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and the sorrows of eighteen years' captivity, had robbed her of the beauty for which she had been so remarkable; but she preserved to the last her graceful and majestic demeanour, and none could see without grief and pity the sad ending of a life which might have been so honourable and happy.

When the executioner held up the head, and the customary words were pronounced, "So perish all Queen Elizabeth's enemies!" few of the spectators could stifle their tears and sighs sufficiently to say Amen.




(From 1587 to 1588.)

FOR some years before the execution of the Queen of Scots, Philip of Spain had been making immense preparations of ships, arms, and warlike stores of all kinds. He said that these vast preparations were intended for the war in the Netherlands, and the protection of his American colonies; but no one believed him-for it was very well known that his heart was set upon the conquest of England. There were 130 magnificent war-ships, which carried a numerous army of soldiers and sailors, and were attended by a fleet of transports laden with the arms and tools necessary for sieges and battles on land, and also with abundance of whips, fetters, thumbscrews, and other instruments of torture, with which to punish and convert the heretic English.



Another army, under command of the Duke of Parma, Philip's greatest general, waited in the Netherlands, ready to set sail when the time should come. But now the Hollanders returned the good offices of Queen Elizabeth: they blocked up the ports of the Netherlands with their ships, and Parma and his army waited in vain.

The first thing done by the queen, when she heard of the danger which threatened her kingdom, was to send Drake to the coast of Spain, with thirty ships. With these he contrived to destroy one hundred vessels laden with stores of war, and also to intercept and capture one of Philip's largest treasureships. Then he came home merrily, saying, he had

singed the King of Spain's beard." He had, in fact, done him so much mischief, that the sailing of the expedition was delayed a whole year. But in the summer of 1588 all was ready. The Spaniards called their armament "The Invincible Armada," for they felt certain of victory. "One battle on sea," said they, "and one on land, and the country is ours." They forgot that "the battle is not " always "to the strong."

In England, prayers were offered in every parish for the Divine help; and the brave spirit of the nation rose the higher in presence of the great danger. All came forward, high and low, rich and poor: some brought money, others gave their ships, thousands of every rank volunteered to serve anywhere, on sea or on shore; not only Protestants but Roman Catholics also, for they did not like Philip, though they were of his religion. Eighty thousand men were soon in arms for the defence of their own native England.


One third of this force was encamped at Tilbury, near Gravesend, to prevent the Spaniards from advancing upon London. There the queen joined them.

Elizabeth was growing old, but she retained all the vigour and spirit of her youth. Arrayed in armour, she rode on horseback between the lines, and told her soldiers that she had come among them, not for her recreation and disport, but to live or die amongst them. "I have resolved," continued she," to lay down for God, my kingdom and my people, my honour and my blood even in the dust. I know I have the body but of a weak and feeble woman, but I have the heart of a king, and of a King of England too, and think foul scorn that Parma, or Spain, or any prince of Europe should dare to invade the borders of my realm." Shouts of loyal affection rent the air as the queen's voice died away. "Who would not fight for such a queen?" said the soldiers one to another.

The fleet was placed under the command of Lord Howard of Effingham, and with him were Drake and Frobisher and Hawkins, and many more famous seamen. Watch was kept night and day along the coast, and barrels of tar raised on tall poles were placed on all the loftiest hills, ready to be kindled so soon as the first glimpse of the Spanish fleet appeared. On the 20th of July, it was descried, sailing slowly down the Channel in form of a half-moon, the ships showing like castles, they were so strong and tall. Then the tar-barrels were lighted on the highlands of Cornwall and Devon, and as the flames flew from height to height through all England, the people knew that their great enemy was come at last.



On the 21st, the attack began, and the Spaniards were surprised and alarmed to see how much more easily and swiftly the English ships were worked than their own. The very size of the Spanish vessels rendered them almost unmanageable in our narrow seas and they soon ran foul of one another. For eighteen days the Spanish admiral, Medina Sidonia, kept slowly on his way eastward; and all that time there were perpetual small fights, the Englishmen hovering about him, and attacking his fleet whenever they could find an opportunity. In this way they had already damaged, sunk, or taken several vessels, and among them a ship which contained a large cargo of instruments of torture. It hardly needed this to inflame the courage of the people, but if anything had been wanting to make them fight to the death in defence of their homes and their churches, the sight of this cargo would have supplied it.

On the 8th of August, the battle between the fleets became general, and lasted the whole day. The English were entirely victorious. Their enemies lost all hope of conquering England for this time; the only care of Medina Sidonia was to get safely back to Spain with the remainder of his ships. But there was no returning by the way he had come; Dutch ships as well as English covered all the Channel, so the Spanish admiral resolved to go round by the north of Scotland. A more terrible foe awaited him there an awful tempest, which sunk some of his ships at once, drove others on the rocks of Norway, where they were broken to pieces, and wrecked about fifty on the Hebrides, and the coasts of Ireland and Scotland. Of all the grand Armada

which had sailed triumphantly from the ports of Spain four months before, hardly one vessel returned uninjured, and the greater number had been utterly destroyed. The mourning in Spain was universal. In England, one voice of joy and thanksgiving rang through all the land.




(From 1588 to 1603.)

PHILIP still hoped to conquer England by attacking it from Ireland. A large number of the Irish were always in rebellion against the English government, and were ready and eager to join the Spaniards. A fine fleet and army were prepared, but they had hardly left the ports of Spain, when it pleased God once more to let the winds and waves fight for England: an awful storm shattered the fleet, and the expedition came to an end.

Another time Elizabeth prevented Philip's designs by sending Lords Howard and Essex to attack his great naval port, Cadiz, and to burn the ships collected there. At last, Philip the Second died: his son, Philip the Third, succeeded him, and carried on the war with England, but Elizabeth used to say she could not feel any fear of a prince who had been twelve years learning his alphabet.

Ireland was the great care and grief of her latter

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