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A POEM ABOUT ENGLAND’S MOST PEACEFUL AND
PROSPEROUS CONDITION UNDER THE
RULE OF THE RIGHT ROYAL
Wherein (together with other matters) the destruction of
the Spanish fleet and the wonderful subversion
of the Papists’ schemes and counsels are
set forth with goodly honesty
written by Christopher Ocland
There is no wisdom against the Lord
TO THOSE RIGHT ILLUSTRIOUS LORDS, EXCELLENT FOR
EVERY MANNER OF VIRTUE, THE MOST FAMOUS PEERS
OF ENGLAND WHO SIT ON THE PRIVY COUNCIL
OF OUR MOST SERENE QUEEN ELIZABETH,
DESERVING OF THE GREATEST HONOR,
I WISH PROSPERITY
Hail, lords, reverend for your hoary gravity, in whom shines true honor and glory. Our queen is like a noble house, as is all England, and you are the pillars of the nation and of this sacred house. The glory of pillars is a high house with its gleaming gold, and with her gold the Queen of England combines the virtues. Once upon I time I sang of the fostering peace of our august sovereign, but now I sing of the harsh wars of this divine, peace-loving victor, wars waged by a woman sitting on the throne, how a woman has defeated a bold man’s arms. Scan with your eyes all the world’s annals, Elizabeth has no equal on this earth. The protection of my Muse is entrusted to you, my lords: read this book with an unfurrowed brow.
THOMAS NEWTON OF CHESHIRE
Salmoneus with his lightning, the man of Tiryns with his club, the Trojan with his weapon, Pollux with his fists, Pelops with his axle, Hippones with his running, the man of Veii with his sword, the son of Philyra with his herbs, Lynceus with his eye, Castor with his horse, the man of Ismenia with his lyre, Zeuxis with his painting, Opheltes with his sails, Tiphys with his sailing, Herminus with his water, Phidias with his sculpture, Polyclitus with his statues, Arachne with her weaving, Automedon with his painted car, Hippolytus with his hunting, Misenus with his bugle, Ilerdes with his javelins, Praxiteles with his chisel—none of these was as excellent as are you with your song, whereby we learn that you have been a devotee of the Hyanthian choir. You have begun them with happy auspices, poet, and you must continue so that your work is completed with happy auspices. You alone are worthy of hymning Elisabeth forever, and our divine Elizabeth alone is worthy of your pen.
THE SECOND PART OF ELIZABETH, QUEEN OF ENGLAND
The impious Pope begrudged the English this happy peace, Elizabeth. He begrudged your holy head being encircled with a crown, your royal right over your people, and (oh the crime!) your enjoyment of this life, your majesty, and cruelly consigned your people to Orcus. No man is happy in all respects, leading his fragile life under the light of the sun, without sometimes suffering disease and grievous pains, and without feeling his mind beset by various tribulations. So that no such man would exist, with his eyes unfriendly to virtue’s beams, this brother of Allecto or the black Fury groaned as he looked on our happy affairs. When He lived on this earth Christ our Lord did not avoid the shafts of envy. The loftier a man is, the more excellent, or the closer he dwells to virtue as a friend of piety, the more exposed he is to envy’s maw, such as is wont to chew on innocent mortals with its biting fangs, feeding its bloodthirsty guts, unless our good Jehovah shatters those teeth.
A treacherous tongue railed against holy David, Shimei was able to hurl many an insult against the king: he was called a criminal, an adulterer, a sinful murderer. What thing even harsher than these did not that king unwillingly hear, he who had proclaimed that the Christ would be born of his seed at a foreordained time, and who was the darling of our thrice-great God? His son, his base offspring, was bent on despoiling David of this kingdom, acting treacherously against his holy father’s life, an ingrate, ready to take it by deceit. But God put a stop to his hostile strivings, this wicked child paid the forfeit, together with his accomplices.
Nor are you immune from the snares of the wicked, Elizabeth, or free to live out your years in security, as is right for sovereigns. Hence the savage traitor seeks your life, attempting to take you unawares by the sword with his gang of confederates. Such a subject deserves to be called a snake. Such as was that evil Parry, fed on Roman fodder, a cunning man who with his unclean mouth drank Rome’s poison mixed in with its milk. While he lived in foreign parts and saw the Pope brazenly forgiving sins, he believed that he was God, or that he possessed divine power and majesty (such was his ignorance of the truth), so that kings ought eagerly to obey his command, and he dared to call our queen a heretic and say that Albion was subject to a papal interdict, and that the government of England was bestowed by the Pope, so that it was prey to the first to snatch at it. Standing before the holy altars, he conceived a horrendous crime in his mind, that he should be the author of your violent death Elizabeth, placing your life in jeopardy together with the body of your realm, destined to suffer a similar downfall. This was his wish, such were his strange dreams of murder, and he fancied he would mount up to heaven alive. He recited the sins of his past life to a priest in the Confessional, he heard Mass and took the Eucharist, imagining himself to be pure when he was wholly unclean, confusing all things.
All delay seemed lengthy until his ship could feel the wind and he could return and set foot on his nation’s most secure shore. First he entered our sovereign’s court as a new guest, wearing a gown coming down to his ankles, a garment entirely made of linen, and the rest of his costume shone with great elegance as he spoke many grand things about kings and tetrarchs. He wormed his way into the companionship of grandees, and at length this Doctor Parry gained admission to the royal presence, saying many things in his pleasant way about what was being transacted in faraway Rome in the Pope’s dominion, the manners of men, the fair cities in various regions, the castles in the lofty Alps, and the healthful air of that region. And so he gained no common favor. And so he grew more confident about committing the crime he was cherishing in his heart. Now, boldly enough, he trailed after our sovereign, as the dire Devil urged him on to this foul deed. Then again, he would tremble in both hands, in his heart and his mind, as if the scourging God and His angel were before his eyes, and the baleful vengeance for all manner of crime, and suddenly he frantically came before the queen fearfully saying, “Oh pray pardon this suppliant. Pray grant me your forgiveness, oh brightest princess.”
