not till then.’
For entertainment I will tell thee now
Tidings of war and of adventure new,
And rattle forth the facts of war and blood,
Too harsh a subject for thy dainty ears.’
"‘Nay, nay, say on, it is my pride to hear.’
"He stay’d not but straight to his story went:--
"‘Magnificent virgin that in quaint disguise
Of British arms dost mask thy royal blood,
So to pursue a perilous emprise,
List while the story of our wars I tell.
Yesterday I told the third day’s fight.
The morrow next appear’d with purple hair,
Yet dropping fresh out of the Indian fount,
And bringing light into the heavens fair.
Thenceforth we much more furiously ’gan fare,
As if but then the battle had begun;
And on our foes did work full cruel rack;
And did not our wild fiend-like fury slack,
And evermore our malice did augment.
The force which wont in two to be dispers’d,
In one attack alone we now unite,
Which is through rage more strong than both were erst.
Thus all then, quickly running to our prey,
With mortal balls them smote again so sore,
That like a sort of sheep dispersed far,
For dread of their devouring enemy,
Some fear’d and fled, some fear’d and well it feign’d.
The sight with awful fear them did dismay.
Ne durst approach us nigh to touch or once assay.
With fair disport and mirth and wanton play,
Without regard of arms and dreadful fight,
Them sore we vex’d and cours’d and overran,
And broke their bows and did their shooting mar,
That none of all the many once did dare
Us to assault, nor once approach us nigh.
"‘By this the dropping daylight ’gan to fade
And yield his room to sad succeeding night,
Who with her sable mantle ’gan to shade
The face of earth and ways of living wight.
Full loth was I the battle to forego,
And gladly would I have combat the foe,
For that the enemy (whose sides are pierc’d
With wounds) is ready to yield up the ghost,
If but that he were thereunto enforc’d.
But nigh would not such courtesy afford
To me, and when at last the day is spent,
Cover’d with darkness and misdeeming night,
We go our ways, being loth t’ assay
The proof of battle in the doubtful dark,
And rest us for the morrow’s fearful fray,
Under the shadow of her dusky wing.
See how the night, Ulysses like, comes forth
And intercepts the day by far too soon.
Ah me! the stars surpris’d like Rhesus’ steeds,
Are drawn by darkness forth Astraeus’ tents.
Then did I sigh and to the gods make plaint;--
‘O when will glad Day turn to us again,
And bring with him his long expected light,
And high his burning torch set up in heaven bright?
O Titan, haste to rear thy joyous wain!
Speed thee to spread abroad thy brightest beams,
And chase away this too long lingering Night.
Chase her away from whence she came to hell,
She, she it is that hath done us despite.
There let her with the damnèd spirits dwell
And yield her room to Day that can it govern well;
For Day discovers all dishonest ways,
And showeth each thing as it is indeed.
Day’s dearest children be the blessèd seed,
Which darkness shall subdue and heaven win;
Truth is his daughter; he her first did breed,
Most sacred virgin without spot of sin;
Our life is day, but death with darkness doth begin.
"‘The joyous day ’gan early to appear,
And fair Aurora from the dewy bed
Of aged Tithone ’gan herself to rear,
With rosy cheeks for shame as blushing red;
Her golden locks for haste were loosely shed
About her ears, when we her first did mark.
With dreadful terror and with fell intent,
The Triumph and Ark Royal issue forth;
The trumpets sound and they together go,
And their huge strokes full dangerously bestow
Upon a Spanish ship, which lay upon one end,
And ’gan herself to second battle bend
As hurt she had not been; thereby she lay,
But soon as them approaching she descried,
’Gan void her course; at which so sudden haste
They wonder’d and prepar’d themselves to fight
Again; through both the sides they struck her quite,
That made her hull to groan full piteous.
Thereat her cannon bray’d and loudly yell’d.
And she them well did ward with action wise,
And ’twixt them both boldly herself did cast.
Our ships began her freshly to assail,
And more they did increase their dreadful fire.
When quite o’erblown was this brunt of fight,
We seized on her as our lawful prize.
"‘That no more ought our passage might impeach,
In the Revenge, your Highness, I came first;
The Victory follow’d for the fray athirst;
And then, as in the lists at tournament,
Or like the three Horatii in the field,
The Hope came after; then the Mary-Rose
And the swift sailing sea-bird, Nonpareil.
Long while we then continued, fighting in that wise;
Strokes, wounds, wards, weapons, all we did despise;
Which whenas all the lookers-on beheld,
It was so exceeding furious and fell,
They weenèd sure the war was near an end.’
"‘High time it is this war now ended be,
Which I no longer can endure to ’sue;
For still when fit occasion doth betide,
Philip his weapon shifts from side to side,
From hand to hand, and with such nimbless sly
Doth wield about, that ere it is espied,
The wicked stroke doth wound his enemy
Behind, beside, before, as he at list apply--
A subtle, cruel, cunning, shifting knave,
Whose days have been renownèd heretofore.
His mind doth change from one to other ill,
In hope to win occasion to his will,
For which he hath awaited long in vain;
Hard fortune him did hap, as ye may guess,
To come where Queen Elizabeth doth reign.
By Jupiter, I swear, in plain accent,
To hale him up and down through every land.
Not those whom Cæsar led through th’ streets of Rome,
The captive kings of nations conquerèd,
Were persecuted more than these shall be
In righteous rigour of my wrathful will.
But Howard, speak, how heavy is our loss,
Since your departure to the Spanish wars?’
"‘Madam, you did but pocket up my letters,
And heeded not when I did ask of you
To lend us arms and aid, when I requir’d them.
You both denied--neglected rather both--
With taunts did gibe my heralds out of audience.’
"‘Sir, sir, thou art a soldier; speak no more.
For Ida’s self, in aid of that fierce fight,
Out of her mountains minist’red supplies;
And, like a kindly nurse, did yield (for spite)
Store of fire-brands out of her nurseries
Unto her foster-children, that they might
Inflame the navy of their enemies,
And all the Spanish fleet to ashes turn,
That now I hope floats on the Irish seas.’
"She arm’d her tongue and thought at him to scold;
Nathless her tongue not to her will obey’d,
But brought forth speeches mild, when she would have missaid,
Joyous to see him safe after long toil.
But even when his visage she beheld,
Her hand fell down, and would no longer hold
The wrathful weapon ’gainst his countenance bold,
For sovereign hope, which in his help she had;
’Mongst joys mixing some tears, ’mongst weal some woe,
Him thus bespake: ‘O most redoubted knight,
Right faithful true thou art in deed and word,
What guerdon can I give thee for thy pains?’
"He said: ‘Dear lady, deeds should not be scann’d
By th’ author’s manhood, nor the doer’s might,
But by their truth and by the cause’s right;
That same it is which fought for you this war.
What other meed, then, need me requite,
But that which yieldeth Virtue’s meed alway?
That is, the Virtue’s self, which her reward doth pay.’
"She humbly thank’d him for that wondrous grace,
And further said: ‘Ah sir, but mote ye please,
Sith ye have thus far tend’red my good case,
As from my chiefest foe me to release,
That your victorious arm will not yet cease,
Till ye have rooted all the relics out
Of that vile race and ’stablishèd my peace.’
"‘What is there else,’ said he, ‘left of their rout?
The tempest, that by act of God blew up
The roaring waters, hath ensteep’d their pride
In great huge mountains of the salt, green sea,
And with surges drawn from their native seat,
He doth their keels enclogg. The happy tempest
By darkest clouds obscur’d the Sun himself,
And on their heads did belch the pains of hell;
The bastards of the Night, and Erebus’ black fiends--
Furies and hags--rang’d through the foggy air,
And with their whips, for Christ and England fought.
The bull-bellowing Pope, who rageth now
I’ th’ West--that fierce three-headed Cerberus--
Hath play’d his part, but the Almighty taught
The depth of rightful doom. He hath upbrought
To seat of judgment, all our enemies,
And this most powerful fleet destroyèd and dispers’d.
Long ’twere to tell the troublous storms that tost
On angry seas the enemies of thy peace;
By flying force the discontented skies,
Hence have them drave across the inland seas
To Ireland and thence to Spain. Water, earth,
Fire and air--all causes have conspir’d
T’ preserve, dear Queen, thine empire and thy crown.
So let your sacred Majesty look up
Steadfastly unto God, whose quarrel just this is,
And from whom cometh both the will and deed.’
"‘The flicking skies like flying pursuivants
Against foul fiend, to aid us militant,
For us do fight, they us do watch and duly ward,
And their bright squadrons round about us plant,
And all for love and nothing for reward.
O, why should Heavenly God to men have such regard?
And as a foul and noxious odour,
Spain’s fleeting glory turn to infamy?
But come, tell now thy piteous tale of war.
Describe the same unto the listening Court,
And,’ said the Queen, ‘I, joyful as th’ gods
When Orpheus with his harp their strife
In heaven did bar, will sit and hear.’
"‘List then, O gracious Queen and gentle lords.
After the long-wishèd for Armada
(Called Invincible) with sound of fame,
Upon our England’s war-like coast arriv’d,
I and my martial mates in company,
Sailèd away t’ destroy and sink the same.
Through the wide world of wild, watery seas,
At dead midnight we push’d away in haste,
For, while sweet Cynthia still doth sleep and wash
In silver dew, Tethys’ salt drooping head,
In quietness and silence do they pass
Right well instructed to their deadly work.
Swift in pursuit we, angry, farèd forth,
And fiercely unto battle stern prepar’d.
The largest British ships in middle space,
With horrible assault and fury fell,
In cruel combat join’d at angle right,
One horn of th’ Spanish sharp-pointed moon.
But pardon me, O sovereign lady Queen,
That I return again to my own speech,
For in these strange ways never foot did use,
And none can footing find who was not taught by Muse.’
"‘Certes, I like such sweet variety
Of all that pleasant is to eye and ear.’
"‘By reason of the sharpness of their bow, their packet boats, called Caravels, which were built entirely for speed, make greater way than do their larger galleys
and carracts, because the motion at the vessel’s head doth draw the ship along, while the motion at the stern but pushes her, and, therefore, these ships are sharpened at the point, that they may not catch too much wind, and are used principally where there is little wind.
"‘The proportion of sails and masts vary, not only according to the size, but also according to the various purposes for which they are built, as whether for war, traffic, speed, and the like; but the dimensions of the sails is in no way proportional to the tonnage of the vessel, for a vessel of five hundred tons, or thereabouts, will carry the main-sail of its main-mast only a few square feet less than the other, which is twice the size; and hence it is that small vessels sail much faster than large ones, not only by reason of their lightness, but by reason of the size of their sails in comparison with the body of the ship; for if this proportion were kept in large vessels the sails would be too large and unmanageable. The above mentioned vessels, sharpened and pointed, must necessarily be
better propelled by the motion of the wind than the blunt, shortened and larger vessels, because the waves are most easily divided by the smaller vessel’s pointed bows.
"‘Our shipping for number, strength, mariners, pilots, and all things that appertain to navigation, were wonderfully well kept, so that we handled them much faster by four sails than the Spaniards did their by eight sails of double breadth.
"‘The sides of their large vessels with a capacious round tower, completely shut up on every side in the center, presents a great hold to the wind, so that they turn crossways in the English Channel, being robbed of motion by opposite and contrary currents; thus they were driven along in mad fury, contrariwise, as the water on the top, or sometimes that below, moved the quickest, and according as the light, feeble wind blew, all turn their sides one to another and in contrary direction; each beyond control of sails and helm, turn to the wind and scud over the waves as if distracted, then by angular movement they bear up again. The hindermost must needs steal all the wind from those before them, and this makes them so slack, that they drive through the sea like the new moon with sharp horns; so, as the boats stood all as in a semicircle, their light boats gradually moved by the wind, turned away it might be some mile in front; this broken circle was a marvellous sight, at which the people of the city, gather together as in a theatre upon the sands, beholding ’gan to wonder, and put themselves into small boats, so as they might move about to get a better view of so strange a spectacle, but did not approach near. I do testify and declare that we never heard tell of any
ships of theirs, that have been seen to arrive upon any shore of Europe, nor of either the East or West Indies, nor yet of any ship of any other part of the world in the least like them. That men should commit such arks to the floods of the sea, was wonderful to us, since our boats are not great, indeed, but well built. We were thinking every minute they would land, they came so close to the shore; this gave the people on the adjacent wharves of the city a good view, but terrified and disturbed them much. It so fell out that there was afterward found a scroll, in which were written in Spanish these words: "Land ye not, none of you; if you want fresh water or victuals or help for your sick, or that your ships need repair, write down your wants and you shall have that which belongeth to mercy." These were the King’s orders to his Admiral.
"‘It was well for them that they met with calms and contrary wind rather than any tempests, because of the shape of their ships, which violent winds or storms endanger the sinking or upsetting of them, principally because the wind is most powerful in the upper tier of sails, being furtherest removed from the resistance. This afterwards did appear most strikingly in the storm that struck them in the open sea.
"‘Although there was no great wind at this time, the sea itself was beating with a moaning or echo louder and clearer than usual; foam, white circles of froth or bubbles of water (a glittering foam called sea-lung) were here and there to be seen; the sea was swelling and rising higher than usual in the harbour; water-fowl were meeting and flocking together; sea-gulls and coots flying rapidly from the shore to the sea; the tide was coming in
quicker than ordinary; the ball fire called Castor by the ancients, which prognosticates a storm, appeared rolling or dancing about on the waves; clouds were collected near the sun at sunrise, and fleecy clouds were scattered over the sky, all of which portended the approaching storm.
"‘Suddenly a breeze sprang up which soon increased to a great and strong wind; clay-coloured and muddy clouds (whose damps blind the soul) overcast the sky and sun. The wind commenced from the north and east, and blew for a short time contrary to the motion of the sun; it changed from north to west, then from west to south, from south to east, then back returning to the former quarter, it completed the entire circle before the rain fell; then it increased in violence to a whirlwind; thunder, lightning and rain burst forth as if from different quarters of the sky; the great thunder-claps, being frequently interrupted by severe and dreadful lightning, were followed by heavy showers of large hail. Fog called belluae, rising up like pillars from the sea, were hoisted from thence aloft unto the clouds, and obscured in places the light of the day. It seemed as if Jove upon his judgment seat did threat, in wrath and cruel vengeance, the world’s decay. War was made on Neptune, by Aeolus and his train, so that on every coast, men were shipwrecked or swallowed up in open sea. Such as reached the shore were beaten with despair. In all my life I never knew the like. It rained, it hailed, it snowed, it lightened all at once. The surge of old Oceanus, was like the battlements that compassed high-built Babel to the towers. Vales with floods were made waste, and hills with lightning scorched.
