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Philip II. of Spain fitted out an immense fleet for the invasion of England, which sailed from Lisbon, May 29th, 1588. It consisted of 130 vessels, and, besides the crews of the different ships, contained not less than 20,000 troops, with 2431 pieces of artillery, and 4575 quintals of powder. The Spaniards, in the confidence of success, previous to its departure, had given to their fleet the name of the Invincible Armada. The Duke of Medina Sidonia took the command of the whole. The beginning of the enterprise was unfavourable. A storm took the fleet as it rounded Cape Finisterre, in consequence of which the admiral, after losing several of his vessels, was forced to withdraw for the purpose of repair, into the harbour of Corunna. He then set sail for Plymouth, when Howard, who had been informed of his approach, instantly put to sea. With his lighter and better managed ships he so harassed and destroyed the Spanish ships, that they sought shelter in Calais roads. He, however, fitted out six of his smaller pinnaces as fireships, and sent them adrift, when the Spaniards cut their cables in alarm, and fled in all directions. The discomfited Armada then endeavoured to make its way homeward, by a northern passage round the British isles. The British vessels still followed and did considerable damage, capturing several ships and crippling more. But that from which they suffered most was a storm of wind which overtook them after they had rounded the Orkneys. The whole fleet was dispersed; some of the ships were dashed to pieces on the coast of Norway; some sunk in the middle of the North Sea; and others were thrown upon the coasts of Ireland and Scotland and the Western Isles. The Duke de Medina arrived at Santander, in the Bay of Biscay, about the end of September, "with noe more than sixty sayle oute of his whole fleete, and these verye much shattered."

Attend, all ye who list to hear our noble England's praise:
I sing of the thrice famous deeds, she wrought in ancient days,
When that great fleet invincible, against her bore, in vain,
The richest spoils of Mexico, the stoutest hearts in Spain.
It was about the lovely close of a warm summer's day,
There came a gallant merchant ship, full sail to Plymouth
bay;

The crew had seen Castile's black fleet, beyond Aurigny's 2 isle,

At earliest twilight, on the waves, lie heaving many a mile. At sunrise she escaped their van, by God's especial grace; And the tall Pinta3, till the noon, had held her close in chase.

Forthwith a guard, at every gun, was placed along the wall; The beacon blazed upon the roof of Edgecombe's lofty hall4; Many a light fishing bark put out, to pry along the coast; And with loose rein, and bloody spur, rode inland many a post.

1 Quintal, a hundred pounds in weight.

Aurigny, the island of Alderney, in the English channel.

3 Pinta, a Spanish vessel of war built for fast sailing.

4 Mount Edgecombe House was built on Edgecombe Mount, a hill in Devonshire, opposite Plymouth harbour. A most extensive view is obtained from its summit.

With his white hair, unbonneted, the stout old sheriff comes; Behind him march the halberdiers1, before him sound the drums.

His yeomen, round the market cross, make clear an ample

space,

For there behoves him to set up the standard of her grace:
And haughtily the trumpets peal, and gaily dance the bells,
As slow, upon the labouring wind, the royal blazon swells.
Look how the lion of the sea lifts up his ancient crown,
And underneath his deadly paw treads the gay lilies down!
So stalk'd he when he turn'd to flight, on that famed Picard
field2,

Bohemia's plume, and Genoa's bow, and Cæsar's eagle shield 3:

So glared he when, at Agincourt, in wrath he turn'd to bay, And crush'd and torn, beneath his claws, the princely hunters

lay,

Ho! strike the flagstaff deep, sir knight, ho, scatter flowers, fair maids!

Ho, gunners! fire a loud salute! ho, gallants! draw your blades!

Thou, sun, shine on her joyously! ye breezes, waft her wide! Our glorious semper eadem! 5 the banner of our pride!

The freshening breeze of eve unfurl'd that banner's massy fold

The parting gleam of sunshine kiss'd that haughty scroll of gold.

Night sank upon the dusky beach, and on the purple sea; Such night in England ne'er had been, nor e'er again shall be. From Eddystone to Berwick bounds, from Lynn to Milford bay 7,

That time of slumber was as bright and busy as the day;

1 Halberdiers, those who carried halberts. These, in early times, were long poles, terminating with battle

axes.

2 Picard field, the battle of Cressy. Cressy is in the province of Picardy.

3 Bohemia's plume. The King of Bohemia fell in this battle. His crest, three ostrich feathers, with the motto "Ich Dien," "I serve," has since then been worn by the Prince of Wales.

The Genoese bow-men, consisting of 15,000 men, fought in front of the

French line; they were, however, dispersed by the English men-atarms.

+ Agincourt. This battle was gained by Henry V., Oct. 25. 1415.

5 Semper eadem, "always the same;" the motto of Queen Elizabeth.

6

Eddystone, in the English channel, about fourteen miles S.S.W. of Plymouth sound.