The queen, astonished by the strangeness of the thing, said, “What? Put aside your fear and quickly give true answers to my questions.” Then he quaked and spoke from his false heart, “Patriotism, virtue, and reverence for you, oh mighty queen, compel me to tell the truth against my will. The Pope loathes your person, he loathes the glory of your reputation, and he loathes the English who love religion purified of its stain and today embrace the wholesome doctrines of Christ. He seeks to rob you all of the light of day, and wants you all to be done in by a cruel death. The Bishop of Rome does not consider you members of the Christian flock, and so he marks you down for the sacrificial altar, placing on your heads the bounty of a goodly sum of gold. And, your majesty, so that the man who deals you the mortal blow will be greatly enhanced in honor, the Pope says he may go scot-free with no blemish of sin. And he wanted me to drink deeply of your blood, promising this would make me a great man of enduring fame, and moreover the Bishop of Rome said I shall gain a foremost place among the Saints of heaven. But let me be sent to dark Tartarus and let the earth swallow me alive, before I pluck a golden hair from your gentle head. For your majesty, your face, your lovely expression and royal demeanor could check savage lions and bears lest they attack the reverend limbs of your body or want to rend your sacred garment. I have confessed what I know. Awesome sovereign, forgive me.”
He spoke, and the queen, undaunted by his words, praised his nature and showed her approval of his loyalty (alas, for it is never safe to trust a worthless fellow), because as he had humbly spoken of what lay hidden in his heart, so that the bold traitor saw she had no suspicion of fraud. Gaining the help of a certain man named Neville, he persisted in his scheme to murder the queen, and urged the ways, the means, and the proper time for her to fall by the stroke of his weapon. Although he used these words to buck up his courage, nevertheless this soldier, girded for every manner of killing and thirsty for blood (the normal custom in war), was heartsick with horror at the enormity of the crimes. And Neville, who had promised his help and assistance, had no rest or deep sleep: he dropped everything else and hastened to reveal the scheme they had hatched, and soon was telling the tale to the Privy Council, and revealing Parry’s plan. Then the traitor was taken and shut up in the Tower of London, exclaiming that he was a subject unworthy of enjoying the light of day. As the law dictated, he was bound, and suffered his punishment, justly condemned to death lest the land of England nourish such plaguey fellows. Let it be credited only to the power of God Almighty, Elizabeth, that you thus eluded your enemy. With a thrice-happy countenance, England, rejoice that the Almighty has rendered you safe, your enemy stricken down.
Oh, the hideous crime! After a thick hailstorm, the serene sky usually shows a clear face, and Phoebus is wont to broadcast his golden beams. This was not so for the land of the Brutus-born. While one rascal was dying in accordance with his just deserts, England saw ten more arise, their hearts corrupted by murderous poison. Legend has it that when the Lyrnaean Hydra of olden times had one head destroyed by Hercules’ club, it would grow more thanks to the injury and acquire redoubled strength. What were you thinking, impious Babington, at what were your cruel fellow-conspirators aiming? Why did it enter your heads to despoil the undoubted heir of this realm of her crown? To destroy the English nation, the land of your birth, your nation and its homes? Oh savage monstrosities of men, with hearts of flint, forever infamous, a gang everywhere accursed! Oh you dregs of patricides, baleful offspring poured forth from the Fury’s unclean mouth, treason hidden in the dense darkness of the bosom of night, you lurked unseen until someone plucked you out of your pit with your hooked talons!
The noble Lord Hatton, ever to be remembered, adorned by many a virtue, earned eternal glory and honor for having searched this evil wrapped in darkest night, so that a statue should be erected for him in the open marketplace. Have you dared touch your mistress, beloved to the Lord, with your unclean steel, your sovereign’s sacred person with your sword? Why does the earth not open up and swallow such men? Why does the sun give them its light, the earth its food? They deserve to be consigned to the jaws of Orcus, together with their supporters. No sufficiently harsh punishment can be inflicted on them. This was the God’s work, so that the evil conspiracy might suddenly emerge in broad daylight and stand revealed, so that it would pay its penalties, and so that the queen might be rid of her cruel enemy, with murder’s felonious fire having been quenched. This was God’s work, not that of any human power, the strength of intellect, or our sovereign’s brave arms. For we cleave to the faithful life, which by its piety adorns Christians with manners worthy of Christ. If God’s wrath is aroused, He will be slow in inflicting punishment, but strike His people with all the heavier a scourge. England, with a groan I beg you to repent, and may our great God’s wing always protect you.
The gallows seemed harsh and excessively cruel to you, Elizabeth (and no wonder!), but your royal mind was more troubled that Englishmen were hatching murderous schemes. There was a crew of eighteen of your people, a malign crew, urged to this crime by the dire Pope’s madness. Alas, virgin beloved to God, do not grow downcast. Jehovah reveals Himself to those who love Him by having all things turn out to be best, and is mild in chastising the man whom He loves, so that, being warned, he may learn to change himself, by showing him the way in the daylight. But when dark night comes, then no man can be helped, the remedy is prepared to late when the hour of rescue has gone by. Let this great affliction affecting our bodies grant us to know God, to worship Him aright, to fear Him. When anxious care afflicts one’s mind, or when the pain of a sick body so so great and rages with its keen barbs that sleep is banished, just as the pleasure of soft flesh is put to rout, and the pain allows no rest. Then the sad man freely takes refuge at God’s altars, asking for help and saying, “Why art thou cast down, o my soul? And why art thou disquieted in me?” And he hears, “Hope thou in God. For I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.”
Thus far, Elizabeth, it has been God’s great gift, and a sign of His true love for you, that you have escaped domestic dangers. Have sure confidence, my sovereign, since Jehovah will preserve you unscathed, as He has before, and set you above the stars. Just continue to defend true Christians and to put to rout the shadows the darkness which the enemy of Christ has long imposed on this blind world, as you zealously do. Continue to introduce the right worship of our divine God, so the Church, troubled by long-standing errors, may scour away its blemish and regain its old–time splendor, the helm of its ship having been wrenched from the Pope’s control, and so that, the shadows everywhere banished, the nourishing light of the Gospel may spread itself through all Europe, where the death-dealing fire and flame spread in all its towns by the Pope has drowned out Christ’s words with its roaring funeral-pyres. And so, English virgin, your famed glory shines forth in faraway lands, your glory is published beyond the Ganges and the Ethiopians, white only in their teeth. With unfurrowed brow the great Sultan of Turkey reads your books, sent him as royal gifts.