"‘About evening we saw within a kenning before us towards the north, an utterly unknown ship, and after an hour and a half sailing, the ship ran by us; her sails weighed her down in the heavy storm, and they (her sailors) first lower the yards and furl the top-sails; as soon as they discern the flat land, which did full of boscage show dark, they take down all the rest of the sails, cut down the masts and throw overboard their cargo, guns, etc., to lighten the ship, that she may float and follow the motion of the waves. Contrary to their theory, that they thus ought to stay and slug the slip from further sailing, she did sail faster with the side wind than with all her sails; because her sides, piled in several tiers or stories one above the other, are very far above the level of the sea, and the wind blows against the slanting side, and, as she is higher at the stern than at the head, the ship in consequence did sail straight backwards; seeing this, the provident men (who have but one last and feeble resource to resist the tempest) exercise themselves to avoid shipwreck by tacking. The low sails, used as feathers or wings from the center of the ship, were the smallest ones that the ship used, and therefore when the mariners raised them, and by certain knots and joints fixed them in their place, they indisputably had done all that human industry could do; but the foul and stormy weather resolved to effect their wrack, and the wind came about and settled upon the north with a point west, which carried them towards the land; when they saw that the wind was enforcing them on the rocks, they gave themselves up for lost men and prepared for death.
"‘There was never any army had their men stand in better battle array than these people stood, for they all
collected around a monk that was on their ship. When he beheld the land, he elevated the cross, upon which our Saviour in like manner was, by charge or command of the people, spread in the form of the letter T. As he raised the likeness of our Saviour up towards heaven, after the manner of the ascension, the apish crew, on knee, kissed his hand. They do not neglect to make way, for two or three of their number set the sails upon the spare mast, and the rest were seen to serve the ropes, and draw and turn them to either side. With regard to the prevention of their coming to land, when the boats were come within about sixty yards of the shore, I passed her, and rashly ’twixt her and the sharp rocks (which might well have kept me back) I passed and put my ship for our good cause, to withstand this most injurious foe, beside the same; from either ship the grapples fly, and thus entoiled, they were compelled to render themselves up without striking a stroke. Then from the ship removing all her people (who came aboard my vessel) I sunk the Spaniard. The winds blew till they wakened death, and our labouring bark climbed hills of seas Olympus high, and ducked again as low as hell’s from heaven. Being nigh the port of Good Haven, we entered in and took refuge from the waves that rise to heaven and sink to hell; finally the storm within the gulf of greedy Nereus sunk and a gentle calm succeeded.
"‘Proud Neptune had callèd his Tritons forth,
To cover all the ocean with a calm,
As after every tempest such doth come,
And gazing on the earth, the gladsome sun
Had quieted the world and had dispers’d
By th’ benefit of his light those vapours dark
That here and there had sorely us offended,
Till ’round about they roll’d in clouds to heaven.
Betokening peace, and that all earthly storms
Shall turn to calms and timely clear away.
And now no wind at all doth blow,
The sky, like glass of watch’t hue,
Reflecteth Phœbus’ golden hair,
And cloudy welkin cleareth fair.
Then sweetly blows a gale at west south-west,
And, as the wind doth serve, sailors convey
Our budgets straight aboard, and Lordlings,
Our years across, our anchors at the pike,
We take this merry gale as it doth rise,
And through the moving ocean furrow straight.
The fair Triones with their glimmering light,
Smil’d at the foot of clear Böotes’ wain,
And in the north, distinguishing the hours,
When to the seas, with blitheful western blasts,
We sail’d amain and let the bowling fly.
Scarce had we gone ten leagues from sight of land,
When lo, an host of black and sable clouds,
’Gan to eclipse Lucina’s silver face,
And with a hurling noise from forth the south,
A gust of wind did rear the billows up.
"‘Then scanted we our sails with speedy hands,
And took our drablerts from our bonnets straight,
And severed our bonnets from our course.
Our top-sails up, we truss our sprit-sails in,
And then the black, dark clouds that towards the north
Fast drive, disperse, and at the sunset hour
Ring round the sun, which muffled with a cloud
Black as foul pitch, portends a furious gale.
"‘After the sun had sunk i’ th’ western wave,
That very night, the rough impetuous wind
Tossed our ship--O, mortal tale to tell!--
Till, all at once, our sails were split in twain
By Boreas’ bitter blast, our rudder broke,
And we, bereft of hope, did helpless drift.
What strange encounters on the sea one meets!
’Twas thus our bark was battered by the floods,
And now the blust’ring blast each coast did scour;
The thunder from the clouds again did burst;
Such thunderbolts no man could think to bear,
As if Almighty Jove was thus inclin’d
To wreak in wrath the guilt of mortal sins.
The mountains shook, the rivers turn’d their streams,
And grisly ghosts were seen, and fiery gleams.
How could I sail upon the raging deep,
Rudder nor tackling having for my ship?
What! would the gods have me, Ducalion like,
Float up and down where’er the billows drive?
"When the sun rose next day, the sea so tost
And did so agitate and vex our spirits,
Our bodies, and our souls, that all our men
Were melancholy, sad and lumpish grown,
And much dejected. Some, already mad,
Ravèd downright against the tempest’s power;
They at each other tyrannously flew,
Ne ought the water coolèd their hot blood,
But rather in them kindled choler new,
And very much reproachful blasphemy.
They mourn’d, their hands they wrung, their forms they wound
Into strange shapes of deep and utter sorrow.
Tears from their eyes did fall, as when dames watch
A dead corse that’s prepar’d for funeral.
Depriv’d of reason good and judgment, all,
With mad cruelty they made ’way themselves.
"‘Now I remember’d those old woman’s words,
That tell of spirits and of ghosts that glide by night,
About the place where treasure hath been hid.
And spirits evil which th’ tempests foretell,
With those that power have the sea to drive.
The devil his opportunity often takes
Of storms, and when the spirits and humours
In our bodies are stirr’d, with them he goes.
"‘Some hold sea-faring men to be all mad--
The mariners, who do themselves expose
To such dangers so truly imminent;
The ship, also, as it ne’er standeth still;
The waters in motion perpetual;
The winds, too, are as mad as are the rest,
Knowing not whence they come nor whither go;
An argument to persuade them that will not
Believe, that spirits or devils there be
Who whirlwinds cause in storms tempestuous.
"‘Unto despair I now began to grow
And wish’d for better winds to ’gin to blow.
For Phœbus’ gladsome rays I long’d in vain,
While yet the thunder rent the clouds in twain,
And the fair welkin, foully overcast,
Did blow a bitter, cruel, stormy blast,
With show’r and hail both horrible and dread.
Our shipmen now the angry gusts do fear,
As in the waters, death they see so near;
Their valiant courage could not daunted be,
With all the men-at-arms of Africa,
But now their sturdy hearts are shaken sore.
To heaven we toss upon the billows’ crests,
Then from our balance drop to hell below;
While thund’ring Jove, that high in heaven doth dwell,
Doth bare his sweaty forehead to the storm;
And raging seas the boisterous winds do plough.
Did ever men a storm so fearful see,
So arm’d with thunderbolts and lightning fire,
That rends the skies and fills our souls with dread?
"‘At last the storm is past, the seas are calm’d,
And Cynthia with Phœbus’ borrowed beams,
Doth show her beauty through the pitch dark clouds.
Aurora half so fair herself did never show,
When from old Tithon’s bed she weeping did arise,
And rear out of the sea her dewy face.
Now Phœbus with his beams doth clear the skies,
And earthly vapors, gather’d in the air,
Are mounting up again from whence they came.
Gather’d in one, to heaven they do aspire,
And, in a wat’ry cloud display afar
The goodly bow, which paints the liquid air--
A sign of peace not of revenging war.
"‘Tost in the tempest long without a helm,
On seas by Neptune hoisèd to the heavens,
In whose so dangerous, gaping, greedy jaws,
We well might have engulfèd been forever.
Spending ’most all her masts and her ground-hold,
Our ship was well nigh wreck’d in main seas fell,
But we, to rig her up again did take
Such pains, that thus we made her whole and sound.
Our main-yards were with flying canvas lin’d,
In which did gather full the gentle wind;
Mild Zephyr’s help we had for our avail,
And with our hands made fast the swelling sail;
Our tackling, too, we made both toft and tight,
Then sail’d as shoots a star in winter’s night.
Thus we did richly rig up all our bark,
More brave than was the gallant Grecian keel,
That brought away the Colchian fleece of gold.
Now favours sparkle from the smiling heavens,
As through the deep seas cuts our bounding bark,
And having brookèd Neptune’s haughty pride,
With joy we hear his swelling waters sound;
The tempest overpast, now gentle calms ensue,
For gloomy Eolus hath ceas’d to frown,
And send his winds from out his hidden treasure,
Upon the sea to wreak his full intent.
"‘Throughout the day the floods do well attend
On Neptune, sovereign sole of all the sea,
Where he doth rule alone and judgment execute.
He rightful doth pretend his cause to be--
That unto him, alone, doth appertain
Award of death. The wrathful winds are whist;
The heavens have wrought their fury and are calm;
But he in whom such cruelty ingenerate is,
Not satisfied with all the goodly ships
And human creatures, lying deeply drown’d,
Doth heap high waves of weary wretchedness,
And sorely beat and gore the sides of ships
That all unequal are for service meet,
But still at random range upon the deep,
Unable this encounter to sustain.’
"‘But, Captain Drake, what saw you of the storm?
Have you not, too, a woful tale to tell?’
"‘Most gracious Sovereign, fair England’s Queen,
Pray let me set before your eyes, in brief,
The Spaniards’ madness most incredible,
And folly great. The course they chose for flight,
Lay through a sea to sudden storms inclin’d,
And full of shelving rocks, of gulfs and shoals,
Which threatn’d misery unspeakable.
While weather serv’d and wind, they safely sail’d;
Still as they fled, their eyes they backward turn’d
As fearing evil that pursued them fast
In figure of our dauntless English fleet.
The second day of flight was well nigh spent,
Before the Royal ships gave up the chase
And headed for the shore. In haste they sail,
For lo, a darksome cloud in west appears,
And tempest threatens them to overtake
Ere that they can in harbor safe arrive.
The wrathful western wind with cruel breath,
So quick o’ercast the sky with threatning clouds,
That view of eye could scarce him overtake,
Till he by fatal doom adown did fall,
With wildest fury on the Spanish fleet.
"‘The clouds, as things afraid, before the wind do fly;
But all so soon as his outrageous power
Is on them laid, unable now to bear
So great a weight, do forth their malice pour
In drenching rain and flashing thunderbolt,
T’ appease the angry wind. At the touch
Of his heavy hand, the enragèd sea
Like an infernal fiend, with loud uproar,
Threatened his power to disperse, till that
Both seem’d to win, and both seem’d won to be,
So hard the discord was to be agreed.
What not by right, the sea did seek by guile
To win, but vain are her enchantments, for naught
May now abide the rigour of his blasts.
The wind, his wondrous greatness more to increase,
Now belches forth a roaring, hideous sound,
That all the air with terror filleth wide.
"‘With a faint shadow of uncertain light,
Such as a lamp whose light doth fade away,
Or as the moon, clothèd with cloudy night,
Doth show to him that walks in fear and sad affright--
The daylight disappear’d, and drooping night,
Cover’d with cloudy storm and bitter shower,
That dreadful seem’d to every living wight,
Upon them fell before her timely hour.
Thereat they greatly were dismay’d, ne wist
How to direct their course in darkness wide;
But fear’d to wander in that wasteful mist,
For tumbling into mischief unespied.
The waves came rolling, and the billows roar’d
Outrageously, as they enragèd were,
Or wrathful Neptune did them drive before
His whirling charet, for exceeding fear.
"‘The heavens on every side enclouded be;
Black storms and fogs are blowen up from far,
Till now the pilot can no lodestar see,
For skies and seas do make most dreadful war--
The billows striving to the heavens to reach,
And the heavens striving them to impeach.
The sky, in pieces seeming to be rent,
Throws lightning forth, and hail, and harmful showers,
That death on every side to them appears,
In thousand forms to work more ghastly fears.
The stars, the mariners’ guides, seem to have left
Empty their orbs, and shot their fires forth
To light the regions of malicious fiends.
"‘On every side the wrathful sea besieg’d;
High toward the heavens the billows heaved the ships,
Then thrust their keels deep in the foaming surge.
For them no chart or compass did avail,
Nor haven did to them an anchor yield,
E’en till that raging tempest overbloweth.
"‘The mutinous wind, with furious force,
Tossing the Armada like a plaything
On the waves did wreak avengement strong.
Some of the ships he hurl’d upon the rocks
And helpless left a prey to ocean deep,
Which gaping greedy wide did straight devour.
Low down where dawning day doth never peep,
Their dwelling now in waters wide and still,
For sad Night over them her mantle black doth spread.
"‘At last the weary, woeful night wore out,
But Phœbus as in Stygian pools refrain’d
To taint his tresses in the surging main,
And ’neath dark clouds he shrouded up his face.
"‘The mariners, yet half-amazèd stare
At peril past, yet dare they not secure
To feel, for hidden rock in wait doth lie;
And o’er the compass wide of th’ firmament
The tempest clouds, like mounted combatants,
Ride through the heavens in order battailous.
"‘A mournful sight the morning light reveal’d.
Some ships dismemb’red quite of masts and sails,
Their oaken sides, too, wreck’d and welter’d by the waves,
Cannot for long resist the power of sea,
Or burden of the wind-god’s tempest blast.
They wreck’d, carouse the deep, nor hope to ’scape
The dreadful touch of cruel, piercing rocks--
Great Neptune’s crafty snare to swell his treasury.
E’en those which have the storm so bravely borne,
Are all in peril of like painful plight.
The highest God, the Lord of life and light,
The God of nature, powerful and just,
Father of gods and men, by equal might,
Alone can turn the stream of destiny,
And save the rest from wrack of wrathful wind,
And raging sea consuming utterly.’
"‘Ho! by the sky that hangs above our heads,
Whiles the Armada wanders on the sea,
And rests a prey to every billow’s pride,
I like it well; nor wish for Eolus
To turn his stormy powers and fetter them
In Vulcan’s sturdy brass. Let whirlwinds dread
With swifter spleen than powder can enforce,
Match the enragèd sea them to defy,
Till shiver’d all and scatter’d in the wind.
Is death the doom of all that now contend
Against most mighty Neptune? Are there not
Some ships so strong they can oppose his force,
And keep their course aright till all on board
Are harbour’d safe from out his greedy grasp?’
"‘To rid thee of thy doubt, to this take heed--
By God the term of life is limited,
Man neither may prolong nor shorten it.
Let Neptune rage and hurl his marble mace,
Heaven hath no fear of his presumptuous might,
But pity takes upon the toil of all,
Whose destiny it is to be preserv’d
From death, which such most dreadful stoure portends.’
"Then turning to Sir Palmer, with a look
Like dawning day which maketh all things glad,
Said she: ‘Now of thy fruit I hope to taste,
Right good solace unto me ’twill make.
Say how thou saw’st these actors play their parts,
And thou thyself so bravely minded art,
Surely to few wert second or to none.’
