Saturday, July 26, 2008

Drake's Dash at Cadiz


On the 12th of April Drake had sailed from Plymouth; on the 19th he entered Cadiz harbor; on the 1st of May he passed out again without the loss of a boat or a man. He said in jest that he had singed the king of Spain's beard for him. In sober prose he had done the king of Spain an amount of damage which a million ducats and a year's labor would imperfectly replace. The daring rapidity of the enterprise astonished Spain and astonished Europe more than the storm of the West Indian towns. The English had long teeth, as Santa Cruz had told Philip's council, and the teeth would need drawing before mass would be heard again at Westminster.

The Spaniards were a gallant race, and a dashing exploit, though at their own expense, could be admired by the countrymen of Cervantes. "So praised," we read, "was Drake for his valor among them that they said if he was not a Lutheran there would not have been the like of him in the world." A court lady was invited by the king to join a party on a lake near Madrid. The lady replied that she dared not trust herself on the water with his majesty lest Sir Francis Drake should have her. — Anthony Froude in Longman's Magazine.

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