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
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
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.
RALEIGH AND THE VISION OF THE WEST
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.