Imatges de pàgina
PDF
EPUB

the minds of Mr. Hayes and others, they were persuaded that Sir Humfrey was keeping to himself some such discovery which he had secretly made, and they tried hard to extract it from him. They could make nothing, however, of his odd, ironical answers, and their sorrow at the catastrophe which followed is sadly blended with disappointment that Such a secret should have perished. Sir Humfrey doubtless saw America with other eyes than theirs, and gold-mines richer than California in its huge rivers and savannahs.

Leaving the issue of this good hope (about the gold) (continues Mr. Hayes) to God, who only knoweth the truth thereof, I will hasten to the end of this tragedy, which must be knit up in the person of our General, and as it was God's ordinance upon him, even so the vehement persuasion of his friends could nothing avail to divert him from his wilsul resolution of going in his frigate ; and when he was entreated by the captain, master, and others, his well-wishers in the “Hinde," not to venture, this was his answer, “I will not forsake my little company going homewards, with whom I have

passed so many storms and perils.”

Two-thirds of the way home they met foul weather and terrible scas, “breaking short and pyramid-wise.” Men who had all their lives “OCcupied the sea" had never seen it more outrageous. “We had also upon our mainyard an apparition of a little fier by night, which seamen do call Castor and Pollux.”

Monday, the ninth of September, in the afternoon, the frigate was near cast away oppressed by waves, but at that time recovered, and giving foșth signs of joy, the

General, sitting abast with a book in his hand, cried out unto us in the “ Hinde" so often as we did approach within hearing, “ We are as near to heaven by sea as by land,” reiterating the same speech, well beseeming a soldier resolute in Jesus Christ, as I can testify that he was. The same Monday night, about twelve of the clock, or not long after, the frigate being ahead of us in the “Golden Hinde,” suddenly her lights were out, whereof as it were in a moment we lost the sight; and withal our watch cried, “ The General was cast away," which was too true.

Thus faithfully (concludes Mr. Hayes, in some degree rising above himself) 1 have related this story, wherein some spark of the knight's virtues, though he be extinguished, may happily appear ; he remaining resolute to a purpose honest and godly as was this, to discover, possess, and reduce unto the service of God and Christian piety, those remote and heathen countries of America. Such is the infinite bounty of God, who from every evil deriveth good, that fruit may grow in time of our travelling in these North-western lands (as has it not grown ?), and the crosses, turmoils, and afflictions, both in the preparation and execution of the voyage, did correct the intemperate humours which before we noted to be in this gentleman, and made unsavoury and less delightsul his other manifold virtues.

Thus as he was refined and made nearer unto the image of God, so it pleased the Divine will to resume him unto Himself, whither both his and every other high and noble mind have always aspired.

Such was Sir Humfrey Gilbert; still in the prime of his years when the Atlantic swallowed him. Like the gleam of a landscape lit suddenly for a moment by the lightning, these few scenes flash down to us across the centuries : but what á life must that have been of which this was the

conclusion! We have glimpses of him a few years earlier, when he won his spurs in Ireland—won them by deeds which to us seem terrible in their ruthlessness, but which won the applause of Sir Henry Sidney as too high for praise or even reward. Chequered like all of us with lines of light and darkness, he was, nevertheless, one of a race which has ceased to be. We look round for them, and we can hardly believe that the same blood is flowing in our veins. Brave we may still be, and strong perhaps as they, but the high moral grace which made bravery and strength so beautiful is departed from us for ever.

7. A. Froude.

· NOTES.

I. The Song of the Western Men. 1. And shall Trelawney die? The lines

“ And shall Trelawney die ?

Here's twenty thousand Cornishmen

Will know the reason why,” are a popular proverb through Cornwall, and refer to the imprisonment by James II. of the Seven Bishops in 1687– one of them being Sir Jonathan Trelawney, Bishop of Bristol.

2. Michael's hold. St. Michael's Mount, near Land's End, is a steep rock some 200 feet high, which at high water is insulated. On it are a castle and the remains of a Norman fortress, and of a still older Benedictine monastery. The name of this stronghold is due to the superstition that some hermits once saw the apparition of St. Michael seated on a crag of the Mount. Milton refers to this in Lycidas, 161,

The great vision of the guarded Mount, and again, Spenser (Shepherd's Calendar, July),

St. Michael's Mount who does not know,
That wards the western coast?

II. A Corrobery. 1. The settlement: King George's Sound, at the S. W. corner of Australia. The extract is taken from a most interesting book, the “Journal of Researches into the Natural History and Geology of the Countries visited during the Voyage of H.M.S. Beagle round the World," by C. Darwin.

IV. Peter the Great. 1. Peter the Great: born 1672, became, with his brother Ivan, Czar of Russia 1682, and sole ruler in 1696. In 1698, he travelled in Holland and England; founded St. Petersburg in 1705; died 1725.

2. when his arrival in England was known. The visit of Peter created as much interest in England as that of the Shah of Persia in our own time. It was the visit of the ruler of an unknown and barbarous country, and his habits and tastes excited the liveliest curiosity. In Amsterdam Peter had worked for some weeks as a common ship-wright, had “ wielded with his own hand the caulking iron and the mallet, fixed the pumps and twisted the ropes."

Arriving in London Jan. 10, 1698, he took the house of John Evelyn, at Deptford, in order to be near the dock-yard. If the people in England were interested in hearing of his pursuits, of his shyness, and of his efforts to conceal his rank, they were astonished by the mixture of splendour and dirt that appeared in his attendants ; for gorgeously dressed, and glittering with jewels, their manners were “right nasty," as Evelyn's servant told his master.

3. Ivan the Terrible. The Czar Ivan or John iv., (A.D. 1533-1584), was a ruler whose cruelties and bursts of furious passion gained him the name of “the terrible," or rather of the awful.”

“His union of frantic excesses of wickedness with apparently sincere bursts of religious feeling, renders him perhaps the most remarkable instance which history furnishes of the combination of a total disregard of all the moral precepts of religion, with at least an occasional observance of its ceremonial and devotional duties. ... He retired sometimes for weeks together to a monastery which he had built for himself near Moscow. He rang the bell for matins himself at three in the morning. During the services, which lasted seven hours, he read, chanted, and prayed with such fervour that the marks of his prostrations remained on his forehead. At dinner, whilst his attendants sat like mutes, he read books of religious instruction. In the intervals he went to the dungeons under the monastery, to see with his own eyes his prisoners tortured, and always returned, it was observed, with a face beaming with delight.”Dean Stanley.

During his reign the first printing-press was established at Moscow.

4. The holy city : Moscow, “our holy mother, Moscow," is the name by which this city is caļlęd by Russian peasants,

« AnteriorContinua »