Called into Action by Her Majesty

By L. Graham H. Horton-Smith, published November 1951


This article draws on letters and other papers, some printed for the first time, collected in E.M. Tennison’s Elizabethan England . . . ‘In relation to Foreign Princes’ 1592-1596, vol. ix in order to counter nineteenth and twentieth century characterisations of Drake and Hawkins as corsairs. It reveals that Elizabeth’s opponents provided significant tributes to the legitimacy of Drake’s actions against Spain and that Lope de Vega’s angry attack on Drake in his La Dragontea must be contrasted with the justice and respect Drake is accorded by Brancôme and the generosity with which Don Beltrán de Castro defends Richard Hawkins’s honour. It is also noted that Lope de Vega’s attack on Drake is countered in England by Charles FitzGeoffrey who issued a rhymed epic on Drake’s life in which the hero is described as ‘our dragon’. The volume also includes a facsimile In memoriam Latin broadside, never previously printed, in which Drake is apostrophized as winning eternal peace by his life of devotion to his country.

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Filed under: Tudors | Atlantic | Francis Drake
Subjects include: Pirates, Corsairs & Privateers

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