"‘Most gracious Queen,’ he said, ‘to whom I owe
My love and loyalty, blessed Sovereign,
Whose will my life doth sway, grant me, I pray,
Thy leave to spare volumes of the report
Of hideous storms, and the long tale of fight.
Of this thou hast e’en now satiety,
Unless that thy desire be infinite.
The glory of our famous deeds let poets sing,
The more of steadfast minds to be admir’d.
Heed thou I pray the tale I have to tell,
That it hereafter may not thee repent.
No skill can stint, nor reason can aslake
The pangs of hunger, strive we ne’er so well.
It hath the weary soldier conquerèd,
And wavering brought him back amain, whom wounds
Could never daunt, nor tempests make to quail.
"‘We followed the foe in German seas
Full many a league, to meet them day and night.
Our victuals fail’d us then, though we had made
Good spare of them for space of many days,
And all that we could do was to turn back.
But then again there rose strong and great winds,
So as we could make little or no way
By space of many hours. Finding ourselves
In the great wilderness of waters now,
A prey to Eolus and all his winds,
And knowing not, whether in any part,
There might be hope or help for us that day;
Sith winds appear much to resemble Fame,
For though they penetrate and bluster everywhere,
Yet hide their heads in clouds which ever do return.
Two days now in that sea we sailèd had,
When hideous roaring far away we heard,
That all the sailors fillèd with affright,
Of storm approaching that did peril threat,
Soon then brake forth the wind with furious blast
That land and seas confounded, and the sky o’ercast.
With dreadful noise and hollow, rumbling roar,
The sea, for fear, seemèd away to fly.
And straight they saw the raging surges rear’d
Up to the skies, that them of drowning made afear’d.
No wonder if these did the men appal,
For sight so dreadful did mine eyes ne’er see.
"‘Said then the soldiers: "Pilot steer aright
And keep an even course; for yonder way
We must eke pass. God do us well acquight,
This seemeth like the Gulf of Greediness,
That deep engorgeth all of this world’s prey.’
"‘Forward we pass and mightily drive
The hollow vessel through the threatful wave,
Which, gaping wide to swallow us alive
In th’ huge abyss of his engulfing grave,
Doth roar in vain and with great terror rave.
On one side did we see perilous rocks--
A dangerous and detestable place,
Where yelling mews, with sea-gulls hoarse and base,
And cormorants and birds of ravenous race,
Sat waiting on that fearful, wasteful clift,
For spoil of wretches, whose unhappy case
Hath driven them to this despairful drift.
But I, on seeing them in safety past,
Thus said: "What now is left as death to dread?"
At last, far off we many islands spy,
Then said the watch: "Lo! I the land descry,
Therefore thy course do thereunto apply.
"That may not be," the wary pilot said,
"Lest we unweeting hap to be fordone:
For those same islands men report have drawn,
Into deadly danger and distressèd plight,
Many a wandering wight, who long time stray’d,
Nor any certain port did ever win."
"‘We afterward a goodly ship did see,
Laden from far with precious merchandise;
As bravely furnishèd as ship might be,
Which, through great disadventure or misprise,
Herself had run into great hazardise;
Whom overtaking, we to board did purpose,
But not abiding, being loose and light,
Our ship ’gan turn about and them forsake.
The mariners and merchants, with much toil,
Labour’d in vain to have recur’d their prize,
And the rich wares to save from piteous spoil.
But now no toil might e’er her back recoil--
She sank with whirling sway into the sea;
Thou mightst have seen the frothy billows fry
Under the ship, as through them she did go,
That seem’d the waves were into ivory,
Or ivory into the waves were sent.
The circled waters with hapless doole,
Like to a restless wheel still running round,
Did covet now within the utmost bound,
To draw our ship and then to have drown’d all.
But naught of that we fear’d, but pass’d on hardily.
"‘The heedful guide, who had firmèd his eye
Upon his card and compass--the masters
O’ his long experiment, and unto which
He did his steady helm apply--now call’d:--
"Behold I see the haven nigh at hand,
To which I mean my weary course to bend."
He needed not long call, till I did rise
With hasty joy, and o’er the ocean wave
I lookèd forth, to weet if true indeed.
E’en then we nigh approach’d where was a still
And calmy bay, on th’ one side shelterèd
With the broad shadow of an hoary hill,
On th’ other side an high rock tower’d still,
That ’twixt them both a pleasant port they made,
And did like an half theatre fulfill.
Now stay’d we not, but forward did proceed
The whiles; the nimble boat so well did speed,
That with her crooked keel, the land she strook,
And all aboard full gladsome did arrive,
And sally forth upon that kindly shore.
The men both sorrowful and sad had been,
Till rescued from the storm that rag’d with fury mad.
But I full soon now them pacify
As thus I spake: "Now well avise, for here
Is now the end of our adventure hard;
Better safe port than be in seas distrest."
"‘With speed our forward way we straightway take,
Into the land that lay us fair before.
Nor rested until we a cottage spied;
Though not fit place I thought it were to stay,
Yet we, from stormy stoure to shroud our persons,
Were forcèd then to seek some covert bower.
Arrivèd there, the dame who there abode,
With quaking hands and other signs of fear,
’Gan shut the door, which hardly done, at length,
She did us pray for to remove away.
We knock’d, and call’d; "For pity’s sake, at least,
Vouchsafe some little room to us, who are
Unto your house now by adventure brought,
Withouten roof to hide from heaven’s spite.
Will ye me now, with like good turn, repay
My faithful service that by land and sea,
I have adventurèd for England’s sake?
Good cause of mine excuse that mote you please
Well to accept. I do beseech thee, dame,
To let us enter in and shelter find."
Whom pitying to hear so sore complain
She granted; in we altogether far’d.
"Thou art," quoth she, "a stranger here, whose name
I wot not well; but if you’ve bravely fought
For this my native soil eke to defend,
Now finding here fit opportunity,
As ye have done for me--the left hand rubs the right."
"‘Now when of meats and drink we had our fill,
Purpose was movèd by that gentle dame
Unto those men adventurous, to tell
Of deeds of arms that unto them became,
And every one his kindred and his name.
Under inquiry, many instances
Were easily rememberèd of glory won
In highest ’ventures by our countrymen,
Famèd for fortitude, and resolution
Fair England to defend with arms and honour.
But long it were, and needless to devise
Their goodly entertainment and enjoyment.
"‘At last the weather did begin to clear
And I did thus address my men of might:--
"Let us depart while merry weather serves;
The ship storm-beat shall yet to sea again.
Come, speedily our home return we’ll make."
"‘Just as from several ways we came together,
A man made his appearance on the sands,
And soon a party did collect together,
About a boat just in act to set forth
To join a Spanish vessel in the bay.
Awaiting passage on the straud, there stood
A lofty figure that one glance did show
To be the leader of the former crew.
Though force was far from his unweapon’d thoughts,
His look was such as cleaves the soul asunder.
"‘This ship I saw ’long’d to the Spanish fleet,
And these, the sailors, seemèd to mine eyes,
Like captives trembling at the victor’s sight,
Who’ll ne be mov’d with reason nor with ruth.
All fearless, then, of so false enemies,
I did advance and boldly bade them stand.
The countrymen (the one whom first we saw)
Cried, "Sirs, go back, I say, you cannot pass."
But suddenly dismay’d and heartless quite,
He fled aghast, and catching hasty hold
Of a young alder hard beside him pight,
It rent, and straight about him ’gan behold
What god or fortune would assist his might.
Him did we overcome by subtle art,
And then unto the General I said:--
"The gods assuage thy wrath, and turn the dregs of it
Upon this varlet here, who, like a block,
Hath thus denied my access unto thee."
"‘But he, as if in luckless war, fast ran
And fiercely leapt into the idle flood,
And deep himself beduckèd in the same,
That in the waves his lofty crest was steep’d;
Ne of his safety seemèd care he kept,
But, with his raging arms, he rudely dash’d
The water all about, and did the billows beat.
When him we sought t’ entrap, ere he would yield,
He sued for peace and hostages did offer.
"Of my poor life why make unpitied spoil?
Why seek ye thus with torment and turmoil,
To force me live and will not let me die?"
"Hold you your life so light," I cry, "nor know
That to the world nought else be counted dear?
"‘He seemèd breathless, heartless, faint and wan,
And every word was like a gaping wound
Issuing life blood. ’Twas a doleful sight,
But all the men did clap their hands and laugh,
’Joying his foolish labour spent in vain.
At last when him they overwrestled had,
I bade the varlet straight to lead the way,
And guide us to the place from whence they came.
My way with the proud Spaniard I addrest,
And, as we thither went, a matron sage
Him goodly greeted in her modest guise,
And entertain’d us both, as best became
A lady of such gentle grace and mien,
With all the courtesies she could devise.
She led us to a stately hall close by,
And thence into the hindmost room of three,
That seem’d a chamber, ruinous and old,
Where sat a man of ripe and perfect age,
Who now was grown right wise and wondrous sage.
My idle thoughts abound with fantasies,
Of magistrates, of courts, of tribunals,
Of laws, of judgments, and of decretals.
But pleasure great the stranger had to see
His goodly reason and grave personage,
Who first us greets, and after doth inquire
Of both our states and both our tidings strange;
Which, when he knew, he said: "I ne’er shall rest,
Till I shall you recount a rueful case,
Embost with bale and bitter, biting grief.
Speak not a word till you have heard, and tried
In scales of justice what I now impart.
But about this time the varlets ’gin to come,
Encumbering us round like many swarms of bees,
After their hives with honey do abound;
Therefore, against my liking, hence will we go,
Where that same fellow hath his dwelling low,
In hollow cave far underneath a cliff--
There may we talk and tellen all our fill."
"‘Ere long we came uneath the hill, and there
We sat us down beneath the craggy rocks,
That doleful, dreary, yawnèd like a grave.
Then ’gan the host the whole discourse declare:--
"When first the darkness dread ’gan to appear
Of the late storm, I took this varlet here
And hasten’d to the bay. To him I said:--
‘Here from this lofty cliff upon the shore,
We’ll gain a sight of ships, which forth do pass.
Death and destruction this western gale doth threat
To all that drift on ocean’s bosom wide.’
"‘While yet I spake, behold upon the deep
Some ships of Spain appear’d unto our view.
Remorse and pity caus’d my zeal to melt,
And quite me to forsake, when from my stand
Which overlook’d the sea, my searching eye
Discover’d creeping slow along the shore,
A ship that storms had tossèd long--
Close hugging the coast, a Spanish vessel--
That, variously driven by the wind and sea,
Had hither come seeking a harbor safe.
"‘To them who stood around me on the shore,
I said: "Take this boat here, and give a hand
To help these fellows; some of you run
To yonder cabin, for these fugitives
Must warmth and shelter have, if I be hang’d for it.
Commend me to the captain, and tell him
That for their griefs, their fears of hostile strokes,
And losses that their vessel doth sustain,
For all I will to them but kindness show.
If at my bidding, they come not on shore,
Then may the turbulent surge soon cover them."
"‘The Spaniard interrupted hastily
"My good sir, hadst thou not been merciful,
My ship through keeping under sail full long,
Assailèd by the sea, shiver’d ’gainst rocks,
Had rush’d on death, been shatter’d ’midst the storms,
While all on board by cruel fate had drown’d."
"‘Well, let that pass. Tell the Captain what thou art
And what thy name is; why cam’st thou hither.’
"‘He said: "Don Martin is my name, I’m captain
Of the Flying Dragon, a ship of Spain,
Which angry storms have put into this bay.
I saw the danger great wherein I stood
In bringing thus my ship from out the fleet.
The well forewarning wind did seem to say:--
‘Set you no footing on this unkind shore.’
But, since that life is more than death desir’d,
When that the tempest’s rigour pitiless,
More dread and desperate than death itself,
Had by a cruel fate our navy sever’d,
And all dispers’d amongst the wreckful rocks,
Which all along the sea-coast lay,
Threat’ning unheedy wreck and rash decay,
Our faithful pilot did direct his course
Unto the harbor near that seemèd safe.
And, though the sea did mock our frustrate search
With winds unapt, now crossing here, then there,
Then this way rapt, we enter’d at this port,
Where we most willing were anchor to cast,
And, desperate of our lives, to come ashore.’
"‘Pray tell me,’ quoth I, ‘how your ships have borne this storm?’
"‘Said he: "When we had mark’d how changèd were the skies,
We wist our hour had come. The tempest foul
Which ’gan our ships assail, upon us burst
With such impetuous force, that all our fleet
Like scatter’d sheep before its fury sped.
One ship to which none other might compare,
When sudden storm did so turmoil the sky,
Driv’n in danger by boist’rous waves and winds,
Dash’d on a rock that under water lay
And perishèd past all recovery.
As she sank in the greedy sea, we heard
The piteous cry: ‘We are wreck’d, we split, we split;’
Casting mine eyes that way, I chanc’d to see
Both ship and mariners sink in the main.
A direful spectacle! Naught can erase
It from my memory. A ghastly fear
Such as befits the hour, did paint
Their ashy faces with the hue of death;
While from their lips a lamentable cry
Did burst, that ever in mine ears will sound.
Through mirksome air we made our doubtful way,
For Night, in mantle black and pitchy, clad--
A dreadful Night which boded direst ill--
O’er Neptune’s surging waves had darkness spread.
All night through hidden perils wandering,
Fancy pictur’d ghosts with sad amazèd mood,
Chatt’ring their iron teeth, and staring wide
With stony eyes; and all the hellish brood
Of fiends infernal flock’d on every side,
To gaze on earthly wight that with the Night durst ride.
Above the raging tempest we did hear
The masts of one well timb’red hulk blown down,
Making her ribs to crack as they were torn;
Some other ships, the craggy rocks did pierce,
And Neptune, slipping firm his arms about,
Had sunk them ere the dawning day appear’d,
Down to the lower regions of his realm.
"Would that I might forever wipe away
The stern remembrance of that dreadful time.
But sights and sounds, as in a troubled dream,
Are rudely shifting through my weary brain.
"Some of our ships, when wind did so besiege
And tumble up the sea, alas, were driv’n
Like wither’d leaves before the sturdy blasts,
And towards the eastern coast made speedy way.
Yet hope I still, that when this storm is past,
And wind and tide their course shall change, that they
Again will bear the others company,
And all the home-return in safety make.
O, that these tardy arms of mine were wings,
That I might mount aloft, and so behold
How fares it with our royal gallant ships!
Soon may the heavens our vessels give defence
Against contention great of sea and sky.
Our ships are stoutly timber’d, and well rigg’d;
Our sailors are expert upon the sea.
To-morrow, if our navy still doth thrive,
I firmly trust that every noble ship
That tempest yet hath not too sorely wrack’d,
A peaceful progress will to ocean make."
"‘The old man answerèd in kindly tone,
"Hope is there yet of it my captain brave,
E’en treble sinew’d let your stern heart be.