Oh would the Pope, who stored away those same books in his archives, would search out their meaning and understand their written words, so that for one he would cease to wax mad with a healthy brain, and rejoice to be just another minister in holy orders! Alas, alas, this Roman Caiphas slaughters the sheep, he kills the tender lambs. If anyone should dare reprehend him for his pride and show how he has wantonly erred, seducing his people from the grassy path of righteousness, the Pope employs his hateful fires to turn him into thin air, burning his bones together with his tender flesh. Furthermore, he exercise government over kings throughout the world, with his haughty mouth arrogantly commanding this to be done and that not to be done, acting outside the law by forbidden arts, by force and fraud, having deceitfully gained his seat on the papal throne. He even wants to be considered a second god on earth, pardoning sins (for a price) for unclean fellows who are not gnawed by repentance. And he sought to do something which that fox, well-instructed in his lucrative art, could not achieve, namely that the sovereign of our realm would be treacherously put to the sword by atrocious Englishman, while he, far away from here in Rome, would be considered a holy man, as if he had a clean conscience, and he clearly strove to do this with might and main. Then he openly took up arms, making league with the Spanish, the French, and the men sent by fair Flanders, rich in wealth, and armed them with weapons against the Queen of England, and he covered his guilt under the name of the Holy League.
This was a sudden and novel inversion of things and a strange metamorphosis, so that by a strange exchange of names the holy man was called impious and the impious man holy. Does this conspiracy want to assume the false face of a Holy League, for the spilling of Christian blood in a mad war, for the commission of rape, murder, arson and theft, for the violent stealing of cattle and the wasting of all things, things which the sinful will of war brings under an unlucky star? This man is a servant of servants? Wearing the great guise of a god, waging wars against servants undeserving of such scourges, with his arms he terrifies heaven and earth.
Report has it that the Spanish king, grown great by his successes, having fought everywhere in the world for many a year, proclaimed that in this war his object was not to win glory or gain a trophy from his defeated enemy. Rather, the Queen of England was to be removed from her throne root and branch, and that the people and their Lords, mothers and their babes, would die at swordpoint to the last man. This intention pleased the King of Spain, so that after this war the English land would receive new settlers, and he would govern as sole master there where the rising sun sheds its rays on the Indies and changes the Ethiopians’ color with its heat, and where wealthy America hides the setting sun in its bosom during the dark time of night, until in its rushing travel it returns to the far-distant climes of Aurora, in both of which places the rich earth boasts of its mines of silver and gold.
While Alexander the Great burned with the desire to have all realms subject to his government, this noble king died in a famous city, the single most powerful sovereign among kings, departing this world in the first flower of his youth. Yet he did not lawfully bequeath to his heir what he had conquered in war at the cost of much bloodshed. His empire was torn apart for the advantage of many men, this general came to control this realm, but another gained that one with the support of his troops. Borne on deadly wings, a third swooped down on these as his prey, as if ruling were the greatest pleasure, the supreme good, the pinnacle of worldly glory. And so the individual realms that one man had subjected to his harsh yoke and swayed by his will passed to various kings born of noble Greek stock: what had been gained in fierce warfare over nine whole years was dissolved in a single short hour. Learn, you kings of this earth, how the glory of this world passes by on quick feet, like a light shadow. But neither these considerations, nor further examples, restrained the King of Spain, who was driven in the opposite direction by blind love of vengeance and the greed that urged him on. And when he hesitated, the Pope, yet more savage, encourage him, asserting that serving the Almighty in this way would be an act of piety, if somebody would take up arms and use the drawn sword to kill off the hateful English: the Brutus-born were dissenting in matters of religion, they did not acknowledge Rome as their mother, and therefore no penalty would be too harsh for those heretics, great punishment needed to be inflicted on this criminal nation, their name should be obliterated throughout the world.
The Holy League found this opinion to its liking and, behold, spacious Europe was scoured for a skilled throng of shipwrights: they would not not be lacking a salary of tawny gold or silver, if only they would build ships of excellent form, massive vessels the size of mountains which could rake the sky with their masts and have ster castles as high as lofty ash trees The Spanish fleet boasted one hundred and thirty ships, all armed, the greater part having a burden of a thousand tuns. The other part carried a load of men and waggons in their hollow bellies, and few of them were of light weight. The savage enemy numbered twenty-eight thousand, comprised of soldiers, captains, sergeants, corporals, sailors and helmsmen. Each ship had fifty bronze guns, called cannon in the vulgar tongue. Their power, derived from a powder of nitre, with an admixture of lively sulfur, surpassed great belief, and (wondrous to tell) this great machinery of war, such as the Pope and his allies introduced in our world, was previously unheard-of. Everything was full of frightful horror: a kind of ship invincible in naval warfare, and a Spanish fleet wonderfully teeming with arms, noble captains, sailors, and disciplined soldiers. On every side it was protected by a throng of handsome pinnaces, bearing brass guns of greater shape and size, so that while sailing on the mid-ocean it might be a terror to its enemy, and those who were carried on it needed fear no dangers. And indeed, when a finished ship was first launched a priest would give it the traditional blessing, driving away evil demons and the dire devil, and in the ships the throng of men heard Mass. The Pope took the lead in contributing a great mount of treasure to the furtherance of the war, fearing lest his customary tyranny would be overthrown once his schemes stood revealed. And the Church of Rome called its sons Saints: moreover, as a fish is attracted by bait, so they were enticed by promises that as many as chanced to lose their lives in the war fighting to defend its cause would be rewarded by a home in heaven. As a stimulus to the leaders in this war, he granted them as a gift the kingdom and crown of our divine English-born queen as great trophies, as if he were the greatest king, lording it in his Roman palace, the enemy of Christ. And what reluctant idlers would not such rewards inspire to risk their lives? Lust for power, alas, knows no laws, and keen reason is lacking when wrath rules in men’s minds.
Mixing the true and the false, rumor filled all men’s ears in the homeland of the English, saying that all the Spanish had armed themselves, taken ship, and were awaiting a favorable wind, and that no small throng of other man had volunteered to join them as allies, and that this threatened many bitter things for the English.
While these things were transpiring in foreign parts of the world, and while the bold Spanish king was nourishing fine hopes of enriching his realms by the western sea, having made all his preparations for the coming war, the English fleet was launched on the heaving sea when the sun was passing through the midst of Capricorn. For neither cold, nor storm nor howling gale, nor the snow that whitened the earth deterred the Brutus-born from doing their stern duty.
Lovely to behold, the English fleet sailed along: it was excellent, no better workmanship in the world, no sides as stout. With its sails billowing the flagship went before all the others on the deep sea, taller than the rest with its lofty structure, its two hundred great bronze guns stretching back in a line from its curved prow to its stern, a handsome ship with its gleaming weaponry. And as often as all its guns, their hollow spaces filled with sulfur, belched forth their brazen shot, the air was shattered with a great roar.
