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43

SIR WALTER RALEIGH.

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FEW have been the instances in which the love of literature, and science has been united with a spirit of commercial adventure, the ardour of military enterprize, and the restlessness of political ambition. Yet our history supplies us with an example in which all these qualities, with many others, assembled in the person of one man. It is true, he lived in a reign peculiarly favourable to the energies of genius; and the exercise of great talents in public life; when wit and learning were esteemed only as they were actively employed, and when no man was considered as either good or great who was not useful by his services to his sovereign and his country.

The name of Raleigh is too familiar to the English reader to require a long biographical detail. He was born in 1552, of an antient family, in the parish of Budleigh, in Devonshire, a county which has produced more naval heroes than any other. At the age of sixteen, young Raleigh was sent to Oriel college, Oxford, where he remained but a short time, as we find him in 1569, a volunteer in a troop of gentlemen who went to France to aid the persecuted protestants in that country,

He served there five or six years, and was in several severe battles, particularly that of

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Moncontour. In 1576 he was a resident of the Middle Temple, but the study of the law did not long detain him; for the year following he went to the low countries with general Norris, and was in the battle of Riminant, which proved disastrous to the reputation of Don John, of Austria. We next behold our adventurous hero on a new element, being engaged with his brother-in-law, Sir Humphrey Gilbert, in his voyage to North America. After his return in 1579, he went to Ireland, and contributed materially to the suppression of the rebellion fomented in that kings dom by the Pope and the king of Spain. Nots withstanding his services on this occasion, he appears to have been overlooked among the number of aspiring candidates for royal favour; and at last he was indebted for his rise at court to an accidental act of gallantry. As the queen was taking a walk, surrounded by numerous courtiers, she came to a dirty place at which she hesitated, as in doubt whether to venture, over it. Raleigh, with admirable presence of mind, immediately took off his handsome new plush cloak, and spread it on the ground. The queen.trod gently over the fair foot-cloth, and was not less pleased than surprised with the adventure. Shortly after this, Raleigh being in the palace, took an opportunity to write in a glass window in the queen's apartment:- Fain would I climb, yet fear I to fall.' Her majesty seeing this, wrote underneath it : if thy heart fail thee; climb not at all.' An

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