Elizabethan Sea Dogs eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 190 pages of information about Elizabethan Sea Dogs.
jewels for adornment; the wonders of the Lord in the deep for all instruction; multiplicity of nature for contemplation; to the thirsty Earth fertile moisture; to distant friends pleasant meeting; to weary persons delightful refreshing; to studious minds a map of knowledge, a school of prayer, meditation, devotion, and sobriety; refuge to the distressed, portage to the merchant, customs to the prince, passage to the traveller; springs, lakes, and rivers to the Earth.  It hath tempests and calms to chastise sinners and exercise the faith of seamen; manifold affections to stupefy the subtlest philosopher, maintaineth (as in Our Island) a wall of defence and watery garrison to guard the state.  It entertains the Sun with vapors, the Stars with a natural looking-glass, the sky with clouds, the air with temperateness, the soil with suppleness, the rivers with tides, the hills with moisture, the valleys with fertility.  But why should I longer detain you?  The Sea yields action to the body, meditation to the mind, and the World to the World, by this art of arts—­Navigation.

Well might this pious Englishman, the Reverend Samuel Purchas, exclaim with David:  Thy ways are in the Sea, and Thy paths in the great waters, and Thy footsteps are not known.

The poets sang of Drake and England, too.  Could his ’Encompassment of All the Worlde’ be more happily admired than in these four short lines: 

   The Stars of Heaven would thee proclaim
     If men here silent were. 
   The Sun himself could not forget
     His fellow traveller.

What wonder that after Nombre de Dios and the Pacific, the West Indies and the Spanish Main, Cadiz and the Armada, what wonder, after this, that Shakespeare, English to the core, rings out:—­

   This royal throne of kings, this sceptred isle,
   This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,
   This other Eden, demi-paradise;
   This fortress built by nature for herself
   Against infection and the hand of war;
   This happy breed of men, this little world;
   This precious stone set in the silver sea,
   Which serves it in the office of a wall,
   Or as a moat defensive to a house,
   Against the envy of less happy lands: 
   This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England.

* * * * *

   This England never did, nor never shall,
   Lie at the proud foot of a conqueror,
   But when it first did help to wound itself. 
   Now these her princes are come home again,
   Come the three corners of the world in arms
   And we shall shock them.  Nought shall make us rue,
   If England to herself do rest but true.



Conquerors first, prospectors second, then the pioneers:  that is the order of those by whom America was opened up for English-speaking people.  No Elizabethan colonies took root.  Therefore the age of Elizabethan sea-dogs was one of conquerors and prospectors, not one of pioneering colonists at all.

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Elizabethan Sea Dogs from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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