Borne on the flagship was Charles Howard, comely with his excellent physique, like a lofty ash tree rising amidst the thornbrakes, possessed of an indomitable spirit and a mind like a palm tree. He was the Lord High Admiral, in command of all the fleet, a man of noble stock, born of an ancient line of great dukes. In the time of Richard II the greatest of the English ennobled the name, and your Duke Thomas, oh Norfolk, strove to add to the fine luster of this family. That lord was your father’s brother and your uncle, and posterity will greatly admire his virtue, his great heart and brave deeds done under King Henry VIII by land and by sea, should it choose the read the annals of our world. He nobly assaulted our enemies in battle and emerged as victorious as a savage lion does over sheep. The English witnessed your father serve two queens as a Privy Councilor with consummate loyalty. And see, Elizabeth, this right noble lord was the guardian of your person. I saw this and remember it, how when Mary was ruling the British noble Howard was accompanied by four and twenty stout-sided vessels: he made his ships put two hundred holes in sails with a few broadsides of roundshot, with the foreigners greatly fearing our arms. Born of these distinguished forebears, Charles had already taken a wife of royal blood and had long since been taken onto the Privy Council and appointed the guardian of the queen’s person both by day and while she slept at night, a Lord’s duty under any sovereign.
Now as Lord High Admiral he commanded the cheering sailors, until spring replaced winter, and summer the spring. For six whole months he sailed the narrow Channel which flows with its tide between our shores and those of the French, awaiting the opportunity for a battle on even terms. Do not keep silent, my Muse, about the rules imposed by this commander, endowed with a fine character, imposed upon first joining the fleet. He appointed that every evening and morning God was to be worshipped with prayer: that He protect the Queen of England, that He forgive all the past sins of the people wholeheartedly testifying to its repentance, that an improvement of manners be made manifest in all good faith, and that the pious grace of His Spirit be present. On his knees the commander himself poured forth prayers from a full heart as often as the rising sun brought light to the earth, and again in the evening, piously meditating, he invoked the aid of our protecting Father, commending himself and his men to God’s care. Even when the stars were not shining, lookouts were accustomed to sit on the yardarms by nights singing hymns, for he urged them to keep watch for the enemy by day and by night.
Then too, this brave and daring commander issued an edict that no man should dare swear by the name of the Lord with impunity, a severe punishment or fine was imposed on offenders. Lest dicing create bitter quarrels among shipmates, he forbade this harmful pastime. He desired them to spend a long time in reading the Holy Bible, when they were free of their prescribed duties. The blowing of the wind did not cause them great trouble, nor did rain-clouds cause their ships to swerve aside, and pious sermons drawn from the treasury of our Lord Jesus’ teaching calmed the minds of the crewmen.
Noble Charles, you had as companions the noble Thomas Howard, son of a Duke, and the Lord Sheffield, both devoted to the service of our royal mistress. They both eagerly came to the naval wars, no Siren of the pleasures provided by quiet living could keep these noblemen at home. Eagerness for battle gripped Sheffield and his brother, men whose ancestors’ glory was held in great honor by the city of Lincoln. It maintains a record of his forebear who died fighting for his king in the battle of Norwich. England, this was a man worthy of being ranked with the first, for his famed virtue lives on after his death.
Second in command was Francis Drake, who had circled the globe in three years and passed over the sea, returning with the ship which had carried him to the West Indies intact. By his good deserts he had earned a knighthood and a rank of higher honor. He was a man shining with this piety, of proven good morals, a lover of religion, and undeterred by any enemy. Night and day he prayed to God Almighty mercifully to be present for himself and his men, and he was daring of spirit in the presence of danger. Powerful of intellect, this happy captain was careful in noting the stars, and our age of the world can say he was born under a lucky one himself.
Energetic and experienced Hawkins was at Howard’s service, no man more welcome in all the naval expedition. He was wise in the nautical art, so that amidst doubtful matters he could speak his mind with great praise. He was knowledgeable in the seaways this side of the Torrid Zone, and in his voyages had sailed yet further.
Four months had passed with their swiftly-passing hours since the English fleet had set sail on the ocean, and the Spanish had not yet made an appearance. Meanwhile our fleet was divided into two squadrons. The smaller fell to you, Seymour, to patrol the coast Boulogne where it stretches eastward and your territory, Kent, should the enemy attempt any mischiefmaking. Henry, second son of the Duke of Somerset, was captain of the great Iris, in command of forty ships outfitted for war, with which to cruise your shores, Flanders, or yours, England, with its cliffs gleaming in the sunlight. Thus the enemy would be taken, wherever he might be.
The noble Admiral Howard kept station along the coastline of Cornwall, the part of England nearest to the deep ocean, and, girded for battle, he took the lead in provoking the Spanish, coming so close to land that the English fleet was visible to men standing on Spanish soil. A scouting boat reported that the turreted enemy ships, of thrice-great mass, were riding at anchor, and that they were waiting upon a prophetic madman, a seer who had foretold the death of the Queen of England and many wonders would occur before the first day of June, which was rapidly approaching, would see the sun go down. This was their first cause for delay. This deceiving prophet was held in the greatest esteem as the reported his dreams. Therefore their king was in great hope that the English and their allies would freely fall into his hands at this foreordained time of the month with no need for violence, fighting, or resort to arms. But when the sun entered the head of Cancer, and the day on which you were to die had passed, your majesty, the sweet hope for his longed-for prey faded and frustrated this gaping bird of prey. The lying prophet had his tongue cut out and was enchained in a dungeon. What of this? In his sadness of heart sick Saul consulted a witch on the night before battle, asking what fate he would suffer as a commander, and on the following day he was routed in the fight and suffered death, discovering he had sinned.
The sacred wing of our holy God protects your person, Elizabeth, for pious and earnest prayer has great power, if it comes from a pure heart and is supported by faith. No man will ever see God abandoning His faithful, as often as an enemy works evil in a human cause. “So always praise God, my soul,” exclaims England, “Who has rescued me safe from deceits, and Who has snatched me from the jaws of Hell and the Pit. Let Him alone be granted the honor, to Him alone the glory.”