7 Lynn, in Norfolk: Milford Bay, in Pembrokeshire.

For swift to east, and swift to west, the warning radiance

spread

High on St. Michael's Mount it shone-it shone on Beachy

Head.1

Far o'er the deep, the Spaniard saw, along each southern shire,

Cape beyond cape, in endless range, those twinkling points of fire,

The fisher left his skiff to rock on Tamar's 2 glittering

waves,

The rugged miners pour'd to war, from Mendip's3 sunless

caves:

O'er Longleat's towers, o'er Cranbourne's oaks, the fiery herald flew

He roused the shepherds of Stonehenge-the rangers of Beaulieu.6

Right sharp and quick the bells all night rang out from Bristol town;

And, ere the day, three hundred horse had met on Clifton Down.7

The sentinel on Whitehall gate looked forth into the night, And saw, o'erhanging Richmond Hill, the streak of bloodred light.

Then bugle's note, and cannon's roar, the deathlike silence broke,

And with one start, and with one cry, the royal city woke; At once, on all her stately gates, arose the answering fires; At once the wild alarum clashed from all her reeling spires; From all the batteries of the Tower pealed loud the voice of fear,

And all the thousand masts of Thames sent back a louder

cheer:

1 Michael's Mount, in Mount's bay, Cornwall. At high tide it appears a completely insulated assemblage of rocks, rising to a considerable height; at low water it may be approached from the shore, by means of a kind of causeway of rock and sand. Beachey Head, on the coast of Sussex, between Hastings and Seaford.

2 Tamar. This river rises in the N. part of Cornwall; separates Cornwall from Devon, and forms the harbour of Homoaze, at Plymouth. 3 Mendip.

The Mendip Hills,

abounding in coal, copper, &c., are in the N.E. of Somersetshire.

4 Longleat, in Wiltshire. This was originally the princely domain of the Lord Viscount Weymouth. It now belongs to the Marquis of Bath.

5 Cranbourne, in Dorsetshire. Near the town is a fine chase, which in early times was an immense tract of unenclosed woodland.

6 Stonehenge, in Wiltshire: Beaulieu, New Forest, Southampton.

7 Clifton, in the county of Gloucester, about one mile west of Bristol.

And from the furthest wards was heard the rush of hurry

ing feet,

And the broad streams of flags and pikes rushed down each roaring street:

And broader still became the blaze, and louder still the din, As fast from every village round the horse came spurring in ; And eastward straight, from wild Blackheath', the warlike errand went;

And roused, in many an ancient hall, the gallant squires of Kent:

Southward, from Surrey's pleasant hills, flew those bright couriers forth;

High on black Hampstead's 2 swarthy moor, they started for the north;

And on, and on, without a pause, untired they bounded still; All night from tower to tower they sprang, all night from hill to hill;

Till the proud peak unfurled the flag o'er Derwent's rocky

dales;

Till, like volcanoes, flared to heaven the stormy hills of Wales; Till twelve fair counties saw the blaze on Malvern's 3 lonely

height;

Till streamed in crimson, on the wind, the Wrekin's crest of light:

Till, broad and fierce, the star came forth, on Ely's stately fane, And town and hamlet rose in arms, o'er all the boundless

plain :

Till Belvoir's lordly terraces the sign to Lincoln sent,

And Lincoln sped the message on, o'er the wide vale of Trent; Till Skiddaw7 saw the fire that burnt on Gaunt's embattled pile,

And the red glare on Skiddaw roused the burghers of Carlisle. 9

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Ye nymphs of Solyma1, begin the song:
To heavenly themes sublimer strains belong.
The mossy fountains and the sylvan shades,
The dreams of Pindus 2, and the Aonian maids,
Delight no more-O Thou my voice inspire,
Who touch'd Isaiah's hallow'd lips with fire!
Rapt into future times, the bard3 begun :—
A virgin shall conceive, a virgin bear a son!4
From Jesse's root 5 behold a branch arise,
Whose sacred flower with fragrance fills the skies;
The ethereal Spirit o'er its leaves shall move,
And on its top descends the mystic Dove.
Ye heavens!6 from high the dewy nectar pour,
And in soft silence shed the kindly shower!
The sick and weak the healing plant shall aid,
From storms a shelter, and from heat a shade.7

Solyma, the same as Salem, which is supposed to have been the ancient name of Jerusalem. - See Gen. xiv. 18.

Pindus, a mountain in Thessaly; Aonia, a district in Boeotia, both in Greece. They are celebrated as "haunts of the muses." Aonian maids, the Muses.

3 The bard, the prophet Isaiah. 4 "Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel."-Is. vii. 14.

5 "And in that day there shall be

a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people."-Is. xi. 10.

"And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots." Is. xi. 1.

6 "Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness."-Isa. xlv. 8.

7 "For thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, &c." -Isa. xxv. 4.; see also Isa. xxxii. 2.

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