The Project Gutenberg eBook of Drake; or, the Transfer of the Trident: A National Drama

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Title: Drake; or, the Transfer of the Trident: A National Drama

Author: William MacOubrey

Release date: July 15, 2016 [eBook #52582]

Language: English

Credits: Transcribed from the 1876 Arliss Andrews edition by David Price


Transcribed from the 1876 Arliss Andrews edition by David Price, email




A National Drama





Thus saith the lord which maketh a way in the sea, and a path in the mighty waters.”

The isles shall wait upon me, and on mine arm shall they trust.”—Isaiah xliii., 16, and li., 5.


Printed and Published for the author by Arliss Andrews,
31, Museum Street, Bloomsbury, W.C.


p. 2Dramatis Personæ.

Drake (Sir Francis).

Earl of Leicester.

Lord William Howard, Earl of Effingham.

Cecil, afterwards Lord Burleigh.

Don Bernardino de Mendoza, Spanish Ambassador.

Sir Edward Killigrew.

Sir Edward Horsey.

Thomas Cobham, son of Lord Cobham.

Sir John Hawkins, Bolton, and Hampton, his Captains.

William Hawkins, Bill Carvell, &c.

John Oxenham, Thomas Moone, Sayers.

Comagre (Indian Cacique).

Chiruca (his son).

English and Foreign Spies.

Joe Jolly (Landlord of the Blue Anchor).

Lord — (General of the El Dorado).

Poet, (who sings the National Ode).

Sailors, Spaniards, Indians, Attendants, Page.

Queen Elizabeth.

Mrs. Ashley (her Chamberwoman).



The first great object which I have had in view, in the construction of this Drama, was to bear my humble acknowledgment to an Allwise Providence, who alone could have developed the unprecedented might of the Anglo-Saxon Race—and who alone could have laid the foundations, or builded up, the giant structure of the British Empire—so vast, so rich, so powerful—unparalleled in extent, or wealth, or population—in arts and arms, in manufactures, in literature and laws, in civilization and commerce, in the history of mankind.  Great have been the four preceding Empires of Prophecy! each, for its allotted period, having dominion over the Earth; but of none of them, as of England, could it be said “The abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee.”—(Isaiah lx, 5)

Whilst I would put on record my own conviction, I would invite the attention of my countrymen to the assured fact, that no enlarged views of policy of our statesmen, no magnitude of our armaments, no superior science of our Generals, have wrought this wonder, for our race and country.  The peculiar Glory of England is, that her greatness is the work of God! to whom is known from the beginning the destiny of his world and the means of carrying it out—when to put forth the fury of his anger and the strength of battle.  Indeed! on taking a summary view over the wondrous past—over the steps in her career—the evidence is striking, that her success and conquests have been gained, without the aid or counsel—not seldom, in defiance of her statesmen, by inexperienced generals, and with totally inadequate means.  That often her leading men and government have favoured to their utmost her enemies, and poured ignominy and vituperation, injustice and persecution, on those that served her, the valiant and the wise who have achieved her triumphs and her greatness.  This has been peculiarly the case with regard to the great Actors with whom we are at present concerned, whose transactions and virtues we would illustrate, and of the age of which we have endeavoured to give “the form and pressure.”

It is impossible to doubt that the strength of England lies in her Navy—that her Navy results from her commerce—her vast and unequalled commerce from her manufactures; therefore that we cannot err in selecting the reign of Elizabeth, as the starting point in her progress.  And examining closely the transactions and opinions, the struggles and changes during that reign, we may clearly discover, not only the truth of the statement, but the manner and the agency by which her success was achieved.  It certainly was not by the statesmen—of these most, steeped in baseness and corruption, were ready to sell their services for direct bribes to the enemies of their Queen and country.  Some were in the interest; of Spain, some in that of France, or the Queen of Scots.  Those that were for their Queen were entirely wrong in their views and policy, which, if carried out, would have frustrated forever the prosperity of England.

p. 4All were at variance among themselves.  The Queen differed with them all in her principles and policy.  She loved her country, its glory and independence; and to secure these, pursued her own eccentric and mysterious path, urged on by impulse, instinctive, spiritual or Angelic, maintaining it with apparent self-will and unreasonableness, perverseness and irresolution, vacillation and caprice.  But still, in proud and lonely grandeur, with unflinching courage and firmness, undeterred by the fear of war or assassination, “Semper Eadem,” against all opposition.  She foiled with unexampled and unfailing skill, traitors and spies, and false advisers, and every species of secret or open foe, constrained to fence, deceive, betray, even to coquet, to save her country, her throne, and her life!  She came through it all in triumph with the trident of the ocean in her grasp, acknowledged by the Nations, as the “Queen of the Sea, the Restorer of Naval glory.”  Even the Pope (Sixtus V.) forgetting the policy of his faith, was struck with admiration of “this valiant and noble woman.”  The name of her great hero, Drake (Il Draco) was constantly in his mouth, who, he said, “took the King of Spain by the beard,” and he ascribed the exploits which filled Europe with their fame to the high spirit of the Queen who sent him out.

The reign of Elizabeth is one of the most glorious epochs in the history of our Nation—a most important crisis in the Destiny of the World.

The Feudal system, which, with brute force, had trampled down humanity in its own blood, had spent its fury.  That Iron Age was fast fading away.  A brilliant dawn had unexpectedly appeared, of that Intelligence, which with the power of Science and Manufactures, Commerce, and the rights of Man, was to rule the world.  Our great race, having “renewed its strength in the Islands” with the “abundance of the sea converted” to it, was now to go forth on its mission, and push its people to the utmost bounds of the everlasting hills.

The Wars of the Roses, battle and the block, had consumed the Barons, the Knights, and the Men-at-arms.  The Church, which had endeavoured to strangle Liberty and Thought itself, was now a crumbling and bloody ruin, shorn of its pomp, its authority, and its land.

A New Power was rising from the Sea, before which the Earth was to quail, and its despotisms to succumb.  Elizabeth was the head, the Elect of Providence, to lead it forth into action, and the noble Spirits who were driven by the bigotry and persecution of the Marian faction to the liberty of the wild waves, as freebooters, were the accomplished instruments to effect its purpose.  Light and Darkness, Liberty and Despotism, had once more entered on a mortal struggle, and the Ocean was the arena on which they were to fight it out—Spain and the Pope on one side, England on the other.  That Struggle it is the purpose of the present Drama to represent, its Nature, its Conduct, its Agents, and its Issue.

We shall just make a sketch, take a view of the combatants who were to enter the lists for this great contest—as of yore, Rome and Carthage, for the possession of the world.  Not to take into account the Pope, whose influence on any side was so vast over the minds of men; and which was entirely against England, Spain, whose own people were then the foremost military nation by sea and land, had also under her command the whole of the princes of Italy, the House of Austria with its vast connexions, the p. 5Low Countries, the seat of Arts, Manufactures, trade and Commerce; America—a New World!—pouring the wonderful wealth of its mines into her lap; lastly Portugal, and with it the Commerce of the East.

England stood alone against a giant that bestrode the world! and what was she at that moment?  Weakened by civil war in many a bloody field—disorganized by misgovernment, divided by religion, and rival claims to the Crown—without a regular army, or her ancient discipline, without much of a Royal Navy, or the finances to create one.  A girl of twenty-five, her presiding genius, by her own singular wisdom, without Statesmen whose advice she could follow—her very Cabinet Council in receipt of bribes from her enemies—war in Ireland aided by Spain—France threatening her through Scotland—thus distracted, to be invaded by the whole power of Spain!

Where were the Iron men who, a few years ago, swept France before them in every battle, though outnumbered by twenty to one, until they made it an appanage to the Crown of England?  They were sleeping in their bloody shrouds on many a field like that of Touton and Barnet, or their bones had been stuck to moulder on City gates and Castle walls.  In their days no one dreamt of invasion.  But now! although the spirit of the men of a later day, who chased the Chivalry of France at the battle of the spurs, and smote down the might of Scotland on red Flodden, was still burning in the bosoms of their descendants, from many causes—such as the confusion in the succession to the crown, the decay of the Feudal system, the total change in military science, England without an Army, or sufficient Navy, or finances to create one, was quite unprepared for war.

Considering the vast odds, the success of Spain seemed certain—the ultimate triumph of England by herself, a thing absolutely impossible.  The rational mind is constrained to the conclusion that it was the work of God for the purpose of developing the Anglo-Saxon race, a new ordering of the nations, and a new disposal of the possession of the Earth.  All which directly followed, or is still in progress.

It is necessary for our purpose to take note also of the mode or means by which this mighty duel was carried on.  Philip aspired to universal dominion; England was the great obstacle that stood in his way.  His first endeavour was to obtain the hand of Elizabeth, and thus to become its king as he had been before.  Failing in this, he tried to flatter and cajole her, by his Ambassadors and hirelings, into a belief that he was her friend, without whom she could not reign; whilst all the time he was labouring to have her assassinated—organizing rebellion against her by Jesuit spies—Then he tried more openly to ruin her Commerce and her Naval power, by seizing English ships in his ports, confiscating them and their cargoes, delivering over their crews to the Inquisition to be burned at the stake, or consumed by cruel treatment in his dungeons.  Finally, he slily invaded Ireland, in order to wrest it from England.  All this without a declaration of war.  Nay! whilst his Ambassadors were pretending peace and amity.  The English Government was paralysed, and it would seem as if our Commerce was to have been suppressed, and our very maritime existence stamped out in blood.  England, however, was not left to a weak, divided, or corrupt Government for defence.  The proud fierce Briton of that day was not slow to take his own part, or that of his county against any odds.  The ships of Commerce went armed for war, and fearlessly flouted their saucy flag in the face of the foe, whose Royal Navy, in terror, gave them generally what Sailors call a wide berth!

p. 6Patriotic Nobles, Gentlemen, Merchants, and Adventurers, rallying to their standard the bold fishermen and sailors of the Western Counties, at their own expence, fitted out a Volunteer Navy.  They covered the Channel and the Ocean with a swarm of Privateers, which not only securely defended England, but preyed fearlessly on the Coast and Commerce of Spain, plundering Churches, sacking towns, burning or sinking ships, crews and all, making prize of whatever was worth carrying away, and audaciously putting up to open auction in our seaports any Great Officer, Noble, or Merchant, who could find money or friends to pay his ransom.  The tide of blood if not of battle was turned.  Philip was not only frustrated in his object of Conquest, but became alarmed for his own.  His losses were enormous, and even his military operations in the Low Countries were seriously embarrassed.

Drake, by his wonderful achievements in the West Indies and the Pacific, gave the finishing blow.  His seizure of three millions completely crippled Spain.  Alva’s army was in mutiny for their pay, and had Drake been allowed to pursue his own bold plan, Philip would have been driven from the Sea in a month.

These are the men who have founded the greatness of their Country, and base and ungenerous is the Englishman who, reaping the fruits of their valour, would withhold from them his tribute of grateful fame.  Instead of that, they have been loaded with reproach and vituperation—called pirates! cutthroats! robbers!—whilst the atrocities of the Spaniards are entirely overlooked as if they were legitimate warfare, whereas our Volunteers with their cruizers were the only defence of their Country, and their acts, inadequate, but most justifiable retaliation.  I have endeavoured to do them justice, I have summoned them from the dead to speak their own sentiments, and plead their own cause.

I have essayed also, as a most important task, to remove a vulgar prejudice, very general on the minds of both parties, and to do justice to the Catholic Nobility of England, who framed, and have in every age upheld her liberties and constitution against encroaching Popes and tyrannical kings.  It is a common, almost universal, political error that the age of Mary and Elizabeth was a mere struggle between Protestants and Roman Catholics for ascendancy.  Gardiner, the uncompromising persecutor of the Protestants, who desired to set up the Inquisition, and to extirpate heresy with fire and sword, was “fiercely jealous” of the independence of England, and when the Spanish Ambassador urged the marriage of Mary with Philip, he told him that Nobles and people were against the Pope, and against foreign interference of all sorts, that Mary could not marry Philip without a dispensation from the Pope, which must be kept secret.  The country would not tolerate it.—(Froude, vi, 119.)

Queen Mary herself told Commendone, the Pope’s messenger, that for the present she was in the power of the People, of whom the majority mortally detested the Holy See, and that the Lords of the Council were in possession of vast estates which had been alienated from the Church, and they feared their titles might be called in question.—(Froude vi, 89.  Citing letter of Pope Julius III, to Pole).  Yet certainly there was not one Protestant on her Council.  Paget, and he was not a Protestant, was the only man who favoured the Spanish match.  But he was opposed to persecution, and p. 7would not permit the Queen to alter the succession.  He told Gardiner that if she should send Elizabeth to the Tower her own life would not be safe for a single day.—(Froude vi., 120.)

The nation was unanimous in the dread of a marriage between their Queen and Philip.  They feared that England might then sink into a Spanish dependency, and have to endure the horrors inflicted on the Low Countries.  They wished to keep their country isolated and not entangled in the wars of the continent.  They therefore desired that their Queens should marry with the English Nobility (Froude vi, 92), who were then as they are now, every way superior in family fortune, the eminent qualifications of mind or body—above all in social and political importance, to any rank or class of men in the world, many of the great Houses of the Aristocracy being allied to our Plantagenet kings, the greatest heroes, legislators, and rulers that ever governed men.

It is true that Protestantism, the right of private judgment, is favourable to Civil Liberty, as was evident in the struggle of our Puritan Fathers with the Stuarts.  But the principles of the English Constitution were laid before Protestantism had a being or a name.  Who were the men that wrung from the tyrant John the Great Charter at Runnemede, and many another after it, and maintained them in defiance of all the thunders of Rome?—Who passed the Statutes of Premunire, of Provisors, of Mortmain, and all the other Acts for restraining the illegitimate authority of the Pope and the Clergy, and defending their estates and country against both Regal and Ecclesiastical Despotism?  The Catholic Nobility of England, who knew well how to distinguish between their Creed and their Civil Polity, between their duty to their Church and their duty to their Country, to themselves—to Posterity!  And so long as that Posterity are worthy of the great inheritance they have bequeathed to them, so long as Englishmen shall be capable of appreciating Civil Liberty and the value of their Constitution, the founders of that Constitution shall receive their just reward, Immortal Glory!

Where is that Constitution now?  Let the Protestant Parliaments that have legislated during late years, and regardless of our Ancient Constitution, have delivered over Englishmen to be taxed by boards, without the consent of Parliament, and to be fined! imprisoned! degraded! ruined! in their persons, characters, and fortunes, by arbitrary Magistrates, Councils, and Officials, without Trial by Jury, and who but for the timely protest and warning of the Judges, would have abolished that great Bulwark of Civil Liberty altogether.  Let them answer!  Let the great Thaumaturgists who pulled the strings of these parliamentary puppets, and before whom they danced, answer!  England may some day awake from her torpor, to examine that legislation, and to ask the questionWhere?—Then—What then?

Some people not sufficiently read in the history of those times, may be startled at the extraordinary nature of the facts which constitute the action of the Drama; and may consider them exaggerated, if not altogether improbable.  I intended a National Drama, and I have adhered to history.  I shall be borne out by authority.  Those who are well informed, will recognise in the first Act the actual picture our seaboard presented at the time.  The pious Catholic may feel scandalized at the treatment of the Pope, and p. 8the sack of Rome by the generals of Charles the Fifth at the head of a Spanish army.  I have not invented the transaction.  It would be impossible to exaggerate its atrocity.  And Philip with all his zeal for his professed religion, so long as it subserved his ambition, was quite ready to repeat his father’s lesson, if the Pope had trespassed on his dominion.  Further, though he was anxious to have Elizabeth assassinated, he was entirely opposed to the Bull of Excommunication, or the Pope’s interference in the temporal government of her kingdom.

With respect to myself and the literary merits of my work, I am very sensible of the little fame (as small as the emolument) that can accrue to me.  It was not my aim to contest the palm of genius and eloquence with the great Dramatists of the age, who with so much talent and success, minister to the amusement of the Public.  My humble effort must be regarded as a literary experiment—I was anxious to test whether Truth was not stronger than Fiction, and if so, whether the Drama might not, in abler hands, become the great Pioneer, if not the exponent and teacher of history.  Secondly, whether it could not be conducted on principles free from the objections which Moralists now raise against it.  I have therefore carefully excluded everything having a tendency to excite those emotions, which the wisdom of Philosophers, and the guides of society in every age have agreed ought to be kept in abeyance.

The Greeks, in timid foresight of the abuse, forbade that women should appear upon the stage.  Without going so far I have shunned the evil they feared.  There is not a love scene in my Drama, nor anything which could minister to that dangerous passion.  I had a higher aim! to call the attention of my country to the origin and principles of her greatness; to hold up to her view the valour, the achievements, the glory of our ancestors; to excite in their descendants a generous rivalry, and to rouse again the national pride: the spirit and the patriotism of England.  If I shall have succeeded in this, I shall have attained the summit of my ambition—I shall have reaped the priceless reward—the satisfaction of having done my duty!

I cannot conclude without my humble acknowledgment of the public debt to Mr. Froude, who has done so much to vindicate the character of Elizabeth and the glory of his country from the foul aspersions of a party alike hostile to England and humanity; and my personal obligation, for through his great History, suggesting the subject, and so much of the material for the construction of my Drama.


p. 9DRAKE:
or the



The harbour and ships, sailors swaggering about with a bold, saucy, defiant air, richly dressed, displaying a profusion of silks, gold, and jewelry; their women also flaunting in rich dresses.—Enter an English spy.

English Spy, (In a serious musing attitude)—I have watched this game from its beginning, when Mary married Philip.  With all the might of Spain and Rome to back her she failed to crush a seeming helpless girl.  The young Nobility, the proud hold chivalry of England took her part!  On high paced steeds they rode her escort, or thronged her house with levies which shamed the deserted Court.  Where’er she moved abroad, the roaring multitude surged round her, unbonneted to their idol as she passed.  I saw that Church and Spain must lose!  Elizabeth would be Queen at last!  (He walks a few steps with a satisfied air.)  When Mary’s reign was closed, what shouts of joy broke from emancipated London!  A pall as black as death seemed lifted off men’s souls.  What tables of rejoicing lined the streets!  What blazing bonfires reddened all the walls!  Catholic and Protestant forgot their creeds to hail the rising sun of Liberty!  I said Priests and Monks may plot.  There is one only party in the State.  England for herself against the World!  So hath it been of yore, so let it be for ever.  No foreign Despot will she ever brook.  (He walks proudly).  What experience has been mine?  Poverty!  Power!  Influence! rare companions! meeting only in the Monk—and he a Jesuit, a Missionary; what lands I have visited, what dangers and hardships encountered! hunger, thirst, travel, fatigue; frozen in the snows of Siberia, burnt to a living cinder in the Torrid Zone; perils by sea and land, the barbarous savage with open violence or poisoned weapon; still worse the pestilence that walketh in darkness.  All have I endured.  (His reverie is interruptedstartled by tremendous shouts and cheers of a violent crowd rapidly approaching).

Crowd, (behind the scenes).  Hurrah for England!  Down with Spain and her inquisition!  Hurrah for the El Dorado!  Hurrah for the General!

(Startled) What terrible hurly, burly now?  Another gust of the rising tempest that is to shake the nations!

Enter a turbulent crowd of sailors, bursting in with a great banner on which is blazoned a ship in gold, and in similar letters the nameEl Dorado,” cheering and shouting with violent gestures and confusion.

Crowd.  Hurrah for the Virgin Queen!  Down with Spain and her Inquisition.

p. 101st Sailor.  The Queen!  God bless her, and give her a good English husband.  No foreign rule here!

2nd Sailor.  Confusion to Philip and all Foreigners!  England for the English!

3rd Sailor.  Aye! Aye! lads.  We’ll keep them out!  No landing of the foe on our coasts.  Our cruizers will keep the channel clear.

4th Sailor (with energy).  The Channel’s ours!

Spy (aside) No doubt, they will clear it of everything that carries gold, or other foreign valuables, without being over particular about their nationality.

The chief or general, standing beside the banner, a tall powerful man, though young, sunburnt, and weather-beaten, gaudily dressed as silk, velvet, gold and jewels can make himIn his broad belt plaited with gold, are stuck a brace of heavy pistols, richly chased with silver, and a long dagger hafted with gold and diamondsOn his head a blue velvet cap with a gold bandOn the velvet, emblazoned with jewels, a ship with the wordsEl Dorado.”  He holds forth in his left hand a large ingot, or bar of gold.

Chief.  Look ye here, ye sons of the Ocean Queen, ye storm-birds that have the daring spirit of your sea-king race, that love the raging surf, and the mountain wave when it rolls the highest!  Ye of the forward step, and the ready fist, who wish for a little of this! (holding out the ingot).  (Cheers).  Who’ll volunteer for the good ship El Dorado?  We don’t want every lubber that may offer, only roaring boys that are not afraid to board a Spanish galleon without counting the square feet of her lumbering hull, or the hundreds of her cowardly crew.  The El Dorado has a speedy forefoot, I can tell you; she can run the Caribs in about a fortnight, and we don’t care who knows the When and the Whither, not as much as one!—Copper!—Maravedi! (snapping his fingers).

Crowd, (cheering), Hurrah!  That’s the talk and no bunkum!  We know you, General.  We’ll follow you to the death.

1st Bystander.  Who is he?  A gallant bearing and tall!  He looks a hero born for command.

2nd Bystander.  So he ought to look; Don’t you know him?  That’s young Lord —.  (He whispers the name), one of Elizabeth’s early lovers.  One of the five hundred young nobles who rode beside her in defiance of Mary’s wrath.  When his idol was insulted at Court, he behaved so violently that he became a marked man, and the persecution growing hot, he took to the sea for vengeance on the Spanish party.  Now he sticks to it, you perceive, for something else, (with a knowing look).

Chief.  Now then! who’s for the free flag and the gold coast?  We have already seventy hands, and want a few to make up a hundred.  That’s enough of Englishmen to carry any of their goldships, or any Spanish town in the world.  We want especially the sons of our brave men who have died in Spanish dungeons, or by fire and faggot!  (Shouts of indignation and hurrah for the General).

Crowd.  Here we are, General!  We’ll man your guns for you!  Hurrah!  We’ll pay them off all old scores!

1st Sailor, (in a swaggering tone.)  I have searched the whole coast, from Rio de la Hacha to San Juan, have been up the Darien and the Bocco del Torro, I know every creek where a Cruizer can lie like an Alligator for her prey.

2nd Sailor.  And I every coral-reef, from the Windward islands to Bahama.  I’ll pilot you, General.

p. 11Chief.  Come on then, my Bullies!—To the brave ship El-Dorado!  March!

They advance with the Standard singing and stamping in time as sailors do when weighing anchor; the crowd following and joining in with excitement, as they chant the following doggerel.

Our free born comrades languish.
In dungeons, and in pain:
We’ll tear them from their anguish,
Or take revenge on Spain.  (Cheers.)

Come on ye Tars! we’ll all go,
With hearts both true and bold:
We’re bound for El-Dorado,
And we will have the gold!  (CheersExeunt singing.)

We’re bound for El-Dorado
And we will have the gold!