Such happy mood restores both heart and brain,
While fear, upon the reason preying, saps
The life but lately ransomèd from death.
The storm this morning furious appears--
You’re lucky men to be secur’d from danger’s reach,
Yet, still you for your chosen company lament,
And straightway would, in spite of threat’ning storm,
Sail forth to join your Majesty’s great fleet,
If you durst now your crazèd vessel trust.
Yet this affection nothing strange I find,
For who with reason can you eke reprove?
Our God who limits life by His almighty power,
Hath mercy show’d to stay your purpose thus.
Great dangers on your voyage would attend,
But danger’s none, where Heaven directs your course;
So here, awhile, you should in safety rest,
Till season serve new passage to assay.
We’ve vow’d you to protect, now then your plaint appease,
Still may we pity though not pardon to you grant;
For imposition in the sight of heaven, appears
This siege against blest England’s prosp’rous peace."
"‘The Spaniard then replied in alter’d tone:--
"How strangely balefulness has turn’d to bliss,
For when the morning light did plainly show
How near were to our ship the lofty cliffs
Of thy fair land, it seem’d our perils grew,
All night upon this quiet sea, storm-tost,
Looking each hour into Death’s mount to fall,
We rais’d our prayers to Heaven for aid
Against the terror of the wind and waves.
Since He, who sits and rules above the clouds,
Doth see our needs, we did esteem it best
In Heaven to trust that deign’d in our behalf
To look on us in pity, and provide
A port till stormy winds and billows ceas’d;
For vainly strive they, that the Heavens resist.
It seem’d the waves were incens’d more and more,
Mounting with hideous roaring from the depths.
Our ship was batter’d by the encount’ring storm,
And well nigh stemm’d by th’ breaking of the floods.
The steersman pale did careful hold his helm,
Wherein the hope of life and safety lay.
At length, when he occasion fittest found,
For harbour hither steer’d, straight towards the cliffs,
Which we this morning ruefully beheld.
How loth we were to execute Heaven’s will!
My soul--ah! wretched soul within this breast--
No hope did have but that our unknown Fate
Extremest cruelty assign’d to us.
For many hours before you sav’d our lives,
Visions of sad sights and sore catastrophes
Awaiting us, who came upon our shore
As enemies and strangers to your land,
With torments fresh perplex’d our souls to weigh
The hardness of our first lot with our last.
Yet wondrous chance of mighty consequence,
To thousand sorts of change we subject are!
"Apparent ’twas the rocks, the sea, the wind,
Conspir’d in one to wreak their rash contempt,
And Neptune aid to win us as his prize.
If death was our assurèd destiny,
Far better seem’d a drier death on shore;
And then we thought, perchance you would us shield,
Who helpless sought thus to protect our lives."
"‘The old man then at once took up the tale:
"As soon as they had disembark’d
Their coffers, and all necessaries brought ashore
I went before them dinner to provide,
For well I knew captain and crew must be
Passing hungry. I doubted not that they’d come fair
With him, whom I did leave there as a guide
Unto the cabin whither I repair’d.
"‘A little lowly hermitage it was,
Down in a vale hard by a forest’s side,
Far from resort of people who did pass
In travel to and fro. Near this abode
A crystal stream, by Nature’s fountain fed
With sweetest music wellèd forth alway.
Arrivèd there, the little house they fill,
Rest is their feast, and all things at their will--
Food and entertainment are as freely giv’n
As if kinsmen not enemies were his guests.
Then thus the captain unto me did speak:--
"If thou deal truly as thou intimatest,
I will by letters privately procure
Great sums of money for thy recompense.’
"‘My noble captain,’ I reply, ‘shame and dishonour
E’en would my house befall, and I accursèd be,
If I, by taking of your wealth, myself defile;
Therefore be rul’d by me and keep thy gold.
We mortal wights, whose lives and fortunes are
To common accidents still open laid,
Are bound with common bond of sympathy
To succour wretched souls in misery.
Here is my hand that I will set you free,
Yourselves shall see it shall not be forgot.’
"‘Most noble lord, the patron of my life,
Since nothing I may ever give, can reave
Nor yet redeem me from my endless debt,
I would my pen might yield immortal praise
For all thy goodness shower’d on me rife.’
"‘Nay, Captain, nay, write not my praise, your lips
Bestow enough. My heart oft me chide
That ’tis my breeding gives me this bold show
Of courtesy. Have you not little cause
To laud me thus, when I but nothing am?
Praise for your safety to the saints belongs,
Who for your sake have intercession made.
But for Heaven’s mercy your lab’ring, sea-wreck’d ship,
Would now be toiling in the foaming billows,
Or sacrificèd be to ’suage proud Neptune’s ire.’
"‘With sad discourse we pass’d the hours away,
Till weary day did wane, and pensive Night
Her mantle black through heaven ’gan overhale.
Unto their lodgings then I bade my guests,
Where, drownèd in sweet sleep, they might forget
The tempest, which in stormy surge did toss
The ships which of the Spanish fleet remain.
The world’s sweet inn from pain and wearisome turmoil
Doth welcome all who e’er an entrance make;
The peace of heaven is his, who slumbereth
Shelter’d within those walls where rest is found.
So, to those weary souls tormented with unrest,
Nature did yield thereto, and their eyes beguile
With kindly sleep, to mitigate sad thoughts.
Secure they slept, nor woke till Morning fair
With rosy fingers op’d the eyelids of the Day.
"‘The storm now past, through vanquishing of clouds,
The golden Sun his glist’ring head doth show;
And from the woods ring forth sweet songs of birds--
Melodious praises unto heaven bestow’d.
The water, running from the silver spring,
Glides over pebbles that at th’ bottom lie,
While lilies, like to blazing comets, burgen
In ranks beside the merry bubbling brook.
The fields and groves, with sweetest flowers deck’d,
All parti-colour’d, and of every hue,
In melody of birds and brook rejoice,
And echo glad, bestow to all their songs.
The heavens laugh, the world shows joyous cheer,
As Phœbus, in his glist’ring chariot,
Mounteth the welkin on his daily journey bound.
’Tis of mornings one of the fairest known.
The Spaniards rise betimes, and when they see
That Phœbus’ glorious rays unclouded are,
Their souls are with new life and hopes inspir’d,
And fresh desire their voyage to pursue.
Allur’d with mildness of the gentle weather
And pleasaunce of the place, the which was dight
All goodly in the Summer’s richest dress,
They wander’d up and down the unbeaten ways
Till, weary, they beside the stream found rest,
Where grew two lofty trees that fair did spread
Their arms abroad, with gray moss overcast,
And their green leaves, trembling with slightest breeze,
Made a calm shadow far in compass round.
As in the shade they while away the time,
Sound of the sea, breaking upon the shore,
With sad remembrance doth them all amove.
They fear the sea will swallow up their ships
Before the floods to quiet are restor’d,
For dang’rous sands and rocks their course beset,
And now no fav’ring wind for sailing blows.
"‘With thought of comfort him did I approach.
"Don Martin why do you thus sadly sit?
What in the secret of your heart close lies,
From whence it does as cloud from sea arise?
For, as a friend not known but in distress,
I will, if please you it discure, assay
To ease you of that ill so wisely as I may.
In th’ brightness of th’ heavens, appears
No cloud to agitate your fears of ill;
To saddest tenor of the woods you list;
To you the water’s sweetest strain laments
O’er dread proximity of wreck and death,
To all who now the foamy billows scour.
Not vain the art to banish dismal thoughts,
That oft do noble minds annoy. The proof
Consisting in return to wonted state
Of joy, that earth in warfare ominous
Abides victorious o’er the powers of air.
’Tis very like to rowing ’gainst the stream,
But when you follow e’er the contrary course,
To which your active mind inclinèd is,
All doleful dreariment to nothing fades--
Earth with her smiling looks doth pacify.’
"‘You frame my thoughts, and fashion me within,
You stop my tongue and teach my heart to speak.
Small cause have I to hang my head and grieve,
I do thereby but murder mine own mind;
My conduct worthy is of thy rebuke.’
"‘In truth, what need have you to be dismay’d?
Your ship so full of holes I will repair;
Your men supply with all things that they need;
Soon you from haven launch’d may homeward sail.’
I scarce know how may it honor please
But all that I have done I have confess’d.
"‘If thou canst I frankly bid thee speak assurance.’
The Spaniard anxiously did say to me.
"‘We must the judgment of the Queen abide,’ quoth I.
"‘Whilst we together earnestly discours’d,
We then forth pacing to the sea-side went,
Survey’d the ocean and the storm-tost ship
Which held acquaintance with the waves so long.
"The sea if it could now so roar, would tell
Of divers goodly barks which on this rock
Of solitariness were cast and rent,
And by the deep receiv’d. Of them remains
No monument their memory to show,"
Don Martin said in tones of sad reflection.
The sea arose, as it did understand,
And roar’d in fury on the wild sea-banks,
And thereby raisèd hills of floods on high,
That in their ebb and flow were scattr’d wide.
"‘Don Martin’s heart was dead within, yet outwardly
He show’d some little comfort as he said:--
"My thoughts may erring be to the degree
That your great Queen will pardon me. I long to live,
But death is not the only wound that lanc’d this breast.
Though I may fear, I can be bold to speak,
If but your wisdom will direct my thoughts,
Or if your prowess can me yield relief.
And you, my lord, the patron of my life,
Whose wondrous faith exceeding earthly race
Is firmest fixt in my extremest case,
May of your Sovereign well gain worthy grace.
I do entreat your company to-morrow,
Unto the Court where I must be presented."
"‘He said, "I will dispatch you severally,
And it must serve your turn. You to Sir Palmer
I consign. He will accept you fairly
And worthily shall you be entertain’d,
Abide the fortune of thy present fate.
With you, Sir Palmer, honour ever keep,
And best of happiness wait on you," said he,
"Entreat him well, as we have usèd thee."
"‘Thus with his blessing were we both dismiss’d,
But, as we went, the Spaniard turn’d and said:--
"O my kind friend, I have one word to say.
I must entreat you honour me so much
As to accept this jewel, and wear it
In thought of one so virtuously bound
And unto you infinitely endear’d."
"Nay, nay," replied the old man in great haste,
"Pardon me, sir, I do not want your ring.
I, in my friends, am wealthy and I need no more.
In them I do receive most fair reward,
Nor am with clamours e’er encounterèd.
Demand of broken bonds, and the detention
Of debts against my honour long since due,
Never do meet me in my quiet ways."
"I think myself unto you much indebted,"
Don Martin answer’d, as he bade farewell.
I also did assay to speak due thanks
Unto our gentle host, and forth from thence
We passèd to the strand, and did betake
Ourselves unto the boat, with which we cleft
The slothful wave of the great sleepy bay.’
"‘What of the Spanish vessel, saw’st thou it not?’
"‘I neither saw it nor inquir’d of it.
Like Arabs in the darkness had they fled;
No signs of storm, no fear of future pain,
Which soon ensuèd them with heavy stoure,
Nereus to the sea a token gave;
Like bird with broken wing they flutterèd away.
But this we heard some of our seaman say,
They wonder’d how they durst, with so much wealth,
Trust such a crazèd vessel, and so far
In deadly waters, dangerous ways to take.
Much did the Spaniards lose, or haply did give o’er,
For there before us, stood a coffer strong,
Fast bound on every side with iron bands,
But seeming to have suff’red mickle wrong,
Either by being wreck’d upon the sands,
Or being carried far from foreign lands.
In it great treasure we did find contain’d,
This as our own we took, and right it thought
For thee, dear Queen, to reap the due reward.’
"‘What other right,’ quoth she, ‘should you esteem,
But that the sea it to my share did lay?’
"‘Your right is good, indeed, and so I deem
That what the sea unto you sent, your own should seem.
And what the mighty sea had once possess’d,
And pluckèd quite from all possessor’s hand,
Whether by rage of waves that never rest,
Or else by wreck that wretches had distress’d,
He may dispose, by his imperial might,
As thing at random left to whom he list.
Enrich’d with spoils returning home again,
Did happy wind and weather entertain,
And with good speed we sought an entry here,
Where Thamus pays her tribute to the main.’
"‘Thy ship thou say’st is safe and richly fraught?’
"‘Aye, gold there is, your Majesty, in goodly store.
Wilt come thyself and see with thine own eyes?’
"‘Tush! tush! Go thou thy way, discharge thy ship,
And bid my factor bring this loading in.
And yet I wonder at this argosy--
Hispania like Troy is sack’d upon the sea,
And Eolus, like Agamemnon, sounds
The surges, his fierce soldiers, to the spoil.’
"Therewith she laugh’d and to Don Martin turn’d,
And her fair eyes like stars that dimmèd were
With darksome cloud, now show’d their goodly beams
More bright than Hesperus his head doth rear.
But they so far from peace or patience were,
That all at once ’gan fiercely at him dart,
Like to a storm which hovers under sky,
At length breaks down in rain, and hail, and sleet.
Proudly she bade him stoop unto his knee,
And do unwilling worship at her feet.
"All bent the office and devotion of their view,
Upon his tawny front and eye of fire.
Then all were silent every one to hear,
And all their senses climb’d into their ears.
At this the Spaniard haughty, bold, forth stept,
And slight obeisance made with flashing look--
Fire in the flint shows not till it is strook--
And thus bespake the Queen; ‘Forgive it me
To weet which of the gods I shall thee name
That unto thee due worship I may frame.’
"‘Name me the fickle goddess that is Fortune hight,
Since Fate perforce hath left you here with me,
To be the record of Spain’s rueful loss,
And Fortune could so well to death you toss.’
"‘O, heavy record of my disadventures!
Well hopèd I, and fair beginnings had,
That you my captive languor should redeem,
Who rather death desire than such despite.’
"‘He’s a good soldier to a lady, Madam.’
Quoth Burleigh, and she answerèd straightway:--
"‘And a good soldier to a lady, sir,
But what, I pray, may he be to a lord?’
"‘A lord to a lord, dear Queen, a man to a man.’
"Then to the Spaniard scornfully she said:--
‘O vain ensample of the Spanish pride,
First thou shalt kneel to me, and humbly crave
A pardon for thy life. Kneel, kneel, I say.’
"‘To be a soldier is to be possess’d
Of a profession true and honourable,
With a persuasion strong to get a name
Of valour, honour and applause; and yet,
Thou wrong’st my honour as thou wouldst my name.
To all the host of Heaven I do complain me,
And bid them all bear witness to my shame.
This is intolerable! A heavy yoke!
When from high Heaven a dreadful storm was sent,
As willing me against thy will to stay,
Whom then should I--or heaven, or thee--obey?
The heavens know best what is the best for me.’
"‘Thy speech doth fly and eagle’s flight, bold forth,
Or like a wingèd storm thy words hence slip.
But, if it please thee, I thy cause decide;
This ’twould become thee to remember sir,
I have the power to hurt or to defend.
