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beth's favourite courtier-poet, historian, statesman, adventurer-Sir Walter Raleigh. The stately, personable worthy, whom all regard with an evident air of deference, is Lord Charles Howard of Effingham, the Lord High Admiral of England, a Catholic, but a patriot, and a loyal subject of the Queen's. Around him gather brave Sir Robert Southwell, stout Captain Fenner, Richard Hawkins-the Complete Seaman,' the gallant Winter, the chivalrous Sir Richard Grenville-a great Devonshire knight and worthy, young Lord Sheffield, and the trusty and tried Martin Frobisher. A hero band, not undeserving to be remembered with the immortal Three Hundred who died, as the Greek legends tell us, at
red Thermopylæ, or that handful of gallant Swiss who bled and won on the fatal field of Sempach 'in the brave days of old.' If you and I, my readers, could but mingle with the members of this illustrious group, we should find that all their discourse concentred on one absorbing topic-the formidable Armada' with which the tyrant King of Spain hoped to defeat and subjugate free Protestant England.
"Tidings of what has already taken place the Lord High Admiral of England is telling to his audience, and also how intelligence has just reached him from the court that the shattered Armada will not be able to make its appearance again this year, and that consequently-to save
expense he must disarm his four largest ships and send them into dock.
Night sank upon the dusky beach and on the purple sea,
At once on all her stately gates arose the answering fires;
And broader still became the blaze, and louder still the din,
And on, and on without a pause, untired they bounded still;
All night from tower to tower they sprang, they sprang from hill to hill:
And, it was no mean occasion, no contemptible foe, which called forth all this busy action. The veterans of Spain were off our coasts—mad with a thirst for blood-revenge-treasure. Duke Parma, it was expected would soon be amongst them, leading them towards a city wealthier than Antwerp when it fell beneath the Spanish fury. The fleet presented a pompous, almost a theatrical display. It was a grand naval pageant, a triumph-only the victory had not been achieved. Disposed in the form of a crescent, the horns of which were seven miles asunder, their gilded, towered, floating citadels, fluttered with embroidered flags; and while martial music rang over the blue waves, on came the stately show, with an air of indolent pomp, towards our shores. Here in the midst was the great galleon Saint Martin, wherein was the Golden Duke himself-as strange to all maritime affairs as ever man could be: he was surrounded by officers, horse and foot, who knew as little of sea matters as he did himself; and so the great gaudy show came forward—a brilliant spectacle for a holiday-and formidable enough, doubtless, if Duke Parma could join. If there was a good deal in that postulate when the Dutchmen were resolved to keep him from joining the fleet.
When the English fleet came within sight of the Spanish Armada, Medina Sidonia hoisted the royal standard at the fore, and made some preparations for a general engagement. But for this the English had no disposition they wisely refused so unequal a battle; and contented themselves with attacking only the rear guard of the Armada. It was a running fight, as the fleet proceeded up the channel, in full view of Plymouth, whence boats with reinforcements and volunteers were perpetually arriving to the English ships. It was a bright Sunday afternoon when this "small fight," as Hawkins called it, took place; but before the priest on board the Spanish fleet had chanted vespers there were signs of
insubordination, and worse trouble than had yet been felt from the enemy. On board the flag ship of Admiral Oquendo there was a Flemish master gunner, who felt himself aggrieved by a reprimand for inefficient ball practice; and probably, beyond this private grudge, he bore no good will to the Spanish nation: however this may be, he succeeded in laying a train to the powder magazine and blowing up the decks of the vessel. "The great castle at the stern rose into the clouds, carrying with it the paymaster-general of the fleet, a large portion of the treasure, and nearly
two hundred men. The Fleming flung himself overboard and escaped with his life. The ship was a wreck, but it was possible to save the rest of the crew; so Medina Sidonia sent light vessels to remove them, and brought up his flag ship to defend Oquendo who had already been fastened upon by his English pursuers. But the Spaniards not being so light in hand as their enemies, involved themselves in much embarrassment by this manœuvre; and there was much falling foul of each other, entanglement of rigging, and carrying away of yards. Oquendo's men, however, were ultimately saved and taken to other ships."