Spy, (looking after them.)  A tempting offer! had I not a deeper game upon the die of Fate, and a loftier stake to play for than all the gold of the Indies—the liberty of the world!  How many parts I have filled in social life!  A bigot and inquisitor in Despotic Rome, I saw fierce Bourbon, called the Constable, rush with hot valour on her wall; I fired the death-shot! saw the Apostate fall!  ’Twas vain!  The mighty wave swept on resistless.  The City of the Caesars and the Popes—the twice Mistress of the world—lay helpless under the ruffian foe, defiling what fierce Vandal and noble Goth majestic in strength and courage spared.  No place was sacred.  No party safe.  The sanctuaries of religion, the sepulchres of the dead, the very tomb of St. Peter rifled for their wealth; Guelph and Ghibeline, Priest and Layman, the vilest trades and callings taxed for contributions when plunder failed;—and when the blood-hound scent for gold came to fault, torture was applied, without respect to rank, or sex, or age, to wring the last scudo from the prostrate people.  There was a spoil! ten millions of gold! the garnered harvest of centuries of corruption, the imposts of a taxed world gathered in one stagnant pool.  Offerings of pilgrims, gifts of the dying; the orphan’s patrimony; the widow’s dower; extortions of Ecclesiastical Courts; indulgences; the liquidated value of every vice, lust and crime! bribes for which Heaven had bartered its joys, and hell had commuted its torments of the damned!  The sack of Imperial Rome! (holding up his hands in dismay) Satanic Bourbon!  Infernal Tempter!  Thou knew’st the mystic Solder which alone could weld that Rebel Host, mad with lust and hunger, discordant, dissolute, through battle, fatigue, and famine!  And hurl the blazing Meteor on the goal of thy Vengeance and Ambition!  I beheld the Holy Father himself a prisoner in his castle of St. Angelo; his jailors! the Catholics of Spain.  My eyes were opened!  I fled from the Desolation.  Before me spread an Earthquake of Republics, a wreck of Nations.  France and Spain had torn the land.  I took refuge in the fleet of Dorea with the Spirits that were left.  Genoa rose at his heroic summons.  We proclaimed the Republic.  Yes!  I saw that last flame of Italian Glory!  It flickered and went out for ever.  Through the once free cities of Italy I harangued the Infidel—in democratic clubs on the rights of Nature—the Republicans on their laws—to gather up the broken fragments of their liberties, and arm against the spoilers of the land.  In Holland I preached freedom through the grim creed of Calvin, and urged the dull p. 12Flemmings to defend their Constitutions.  I have been all things to all men.  My single foe—Despotic Spain—My creed, its overthrow.  In England two characters by turns.  A conspirator to assassinate the Queen with fanatics who would deluge the land with blood, destroy their own and other’s freedom, and yield our glorious Island to a foreign tyrant—the execrable Philip.  And now I am an agent of the unselfish Patriot, Walsingham (I would trust none other!)—to foil this foul conspiracy, and save my native country from slavery and ruin.  I must to the “Blue Anchor” to meet this Arch-plotter for the Church and Philip.  I’ll search his inmost thoughts.  I’ll sound the very depths of all his treason!  (Exit.)


Ornamented with model ships of every form and rig; all of a warlike characterHere and there are hung up arms, chiefly those used at sea, with Parrots and curious birds, shells and other productions of foreign climes, all indicating that the owner and his friends are familiar with distant lands, in fact, all maritime contributionsThe room is filled with sailors and their women, profusely decorated with gold, reckless of expenditure, playing at dice for gold pieces, and displaying masses of gold and silver articles, chalices and cups, the fruit of plunder by land and seaTheir bold dashing air shows a character not likely to hesitate about what they would attack, and themselves ready to take their own part, or that of England, against the worldThey call for wines of the most expensive sorts like men habituated to wealthThe two spies at a table, served with a flagon of wine and cups of silver, by the landlordThe foreigner is much surprised at the scene.

1st Sailor.  Mine Host there!  Some Hippocras for the ladies! and—and—more Gascony!

2nd Sailor (saucily).  Bear a hand, Joe Jolly! or Jolly Joe! another measure of that old Sack.  You’re an old sack yourself.  Ho! here he comes, rolling like a dismasted ship in the trough of the sea (laughter).  Ha! Ha! Ha!

Enter Host, scowling fiercely and holding out in his right hand menacingly a great tankard of Wine.

Host.  I say, Cut-throat!  Belay your damned tongue!  Don’t you think to make a butt of me for your gibes, or I’ll give you this (holding out the tankard) on your head!

The sailor laughs and holds out by the muzzle his heavy pistol as if to show its weight.

2nd Sailor.  If you did, Joe, I would, and that quickly too, make a butt of yours.  Look you!  Butt to Butt.  This has cracked many a skull as thick as Joe Jolly’s.

All (interfering).  Avast there!  Enough of that messmates!  Here, Jolly, drink with me!  Here, Joe (says another party), drink with us!  Hurrah! old chap!

English Spy (to his companion).  I made our appointment here, Brother, to give you an idea of what is going on in the world—a mighty revolution—which I think neither His Majesty of Spain nor His Holiness yet comprehends, and to show you the character of our people.  You will thus understand with whom you have to deal.

Foreign Spy.  They surprise and almost frighten me with their fierce demeanour and warlike defiant air.

p. 13English Spy.  Of that anon.  Now, Brother what of the Great Cause in the Low Countries?  There the struggle is at present.

Foreign Spy, (Slowly and with emphasis), And there, brother, it is almost ended.  William the silent is silent for ever!  (The English spy starts with surprise).  That Arch-Heretic, the Prince of Orange, is no more!

English Spy.  What?  The Prince of Orange dead!

Foreign Spy, (With bitter emphasis), Three poisoned bullets did for him, spite of all his caution!  Parma outmanœuvred him.  Philip is at the right game of war now!

English Spy, (Interested to excitement), How?  How was this, brother?  It will be a thunder clap to Europe!

Foreign Spy.  It was difficult; William was so closely guarded; so many attempts had failed.  He seemed unapproachable.  We found the fitting tool!  (He pauses, watching his startled companion with exultation, then continues).  Balthazzar Gerard, an enthusiast from Burgundy.  We fanned the Bigot-flame, and armed his fiery soul with all the panoply of Faith the church could give, a Martyr’s Crown!  Immediate bliss in Heaven.  Philip added earthly honours, nobility and estates in Spain.  Balthazzar swallowed the baited hook, and counted not the cost!  (He pauses, looking at his deeply interested and astounded companion.)

English Spy, (Eagerly), Pray go on, Brother!  He was seized of course! how did he proceed, or obtain access?

Foreign Spy.  He repaired to the palace at Delft, petitioned for protection and aid, he pretended to be a Calvinist whose father was executed, and himself a fugitive for his religion.  The mask was sufficient, he obtained employment, and was at length received into the palace.  There he watched his opportunity, and as the Prince was passing through his hall to dinner fired into him three poisoned bullets.  The victim dropped, “William the Silent” was no more.

English Spy, (with emotion), Villain!  He was cut down, or seized, tortured, hung!

Foreign Spy.  Quick as his bullets he bounded from the hall, crossed the court-yard, and gained the city wall, where aid was ready.

English Spy, (Hurriedly), Good God!  The perfidious traitor escaped.

Foreign Spy.  There, just as the tiger was about to spring, a strong hand arrested him.  His Spanish title, his broad lands, his order of St. Jago vanished, and the dread spectre of rack and dungeon rose before his eyes, but Balthazzar was a hero and accepted death.  They dragged him to the rack, ’twas vain!  They tried every torture ingenuity could invent, or the wickedness of Heretics employ to tear from this soldier of the church a confession of his employees.  Balthazzar fixed his eye upon his Martyr’s crown, and pointing to his dislocated limbs, with grim but triumphant smile, heaved his last breath, said “Ecce Homo,” and expired.

English Spy, (Shocked and excited), Oh!  Brother, this is horrible!

Foreign Spy, (Rather Surprised), But the end, Brother, justifies the means.  You see the good cause advances!  ’Tis Philip’s most successful warfare; thus Murray in Scotland, Coligny at Paris, and now the Prince of Orange at Delft have paid the penalty of heresy.  These were only the horns Brother, the head itself shall be cut off.  In England is the very head of Heresy!  She must fall next, and then the Church’s triumph is complete.  Philip himself, great as he is, must bow as kings of yore, and hold the stirrup.

English Spy, (Aside), This will do for Walsingham, he’ll trap the wolves!  (To his companion), We’ll talk of this anon, Brother.

p. 14Cheers and shouts without, tumult, rushing, and cheersShouts ofTo the Market-place.”  The cheers taken up by the sailors within, who brandish their gold goblets and shout, “Hurrah for old Plymouth,” “Hurrah for the Craft!”

1st Sailor.  What’s up messmates?

2nd Sailor.  Some Spanish prize, I’ll warrant; It’s no mere row that, I know the heavy tread of a Rover’s crew.  That’s the game for me.  Let’s out and join the fray.  (Exeunt sailors, rushing in confusion).

English Spy, (hurriedly), Come!  Brother come, there is much that you must see here before you make up your horoscope of the future.  (Exeunt spies).


A great crowd surging along, pushing, fighting, and hallooing in the rear of a compact body of Rovers or freebooters, well armed, bringing with them a band of Spanish prisoners, captured in a ship in the channel, bound from Cadiz to the Low Countries, with a rich cargo of Silks, Wines, and other such articles of value, besides a quantity of money, for the payment of the Troops thereAmong the captives, Soldiers of rank, Noblemen, Great MerchantsSome are hauled along in irons, screaming for mercy, to be kept prisoners till ransomedA group of three, the assumed property of one party, are about being put up to auctionA Sailor stands upon a barrel with an axe in his hand for a hammer, as auctioneerJews and Spectators in front, ready to bid, and chaffing the extemporized Auctioneer.

Several Voices.  Why don’t you go on, Bill Sayers! go on! go on! put one of the Hidalgos up.  (Laughter.)

Whilst the chief is bargaining with a rich Jew aside, a Ruffian grasps at one of the Spanish Captives.

Ruffian.  I should like one of those gold buttons.

The leader, Tom Cobham, turning from the Jew, brandishes his axe not very particular whether or not it lopped off an arm.

Tom Cobham, (fiercely.)  Back varlet! on your life, I’ll cleave the first man, to the brisket, who dares to lay hand on one of them!  (Sweeps round him with his terrible weapon, the crowd fall backTurning to the Jew again) I’ll tell you what, Isaac!  We cannot deal!

Isaac.  They’re not worth an Angel more.  There’s not an Hidalgo among them.  Only traders like myself.

Tom Cobham.  You Jews can jabber all the languages in the world.  But I have robbed Churches, sacked towns along the coast of Spain, from Cadiz to Finisterra, have plundered her gold ships, and seized her Merchantmen (he pauses musing) ever since the execution of Sir Thomas Wyatt, and I can talk Spanish as well as you.  They are Nobles, every one of them.

Isaac (whispering in his ear.)  There now!  I will do no more.

Tom Cobham (turning away indignant.)  Two thousands Rials!  Not even Sovereigns!  We only count in Sovereigns, you old screw!  You mean to rob.  It’s not the price of the gold lace and buttons on their coats, not to speak of the jewels, silk, and velvet.  Speak up, or be off!  I know what to do with them.

Isaac (again whispering).  There now!  That’s because you are a friend, Tom.  By the Holy Moses and all the Prophets, I’ll not advance another Rose Noble.

Tom Cobham (considering).  Well! I’ll take your note of hand.  I know you, Isaac.  I’m in haste.  I want to get to sea.  There’s something coming down the wind that far beats this.  I say, old hard fist, you’ll clear a good p. 15fire hundred out of this job.  Well! well! business! business!  I’m in a hurry.  (Exeunt Sailors, Jews and Captives, the latter apparently pleased with the arrangementThe Market Place and its frequenters, Booths, Stalls for Gold and Silver, Casks of Wine being measured out for sale.)

English Spy.  There’s a sight for you!  Booths where richest silks are sold as basest stuffs to peasants at a rustic fair.  Casks of Gascony drawn for the mob like Common Beer.

Foreign Spy (amazed).  Gold and Silver weighed on open stalls.

English Spy.  Our Seaboard is the Mart of Precious Metals, debased in price by quantity.  Merchants come here to buy.  It costs the vendors nothing.  Our Seamen take it as their right from Spain.

Foreign Spy (in deep refection).  What waste of luxury!  Masses of wealth surpassing proudest Capitals.

English Spy (scrutinizing his amazed companion).  You seem bewildered, Brother, I thought you should be.  Engaged about this serious business, ’tis well, you see, to understand the Drama that’s being acted in the world.  These are the Actors, not Priests and Politicians, blind with their own cobwebs, self-wove before their eyes.  What think you of the scene?

Foreign Spy.  Horror-struck—amazed—such lawless violence—such heaps of Gold and Silver—altar-plate made common traffic!  Grandees of Spain put up to open auction!  It passes comprehension.

English Spy (smiling).  Philip knows it all, and cannot help himself.  He sees his Gold-ships captured, or sunk, crews and all—his merchants plundered; Cities sacked and churches rifled on his own coast; His Officers and Nobles sold like slaves by public auction; kept in chains till ransomed; shuts his eyes and must endure the affront.  (He walks aside with a grim smile, and triumphant airThen returns and continues solemnly.)  There is a Crisis now in the affairs of mankind.  Providence re-adjusts his plan to open another chapter in the course of Destiny.   ’Tis a New Power that rises from the sea, and has its source at Plymouth; to rule the world, and set the nations free!  (He walks aside eyeing his companion exultingly.)  I’ve seen it for some time, and in my waking dreams, this little Isle expands and fills the Globe, whilst Spain recoils, and shrinks before it like a burning scroll.  (He walks with triumphthen slowly, with emphasis).  Here’s food for thought, Brother! (aside)  Now for proud Spain’s Ambassador, and learn his plans to murder Queen Elizabeth.

Foreign Spy (serious but firm).  The prospect for the Church is ominous and gloomy.  Still, Brother, we must cut off the Head of Heresy!  Let us be moving, (going).

English Spy (aside as they go off).  Cut off the Head!  Still the power remains to crush thy Despotism—the stone to strike the Image, and crumble it to dust!  (Exeunt).


Enter the Queen and the Earl of Leicester.

Leicester (laughing).  Ha-Ha-Ha!  I cannot see it.  Excommunicated!  How is it possible?  Even the Pope cannot put one out of his house who never was in it.  Ha! Ha! Ha!  It’s a joke.  Excommunicated indeed!  Because a fellow like a thief in the night nails a paper on the Bishop of London’s door, your Majesty is to be deprived of your throne and life.  All the world knows the Statue of Premunire.—(with emphasis and deliberation) No Bull can be published here without the licence of the Crown.  This is poor thunder from the Vatican.  Not thus did Leo roar, and yet a German Monk laughed him to scorn, burned his Bull in the open Market-place, and p. 16challenged him to prove his title before the Christian world.  Ha! Ha! Ha!  (He walks about laughingthen comes up to the Queen sarcastically) Pius the Fifth is no Hildebrand, his wretched missive thus stolen into the kingdom is no more than waste paper.  The thunder of the Seven Hills has lost the bolt.  Ha! Ha! Ha!

Queen.  By the Rood, Robin, I agree with you; It is an insolent joke (She laughs to herself grimly).  The world begins to see it too.  France contemptuously suppressed his Bull, Philip forbade him to issue it and refuses to permit its publication in his dominions, (with proud defiance) I have answered his insolence in my own way, by hanging up his messenger at the very door where he committed the offence.  Ha! Ha! Ha!—He’ll carry no more messages.

Leicester.  Well!  Is there one Catholic Nobleman in England who did not acquiesce in the execution of Felton?  Parliament too gave a quick and substantial reply, by passing an immediate act, without a dissentient voice.  “That to affirm by word or writing that the Queen is not Queen, or not entitled to the Crown, or that any other person ought to be Queen, even without an overt act, shall be High Treason.”

Queen.  And the Nation indignant, shouted its assent.  I plant my throne, Leicester in the hearts of my people!  They are the true foundation of all Political right.—They are my Guards!  My bulwark! my support!—I did not wait for an Act of Parliament to hang Felton.

Leicester (rubbing his hands and laughing).  No!  No!  Your father’s daughter for that!  It was a masterly counter-thrust for him.  I should like to see the Pope’s face when he considers your position.  (He walks musing, then confronts the Queen) Here you stand an excommunicated Princess; entirely unscathed by his thunder.  Your throne is as firm as the primeval rock.  You hold prisoner Mary, that was Queen of Scotland, the Dowager Queen of France, the Representative of Papal claims upon the throne.  Yet not one member of the Catholic Nobility is ready to do the behests of the Pope in regard to your life or title.

Queen.  And the people! the Great English people! the fearless! the free!  Are they not more enthusiastic than ever?  When do I show myself among them that they do not crowd around me with the idolatry of devotion, proud to kiss the hem of my robe, or touch the horse that bears me.  Woe to the assassin who should lift a finger!  He would be torn limb from limb.  Yes! Yes! Leicester, I am safe among my People (she walks about confidently then stands and passionately continues)  They know I love them, and will never betray their liberties or their honour (walking aside with emotion).

Leicester.  You are the only Sovereign in the world that can freely move abroad without other guards than the people.

Queen.  The Catholics of England never did, and never will, acknowledge the power of the Pope to annul their liberties, or to interfere in the government of their country.  They will hear the Mass, but they will have none of his Bulls.  They have had too much of Ecclesiastical Courts, and Appeals to Rome.  That question was decided long ago, when the Clergy tried to substitute the Canon for the Common Law, and Parliament and People proclaimed with one voice “We will not have the Laws of England changed” (she walks with a triumphant air).

Leicester.  The Court of Rome takes credit for great cunning and deep policy.  Their present folly does surprise me; to threat without the power to strike.  On whom does it rely?  On France or Spain?  Neither could permit the other to attack us, and concert is impossible ’twixt elements ajar.

p. 17Queen.  They both are suing me for favours and alliance.  Nay! every Power in Europe.—I am the Arbitress of Nations.

Leicester (fiercely).  Besides!  Our Naval heroes boldly say, their fleets combined could never land an army on our shores, and if they could, England like one man would rise and dash invasion from her!  (He walks exultingly aside).

Queen.  I believe it all, Leicester.  My faith is in my country!  In my people!  Nor would their Queen in such an hour be wanting.  Elizabeth would lead the van with them to conquer, or with them to fall.  (She walks with a fierce and triumphant air)  Yet, Leicester!  Though with thoughts like these my Lion spirit rises to the occasion, there are times when sadness sits brooding o’er me, and in the lone, darkness of my soul, kindred and goblin forms arise, the brood of melancholy to fright my woman weakness.  William, Prince of Orange, butchered in his Palace! the loaded pistol! the assassin’s knife! ever at one’s defenceless breast—Ah! Leicester (she shudders with horror) ’tis too much to bear! too much! too much! (she weeps and turns aside with great emotion, Leicester approaching her with deep sympathy, and kneeling, kisses her robe, to which he timidly ventures to apply his lips).

Leicester.  My honoured Mistress!  My beloved Queen!  God, who raised you up His chosen instrument, has hitherto supported, and will preserve you.  (The Queen turns abruptly and surprised).

Queen.  What, Robin!  This from thee?  Art thou turned Puritan, man?

Leicester.  Of late, my Queen, I have had dreams!  Visions of Prophetic import, which seem to touch the times.

Queen.  Dreams!  Dreams that touch the times, belong to anxious brains like mine, troublous as my checkered life, with danger and alarm.  Thine are of thyself, of love and selfish gain, intrigues with traitor wenches of my Court that pay me hollow homage, and take the pay of France, or Philip, or the Queen of Scots, or even thyself!  (Looking at him piercingly).

Leicester, (attempting to speak).  Oh!  My loved Mistress!

Queen (interrupting him), Nay!  Nay!  Ne’er deny it, Leicester.  I watch the games of all, and play my own! (with a grim smile).

Leicester (earnestly, as to repel the insinuation).  My Liege, my thoughts are capable of proof.  The vision long hath left my brain, and found material body.  Art hath moulded it in jewelled gold, and given it tongue prophetic!  Futurity will unfold the truth; but it would be presented to you on the throne.  May it please your Majesty to be seated.

Queen.  What mean you, man?  Robin!  No mummery now, my mood is serious!  (Leicester bows solemnly), Well!  Well!  I will indulge you.  (She gives him her hand and he leads her to the throne).

Leicester.  My Liege!  It is behind the arras, permit me to introduce it.

Queen (impatiently).  Do as thou listest and be quick.  (He goes for the intended present).  There’s something in it, else he’s acting well.  What can it be?

He returns with a splendidly gilt and ornamented box, lays it down, and opening it, withdraws a group of statuary of jewelled goldApproaching the throne, he kneels on one knee, and presents it to the Queen, who all the time watches the proceeding with intense interest, then takes the present with great surprise and curiosity.

Leicester.  Behold, my Liege!  The symboled future!  May the God of England verify it soon.

p. 18He buries his face in his hands and continues kneelingThe Queen eyeing it for a moment, on all sides, in deep abstraction, rushes from the throne, and placing it on a highly ornamented table under the light, examines it curiously, not without awe, as if something supernaturalLeicester, still kneeling, watches her askance.

Queen (slowly).  Magnificent! sublime!  Art indeed, which can embody thought in gold, and almost shape the lips to speech.  Prophetic Vision!  Symboled future, humph!  The future still to me is mystic, dark, and awful.  (She looks around for Leicester, who is still kneeling before the throne and watching the Queen with great anxiety askance).  No more of that play-acting; up man, and expound thy riddle.  (Leicester comes forward, and taking up the group in one hand, whilst he points with the other to the figures, thus explains their meaning, the Queen, anxiously awaiting the result).

Leicester.  The central figure, seated on a throne, with features so beautiful, the express image of Majesty itself, is the Queen of England! the likeness unmistakeable.  At her feet kneeling, is the so-called Queen of Scots.  Around the stormy ocean your bulwark, strength, and power.  On either side, figures of France and Spain overwhelmed in the waves, whilst Neptune, rising in front, presents to you the globe, and does homage to the true Sovereign of the seas.

Queen.  Oh Leicester!  Leicester!  (The Queen sinks upon a chair, overcome by the weight of thought and the tumult of her ideas).  Prophetic Vision!  Symboled Future!  I am lost in a tumult of thoughts, and hopes, and fears.  Call Ashley!  Be quick!  Quick, my Lord!  Exhausted!  Overcome!  (Exit LeicesterShe leans sobbing on the chair, her face buried in her hands).

Re-enter the Earl of Leicester with Mrs. Ashley, who rush to her assistance.

Curtain falls.

p. 19ACT II.


It is surrounded by high cliffs with batteriesAn Island at the mouthSpanish and English shipsThe townDeck of theJesusof Lubeck.—Sir John Hawkins, Drake, Hampton, BoltonA Council of WarThunderLightningTempest!

Hawkins.  Comrades, we may well thank God for this refuge.  We had a narrow escape in that gale.  I thought the “Jesus” of Lubeck would never weather it.  Our voyage has been prosperous beyond expectations.  Above a million and a half netted, with four hundred Negroes still on hands.  To have left it all behind, with our bodies to the sharks, in the Gulf of Mexico, would have been a calamity.  Now with our freight of enormous value, even if we were rid of our remaining Negroes, we could not move till we refit.  This old hulk in her present condition, would never float to England.  Besides, the possibility of falling in with a Spanish fleet—our canvas in rags, and spars in this state.  Weigh it well, comrades!—Weigh it well.

Bolton.  This is the very spot for us; we ride here in safety.  Neither wind nor sea can touch us.  And we are masters of the place.  Our guns on the island command the entrance, the town is at our own mercy, the fortified heights are in our hands; we could sink the whole Navy of Spain in five minutes.

Drake.  I should be very sorry to see the whole Navy of Spain for the present.  There are twelve first-rate ships here, and two hundred thousand pounds worth of gold and silver in them, which with what we have already made, and our pearls, emeralds, and precious metals, would be a goodly return—say something like two millions.  It would give us some weight in our native country!  Heh!  (He walks about with a smile, as they stare at him excited) Why Old England has not seen the like.  How jolly Plymouth would shout with all her Tars.  By St. George, I think I see the uproar when they should behold our Gallant Navy riding in the Sound.  (He looks at them as they gaze in excitementeven Hawkins is surprised)  It is a great temptation!  Philip might threaten.  Cecil might grumble and make notes; the Jesuits might plot; but England and our noble Queen would look at us with other eyes.  I say, take the treasure and the ships; put the town to ransom; and let us be off!  I don’t like the look of the place.  Delays are dangerous.  Action! action! for me.  I hate Spain and her people.  Treachery, perfidy, and cruelty make up the mind and character of a Spaniard.

Hawkins.  Hitherto we have acted within law, and under treaty, solemnly made between Spain and England.

