XVI. The Sea King of Devon (1)
Plymouth Hoe is a rocky 1 ridge,2 which overlooks
3 Plymouth Sound, an arm of the English Channel.4 It forms part
5 of Plymouth,6 our second great naval seaport,7 and the largest
town in Devonshire.6
Sir Francis Drake, one of the most famous 8 of English sailors, was
born in this county,9 and to-day his statue 10 stands on Plymouth
Hoe. There the "Sea King of Devon," as ho is called,
is shown standing by the side of the globe,10 round which he was
the first Englishman to sail.
Henry the Eighth was King of England 11 when Francis Drake was
born, and he lived through the reigns" of Edward the Sixth
and Mary, but the deeds which made him famous were done in the
reign of their sister Elizabeth.
The boy Drake spent much of his time looking at the ships in Plymouth
Harbour,' and talking with the seamen,12 some of whom had visited
many distant lands. Among these was Captain, afterwards Sir John,
Hawkins, who was Drake's cousin, and who had already made for himself
a name as a brave sailor. Hawkins took a great fancy to 13 his
young cousin, and often sat with him, and told him long and exciting
stories about his adventures 14 at sea.
Francis was still a lad, when he was engaged 15 by the owner 16
of a small coasting vessel,17and for several years he stayed on
the tiny 18 boat, of which he became master when the owner died.
It is said, that before his first voyage was over, he knew as well
how to hoist, trim, and take in sail 19 as his master, and that
the latter 20 was so surprised at the quickness 21 with which young
Drake did his work, that he declared to him he was born to be a
When he was about twenty-five, Francis Drake joined 22 Sir John
Hawkins, who agreed to take his brave and sturdy 23
young kinsman 24 into his service. 25 He made him mate 25 of
his own ship, and not long afterwards gave him a share of the profits
26 of the voyages they made.
His first sea-fight took place on the other side of the Atlantic
Ocean, off the coast of America, where the small fleet of six English
ships was attacked 27 by a number of Spanish menof-war. Four of
the English ships were sunk, and only two, -the one commanded 28
by Hawkins, and the other by Drake -reached England in safety.
In his first fight with the Spaniards, Drake lost almost everything
he had in the world. He applied to Spain 29 to pay him the value
of the property he had lost,30 but in vain. This made him so angry,
that he declared he would take all he could from the
King of Spain, and from that day he never missed a chance 31 of
attacking Spanish ships wherever he could find them.
With two small vessels, he again crossed 32 the Atlantic, and succeeded
in taking 33 several Spanish ships, so that, within a year,34 he
returned to England, with his two little vessels loaded with gold
and silver and many other valuable 30 things.
His fame 8 was now so great, and he had so much money, that he
could choose his crews 35 from among the bravest and most skilful
36 sailors in the land. He therefore again set sail with two vessels,
crossed the Atlantic, burnt a Spanish town, and took a number of
It was while on this voyage that Drake looked for the first time
on the great Pacific Ocean, which stretches from the western shores
of America, a distance of 10,000 miles, to the eastern shores of
At the head of a party of Englishmen and Indians, Drake marched
37 across the Isthmus of Panama, which joins North and South America.38
Friendly Indians had told Drake that from the highest point of
the ridge two great seas could be seen-the Atlantic, which he had
already crossed, and the Pacific, of which he had only heard.
On the twelfth day the party reached a height 39 lying east and
west, like a ridge, between the two seas, when the Indian chief
40 took Drake by the hand, and asked him to follow him.
Here," writes one who was present, " was a high tree,
in which the Indians had cut and made steps to ascend to the top,
from where we beheld the Atlantic Ocean, from which we came, and
the South Pacific, so much desired.
South and north of this tree, the Indians had felled certain trees,
that the view might be the clearer.41 After our Captain had ascended
with the chief and, having a clear day, had seen the sea, of which
he had heard such golden reports,42 he besought 43 Almighty 44
God in His goodness 45 to give him life and health to sail once
in an English ship on that sea."
