XX. The Sea King of Devon (5)
About seven years after this great victory-in
1595-Drake and Hawkins, at the head of a large fleet, sailed from
Plymouth, again to attack the Spaniards in America and the West
Indies. The Atlantic was crossed in a month, and soon afterwards
Hawkins fell ill 1 and died.
About two months later, Drake's health gave way,2 and while at
Porto Bello he became so weak that he could not leave his cabin.
The crew began to whisper gravely' to one another, and to move
silently about the ship. The doctor sadly shook his head, for he
could see that the brave old sailor's end was very near.
The morning of January 28th, 1596, was bright and clear, and Drake,
as he lay on his bed, felt the warm air, and watched the sun's
rays creeping in at his cabin window. Feeling much better, he said
that he would get up and go on deck, declaring that the gentle
breezes 4 would give him new life.
Crawling from his bed, he began to put on his clothes, while his
attendants b looked on with anxiety. He lifted his coat,
then dropped it on the floor, and reeled 6 against the side
the cabin. Then he sank with a groan 7 into the doctor's arms.
He was tenderly 8 lifted by the sturdy hands of his faithful 9
sailors, and again stretched on his bed.
For nearly an hour, his companions breathlessly watched over their
dying chief. Once Drake's eyes opened, and, looking around,
he feebly 10 lifted his hand, as if about to speak,11 but the hand
fell in silence, and in a few minutes Sir Francis Drake
was dead. All that day there was nothing but mourning on board
the ships. The officers felt that the best grave for the old Sea
King was beneath the waters of the mighty deep,12 on which he had
won his world-wide fame.13 Drake's body was therefore placed in
a leaden coffin,14 and laid on the deck of the flag-ship. On the
following day the vessel slowly floated some three miles from the
shore, where the funeral took place.15 A volley was fired ; 16
the guns of the battleships replied, and the coffin was slowly
swung 17 off the vessel's side.
In another moment, the company heard the heavy sglash,18 which
told them that the mortal remains 19 of the hero were seeking their
last resting-place in the great deep.
The waves became his winding-sheet,20
The waters were his tomb
But for his fame the ocean sea
Was not sufficient 22 room."
Among the famous Englishmen whose names are written in history
23 Sir Francis Drake is one of the foremost.24 In an age 25 of
adventure he outstripped the fame of the great admirals 28 who
had carried England's glory and power to a high pitch.27
He was a perfect master of seamanship. He was as familiar 28 with
the duties of a common 29 sailor as with those of an admiral in
command of the fleet. As brave as a lion, he shrank before no obstacle,30
however great, and was not cast down 31 by any defeat, however
crnshing.32 Above all, he was a patriot 33 from first to last,
devoted 34 to his Queen and country. That is why Englishmen of
to-day are proud of Drake, and have set up the statue on Plymoatlr
Hoe, which will keep his memory green 35 through ages yet to come.36
1 Or: became ill. 2 If we lean on a thin stick, it gives way.
If we stand on thin ice, it gives way. 3 earnestly and anxiously.
4 When the wind blows lightly, we call it a breeze. 5 Those who
attended on him, his servants. 6 His legs gave way, he could
not stand. 7 He groaned, because he was so weak and ill. It was
sad to hear his groans. 8 Gently and lovingly, 9 They loved him
well and were ready to do anything for him He could trust them.
10 He was very feeble, weak. He had no strength left. 11 Or :
as if he were going to speak. 1z The sea. 13 He had become famous
in the whole world. i4 When a man dies on land, his body is placed
in a wooden coffin and this is buried in the earth or burnt.
Drake was buried at sea, in a coffin of lead (a very heavy metal).
rs Where Drake was buried. ls A number of sailors fired their
guns at the same time. 17 Tic a piece of string round a stone
and hold it by the string. If you knock the stone, it swings
from side to side. A strong wind makes the branches swing. 18
If a stone is thrown into a pond, the water splashes up, there
is a splash. 19 What remains after death, and perishes; not the
spirit that cannot die, but is immortal. 20 We sleep in bed between
sheets. After death a sheet used to be wound round the body;
this is a winding-sheet. 21 Great . men are buried beneath a
tomb. 22 Or: enough. 23 Who are famous in the history of England
(the story of the growth of England). 24 Right in front, at the
head ; cp. southernmost (XVII. 55). 25 A time, one hundred years
or more. 26 He obtained greater fame. Of two horses the one that
runs quicker outstrips the other. 27 Or: point. They had made
their country extremely (very) powerful. 28 He knew the duties
of a common sailor well. I am familiar with this book. I have
read it and know what it contains. 29 ordinary; not a mate or
captain. 30 He was not afraid of anything in his way, not daunted
by any danger or difficulty. He never shrinks from danger; they
have not shrunk from it. If the wind has blown a tree across
the road, that is an obstacle. 31 Made sad. When defeated, he
did not lose heart. 32 We can crush a nut with a stone, or by
biting on it. He was crushed by his defeat : it took away all
his strength. A defeat that would have crushed other men did
not crush Drake. 33 one who loves his country ; a, patriotic,
s. patriotism. 34 faithful, ready to give even his life. How
much time do you devote (give) to English 4 35 Or : fresh. 3s
Or : through all future ages.