Drake.  I have no faith in and treaty or peace subsisting between the nations (He comes up to Hawkins, looks at him archly in the faceAll observing with great interest) Why man, you forget the small exchange of national amenities just before our departure.

Hawkins (laughing) Oh! you allude to that Spanish ship which—

Drake (interrupting with comical seriousness) I mean the Spanish man-of-war, with Flemish prisoners, who came for shelter into Plymouth Harbour.  You fired upon her with the Castillian flag at her main; made p. 20her haul down her colours, and deliver up her prisoners, which you sent home to fight against Spain.  You remember the stir Philip made about it, and when the Queen sent you an angry message (Lord, she never meant it—a mere blind) you audaciously told her that you deserved her thanks for maintaining the honour of the country (laughter).  You know we sailed under the protest of De Silva and have carried on our trade by force of arms.

Bolton.  We could not venture to sea without repairs.  We want at least a week.

Hampton.  Oh! we could soon victual—seize the ships, levy contributions, put the town to ransom, and make sail.

Hawkins.  But then, you see the Treaty.  What would the Council say?  What would Cecil say?  He is against us as it is.  Besides, the legitimate trade we are carrying on—a million! in a single voyage.  This in my opinion is better than booty and open war.

Drake.  Treaty!—Peace!—Legitimate trade!—Hawkins don’t deceive yourself; bits of paper cannot disguise the virulent hostility subsisting between Spain and England.  The legitimate trade we are carrying on in ships armed to the teeth!  It is nothing but open war—a defiance of Philip and his power.  Talk of the Council being against us, and what Cecil may say.  (Contemptuously).  Cecil! who can see no other way to keep up our Navy than an Act of Parliament to compel the Protestant People of England to eat fish.  Ha! Ha! Ha! (laughter in which the crews joinWith emphasis).  Bluff King Hal and his Parliament, thought Beef at a farthing a pound was the right way to keep up the stout hearts and strong arms of Englishmen, who themselves have ever been the true and only defence of their Country and Freedom.  (He walks aside indignantLaughtercaught up and echoed back with tremendous cheers by the sailors around and below decks).  Whenever Britons, in sloth and ignorance shall delegate their duty to a Council, or a Government, they will forfeit their high Destiny—their Commission from on High!—Their safety and their Liberties will sink together in the dust of Rottenness, and the proud Island of the Brave and Free, remain only a bleak, deserted, and ruined rock amid the breakers, a monument of the past; a warning to the future, like Tyre and Carthage, and Great Rome herself.  England can only fall through treason and corruption.  (Cheers from the sailors and shouts).

Sailors.  May God defend us from that.  We can defend us from our enemies ourselves, Hurrah!

Hawkins.  The Jesus is a wreck, can scarcely float, her mainmast sprung—she could not go to sea.

Drake.  Abandon her then.—Here are plenty of ships fit for a voyage, with treasure in them.  Take your choice, burn the rest, and make sail with what we have.  Put no faith in Spaniards.  They will consider the treaty as so much waste paper, when it serves their ends to do so.  They fear and hate us, and neither bonds nor treaties will stop them in their vengeance.  Our only treaty to rely on is in ourselves when we are too strong for them—God grant it may ever be so—or woe to Merry England.

Hawkins.  Abandon the Jesus!  You forget that she is the Queen’s ship—the only one in the expedition.  Do you know the temper of our good Queen?  She will expect her ship back, and also her share of the profit.  What if, instead, I should bring the Kingdom under heavy demands from Philip for our infraction of the Treaty; I ask you, do you know her temper, or what her Royal and gentle Majesty would say?  Heh!

p. 21Drake (laughing as at a joke).  Fire and Steel!  I should think I did, Ha! Ha! Ha!  I know our Royal Mistress well.  Her Majesty is a good Protestant, but she has two idols set up in her heart, whose worship she will never abandon for any other creed, “ambition and avarice;” the love of power, and the love of gold.  Give her these, what cares she for an old hulk.  Let her know that her heroes can sweep the seas, that we defy, and soon shall break the force of haughty Spain.  Above all, drench her with gold and show me the power on earth that can drag it from her.  (He walks aside with his hands up).  She will swallow man the gold of the Indies, but believe me, disgorge it, never.  Temper!  Fire and Steel!  I think I see her temper on the receipt of a dispatch from Philip, that clerk king, whose sceptre is his pen with which he dooms brave men to death, and nations to slavery, whilst he himself, the veriest slave to Monks and Priests, delegates the authority of his high office to what he calls the Holy House of the inquisition.  Restitution forsooth!  What she would say!  “God’s death,” she would exclaim, “Is the fellow a fool, to ask me for money?  Let him catch Hawkins and Drake, and the rest of the freebooters himself, and take what satisfaction he can out of them.”  That is pretty much what she would say.  But if he should come himself to demand it, I think she would be very likely to box his Royal ears for him, and tell him to go and be hanged, as she did the stout Earl of Essex, when he had the impudence to turn his back upon her.  (Laughter.)

Hawkins.  This is bold advice, Drake, but I do not like the responsibility.

Drake.  Responsibility!  To whom?  To our Queen?  She will hold us responsible, only for failure in our enterprise.  In plain words, for bringing home no money.  Besides, she has no jurisdiction here, nor are we sailing under her flag, or the authority of a Lord High Admiral, or his Court.  We Rovers sail under our own red bunting, acknowledging no Courts; and fight our way, not palter about Treaties.  Law cannot defend us; should the Spaniards but get us into their clutches, would they vouchsafe to us, trial in a lawful court?  No!  We should have neither law nor mercy.  The Inquisition!  Torture! the Auto-de-fe, that is fire and faggot, would be our lot.  For my part, I will acknowledge no responsibility, but to God, upon His own ocean!  So long as I live, I shall consider it my best duty to him, to make war upon Spaniards, who are alike his enemies and ours.  Is that monster Philip without other motive than the impulse of a cruel nature, to sit unopposed in his cabinet like a spider weaving his webs of slavery for mankind, to monopolise the earth’s surface with all the gold in its bosom, and the whole ocean as well?  Why not its circumambient air, that we may ask his leave to breathe?  I tell you, Hawkins, that whilst I can muster a keel, and men and Britons to man it, I shall ask no licence from mortal man; I shall boldly take my share of its wild waves, in spite of all the Despots in the world, and claim it as my patrimony from God!  (He turns away in great excitement.)

The report of a solitary gun booms along the water, and cuts short the debateThey are all startled, but before there is time for utterance, it is followed by a discharge from the batteries on the island, and successive volleys from a number of Ships in the offing.

Hawkins, (in alarm), What can this mean?  Those are no signal guns, no friendly salutes.

Hampton.  No, General, no blank cartridges there!  The report is too sharp; it has the ring of metal.  We are surprised.  It is time to get ready, and stand by our guns; it must be a Spanish fleet!

p. 22Hawkins.  God grant it be not the outward bound fleet of Spain, we must keep them out.  Get ready my pinnace!  Bear a hand!  We must be off to the island, and see to this.  Get your ships under weigh, and stand by, to dispute the mouth of the harbour.  (Exeunt.)


The Spanish fleet of thirteen sail, sent out expressly to look for Hawkins, and to treat him as a pirateThe English forbid entranceA party of Spaniards, with the Spanish Ambassador and the new Viceroy of Spain, under a flag of truce, await the arrival of the English Commander to treat.

Enter Sir John Hawkins, Drake, Hampton, Bolton, and others.

Spanish Ambassador.  Have I the honour to address the great, invincible and renowned, Sir John Hawkins, whose fame is throughout the world?

Hawkins.  Your excellency has before you the Admiral and the gallant Captains of a small English fleet, bound on a trading voyage, put in under stress of weather, to victual and re-fit; and for our own security, during the time we find it necessary to occupy the harbour, we intend to prevent the entry of armed vessels.

Ambassador (amazed).  But we are the fleet of His Majesty the King of Spain, carrying a thousand soldiers, thirteen galleons with others their consorts and tenders.  I have the honour to be his Ambassador, and this is his viceroy, with authority to govern his possessions in the New World.  Allow me to present to you Don Martini Henriqnez, viceroy of all the Indies.  (Hawkins bows.)  This is His Majesty’s town and dominions, and we claim not only free entrance, but entire jurisdiction.  The nations are at peace, and we concede to you the right freely to occupy it as friends, to trade and re-fit, with freedom of departure.  What would you more?

Hawkins.  True, your Excellency, the nations are nominally at peace, but we Englishmen have been in these times of peace treated as worse than enemies in war.  We have been attacked by ships carrying the Castillian flag, thrown into prison, tortured, famished in dungeons, given over to the inquisition, to fire and faggot, contrary to the law of nations, and to actual treaty.  We must take care of ourselves.  Either you shall force an entrance at the cannon’s mouth, which you will not find a very easy matter, or you enter on such conditions as I shall dictate.  That we have liberty to trade, victual, and re-fit, and to depart without hindrance or molestation, that the fortifications remain in our hands, and that you give hostages, as a guarantee for their fulfillment.

Ambassador.  This, Senor, is a very serious matter.  It is against law, reason, and justice that we should be under conditions imposed by a foreigner who has no claim or authority here, to enter our own possessions.  I do not know how I should answer to my Royal Master, should I so far compromise his authority and right, conceding to a stranger, the privilege of dictating conditions to our ships in our own waters.

Hawkins.  Nor I to answer to my Royal Mistress for the loss of her ships and men by any laxity or cowardice on my part in not defending them.  We Englishmen are accustomed to consider our duty to our country paramount over all else, to fight under the national flag till Death or Victory; never to yield a point in debate or battle, but to stick to our guns, and No Surrender!

English All.  No Surrender!  No Surrender!

Hawkins.  Your Excellencies, and you Senores, you see your choice.  Either you fight or depart, or enter on our conditions.

p. 23Ambassador.  I shall retire if you please, and consult with his Excellency.  (Exeunt SpaniardsEnglish laughing).

Hawkins (laughing).  Well, Comrades, I think I have settled their Excellencies; what think you?  They must be off.  If they meant fighting, they would have boldly entered like men, and asked no one’s leave.  They dare not enter into conditions.  Philip would execute them all, and rightly too, the poltrons.  It would be complete surrender of his authority.

Hampton.  It is not long you would have hesitated with such a fleet, General!  I think with you, they will be off if the gale will allow them to weather the headlands.  Lord! you frightened them; they turned pale at your very look.  That’s the way to talk to them.  No backing and filling; no hauling of tacks and sheets with Spaniards.  A straight course, good headway; with half a gale blowing.  That’s what they can’t stand.  (He walks aside haughtily).

Bolton.  General, you have spoken like a Tar, and an Englishman.  I call that sailing to half a point of the compass.  (Turning to Hampton).  I am like you, Hampton, for carrying all sail, and keeping the red flag flying.  Damn their thirteen ships and their new Viceroy Don Martini Henriquez, too, with his thousand soldiers.  What’s all that to us?  We can soon settle accounts with them, and their odds.—I never once thought of counting the number of Spaniards or Frenchmen, or of their ships either.  Before we shall have sunk or burned the half of them, it will be very difficult to find the other half.  We are not only a match for them on the open sea, but here they are at our mercy, keep them out, and then the gale will do for them.

Drake.  Well said, Old Rough and Ready, you know how to deal with Spaniards.  If you trust them, Hawkins, you will rue it all your life.  (Exeunt).


The Spaniards during the night have got possession of the batteries on the heights, filled with men a hulk close to the Minion, in order to board herTheir fleet of thirteen large ships arranged for action; their guns brought to bear on the English, who are unprepared; many of their men having been decoyed into the town, the battle commences with an attack on theseThe English fight their way to their boats, and pull for their shipsThe Council of War on the deck of the Jesus see it and get ready for action.

Enter Hawkins, Drake, Bolton, and Hampton.

Hawkins.  Comrades!  This harbour of San Juan de Ulloa wears a different face this morning from that it bore when we last surveyed its beauties from this deck; and doubtless inspires you all with altered feelings.  With what hope we entered it, as the last waves of the angry sea broke vainly in our wake, and when we dropped anchor, our shattered barks rode easy as seagulls on the waters of the peaceful bay.  We congratulated ourselves on our escape from danger—on the profits of a successful voyage—and we surveyed the beauteous landscape in comfort and security.  How vain the dream!  How changed the reality!

Bolton.  Glad as I was then, General, of its friendly shelter, I would rather the fiercest gale that ever howled its threats in the open ocean, than behold that thunder-cloud gathering over our heads (he points to the batteries).  How did they get possession of these forts?

p. 24Hawkins.  Our men, deceived by pretended friendship, cajoled by favour, and seduced by the fascinations of the Creole women, have been allured into the town.  During the night the enemy seized the batteries.

Drake (looking towards the town).  They are reaping the bitter fruits of disobedience now, or I am much mistaken.  (Shouts, tumult, and confusion of a multitude intermingled with shots and cheers come from the shore.)  Hark to that!  It is an English cheer and an angry one!  It cuts sharp and clear like the tone of a fife through the roar of battle.

Shouts of Sailors on Shore.  Hurrah for Moone!  Stick to them boys! Hurrah!

Drake.  That’s Moone in the front; how he wields his axe!  He cleaves them like sheep in the slaughter house.  That’s big Jack Winter, with the boat-hook; he handles it as if it were a quarterstaff.  How he scatters the little Spaniards!  Brave boys, lay on!

Bolton.  The crowd falls back before these two men, (great excitement on board the Jesus).  Our fellows have the best of it.  They have gained their boats and are pulling for their ships.  (Shouts continue, the sailors in the boats hail).

Sailors in the Boats.  “Jesus a-hoy.”  (The sailors on board begin to crowd the deck in great excitement and prepare to cheer).

Hawkins.  Hush!  No cheers as you value our safety.  Silence!  Silence in the ship!  Boatswain, all hands to quarters in silence.  Men to the guns, deck watch, stand by to get under weigh.  (He rushes about to restore order).

Hampton.  Could not our fellows by a sudden charge surprise the forts?

Hawkins (With assumed confidence).  It is too late, alas!  But I signed the treaty with an Ambassador of Spain, and with Philip’s Viceroy of all the Indies.  We have their honour and the credit of their nation for its fulfilment.  Upon its conditions I gave them entry into the harbour, and saved them from destruction.  Suppose they have got possession of the batteries, they are bound to give us safe and peaceable right to victual and re-fit, with freedom of departure.

Drake.  Oh Hawkins, delusion, mere delusion!  A treaty when you have not the means to enforce it.  There is not a moment to waste.  Action!  Action!  (With energy) Prepare for instant battle, or it will be every way too late.

Hampton.  They are getting into line with springs on their cables, so that every gun may bear.

Drake.  And the batteries, they are pointing the guns on us.  Look there Hawkins.  You have the weather gage, make for them under all sail; with the command of the wind, you can give a double broadside.  Set your ship on fire, and run her aboard the Admiral.  In the confusion take to your boats and pull for the Minion.  We shall pepper away, and get to sea.  On the blue water our legs will be too long for them, should they dare to follow us.  Goodbye, God bless you, Hawkins, should we not meet again, (they shake hands).  No surrender.  Victory or death.  (Exeunt Drake, Hampton, and Bolton.)   (Scene changes.)


The harbour filled with burning shipsThe Jesus is aboard the Spanish Admiral, both in flames, yet still fighting broadside to broadsideThree hundred Spaniards attempting to board the Minion from a hulk are being repulsedThe Jesus and the Minion in fontThe Spanish fleet at the backDeck of the Jesus.

p. 25Hawkins.  Blaze away, my sea-dogs, stick to the Admiral.  Don’t let him out clear.  Hurrah! upon bows and guns.  (He turns towards the Minion.)  See!  They are on the deck of the Minion.  Hurrah for Hampton!  Stick to them gallant tars.  Pike, axe, and cutlass, follow me.  (He rushes at their head through the pinnace on to the deck of the Minion, shouts and cheers as they clamber over the bulwarks).  Hah!  Minion to the rescue!  Down with the traitors!  Down with the villains, Hah! the axe of Moone!  Great Winter, hurl them overboard with a run.  Brave men, strong men, hurrah for merry England, the day is ours, God gives us the victory; Hurrah!  Hurrah! (with great eagerness).  Look to the deck of the Jesus, Hampton.  How well our men behave.  Fire upon the Admiral, ply shot and shaft.  (They shoot) Hah!  The long bow of England against the world.  These are the scorpions that sting our foes.  My gallant fellows have done their work, they are both blazing.  It’s all up there, keep the Spaniards in confusion and let our men get away.  (They are crowding into their pinnace and leaping overboard).  Boats and spars for those that are in the water.  (Men run about with spars).

Hampton.  Out with the sweeps and try to crawl ahead, we shall fall in with a cap-full of wind, once clear of the vibration of the guns.

Hawkins.  Now serve out the ale.  (Leaning exhausted against the main-mast, he calls to his cupbearer for Ale).  Samuel, fill me a cup of ale, for my very soul is exhausted, but I thank God for this deliverance, (his cupbearer hands him a silver goblet, he comes forward and poises it in the air).  Here’s to our Noble Queen and her heroic Tars!  (He quaffs the Ale and lays down the goblet, which a cannon shot dashes to pieces the moment his hand quits it, Captain Hampton rushing forward to assist him).

Hampton.  Are you hurt, General?  That was a narrow escape, but we are accustomed to such chances.

Hawkins.  It was the will of God, Hampton—a warning voice to give him the glory.  There is no such thing as chance.  He has not done with me yet.  (Look, he looks around.)  But we are all right now.  Avast rowing, let us have a view of the battle-field.  Heavens! what a wreck, they are utterly disabled.  (The harbour is strewn with wreckThe Spanish fleet is blazing; some driven ashore, some sunk, the masts and flags appearing above water).

Hampton.  The Jesus is burned to the water-mark, but she has done her work.  She has set fire to the Admiral, the flame has spread.  They are all either destroyed by fire, shot to pieces, or driven ashore.  It is truly marvellous how so small a force should destroy a powerful fleet like that.  You ought to have taken Drake’s advice to seize them with all their arms, ships, treasure, and batteries of the place; then we should have been masters of Spain and the Ocean.

Hawkins.  Let us be satisfied.  You see I was hampered with the Treaty, and our undetermined, perhaps divided Government.

Hampton.  Say the traitors in the Government!—Damn the Government!—Damn the Treaty!—But as you have said, General, perhaps we should be satisfied with our lives.  There is Drake and the Judith ahead.  Pull away my boys, there is not a breath.—What a lull the storm of battle leaves, as if the very Ocean quailed.  Hurrah upon the starboard sweeps!  Hurrah! (the ship is drawn off, the Orchestra striking upRule Britannia.”)

Curtain falls.

p. 26ACT III.


The Hoea high ground commanding a view of the Town, Harbour and Sound seawardShips sailing in and outPrivateers cruising by the Offinga number of the same sort in the Harbour ready to make sail at a moment’s noticeWilliam Hawkins, with a Telescope having taken a view.

Hawkins (melancholy and brooding).  Not a speck!  No hope!  All gone! or worse, captured, and then the Inquisition, fire and faggot!  Nothing too cruel for Spaniards to Englishmen.  My poor Brother!

Enter Sir Henry Killigrew, who comes up to him unseen, one of the many nobles and gentry driven to the sea as daring Buccaniers, by the Marian persecution, now a most confidential agent of the Queen.

Sir Henry Killigrew (clapping him on the shoulder).  Well! old friend, what does the Telescope say?  For I can guess what you are on the look out for.  I came down from London, to have a look myself, and to have a talk with you about these Spanish ships in port, with specie.  I shall detain them until the result of this affair is ascertained.  The Queen is in a towering rage.  You know her temper when she feels not only that she is injured, but that her honour and power are slighted.  She says this is a foul business; worse than open war.

Hawkins.  My poor Brother, with all his gallant spirit and seamanship, when dealing with the enemy, was so confident in his crotchets of Law and Treaty!

Killigrew.  Law and Treaty with the Spaniard; that means let him tie your hands until he cuts your throat and robs you!  There is hardly a day without some demand of redress from Philip, whilst even an answer is refused to us for the gravest breaches of Law, human and divine.  The state of affairs is ominous.  The Council is divided.  Men say the Nation is divided; a foul falsehood.  This affair of the Queen of Scots with the Duke of Norfolk, the poor fool! an idle threat of rebellion aided by Spain and the Pope.  The Queen hardly knows whom to trust.  Her reliance is on the Privateers, but we had better retire to talk of these matters.  Here comes a suspicious looking rascal (he looks at him) he walks lame!  Yet, observe, it is only a limp now and then; and that patch over his eye—it is only put on for a blind; the fellow does not look before him, like a man with one eye; yet he has a bold bearing, and tall.  But for the patch and the awkward limp, I should think I knew the rake of his top-mast.

Hawkins (after a view of the new-comer through his telescopelaughing) You know him well.  It is bold Tom Cobham, that fought his way with Wyatt, to the very gates of the Tower.  He is after some devil’s play, I’ll warrant—and I think I know his game; he wears a disguise in Plymouth; there are so many spies here; he is supposed to be dead, you know.

Killigrew.  Of course; it was given out that he was sentenced to an extravagant death—unknown to our laws.  It was a trick of the Queen’s.  She laughs when she tells how she humbugged the Ambassador, who took it all in, and actually wrote it to his master.  Elizabeth knew better than to execute one of Lord Cobham’s sons, who so nearly forfeited their lives in her cause.  You know his offence?

p. 27Hawkins.  Yes, Yes! the Spanish ship he captured, with eighty thousand ducats, in the Bay of Biscay, and which, after sewing up the Captain and all hands in their sails for winding sheets, he sent to the bottom!  It was cleverly done, that affair; just like Cobham, who is not the man to do things by halves where Spaniards are concerned.  I marvel how the thing got wind.  When we scuttle a ship, we expect to hear no more of her: dead men usually tell no tales!

Killigrew.  In this case the adage turned out to be untrue; the westerly swell in Biscay’s shallow waters washed eighteen bodies ashore, sewed up in the mainsail; they of course were recognized, and the chase through the chops of the channel was seen by another Spaniard, who knew Cobham’s Sea Eagle before, only too well!  Here he comes; let us affect not to know him!

Cobham passesThen walks round surveying them comically, using his hand as a telescope, held to his covered eye.

Cobham.  I am just taking an observation before hailing—you are a pretty pair of land-lubbers, you are, not to recognize a brother tar and messmate, who has only to open his mouth to hang you both for piracy and murder on the high seas; and levying war on Her Majesty’s faithful ally the King of Spain, a hundred times.

They all burst into laughter, with a hearty recognition.

Killigrew.  My dear Tom, I am heartily glad to see you; but we were carrying out your own joke, man; when you take your next observation, just remember not to put the glass to the blind eye.

Cobham (laughing).  Good, good, I only show a little false bunting for the occasion, to pass unnoticed through the crowd.  We have a little business on here, and don’t want to draw attention till it is over.  (He takes off the patch).  But I find O cannot do this trick well; Tom Cobham fits better his part in the rough work of battle.

Hawkins.  Aye, aye, Tom; you may as well open the other port.  We could recognize your bold sailing, whatever canvass you should hoist.  What’s the game now?  I have an idea, these Antwerp-bound Spaniards, eh!  They are here, you know under the protection of the law.  If they are attacked, Philip will demand redress, and what will the Queen say?

Cobham (indignantly).  Say, Say!  Let her say what she ought to say.  That the banner of England has been trailed through the dirt, in the streets of Madrid, by Public officers in obedience to his own order, as if he had taken it in battle from the Turk.  Her Majesty’s subjects, without having committed other offence than that of being free born Englishmen, have been tortured, burned, or famished in inquisition dungeons, and buried like dogs in dunghills; and all this by royal authority, and during peace.  Peace!  There can be no peace between Spain and England.  Talk of protection, does he expect Her Majesty to became his water bailiff, or to erect an ocean police for him?  As to our Acts, under what responsibility is she for them?  They are our own private Acts.  Our ship’s are private property, our crews are volunteers; we sail under our own flag, and are alone responsible for what we do.  Let him take care of his own by his means, and seize us if he can.  Then it will be scant mercy or justice we shall receive.  As for me, I have never sought to cover myself with my country’s flag; I go forth from my Irish cove under my own free bunting, I have a mission of blood and vengeance against Spain and her inquisition, and with the help of God I will never cease a war of extermination until they are destroyed; and, Killigrew, there is a continual voice within me which whispers, “The end it near.”

p. 28Killigrew.  The government thinks it belongs to them, to demand retribution for the nation, and I can speak for the Queen; she is resolved.

