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TO THE MOST SERENE E,LIZABETH, QUEEN OF ENGLAND
The Spanish fleete did flote in narow seas,
And bend her ships against the English shore,
With so great rage as nothing could appease,
And with such strength as never seene before.
And all to joyne the kingdom of that land, 5
Unto the kingdoms that he had in hand.
Now if you aske what set this king on fire
To practise warre when he of peace did treat,
It was his pride, and never quencht desire,
To spoile that islands wealth, by peace made great, 10
His pride, which farre above the heavens did swell,
And his desire, as unsuffic’d as Hell.
But well have winds his proud blasts overblown
And swelling waves alaid his swelling heart,
Well hath the sea with greedie gulfs unknown, 15
Devoured the devourer to his smart,
And made his ships a praie unto the sand
That meant to praie upon anothers land.
And now, o queene above al others blest,
For whom both windes and waves are prest to fight, 20
So rule your owne, so succour friends opprest,
(As farre from pride, as ready to do right),
That England you, you England long enjoy,
No lesse your friends delight, then foes annoy.
ON THE SPANISH FLEET, DEFEATED BY THE ENGLISH
Why this dark look to the sea? Why such great storms, and foam, teeming with red rather than blue? Now the Spanish army is sunk in the vast ocean, the water can barely contain them. Thus Pharaoh, hunting for the sacred band of Moses, was made food for the fish of the Red Sea. Both were foes of God and His sacred people, the one mighty with his many chariots, the other with his ships. The chariots and the ships were overcome by the same ruin, so that pure water could cure them of their thirst for blood; and, since both were aggressors, the wrath of an angry God denied them a homecoming. But why did the Spaniard, a-boil with his seething passion, seek out the north and its shores, white with snow? This was by God’s command, so that with its chill waters the north might quench his thirst to gain the whole world. Indeed in his ardor he was met in mid-sea by the no less ardent Drake, the one afire with love of protecting his nation, the other wholly athirst for English wealth. Thus, you avenging flames, you overcame those flames of greed, and God was victorious thanks to flames as well as water. Thus the Spaniard, greedy to subdue the world’s other nations, subjected his proud neck to the yoke of the English, and he who scorned the rest of mankind has become a byword, he who in life sought that which belonged to others now seeks out the depths of the sea.
HYMN OF TRIUMPH, 1588
What wing, swifter than any bird, will snatch me up , bearing me through heaven’s lofty tracts and setting me safely in the remote lands of the English,
So that I may see you, happy queen, and your festive cities, now that the ships have been shattered on shores and your enemies, who were preparing your doom, have been destroyed?
Alas, alas, how many deaths was the fierce Spanish soldier devising for your Englishmen, when he proudly flew across the vast sea with his terrible fleet!
With no greater number of galleys did the arrogant King of Persia pave a road to Greek shores, when Neptune, threatening a bridle, wanted to dictate laws to the Hellenes.
No greater number of sailors did the shores of Actium witness, when Augustus, having gained Pharia, employed the power of his empire to defeat the Egyptian cohorts.
Divine lady who rules rich England, may the grace of our kindly God preserve you, your protection, your reliable guardian and bulwark against adversity,
Because, sad and squalid, with your hand outstretched in supplication and your face drenched with many tears, and in the company of your fasting people, you appeased God with your prayers when He was threatening you with ruination.
What can be accomplished by true religion when armed by pious devotions, what can be accomplished by the power of prayer, this is attested by the sea, running red with the blood of dead Spaniards.
This is attested by the bodies strewn over the water, the astonishing hulks of their ships, and the noble treasures of their leaders that have been taken. Now the fury of those impotent men is subdued.
The youth of England, made mighty by these auspices, raged with an irresistible onslaught, and in the frenzy of a holy war it overthrew the menacing pride of the fleet.
Bending to their oars they harassed them, as a hawk does the gentle doves, chasing after men whose hasty sure flight over the unsure sea robbed of the triumphs they regarded as their due.
Thus the race devoted to God, fighting more fiercely, once put to flight and defeated their impious enemies, when faithful Moses outstretched his prayerful hands to the skies.
Your majesty, you are well considered and always conduct yourself as inferior to the God of true wisdom. You shall prevail and always wield a scepter that is an object of fear to all your enemies.
For the everlasting Ruler of the world fights on your side, He who smites raging madmen and checks mad power, devising every manner of crime in its mind.
He regards you with His kindly eye and keeps you safe. He keeps wakeful watch and, exposing the authors of treachery bringing hidden conspiracies to light,
Belonging those madmen by whose means the vain malice of Papists attacks and vexes you, a gang sworn to destroy all true Christians.
Now, Won over by gold, an artist of crime is preparing to mix poisons for your royal banquets and to murder you, unless the protection of Christ rescues your pious person from this deceit.
Now the Jesuits are striving to use domestic sedition to destroy the Englishman’s nurturing peace, and are attempting to deprive you of your legitimate rule,
And a man is captivated by the promise of a great reward boldly to break into the august threshold of your sacred home and attack your body with drawn sword.
By this art died the Prince of Orange: with him their champion, the sturdy Belgians broke their harsh chains, when the Spanish tyrant had commanded that their rights be violated,
Breaking his sworn pacts to that nation. These things are demonstrated by treacherous Rome, which decrees that its faith and pledge given to Christians should be violated by a new deceit.
Alas, Rome, now that the peace has been broken, why do you, more savage than a tiger, seek to send the warlike English under a Spanish yoke, and trouble Elizabeth’s innocent person?
This woman, beloved to heaven, who chooses to obey the teachings of Christ, and to whose heart is virtue and ardent piety are dear, makes these profane bishops burn.
She makes them burn because she offers consolation to men whom bloody torments have compelled to leave their sweet homeland, and with her kindly hospitality refreshes men who follow Christ;
Because in her faith she is giving strength to congregations of the pious with intrepid support, and, being mighty in war, she is taking pity and healing the lengthy sufferings of the Belgians;
Because in her ardor she is contriving to spread the bright lights of fair truth throughout the world and put to rout the hateful darkness of Hell’s deceit.
Oh England, now thrice-happy and more for being governed by such a famed sovereign, now yet nobler because you have triumphed over the Spaniards’ haughty captains!
Now, now, you Englishmen, is the time to praise your heavenly Father. Now, you market-places, streets and churches hymn with perpetual song the divine favors you have received,
Celebrate as a holiday, which will ever smile with praise down through the returning years, and honor in your memorial calendars, this day which routed the mighty Spanish.
And it is right to cheer with a friendly hubbub those sustained by the foresightful care of Christ when He shattered His enemies, when the grim throng of that criminal nation perished.
And let every nation, aware of the divine light that spreads throughout the world and worships our heavenly Father, join in praying with united hearts
That such a great queen, safe from all her enemies and prolonging the time of her happy life, will govern the ancient English with fair laws;
That the noble line of her successors may grow with bright praise; that she be no less than her predecessors; that the Lord of Hosts may enhance her with proud triumphs;
And that, ever growing stronger, she may restrain the impious wrath of the Giants, when the treacherous rage of this damaged crew stirs up dire wars.