When he had once seen the Pacific Ocean, Drake knew no rest 46
until he had explored 47 the unknown sea, and floated the flag
above these waves, where until then only the ships of Spain and
Portugal had been seen.
It was on Sunday, the 9th of August 1573, that the weatherbeaten
48 ships made their entrance 49 into Plymouth Harbour. The sight
of the old grey cliffs bo made the hearts of the adventurers 51
beat with delight. Flags were run up to the mast heads, trumpets
52 were blown, drums were beaten, the ships cast anchor,53 and
the travellers found themselves once more at home.
1s. rock ; op. anger, angry ; bush, bushy ; dust, dusty ; fun, funny; health,
healthy; heart, hearty; hunger, hungry; luck, lucky; might, mighty; mist, misty;
rust, rusty; shade, shady, sleep, sleepy ; sun, sunny ; thirst, thirsty ; wealth,
wealthy. 2 A long, narrow hill-top. 3 Looks over, is above. 4 The sea between
England and France. 'Or: is a part. 6 Find Plymouth and Devonshire on the map
of England. 7 A town with a harbour, where ships can go when the weather is
stormy. 8 He made a great name for himself, people did him great honour. He
became very famous, won great fame for himself. Fame, famous; cp. danger, dangerous;
industry, industrious; victory, victorious ; anxiety, angious ; curiosity,
curious. 9 Devonshire, Surrey, Kent, Yorkshire are counties. 10 His figure,
carved in stone. See the picture on p. 62, which also shows the globe, the
world. 11 Henry VIII. became King (or: ascended the throne) in 1509 ; Edward
VI. in 1547; Mary became Queen in 1553, and Elizabeth in 1558; she reigned
till her death in 1603. Drake lived from 1540 to 1596. 12 Or: sailors. 13 Or:
became very fond of, came to like him very much. I4 All that had happened to
him. 15 taken as a sailor, receiving money for what he did. 16 The boat was
his own, he owned it, he was its owner. 17 A small ship that sails along the
coast, from town to town, not across the sea. 18 Very small. 19 To hoist sail
is to put up the sails; opp. to take in sail. To trim sail is to put up such
sails as are wanted. 20 That is, his master. I met my cousin and his father;
the former (my cousin) was looking well, but the latter (his father) was not.
21 a. quick. 22 He went with him. We are going for a walk; will you join us
4 I am going to Plymouth, where my brother will join me. 23 Healthy, strong,
and active. 24 Or: relation. 25 He was to serve under him. Dick Whittington
was in Mr Fitzwarren's service, he was his servant. Drake, however, was not
a servant. A cook is a servant, but not a mate. A mate is an officer on a merchant
ship. 26 If I buy a thing for 2s. and sell it for 2s. 6d., my profit is 6d.
27 The Spanish ships attacked the English, they began to fight, they fired
at them. 28 See command, commander (XV. 31). 29 He asked the King of Spain.
30 To pay him as much money as the things were worth which he had lost. The
value (a. valuable) of this book is 6s. The book is my property, it is mine,
it belongs to me. 31 He did it whenever he had a chance, whenever he could.
32 Or : sailed across. 33 Or: managed to take. 34 Or: in less than a year,
before a year was over. 35 The sailors on a ship are its crew. 36 Or : clever.
37 Soldiers march 10 or 15 miles a day. 38 See the map of America. 39 A high
place.' High, height; cp. contain, content; fly, flight; freeze, frost; weigh,
weight. 40 The man in command of the Indians. 41 Or : that one might see it
better. There was a fine view from this high tree. 42 Or: such wonderful stories.
43 To beseech is to beg earnestly. 44 Able to do all things. 45 cc, good. 4E
Could not rest. 47 To explore a country is to go through it and find out all
about it. 48 Beaten by the weather. They had been through many storms. Ye v.
to enter; cp. appear, appearance; assist, assistance; remember, remembrance.
50 rocks on the coast. In the South of England they are white or grey, and
are of chalk. 51 One who seeks adventures (see note 14) is an adventurer. 52
The trumpet is a musical instrument. 53 When a ship stops sailing, the anchor
is cast and keeps the ship in its