How Amyas Threw His Sword into the Sea

“Full fathom deep thy father lies;
   Of his bones are corals made;
Those are pearls which were his eyes;
   Nothing of him that doth fade,
But doth suffer a sea-change
   Into something rich and strange;
Fairies hourly ring his knell,
Hark! I hear them. Ding dong bell.”
   —The Tempest.

Yes, it is over; and the great Armada is vanquished. It is lulled for awhile, the everlasting war which is in heaven, the battle of Iran and Turan, of the children of light and of darkness, of Michael and his angels against Satan and his fiends; the battle which slowly and seldom, once in the course of many centuries, culminates and ripens into a day of judgment, and becomes palpable and incarnate; no longer a mere spiritual fight, but one of flesh and blood, wherein simple men may choose their sides without mistake, and help God’s cause not merely with prayer and pen, but with sharp shot and cold steel. A day of judgment has come, which has divided the light from the darkness, and the sheep from the goats, and tried each man’s work by the fire; and, behold, the devil’s work, like its maker, is proved to have been, as always, a lie and a sham, and a windy boast, a bladder which collapses at the merest pinprick. Byzantine empires, Spanish Armadas, triple-crowned papacies, Russian despotisms, this is the way of them, and will be to the end of the world. One brave blow at the big bullying phantom, and it vanishes in sulphur-stench; while the children of Israel, as of old, see the Egyptians dead on the sea-shore,—they scarce know how, save that God has done it, and sing the song of Moses and of the Lamb.

And now, from England and the Netherlands, from Germany and Geneva, and those poor Vaudois shepherd- saints, whose bones for generations past

“Lie scattered on the Alpine mountains cold;”

to be, indeed, the seed of the Church, and a germ of new life, liberty, and civilization, even in these very days returning good for evil to that Piedmont which has hunted them down like the partridges on the mountains;—from all of Europe, from all of mankind, I had almost said, in which lay the seed of future virtue and greatness, of the destinies of the new-discovered world, and the triumphs of the coming age of science, arose a shout of holy joy, such as the world had not heard for many a weary and bloody century; a shout which was the prophetic birth-paean of North America, Australia, New Zealand, the Pacific Islands, of free commerce and free colonization over the whole earth.

“There was in England, by the commandment of her majesty,” says Van Meteran, “and likewise in the United Provinces, by the direction of the States, a solemn festival day publicly appointed, wherein all persons were solemnly enjoined to resort unto ye Church, and there to render thanks and praises unto God, and ye preachers were commanded to exhort ye people thereunto. The aforesaid solemnity was observed upon the 29th of November: which day was wholly spent in fasting, prayer, and giving of thanks.

“Likewise the Queen’s Majesty herself, imitating ye ancient Romans, rode into London in triumph, in regard of her own and her subjects’ glorious deliverance. For being attended upon very solemnly by all ye principal Estates and officers of her Realm, she was carried through her said City of London in a triumphant Chariot, and in robes of triumph, from her Palace unto ye said Cathedral Church of St. Paul, out of ye which ye Ensigns and Colours of ye vanquished Spaniards hung displayed. And all ye Citizens of London, in their liveries, stood on either side ye street, by their several Companies, with their ensigns and banners, and the streets were hanged on both sides with blue Cloth, which, together with ye foresaid banners, yielded a very stately and gallant prospect. Her Majestie being entered into ye Church together with her Clergy and Nobles, gave thanks unto God, and caused a public Sermon to be preached before her at Paul’s Cross; wherein none other argument was handled, but that praise, honour, and glory might be rendered unto God, and that God’s Name might be extolled by thanksgiving. And with her own princely voice she most Christianly exhorted ye people to do ye same; whereunto ye people, with a loud acclamation, wished her a most long and happy life to ye confusion of her foes.”

Yes, as the medals struck on the occasion said, “It came, it saw, and it fled!” And whither? Away and northward, like a herd of frightened deer, past the Orkneys and Shetlands, catching up a few hapless fishermen as guides; past the coast of Norway, there, too, refused water and food by the brave descendants

  By PanEris using Melati.

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