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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

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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.
While he is explaining his reasons for disobeying the royal order, and
Drake loudly murmurs against the blindness and stupidity of the Queen's
courtiers, and especially of the much-doubting, much-pondering Burleigh,
the report of a single gun seaward directs the attention of every one to a
small armed vessel which, dipping and bending as the wind fills her
swelling canvas, is making with all speed for the harbour. Soon a boat
puts off, rows hastily for the shore, and lands her captain, who, pushing
his way through the excited group, makes his obeisance to Lord Howard,
and hurriedly tells his tale. His name is Fleming; he is the captain of
a privateer from Leith. While beating, this morning, off the Cornish
coast, he had discovered the mighty array of the Armada sweeping before
the wind like so many floating castles. Straightway he had run out
every stitch of canvas, and hastened to warn the Lord High Admiral of
the coming foe. At the news, many a sea-captain grasps his ready hilt
and hurries towards the shore; but Drake stops them with his genial
laugh:-"Let us play out our play; there will be plenty of time to win
the game, and beat the Spaniards too." The game is played out gallantly
and steadily-the most memorable game that ever stirred the heart of an
earnest player-and the last cast being thrown, Drake and his comrades
leap into their boats, and row swiftly on board their respective ships.'
The news of the near presence of the Armada spread rapidly through
the land, and beacon fires blazed from every hill.

Night sank upon the dusky beach and on the purple sea,
Such night in England ne'er had been, nor e'er again shall be.
From Eddystone to Berwick bounds, from Lynn to Milford Bay,
That time of slumber was as bright, and busy as the day;
For swift to east and swift to west, the ghastly war flame spread:
High on St. Michael's Mount it shone, it shone on Beachy Head.
Far on the deep the Spaniard saw, along each southern shire,
Cape beyond cape in endless range, those twinkling points of fire.
The fisher left his skiff to rock on Tamar's glittering waves:
The rugged miners pour'd to war from Mendip's sunless caves :
O'er Longleat's towers, o'er Cranbourne's oaks, the fiery herald flew :
He roused the shepherds of Stonehenge, the rangers of Beaulieu.
Right sharp and quick the bells all night rang out from Bristol town,
And ere the day, three hundred horse had met on Clifton down;
The sentinel on Whitehall-gate looked forth into the night,
And saw o'erhanging Richmond-hill, the streak of blood-red light.
Then bugle's note and cannon's roar, the deathlike silence broke,
And with one start, and with one cry, the royal city woke.

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At once on all her stately gates arose the answering fires;
At once the wild alarum clashed from all her reeling spires;
From all the batteries of the Tower pealed forth the voice of fear;
And all the thousand masts of Thames sent back a louder cheer:
And from the furthest wards was heard the rush of hurrying feet,
And the broad streams of pikes and flags rushed down each roaring street


"And roused in many an ancient hall the gallant squires of Kent."

And broader still became the blaze, and louder still the din,
As fast from every village round the horse came spurring in:
And eastward straight, from wild Blackheath, the warlike errand went,
And roused in many an ancient hall the gallant squires of Kent.
Southward from Surrey's pleasant hills, flew those bright couriers forth;
High on bleak Hampstead's swarthy moor they started for the north;

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:
Till the proud Peak unfurled the flag o'er Darwin's rocky dales,
Till like volcanoes flared to heaven the stormy hills of Wales,
Till twelve fair counties saw the blaze on Malvern's lonely height,
Till stream'd in crimson on the wind the Wrekin's crest of light,
Till broad and fierce the star came forth on Ely's stately fane,
And tower and hamlet rose in arms o'er all the boundless plain;
Till Belvoir's lordly terraces the sign to Lincoln sent,
And Lincoln sped the message on o'er the wide vale of Trent;
Till Skiddaw saw the fire that burned on Gaunt's embattled pile,
And the red glare on Skiddaw roused the burghers of Carlisle."

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

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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

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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."


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