Not any element shall shroud thee from my wrath,
Nor any voice unsay my words of peace,
If I inclinèd be thee to preserve.
Thy life doth lie in my least eyelids’ fall.
Appease my wrath or else I’ll torture thee,
Searing thy hateful flesh with burning irons
And drops of scalding lead, while all thy joints
Be rackt and beat asunder with the wheel.
What fitter than to mete unto a Spaniard,
What Spain herself doth ever measure out?’
"Naught therewith daunted but the rather stirr’d
To greater enmity he proudly said:--
‘A virtuous emulation, truly madam,
And one that well beseems the Queen of England,
To imitate, though but unskillfully,
Means for removing of impediments.
If thou attempt it, it will cost thee dear.
But O, vain boast! Who can control his fate?
I have no skill the tempest of thy wrath t’ appease,
Nor force to move thee from thy stubborn will.’
"More huge in strength, than wise in words he was;
His boiling blood stirr’d up a dangerous courage,
Planting oblivion, beating reason back,
Forgetting shame’s pure blush and honour’s wrack.
And yet, so boldly did he bear him, that the Queen,
Through strong opinion of his matchless might,
His wondrous prowess and heroic worth,
Resolvèd to forego the punishment
She had devisèd, and him to restore
To living light; but, in her stubborn pride,
She did preserve her still to outward eye,
Whilst all her powers of passion warrèd were.
"Beholding all that womanish weak fight,
In princess of great power and greater pride,
He much did wonder and did gaze transfixt.
Awhile both seemèd to forget the stound
So perilous in which his life was set--
As when two warlike brigantines at sea,
With murderous weapons arm’d to cruel fight,
Do meet together on a wat’ry lea,
They stem each other with so fell despite,
That, with the shock of their own heedless might,
Each other doth a grizzly passage rend
Quite through the sides, and eke doth bear them both
With pitiless remorse to fell avenger’s end.
Or as when a tiger and a lioness,
Are met at spoiling of some hungry prey,
Both challenge it with equal greediness,
But first the tiger claws thereon doth lay,
And therefore loth to loose her right away,
Doth in defence thereof full stoutly stand;
To which the lion strongly doth gainsay,
That she to hunt the beast first took in hand,
And ought it have wherever she it found.
"Lordly he look’d, and full of warlike fire,
As in the shadow of her canopy,
He proudly stood; his glist’ning armour made
A little glooming light much like a shade.
With eyes subdued she musèd half aloud,
In mood perplext: ‘But once put out thy light,
Thou cunning’st pattern of excelling nature,
I know not where is that Promethean heat
That can thy light re-lume. When I have pluckt thy rose,
I cannot give it vital growth again,
It needs must wither. I’ll smell thee on the tree.
But I indeed must be more circumspect--
Begin betimes. Occasion’s bald behind.
Slip not mine opportunity, for fear, too late,
I seek for much but cannot compass it.
Alas, why gnaw you so your nether lip?
Some bloody passion shakes your very frame,
These are portents: and yet I hope, I hope
They do not point on me.’ And she again,
To mask her wounded mind, both did and said
Full many things so doubtful to be weigh’d,
That well he wist not what by them to guess.
"‘Be not rebellious, naught may us withstand;
Nor mayest thou disdain that woman’s hand
Hath conquer’d thee anew in second fight,
For whylome they have conquered sea and land.’
"‘Strange thing meseemeth that so small a thing
Should able be so great an one to wring.
Hereby I learnèd have not to despise
Whatever thing seems small in common eyes.’
"Her eyes did seem to dance as in delight,
And at her own felicity she smil’d.
‘Would he then change his lion’s skin to pall of gold?’
Now all her forces unto her she gather’d--
Armies of lovely looks and speeches wise,
With which she might e’en Jove himself entice.
Then drawing nearer, so that he plain descried
That peerless pattern of Dame Nature’s pride,
And heavenly image of perfection rare,
He blessed himself as one sore terrified.
"‘My sovereign lady and most gracious Queen,
Most virtuous virgin, glory be thy meed
And crown and heavenly praise with saints above.
Ah! now,’ quoth he, ‘I do perceive the reason
That Cynthia obscures her silver shine,
Till forging Nature be condemn’d for treason,
For stealing moulds from heaven that were divine,
Wherein she fram’d thee, in high Heaven’s despite,
To shame the sun by day and her by night.’
"She smil’d again well pleas’d, but aptly said,
‘I will pronounce thy sentence, Sir, straightway.
Thou shalt with me close prisoner rest a year,
For many worthy men have been imprison’d
All of their lives, and it hath been occasion
Of honour and great glory to themselves.
Enough, I read thy fortune in thine eye,
Thine honour’s sav’d though into thralldom thrown.’
"‘Fortune has somewhat the nature of a woman,’
He smiling said, as he these words did hear.
"‘That well may be. ’Tis Fortune’s fault, not mine.
Prosperity may one day smile again,
And until then sit down resign’d to Fate.
My Lord Burleigh, see him delivered o’er
Unto his keeper; we, my lords will go
To put in practice that which we have sworn.’
"To these her Councillors, who astonish’d stood
And busily addrest her, and her fair besought
With many a gentle term, she answerèd:--
"‘Persuade me not, I’ll not be importun’d,
It is your Sovereign’s absolute command.
My Lord High Chancellor, award a writ
For peaceable possession of a cell.
And my Lord Chamberlain, I you command
To cause the guardian to take charge thereof
This present night. Go, therefore, presently
And see that it most faithfully be done.’
"‘Your Majesty,’ one did presume to say,
‘Seest thou not great Bacon waiting here?
May it please thee to give answer presently?
He was to have first hearing of his suit.’
"At this his speech, though knowing well my cause,
She seem’d in doubt till he awhile had spoken.
Then I drew nigh, and humbly did beseech
Her Grace, to grant my prisoner liberty,
And by her power protect his feeble state
With vigilant foresight, for fear of harm
From Hatred and Despite lying in ambushment.
"‘Answer me, bringst thou the ransom I requir’d?
Thou art ill furnisht if thou hast not all.’
"‘If I will pay into thy hands the price,
Wilt thou his liberty unto him yield?’
"‘Do thou but bring the sum which thou to have
Pretendest, and I’ll see what that procureth.’
"‘Why, then, we’ll make exchange. Here, take thou this
And seal the bargain to release my prisoner.’
"She did not answer, but aside to Burleigh
I heard her say in a surprisèd tone:--
"‘Upon my life, the villain has procur’d
By some device or other, all requir’d--
No doubt from loudly prating mountebanks,
Gown’d vultures, thieves, and the litigious rout
Of cozeners, who haunt this occupation.’
Then to me with undeservèd heat:--
‘How chance thou cam’st by this? The sum
By far exceeds thy credit, that I know.’
"‘I dare not for my life disclose. ’Tis gold.
I’ll say it is an honest shift, the which
I have devis’d (and of great credit, too)
For raising of this sum--’tis strange but true.
’Twas right this to have done and not spoke on’t;
Being done, unknown, thou shouldst have found it afterwards
Well done, but wouldst condemn it now, if that my tongue
Betray’d my act, for surely thou must know,
’Tis not my profit that doth lead mine honour.’
"In rage she cried: ‘Thy words uncourteous are!
What! wilt thou flout me thus unto my face?
I’ll break that merry sconce of thine,
That stands on tricks when I am undispos’d.
I tread in dust thee and thy monie both,
That were it not for shame--’ So turnèd from me wroth,
With eyes that sooner sparkle fire than shed a tear.
As hitherto I had but fann’d the fire,
Now would I quite as gladly quench the flame.
Therefore unto her hastily I went,
And begg’d that she would not so soon depart.
With sudden energy I did exclaim:--
"‘All times and seasons rest you at a stay,
That I be not like exil’d air thrust from my sphere!’
Whereat she starts and looks at me with yielding eyes.
"‘What mean’st thy witless pleasance? Dost thou choose
All to disclose? I do demand the truth.
Sir, dare or dare not. Answer or not answer,
For thou hast nothing told. Yet stay! What else?’
"‘O think how little glory thou’lt have gain’d
By slaying him; though thou his life despise,
Even for His sake, and for His sacred word
Which in His last bequest He to us spake,
We should them love and with their needs partake;
Knowing that whatso’er to them we give,
We give to Him by whom we all do live.
I would to Heaven I had thy potency
And thou wert Pedro. Should it then be thus?
No, I would tell what ’twere to be a judge,
And what a prisoner. List to my words!
We hold a stranger’s honour in our hands,
And by his death, which some perhaps will moan,
Thou shalt condemnèd be by many a one.’
"Though I her much besought, she vow’d revenge
Which she would soon perform, betide her weal or woe.
And then on me she turn’d vials of wrath.
"‘Still so constant? Thou, too, shalt feel the law.
Make thou, forthwith, this present satisfaction
Or I’ll attach thee by this officer.
Go, work and dig for gold, (a task unfitting
For one so base as thou) then thou shalt have enough.
But for much more would not thy noble mother
Be so dishonour’d. I thrust down thy throat
Th’ reproachful speeches breath’d in my disdain!
I’m full resolv’d. Dost hear, foul spoken coward,
That thund’rest with thy tongue like mighty Jove,
Or as an hundred ramping lions set to roar,
But with thy weapon nothing durst perform?
Must thou be forc’d from me ere thou wilt go?
Go hang yourselves, thou and thy Spaniard both!
But, rather, I’ll look on the prisoner here,
For we shall see him shorter by the head
When next we meet, my worthy courtier.’
"I cried: ‘What foul disgrace is this, to blot
Thy fame that now unblemish’d is with blame
So foul, O Queen, as breach of faith once plight!
Such jewels being lost are never found again.
’Tis lost but once, and once lost, lost forever!
The worth of all men by their end esteem,
And then due praise or due reproach them yield.
For I may boldly say, he surely is
A right good knight and true of word ywis,
Though he, meseems, were not advisèd well.
He hath made many ventures in the world abroad,
In which he hath great glory won, I hear.
He is of higher nature than the King of Spain.’
"‘What antique stories are you telling us,
With Punic chivalry equivalent?
What though he battle made, the dreadest dangerous
That ever shrilling trumpet did resound,
Yet now his acts be nowhere to be found;
And no renownèd poet hath compil’d,
With warlike numbers and heroic sound,
These deeds thou dost so boast, misguided man,
But he himself his own self’s valiance sings.’
"‘Apollo’s oracles are not more true
Than thou shalt find his vaunt substantial.’
"‘The equal die of war he well did know.
What need they treat of peace that come for war,
Meaning to make a conquest of our land,
And, with their conquering swords to marshal them,
To leave no ground for us to march upon?
Tut! tut! there is some other matter in it.
These prisoners ta’en must be restor’d again,
And I, that triumph’d so, be overcome?
Fie! that were setting open and wide, the gate
For base impostures to o’erflood the kingdom.’
"Then turning to her Councillors she said:--
"‘I’ll make a Star-chamber matter of it.
My lords, you are appointed for that office,
The due of honour in no point omit.
Hard is the doubt, and difficult to deem
Whether shall weigh the balance down, I weet,
One single word which from my lips doth fall,
Or the life-blood in his vile veins withall.
His life, forsooth, shall be at your command.’
"‘But ere thou limit what is less or more
In everything, thou oughtest first to know
What was the poise of every part of yore,
And look how much them it doth overflow
Or fail thereof--so much is just to trow.
These must be looked into, since things are in your power.’
I interpos’d ere they had time to answer.
"‘He that in a bath is wet,’ I did reflect,
‘If he into the river should be flung,
Or e’en into th’ ocean itself can be
No more wet. Certes there’s solace in’t.’
"Uprose she from her place, and look’d about
That she the man might spy, like eyas hawk
That mounts unto the skies to seize his prey.
At last, she saw where he upstarted brave.
"‘Perk as a peacock!’ she mutter’d with a frown,
‘How brag he bears himself; so smirk, so smooth!’
"But he was wise and wary of her will,
And ever held his hand upon his heart,
While fixèd were his fiery eyes upon the earth.
"‘Is this then he, the best persuaded of himself,
So crammèd, (as he thinks) with excellence
That ’tis his grounds of faith? Let him come forth.’
"Then I again was her interpreter
When nigh he drew unto her stately throne.
"‘Know you Don Martin, sir, your countryman?’
"‘Aye, gracious Queen, I know the gentleman
To be of worth and worthy estimation,
And not without desert so well reputed.’
"‘Ah! by my troth the case may be amended,’
She softly said, and on him bent a smile.
"‘O, foolish man! why haste to thy decay?
Thou mightst have had of life or death election,
If thou the oath had ta’en here to remain as thrall.’
"‘Ah, cruel chance! Ah, luckless lot to me,
Poor wretch, assign’d! Were ever such contraries seen?
Well may appear, by proof of their mischance,
The changeful turning of men’s slippery state;
For he that of himself is most secure,
Shall find his state most fickle and unsure.
Would that I were in desert field apart--
Such one as that same mighty man of God,
(That blood-red billows, like a wallèd front,
On either side disparted with his rod,
Till that his army through them dry-foot trod,)
Dwelt forty days upon. I’d ask no more.
For now I stand as one upon a rock,
Environ’d with a wilderness of sea,
Who marks the waxing tide grow wave by wave.’
"‘Is he not eloquent in all his speech!
Instead of music I will hear him speak.
Don Pedro, what if I’ll repair thy ship
(Conditionally that thou wilt stay with me)
And give thee tackling made of rivel’d gold,
Wound on the barks of odoriferous trees;
Oars made of massy ivory, white as foam;
And anchors hewèd from the crystal rock;
While in thy treasury thou shalt lock more wealth
Than twenty thousand Indias can afford?
What say you, sir, will you be rul’d by me?’
"She sought his troubled sense thus to deceive.
Much he did marvel at her guileful speech,
Whose hidden drift he could not well perceive.
It wrought both joy and sorrow in his mind,
But, as a ship that through the ocean wide
Directs her course unto one certain coast,
Is met of many a counter wind and tide,
With which her wingèd speed is let and cross’d,
Still winneth way ne hath her compass lost,
So he unto his honour rested true.
"‘Not for a thousand worlds would I remain.
I’m set to see the last of desperate chance,
And vaunts of words, delights of wealth and ease
Do move me not at all, I’d think it loss
To make exchange for all thy pomp and power.
Heaven ban the souls to everlasting pain
And extreme tortures of the fiery deep,
That thus would deal with me in my distress!
O, who is he that brings my happy choice
Of death? Thrice welcome, he that bringeth tidings true,
That any will my wretched life bereave!
Welcome the baleful darkness underneath the ground!
For neither darkness foul nor filthy bands,
Can bind the ransom’d soul in woful thrall.
After long pains and labours manifold,
That Heaven prepar’d for man, mine eyes shall see.
The glory of His face shall be reveal’d,
And all celestial treasures e’er be mine.’