And yet the custody of close imprisonment did not prevent the prophet’s tongue from spewing forth more falsehoods. His mind, devoid of the truth and driven on by madness, was constantly reproaching the Spanish for their idleness and said that the Spanish fleet must seek to cross the water twice, and would do so in vain on its first attempt. For it would be battered by the waves and current in mid-sea, and a suddenly-arising storm would drive it back to the quiet harbor of Compostella. But the Spanish, borne over the sea a second time by a prosperous wind, would gain a happy victory, with some of the English ships sunk by enemy gunfire, and others shamefully turning tail in retreat, to their great disgrace.
The first event gave credit to the prophet’s prediction. The Spaniards had been on their voyage for three days with a happy breeze speeding their ships, when the sky suddenly grew dark and the north wind to blow with a howl, raising great waves up to the stars.
And behold, the sailors began to steer their curved prows homeward, driven by the might of the storm. The common Spanish folk extolled the prophet with their praises, the captains maintained that his heart was filled with the holy spirit, that he had a mind that saw the future, which could disclose God’s sacred will. The ignorant human mind, plunged in deep darkness, lends ready ears to lying auguries, believing the revelations of Apollo’s cheating tripod, and too late a gullible nation learns that its own downfall has been predicted by his ambiguous words.
A scouting boat reported that the turret-bearing enemy ships, of thrice-great mass, were awaiting a favorable wind. In a council that had already met, this one thing seemed best to all the captains: to loiter in Neptune’s narrow channel between the two lands (with the ship-wrecking French Scylla on the one side, and on the other the mountain which takes its name from St. Michael, the tip of the English realm), until the Spanish would come.
The sun in its heavenly course had traversed the face of Leo and was about to perch on its back, the fiery heat of summer had made the grain turn golden and the apples to swell in their time of ripeness, when the frightening sight of Spanish king’s fleet with its brass-bound poops gleaming and its sails spread was espied from the height of Mont St. Michael. Tireless messengers flew, as if on swift wings, through all the villages and walled towns of Albion, telling that the enemy had been brought here on their vast ships, and that they were threatening us with death, fires and swords. All men, both beardless striplings and slow-footed gaffers, took up arms for their hearths and homes and for their sovereigns and voluntarily flocked to the seacoast, bringing their own provisions, forming a long chain from the high hills of Cornwall all the way to your steep white cliffs of chalk, Kent, where the foreign shore is visible across the deep water with its swift-running current.
Many thousands of men stood along these three hundred miles, they stood in their armored bands, each one having its captains and sergeants, battle-hardened and mighty in their nobility, their minds made up to die if they were not victorious in the fight. These companies had their standard-bearers holding aloft the devices of their captains. Even flocks of women gathered out of hatred for the savage enemy: they left their homes and brought all the foodstuffs to the good souls who had gone a-flying to the camps. If their husbands’ anger chanced to be mild they increased it lest a wife be taken as prey in the sight of her man, yielding to an enemy’s embraces and suffering his violence, or be compelled to die by the noose, or lest their virgin daughter suffer the debauchery of good-for-nothings, and bear the brand of shame on her brow. Let this disgrace not befall the English, lest the mark of infamy be branded into the faces of innocent-living children!
Howard was advised by a swift small boat that the Spanish had come. Good God, what joy suddenly erupted! What thunderous sounds rang in the sky because of their frequent shouts! It was as when resonant Echo redoubles the sounds of blows in a forest. With his loud command the captains urged on their brave sailors, rousing them to their task. With tireless enthusiasm they ran out all their guns and obeyed their orders.
Throughout the fleet the noble, bravehearted captains were no less high-spirited. They were summoned to the flagship in the usual way, and with a few words the Lord High Admiral first instructed them in the proper way of fighting. He then spoke as follows. “Oh my well-born comrades, no arduous business requiring much effort is accomplished without imminent danger and risk of life, but glory always attends on a memorable achievement and virtue thrives eternally after death. Our realm is at stake now, as are our lives and our safety. Now the honor of the thrice-great Queen of England is also at stake, the glory of the Howards, and also your own. Let it come to your minds that we possess our fields and estates at home, our hunting-parks and wealth, our ancestral manor-houses, our dear children and our partners in holy wedlock—all these things must be defended by our exertions. Or am I to shirk these stern tasks? Am I to allow a single drop of hot blood to remain in my veins rather than suffer your even tender fingertip to feel pain, Elizabeth, my right noble sovereign? I hope I would die first. And let the deep waters of the sea yawn open for me, ready to swallow me alive amidst the waves, before I witness my nation, the soil of my birth, and the mistress of my realm suffering harm, or the chaste lady joined to me by right of marriage fall into the clutches of the cruel enemy while I yet live. Oh the disgrace, the great pain! Let me this day either become food for the fishes of the deep or bring back a noble trophy from my defeated enemy. Let no man pay a ransom for captive Howard, and let me, your commander, be carried away on a victorious ship. Or they will see this ship of mine sink in the deep sea with its crew, no longer enjoying the light of day. Come, my comrades, be of indomitable courage. We must cut a wide swath with steel, shot, missiles, pikes and fire. God is supporting our endeavors, and be confident that God is in our spirits. Christ has never deprived lovers of the true religion of His strong consolation. The threatening Pope, that enemy of our Lord Christ, comes against us, Jesus is fighting on our behalf. Our foe worship idols of silver, statues of brass and graven stone, or fashioned out of wood. The Queen of England adores the true God, and we do too. But if I fall, stricken by a bullet (God avert the omen!), do not abandon your courage. I take the same chances in battle as does a common sailor. Hold your silence and set my fallen body to one side. Drake and Hawkins will command everything in my place, and you must press the enemies of my nation all the harder.”
He spoke, and the sailors redoubled their cheering, with everyone wishing the hour of battle were at hand. Each man promised his help, and before each man’s eyes hovered the image of his piety towards his mistress, the Queen of England, towards his nation, his dear friends, and his parents. And although the Spanish fleet of one hundred and thirty ships outnumbered them, and the English fleet was less than half as large, the English nevertheless sallied out of their port, carried out of the harbor onto the open sea by their oars and sails, with a few ships sent ahead as scouts. The proud Spanish were borne on the water by their fleet, a fleet that cast terror into a people which had not seen the huge lofty ships of Dacia with their turreted sterncastles, and the galleys of Venice.