Cobham.  Tush! tush! government will never do anything.  No! the merchants and sailors must take care of themselves, by self-defence and just retaliation.  It is a private war against robbers and murderers.  Look at this late affair of the five Bristol briggs at the Azores.  The English were getting under weigh as the Spanish Admiral entered the harbour.  It was enough that they carried St. George’s Cross at their main.  He fires upon them, carries their crews to Cadiz in irons, makes over their property to the Inquisition, confiscates the ships, and throws the men into prison to rot like thousands of their fellows, in hopeless dungeons!  (He walks aside indignant).

Killigrew.  Well, but it is under negociation.

Cobham (sarcastically).  Negociation with the Inquisition, over whose holy house Philip says he has no control, (a bitter laugh.)  No, no! the murderers must be put down as the people of St. Malo put them down.  The Spanish Inquisition burned at the stake, sixty French sailors from St. Malo, notwithstanding Philip’s entreaty to the contrary.  The French manned their pinnaces, looked out for Spaniards, captured one hundred and sent their heads into Spain, leaving one man in every vessel to steer her into port, and show inquisitors the fell retribution of their bloody work!  (He walks exultingly).  The Spanish Inquisition has meddled no more with French sailors.

Hawkins.  All true, about our affair at the Azores.  I know merchants in Plymouth, who were owners in the ships.  Now about these Spanish ships in port, what?  You see they have taken refuge from those sea-hawks outside and from some that are inside, or I’m mistaken.  What is that low black, snake-like lugger, with her anchor just atrip, like a greyhound in the leash?

Cobham (with a malicious smile).  She is a fishing-boat of mine, with fifty hands in her, ready to make sail the moment the Spaniards move.  And those Clippers outside are the sea-hawks of the best blood in England, driven by persecution and tyranny, to the liberty of the ocean.  There is ruffling Ned Horsey, Strangway, well known as the Red Rover of the Channel, Carew’s, Tremaine’s, Throgmorton’s—enow—and I think, gentlemen, you know something of two of those clippers yourselves (with a knowing look).  Well, you see we have law for what we do.  These Spaniards are carrying specie from Spain to support their bloody war against our friends in the low countries, who are gallantly fighting for civil and religious liberty.  We have resolved the gold shall never reach its destination—we shall baulk Philip in that at least, and so far, help our brethren in the faith.

Killigrew (laughing as if at a good joke).  Hold on!  Hold on! every inch there, Tom; is that your only object?  Suppose it were to be employed in some work of charity would the Rovers take the same interest in it.

Cobham.  Well, Harry, you who have spent such a peaceful life—you who never sunk a Spaniard or overhauled a wine brig, and ran the contents on the sands of Lowestoft, you can do what you like with your share (They laugh at the sarcasm).

Hawkins.  I say, Killigrew, that’s a broadside!  Tom carries too many guns for you!  Ha! ha! ha! (laughter in which all join).

Cobham.  But you see I have spent my life fighting for religion and vengeance, and, with the help of God, will so continue to the end (with firm resolution) I can’t forgot the times of Wyatt!

p. 29Killigrew.  Well, it helps the work, Tom, when there is good plunder as well as vengeance.—Somehow, I cannot help thinking that if they carried corn instead of gold and silver, they might have continued their voyage.

Cobham.  That is as it may be.  If they hailed from a Protestant country—England or Holland—or carried a neutral flag, Moor, Greek, or Turk.—But Spain and her Inquisition sets my blood a boiling, I would sink one of her ships with all hands; even if freighted with manure or sand.  Do you think our blood is to cry to Heaven in vain for vengeance?  Not while Thomas Cobham has one shot in the locker—a Rover’s deck, manned with fifty free, daring boys, that can fight five hundred or a thousand Spaniards wherever we meet them on the ocean.  But with respect to these Spaniards I cannot see any good reason, why we should not spoil, as well as slay, the Philistines.

Enter Sir Edward Horsey from behind.

Horsey.  Praise the Lord!  England has still one of her saints left—spoken like a true son of a Puritan!  You have chapter and verse for that—go-a-head, Tom,—slay and take possession, and when your hand is in the throat of the common foe, Edward Horsey is not the man to baulk you in your purpose.

They all shake hands with the new-comer, laughing.

Cobham.  Ned!  I am glad to see you.  I beg your pardon! (bowing low).  Sir Edward Horsey!  Why man, I understand the Queen has knighted you and made you Governor of the Isle of Wight.  She is coming to her senses, and recognizing her true friends at last—a Rover of the genuine stamp (laughing exultingly) Governor of the Isle of Wight!  No Frenchman or Spaniard will land there I trow.  She sees that the real defence of the coast, as well as the ultimate overthrow of Spain and the possession of the Trident, lies with the free flag, and must pass to England through her Freebooters.

Killigrew.  Well she is beginning to see, that we are the men that she must rely on at last, and even Cecil is opening his eyes.  This last affair of Sir John Hawkins, so base, cowardly, and cruel.  Such an outrage upon truth and honour.  Her pride has been seriously hurt, and you see she was a large partner in the venture, and the profits of enormous value, entirely lost.  This has wounded our Queen in the tenderest part—her pocket.  She has sent me down to ascertain if any direct tidings have come to hand—and to consult with William Hawkins and the rest of you, what can be done.  She does not like open war, and fears Philip will declare it.

Cobham.  How can he further declare it than by his acts?  Has he not, as far as Edicts can, closed his Ports against us, and attempted to destroy our trade with the Flemings, who cannot do without us.  Bah! has not Hawkins boldly and seamanly answered the challenge just before he sailed, by firing upon a Spanish Man of War, with prisoners, in Plymouth Harbour?  What is peace and what war.  Well!  I fear Spanish justice has overtaken him at last with all his tricks and finesse, and all his gallantry and skill, what is the truth?  Is there any intelligence at all, William?  That is what I followed you up to hear.

Hawkins.  Nothing direct, I fear the worst.  That they are all gone down after the battle, or worse perhaps, taken, and handed over to the Inquisition.  The dreaded name of Hawkins, would bring down on them, the full vials of Philip’s wrath.  Whatever we know, is from Spanish sources—Killigrew can give it authentic, through the Government.

Killigrew.  Alas!  We expect information here.  A terrible battle has been fought.  The Queen’s ship the Jesus, with immense value has been captured p. 30by the Spaniards, and a vast number of English killed, or made prisoners.  Some of the smaller vessels however got away.  The Ambassador observes strict silence of Sir John, or Drake, we can learn nothing, the disaster has been terrific, we fear they are all gone.  The Queen is in a rage, and says we may go at the treasure ships, that have taken refuge in our ports.  I have taken measures to secure those at Southampton, before coming to give you the hint, and to seize these here.  She is determined on redress.

Cobham.  You see by what I have said, I did not wait for any hints.  Don Francisco Diaz, lying there beside my lugger, carries as freight about half a million a Genoese loan to Philip, for which the Duke of Alva hangs fire, his army being in mutiny for their arrears of pay.  The Duke promised Philip, that he could make the war self-supporting.  He has failed entirely.  The Flemings are too much for him in that, they carry off their valuables.  He gains battles but there is no plunder!  (He turns his eye to the Spanish ship and raising his finger addresses her).  Don Francisco Diaz!  Thou shalt not deliver thy precious freight at Antwerp!  (Cheers in the offing).

Killigrew, (laying his hand on Cobham’s shoulder,) Hush!  What’s all that?  Something of importance.  (They all look.)

Hawkins.  What can be up?  They are crowding to the beach, and the piers.  The cruisers too, they are firing salutes in the offing and showing their bunting.  What can it mean?  Surely that was a cheer, rolling down upon the wind.  Let us go and see, besides, there are queer rumours I should like you to hear whispered about the disaster of our friends, said to come from the Spaniards in the harbour.  (A cheer in the offing).

Cobham.  That is an undoubled cheer in the offing.  There is something ill the wind, go a-head.  (Exeunt).

Scene II.

The pier, crowd of sailors, and citizens running as if for some strange news, or standing in groups conjecturing.

Enter W. Hawkins, Sir H. Killigrew, and Sir E. Horsey.

Hawkins.  Let us get among the sailors and hear what they think, their instinct for the real is marvellous, as their far-sightedness at sea.  Here’s a group of the right sort for us!  Pointing to some powerful men of haughty bearing and daring expression, dressed in a superior style, flaunting gold chains and massive jewellery, with Indian silk handkerchiefs carelessly worn, and other marks of wealth obstentiously displayedThey seem not only to stand aloof by themselves but to shoulder their way without considering much whether or not, they give offenceAs Hawkins and his companions make their way into the group one of them salutes with an air of recognition.

Sailor.  Good day, Captain!  If there were Spaniards here, I would say to them “War hawks, make all sail!”  (Looking with a knowing wink at his companions).

Hawkins.  Why, Bill Carvell!  Is it you?  What’s all this stir and curiosity about?  They are firing salutes, and cheering, in the offing.  (Rounds of cheers, firing of salutes, and hoisting of flags by the cruizers echoes along the shore by the people.)

Carvell.  It is only that poor cripple limping into the harbour, with broken legs.  She is tattered, and torn, wounded and weak; and no mistake whether by storm or battle.

2nd Sailor.  Not so overweak, that she cloud not take her own part, in case of need.  She has a dammed rakish look about her, like some broken down gentle-woman, whose rank no poverty can conceal!  I can see her pride and high spirit, though all her rags.  See how she answers the helm, and takes the windward of that great Flemish bark!

p. 313rd Sailor, (with a knowing emphasis and nod).  She’s off a long voyage, and carries no freight; unless perhaps, it may be a dust or so of the precious metals.  I’m mistaken if she’s not in fighting gear, as well as sailing trim.

4th Sailor.  She has passed through a heavy gale, her rigging is sadly mawled.

3rd Sailor.  Gale be damned!  It has been a thunder storm with iron for hail!  No wind or waves ever did that damage.  Those bulwarks have shot holes in them, man.  Some Spaniard has got the worst of it, with that Falcon.

Hawkins.  What think you of her, Bill Carvell?  Have you any guess?

Carvell.  I am quite out of my reckoning, and yet I think she is no stranger.  But you see her spars are so handled, and the main is only a jury mast.

Hawkins.  I imagine somehow, I know the sheer of her gunwale, and the manner in which the foremost is stepped, (Aside to himself), can it be?  (Shouts ofThe Judith, The Judith.”  Tremendous cheering).  Yes it is!  It is the Judith and Francis Drake, if he is alive.

The cheering and rushing about increasesShouts of hurrah for the JudithHurrah for DrakeHurrah for HawkinsDown with the Spaniards.

Carvell (to Hawkins).  Right, Captain, I thank God for one of them.  See how the privateers gather round her.  Hurrah my boys.  Stand by to lend her a hand.  (He runs about).  Get a hausser to the shore and help her round the pier.  (The hausser is handed upHe and others lay hold of it and run pulling).  Hurrah, men, with a run.

The vessel is hauled alongside, Drake is handed up and presented to the people amidst tremendous cheers, congratulations and confusionShouts of Hurrah for Drake.

Crowd.  Hurrah for Drake.  (Drake after grasping a hand or two shakes them off).

Drake (with excitement).  Bear with me, friends!  Bear with me!  (He prostrates himself on the earth, kisses it with devoted fondness, then rising on one knee addresses it with gesticulations of emotion).  Land of my birth!  Land of my love!  Land of my duty!  Blessed England.  Once more I press thee.  Sacred be thy soil, I love thy very dust.  Thus, (kissing the ground), thus (again kissing it), I greet thee.  Land of the brave, land of the free!  Tyrants may have trampled thy fields.  Fierce passions and civic strife, like the rage of fire, have scorched thy loveliness, devoured thy people.  Red hast thou been with brothers’ blood, the blood of Patriots and Martyrs.  Still thou wert ever glorious.  Sanctuary of Liberty and Law, who would not die for thee?  Sacred be thy soil, may I perish ere the foot of the invader shall degrade thee.  (He is interrupted with excitement, friends press round him, raise him up and embrace himHe is much excited).

Crowd (with violence), Invade us?  Never!  Never shall that be.

Tom Cobham (fiercely).  Accursed be the slave who could outlive the insult.  Never shall they touch dry land.  We’ll show them the road to the bottom of the channel.  Let them invade that.  (Shouts of indignation, and A Cobham!  A Cobham.)

Sailor.  Hurrah for Cobham!  He knows how to bury a Spaniard.

Crowd, Hurrah!  A Cobham!  A Cobham.

Drake (turning to William Hawkins with emotion).  Ah!  Kinsman, all lost but honour.  Foul play!  Treachery!  Robbery!  Murder!  Spain has outdone herself in perfidy and baseness.  Poor Sir John!

Hawkins.  What of him, and the rest?

p. 32Drake.  Alas, I know not.  I saw the Jesus and the Spanish Admiral both in flames.  I fear they are all dead, or worse—prisoners.  We fought our way through fire and slaughter, and we alone remain to tell of their glory and their fate.

Hawkins.  Alas!  Alas, (wringing his hands with great emotion and grief).  This is a dreadful business; the fellest swoop Spain has yet made on us.  What is to be done?  Alas!  Alas! (he walks about in distraction.)

Cobham (fiercely).  Cover the ocean with our cruizers!  Burn their towns!  Sink their ships!  Seize their treasure!  War!  War to the death.

Crowd.  War!  War to the death!  A Cobham!  A Cobham.

Sailor (stepping out and brandishing his axe).  I’ll swear eternal war (walks about brandishing his axe).  Death to every Spaniard I fall in with on sea or land.

Drake (much agitated).  Come along, kinsman, I must be off at once to London and see the Queen, I must tell her all personally; her treaties broken, commerce invaded, her own ship burned, her seamen slaughtered, above a million gone; let me be off.

(Exeunt Drake, Hawkins, Cobham, and others, excited and followed by a raging crowd, gesticulating violently and shouting).

Crowd.  We’ll pay them.  War!  Plunder!  That’s the game!  War!  Revenge!  Hurrah for Drake, and war!  Plunder!  Plunder!  (Exeunt Omnes).

(Scene changes).


(Enter Queen Elizabeth and the Spanish Ambassador).

Ambassador.  Three large and richly laden merchant ships for Flanders, after a brave defence, taken off the Goodwins, and their crews massacred, drowned or captive!  A Spanish vessel saw the fight, and barely escaped to tell of the event.  There is scarce a day that some prize is not brought into Plymouth, Dover, or Southampton; the cargoes, and often the passengers, openly sold, and the ships confiscated, or armed and added to their fleet if suitable.  These sail in and out under English colours.

Queen Elizabeth (laughing).  English Colours.  Ha! Ha! Ha!  Every one knows that Pirates show as many colours as the dying Dolphin—no doubt Spanish when it suits them.  Well, I suppose the crews taken were Spaniards, and the Corsairs Flemish, driven to the sea by the persecutions of Alva, and who have dealt to their enemies the measure of mercy, that he has shown their murdered families.  You see your faithless mode of warfare makes war to the knife!  Look what happened at Rotterdam.  The town in terror, shut its gates against Alva’s Stadtholder.  Bossu entreated them to allow his men only to pass through, and solemnly swore that no hurt should be done to any one.  The Burghers consented.  What better disposition could be shown by loyal subjects?  Well, how were they treated?  Humanity recoils from the thought.  Men, women and children were put to the sword with the practice of the most brutal atrocities, (with great emotion).  Defenceless women!  Innocent children.  What robbers?  What Corsairs ever disgraced their manhood like this?  (She walks about indignant).  Talk no more of Tom Cobham making a winding sheet of a mainsail, or of flinging men into the sea in just vengeance against your tyranny.  Their acts are mercy when compared with the civilised warfare of Spanish Generals.

Ambassador.  Promises made to rebels are not binding after they have answered their purpose.

Queen Elizabeth.  Oh!  Oh!  You throw the responsibility on your master.  Just so!  Just so! (with a sarcastic laugh), just what I expected.  p. 33Perjury!  Treachery!  Open premeditated lying are legitimate strategy in Spanish warfare.  We read in history of Punie faith.  Now we know the faith of Spain.  Carthage is outdone in Perfidy (she walks aside with a sarcastic laugh).  How often have I said, and said justly, that I decline to interfere with Corsairs that keep the peace in my own realm.  Your master must take care of his own.  (With emphasis).  My merchantmen don’t ask either him or me for protection, though they have been attacked in the Mediterranean by the Royal Navy of Spain.  They repelled the attacks in defiance of all odds against them.  English sailors know how to take their own part, and scorn to lower their flag to any numbers.  Your master’s complaints are a sham to cover his own delinquencies.  ’Tis I that have a right to complain.  Twenty six of my subjects burned at the stake in one year by the Inquisition in your Master’s dominions, hundreds rotting in their dungeons.  My ears are wounded!  My heart bleeds to hear the cries of their widows and orphans.  (She storms about).

Ambassador (hurriedlyAnxious to get away).  Your Majesty will pardon me for declining to go into this subject.  I have no instructions, I will now take leave.  (Aside going out).  It is useless remonstrating with this Tigress.  I must try what I can do with her secretary.  Perhaps I can bully Cecil.


(Enter Sir Henry Killigrew and the Earl of Leicester)

Queen (eagerly).  Well, Sir Henry, what has been done?  How does our account stand now with Spain?  This affair of Hawkins.  We must re-imburse ourselves without stint or hesitation.  I’m resolved.

Killigrew.  We are pretty safe now; I have seized all the speice of Spain in our harbours—a good round sum.  And there is a capital joke in it, beside the value.  It turns out to be a Genoese loan to Philip, to be delivered at Antwerp.  It cannot be his till delivered.  But if he does not agree to pay it, he will certainly get no more money from the Jews, and Alva will be in a fix.

Queen (laughing).  Oh!  Capital indeed, I shall take the loan; Ha! Ha! Ha!

Leicester (laughing.)  Loan! it will be along one, I fancy, but Hatton says it is no one’s property.

Queen.  Hatton says!  Hatton’s opinion!  You know he’s my sheep, I’ll show you the value of his bleating, for I’ll take care to prove that it is my property, and mine it shall remain.  I sent Captain Holstook out with a squadron immediately, before they should have time for precautions, and he was not long in finding quarry.  He has already, in addition to odd Spanish prizes of considerable value, secured two fleets of Flemish merchantmen, one now in Harwich and the other in the Thames.

Killigrew.  And there is not a day that the privateers don’t bring a rich prize or two into Dover, Plymouth, or Southampton.  Not to speak of the wine brigs, on the sly, discharged along the coast.  When all is counted up, Philip will find his murderous attack on Hawkins and the illegal seizure of our traders’ capital, guaranteed by treaty, a losing game.

Queen.  I have just arranged for my morning ride, and the French Ambassador is to accompany me.  I am curious to ascertain the effect of these measures of retaliation in that quarter.  I have my reasons for it.  Besides, I wish them to see what they are to expect should they dare to trespass on my realm.  (Exeunt.)


Enter Queen and Cecil.

Queen (proudly).  It is their born faith—the creed they’ll fight for—that the ocean, all that floats upon its waves or lives in its waters, of right p. 34belongs to England.  This is the creed of every Englishman, born within the inspiring influence of the four seas.  With this spirit-stirring notion they must conquer Cecil.  It will be all up with England’s power when shallow pated politicians and place-hunting doctrine-mongers teach them other ways, and curb with their enactments and official rules the daring spirit of our seamen.

Cecil.  A notion involving war.  To foster it is to play a part I dare not.

Queen.  Play a part.  I have been a player all my life.  The world my theatre.  The poor hireling acts upon the stage for pay, perhaps for fame.  My wages were my life, and England’s power and glory.  I’ll play my part until the end.

Cecil.  Howere that be, your Majesty must see, we have traced these plots of assassination home to Philip himself.

Queen.  Then why be nice with him? (with abrupt energy)  Unslip the leash and let my sea-dogs loose upon their own responsibility.—They ask no more—nor aid—nor sanction—the genuine blood of England—bold and free—true to their country—as needle to the pole.  I have sent an expedition out that will astonish Philip; young Drake commands it—gifted by heaven for undertaking great and high exploit.  Original, cool, confident, and daring—truth written on his face.  My life on his success.  This is the way to meet conspiracy (she walks aside excitingly).

Cecil.  It is the way to war, my Royal Mistress.  Without a Royal Navy, I tremble for the consequence.

Queen.  Navy!  Without a navy!  Our western counties have just sent forth a fleet (with emphasis) thirty cruizers at their own expense, which can, and will, command the Channel.  They swear they’ll have the ocean and the Indies for this country.  Philip will have enough to do, guarding his coast and gold-ships, without assailing us.  War, you say, call you this peace?—to aim assassins’ daggers at my life—to violate our solemn treaties—stop our commerce, seize our ships and cargoes, consign our noble seamen to flames, or to rot by hundreds in his dungeons.—I call this the worst of wars.  Open war he dare not wage.  France could not allow him.  She would fall next.  Between them we are safe.  (With disdain) Not that I fear either—England can defend herself.  In this my people are agreed.  No foreign despot shall ever rule them.  You see my mind’s made up, so to the Council and tell them so (she walks aside decidedExit Cecil)  No Royal Navy?  What of our twenty great ships reviewed so lately, whose crews and power were held so high that foreign nations have already named me “Queen of the Seas—Restorer of Naval Glory?”  What of our great ships of commerce, which our merchants have armed for war—able to fight their way upon the waves and ready at a moment’s notice to join our fleet?  Where is Philip’s navy?  Engaged as convoys of his Indian trade.  Concentrate that for an attack on us, what would become of his gold-ships?  Our privateers would have them before a month anchored in the Thames.  So think Hawkins, Drake, Lord William Howard, and all that band of men who know something about the business.  Lastly, I have Drake’s gigantic scheme, locked safe and secret in my Cabinet, to seize the Newfoundland fishing-fleet, twenty-five thousand fisherman! and thus leave Spain without a sailor to man her navy—then to take possession of her gold-ships and the Indies.  I confess that startled, almost frightened me.  Conception vast!  Genius!  Greatness!  Inspiration!  Invasion is impossible!  With Drake alone, England, thou art safe! (exit)

Curtain falls.

p. 35ACT IV.


Nombre de DiosMoonlightThe bright Caribean sea and luminous skyThe islands with their picturesque forms and foliageThe ample bay with its riversThe land covered with forestThe mountains in the far distance, with snow-clad summits, above the range of the highest clouds.

Drake.  Land of wonder!  Beauty!  Richness!  Abundance! which poets in their wildest flights of fancy never dreamed of.—Beyond!—The vast continent, stretching one knows not whither.  Whose bowels teem with gold.  The appanage of a single crown.  Such is the greatness and the wealth of Philip—enough to conquer or to bribe the world wasted in his feeble hand.  Our cockle-shells have sailed these summer seas without control.  Spain’s giant frame asleep—incapable—or paralysed.  How easy to sweep her from the sea.  That looms in the future.  It flits before me like distant land—now seen in sunshine—now lost in haze—a shapeless form.  Still the vision never leaves me.  Even in my sleep my country grapples her; always triumphant—fiercer—stronger every time.  The death struggle wakes me—I see it clearly—Spain falls—and England takes her place.  Here comes our canoe of observation, her low black outline scarce distinguishable from a ripple of the ocean (the boat comes alongside, John Drake and Oxenham, with an Indian, climb upon the deck) Well Brother, I trust a good report?

John Drake.  The course is clear.  Seize the batteries and take what you like.—There’s not an armed ship in the harbour.

Drake.  I’ll give them a lesson for the one they taught me at San Juan de Ulloa.  Therefore cut down, burn, destroy—save only gold, silver, jewels, and things worth carrying away.  I’ll teach them to leave off their bloody work.

