A helmsman clothed with the tempest, and girdled with strength to constrain the sea. And the host of them trembles and quails, caught


fast in his hand as a bird in the toils; For the wrath and the joy that fulfil him are mightier than man's, whom he slays and spoils.

And vainly, with heart divided in sunder, and labour of wavering will,

The lord of their host takes counsel with hope if haply their star shine still,

If haply some light be left them of chance to renew and redeem the fray;


But the will of the black south-wester is lord of the councils of war to-day.

One only spirit it quells not, a splendour undarkened of chance or time;

Be the praise of his foes with Oquendo for ever, a name as a star sublime.

But hear what aid in a hero's heart, what help in his hand may be?

For ever the dark wind whitens and blackens the hollows and heights of the sea,


And galley by galley, divided and desolate, founders; and none takes heed,

Nor foe nor friend, if they perish; forlorn, cast off in their uttermost need,

They sink in the whelm of the waters, as pebbles by children from shoreward hurled,

In the North Sea's waters that end not, nor know they a bourn but the bourn of the world. Past many a secure unavailable harbour, and many a loud stream's mouth,


Past Humber and Tees and Tyne and Tweed, they fly, scourged on from the south,

For the wind, of its godlike mercy, relents not, and hounds them ahead to the north,

With English hunters at heel, till now is the herd of them past the Forth,

All huddled and hurtled seaward; and now need none wage war upon these,

Nor huntsmen follow the quarry whose fall is the pastime sought of the seas.



13. scuppers. Holes in the bulwarks to let out water from the deck.

28. Oquendo. A brave young commander in the Spanish fleet. When the ships were drifting into shallow water off Calais, and all was confusion and panic, Sidonia sent for him to advise Señor Oquendo,' he exclaimed, 'what are we to do? We are lost!' Oquendo gave a brave man's answer: 'Let Diego Florez talk of being lost; let your Excellency bid me order up the cartridges.'



Francis Drake was first among the English to wrest from Spain the monopoly of the New World. In 1572 he sacked Nombre de Dios, on the isthmus of Panama, which he called 'the mouth of the Treasury of the World'. In 1577 he sailed on his voyage round the world in The Pelican, swooped down upon Chili and Peru, and took a great galleon with spoil of over half a million pounds in value. When in 1587 the Armada was nearly ready, Drake delayed it for a year by 'singeing the King of Spain's beard' - running into Cadiz and burning the store-ships there. In 1588 he was second in command of the fleet against the Armada.

[For a modern account of Drake see that by Mr. Julian Corbet (English Men of Action' Series.) A contemporary account of his voyage may be read in Hakluyt.]

DRAKE he's in his hammock an' a thousand mile


(Capten, art tha sleepin' there below?)

Slung atween the round shot in Nombre Dios Bay,
An' dreamin' arl the time o' Plymouth Hoe.
Yarnder lumes the Island, yarnder lie the ships,
Wi' sailor lads a-dancin' heel-an'-toe,

An' the shore-lights flashin', an' the night-tide dashin',
He sees et arl so plainly as he saw et long ago.


Drake he was a Devon man, an' ruled the Devon seas,
(Capten, art tha sleepin' there below?)
Rovin' tho' his death fell, he went wi' heart at ease,
An' dreamin' arl the time o' Plymouth Hoe.
Take my drum to England, hang et by the shore,
Strike et when your powder's runnin' low;
If the Dons sight Devon, I'll quit the port o' Heaven,
An' drum them up the Channel as we drummed
them long ago.'


Drake he's in his hammock till the great Armadas come,

(Capten, art tha sleepin' there below?)


Slung atween the round shot, listenin' for the drum,
An' dreamin' arl the time o' Plymouth Hoe.
Call him on the deep sea, call him up the Sound,
Call him when ye sail to meet the foe;
Where the old trade's plyin' an' the old flag flyin'
They shall find him ware an' wakin', as they found
him long ago!


13. my drum. Drake's drum is still preserved at Buckland Abbey.



This poem was written about 1607, when the first permanent colony was founded at Jamestown.

You brave heroic minds

Worthy your country's name,
That honour still pursue;

Go and subdue!

Whilst loitering hinds

Lurk here at home with shame.

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Britons, you stay too long:
Quickly aboard bestow you,
And with a merry gale
Swell your stretch'd sail
With vows as strong

As the winds that blow you

Your course securely steer,

West and by south forth keep!
Rocks, lee-shores, nor shoals
When Eolus scowls

You need not fear;

So absolute the deep.

And cheerfully at sea
Success you still entice

To get the pearl and gold,
And ours to hold

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The cypress, pine,

And useful sassafras.

To whom the Golden Age

Still nature's laws doth give,
No other cares attend,

But them to defend

From winter's rage,

That long there doth not live.








When as the luscious smell

Of that delicious land

Above the seas that flows
The clear wind throws,
Your hearts to swell
Approaching the dear strand;

In kenning of the shore
(Thanks to God first given)
O you the happiest men,
Be frolic then!

Let cannons roar,

Frighting the wide heaven.

And in regions far,

Such heroes bring ye forth

As those from whom we came;

And plant our name

Under that star

Not known unto our North.

And as there plenty grows
Of laurel everywhere-
Apollo's sacred tree-
You it may see

A poet's brows

To crown, that may sing there.

The Voyages attend,
Industrious Hakluyt,

Whose reading shall inflame
Men to seek fame,

And much commend

To after times thy wit.

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16. Eolus. The god of the winds.

36. sassafras. A medicinal plant of the laurel species, found

in North America.

59. that star. As one goes south, new stars become visible,

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