And in her private chamber the queen humbly prayed to God night and day, singlemindedly pouring forth her heart, beginning, “Oh, have mercy on me, have mercy on my people. According to Thy lovingkindness, according unto the multitude of Thy tender mercies, blot out my transgressions, wash me and the Brutus-born thoroughly from our iniquity, and cleanse us from the same, protecting Father God, in the name of Jesus. I will love thee, o Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength in Whom I shall trust, my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, the sure protection of the pious. Oh, pray open my mouth for your praises, for, Lord, You alone are worthy of all praise. But what will my tongue avail in this difficult matter? Your glory fills the sea, the earth, the heavens. How often have I escaped the nets of deadly deceit which have surrounded me in my ignorance, and the weapon of treacherous Sinon, protected by Your heavenly shield? Oh, how often have you rescued me, saved from impending death? Now, my God, I am assaulted on all sides by foreign arms. A foreign force has come to our shores, bent on robbing me of life and of the crown You have granted me, and on the slaughter of my subjects. As a lover of peace I have pursued peace and devoted myself to peace. It is through no doing of mine that I am troubled by this hateful foe. I am compelled to practice war against my will, to arm my companies, and reluctantly to fend of force by force. Why be troubled of heart, my anxious soul? My hope is pinned on God, I hope He will protect me. Let these men strive with chariots and those on horses of war, I shall humbly use my voice to call on the Lord, that He may strengthen my arm from His high heaven. Thus I shall remain safe, my enemies conquered, thus I shall sound your praises without end, oh Christ.”
All England prayed the same through all its villages, tearfully repentant of its prior sins. Above all others, the City of London joined fasting to frequent prayer. The churches were thronged with the people, who entered in the morning and continued offering up psalms and prayers, and filling its ears with God’s great miracles of ancient times, until dark night brought shadows to the earth, and the stars urged sleep.
The twentieth of July dawned, and now the ships of the Brutus-born were only separated on the water by a distance of three bowshots shot by a strong arm. Suddenly a great uproar struck the empty air, Neptune roared from his depths, the sailors redoubled their cheering, as the heat of battle and desire for baleful revenge fired all their minds.
Bold Hawkins’ happy vessel the Victory was the first to fire shot at the enemy, since with its spread sails it ran ahead of all the others. Admiral Howard had previously commanded that the ships fight in good order, one following another in a straight line as the conditions of the battle required, just as the grace of trees in a garden are thus greater and they bear more fruit, or as snow white swans cruise river waters as they seek for their food, or as shape of the Pythagorean letter marks cranes of the Strymon, marked by the division of its two heads.
The Spanish, for their part, were packed into a single mass, so that the fleet would be densely packed as it sailed on the sea and present, as it were, a brazen wall to those without. From this the Spanish troops threatened with their swords, and next their loud bugles, sounding from their prows, lofty sterncastles, and the crows’ nests of their masts, sang of bloody war. And the sound of the beating of hides stretched over hollowed shapes of joined wood enclosing the air within, like a voice attempting to lead a chorus, sent forth horrendous noise with its thumping. By blowing sweet and shrill, a pipe aroused the soldier’s great spirits. Now the image of grievous death hovered before the impressionable eyes of men on both sides. The English were determined either to win or die in the battle, and be sunken lifeless in the water.
On their side, the Spanish were no less keen for a fight, being a bold race with hearts undaunted by battle, ready to undergo any risk of life, a fearless people, free of sad dread. Bullets and balls shot by gunpowder went a-flying, as did fire and torches. The air grew thicker over the fighting ships, as does the sky beneath rain-clouds when winter hail chances to rattle on rooftops and compels the sluggish herd to seek out caves along with its shepherds, the sharp east wind whistles and the north wind scours the earth with its mad gale. Not otherwise were balls of solid iron, driven by gunpowder, sent flying in frequent volleys, setting the air afire. Here was the Spanish fleet, there the comely English ships, all heaven resounded with their horrible roaring, pitch-black clouds of smoke were driven across the water and the ships, so that the cruel enemy could not be seen by his hateful foe, as during a full eclipse of the sun or when dark night deprives one of his ability to judge things, obstructing human sight and creating a lightless sky. The vigorous gunner, skilled thanks to long experience, fired his rounds rarely, and the musketeer shot in vain. In the thick of battle no target received many arrows in its facade.
One ship among all the rest was stricken by gunfire, and immediately her sides were opened up by the hard iron as if they were great windows. She was holed on the one side and on the other, so her interior gaped open, visible to our men’s eyes. And her crewmen were not just killed by shot, for splinters of wood cut them down. For when, with its great striking power, a cannonball would pierce the wooden side of the ship, smashing whatever stood in the way of its flight, now it would rip the arms from poor sailors’ bodies and the legs from armed soldiers, and now by the force of its flight it would remove entire heads. And again, fired from cannon loaded with milled powder a ball would cut down the ship’s great masts, as if it were a sharp axe, bringing down the lofty rigging and crows’ nests, without which a ship is a cripple.
Charles Howard roared like a raging lion, attacking the enemy fleet with his onrush, sailing before all the others (his right handsome ship, crammed with weaponry and arms-wielding men, was named the Ark Royal), belching forth volleys with a horrible roar that deafened men's’ ears, from guns which could smash stone walls and level them to the ground with their hard iron balls, so heavy that only with great effort could three men load them into the mouths of a cannon.
Bold fighting Drake also acted with successful, capturing the noble Pedro de Valdés of great renown, together with his companions and his ship. This man freely surrendered, explaining that his mast had been broken and the ships that had been accompanied him abandoned him and left him by himself, so that he was unable to defend himself by an armed fight. Together with the ship, the victor captured fifty-five cannon cast of a superior grade of bronze, and no small supply of powder, the kind of weaponry you would want if you were going up against a savage enemy. This vessel was a lucky prize, she was afire because of the great amount of fat aboard; she was loaded with great guns and received an English master with better auspices than she had served her Spanish one, a happy omen at the first joining of battle.
Frobisher, you will be said to have earned your enduring praise as you were borne aboard your fire-belching Triumph, bursting into the midst of the enemy fleet where it was the thickest and killing no few enemy, and then returning to the English fleet unharmed and with your ship undamaged, greatly enhanced in honor.
Although heavy old age has made your limbs sluggish, Beeston, you dashed in among the first like a young man, inflicting damage on the Spaniards with your brave mind and spirit, and were unharmed by any weapon. Next the Golden Lion’s artillery raked the enemy, and the fearsome Bear attacked with her curved claws. With great exertion the noble Howard, the noble Sheffield, and their comrades sailed into the fray. Ships’ sides were shattered, the air was filled with the fragments of human bodies, everything was full of blood, yet no man grew fainthearted in the fight. Anger and a sense of shame supplied courage and strength to the conquered.