Oxenham.  Well, General, we have done pretty fair, to put our hands in practice.  For months we have sailed through these parts—sacking towns, burning houses, sinking ships, crews and all, plundering and taking prizes, without being over scrupulous as to kind or quantity.  Has there been a church, within our reach, where we have left a chalice, or a crucifix, worth carrying away?

Drake.  The real work is now beginning.  This Nombre de Dios is the shipping port for Spain—the store house of her treasure.  Gold abounds here.  Men, women, children—the proud Castillian—the feeble Creole—the wild Indian, are covered with it.  Who is this you have brought with you?

Oxenham.  Oh!  We have found a treasure worth the whole plunder of the town.  This is one of the noble Symerons, who defend their country against the invader.  He will tell you all, and introduce you to his countrymen, at war with the Spaniards.

Drake.  Oh, excellent! (he turns to the Indian) I am glad to be acquainted with one of the oppressed children of the land.  We English hate Spaniards like you, and have come here to make war upon them.  What is your name?

p. 36Indian.  Chiruca.—I am son of the Great Cacique who after the massacre of our people by the cruel Alonzo de Ojeda and the robber Enciso, rallied our nations against the invaders.  We have heard of the brave Inglesos, and the terrible Drake.  I came to seek you with an offer of friendship.  Five great Caciques, with all their warriors, will join you against the foe.  I will be your guide to them.  You must go up the rivers of Panama—fight them in the woods, and seize the Racoes with the treasure.  Our nation will assist you.  I shall send Symerons by land to bring them to meet us.

Drake.  The thing I most desire is to cross the Isthmus and catch a glimpse of the great ocean on the other side.

Chiruca.  Nothing can be easier.  We shall conduct you through fruit-laden forests, which yet a Spanish foot hath never cursed.

Drake.  Good!  When we shall have surprised and plundered Nombre de Dios.  (The men are bustling into the boats and making ready for the attack.—Moon salutes Drake and eagerly observes).

Moon.  That galleon at anchor, General!—Would’nt it be as well to cut away her rigging and send adrift her boats, as we go in?  She might make sail whilst we are engaged.

Drake.  Well said, my boy.  You’ll see to that.  Clip her wings and make her wait our pleasure.  We can ease her of her precious burden at our leisure.  Now, my men, for action!  Nombre de Dios is a victim bound for slaughter, and delivered into our hands.

Moon (saluting).  The Pinnaces and boats, General, are manned and ready.

Officers are bustling about and giving orders.

Drake.  Well done, Moon!  You wait for orders.  (To Oxenham.)  A word before we start, Oxenham.  You land on the left—lead your corps round to the back.

Oxenham.  And that high ground on the east, General.  There might be cannon there?

Drake.  Take it in your way.  Then push for the eastern gate; it leads to the royal treasure house.  Wait there the signal.  Here is a plan of the place (he points to it with his finger as he gives it to him, explaining it).  You see the course is clear and simple.  When you hear the first volley, rush in with tremendous shouting, and meet me in the market-place.

Oxenham.  I shall be there, if alive.

Exit Oxenham with his corps in a pinnace.

Drake.  Now then pull for the Quay.  Away, my men, away!  (Exeunt).

Scene changes.


With the main street leading down to the harbour, crowded with English, shouting and firingIn the distance the bay, with the shipsDrake enters at one side with his men, chargingAs they enter a volley is fired at them by the enemy who immediately fly in confusion.

Drake.  Where are the longbows now?  Give them your bolts, scourge them with English hail!  Brave Oxenham!  Here he comes true to promise.  (Enter Oxenham with his men from the other side, shouting).

Oxenham.  Hurrah my boys! (the bowmen shoot cheering).  Hah!  They can’t stand that sort of storm blast, in these latitudes, general.  We have carried all before us.

Drake.  The town is ours.  Now to secure the treasure.  (ConfusionThe English mustering and charging about with their axes and longbows).

p. 37Enter Moon with two Spaniards, prisonersThe men cheer him.

Moon.  Here are two prisoners, general.  I have granted them their lives on condition that they lead us to the treasure store.

Drake (in much delight and surprise).  Lucky Moon!  To the treasure store!  (Confusion and rushing about).

English (shouting).  To the treasure store!  To the treasure store!

1st Spaniard.  Here is the king’s treasure house at hand!  (He turns to another side of the Market-place, and points to a wide door open, with lights burning, exposing piles of gold and silver bars, with quantities of precious stones).  How strange!  The great doors open, and lights burning! (aside), some traitor—an Indian perhaps.  There is treasure for you, enough to freight a fleet.

Oxenham.  We don’t want so much at present.  Only about fifty tons of gold, and a few cases of the largest pearls and emeralds, (cheers and laughter).  That’s what I call moderation.  But we shall pay you another visit, (he points to the heaps).  I say Moon, there’s something to look at.

2nd Spaniard.  I have been a merchant, accustomed to the wealth of Spain, in the East, and in the West, and can say the world has never seen such a mass of treasure.  That single pile of silver bars is seventy feet long, ten wide, and twelve feet deep; I have measured it.

Drake, who has been badly wounded in the action, is seized with weakness and staggers for support, leaning on his sword.

Drake.  Oxenham, you and Moon will see to all this.  I am faint with loss of blood.  (He falls down fainting, alarm about him and running to his assistance.)

Oxenham.  Look to the General, men.  Give him some wine; bear a hand.  Come on with your flasks!  Has no one a flask?

Moon.  All’s right, he revives.  Here comes a supply?

Enter John Drake helping along Bill Saunders loaded with wine, almost drunk and brandishing a great silver tankard.

Saunders (singing).

Good wines the stuff
Just drink enough,
You’ll never, never die.

Holy Neptune!  The General’s down.  Here’s the drug to revive him.  Here General’s the genuine sherries, the true philosophers stone (laughter).  No that’s not it—the elixir of life.  Why it would raise the dead.  See how it has revived me.  (He staggersLaughterMoon, interrupting him, seizes the bottle.)

Moon.  Now we have neither corkscrew nor drinking cup, what is to be done?

Saunders.  Do you think you lubber, Bill Saunders would forget that, and the General so bad?  Here’s a bit of pewter will do what’s wanted, if handsomely used.  Show me the bottle, (he seizes the bottle, knocks off the neck with the tankard, and filing it presents it to the General with much applause).  Drink, General!  (Drake takes the cup, drinks and laughs).  That’s the medicine—the true agua vitæ, as a murdering Spaniard would call it.  Damn them!  The thieves know what’s good, it has the strength of Samson in it.  Look at me that was killed dead, and am alive again, and all from that blessed liquor.

Sailor.  If you were dead Bill, you were dead drunk.

Saunders.  You lie like a doctor or a lawyer.  I was only looking after something to revive the General.  (LaughterHe is dragged aside by the p. 38sailors, who make fun with himDrake sitting up with some gathered round him assisting and persuading him to go aboard).

Oxenham.  Now General, we must have you carried aboard.  You require rest and repose and your wounds seen to.

All (crying out confusedly).  Aye!  Aye!  That’s it.  Take care of the General, England can’t spare him.  Let’s get him aboard.

Oxenham.  Besides, your presence is unnecessary.  The town is in our hands, not a tongue durst wag, not a dog durst bark.  They know their masters.

Drake.  Well! brave friends and comrades, as you will.

Drake is carried away amidst cheers from his devoted crew.

Oxenham.  Now, about getting our stuff aboard.  Lord we could not stow the tenth part of it.

Moon.  Our Spanish friend here is right, it would freight a fleet.

John Drake.  It would sink ours.

Oxenham.  What a thundering shame! to send us out on such an expedition with two or three cockle shells, when with proper outfit and English hearts to back us, we could enrich the nation.  But it is always the way with our government.  They care more for her enemies than for England!  (He walks aside with his hands up in great indignation).

John Drake.  What would please you in the way of Government, Jack?

Oxenham (with great energy).  To get up a fleet, man it with true British tars, rovers and volunteers I mean; give the command to Hawkins or Drake, then let Philip see how long his galleons could keep the sea, (exultingly).  We would soon transfer the Indies with all their wealth to the crown of England.

Moon.  Suppose Jack you were in authority, as King of England.  What then?

Oxenham.  By all the stars in heaven I would begin with stringing to the yards arm, every Jack in office.  But come let us go ahead with this little job.  First, where’s our transport?  Take a guard Moon, scour the town for horses, mules—everything that can carry.  (Exit Moon and others with him).  Now men, with a will.  Muster your gangs.  (Pointing to the great silver pile).  Hurrah! upon these silver bars!  (They rush about with bars of gold and silver, preparing to load them.)

John Drake.  Avast there!  Serve out the wine now.  I’m sure we are all ready for it.  Where’s Bill Saunders?  He’s the man for that.  (Laughter and cheers).

All.  Hurrah for the wine!  Hurrah for Drake!  Hurrah for the Queen!

Oxenham (looking out).  Oh!  I see Moon coming with a crowd of horses, mules and people.  In the meantime, Saunders, you may as well enliven us with a stave—One of your moralities you know, just to let these Spaniards see how little we care for them.

All.  Hurrah for the song.  Now Bill!  (Saunders hesitates).

Oxenham.  He’s backward.  It’s his modesty, (laughter), lend a hand there, heave him ahead!

They gather round Saunders laughing and push him forward to the frontHitching up his breeches sailor fashion, he prepares himself to sing.

Saunders (looking round at them).  Come on then, boys, and chime in all hands, keeping time with the stroke oar, like jolly tars.

p. 39I.

The Greeks in dreams of Paradise
   Did golden apples try
To make thy trees Hesperides
   Their immortality,
         But wine’s the stuff
         Just drink enough,
         The Nectar of the sky.


Our father Noe knew the way,
   He planted us the vine,
And Poets sing, and Prophets say,
   His knowledge was divine.
         For wine’s the stuff,
         Then drink enough,
         You’ll Never!  Never die!


   When fevers, plagues, or blows are near.
Or surging seas run high,
   We fearless Britons drink and cheer.  (They cheer).
And face our destiny!
         Oh Wine’s the stuff,
         Just drink enough,
         And never fear to die.


Be sure you don’t the Doctor call
   Pill draught, and Bolus fly,
For if you take them, one or all!
   Just bid your friends good bye!
         Good wine’s the stuff,
         Then drink enough,
         And never say you’ll die!  (Laughter and cheers).

AllNever say Die!  Hurrah!  Hurrah!

(Scene changes).


The deep forest aroundDistant mountainsDeck of thePacha.”  Drake and Chiruca.

Drake.  This seems a hiding-place retired enough.  Yet! should the Spaniards come here, and so many of us absent?

Chiruca.  There is no danger.  They know nothing of this region.  Five nations of warriors are in arms against them.  Our homes will be your homes; our food will be your food; the beautiful daughters of the land will be your wives; we will love you like brothers; we will join with your great nation; your great Queen shall be our Queen.  This affair of Nombre de Dios will fly through our people; now we know you can give us vengeance and drive these robbers away.  England shall have all the gold.

Drake.  The more I see of this river the better I like it—the very haven for a pirate ship.

p. 40Chiruca.  Here, then, I leave you, noble Drake.  To morrow (pointing to the mountains) before those mountain tops are red with the rising sun, we shall meet at the junction of the streams.  Adieu! (he prepares to leap)

Drake.  Stop!  Won’t you have a boat?

Chiruca (waving his hand declining).  Adieu!  Adieu! (he leaps overboard and swims ashore)

Drake.  Marvellous speed.  These Indians are amphibious.  They can swim like beavers.

Scene changes.


On which grows a tall solitary Palm, its feathered branches waving in the morning airThe densely wooded banks reflected in the still waterThe horizon in the background, a Sierra of lofty mountainsThe sun rising and illumening their tops and sending his rays along one of the streamsA canoe coming down the shining river.

Enter Drake, Oxenham, Moon the carpenter, and others in a boat from the side.

Drake (after a pause looking round).  I don’t see our dark-visaged friends; I hope there is no mistake.  One cannot exactly apprehend treason.  These Symerons hate as well as fear the Spaniards, and would neither aid nor trust them.

Oxenham.  True, General, our foes are theirs.  From them they have nothing to expect but the slavery of their race or death.  Gold they value not—thus cruelty and treachery defeat themselves.  Spain can never be trusted.  To us they look as friends to aid them in their vengeance.

Drake.  What a tide of Spanish blood is due to them—a nation crushed, tortured, massacred, enslaved, driven from such a paradise as this, or seeing it blasted before their eyes.  Such is conquest; such a foreign yoke, (aside) England, look well to it!  There are men, and Englishmen, who would thus degrade their native land, the glorious and the free!

Oxenham.  It seems not like the wickedness of man—not to speak of Policy—Spain clothes herself with hate and terror.  Her soldiers have the air of fiends from hell; their mission to destroy.

Moon.  There is no danger, General.  This is the spot—the junction of the two streams, and the solitary cocoanut tree on the point.

Oxenham.  Right, Moon, all right.  There it is rearing aloft its head like a mighty standard—its giant plumes just waving in the morning air—no mistake!

Drake.  What a picture!  How strangely beautiful!  An there were here some limner of Nature’s Physiognomy, with cunning to throw her wondrous effigy on his magic canvas; that dark still water, noiseless and deep, stealing snakelike through the monstrous foliage, mirrored in its glassy surface; that proud Sierra; the distant horizon, and the rising sun, tinging with purple glory its snowy tops, sending the sheen of silver along the opening river.

Oxenham (abruptly).  Here comes the canoe, like a regiment of men in single file.  What a length of side! and made out of a single trunks.

Moon.  It would puzzle a fellow like me, with only a little arithmetic, to count them.  Lord! it shoots like an arrow.  As we speak it is at the bank.  Hurrah! there is our friend Chiruca in the bow.  He is now you see an Indian Chief, and waves his eagle plume to us.

The canoe with the Indians arrives, loaded with fruits and other provisions, and drinks of the country.

Drake.  Brave Chiruca, welcome! (they embrace)

p. 41Chiruca.  Welcome to the land of our fathers, noble Drake.  (He points to his companions.)  These are the sons of Caciques, who have come to welcome you; the Chiefs who will gather round you; the valiant of their tribes (they prostrate themselves before Drake, who by the instruction of Chiruca raises and embraces them).

Oxenham (to Drake aside).  This is the best move yet, General.  We are now at the very throat of Spain.  I have long had this in my eye, and kept it to myself.  Make a nation of these Symerons, but the gold and pearls first.

Drake.  I can see farther, John.  I mean to ascend the heights and behold the other ocean—what Spain is doing.  The source of all her wealth lies there.

Indians, loaded with provisions, proceed up the precipitous rock at the side; others armed with lances and bows mingle with the English, and prepare to accompany themChiruca approaches Drake.

Chiruca.  Friend Drake!  We wait for you; the sun is above the mountains, and warns us that time passes (Drake takes him by the arm and points forward).

Drake.  On then, Chiruca.  Looking at these precipitous rocks—those tangled forests—those foaming cataracts—the stern outline of that high Sierra—the task would seem hopeless.

Chiruca.  Gold and silver, in loads, traverse these heights on mules and llamas.  We will show you the Recoes and their Spanish escort.  With your men of iron, we shall make short work of the guard, and carry off the treasure.  We will ambuscade them for you, and mow them down with poisoned arrows.  You shall see them fly, as from a pestilence, or the scourge of the evil one.

Drake.  Lead on.

Chiruca.  This is the way.  Follow me.

The Indians bound up the face of the rock and disappear under the hanging shrubs.

Moon.  That’s what I call a flying leap.  Body o’ me!  They’re birds or antilopes—not men.

Drake (he calls up to Chiruca).  Call you this a path?  To get up there would require the wings of one of those Condors that have scented death from the Sierra, and are sailing over our heads, ready to pick our bones, should we break our necks.

Moon (with a heavy axe, and several other things, produces a rope, which he has coiled round him, and throws one end up the rock).  I’ll show them a trick, General, that will beat all their jumping.  (He prepares to throw the rope)  Look out there aloft! (he throws)  Now make fast Chiruca (he runs up the rope amid much laughter).

Drake.  Well done, Moon!  Always prepared; he’s loaded like one of Llamas.

Moon slides down again and holds the rope for Drake.

Moon.  There, General, I have tried it for you.

Drake.  That was a bright and seamanlike thought, Moon.

Drake, Oxenham, and the others ascend.

Moon.  I wish I had brought a kedge anchor and a block or two with me, I think we shall need a whole running gear and tackle before we shall have warped through all these shoals and narrows (he secures about him his axe and various implements, and ascends the rope, amid cheers from the top of the rockThey are seen crossing over a deep craggy ravine, on a bridge of ropes twisted of fibres of trees, and so disappear in the distance at the other side).  Scene changes.


First, the hedge of Prickly Pearthe outer defenceSecondly, the Moat with the drawbridgeThe ground in front of the PalaceThe surrounding country of rich and fertile plainFurther off the wooded heights, and winding Savannahs, with Lakes, Streams, and waterfalls terminating in the Sierra of lofty mountains.

Enter Drake, Chiruca, and the party across the drawbridge.

Chiruca (he points to the Palace).  Behold the home of my Fathers! the Palace of the Great Comagre! (they hold up their hands in astonishment)

Drake.  Grand! rich! sublime!  Nature has sown thick her gifts and broadcast.  On earth and sky every element of the picturesque is here; the horizon of that Majestic Sierra, with its streams and waterfalls! the lake sleeping in the gorgeous light of evening; those fertile vales; those cultivated fields and gardens of productive industry; the tall forest teeming with fruits and flowers, loading the breeze with spicy odours, and which the declining sun paints in the tints of Heaven.  Who would not fight for such a country?

Chiruca (he points to the defences).  This hedge is our outermost defence.

Drake.  Neither horse nor man could enter it without death.

Chiruca.  Behind it you see the moat.  The only entrance, the Bamboo swinging bridge, can be defended with a thousand bows, whose poisoned arrows carry certain death.  The Palace, enclosed in a stone wall, contains beside the dwelling apartments, accomodation for warriors to defend it, stores for provisions, and cellars for making and keeping our various liquors.  But here comes the Great Cacique to welcome and honour you.

Advance of Indian Warriors whose banners are the blood-stained shirts of Spaniards slain in battleTheir musicians sound shells and beat drumsComagre appears at a little distanceHis dress is a white cotton robe fantastically embroidered, confined at the waist with a belt of gold, bearing a dagger; which as well as his arms, is studded with precious stonesHis limbs otherwise naked, similarly encircledOn his head a crown consisting of a band of gold curiously wrought, with points on which were enormous pearls, and studded with emeralds, and other stones of lustreThis over a cap of scarletFrom this crown he was called by the SpaniardsBonete d’ Oro” “Gold Cap.”  He prostrates himself on the ground thus to await Drake.

Drake (astonished).  Haste, Chiruca! your father has fallen!

Chiruca.  No! this is our ceremony of welcome to an honoured guest.  He thus shows his devotion to you.  It is for you to advance and raise him up.  (Drake advances and raises the Cacique, who then warmly embraces him.)

Comagre (embracing Drake).  Welcome, welcome, noble Englishman!  The terror of your great name—your matchless exploits, have struck our foes with panic.  We hail you as a deliverer.

Drake.  Thanks!  Great Comagre, I have heard of your valorous deeds also.

Comagre (holding him by the arm, leads him towards the Palace).  Come!  Come!  (Exeunt into the Palace.)

Scene changes.


The Cacique’s family ranged on a daisThe women are clothed with a short white cotton petticoat round their middle, elaborately embroidered, their limbs p. 43naked save for the bands or circles of goldTheir heads decorated with chaplets of flowers and jewels, their necks with ropes of enormous pearlsRings of gold and jewels in their noses and ears.

Comagre.  I will show you over my Palace, noble Drake, whilst a repast is being prepared for you.  (Exeunt Drake and Comagre.)

Scene changes.


A retired and sacred part of the building devoted to the purpose, richly decorated and stored with masses of gold and silverA long line of mummied dead, dressed in robes of cotton, elaborately embroidered, and covered with jewels, are suspended to silver bars, and vibrating strangely with the gentle air through the open casements.

Enter Comagre and Drake, who, startled and amazed at the unexpected scene, recoils with awe.

Comagre.  This, noble Drake, is the Hall of my Ancestors—the sacred mansion of the dead.  There they are! (he points to them).  In hours of sorrow or danger I visit them.  Their spirits come from the happy land to sympathise with mine.

Drake (much interested).  Are these the real bodies of the dead?  How have they been preserved?

Comagre.  The art is of ancient time, and came from beyond the great sea with the first fathers of the land.  They are dried by fire, then wrapped in cloth of cotton with potent spices.  Their robes are embroidered by the hands of our women, skilled in a secret language, which perpetuates to their descendants the memory of their deeds.

Drake.  They are covered with gold and precious stones, which you would do well to conceal from the Spaniards.  These diamonds and emeralds, these rubies and pearls are of priceless value.  Not all the Royal Crowns and robes of Europe could show the like.  They are safe from us; but if they were the property of Spain, I would tear them from convent, church, or altar.

Comagre.  Noble Englishman, ’tis for this I love you, and have sought your friendship.  I have opened my home—my treasures—my heart to you.  Give us vengeance! if not protection.  Friend hear the wrongs of our country in the presence of these noble dead.  It is now a few years, since two Spaniards, sinking under fatigue and hunger, were captured in the forest having fled for their lives from their own cruel countrymen.  They should have been put to death at once, being Spaniards, but the kindness of our nature prevailed.  They were saved, brought home to the village, protected, nourished, treated as brothers.

Drake (deeply interested).  How kind!  How good!  Well, friend?

Comagre (with bitter indignation).  Well!  They held secret intercourse with our foes.

Drake.  Treacherous villains!

Comagre.  With the very men who had doomed them to ignominious death as traitors.

Drake.  Which they deserved.

Comagre.  Betrayed the homes, the wealth, the secret paths of those who had sheltered—saved them.

Drake (greatly excited).  Wretches!

Comagre.  Well! without preparation or notice, in the darkness of the night we were attacked—robbed—massacred.  The village was set on fire, men, women, and children were hurled into the flames.

p. 44Drake.  Inhuman monsters!

Comagre.  The morning sun rose upon calcined bones, and blackened ruins, where before was pleasure, loveliness and peace!

Drake (holding up his hands and walking about in great excitement).  Horrible recital!  Barbarous, unprovoked!  Brutal cruelty!  This is worse than the ravening of wild beasts.

Comagre (with intensified rage).  Wild beasts!  The rage of the most savage beast of the forest is gentleness compared with it!  The boa will gorge himself and go to sleep.  The ferocious puma will pounce upon a single victim and his appetite for blood will be appeased.  But the ruthless fury of the Spaniard, when exhausted with slaughter, calls upon the devouring flames to aid him, and commits to senseless havoc, what his licentious appetite cannot enjoy, or his insatiate avarice carry away!  (He pauses breathlessThen walks about with hurried step, gasping and frantic with rage.)

Drake.  The same everywhere—Spain wars upon mankind, like fiends.  The object, slavery or desolation.

Comagre.  Give us revenge—Smite!  Kill!  Destroy the accursed foe!  On with your devastating thunder, those iron mouths that wing their viewless death from far, that dauntless heart, that powerful arm.  Come on Brother; come, Revenge.  Revenge!  Revenge!  (Dragging Drake along, exeunt).

Scene changes.


Ascent of PanamaThe party scattered aboutEnter Drake and Chiruca.

Drake.  We have heard of wonderful treasure among your people, which has escaped the rapacity of the Spaniards.

Chiruca.  There are whole provinces, where they have never set a foot, and where every mountain stream runs gold.  It may be gathered in nets and baskets.  The greatest collection of such riches was in the temple of the Goddess Dobeba.  Vasco Nunez projected its plunder.

Drake.  The name of the Deity, and her temple is new to me.

