Elizabeth Ist coat of arms

Waiting for the Spanish Armada

Picture of Spanish Amarda Alarm Beacon

Picture of Spanish Armada Alarm Beacon

Waiting for the Spanish Armada

Canon Kingsley gave a graphic picture of England's great naval commanders, when the news was received that the Armada was off the coast. He supposes them assembled at Plymouth on the 19th of July, engaged in the then favorite game of bowls.

"Those soft, long eyes and pointed chin you recognize already. They are Sir Walter Raleigh's.

The fair young man in the flame-colored suit at his side is Lord Sheffield; opposite them stand Lord Sheffield's uncle, Sir Richard Grenville, and the stately Lord Charles Howard of Effingham, Lord High Admiral of England next to him is his son-in-law, Sir Robert Southwell, captain in her Majesty's service.

"But who is that short, sturdy, plainly dressed man, who stands with legs a little apart, and hands behind his back, looking up with keen gray eyes into the face of each speaker?" His cap is in his hand, so you can see the bullet-head of crisp brown hair and the wrinkled forehead as well as the high cheek-bones, the short square face, the broad temples, the thick lips, which are yet as firm as granite.

A coarse, plebeian stump of a man; yet the whole figure and attitude are those of boundless determination, self-possession, energy; and, when at last he speaks a few blunt words, all eyes are turned respectfully on him, for his name is Francis Drake.

A burly, grizzled elder, in greasy, sea-stained garments, contrasting oddly with the huge gold chain about his neck, waddles up, as if he had been born, and had lived ever since, in a gale of wind at sea. The upper half of his sharp, dogged visage seems of a brick-red leather, the brow of badger's fur, and, as he claps Drake on the back, with a broad Devon accent he shouts, 'Be you a-coming to drink your wine, Francis Drake, or be you not? saving your presence my lord.' The lord high admiral only laughs, and bids Drake go and drink his wine, for John Hawkins, admiral of the fleet, is the patriarch of Plymouth seamen, if Drake is the hero. "So they push through the crowd, wherein is many another man whom we would gladly have spoken with face to face on earth. Martin Frobisher and John Davis are sitting on that bench, smoking tobacco from long silver pipes; and by them are Fenton and Wishington, who have both tried to follow Drake's path around the world, and failed, though by no fault of their own. The short, prim man, in the huge yellow ruff, is Richard Hawkins, the admiral's hereafter famous son.

"But hark. the boom of a single gun seaward directs the attention of every one to a small armed vessel staggering up the sound under a press of canvas. A boat puts off; its oars flash quickly in the sun; the captain lands, and, inquiring for the lord high admiral, is quickly brought into his presence. He has discovered the formidable array of the Spaniards bearing down with the wind like so many floating castles, the ocean seeming to groan under the weight of their heavy burdens. The lord high admiral proposes to hold counsel with his principal officers; but, says Drake, with a hearty laugh: 'Let us play out our play; there will be plenty of time to win the game and beat the Spaniards, too.'

"The game was played out steadily, and, the last cast having been thrown, Drake and his comrades leaped into their boats and rowed swiftly to their respective ships. With so much skill did Howard and his lieutenants direct the movements of their squadrons that, before morning, sixty of the best English ships had warped out of Plymouth Harbor."

Interesting Facts and Information about the Elizabethan Age and The Spanish Armada
Some interesting facts and information about the Elizabethan Age and the Spanish Armada. Details, facts and information about the Elizabethan Age can be accessed via the Elizabethan Era Sitemap. Continue the story of the Spanish Armada by clicking the following link: The Preliminary Skirmish with the Spanish Armada

The Spanish Armada and English fleet meet in battle

The Spanish Armada
Elizabethan Era Index

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