XVIII. The Sea King of Devon (3)
We cannot follow Drake through all his adventures
on the western shores1 of America, where he won great wealth by
attacking Spanish ships. Sailing to the north, he expected to find
2 a passage between America and Asia, by which he would be able
to return to Europe, but to his surprise he again came in sight
of the American Continent.3
After some time, spent in searching for a harbour, the "Golden
Hind" was at length anchored in a place of safety. No sooner
had this been done, than a number of Indians came towards them
in their small boats. These natives were very friendly, though
they had never before seen a white man.
Finding that his vessel had sprung a leak,4 Drake brought the "Golden
Hind" into shallow water,5 tents 6 were built on the shore,
and the cargo and provisions were safely landed. Then all hands
7 set to work 8 to repair 9 the damaged 10 ship.
Before leaving this part of North America, Drake took possession
of it in Queen Elizabeth's name.11 A large brass plate 12 was securely
nailed 13 to a high stout 14 .post.15 On this plate
was engraved 16 the Queen's name, the date, and a statement that17
the country belonged to England.
When all was ready Drake now determined to cross the Pacific. After
calling at 18 the great island of Java, at the south of Asia, Drake
made 19 straight across the Indian Ocean for the Cape of Good Hope,
which he reached in June 1580, having touched 20 at no place, and
met with no mishap 21 on the way.
Without stopping on the South African coast, Drake sailed northward,22
and after touching on the West Coast, and calling at the Canary
Islands, he made his way across the Bay of Biscay, and in a short
time the great chalk cliffs of England appeared in sight. It was
in September, 1580, that the "Golden Hind," after a voyage
lasting 23 nearly three years, entered Plymouth Harbour.
Drake was now the most famous of living English sailors. The tale
of his daring deeds, and of his discoveries,24 thrilled 25 the
heart of a people proud of their seamanship.26 He had been the
first Englishman to sail round the world.
It was no wonder that noisy 27 crowds 28 welcomed him with cheers
and greetings,29 as he at last set foot on English soil.30 Cannons
were fired from all the ships in the harbour, and many flags floated
on their mast heads.31 The weather-beaten crew went quickly to
their homes, and Drake once more greeted his family and friends.
Queen Elizabeth welcomed Drake with warm words of praise, and listened
with deep interest to the story of his adventures. A few months
later, the Queen paid him a visit on board his vessel, the "Golden
Hind," which was lying in the Thames. At the feast,32 which
took place on board the ship, Drake sat by Elizabeth's side.
When the feast was over, the Queen turned to Drake, and said-
Francis Drake, we entrusted 33 a sword to thy '4 keeping till we
demanded it of thee again. We now command thee to deliver 33 it
up, in the manner in which thou didst receive it."
Drake, unbuckling 35 the sword, knelt 38 before the Queen, and
placed it in her bands. Elizabeth slowly drew the sword from its
scabbard,35 and said
This sword, Drake, might still serve thee, though thou hast carried
it round the globe, but before we return it to thee, it must render
37 us a service."
She lightly tapped Drake's shoulder with the sword,38 and said, "Rise,
Sir Francis Drake."
Queen Elizabeth ordered that the good ship should be carefully
kept as a relic 39 of Drake's wonderful voyage. Whet), after the
passage of years,`r0 the ship went to wreck,41 and was broken up,
from her soundest plank 42 a chair was made, which may still be
seen at Oxford.
Long afterwards, a poet 43 wrote these lines on the " Golden Hind ":
The stars above shall make thee known,
If man were silent here;
The sun himself cannot forget
His fellow-traveller." 44
1 Or : coast. When we land from a boat we step on shore. 2 Or : hoped to find,
thought he would find. 3 The continent or mainland. Take your map and point
to the continent of America, passing your finger along the coast. Then do the
same for the continent of Africa. 4 There was a hole in the ship, by which
water could enter. b opp, deep water. 6 Soldiers sometimes sleep in tents,
which can be put up and taken down quickly. 7 Or : all the sailors. 8 They
began to work. 9 To make good. 10 When a ship springs a leak, or loses
a mast, it is damaged. 11 he declared that Queen Elizabeth possessed (X. 41)
it, that it belonged to her. 12 A smooth piece of brass (a bright metal). 13
Fastened with nails. 14 Thick, strong, opp. slender. A stout old man, a slender
lad. 15 A long, round piece of wood ; perhaps it was made of the trunk of a
small tree, from which the branches had been cut off. 16 We write on paper,
but engrave on metal. 17 '"'ords declaring (or stating) that. 18 Stopping
at, landing on. 19 Or: sailed. 20 Or: landed. 21 Or: misfortune (a. unfortunate),
bad luck. 22 Cp. southward (XVII. 45). 23 It was a voyage of nearly three years.
24 What he had discovered. 25 It excited them, made their hearts beat faster.
26 Their knowledge of a seaman's work, their skill (a. skilful) as sailors.
27 s, noise. 28 A crowd is a great number of people, standing close together.
29 v. to greet (XV. 19). 30 earth, land. 31 The top of the mast is called the
mast head. 32 A grand dinner. 33 The Queen had given him the sword to keep,
hoping (trusting) that he would take good care of it. She now commanded him
to give it up, to deliver it into her hands. 34 Your ; cp. thou and thee (XVII.
14). 35 When the sword is not being used, it remains in the scabbard, which
is fastened to a belt that is worn round the body. The belt is buckled on and
unbuckled. 36 He went down on one knee or on both. I kneel, I have knelt. 37
Or: do. 38 This is still the way in which the King makes a knight. 39 We keep
a relic, not because it is useful, bat to remind us of something great or wonderful.
40 Or : after many years. 41 It became very old and damaged. 42 A long piece
of wood. The floor of a room is made of planks. 43 A poet is one who writes
poems. 44 Drake, like the sun, had gone all round the earth.