Chiruca.  It is known and sacred, through all the Indian races.  Our traditions tell us of the beginning of things, and a mighty female—the mother of the God that made the sun and moon, and the good things of the earth.  She has the controul of the elements, and directs the thunder and lightning.  A temple of gold, with the rarest gems and woods, was erected to her.  Here pilgrims flocked from far and near, bearing rich offerings.  Caciques of the most distant territories paid annually costly tribute to her worship.  The temple was filled with treasure, walls and gates were gems and gold.  The whole land abounds with these as plentifully as iron with you.  The great Caciques furnish their tables, nay cook their viands, in vessels constructed of gold and silver, behold that great cattle trough at the fountain—It is of silver.

Drake (eagerly interrupting).  But the golden temple and its treasures, I hope the villains did not get them?

Chiruca.  No, friend Drake.  The goddess took care of that—Zemaco, Lord of Darien, got wind of their purpose.  Repairing thither with the Cacique of Dobeba, he despoiled the temple, and carried off the wealth of the Province.  Our enemies ere they reached the spot, found a land of desolation.  Led into a region of swamp and morass, with a deserted village, he looked round and was without a guide.  Still he picked up some thousand ounces of gold, which the flying inhabitants had left.  Despatching it down the river in two canoes he began his retreat.  Before him yawned the morass, or spread the p. 45wilderness.  Comagre had joined Zemaco, and hovered round with thousands of Indian warriors.  His march was through showers of poisoned arrows, through starvation and pestilence: for the goddess had blasted the soil!  When the remnant of his wretched band arrived at the coast, it was to behold his brigantines wrecked, his canoes with their precious freights swallowed up in the raging sea.  The goddess moved the elements and stirred the briny deep to avenge her on her foes.

Scene changes.


With precipitous crags and a great cataract with river running down a deep gorge at the side, lined with rocks like wallsThey have arrived at the last peak and stand at the foot of the precipice, looking up in despairThe Indian observing them a little amused.

Drake (looks up with surprise and doubt, aside).  Does our way lead up that wall, of alternate cliff and forest? (turning to Chiruca)  Must we climb that bald peak, just kissed by the rising sun, and glowing in his beams like molten silver.  Whilst night still holds possession of hill and valley?

Moon.  It seems to me, General, a mighty barrier to mark the limits of the world.

Chiruca (amused at their dismay).  Vasco Nunez climbed the very top, on the same errand, and a band of followers loaded with their heavy armour.  They struggled over rock and precipice—through river and torrent—through morass and forest—and had to fight their way through hostile nations at every step.  One half their Lion-dogs (Leonicos) as they call their bloodhounds, and a vast number of the band, perished by fatigue, hunger, and poisoned arrows.  With difficulty he regained his ships with a mere handful of his followers.  I shall, however, conduct you by easy paths and pleasant valleys, to a plateau, from which you shall behold the great Pacific reposing at your feet: and gangs of treasure-laden mules and llamas, with their escorts, worming their difficult way across the Isthmus.

Drake (with interest, surprise, and doubt).  Lead on my friend!

Chiruca turns and points, smiling maliciously, to the right, where there is deep chasm or gorge, with high cliffed sides like walls, through which rushes a foaming torrent from a cascade at the top, thundering over a shelfWild beasts playing about; a tiger watching the party on the opposite bankA curious bridge, or rather rope, at a little distance, extended across with a sort of chair on itall of bark, twisted and wrought; an Indian means of transit.

Chiruca (pointing to the chasm).  Our way lies over here.

They all look with amazement and dismay at the yawning gulfThey confer and gaze again and again with various emotions; some jeering; some angry; some laughingChiruca smiling observes them.

Drake (aside).  Easy paths!  Pleasant valleys!  Humph!  You jest with us, Chiruca.

Moon.  By all the host of heaven Indian, you might as well tell us to jump from the verge of the earth into Jupiter or Saturn or our nearest neighbour among the stars, or as we should be then lunatics, into the moon.  (Laughter in which they all join).

Chiruca (archly).  I must go foremost I see, and show you the way.

Moon.  Take my advice, and put on a pair of wings and then have a care.  I remember hearing a Friar reading about some ancient philosopher who made wings, and thought he could fly; but the sun melted the wax with p. 46which they were stuck together, and he fell into the sea, and was drowned.  (Laughter).  The open sea and an oak plank for Thomas Moon.  (Laughter).

Several Voices.  Aye!  Aye!  Moon!  That’s your element.  You’re at home there.  (Laughter).

Chiruca (Not heading the observations).  I must first settle with that tiger, who is preparing to seize the first who crosses, and that will show you the power of a poisoned arrow.

The Indian bends his bow and shootsThe tiger tumbles over the cliff into the roaring torrent belowThey all look surprised at one another, conferring on the marvellous effectThe Indian ascends the rock a few paces, enters into the car or chair and as by magic appears to fly across the ravine, upon the ropeHe immediately returns, and whilst he is dispatching them over, one by one, the scene changes.


Before them the high bold peak or summit of Panama, on either side the two oceansOn the South, the pacific with the city of Panama, and the Isle of Pearls in its bayOn the other side the Atlantic, with Nombre de Dios on the Coast, and the Caribean sea, with its islandsThe Isthmus, with a Reco or transport of treasure winding through defiles.

Chiruca.  We stand upon the Plateau, noble Drake.  The ocean you desire is spread before you—an endless waste of waters, dark, fathomless, unknown!  How say you—is it enough?  If not, there’s the bold peak (he points to the summit).  We can ascend like Vasco Nunez.  But the labour would be vain—the danger something, and time inexorable flies.  The sun has half performed his course.  Here is the Atlantic.  (He turns to the North, pointing).  You see the islands where the Carib dwelt—now desolate—the race extinct! or slaves! (with bitterness and passion).  Spain plants her foot upon a land, and sows the soil with death.  (He turns with aversion to the South).  On the South, behold the ocean, which they say is boundless, save for the islands far away, from which Tradition tells our fathers came—and where our spirits go.  Spain’s proud ships pollute its waters now, and carry gold in safety.  There! (he points).  Just below, is Panama, where they collect the treasure, and out in its beauteous bay, the Isle of Pearls, famous for these gems, which even our Indian women prize so highly.

Drake (much interested).  I noted their magnificence and profusion on the family of the Cacique.

Chiruca (eagerly seizing Drake and directing his attention).  See!  See! in the far distance that long line of beasts, and men straggling along the edge of a deep gorge, some labour up the mountain pass and see! (with energy) how others slide down rocks.  Poor beasts like men, enslaved.  (Turning to Drake who is much interested).  That is a reco—a transport of treasure, (with triumph).  That treasure shall be yours!  (Drake looks at him with surprise).  I have sent a spy to dog their movements.  He will meet us at the place of ambuscade to night!  Let me see.  (He counts the number of the beasts forming the transport to himself).  Mules!  Llamas!  It is a great one!  Tons of treasure!

Drake.  Noble Chiruca, you have fulfilled your promise.  The Globe’s wide surface presents not such another sight.  (Aside.)  The Atlantic seaboard I have already taxed for vengeance.  My interest now lies here!  (He extends his hand towards the Pacific).  An inward impulse knits me to this p. 47ocean.  The very sun upon its surface pours peculiar lustre.  It waves seem gold—tinged with the loads they carry.  They shall bear a nobler freight!  Wondrous prospect.  Two oceans that embrace the earth!  But do I look with mortal eye on real things—or rapt in Prophet frenzy, gaze on vision?  I feel my soul expand, o’er time and space, with energy divine and newborn hope.  Two hostile fleets contend upon the flood, and dye its waters red for mastery.  ’Tis Spain and England!  The World! the prize between them!  (He looks up).  Give me, O Heaven, to sail that sea; proclaiming to every longitude thy law.  That man is free.  Down-trodden slave of Ignorance, look up, thy God is nigh!  Look up and break thy fetters!  Thy charter from on high, is Liberty.

Chiruca (he comes to Drake who absorbed his own thoughts had wandered aside).  Friend Drake (Drake is startled out of his reverie).

Drake.  Pardon me, noble Chiruca, I was lost in deep reflection.

Chiruca.  Well, how like you our observatory?  Our enemies know it not.  Yet by land and sea their game is played before us.  Nor is it new—our fathers chose it.  Mark you this tree?  It is of ancient growth and is our watch tower (he leads Drake towards it).

Drake.  It looks as if ’twere planted at creation.  When things were giants all! (eight men are standing round it fathoming).  Measure the circumference, Moon.

Moon (pointing to the men for answer).  Eight fathom, good, General.

Chiruca.  There is an arbour in its branches which holds a dozen people.  Let us ascend.  (He leads Drake to the tree who examines it).  You see these steps cut in the trunk of yore?  Follow me.  (The Indian ascends followed by Drake and othersAs they are seated in the arbour, they break into loud cheers above, taken up by those belowThe Indians joining in it dancing and clashing their arms.)

Moon.  Three cheers for the Queen! (cheers)

Oxenham.  Confusion to Philip! (cheers)

Scene changes.


Cocoa nut trees with monkeys.

Enter Chiruca and Drake with the others.

Chiruca.  Above a hundred mules and as many llamas loaded! tons of gold, silver, and, precious stones.  You must form your own idea of their value.  We wonder at your desire for such useless stuff.

Drake.  And you consider that we can intercept and take them?

Chiruca.  Of course!  We are eighteen English, and thirty Symerons, and you know that one Englishman is equal to ten of them.  We shall trap them like wolves or buffaloes; in fact, the Spaniards will show us their heels at the first volley from our bows; and the attendants who hate their tyrants will lead the beasts wherever we order.  The ambuscade is just below us—close at hand.  We can rest, and refresh ourselves here till the hour.

Drake.  This is a rich and beautiful valley, but toiling through it under a burning sun, is dry work, and then to be tantalized with these delicious fruits!

He and Chiruca throw themselves on a bank to one sideThe rest gather themselves into the centre, and are engaged talking and laughing, when Bang! Bang! BangDown comes a shower of cocoa nuts from a mob of monkeys, who thus commence petting their invaders and scamper through the branches screaming and hurling their missilesMoon is knocked down, and scrambles up in alarm, Drake and Chiruca laughing at the sport.

p. 48Moon (running off).  Holloa there, messmates!  Look out for squalls, what the devil’s up?  A legion of Devils, I think.  (He peeps from behind a free, laughing with all the others, who have betaken themselves to shelter.)  I call that Panama hail, boys, (laughter and cheers from allThe monkeys also chattering in triumph.)  Hark to the devils, how they chatter and triumph.  Hand me your longbow, Oxenham, and I’ll spoil the sport of that long-tailed rascal, (looking up), I’ll change your grinning.

Drake.  Never mind, comrade!  Let the poor things have their triumph.  We shall enjoy the fruits of victory.  Bear a hand with your axe, and open some of these nuts.  Give us a drink of the juice.  (Moon falls to opening the nuts with a gimlet and his axe, whilst Indians hold Calabashes for the liquorThe rest having gathered melons, plantains, bananas and other juicy fruits into a heap, are eating and enjoying themselves.)

Oxenham (eating a banana).  Why Tom, you have brought your whole chest of tools.

Moon (laughing).  Yes, John, so have you; but you carry yours in your mouth.

Chiruca (to Drake).  We are at no loss for refreshing drinks, friend Drake, in our forest (he points to a large tree).  Here, friend Tom, just notch this tall trunk, and get ready your calabashes.  (Drake comes forward to see.)  This is one of our largest and most valuable trees.  The Spaniards call it Palo de Vacca (the Cow Tree).  Now friend Tom!

Moon gashes the great trunk and out rushes a stream of milk, which the Indians catch in calabashes and hand roundThey all begin to drink, exclaimingExcellentWonderful!

Drake.  This is marvellous!  In the hands of a monk it would pass for a miracle.  It scarcely differs from real milk, and will not be believed in England.

Moon.  It beats cow-keeping, as far as a dolphin does a flying-fish.  I bethink me of bringing home some slips and setting up a dairy in old Plymouth! (laughter)

Voices.  Your cows would all die of the cold, Tom.

Moon.  Belike, General, if I should cut off a junk and put it to the fire, we might have a joint of roast beef.  Heh!

All (with burst of laughter).  Try it, Tom!  Try it, Tom!  You’ll find it hard to digest (cheers).  You’ll need a marlin spike next to pick your teeth, Tom (cheers).  Ha! Ha!  The roast beef of Old England growing on a tree! (cheers and laughter).

The Curtain fallsThe Orchestra striking upThe Roast Beef of Old England.”

p. 49ACT V.


Rugged rocks of the coastSmall plain with scanty vegetationBlack snow-clad hills aroundGibbets and gallows, with skeletons suspended to them, the remains of Magellan’s sailors executed for mutinyDoughty, with Fletcher the Chaplain, sitting on a rockDoughty pensive and melancholy looks down upon the ground.

Enter Drake, Winter, and the other members of the Court Martial with crews of the different vesselsThey range themselves in order.

Captain Winter holding a paper, is about to read the sentence.

Doughty (starting up with energy and emotion).  You need not read! (surprise on all) already sentence is pronounced.  Conscience in her own court—Herself the judge—who only knows the deep-dyed guilt of dark sedition, hath decreed my doom!  (Abruptly).  You’ll bear me witness!  I die thus self-condemned.  I dare not live!  Life would be a Hell! where worms unseen, the viper tooth of fell remorse would ceaseless gnaw the ever waking mind.  I could not face my country brave men’s contempt, the multitudes ferocious scowl.  Death is my sole relief and refuge.  Thus would I whet your vengeance, or your justice.  I have conspired your ruin, worse than death, to foil your project, give you up to Spain—(Great excitement and indignation).  To fire and faggot, tortures inflicted on the brave before you! the Cadiz galleys, dungeons of Seville—burnings in the plazas of Mexico and Madrid—the yelling crowd—the vengeful monks gloating over the writhings of your agony.  In self defence you have the right to slay me!  Sentence is idle form.  Self doomed I choose to die: I only ask that unrecorded I may pass away, and Silence be my epitaph! (a conference between Drake and Winter aside)

Winter (turning to Doughty).  Thus then let it be.  To morrow we have fixed for execution.

Crew.  So say we all!

Winter.  Till then, Mr. Fletcher, he is in your charge.  The task of preparation for his end be thine.  (Exeunt the court.)

Doughty.  Here my life must end, where I thought it had but well begun!  Ambition’s bright mirage with hope deceitful lured.  Its distant plains glowed in the sunshine of a feigned success.  Success!—by what instruments?  The base, the dastards—traitors to treason’s self.—The means?  Murder of brave companions, with whom I vowed to live or die.  Dethronement of a noble Queen, to whom I swore allegiance.  For what end?  To set a foreign tyrant on her throne—thus to enslave my country, which I love.  Foul!  Faithless!  Traitor! (he rushes about in distraction, beating his head with his fists).  Crime against nature!—against God!—’gainst England—’gainst myself!—for I am, or was, an Englishman!  Reason!  Judgement!  Honour!  Great nature’s guardians of the heart and conduct.  Where were you, when I was tempted thus?  Like drunken sentinels—deserters from p. 50your duly when needed most.  Oh guilt! beyond all law to constitute a crime, or court to punish! (writhing under remorse, looking upward) Doughty, I try you here.  (Striking his heart.)  Thou shall not live—Doughty decrees your death!  Could I but die outright, and leave no name! (he looks at the dismal prospect distractedly) Place—suggestive of eternal death!—Where life itself in cold obstruction!—Icy apathy!—Ye rugged rocks, and snow-clad hills, bleak, barren plains—where nature sleeps in frost.  Waste, howling, wilderness—a living tomb!  Huge walls of mountain—strange birds—strange beasts—wild men, more savage still, than the sterility that bounds their lives.  Ye savage winds—fierce angry gusts to howl one’s requiem.  All looks like silence and forgetfulness! (his eye catches sight of the skeletons)  Hah!  Magellan’s Traitors!  There swing your mouldering bones.  Fit place for execution.  Ye paid your debt.  Would the penalty had blotted treason from the world!  Now, death, I welcome thee!  (He takes a bottle from his bosomholds it updrinks the contents and throws the bottle awayThe Chaplain rushes forward to arrest his hand.)  Fletcher, I was prepared for this.  Who plots should count the cost.  So perish treason!  The tyrant’s tool—the curse of liberty—that foils the patriot in his hour of might!—And.  This poison’s quick!—Fletcher, thou art my friend!  (He looks at him imploringly.)  You’ll see me decently interred and let my crime be buried with my bones.  England thou art avenged.  Be free and happy!  (He begins to staggerFletcher supports him.)  Friend—the end is near.—Oh! I have much to say; and speech deserts me!  (He totters.)  I—I—(he sinks down holding Fletcherand making an effort to speak dies—.)

Scene changes.


The Queen walking about in deep thought, with anxious uneasy gestures, and hesitating step, Mrs. Ashley, her waiting woman watching her intentlyThe Queen stops in front of a marble table, backed by a large steel mirror in which is reflected Leicester’s symbolic present, scarcely less vividly represented in the polished surface on which it reposes.

Queen.  Marvellous production!  What art thou?  How camest thou forth, thus full of fearful meaning, and whence this atmosphere of thought, surrounding thee, arresting attention for thyself, bearing the rapt soul beyond the present, with prophecy sublime and breathing power to tell without a tongue, of coming greatness!  Beneath the frenzied eye thou dost assume proportions grand, looming its giant abstract, through dim futurity.  No creature of Leicester’s paltry brain art thou.  No workman’s unreflecting labour, no design of common art assembled those ideas, above the mortal mind.  Conception vast!  Some angels prompting through an artist’s skill, fathomless to me.  I’ll try the common mind!  (She turns to her waiting woman).  Ashley, you know how high I hold your tact and judgment, in the subtle, tortuous ways of life, your clear opinion of men and things.  How many changes you have seen! a rare experience yours, through the late bloody reigns.  Mine has been sad, but you have lived longer.

Mrs. Ashley.  Yes, my dear mistress and still of most concern to me, was what concerned your Royal Majesty.  They knew well how truly I loved you, when, on your return to Ashridge after your release from Woodstock, you sent for me; and they committed me to the Fleet.

Queen.  Ashley, that was a terrible time—rather say, the end of terror.  One can bear to recall its memory.  It was a trumpery malice, to send my p. 51faithful servants to prison.  They dared not any longer molest me, personally, for the shadow of Lord Howard fell, like a blight, upon the Court.  Even in his absence, his form stalked ever before the eyes of Philip and his Spaniards.

Mrs. Ashley.  God bless the noble Howard, the noblest of his name.  He is the hero of England.

Queen.  God bless him, I say again, Ashley.  (Aside).  He has not seen this yet.  (She lays her hand upon the emblematic deviceThen stepping backward a few paces, deeply ponders on it.)  I wonder what he will say.  But his mind and bent runs in that groove, like Drake, Hawkins, and Killigrew, the Tremaines, all that fighting band.  They have the one dominant idea.  “England must rule the sea,” and that they can do it.  Look well at that Ashley and tell me what your common sense can make of it.  (The waiting-woman looks at the figures, then at the Queen scrutinizingly, as if to find out her secret.)

Mrs. Ashley (with hesitation).  It is a beautiful thing and means something.  More than it seems.  It is a riddle for Dr. Dee to read.  (Again she looks, with half malice at the Queen, who is too intent to observe her).  Belike it is a love present—belike your Majesty is coming to the point at last.  (The Queen starting out of her reverie, and looking at her companion sharply).

Queen (impatiently).  What point, Ashley?  Dost thou understand it?  Can’st thou read the future of thy country?

Mrs. Ashley (peering inquisitively at the Queen).  Belike your Majesty will now marry the beautiful Earl?

The Queen starts as if electrifiedher eye flashingevery feature twitching with disappointment and rage at the unlooked for answerclenching her hands, and stamping with her feet, she exclaims.

Queen.  Blood of my kingly father!  What damned wench in the corrupt court.  Hirelings and traitors, in his pay, or some one’s else, has got up that foul scandal?  And thy old head to prompt it at such a time!  Surrounded with treason—threatened with invasion—without Counsel on which I can rely—drifting along on a tempestuous sea, with no other pilot than my own isolated wisdom—my tortured mind sought in glowing visions of the future for comfort, and repose! (she walks about excited, then comes in front of her companion, who trembles for the consequence).  Dost thou thus misthink me, woman?—that I will act so unlike myself—so far below majesty—I, that have refused the greatest of princes—as to lower my dignity (then raising herself do a loftier tone) and the crown which my heroic people put on my head because they deemed me worthy to wear it, and to defend their glory and their rights, as to share it with a thing like Leicester?  And that thou—thou above all—who hast known me.

Mrs. Ashley (on her knees, in an imploring attitude) My beloved mistress I—I—I only meant it—

Queen (in great agitation).  Away!  Away—Ashley!  Leave me to myself to calm this raging madness.

Mrs. Ashley (clinging to her robe).  My beloved mistress! do not drive me from you in anger—It would break my heart (sobbing).

Queen (soothingly raises and kisses her).  There then!  My faithful Ashley!  There! (kissing her again)  There now!  Leave me for a little and come again.  (Exit Mrs. Ashley sobbingLooking after Mrs. Ashley.)   My true, devoted, faithful friend—tried in affliction—that has known my inmost nature, as I thought—and yet, to misthink me thus!  Well might the venal creatures of a corrupt court—gnawed by the constant worms.—Envy, malice, p. 52and all uncharitableness!  (She bursts into tearssobs convulsively.—Then recovering her pride and dignity, comes forward).  No! marriage is not for me.  The lily or the gentle violet may take root and bloom in fertile valley and peaceful shade.  (fiercely)  The oak shall brave the storm!  It is the will of God!  (She pausesthen firmly continues.)  I will fulfil my destiny!  Nor throne, nor duty shall be e’er divided.  My duty is my country’s—entire—exclusive—none to spare for husband.  I consecrate myself to England!  No stain shall sully the lustre of the offering.  Let foes calumniate, and vipers spit their venom.  Providence, that foils the assassin’s knife, will yet unmask the falsehoods!  (Walking with proud step and uplifted arm she exclaims with exultation) Time, the revealer, will avenge me!  Yes, History! History! thou wilt be just at last!  (She pauses in great emotion and excitement.)  A lonely orphan—in cruelty and oppression—your generous spirit rose my bulwark.—The roar of an indignant people thundered their resolve that I should be their Queen!  That earthquake shook the land!  Murder, with axe and poison, slunk back in terror.  Perish my name; when I forget my country!—England!—Proud!—Generous!—Brave!—Land of hospitality and freedom!—Thy glory!—Thy happiness be mine!—Thee only will I wed!—Thee only!—Thee only! (exit)

Scene changes.


The deck of theGolden Hinddashing along under full sailSailors carelessly loungingNightThe full moon.

Thomas Moon, Hixom, Noble.

Moon (at the helm).  I say, Hixom—Is not our craft a seaboat and no mistake?  She steers herself.  See how she answers to the least touch of the helm, and cuts the water like a dolphin.  Never did I see her in better trim.  Sometimes she seems to me a thing of life, that knows the value of her precious freight, and anxious to see its effect on merry England.  How she plunges forward in the fall of the swell, like a racehorse at the winning post.

Hixom.  We may well be proud of her.  We have never chased a thing of any size or rig, we did not overhaul.  Lord! we could sail round any ship of Spain, or through the very midst of her Navy.  But this was a wary dodge of our General, to take the round of the Globe.  We are safe to bring our prize home now.  What think you, Bill Noble?

Noble.  As for the little craft herself, I never trod the deck of the like of her.  She was well named the “Pelican.”  And now, in respect of what she carries—a freight as never was entrusted to a wooden plank before, fitly benamed the “Golden Hind.”  As to landing it safe at Hamoaz—for the matter of speed or fighting, I should not much mind.  But it was never my experience to see the canvas all spread in an unknown sea, at night.  I have been to China with the Portuguese and I know these channels are dangerous!

Moon.  Lord, I am anxious to see Old Plymouth, and hear the shouting when the Rovers salute us sailing up the Sound, with our bunting all abroad.—It would be a pity to shorten sail.

Hixom.  There’s no danger messmates.  We have open sea room—the moon is up.—How brilliant she rises, and rapid, in these latitudes!  It’s all fair weather with us now.  (Bump! bump!)

All (crying out in alarm).  What’s that?  Did you hear?  What’s that?

p. 53Another bump; and the Vessel sticks fast.