"‘Not he, but I may curse this fatal day,’
Quoth she to me, as I stood by her side,
‘For though he’s willful lost what he attain’d,
I am resolv’d that he shall rest my debtor.
What now remains? What’s left to compass this?
Great shame it were to lose pains long employ’d,
And greater shame t’ abide so great misprise
With which he dares our offers thus despise.
Yet that his guilt the greater may appear,
And more my gracious mercy, by this wise,
I will awhile with his first folly bear,
But he doth well deserve to taste its fruit.’
"‘Thus conscience doth arrest us, my dear Queen,
and would you that I now the reason tell?
Upon a time Fortune and Virtue match’d,
With Wisdom and fair Folly as their seconds,
Contended in th’ Olympics. Every man
Thought Fortune and Folly would have the worst
And pitied their cases; but it fell out
Quite otherwise, for Fortune, being blind,
Carèd not where she strook, nor whom--’
"‘Ah, Bacon, cease! thou steal’st my wits away,
And ever through ways unaccessible,
Dost pass into the spacious, pleasant fields
Of science and philosophy divine.
What is it thou wouldst say? Speak, I will hear.’
"‘Great Sovereign, listen not to his exclaims,
But give him liberty at least to mourn,
That sees his soldiers slain, himself disarm’d,
Who erst have forcèd kings to stand amaz’d,
And with their fearful tongues haste to confess
"These are the men that all the world admires."
His camp was like to Julius Cæsar’s host,
That never fought but had the victory.’
"‘But when she sees our bloody colours spread,
Then Victory begins to take her flight,
Resting herself upon our milk-white tents.
Legions of spirits fleeting in the air,
Direct our bullets and our weapons’ points
And make their marks to wound the senseless light.’
"‘Cannot we well afford then to be generous?
No fairer conquest can there be, than that,
That with good-will is gain’d. Thy heart shall be
With gladness pierc’d, and I am out of doubt
He must be pleas’d, perforce. Then take the gold
Which these his friends do offer to our State,
Nor seek to make him yield, madam, to thee
Unwilling service. He would dare the gods!
Not Hermes, their prolocutor, could use
Persuasions that should bend him from his course.’
"She neither would deny nor grant my suit,
But, at the instant, all our eyes were drawn
To one, that with his weapon did command
Ingress and egress at his voluntary,
Whoever sayeth to him ‘aye’ or ‘no.’
"‘What are they that would speak with me?’ quoth she.
"‘Sailors, madam, they say they’ve letters for you.’
"‘Let them come in. How now? What news?’
"‘God bless thee, gracious Sovereign.’
"‘Let Him bless thee, too, my brave and hardy seamen.
What means this sudden and more strange return?’
"‘There’s a letter for you here, your Majesty.’
"‘What should this mean? Are all the rest come back?’
"‘I beg your Majesty to read,’ quoth he.
"Her eyes bent on the writing, gloom’d as when
Heaven’s starry light is hidden in a cloud;
Yet did the cloud make even that dimm’d light
Seem much more lovely in that darkness laid,
And, ’twixt the twinkling of her eyelids bright,
To spark out little beams, like stars in foggy night.
Then quickly all was chang’d to lively joy.
"‘’Tis no deluding dream, the end has come!
He that erst march’d like Xerxes with his host,
Is wandering on adversity’s wide ocean,
Where nought’s to be expected but rude storms,
Tempestuous winds and high-wrought troublous waves,
As great in number as the sea-side infinite.
Full many, in the sea, sleep their last sleep,
And many more, driv’n on the coast to die,
Here breathe their last, and bid their friends farewell.
And if their country’s kindness be so much,
Then let their country kindly ring their knell.
"‘Eke as the sovereigns of the former times
Gave goodly gifts, the signs of grateful minds,
And did as pledges hands together join,
So will I show these wretched prisoners peace,
And, weetless all of lately wrought despite,
Will rescue now their lives to die in beds.
But while afar the cruel conflict rag’d
Whose dangerous excess depended yet in doubt,
’Twere well the Spanish mariners should feel the weight
Of hand of iron in a velvet glove.
My Lords, attend! This post-script you shall hear:--
"‘So, by a roaring tempest on the flood,
A whole Armado of convicted sail,
Is scatter’d and disjoin’d from fellowship.’
Set down this day in characters of gold,
And mark it with a stone as white as milk.
And ye, the happy above happy men,
Whose names are written with a golden quill
Proclaim the days of England’s happiness,
The days of peace, the days of quietness.
By mercy and by miracle, our Queen,
Even in the gates of death hath been preserv’d,
To govern England in the ways of truth.
With her, in sympathy and sweet accord,
All loyal subjects join, and heart and hands
Lift up to Heaven’s high throne, and sacrifice
Of praises and of hearty prayers send,
Thanks giving for the blessing, and the grace
On England’s head that are this day pour’d down,
To whom the earth, the sea, and elements
Auspicious are, and grace of heaven on every hand,
Enwheeleth round unto its utmost bound.
"This England never did and never shall
Lie at the proud foot of a conqueror.
In ages now long past, a kind of conquest
Cæsar made here, but made not here his brag
Of came and saw and overcame, though his ambition
Swellèd so much that it did almost stretch
The sides o’ th’ world; and in our day, Philip,
The Catholic King, the pride and power of Spain,
Most happily doth know not how to do it.
By English force he first her sought to guide,
When peace assur’d her towers had fortified,
And golden-finger’d India had bestow’d,
Such wealth on her, that strength and empire flow’d,
Into her lofty turrets, and her waist
The wealthy girdle of the sea embrac’d.
Next, by the sword of Spain, he would her fain subdue,
But England’s scourge he may not hope to be,
Eke though his hope surmounts his fortunes, far
As is the eastern from the western bound
Of God’s great universe. Our firm estate,
His vaunted power can never overthrow.
If Mars have sovereign power to manage arms,
If Bacchus bear no rule in Neptune’s sea,
Nor Vulcan’s fire doth Saturn’s scythe obey,
Ne’er shall a Spaniard, far-fet o’er the sea,
Preferrèd be unto our Sovereign.
"O happy Isle amid the seas engirt,
Where Neptune sits in triumph to direct
Their course to hell that aim at thy disgrace;
Thou stand’st as Neptune’s park, ribb’d and pal’d in
With oaks unskaleable, and roaring waters;
With sands that will not bear thy enemies’ boats,
But suck them up to the top-mast; whose floods
Do swallow up thy foes, and on the rocks,
With force and fury violent, their ships
In pieces split; thrice blest art thou,
And thy whole land a sea-wall’d garden is!
The narrow Britain seas are on the south,
Waters as rude securely guard the west,
A wider ocean doth the north begirt,
While on the east, the stormy German main
Beats back thine enemies. This little world,
This precious stone set in the silver sea,
Which serves it in the office of a wall,
Or as a moat defensive to a house,
Against the envy of less happier lands;
This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England,
This nurse, this teeming womb of royal Kings
Fear’d by their breed, and famous for their birth,
Renownèd for their deeds as far from home--
For Christian service, and true chivalry--
As is the sepulchre in stubborn Jewry,
Of the world’s ransom, blessed Marie’s Son,
Inviolate and undisturbèd is,
Though earth be off her hinges, and the Alps
Shake the old snow from off her trembling laps.
"O England, model to thy inward greatness,
Like little body with a mighty heart.
What mightst thou do, that honour would thee do,
Were all thy children kind and natural,
Nor breach of faith nor loyalty unsound,
Thy long time grievèd heart did ever wound.
This royal throne of kings, this sceptred Isle,
This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,
This happy breed of men, commons and peers,
Should state, and form, and due proportion keep,
Nor aught suppress ’gainst law and equity.
"Illustrious England, ancient seat of kings,
Whose chivalry hath royaliz’d thy fame,
That sounding bravely through terrestrial vale,
Proclaiming conquests, spoils and victories,
Rings glorious echoes through the farthest world!
What warlike nation, train’d in feats of arms--
What barbarous people, stubborn or untam’d,
What climate under the meridian signs,
Or frozen zone under his brumal stage,
Erst hath not quak’d and trembled at the name
Of Britain and her mighty conquerors?
Since God himself doth join, with her, His might,
Her neighbor realms--as Scotland, Denmark, France--
Aw’d with her deeds, and jealous of her arms,
Have begg’d defensive and offensive leagues.
Thus Europe, rich and mighty in her kings,
Hath fear’d brave England, dreadful in her kings.
And now t’ eternize Albion’s great name,
Equivalent with Troyans’ ancient fame,
Come the three corners of the world in arms,
And we shall shock them; naught shall make us rue,
If England to itself do rest but true.
(Sig.) FRANCIS, PRINCE OF WALES.
Sir Francis Bacon’s Life at The Court
"Banished from England’s court by my royal mother’s angry art,
(Who with envious carping tongue upbraided me,)
I start for France, and as my mother willed,
In a vessel of our country leaving home,
I crossed the seas and a passage cut
From England into France. By her breath
I am driven, like as rigour of tempestuous gusts
Provokes the mightiest hulk against the tide,
Either to suffer shipwreck, or at Calais to arrive.
In Gallia I arrived full safe, and presently
Rode post unto the matchless court of France.
The king’s house was in Paris set, and the king,
(As Ambassadors and Ministers of England’s Queen,)
Received and entertained us honourably,
We were lodged and accommodated in great state
In the royal seat, as Ambassadors,
And were, in an honourable manner,
Invited by the great King of France
To visit, and feast with him in royal princes’ state.
"Being arrived in Henry’s kingly hall,
That like Adonis’ garden bloomed with flowers
(For flower-de-lices, the lilies of the French,
The rose of England, with sweet violets,
Pale daffodills, and sweat-honey-suckle
Covered the walls and obscured the table.)
Such proud luxurious pomp, excess, and pride
Of royal arras and resplendent gold
Dazzled my eyes, I never such choice crystal saw,
Nor such pomp of rich and glittering gold.
"As I looked, the trumpets ’gan on high to sound,
And all the gracious people in one full consort
Sent to heaven their echoed report,
As forth Henry, King of France,
Crowned as a royal King, and garnished in wondrous robes;
With him the aged, ancient mother-Queen,
Arrayed in antique robes down to the ground;
The sad habiliments did her right well beseem.
"A noble crew about them waited round,
Of sage and sober peers all bravely gowned;
Before them did march in goodly band
Tall young men, all able to bear arms;
But now in hand, they Laurel branches bore,
Glad signs of victory and peace.
After them all, dancing in a row,
Came comely Virgins with garlands dight,
Fresh flowers that in meadows green do grow,
The tulippa, the double piony, wild thyme and stock gillyvors,
The light upon their leaves of wild vine
Bright sparkles, as the darkest night the moon o’ershines.
In their hands, all upheld sweet timbrells.
With gaping wonderment I gazed
Upon these Damosells, that play and sing
And in sweet and curious harmony, before the King,
Use their instruments and their voices.
The large concourse the great King goodly greets,
And did counter march unto his royal seat,
Where, before him prostrating low, the youth of France
Him did loud proclaim their Lord and Patron,
And did throw at his feet their laurel boughs.
His golden cup, full of the best wine of France,
Brought by a knave, he to his lordling’s health
Did empty, while the battlements did all their
Then did he bid them fall unto their frugal cates.
"I was such a novice in the Paris courts,
I wondered at the sight of such rich banquetings.
Dainty dishes beautify the board, in goodly Ivory and Gold;
And the spread table hath venison, pig and lamb,
With meats and drinks of every kind--
Jacks of wine; conserves and succets from Tiberias;
Cates from Judea, choicer than the lamp
That fired Rome with sparks of gluttony;
Wines richer than the Egyptian Courtesan
Quaffed to Augustus; Candy did yield
The riches of her kings; Persia down her Volga,*
By canoes, sent her spicery; Afric dates,
And mirabolones of Spain quenched our fervent appetites--
But what needs me tell the feast?
"The comely services of the courtly traine
Pleased me much. The god that to our soules
The music tuned held out his hand in highest majesty,
To entertaine the flower of France.
"Thus we feasted, full of mirth, but nothing riotous,
And every thing did abound with rarest beautie
That all latitudes and countries could afford.
"Now, by King Henry’s command, still silence
* An error of Bacon’s.
Was imposed on all; and in the French tongue
He did call me to his side, and did salute me
In honour of the Queen of England.
And, smiling, as if he thought
I would not understand the French, said:--
"‘My good youth, welcome to Paris, thou bearest
Thy father’s frank face; thy father’s moral parts
May’st thou inherit too, and in thee live thy father’s excellence.
Is the lord, thy father, well? With all his defects
He might well be a copy to these younger times.’
"I answered him in French:--
"‘Thanks to the King of France for this honour,
And thanks to all thy noble company for honour done us,
In this royal and gorgeous entertainment.
Glad am I that I now am here. My good father,
The noble lord, the prime of Albion’s wealth,
Lives, your Majesty, where chalky cliffs
Famed through the world, stretch along England’s stately shore.
I will engrave his precepts in my heart, and I wish to have
As much of my father in me, as to retain
His honour and magnanimity.
May the heavens, in all mishaps, bless my father
With continual grace.’
"To which King Henry said:--
"‘Thou art not old enough in years for a man,
Nor young enough for a boy; as a squash is before it is a peascod,
Or a codling which is almost an apple;
’Tis with thee in standing water, between boy and man;
Thou art well favored, noble by birth,
Noble by beautie’s flames, and like thy father,
Thou speakest very shrewishly;
One would think thy mother’s milk was scarce out of thee.’
"Whereat the goodly company gazed at me
As if they saw some wondrous monument,
Some comet, or unusal prodigy.
"‘I liked thee ’fore I saw thee, now I love and admire thee.
Thou art thy father’s joy, thy mother’s comfort,
Thy country’s hope. We will even for thy father’s sake,
(For thou art like to have a thin and slender pittance,)
Add, by thy leave, twenty crowns unto thy purse.
Thou art a gallant youth, but fare-thee-well, sir boy,
Here comes the Prince, I pray thee stand aside.’
"Francis, the next blood and heir of the House of Valois,
Approached the King; twelve peers of France arm in arm
Accompany him, and by the table stand,
And confer about some matter.
I saw His Royal Majesty did, with much unkindness,
Hail the noble young Prince of France;
Greeting, with sour looks and reverted forehead,
The Prince, who upon his knee made supplication.
Anon I heard the Duke speak thus:--
"‘Your Highness bade me ask to-day for the hundred thousand crowns.’
"The King gaped and gazed on him, and then exclaimed:--
"‘My Lord Duke, I am content to lose some of my crowns
Now and then, to thievish Christian thieves,
But thou art a most pernicious usurer,
Froward by nature, enemy to peace, thou dost disgrace
The House of France. Get thee gone, and leave me alone.
Thou shamest me in this place. Thou hast dishonoured me.
By honour of my birth, thou smooth faced boy,
Thou like a poor beggar dost dishonour me.