Near to the familiar shores of the French king’s Nieupoort a great ship, very well equipped with the armaments of war, was holed by English shot and taking aboard water, and fled to the nearest land in search of aid but was sunken in the sea. And as on a sunny lawn a hunting-dog outruns and surrounds its fat prey, slowing them in their running so that their steps grow exhausted and they gasp for breath, so the English fleet drew nearer from every quarter where they had the wind-guage, with the result that the smoke of the gunpowder enveloped the enemy more thickly, and our gunners could see their targets better in the light of day, so that the Brutus-born could better aim their fierce ordnance.
By now the sharp battle had stretched over eight full days and nights, and the ardor of no man’s mind had slackened: such was the strength of all men’s spirits that neither side was willing to yield to the other. The admirals of both sides came with their fleets here to the place your noble castle can be seen, Calais (the Spanish were deliberately vigilant in shunning these coasts), and your town lies outstretched with its high walls, together with its lighthouse, welcome to the watchful sailor on nights when the stars do not burn with their fires.
Not far from here the ships of both nations dropped anchor and rode in their separate stations, secured by their cables. In their anxious heart the enemy feared hidden shoals (inasmuch as sea-captains assure us that dangers grow greater in proportion to the depth of the waters), since if their ships, being greater, once ground on the sand they break apart at the first impact, and they lose their cargo and their lives.
In this condition, the great concern of the watchful English was that no messenger from the Duke of Medina reach the Duke whose took the name of Parma (a stout warrior famed for the excellence of his honor, in command of the Netherlands under King Philip), and that the Spanish should not be able to loiter in the station they had taken up, since delay entails dangers. Therefore in a council of war of the fleet’s captains, called to discuss strategy, the noble Howard decided to shake out his sails: banishing chill fear, he chose to entrust the outcome of battle to God alone, and commanded that on the morrow all things be readied for a fight. But moving the enemy from their station, that was the task, that was the labor. The noble Lord Charles commanded hulks to be loaded with gunpowder, casks of pitch, and tinder fit for burning. Each ship carried a crew of ten stout-bodied sailors and towed rowboats from its stern by very long cables. When these things were in readiness and dark night had fallen, the hulks spread sail and steered straight for the Spanish. The English mixed themselves in with the fireships, but their deceit remained hidden, and it seemed that this was an accident caused by ships’ cables breaking so they were freed of their mooring.
Thanks to the abundant inroads they had made, they were now lodged fast in the enemy fleet, when suddenly the daring Englishmen set fire to their ships and the glow completely filled the sky, making it as bright as daylight. Mt. Etna did not burn so bright with its Sicilian fires, belching up glowing missiles from its vast ovens so that the entire sea grew bright with its rapid fires. A great panic suddenly arose throughout the entire fleet as the ignorant minds of the Spanish acted on themselves, and without delay they loosened the moorings of their anchored ships, seeking safety by fleeing the light. The ships shivered as they collided, the deep see shuddered, the water shone with the bright flames. You could have seen some men cutting their cables with steel, others struggling to weigh anchor and set sail. Yet others aimlessly began to climb masts, uncertain where to turn. The tide raged from the direction of Belgium, warning their vessels to avoid ship-wrecking shoals.
The Prince of Nassau loathed the Spanish down to the last man, and so he cruelly threatened them with guns and the sword, and the hostile Dutchmen blocked the entrances to their harbors. Where should they flee? Their danger was increased by the raging fire, and the dark of night prevented them from spreading sail. They stood still like men amazed and unaware of their surroundings: in the face of an emergency, one’s wits fail him and a prudent man rarely sees what is best to do. Quickly the English seamen returned unharmed in their rowboats, and reported the turn events had taken. When they had reported what they had done, how much of a scare the spreading fire had thrown into the Spanish and how ruinous it was to their ship, famed Howard praised them and gave them a generous reward, calming their hearts with his words.
At first light the Spanish ships set sail on a northerly course, but a breeze blowing from the north compelled them to sail in the opposite direction. The English swiftly gave chase, the number of their ships increased, outnumbering those of the Spanish. The shouting of men and the blare of bugles raised the fighting wrath of both peoples, they drew their swords, ran out their guns, and stacked their cannonballs. One side wore themselves out in defending themselves, the other in attacking, and their zeal for fighting exhausted them. Many a ship was damaged by gunfire. Hard by Calais, the indomitable ship of the young lord Moncada (no man more spirited) ran onto the hard shoals and perished after having been despoiled. Wounded, the captain himself grudgingly gave up the ghost. Bold Gerard and stout-hearted Hervey with a few seamen in a pinnace climbed the lofty sterncastle with drawn swords, plundered it, and carried off the booty they had taken by force.
The Lord High Admiral, the captain of the Golden Lion, the nobleman in command of the White Bear, and Drake, that happy captain by land and by sea, he who commanded the ship dedicated to Jonah, and he who conned the fine Rainbow, fought bloody battles with their victorious arms. In command of the Vanguard was Winter, in former years well known to our foreign foe, who did not have just one scar on his body: rather, it was adorned by many, acquired in bloody battles, and he gave a fine show of fighting. He commanded them to fight and labor in silence, so that, should he wish something, each man could hear him in the battle. And in the morning he prayed on bended knee, planted a kiss on his dear son, and then commanded that all his comrades should promptly do the queen’s business and his own, adding these words: “Dear hearts, this day I have decided to be laid low in battle, unless our enemy are overcome by fighting or flight. Now I must conquer or fall by a fair death. Brave men seek a fair death by fair wounds.” His trusty nephew, a brave soldier, heard his uncle’s words as he knelt. “On behalf of myself, my comrades, and all these sailors, I vow that, when it comes to virtue, we will never be unlike our captain. Either we shall die a fair death, or this day we shall put our enemy to rout.”
He spoke, and they readied themselves for the task at hand, but without armor, so that they might more easily do their work in the rigging. Within the space of eight hours that ship fired five hundred and thirty-two shells, and although the English ships were of smaller construction and the Spanish fleet massive, no sturdy Spaniard dared board the English vessels. The Foresight, Baker’s crowded ship, fired chainshot this way and that, while Baker urged on his shipmates with words of encouragement, inspiring their love of revenge in the fight now underway. Fierce Raymond did the same, steering in close to the enemy so that he would be sure to hit his mark. Daring Fenner and warlike Fenton joined in the fray, as did other captains in their due order. On one side, ships of merchants worried the Spaniards, as on another did yours, Troynovant.