Noble.  Oh!—My God!  I expected this!  My wife!—my children!  I shall never see them more (wringing his hands in distraction).

Screams of alarm among the deck watch: “We are sinking”—“We are lost”—“She’s on a rock”—“Get out the boats”—“Call the GeneralCall all hands.”  The crew is rushing up on deckGreat confusion.

Drake.  Silence in the ship!  Get out an anchor astern, and heave her off!  Boatswain!  All hands to quarters!

The Boatswain pipes and cries to quartersThey are rushing about pulling ropes, and launching the boats.

Scene changes.

Scene IV.

Deck of the Golden HindMidnight, the moon behind a cloud, constellations of the southern hemisphere brilliant in the deep blue firmamentThe ship Argo amid the waves, the dove, bird of hopeThe raven on the back of the sea serpentNoah sacrificing at the altar.

Drake (solus, looking at the stars).  Yes!  Yes!  This is no fancy, no vain imagination, no conceit of poesy—visible to sight and evident to sense.  It is, it must be—The ark of promise, the greatest fact of history—The deluge, writ by God himself in his own firmament, eternal monument of wrath and justice.  I never questioned sacred truth, but if I had that constellation were itself enough to anchor my soul to reason, and bid the baseless doubt begone!  (A figure appears in the air with a book under one arm, whilst the other points to the Constellation ArgoThe figure is turbaned and otherwise brilliant with the hues of an oriental costumeHis long white hair and beard float like a streamer on the deep blue of the skyDrake starts and staggers back with uplifted hands).  Hah!  Wherefore now?  Is this the end?  Art come to see my horoscope fulfilled?  Zill-Allah!  Shadow of God, Arab Astrologer, or Jew of Fez, or whatsoe’er thou art that visitest me so oft, in sleeping, aye, and in waking dreams, since first I learned the stars from thee under the clear sky of burning Africa, still as now before me.  Thy beard of snow floats like a meteor, under thine arm a book, the other pointing to thy early lesson.  (The Spirit gradually disappearsdissolving into a brilliant white cloud which suddenly becomes dark, whilst the dove on the ark becomes brilliantly illuminedA voice says, “Have faith, look up.”  Drake starting in horror looks around).  Who speaks?  (No answer.)  I do not surely dream!  I heard a voice which said, “Have faith, look up.”  I look, (a pause of wonder).  Bright bird of hope, I take thy luminous omen, I will have faith.  My God, the work is Thine, Thy servant in thy hand is but the staff, the wood cannot lift itself.  Let it not glory, have faith.  (He falls down upon one knee, his face buried in his hands in deep thought).

Enter John Drake.

John Drake.  My brother, did you call?  You look troubled.  Ah!  This is the last of us.  Our stirring lives are now near acted out.  The first slight swell will dash our bark to pieces.

Drake.  I fear not death, how often have I braved it—I trust in him who hitherto has shaped my course.  What I have seemed to do with means p. 54inadequate is evidence of power beyond me.  My destiny is not my own to deal with.  He who made me has the right to end me.  And now I know deliverance is at hand, though human skill do nothing towards it.  See you this southern vault of heaven, ’tis one great oceanic record of the past, (he points to the Constellation Argo.)

John Drake.  You mean the Constellation Argo, the famous ship of Jason and the Golden Fleece.  The dove that sits upon it!  What a strange light it flashes.

Drake.  Ship of Jason, humph!  Tradition grand, perverted to a Grecian fable.  That is the ark of Noah!  I never told you how at Fez, a sage once took strange fancy to me, and taught me knowledge of the spheres.  A man of wonderment and awe, he came and went unquestioned and unknown, without a friend or country, yet with boundless wealth.  Some thought he was an Indian necromancer, some a Jew, some said he was an Arab, and practised Alchemy.  He cast my horoscope, and told my destiny.  “Born,” he said, “for great adventures, strange revolutions on the sea, a pebble in the sling of God to smite the power of Spain, and raise thy country to her place.”  (He walks musing).

John Drake (with emotion).  The story, brother, is full of wonder, strange being this!

Drake.  He showed me by the stars—that the celestial sphere was made at Babel—a record of the deluge when the great event was new.  Zill-Allah, so he called himself, “Shadow of God,” knew all languages, the sacred tongues of India, Egypt, Juda.  The story of the flood is in them all, because they came from Babel.  The dispersed who formed the nations brought them thence, who else had all been dumb, for language is beyond invention, ’tis the gift of God.  In that high tower of rebel pride were lodged the sciences.  The heavens were charted, the celestial sphere was formed, and when the awful deluge filled their minds, they wrote its tragic memory in the stars.  Argha, Arg, Ark, the same in every tongue.  The ship of Noah.  (He looks at his companion who is deeply absorbed, then points up).  Behold the raven on the serpents back, there is the dove—Bright bird of hope—its symbol, there the great Father of mankind, the victim and the altar, around the monsters of the deep and the wild waves—(Both are earnest and absorbed when the ship rocks and slides, they are startled and agitated.)

Drake (startled but calm).  Thy will be done.

John Drake (much excited).  God of mercy!  She is breaking up!  All hands on deck!  (He runs about alarmed and screaming) she is breaking up, all hands on deck.

(The crew rush upon deck in alarm, the ship rolls to one side, then falls off the rock into the sea with a heavy plunge, as if overwhelmeda loud scream from the sailors, she suddenly rights and glides off uninjured, the crew recovering from their alarm break into a loud cheer).

Crew.  Hurrah!  Hurrah!

Drake.  Down on your knees and give thanks for your deliverance!

(The ship is hauled off).

Scene changes.


The Queen alone waiting for Lord William Howard, Earl of EffinghamShe walks back and forward in deep abstraction past a large steel mirrorShe is startled and arrested by catching sight of the reflection of herself.

Queen.  Hah!  What aged companion thou, abruptly thrust upon me?  Unflattering mirror!  Thou art no courtier!  Care!—subtle poison—sure if p. 55slow.—I see thy working.—Remembrancer I thank thee.  Still!  Providence, I wait thy pleasure—though what a life!  An atmosphere of terror—my vital air—to school me, doubtless, for thy purpose—to teach me cautious circumspection.  Mysterious awe hung o’er my childhood—the latent influence of my mother’s fate, though then to me unknown.  Nordic!  I seem alone in this.  The taint was upon all around—a wrinkle on every brow—a sorrow unexpressed in midst of joy and show, and brave festivity.—Danger and insecurity seemed to sit on all!  England was merry—loud the roar of wassail.—But thoughtful people stopped short in laughter as if chid; and swaggering, warlike Britons, though in peace, held themselves erect for fight.  The social heavens were black with clouds—surcharged with thunder in the midst of sunshine.  Such! my earliest—undefined impression.  Ever present—ever coming danger!  Yet I feared not—rather longed to meet it face to face (she walks musing).  When Edward died, and during Mary’s reign, what portents scared mankind!  Unnatural frost bound the Earth, stifled vegetation dried up rivers.  The Thames was solid till the month of May!  Showers of red hail, like drops of gore congealed, sign of coming strife—a nation’s blood! and, as it lay around the roses in their gardens, men thought of York and Lancaster, and grew pale.  Births of hideous monsters; frighted women; bodies with double heads and limbs.—Storms rent the welkin with unheard of fury, tore trees of ancient growth up by the roots, and hurled them in wild passion through the air!  The summer’s sun in hot July, as putting mourning on, grew black as winter night.  Rain, a second deluge! flooded the houses of terror-stricken London, and changed its streets to torrents.  (Her soliloquy is broken off by the entrance of the Earl of EffinghamEnter Lord William Howard, Earl of EffinghamThe Queen rushes to him, throws her arms round his neck and kisses him, with a transport of affection, and tears of filial fondness.)  My loved!  My honoured kinsman!  My more than father!—that with heroic greatness stood to the lone girl, through danger, death, and tyranny! (she is overcome with emotion).

Lord William Howard (tenderly looking at her whilst he still affectionately holds her).  Thy sweet face is sad!  What clouds thy queenly brow?

Queen.  At sight of thee, noble kinsman, the Tower and Woodstock, and the hostile court, rise like hideous goblins—and the base courtiers tendering their cold salutes, almost contempt.  Wretches!  I see them in vision, cowering at the thunder of thy step and voice.  “Down on your knees to her, and kiss her hand” you shouted.  Oh! the dismay of Philip and his Spaniards!—the scowl of Mary!—Alva alone was firm.—Some one muttered “Treason!—Tower!”

Howard (with a proud and bitter laugh).  Ha! Ha! Ha!  The Lord High Admiral of England, to the Tower!—with the mariners of the Royal Navy—the fifty privateers that kept our coasts—the best blood of England at my back—a righteous cause—and the whole people agitated like a seething pot—ready at a word to rise and tear your foes to pieces!  Philip and Alva knew better.  Their heads were surety for yours!  I had let them know that your father’s “deep ditch,” as he called the channel, lay between them and Spain, and that I was the man who held the key of it to send them to the bottom.  Gardiner too, and that dark villain, Renard, were plainly told that one move more should cost their lives!  (The Queen in great emotion.)  That was a revolution for them!  (He walks aside.)  Philip, himself, then thought it prudent to take your part.   (With sarcasm) Treason!—the Tower!—Humph!  There were other murmurs—Outside!—So that when Arundel, p. 56the very head of the Catholic party, left the palace with me, he whispered in my ear, “I see Elizabeth’s foot upon the steps of the throne.”  (He walks aside proudly.)  My Royal Mistress, you were safe (the Queen in great emotion flings herself upon him).

Queen.  Uncle mine!  Uncle mine!  Call me your dear child as you did! at Woodstock!  Father!  Friend!  Under God, my Saviour!  ’Twas you that chained the Lions.

Howard (solemnly).  I was, perhaps, an instrument!—one of the raised up—like yourself—blind led and passive—Nor words, nor actions, were my own!—The dictates of mysterious power—unseen—and irresistible—ever forced me on—that guardian angel which upheld you, and will uphold you—long as you fulfil your purpose, and obey—

Queen.  Yes! yes!  Noble kinsman.  I have reason to thank God who all my life has led me—often by devious paths—I knew not.—The end is his!

Howard.  Never was Monarch in greater danger than when in your progress you stopped short at Richmond, to sift out of his cowardice and vacillation the secret of Norfolk’s treason.  What foiled the foul conspiracy at once?  No human light.  The impulse was divine!  No secret spy; no base accomplice; no false domestic; no unfaithful friend betrayed him.  Your own discerning eye unveiled his thoughts behind the flimsy shield of shuffling falsehood and evasion.

Queen (abruptly).  And when he left the court without taking leave, I saw he dared not face me—I had probed his heart—’twas confession of his guilt.

Howard.  On such occasions, you are all yourself.  Your character breaks forth in all its majesty of force—your resolution was electric.  As eagle to her eyrie, you flew to Windsor, that seat of regal pomp and power.  You called no councils; lost no time discussing plans—You took the helm yourself, and instinct pointed to the port of safety.  To seize the prize, the very object of rebellion, was to cut it short at a stroke!  (He walks aside).  It was a masterly resolve to send Hunsdon without notice or delay to carry the Queen of Scots to Tutbury, and there to surround himself and his quarry with five hundred men.  The she-devil stormed, and wept, and threatened; but Hunsdon was just the man to go through with his work.  She understood it all—the game was up with her.  How I should have laughed to see Shrewsbury’s stupid stare, when your order was presented to him.  Well, it was a marvellous conception, and marvellously executed, but the instinct was not human; it was the dictate of that guardian angel, which I maintain attends you through every difficulty.

Queen.  Noble kinsman, it is strange, now that I reflect, I did it all without a moment’s thought, without reason, fear or motive.  In fact, I knew not why, but that I was constrained, and it was done.

Howard (hurriedly).  Then without an hour’s delay, to order the greatest men in England, Pembroke, Arundel, Lumley, and Throgmorton—to appear at court, and there to put them under arrest.

Queen.  They were men and patriots—friends at heart—and instantly obeyed.  They knew their heads were safe enough at Windsor.

Howard.  Insurrection, without leader or object was snuffed out.  But these are not the men to put their country under a foreign yoke, whether of Pope or Spain.

Queen.  Norfolk, too, I summoned to return.  His courage failed him, his shaking fit came on and laid him up at Howard House to write his lying p. 57sneaking letter, (she shows him a latter.)  See!  This from a Howard, and great Surrey’s sun.

Howard.  I am ashamed of him.  That ague should have taken his life, and saved his head.

Queen.  Yet I loved him, uncle.  How hard to sign his execution!  I would have mourned his death.  How much his fall from loyalty and honour.  Howards should fall on fields of fame—Champions of England’s freedom and independence—a wailing country follow to their tomb, and public monuments attest their virtue.  Norfolk! minion to her foe! traitor to enslave her! sinks to his doom, disgracing his proud name.  His friends must loathe him—rebel, felon, slave and coward.

Howard.  He dies the worst of traitors—his treason against his country, his religion—against mankind.  Perish rebellion with him!  England now is safe, and marches on apace, to greatness of her own—the empire of the ocean.—Wherefore doubt your fortune?

Queen (sadly).  Kinsman, my lot is cast in loneliness, a solitary rock amid the breakers; danger, doubt and treason ever round me, knowing not whom to trust.  My very council, blind to their country’s welfare, squabble about foreign policy, and even if honest are divided.  Some are for marrying me, in the interest of Spain, some in that of France.  Or that I’m lost—Even Cecil.

Howard (impassioned and abrupt).  Sheer madness, either! to end in civil war, and then in nothingness.  Was it for the good of England that Philip sought your hand? and now would marry you to his minion, Austria?  Or that France would impose her wretched ape upon you?  No!  England must, and can stand alone, against the world.  (He walks aside proudly agitated).

Queen (with decision).  Fear not, noble kinsman; never will I divide my crown with mortal man, nor barter the glory and independence of my country.  Rather war! or death!  But I am harrassed—worried.  My court’s a very comedy.  Here are at least a dozen Ambassadors intriguing, lying, bribing among my maids of honour as if the hand of Elizabeth could be thus obtained.  And (laughing) I am afraid they will cut one another’s throats in my presence.

Howard (laughing).  Ha! Ha! Ha!  Comedy!  By my halidame, a good one (rubbing his hands).  Lord, what fun to see the fools draw, and go at it.

Queen (laughing with affected surprise).  By the soul of King Harry, Uncle, you would make a Roman Amphitheatre in Greenwich Park, and fight them there in pairs, like gladiators.

Howard (laughing).  Ha! Ha! Ha!  Capital!  Pitch them into the arena, Leicester and Hatton with them, all armed with French rapiers to skewer one another like Woodcocks.  We should look on as umpires.  But Cecil, Sussex, and Walsingham—what do they mean with such nonsense?  ’Tis well!?  ’Tis well!  The proudest boast that woman e’er possessed.  Philip himself—every prince in Europe, that dares aspire, has sought your hand, ready to throw himself at your feet.  A fact to blaze upon the face of history—a testimony to character and greatness, to silence base detraction and endure for ever.  Where’s our weakness?  Our danger, where?  Our only danger, low intrigues, mixing with foreign quarrels, and false allies.—England must dwell apart—her power—her path to glory lies on the deep!  Her great sons must carry out her policy alone (he walks thoughtfully and returns).  I ever hated doctrine-mongers—men of one idea and crooked ways—dubious! indirect! unsafe!  The man who loves his country, cannot mistake p. 58her interest, shoots straight at his mark and rarely misses.  Danger!—Your Fleet—the daring spirits who man it—are the envy of the nations who have already proclaimed you “Queen of the Sea—Restorer of Naval Glory.”  Another thing, my Queen, England’s Commercial Navy is a power unknown before.  Her merchants, enriched by growing commerce, rival each other in the ships they build—all fit for war—with English pluck to fight their own way upon the waves.  These, with the Royal Navy, present a force of twenty thousand fighting men—a match for ten times their number any day.  What foe will face them?  Ha! Ha! Ha!  (He walks aside in triumph).  Philip could never bring his Spaniards to that.

Queen (with an expression of joy).  Noble kinsman, still the same, to comfort and encourage me.

Howard (earnestly).  One thing perhaps you may want—a little money to build more ships, and keep for difficulties.  (With an enquiring look.)  What of Drake?  Have they no news at Plymouth?

Queen.  No!  But through Spain, notwithstanding efforts to conceal it, we know his plunder is immense, and though every one else thinks he has gone down, Philip, sleepless, and alarmed, is astounded, not knowing what next may happen.  But Drake! poor fellow! I fear is gone for ever!  Magellan’s Straits are guarded—return impossible, if alive.

Howard.  Alive!  What would kill them?  If the Spaniards should kill these devils, there would be a noise the whole world would ring with.  As to the straits being closed—Frobisher says there are other passages, and that Drake’s the man to find them.  Drake’s the man!  He’ll find his way, my life upon him.

Queen.  But, come, Uncle mine!  You’re out of breath with this excitement, and I have had a smart ride from London, and need refreshment.  I ordered my maids to horse right early.

Howard.  Ah!  You require your favorite beverage—a cup of good ale.  Ale’s the restorer.

Queen.  You know my mind upon that, Uncle.  It’s the natural drink of the nation.

Howard.  I know I have ever seen the men fight best upon it, but I have heard that some fool proposes a tax upon ale.

Queen (laughing).  What?  Tax an Englishman’s ale!  That would be the next thing to foreign rule.  Come, kinsman!  (She takes his arm).

Howard (aside as they go out).  Marry a French frog! like that pock-marred Alençon.  (Grumbling angrily).  I must have a talk with Cecil.

Scene changes.


Enter the Queen and Drake.

Queen (laughing).  Abajo Perro!  Down dog!  Brave boy!  I must see him Drake, Ha! Ha! Ha!  Abajo Perro!  So he leaped foremost aboard, felled the first Spaniard with his fist, shouting Abajo Perro.  God’s death!  How I should like to have seen the Spaniard sprawling on the deck.  Ha! Ha! Ha!  A Plymouth boy you say.  His name, Drake?

Drake.  Thomas Moon, an it please Your Majesty.

Queen.  Humph!  Fellows have been knighted for less; he’s a hero!

Drake.  Such are the men that England wants, my Liege.

p. 59Queen.  And has, Drake, I am proud to say.  (With eagerness) Come!  Tell me about the great gold ship.

Drake.  As we neared, one broadside brought down her masts, a volley from our longbows mowed her deck, like the scythe in standing corn; we shot up alongside of her, our men rushed aboard, Thomas Moon foremost.

Queen (laughing).  Ha! Ha!  The Plymouth boy, Abajo Perro!  I shall never forget that.  Ha! Ha! Ha!  Well, well!  Go on.

Drake.  Well, my Liege!  We cut away the wreck, towed her out to sea and took charge of the precious freight at our leisure.

Queen.  That’s the way that British sailors do their work.  You astonished the Spaniards.

Drake.  Your Majesty knows the rest.  Magellan’s straits were secured against me, and I was not going to surrender what I had got.

Queen.  No, Drake was not the man for that.

Drake.  So I decided to take my chance, on the great unknown ocean, and by the Cape of Good Hope.

Queen (thoughtfully).  The great unknown ocean, without chart or pilot!

Drake (with an air of confidence).  My Liege, I had the stars of Heaven, and Him who set them in their courses, whose law I proclaimed from my deck to every line of longitude on His globe!  (Looking up with reverence).  Thus, Your Majesty’s little ship, having ploughed a furrow round the earth, arrived safe in Plymouth with a nation’s wealth in her hold.

Queen (eagerly).  Tell me all!  Tell me all.  Strange sights, strange men, strange lands, a tale of wonder; (she muses thoughtfully).

Drake.  Your Majesty will have much to hear.  The story is long as well as full of wonder.  Strange lands, I saw and took possession; there flies your Royal Standard, I proclaimed you Queen.  The people flocked around and swore allegiance, (with much animation), a land, my Liege, richer than all the realms of Spain, a land whose streams flow over sands of gold, whose very soil is gold.  ’Tis but to dig and wash.

Queen (incredulous she rebukes, what she thinks exaggeration, with a shake of her head).  Drake!  Drake.

Drake.  It is true! my Liege—I have dug, and brought it home.  (He throws down a bag on the floor and kneels upon it).  I kneel upon the soil, and hail Your Majesty, Queen of California—the future goldfield of the world!  (He rises and presents her with the bag).  I have the honour to deliver to Your Majesty thus, part for the whole, legal possession of California.  (She takes the bag with curiosity and surprise).

Queen.  Is this gold?  It is heavy!

Drake.  There needs only to wash it in a basin—your Majesty will see the gold at the bottom.

Queen.  This beats Alchemy.  It is miracle!  I’ll wash it with my own hands.  Drake, I am proud of you.  England is proud of you.  Men’s minds are filled with your name, astounded by your achievements.  You have covered your country with glory, thrown over her a mantle of power.  The nations look up to us now and begin to think we can beat the world.  Philip is alarmed, and when we all thought you were lost, he could not sleep for fear.  He expected you to come on the winds of heaven, to make descents upon his coast.

Drake (kneeling to her).  Your Majesty’s approval is my reward.  That is the pride and glory of an Englishman.

Queen.  My pride and glory is the love and valour of my people.  Philip, and Mendoza his Ambassador, are clamorous for restitution, and call you a corsair—pirate—robber! (laughing)

p. 60Drake.  Our acts are self defence and justifiable retaliation, my Liege.  They are the spoilers, robbers, murderers.  What is he doing in the Low Countries, to a free, civilized people?  Is he not committing wholesale diabolical robbery and murder?  Has he not seized our ships in defiance of solemn treaty, trading peaceably in time of peace?  Whole fleets of our merchantmen, at Gibraltar and elsewhere,—imprisoning, hanging their crews, or burning them, in the Plazas of his cities, for the amusement of the mob?  And we ourselves owed him a measure of vengeance, for the murderous affair of San Juan de Ulloa.  But I have meted out to him, measure for measure—pressed down—shaken together.

Queen (laughing).  Plenty of shaking, Drake.  Plenty!  Philip’s fit is not over.  He is shaking yet.  Cecil, too, is shaking—frightened by Mendoza’s bluster.  He says we shall have war unless we give up the treasure—Sussex and Clinton agree with him.  I don’t think much of that—I know them!  They’re not the men to give up anything of their own (with a sarcastic smile) without a fight for it.  They would talk another language, if they had a share in our little venture.  (Then with intense curiosity).  How much is it, Drake?

Drake.  Impossible to estimate, my Liege.  Philip puts his losses at one million and a half.  That applies, however, only to ascertained, and registered quantities.  They don’t know the half of what I have taken—Gold plate and bars by tons!  What will your majesty say to cases of pearls and emeralds as large as pigeons’ eggs?  I have brought, your majesty, a sample—a little present from your honoured servant.  (He presents her with the celebrated crown of emeralds as large as pigeons’ eggs which she gazes on with astonishment and delight.)

Queen.  A crown of emeralds! and of such magnitude.  The like was never seen in Europe.  No regal brow hath ever borne the like.  Magnificent!  Drake!—Drake!  This is of unearthly splendour.  Thou art an enchanter, man, or hast been in fairy-land.  (She puts the crown on her head and walks about musing; then suddenly confronts him.)  Three millions!  Who ever dreamed of such a sum?  It is a nation’s wealth!  Give it up?  Once in one’s clutches!  Impossible!  I could not give it up.  Impossible!  (She walks about exulting in the possessionShe pauses, and asks Drake, with uneasy anxiety.)  What think you, Drake?  Will there be war?

Drake.  Not with Spain, my Liege, unless we declare war.  Philip dare not—could not, go to war with us.  What would become of the Low Countries then?  He could not keep them a single week.  Ha! ha! ha!  Besides!  He has no fleet!

Queen.  No fleet?  Our statesmen think the sea is covered with his fleets! (ironically) in fact that it is his property.