God knows I am unprovided, and therefore
Thou joinest with these lordly peers of France
To put crowns into thy purse.’
"‘Thy virtue shall then be to say,--
There is no vice but beggary:
Since kings break faith upon commodity,
Gain, be my lord! for I will worship thee.’
"‘What dost thou mean, sirrah?’
"‘My gracious King, I am a beggar,
And I will rail on the rich and fortunate.
Fortune is corrupted, changed, and won from me
By tickling commodity, commodity the bias of the world.
But, your Majesty, thou art a bawd to Fortune,
Strumpet Fortune, that with her golden hand,
Hath made thee rich with crowns,
That, like pawns, lie in thy chest and trunks, locked up.
Yet is not France forsworn and perjured too?’
"‘Away, villain, I will chide thy trespass.
Thou shalt be expulsed from France for so disgracing me.’
"‘Thanks, good fortune fall to such a king,
As covets to be counted rich and wise.
I’ll stand aside; but there still remains unpaid
A hundred thousand crowns, and I tell thee
I will have the money.’
"‘Come, brother Francis, come, I charge thee go;
Gallants, withdraw the Prince, else otherwise
I must lay these glozes by.
I charge thee stand aside.’
"‘Sweet Prince, go no further. Content thyself, my lord.’
"‘My lord, I will not hear thee.’
Brother, I will be heard. Mother, I pray thee,
Is not the King enriched by the beggar’s
Hundred thousand crowns? His Majesty, the King, thy son,
Doth intimate here that he hath not that sum in surety;
He little purposeth to give me my hundred thousand crowns,
And thou knowest that it is mine;
My father did devise it me. I will not call him brother,
I pray thee, if thou lovest me, see thou
That my brother deny it not:
I am the youngest son of Henry Second,
And thou shalt hear how I will longer endure it.
The spirit of my father grows strong in me,
And I will no longer entreat this currish Jew
The payment of my part.
My father charged thee in his will,
To give me good education, and thou hast trained me
Like a peasant, obscuring and hiding from me
All gentlemanlike qualities. I say I will not go
Till I please: thou shalt hear me; I am no villain;
He is thrice a villain, that says my father begot villains;
Thou hast railed on thyself. Were thou not my brother,
I would not take this hand from thy throat
Till this other had pulled out thy tongue
For saying so.’
"‘What, boy, wilt thou lay hands on me, villain?’
"‘Come, come, elder brother, by this hand I will, sir.
Mother, make him make payment.’
"‘O God, defend me, how I am beset!
What kind of catechising call’st thou this?
My child, I charge thee, away!
My lord, let him have what he doth demand.’
"‘Madam, I have not one half the sum; but here comes Navarre.
Gentle cousin, my brother has set upon me
And taunted me about my father’s will,
He says I am a Jew,
And that his lands and revenues enrich me:
The Duke hath been making such pitiful dole
Over his lost crowns, that all the beholders
Take his part with weeping.’
"‘Cousin, I have five hundred crowns
And I will give them thee.’
"‘Think not, Navarre, I ask for him;
’Tis a peevish boy.’
"‘Yet he talks well.’
"‘What care I for words?
I have promised to make all this matter even.’
"‘Will you keep your word?’
"‘Dost thou not believe it, boy?’
"‘Well, keep your word.’
"And then they shook hands and swore brothers.
"The Prince of Navarre
Made the old French King’s daughter his wife.
The admired princess was a maid
Of grace and complete majesty.
But all-telling fame doth noise abroad
That Navarre made a vow, that no woman
Should approach his silent court as his wife,
Till his decrepit, sick, and bed-rid mother
Doth surrender up her life.
But his will now hath in it no part, for he is a prisoner.
Three or four of his loving lords
Put themselves in voluntary exile with him, at the court,
Soldiers were servants to this martial knight;
His looks were stern though in a life of peace;
His form straight and majestic, the figure of a god;
His charmed eyes, hair, and beard were something brown;
His face the copy of a noble gentleman;
He was wrapt in sweet clothes; upon his fingers rings;
His bonnet and doublet rich with precious stones;
His round hose girded at the knees with stones and jewels
Richer than I, in my fifteen years,
Had dreamed could in the world be found.
Ever and anon this great lord essayed to steal the malice
Of the clownish fool, the witless son of a witty mother,
That did rule in France.
The roynish clown swears to send his brother
Into banishment, for asking for the crowns
He hath taken away from him by force.’
"‘I pray you coz,’ said Navarre,
‘The wisdom of your course hath cost me five hundred crowns
Since supper time.’
"‘The more fool you; I am resolved to tame
My bloody brother; the boy hath a face so full of frost,
Of storm and cloudiness, I will lay my reverence by,
And with my knife if I do not most curiously carve
This calf’s head and capon, say my knife’s naught.
God knows I know my brother Francis and his villains.
I dare take a serpent by the tongue,
And will I now hide my head for these boys,
Apes, braggarts, milk-sops--
Yea, these scandaling, out-facing, fashion-monging boys,
That lie, and cry, and flout, deprave and slander,
Go antiquely, and show outward hideousness,
And speak half a dozen dangerous words,
How they might hurt their enemies if they durst?
I know them and what they weigh, even to the utmost scruple.’
"The King was weeping ripe.
"‘O poverty of wit! kingly poor flout!
Will they not (think you)
Hang themselves to-night, or ever (but in vizards)
Show their faces? This is what well-liking wits
Would call gross, gross,--fat, fat,’
Said his pert brother.
‘I say, thou hast not paid me; thou has diverted my crowns;
Thou art half lunatic, a mad-cap ruffian,
And a swearing jack,
That thinkst with oaths
To face the matter out. Give me my crowns
And I will take my leave; I am as peremptory as thou.’
"Where two raging fires meet together,
They do consume the thing that feeds their fury;
Though little fire grows great with little wind,
Yet extreme gusts will blow out fire and all.
So Navarre did his good receipt,
Suddenly cure this absurd and most unnatural brawl
"‘Dear Sovereign, hear me speak;
Let me have audience for a word or two.
Here Duke, I have more cause than thou hast
To be out of countenance. Here am I out of hope and heart;
My cake is dough; for well you know,
I attend like humble visaged suitor here his high will.
I am forbidden to visit the court of Navarre;
Three years, thou knowest, I with untired spirit
And formal courtesy, have been dauncing here.
I came to Paris in hope to court thy sister,
And like a cudgel or a hovel post, a staff or prop,
I dare not budge an inch. A captive I stand,
Toying and playing here,
Unworthy, unhappy, of so doleful drere.’
"These words burst forth quite without his will,
And then the Duke said:--
"‘Sir, thou needst not meddle; let me deal in this.
Marjorie, thy wife, is my sister;
But I must needs tell thee this,
For laying on my duty to the King,
Thou art sand-blind, high gravel-blind.’
"‘I pray thee tell me, boy, how am I sand-blind.’
"‘Knowest thou not? Nay, indeed, if thou hadst thine eyes
Thou mightest fail of knowing.
Well, if thou hast a stomach too’t, a God’s name,
I will tell thee news of thy fair wife.
She, even in the lovely garnish of a boy,
A prattling boy, a little scrubbed boy
No higher than herself, doth play the runaway;
For, my lord, thy loving wife
Is staid for at a most delicious banquet,
By the bed of Guise.’
"‘O cowardly boy! Fie, for shame!
Thou dishonourest manhood and thy house;
Thou liest, boy, and speakest audaciously;
Thou hast belied by this, thy sister and my wife.
Thou art a villain.’
"‘God’s my life, thou naughty varlet!
I am not old, nor have I gray hairs
And bruise of many days, but I do challenge thee
To the trial of a man. If thou killest me
Thou killest a man. I speak not like a dotard,
Or a fool, being young, a boy and under age,
But, man, never fleer or jest with me.
Single out, thou notorious villain, any noble gentleman
Of worthy birth and qualified,
And if I do not pass a pin through thee,
I’ll die, my lord, and lie buried in a tomb
With my ancestors.’
"‘Tush, tush! fear boys with bugs;
Thinkest thou a little din can daunt mine ears?
Have I not heard the sea, puffed up with winds,
Rage like an angry boar chafed with sweat?
Have I not heard great ordnance in the field,
And Heaven’s artillery thunder in the sky?
Have I not, in pitched battle, heard loud ’larums
Neighing steeds and trumpets clang?
And dost thou think I will not sound the depth
Of this knavery? Tush, tush, boy;
If thou fail in thy slander, thou Judas,
I will put thee to the sword.’
"‘I arrest thy words.
Your Majesty, vouchsafe to call before thee
The wife of this well married man.’
"Quoth the King:--
"‘’Tis such fools as you that makes the world
Full of ill-favored children.
Mother, I pray you, send unto his wife to come.’
"‘Sirrah Gerald, go and entreat the fair princess,
My daughter, to come before us.’
"‘O ho! entreat her? Nay then, she needs must come.’
"‘Well, send for your daughter and see.’
"‘Fetch her gallant hither.’
"‘Indeed, my lord, he is absent.’
"‘Send his brother to me,’ said the King,
‘Ile make him find him;
Let not search nor inquisition fail to bring him.
How now, Captain Dumaine, where is thy brother?’
"‘I know not, your Royal Highness.’
"‘Fetch your brother.’
"‘I will to him, to satisfy your Highness, and bring him hither.
Though our brother is absent, ’tis against his liking:
I will about it straight."
"‘Go do our bidding; hence, hence! Call the Princess.’
"As after some oration fairly spoke by a beloved Prince,
There doth appear among the buzzing, pleasèd multitude
Of Judases, confusion of most ignoble frolic and sport--
Talking, and if you please, moralizing on all that is virtuous;
Helping to mar that which God made sacred.
Nor might nor greatness in mortality can censure ’scape:
Back-wounding calumny the whitest virtue strikes:
What king so strong can tie the gall up in a slanderous tongue?’
"‘Never scandal slept, my lord,’
Says one of the Prince’s officers,’
‘This is flat knavery to call the Prince’s wife harlot;
I dare lay down my life and will doo’t sir,
Please you t’ accept it,
That the Princess is spotless i’ th’ eyes of Heaven.’
"‘It is a wise father that knows his own child.
My honest friend, he doth send for her,
I propose to wager twenty crowns
Upon her new-built virtue and obedience.
I am afraid, sir, she will not be entreated.’
"‘Ile venture so much, I hope better of her obedience;
If it prove otherwise, Ile keep my stables where I lodge my wife,--
Ile go in couples with her;
The daughter of France is a most sweet lady.’
"‘Not unlike, sir, that may be,
But something smack! something grow too!
Truth will come to light, murther cannot be hid long;
A man’s son may, but in the end truth will out.
I can tell you newes that you dreamt not of.’
"‘How, my lord, you accuse her? Ile not call you traitor,
But this most cruel usage of your lady
(Not able to produce more accusation than your own thoughts)
Is vile. Monsieur, I charge you in the Prince’s name
Accuse my master and his wife, the sweet Lass of France,
Of what you do profess to know, out loud.’
"‘If I thought it a piece of honesty
To acquaint the Prince himself
About the piece of iniquity, his clog,
I would not doo’t.’
"‘I hold it knavery to conceal it,
And therein you are constant to your profession.
See, see, what a man you are now.
I will tell the Prince all, yea, every word.’
"‘Pray you, sir, haste; ’twill please my mind
As well, I doubt not, as it will your master’s,
To hear you proclaim here in this court, his wife
Is mistress to an affable and courteous gentleman,
Rather than her husband.’
"‘My lord doth know all flesh is frail.’
"‘But what ’cerns it you, sir, to tell the Prince
The Princess plays so disgraced a part,
She being none of your flesh and blood?
* * * * * * * * * *
"‘But the King hath on him such a countenance
As he had lost some province,
A region loved as he loves himself.
Mark you, let him know his business;
My grave sir, present yourself
And expose the fair Princess:
Our King will leap out of himself for joy,
That his sister, the Princess, is false to the Prince.’
* A necessary omission of fourteen XVI Century lines.
"‘You are a tall fellow of your hands,
And a sweet fellow too;
But, sir, whilst you do climate here
Give your countenance the manner of your being,
And so your flesh and blood is not punished, be happy.’
"‘Yea, say you so? No honest man, then,
Should choose from forth the royal blood of France
To propagate any branch or image of his state.’
"‘Sir, understand you this of me,
Wrong me not, nor wrong yourself;
I tell you, your master is become a hot lover,
And your mistress is not one that will live long alone.
But sit still, my lord, and mark the comedy.’
(Enter a messenger).
"‘Where is she, sir,’ said the King.
"‘Royal sir, she is gone, we know not where;
Please you sir, her chambers are all locked,
And there is no answer that will be given
To the loud noise we make.’
"‘Her doors locked!
Grant, Heaven, that which I fear prove false.’
"‘With eyes in flood with laughter, the Frenchman said:--
‘Here comes Dumaine, I fear you I shall win the wager.’
"‘Captain,’ quoth the King,
‘Thy brother’s not with thee?
Come nearer, no further halting,
Where is he, sir? Satisfy me home
What has become of him.’
"‘My brother Guise is in a monastery
Two miles off, royally entertained by the fair Princess.’
"‘Away, I say and bring them hither.
Straight, fetch them hither;
If they deny to come, swinge them soundly forth unto me.’
"With this, the Princess, formal in apparel,
Gait, and countenance, sudden into the presence comes.
She is the fairest lady I have yet beheld in France,
And is walled about with diamonds, pearls, and gold.’
"‘Good morrow to this fair assembly.
Good morrow, Prince; good morrow, brother;
I attend your Majesty’s command, to whom
I am in ward and evermore in subjection;
What is your will, sir, that you send for me?’
"The King spoke admiringly:--
"‘Good morrow, fairest sister, your sweet hand.
Welcome! Now tell us what occasion of import
Hath all so long detained you from this court
And sent you hither at so late an hour.’
"Quoth she, ‘I came yonder from a great supper,
And I can give you intelligence
Of an intended marriage, will it serve any model
To build mischief on.’
"‘I’ll mark no news at court,
That smothers up the report I hear of you.’
"At this she stormed and wrung out sore sights,
That what of grief her tongue could speak no more.
"‘I beseech your Highness, in such a business,
Give me leave to answer that which I durst speak.’
"‘Your answer must be short.’
"‘By grace itself, I swear
I will tell the truth before the King,
And next unto high Heaven.’
"‘Say your mind.’
"‘Good, my liege, Royal Sir,
I (O my brother,) proclaim the wrongs
I have from this good gentleman
Visiting your Highness, and whom I have wedded,
And which hath something touched my very heart;
I have seen him, with mine eyes,
Make love to my friend;
And the conversation of Paris is,
He, with kisses, comforts the fair face
Of a puttocke, wife to another.’
"‘What! art thou mad?’
"‘Almost, sir. Heaven restore me.