And so the Spanish fleet poured forth iron shot and firebrands of pitch, the instruments of cruel death. For their part, the Brutus-born shot their blazing missiles, sending fire-pots launched by living sulfur. By means of these, wood planking was destroyed, and gaping holes were opened as ships’ joints were burst asunder. Indomitable Mars raged, gunfire raked ships, iron and fiery projectiles and fireballs went a-flying. Now in all quarters the smoky sea surged, and there were wispy shadows of black darkness. Harmful flickers of dancing flame went running about, and deadly arrows rattled through the great void.
On their side (it seems strange, but it was true) the dire Spaniards shot a great number of bronze shells with no loss to the English, nor did they capture any flyboat or ship by fighting. They themselves suffered damage as they saw their rigging cut, their masts shattered, their sails rent to the point that, because of their great rips, they could hold no wind. What counsel could a frantic man take amidst such danger? To the helpless man, flight appears safe, and in his hope tomorrow seems a luckier day. Twelve ships perished, sunk in the water after being stricken by steel, shot, and victorious arms. Night intervened and separated the two fleets. The one fled, the other hastened in pursuit. At sunrise the English could not espy the Spanish although they looked in all directions from their topmasts, and they could discern no enemy ships. Yet they followed for three entire days and nights, always under the open sky, until the arctic pole raised itself aloft, chilly near the head of the Great Bear.
Meanwhile a great army was encamped at Tilbury, should the Duke of Parma choose to attack you, wealthy Essex, or your fields, Kent. This was an armed band enrolled by choice captains. Thanks to a new invention, pontoon bridges were thrown over wandering rivers, so that one people could be reinforced by another in order to repel the deadly danger. Seeking the camp, our mighty and divine sovereign encouraged the soldiers with various exhortations, showing no sign of fear in her expression, a second Minerva in fact as well as in fancy, a heroine such as could frighten armed men with her aegis. Oh, the words with which she gave consolation to the army, promising she would be present if needed, if she could be of use! Oh the reverence shown you in the camp, among the weapons of Mars, on bended knee! What exultant hearts throughout the camp! What cheering, attesting to true joy! What signs of loyalty towards our sacred queen! “Long may you live, Elizabeth, celebrated throughout the world. May you be triumphant in war and gain well-deserved triumphs,” exclaimed the armed companies. She quietly prayed in the words of the holy prophet, “Regard me, oh creator of men and of nature. No hostile wrath justly oppresses me, troubling me with great dangers and threatening bitter death. But my expectation will not vex my mind with anxious fears. You alone are my hope in troublesome times, You are my sole salvation, the sole support of my life. Relying on Your promises, trusting in Your staff, I shall never fear what Man might do against me, or my evil enemy, since I place my trust in God Almighty.”
The City of London supported thirty thousand armed men in their hard breastplates, their helmets gleaming with elegant bronze, and this single city would have enlisted a hundred thousand more, had the savage enemy come.
While these things were occurring at the camp, a great squadron of cavalry came a-flocking to London, unstinting in its expenditure, their arms glittering with solid gold, and their fierce steeds stood in its green field, champing their bits. With what neighing did they paw the ground as they heard the blare of bugles! Likewise came a-flocking the lords of England and its Peerage, all of a single mind, gripped by great ardor for battle on behalf of their nation and their homes, and on behalf of the mistress of their realm.
The threatening army kept himself far away from here: nobody dared plant foot on English shores or join battle here, nobody disembarked on our thirsty sand. The Spanish fleet wandered among the sharp rocks of Scotland and the desert places of the north, vainly begging for help. The King of Scots (a man most kindly to every stranger) refused to lend his help or provide assistance. For previously some lying Spaniard had mendaciously accused him of heresy.
When the Lord High Admiral saw that the Spanish had gotten away, he returned to the Queen of England’s court, the fleet in good condition. He was a guest more welcome to thequeen than all others. And so Lord Charles, safe and sound, with the Spaniards removed to the shores of Scotland with their rugged rocks, stood in his sovereign’s presence in the presence of a bevy of Lords. After a deep silence had fallen throughout the hall, with a flushed face she hesitantly addressed him.
“I praise your virtues, Charles, and your indomitable spirit, and also those of your comrades. The greatness of your industry in my marine affairs, the great power of your mind, and your great care in managing this business, these things are stored deep in my mind. What I say, I say wholeheartedly. But pray mark you, no human power, not yours, noble lord, not that of your comrades and shipmates, nor that of the English fleet accomplished this thing. It is the everlasting God who singly by Himself did so, so that I may be spoken of as victorious throughout the world and enjoy peace with security at home. To Him should be given all the glory for this thing well done. Let all the honor be His, let Him have His glory.”
Now the Duke of Medina sailed the nearby waters of the great sea, having thus escaped the English. His comrades rested at night, carefree. But oh the miracles of our world! Oh God, how great is Your glory worldwide! Let nobody ever boast he has escaped Your hands. Without You, he will seek in vain to gain the splendor of rule, acting with his puffed-up pride. While the Spanish were awaiting favoring winds and were preparing for a return to the shores of their dear nation, they were driven by clouds and storms and perished on your sandy shore, Ireland, with the sea swallowing seventeen of their ships.
But the queen, regretting that her enemies suffered so many misfortunes, such as ought to be lamented by all Christians, displayed a friendly heart and disposition towards her captives worthy of a true sovereign, and commanded that they be handled more gently, although by their deeds they had earned hard chains of iron. Let the Spanish captives attest what an easy ruler she was, when the Fates chance to allow them to see their homes.
Mindful of the dangers from which she had been rescued, and of the greatness of divine mercy towards herself and her nation amidst these afflictions, Elizabeth visited chapels in the company of her nobles, praying, “Almighty God, Who casts men down and recalls them from the dust of death, praise, honor, and rule to You. You taught me to wage war, You alone lay low whoever assaults me. You grant me the strength to bridle proud peoples, to avenge treachery, so that I might may oppress my confused enemies. You grant that my subjects singlemindedly obey my commands, You make me secure, unafraid of any confusion of wars, and You bring me back from the brink of death. Therefore let me publish Your deeds throughout the world and my neighboring nations. Throughout the ages I shall proclaim the honorable name of the Lord. My tongue, my heart, and my heart, sound forth God’s praises above all things on your harps. You Who heap wealth on Your handmaiden, being full of good will, Father God, will always be celebrated in my song.”