Drake (with a sarcastic laugh).  Statesmen!  Tush! tush!  What do they know about it?  (contemptuously) Spain upon the ocean is a Myth!  A huge ball of Foam, my Liege, without force or cohesion, which with the first war-storm upon the angry waves, will scatter and be seen no more!  (He walks aside with a wave of his hand; then returning with a triumphant smile.)  Can Philip guard his coasts at home; his towns; his churches; from sack and flame?  Can he protect his commerce?  His merchantmen are sunk or plundered in the channel.  His great officers and Nobles put up to auction in our seaports—kept in chains like dogs, till ransomed!  Ha! Ha! Ha!  (Increasing in energy.)  Have I not sailed the Caribean sea, with the cross of St. George proudly at my masthead (he looks to the Queen in proud triumph) burning, plundering, ships and towns?—Have I not landed on the p. 61coast, stopped his transports—taken his treasure—and, lastly, launched on the Pacific, the source of all his greatness—seized his bullion on sea and land, and carried a nation’s wealth in my little bark, round the globe, in triumph?  Spain, where is thy might?  (He walks about in grim triumph, looking for approval to the Queen, who stands amazed and stunned, yet watching her hero with pride and exultationHe comes up to the Queen solemn and serious.)  Give him this treasure, my honoured Mistress.  (With emphasis.)  Put this sting in him!—and then—(he starts as if some dreadful apparition had risen before him, to arrest his speech and force him to contemplate it with doubt and alarm).

Queen (startled at his expression, with deep interest and impatience).  You look with grave apprehension on it.  What then?

Drake (slow solemn and serious).  Why then, my Liege, not your statesmen! for they seem too blind to fear; but your royal Majesty—our beloved country,—nay, Europe itself, would have cause for fear.  My soul shrinks within me from contemplation of the fearful consequence.  (He is greatly excited, wringing his hands.)  Oh!  My God!  It never struck me before—it flashes on me now—a light from Heaven—fearful! fearful!—seas of blood!

Queen (excited to frenzy, impatient of some dreadful apprehension, rushes up to him, and seizing hold of him, shakes him for explanation.)  God of England!  Speak man, what mean you?  It must be something which quells the soul of Drake.—What then?  Quick.—Relieve this boding doubt, this frantic apprehension.  Quick!  Quick, what then?

Drake.  Why then, my Liege, he would equip a fleet, collect his mighty hosts, crush the Low Countries in an hour, annihilate our trade, blockade our ports.  France shrinking paralysed, overawed, and then—

Queen (starting away as from a frightful apparition, but with unquailing spirit rushes about with uplifted arms and the rage of a tigress.)  I see!  I see!  I see it all—Villains, fools, and traitors, I should be left without an ally to battle with the world in arms.  Rebels, traitors, assassins—Fiends of Hell within—The fleets and armies of Spain without.  The wars of the roses over again.  Fierce civil strife, seas of brothers’ blood—The proud island before whose arms Europe has quailed, trampled into a Spanish province!  (A pause of grim rage and sarcasm), and the moles and bats would give it to him!  (She laughs with a grim and bitter expression of rage and exultation).  Ha! Ha! Ha!  They shan’t, Drake, they shan’t!  Philip shall not have one ochavo of it.  No!  War or no war—never!  Shade of Henry of Monmouth!  Can thy stone casement hold thee?  (She walks about with a proud resolve then confronts him).  What then do you propose sir?  You are entitled to a voice in the matter.

Drake.  Your Majesty can now take the wind out of his sails, you can build and equip the fleet.  Give me, my Liege, but a small one, I’ll burn every town upon his coast, every stick of navy he possesses, in harbour or afloat; carry his gold fleet to England, and drive him from the ocean in a month; (he walks aside in exultation).

Queen (abruptly).  You’re the man, Drake! you’re the man!

Drake.  Then, my Liege, we shall occupy California and the Indies, whose downtrodden people will welcome you as a Saviour.  England will become the mart of the precious metals, the centre of universal commerce.  The tribes of broken humanity will come begging for the crumbs that fall from your replenished table.  Our great race, (elevating his voice) shall spread from land to land, from sea to sea, till one wide luminous zone of truth, of light, of freedom, shall gird the globe; the sun shall make his eternal round and never set in the dominions.

p. 62He looks upward with confiding fervour as if delivering a divine message from on highThe Queen overpowered with emotion at the awful development of national greatness.

Queen.  Hold!  Spare me!  My brain turns, stunned, bewildered in the vastness of that visioned future.  (She exclaims imploringly as one afraid to advance farther.)  Stay!  Stay!

Drake (impetuously).  I speak not without book, My Royal Mistress.  It was not human power that raised your Majesty and held your right hand, (a pause) through death and tyranny, (the Queen much moved) until you reached your throne, or guided my little bark through storm and battle to your shores.  It is not chance, my Liege, but Providence that rules!  A secret impulse ever drove me on, (a pause) and now assures me that the end is near.  The blood of butchered nations crying to heaven, at length is heard.  Spain totters to her fall!  (He walks aside excited, then returns and continues with energy).  The star of England rises from the sea to rule its waves, the ocean rules the land, its trident shakes the earth!  (He comes up to the Queen impassioned).  ’Tis thine!  ’Tis thine!  Stretch forth thine hand, my Liege, and grasp the Trident.

Queen (in great excitement).  Drake!  Drake!  A virtue goeth out of thee.  I’m filled with awe, but feel the power.  (She essays to leave.)  Come!  Come!

Leaving the terrace absorbed in thought, her outstretched hand grasping at something in the air, whilst Drake still follows her close with earnest voice and gesture.

Drake.  My Liege!  It is the will of God!  It is the will of God.



Leicester’s present on a marble table, backed by a large steel mirror which reflects itThe Queen sitting on a sofa, in conversation with the Earl of Leicester who stands at a little distance.

Leicester.  What thinks my royal Mistress of my symboled future now? (he point to it)  These figures seem to speak and challenge me to ask.—I always felt that thought was inspiration!  The vision rapidly developes into facts.  You’ll live to see the symbol a reality.  Drake’s deeds of wonder bring it up in force.

Queen.  Miraculous!  Incomprehensible!  Drake’s a prodigy!—At sight I read him in the first moment’s interview.  He’s made for greatness not his own.  A Demi-god could not accomplish his achievements, so vast in their proportions, and whose effects, perhaps, shall run through Time!—Nor dare—nor even conceive them.  A clear impossibility—by himself to mortal man!  The finger of God is visible throughout for his own end—then unseen!  Drake’s eyes are opened now, and so are mine!  I see the work and aim of Providence.  We are but passive instruments to carry out his will.  ’Tis always thus, Leicester.  I have observed it well through life.  God brings about His greatest ends by means, to us, inadequate—to show His power, and that the work is His; lest we should say “my hand hath done it.”  You see how all Drake’s other ships were sunk or scattered to the winds, that he hurled on an unknown ocean! left alone! should be the chosen means to change the destiny of the world.

Leicester.  It is a mighty prize, howe’er he dropped upon it, and marvellous as you say.  What power to you!—To Philip, most vexatious loss at p. 63present—to say the least, inconvenient in the extreme—your seizures, of that Genoese loan, and now this treasure, have crippled him.  He is at a stand still for money, notwithstanding his Indies.  Alva is in despair—his army in mutiny.  This would have relieved them of all their difficulties.  They are in a dreadful way.  Mendoza spluttering at a huge rate, has frightened Cecil with a threat of war—and he in his alarm would give it up.  But the whole country is enthusiastic about Drake.—He is the universal hero!

Queen (indignant).  A fig for Cecil and the whole Council—a set of fools—some are afraid of Philip—some are in his pay.  I’ll stick to it, Leicester—every silver bar—every quoit of gold.  It is the gift of Providence—my power, my safety.  I have had my doubts and fears!  Now I feel that I can defy the world.  Drake despises Spain; laughs at invasion; says Philip can’t defend himself from us.  He swears he’ll drive him from the ocean in a month—and I believe him.  He (with emphasis) knows what he’s talking about.  Drake’s the man!—Drake’s the man for me!

A Page announces the Spanish Ambassador.

Page.  His Excellency the Spanish Ambassador.

Queen (startled and confused).  God’s death, Leicester!  I thought as much.  Here he comes to demand it.  You must retire into my private room (with decision) I’ll face it out, Robin! (exit LeicesterTo the Page) Admit his Excellency.  (Exit Page.)  I must play my cards with skilful hand.  By flattery or menace—to draw from him his policy.  (Enter AmbassadorThe Queen bounds from the sofa to meet him with affected friendliness.)  Don Bernardino de Mendoza!  I am always glad to see you—in your private character.  But are you now come as a King-at-Arms to declare war?

Mendoza.  No! No!  My instructions from my master are, to cultivate peace—But from your Majesty’s preparations, I should imagine that you meant war, on a large scale.  Your fleet at Chatham! and the noise of fife and drum throughout the land.

Queen (interrupting).  ’Tis only the commission of array for training—Though England keeps on foot no armies, she is always armed—Her freemen are her soldiers.  In times of danger, she gets ready; I don’t intend to be caught sleeping.  What are those mighty naval preparations for at Cadiz?  Six thousand additional seamen!

Ambassador.  Of that—not having the gift of inspiration! I can give your Majesty no information.  My master finds no fault with you, but your ministers encourage, and aid rebellion against his authority in the Low Countries, and English Corsairs, not content with robbing his merchantmen in the channel, have now extended their ravages to the Indies and the Pacific.  The notorious Drake is, even now, returned with enormous booty.  He is cherished and feted, as if the exploits of a robber were some great national triumph.  His Majesty expects that you will not only order immediate restitution, but punish the offender as he deserves.

Queen.  Tush! Tush!  Your master cannot be serious.  If so, he must either be a fool, or think me one.  If my ships should invade the possessions of the King of Spain, the act could not be considered Piracy—It would be war.  Now your complaint shows that the nations are at peace, and therefore that the acts are not my acts.  He has been a King of England, and knows well, that the laws of England do not extend to the Pacific—Hey! Hey!  Our courts have neither authority to try, nor means to punish offences committed in the other hemisphere.

Ambassador (with haste).  Drake is now in England with the booty.

p. 64Queen.  Well!  Drake has committed no offence against the laws of his country.  What exclusive right has your master, the King of Spain, to the Indies, the whole continent of America, and the wide Pacific?

Ambassador (with much earnestness).  The Pope who, as Vicar of Christ, has authority over the whole earth, has given the Indies and the Pacific, to Spain.

Queen (laughing outright).  Did Charles the fifth owe his empire to the Pope, when he sent his army to imprison His Holiness and seize the possessions of the church?  Hey!  Will his son Philip acknowledge that he now owes them to the Pope?  I trow not!  Let the Pope only interfere with Philip’s dominions—We should soon hear of another Spanish army marching upon Rome, and probably Don Bernardino de Mendoza in command of it, to make the Pope a second time prisoner, and shut him up in his Castle of St. Angelo.  That is the way Philip would acknowledge his authority over the earth; and that you would show your faith in it.  Ha! Ha! Ha!  (Laughter, in which Mendoza cannot help joiningThe Queen walks about, exulting in her triumph).

Ambassador.  That would be an extreme case, your Majesty.

Queen (bursting into a laugh).  Capital!  An extreme case!  It would be an extreme case, for the Vicar of God upon earth.  For myself you know, I utterly deny his authority altogether, as well as his office (with sarcastic emphasis).  But look you here, a Pope has given Ireland to England, for an eternal possession, by a solemn bull; and yet, your master Philip has invaded that country, to wrest it from us—His troops are at this moment in Ireland.  Tell your master from me, that I will hear no complaints, nor give him any answer, until these are withdrawn (she walks proudly and defiant).

Ambassador.  I am sorry for it, but if you allow these measures to be pursued, you will see when too late, your throne slip from under you.  I know your resources, compared with those of France, and that your only safety is behind the shield of Spain.

Queen (sarcastically) I am not going to quarrel with France, who with good reason, keeps a jealous eye on Spain, you know that well, and so does Philip.  I intend only to maintain myself, as my father has done before me, independent in my own realm.  And as for losing my throne, what raised me to it?  Under God, my people who, Catholic and Protestant, alike, agree in this—To hate with all their hearts, a foreign jurisdiction (she looks with insinuation at him).  France has not forgotten the battle of the Spurs, or the still greater lesson taught her within living memory; when her sixty thousand men, were driven from the shores of the Isle of Wight, like the small dust before the whirlwind by the tall yeomen of the soil (she proudly walks aside, then boldly utters).  The audacious foe that lands upon our shores, will learn to his cost that he has to encounter men.  The English of the present day have not lost the spirit of their noble fathers.  They will defend their liberties to the death; and should they fall in the great struggle, with the help of God, he will find the body of their Queen, like that of the great Harold in the midst them.  With England I will live or die, (she storms about the room, the Ambassador gazing on her with stupified amazement).

Ambassador.  I am sorry your Majesty views my advice in that light.  I shall now take my leave, and report to my master the result of this interview.

Exit Ambassador.

Re-enter Earl of Leicester.

The Queen walking about agitated, chafed, but exulting, Leicester laughing as he enters.

p. 65Leicester.  Nobly done, my Royal Mistress—all yourself—you frightened Mendoza, more than he does Cecil.  He was under cow from the first and dared not speak up to you as he does to the council.  You acted your part to the life, and cannot even now throw off the mask.

Queen (excited).  God’s death, Robin!  No mask, no acting at all.  My blood was up, I was in thorough earnest; it is something to stand on solid ground, I’m not going to be bullied now by the empty bluster of a Spanish coxcomb, or his master either—Drake has opened my eyes and theirs too! this load of wealth!  Our strength!  Their weakness.  Leicester, he has shown me a secret!  (She looks at him with intense meaning) a power that must rule the world!

Leicester (astonished and interested).  Indeed, my Liege!  I did not know he was given to such deep state-craft.

Queen (with proud emphasis).  Why man!  With one hand I grasp the trident of the ocean, with the other California and the Indies.  Drake’s a Prophet—he knows the true strength and policy of England.  The destiny of nations!  (She storms about, Leicester eyeing her with astonishment and awe).  Come along, Robin!  I must see these wise men of the council and let them know what I think of their drivelling.  I say Drake’s conduct is only self defence!  Just retaliation!  The money is lawful prize.  I’ll give Sussex a talking to, for his intermeddling—’Fore God, I’ll set some of them by the feet before all’s over about this, I’ll bracelet them with iron, both arms and ankles.  Come along, Robin!  Come along.  (Aside as she goes off).  Three millions!  Mother of God!  Three millions.



Decorated with masts, bearing various devices, illustrative of England’s heroes and their victories, and surmounted with the National flagThe river is crowded with shipping, having all their bunting and streamers abroad, in honour of the great eventTheir decks and rigging filled with gaily dressed spectatorsAll London is thereIt is known, that the Queen has resolved to honour with her presence at dinner, the little ship that has fought its way round the world, and the heroes who manned itDeck of the Golden Hind covered with an awning, extended with canvas on to the land in a semi-circular form; open in front and supported by pillarsthe whole highly ornamented and painted with scenic effect, to represent the great occasions of England’s triumph by sea and landA dinner-table spread with gold and silver plate, with various jewelled articles in those metalstrophies brought from the Indiesand piled with rare tropical fruits and productions, since become familiar although then extraordinaryA flag in the centre, by order of the Queen, bearing the arms of Drake and the mottoesDivino auxilioabove andSic parvis magnabelowThe table is occupied by distinguished nobles, knights, and great officersamongst them, conspicuous, Howard of Effingham, Lord High Admiral; Leicester; Raleigh; Hatton, and others, principally those most against Spain, if not actually in the interest of the Freebooters, who fearlessly kept the Channel and guarded the coast, and who had maintained the right of Queen Elizabeth, even when her sister was on the throneOn the left, the Queen on a raised platform, with the great ladies of her court, seated at a tableSailors with a profusion of gold chains, jewels and foreign ornaments standing aboutYet showing their deference to their sovereign, as well as their high disciplineGreat cheeringCurtain rises, Drake comes forward with a large gold richly jewelled goblet filled with wine, which he presents to the Queen kneeling.

p. 66Queen.  Rise, Mr. Drake.  What would you say?

Drake.  On behalf of the crew of the “Golden Hind,” I would beg your Majesty’s acceptance of this cup, which is probably the most valuable ever designed for human lips—meet only for the Monarch, whose wisdom and genius have made her country respected and feared by the nations of the earth.  The goblet and the wine are the lawful prize of the valour of your men—taken on the great Pacific, whose waters quailed beneath the thunder of your guns.  Both have made the circuit of the globe, and thus been guided by Providence to the lips of His most favoured Queen.

Queen (bowing to the men).  I accept your precious gift, with thanks.

Drake.  My Liege!  I have another favour to ask—leave to propose a toast?

Queen.  You shall be king, sir, on your own deck, where you have so ably commanded—proceed!

Drake (turning to the company whilst his cup-bearer hands him a golden goblet) Ladies!  Lords!  Noble Englishmen, and you, brothers in arms, who in this little bark have never struck your flag to a foe, but have carried it at your main, through storm and battle, round the globe, fill your cups and stand.  (They fill their cups and stand, a little excited).  You have this day received an honour, which is a reward for all your difficulties and dangers.  Your Queen acknowledges our services, and condescends to be our guest.  This is no common event in the lives of men.  It is an era in the history of the world, which will be read, whilst one page of the great volume lasts (sensation).  We have amongst us, the chosen of Providence, who has covered herself and her country, with a glory which shall endure, till time shall be no more; the elected head of the new tower rising from the sea to rule the world—to send forth from England the law of commerce and civilisation.  (He turns to the Queen).  “For the abundance of the sea shall be converted to you.”  (Turning to the company).  Hers is not the sceptre of an Attila or a more cruel Philip, by the swords of armed men, steeped in the blood and tears of prostrate humanity.  The Trident of the Ocean is the wand of peace, which shall wave over freedom, prosperity, and law.  (Sensation).  The fortune of our great race may be chequered, but it shall never wane, till it has pushed its nations to the everlasting hills.  (Turning and extending his hand towards the Queen).  Behold the fountain, the well-head of our progress.  When tyranny shall oppress, and prosperity waver, England will look back with hope to her maiden Queen.  When her armies conquer, and her navies triumph, when her flag o’er sea and land shall sway the mighty and the free.  England will turn with pride to the origin of her power—The reign of her maiden Queen.  When the traitor in the council, or the coward in the field, shall betray his country, his honour, his faith, his God, England will fling aside the infamy and take courage from her maiden Queen.  When her empire shall gird the globe, with arts, science, commerce, and peace—When the elements themselves shall obey her, and flash from land to land, from sea to sea, her mandates of liberty and law, England will look to her maiden Queen as the starting point of it all.  (He looks around, and raising his goblet pronounces the toast).—The Queen!  God bless her!

All.  The Queen, God bless her.  Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah.

Tremendous cheering, taken up by the men on the river, and on the landThe sailors on the Golden Hind in great commotion and enthusiasm endeavour to rush forward to the QueenThe officers’ exert themselves to restrain themHoward, Leicester, and the great men gather round Drake, who is p. 67much affectedThe Queen is overcome with emotionLord Hunsdon, great chamberlain, who is standing beside her, comes forward.

Lord Hunsdon.  Silence, and order!  It is Her Majesty’s command that her poet shall commemorate the occasion?  (The poet comes forward with a paperCheers!)

Several Voices.  The Corsairs, song!  The Corsairs, song.


Oh!  We’re the boys of thunder!
   The Rovers of the main;
We’ll strike with awe and wonder
   The pride of tyrant Spain:
Her giant ships are lumber,
   Their aim is slavery—
We count not size or number—
   We’ll drive thorn from the sea!

Chorus.—Her Tars will fight for England,
   Till Death or Victory!
Nor French, nor Spaniard, here shall land!
   Hurrah!  Brave boys, Hurrah!

Proud Spain shall know we are the men
   Who boldly board the foe;
Who burn or plunder all we can,
   And others sink below.
We are to storm and battle bred,
   Our Island, as of yore,
The home where Freedom lifts her head;
   And rules from shore to shore!  Chorus.

Each Saxon and each Dane sire
   A sea-king was of old—
They left to us, their race, the fire
   Of soul, which made them bold;
Their Empire was the deep sea—
   It is our heritage,
Where we’ll neither yield nor flee!
   We’ll tame the tyrant’s rage!  Chorus.

p. 68Spain’s cruel Inquisition burns
   Our brethren whom they take,
But, the tide of death now turns
   The bark of gallant Drake,
For vengeance launched a rich town,
   Shall give to spoil and flame,
Nay more, a Spanish crew drown
   For every martyr’s name.  Chorus.

Proudest Admirals shall quail
   Before thy genius, Drake,
And their lofty galleons sail
   As captives in thy wake;
Gold and gems, for Idols meant,
   In heaps thy bark shall load—
And be to England’s Queen sent,
   Price of her seamen’s blood.  Chorus.

Drake! heroic name of fear!
   With England’s flag unfurled,
Startled every Spaniard’s ear,
   As first he round the world;
His bold untrodden course stood,
   Eternal fame to build,
And his country, great and good,
   With joy and wealth he filled!  Chorus.

On wild Panama he stood,
   And from its palm-clad height,
Gazed on broad Pacific’s flood,
   So calm in golden light—
Thence his fancy strayed abroad,
   Dreaming of wonders there,
Then he turned his thoughts to God
   And poured his soul in prayer.  Chorus

Be mine, Lord, the favoured keel
   To cross that unknown waste;
And that, through my country’s weal,
   Benighted man be blessed:
Not with gold alone for freight—
   Nor yet to fight for fame;
To belt the globe with holy light,
   The Glory of Thy Name!  Chorus.

My ship with the glittering ore
   Carries more precious load,
The Bible, which ne’er before
   Hath journeyed o’er that flood:
Let me, in Thy Name, first bear
   The message of Thy Peace,
“Woe! down-trodden dry thy tear,
   Thy rod oppression cease.”  Chorus.

p. 69England is the Bible’s land,
   The Guardian of The Word!
True to trust she safe shall stand—
   More safe than by the Sword!
By Thee elected let her fill
   Her mission o’er the wave,
Just and faithful!  Be it still,
   The lost to seek and save.  Chorus.

Oh!  Freedom’s is the Ocean!
   Our Island is its Queen!
The billows pay devotion,
   Around her robed in green:
No Despot shall his flag wave
   Upon its chainless roll!
Ocean loves the Free and Brave!
   ’Tis Ours from Pole to PoleChorus.

The chorus is taken up by all present, especially the sailorsAt the conclusion of the song, much excitement and enthusiasm with confusion among the sailors, subdued with difficulty by the officersThe Queen rises.

Queen (with much emotion).  Brave men!  My heart is too full for speech—But even did my feelings permit, what words could measure the daring of your souls, or the greatness of your achievements.  You have filled the world with wonder, like the Demigods of fable.  Your country and eternal fame can alone requite you—You have my heart, my love!  I thank you, and drink to all your healths.  (Great cheering, the Queen comes forwardEfforts are made by Drake and the leading men to restore order.)

Drake (going among the sailors).  The Queen, men!  The Queen, men, silence in the ship.  (Order is restored).

Queen.  I have now another duty to perform, which though done to one will through him extend to all.  Francis Drake, Come forward.  (Drake advances).  Your sword, sir!  (He presents his sword, of enormous value, ornamented with gold and precious stonesThe Queen gazes on it with wonder).  (Aside) Spanish!  Like everything around, it speaks of triumph.  This little deck exhales an influence, ’tis holy ground to me.  An atmosphere of conquest breathes around me—I feel the power (flourishing the sword).  Kneel sir.  Francis Drake; you have accomplished deeds of deathless renown, which have thrown over your country a halo of glory and power.  You have taught her foes to dread her, your country; that her valour can achieve the conquest of the world: and that the trident of the ocean of right belongs to England.  (She strikes him with the sword).  Rise, Sir Francis Drake, pursue the path of Knighthood and virtue, till you reach the destined goal of your own and England’s greatness.  (She extends her hand to him to kiss, Garter King-at-Arms comes forward and presents a large Escutcheon with a ship on the globe emblazoned on itLord Howard of Effingham, Leicester, Raleigh, and others press round to congratulate him, amid the cheers of the sailors).