I would I were a neat-herd’s daughter;
O, brave sir, I would be contented
To be what green and idle girls call "castaway,"
If I could happily cure the desperate languishing
Whereby my lord and husband doth forget himself;
I would remain in a sheep-cote a ram-tender,
And consider little the dangers of weather;
Or else should take on me
The nuptials of some soft swain,
Or old sheep-whistling rogue,
Rather than the Prince, a gentleman born,
Who, e’er he did plight troth with me,
Blessed his father’s servant-maid with child.’
"‘What stuff is this? How say you?
"‘’Tis true, she is heir of Navarre.
I have heard the poor babe,
After this devil by long and vehement suit
Seduced the mother, was cast aside
To wolves and bears;
The kites and ravens to be nurses to it,
And both cast off. O! I know him well,
Sir, he is a good workman.’
"‘O daughter, daughter! Heavens, dear lady daughter!
Peace, you should not speak so
Of your lord and husband;
Forgive a foolish woman, Prince;
Besides the Prince is penitent.’
"‘Penitent, mother; it requires nothing but secrecy;
I’ll not believe this coward e’er can love;
Good my mother, peace:
I would that I were low laid in my grave.’
"‘Believe me,’ cried her husband.
"‘I do not believe you, man,
False blood to false blood joined--’
"‘Stop, I charge you in the Prince’s name
Not to utter it; you are mad, mad, mad.’
"‘I am not mad; this hair I tear is mine;
My name is Margaret; I am not mad;
I would to Heaven I were, for then ’tis like
I would forget myself; I am not mad.
Too well, too well, I feel the plagues of each calamity.
O your Royal Majesty!
This most gallant, illustrious, and learned gentleman,
I say, look you, is a thing too bad for bad report;
And he hath married me, alack, alack!
What heinous sin it is in me
To be ashamed to be the wife of this cruel Prince;
Husband, devil, husband; I am tied to you,
In brief, sir, as there comes light from heaven
And words fro’ breath,
As there is sense in truth and truth in virtue,
I am no * * * * in double violation
Of chastity and of promise, as this man is.’
"‘Noble Prince, look you,’ cried the King,
‘She charges your Royal Grace
Of wanton joys, with many fair and lascivious ladies.
On your life, are you guilty?
He answers not to this?
Then ’tis time to stir him fro’ his trance.
Awake, I pray sir, and answer well our question,
Or else we will have you closely mue’d up.’
"‘Beseech your patience, Sovereign.
I’ll answer you, I am your husband,
You are my wife. Well, come madam, wife,
Sit by my side, and let the world see
What fools they are to say I love you not.
Mark how they whisper, every jack-slave
Knows what I will do, yea and throw stones,
Cast mire and spit upon me;
Aye, and set the dogs o’ the streets to bay at me.
I am called all the abhorred things o’ the earth,
Because of my shameless, amorous and villainous wife,
Which I’ll make bold your Highness cannot deny.’
"‘Remember, sir, you had been ta’en by craft
On your nuptial night, if my chaste daughter
By your side had not prevented it.
In despite of Heaven and men,
She fought for you. What if she had been vicious
And had done nothing? You know, man,
You know your life even then was lost.’
"‘True madam, but my wife is slippery,
Thou wilt confess, or else be impudently negative--
To have not eyes, nor thought--
Then say my wife’s a holy-horse.
She deserves a name as rank as any flax-wench
That puts to before her troth plight.’
"‘I say you lie, you lie, you lie!
You are a gross lowt, a mindless slave,
A hovering temporizer! I have done nothing.’
"‘Is whispering nothing? Is leaning cheek to cheek nothing?
Is meeting noses, kissing with the inside lip,
Stopping the cariere of laughter with a sigh--
A note infallible of breaking honesty--
Horsing foot on foot, sulking in corners,
Wishing clocks more swift--hours, minutes; noon, midnight--
And all eyes blind with the pin and web,
But theirs, theirs only, that would unseene be wicked.
Is this nothing? Why then the world and all that’s in’t is nothing!
The covering sky is nothing, France nothing,
My wife is nothing, nor nothing have these nothings,
If this be nothing!
Do I jest now, think you? O, I will pluck out her eyes!
O, I stand upon thorns!’
"‘My daughter loveth thee or she doth dissemble deeply.
I pray thee have care, be at accord.
Make not bond maid and a slave of her.
This man hath bewitched the bosom of my child,
Given her rimes, and by a form in wax,
Composed by the king of shadows, hath in the liverie
Of herself, imprinted within her heart his lordship’s figure.
The instant he did pierce the image to its heart,
My child lost her love of thee.
I can produce a shape that, upon knowledge,
If one sticks it at the heart, sir, will fetch off life;
And were I appointed to murder thee,
I would kill thee,’ said the Queen-mother,
‘Were region’s space ’twixt us.’
"‘I thank thee, madam,’ answered the Princess,
‘Hath he drawn my picture, or doth he wound my heart
With a leaden sword?
Tut, how knowest thou all this?
My state is not so bad, content thyself.’
"‘Silence, mistress, thou wrongest me.’
"‘Good mother, do not make me desperate.’
"Then, as she stood, she sighed and counterfeited to sound,
And with shrieks, as though her heart
Had been wounded with the claws of a lion,
She measures her princely body upon the ground.
And I would I were to bring her to.
O, that I might with a needle prick her back!
She no more resembles one in a faint than I.
"‘Thou hast killed my child by thy villainy,’ said the Queen,
‘Thy slander hath gone through and through her heart!
My innocent child, she is dead!
Slandered to death by villains!
Thy speech, like iron, run through her blood.
My child’s dead;
I thank thee, Prince, for my daughter’s death:
Record it with thy high and worthy deeds,
Thou hast wronged my innocent child.
Gentlewomen, pluck up the Princess and withdraw
Into the chamber; take her and bear her back.’
"The Princess’ gentlewoman lifted the Princess
From the earth, and so locked her in embracing
As if she would pin her to her heart.
Still pretending, the Queen importunèd thus:--
"‘My daughter renew thy strength.
O God! speak, my daughter! sweet girl, wilt thou hear me no more?
My old limbs be lame, and unregarded;
Age is in corners thrown, my spirits quail,
My heart drops blood. Good den, good den.
O King, Margaret thy sister is dead.’
"‘I’ll go along with thee,’ said the King.
"‘Leave me alone to woo my daughter back to life;
Give me leave to go.’
"Then the Queen left the feast. I among the rest
Stay with his Grace, and enter into the secrets
Of this viperous slander.
"‘Faith my lord,’ said the Frenchman, ‘the wager thou hast won.’
"‘I do assure you, my very good friend,
For what is inward between us, let it pass.
Believe me, of all the men alive,
I never yet beheld a face which could mark
More of grief than the King’s.
A Jew would have wept to have seen his bitter anguish.
But marked you how his sister, being so far provoked,
Began to scold and raise up such a storm
That mortal ears might hardly endure the din?
She did chide loud as thunder when the clouds in autumn crack.
Here is a wonder, if you talk of a wonder.’
"‘And so it is. I wonder what it bodes?’
"‘Marry, peace it bodes, and love, and quiet life,
Awful rule, and right supremacy.
The greatest wrong of all is, that the Prince,
My master, left a wife whose beauty doth astonish
The survey of richest eyes.
He cannot thrive, unless her prayers
Whom Heaven delights to hear and loves to grant,
Reprieve him from the wrath of God.
To this unworthy husband of his wife
Let every word weigh heavy of her wrath,
That he doth weigh too light.’
"‘He hath much worthy blame laid on him.’
"‘Haply his heart was not consenting to this slander:
I have stood by my master, and I confess,
Strongly as words can make, I know and love him well;
But I would not be a stander by
To hear my sovereign mistress clouded so,
For twenty thousand crowns.’
"‘The devil the Duke, partly by his oaths,
Did deceive them.’
"‘You never spoke what did become you
More than this.’
"‘There is nothing here in France
That is too good for him, but only she.
And she deserves a lord that twenty such rude boys
Might tend upon, and hourly call her mistress.’
"‘My master is a most gallant fellow.
I would that he loved his wife.’
"‘If he were honester, he were goodlier.’
"‘Is’t not a handsome gentleman? a gentleman born?’
"‘He is; yet slandering, my lord,
Deserves the wrath of high Jehovah.
But let’s see the end of this adoe:
Hark! the King and the Prince are going to talk.’
"‘Your Majesty, it is quite beyond the blank and level
Of my brain, to say I am sinless:
The sacred Heavens, taking angry note, have left me issueless;
But I am, in my condition, a Prince, a King,
And I would no more endure this wooden slavery;
Let me live here ever so long, it makes not
This place paradise to me; then let us both,
My wife and I, my Sovereign by consent say farewell,
And let us go to our Kingdom of Navarre.’
"‘Nay, not so quickly, said the King, ‘my sister
Must not yet depart, she must stay with me
And attend to our stern will, and with thee,
Pupil-like, take the correction--mildly kiss the rod.’
"‘I do beseech your Majesty to have some pity,
The word is short, but not so short as sweet.
My friends do mourn in ashes, some coal black,
For the deposing of their rightful king.
Thou knowest the way, and as fond fathers
Having bound up the threatening twigs of birch,
Only to stick it in their children’s sight,
For terror, not for use; in time the rod’s more mocked than feared:
So our decrees, dead to infliction, to themselves are dead,
And Liberty plucks Justice by the nose;
The baby beats the nurse, and quite athwart
Goes all decorum and even so the general subject
To a well wished king quit their parts,
And in obsequious fondness crowd to his presence,
Where their untaught love must needs appear offence.’
"‘I will be kind and liberal.’
"‘I thank thee, King, for thy great bounty,
That not only giv’st me cause to wayle,
But teachest me the way how to lament the cause;
So temporal fathers do appease children.
Sir, your Highness knows I have received punishment
For that which I have not done;
Beaten for loyalty; excited to treason,
Men with their swords in hand, blades yet streaming
With blood, against my heart have charged me
In mine own chamber.
I owe you all duty, but now
The constraint of hospitable zeal
Yields me chaff.’
"‘Stop sir! O sir, your presence is too bold
And peremptory, and majesty
Might never yet endure the moody frontier
Of a servant’s brow: you have good leave
To leave us, but as we, under the Pope
And Heaven, are supreme head
Of all the kings of Christendom, by that great
Supremacy whereby we reign, we will alone
Uphold without assistance of a mortal hand,
The Church, our Holy Mother, which you
So willfully do spurn and force, perforce,
And, in his name, religiously demand
Why you against the Pope all reverence set apart;
And ere the sun set, we will set armèd discord
’Twixt these perjured provinces and France.
To the relief of this rebelling region,
If you go, I will come roundly to you
And your shrewd ill-favored wife;
And if you will not tarry, Prince, I will,
King as you are, hang you like a thief,
If there be gallows standing in France.’
"‘I am too blunt and saucy; here is my knee,
Ere I arise I will prove a false king,
And tell you I’ll tarry.
And yet, my sovereign liege, our House little deserves
The scourge of greatness to be used on it;
And that same greatness, too, which
Our own hands have helped to make so portly.’
"‘God save the mark! I prithee, Prince,
When did so slight, unworthy, and ridiculous
A realm as thine, grace the triumph of great France?’
"‘God save your Majesty! when England brought
A counter-check before your gates.
To save unscratched your city’s threat’ned cheeks,
We ramm’d up our gates against the crown of England,
And made much work for tears
In many an English mother.
The sun did play upon the dancing banners
Of the staff of France, who at hand,
Triumphantly displayed to England’s king their colours;
The lords and barons of my realm
Gave your grandfather Louis their heirs and pages,
Who followed him, even at the heels,
In golden multitudes; swore him assistance
In terms of zeal, and performed it, too.’
"‘Tut, I care not to hear this!’
"‘No? by my soul, ’tis so.
It pleases your Majesty to turn your looks of favour
From myself and all our House;
And yet, I must remember you, my lord,
We were the first and dearest of your friends;
My grandfather’s Majesty, I have heard,
And his subjects gave you all the duties of men:
The lives that he did lead to ope the purple
Testament of bleeding war, and throw brave defiance
In King Henry’s teeth, the great King of England,
Are gone and fled; and out of dear love
From France unto England, never such a power
For any foreign preparation was levied
In the body of the land, which did rush
To faithful service of your Majesty’s grandfather.
By this time, from their fixed beds of lime,
Your town’s walls had been dishabited,
And wide havoc made for bloody power to rush in;
And England’s barbed steeds would have made stables
Of each religions house in France, noble cousin,
If my fathers had not here advanced the flags of France,
And hither marched to your father’s enfranchisement.
Thrice Harry of England,
Bullinbrook’s son, did wade to the market place
In Frenchmen’s blood; his horses’ hoofs did
Fret fet-lock deep in gore, and in wilde rage
Yerked out their armèd heels at their dead foes,
Killing them twice.
The fair reverence of your Highness curbs me
From giving reins and spurs to my free speech:
I stand condemned, my rights and royalties
Plucked from my arms perforce.
Show me the hand of God that hath dismissed me
From my stewardship, for well I know
No hand of blood and bone can gripe
The sacred handle of my sceptre,
Unless he do profane, steal or usurp.
Armies of pestilence shall strike your children yet unborn
And unbegot, that lift your hands against
My head, and threat the glory of my precious crown.
A sceptre snatched with an unruly hand,
Must be as boisterously maintained as gained.
I impeach thy wrong, alack, thou dost usurp authority!’
"‘Who is it thou dost call usurper?
In the name of God, how comes it that thou art called a king?
Have I not here the best cards for the game,
To win this easy match played for a crown?
And shall I now give o’er the yielded set?
No, no, on my soul, it never shall be said,
That which thou for truth givest out,
That my estate in France came through thine or thee.’
"‘Let me make answer--
When I shun Scylla, I fall into Charybdis.
I am moved, my lord, to say I am the King’s brother-in-law;
But I would be better satisfied to see deliverance.’
"‘Not so, my lord, thou still must stay
A twelvemonth and a day.’
"‘My honour’s at the stake.’
"‘Canst thou dream I’ll allow their thin
And hairless scalps against my crown,
I’ll keep thee secure:
Hence, be content, and like an infant go whip thy gigge.’
"Thus did he humble him, and, when with his knees
He kissed the ground, they did to their rest repair.
that was all that I saw of Navarre, for he did
Purge his melancholy, and air himself in flight.
"The tales I have told you of courts, of princes,
And of the tricks in war, I do think cannot choose but content you;
But the foolery of the kings and queens of France,
That I will show you, will belie all that I have done.
The drug-damned Queen-mother who was fro’ Italy,
Outcraftied the power of France, and by juggling
Witchcraft, coupled and linked in league together
The states against our faith.
This newly knit conjunction and inglorious league
Enters into the secrets of our fifth letter;
And I will recount in brief and plain form
The particular and strange contract
’Twixt the fair couple of Navarre. * *
* Continued in Book IV.