| Our Island Story|
|by H. E. Marshall|
|A child's history of England from earliest legendary times delightfully retold. Beginning with the stories of Albion and Brutus, it relates all the interesting legends and hero tales in which the history of England abounds through the end of the reign of Queen Victoria. Ages 9-12 |
ELIZABETH—THE STORY OF SIR WALTER RALEIGH
 THE reign of Queen Elizabeth was great, not only because she
was a wise ruler, but because she was surrounded by so many
wise, and great, and good men. One of these wise men, Sir
Willliam Cecil, afterwards called Lord Burleigh, was her
secretary of state and her chief adviser during nearly all
her reign, until he died in 1598 A.D.
There were so many great men in England at this time that
you could not remember all their names, and to tell stories
about them all would fill a whole book. In the reign of
Elizabeth it is not only the men who were soldiers that we
remember as great, but the men who wrote books, the men who
sailed over the sea and discovered new countries, and the
men who by careful thinking and wise acts kept peace at
Sir Walter Raleigh was one of the great men who lived at
this time. He was a soldier and a sailor, a courtier, and a
writer of books. But clever though he was, until the great
Queen noticed him, he remained only a simple country
One day Elizabeth was passing along the streets, and the
people as usual came crowding to see her. Among them was Sir
Walter Raleigh. The Queen stepped from her coach and,
followed by her ladies, was about to cross
 the road. But in
those days the streets were very badly kept, and Elizabeth
stopped before a puddle of mud. She was grandly dressed, and
how to cross the muddy road, without soiling her dainty
shoes and skirts, she did not know. As she paused Sir Walter
sprang forward. He, too, was finely dressed and he was
wearing a beautiful new cloak. This he quickly pulled off
and, bowing low, threw upon the ground before the Queen.
"QUICKLY PULLING OFF HIS CLOAK HE THREW IT UPON THE GROUND."
Elizabeth was very pleased, and, as she passed on, she
smiled at the handsome young man who had ruined his
beautiful cloak to save her dainty shoes, and ordered him to
attend her at court. Raleigh's fortune was made. He went to
court, and soon became so great a favourite that at one time
he even thought that he might marry the Queen.
"Fain would I climb, but that I fear to fall," he one day
wrote with a diamond upon a window. And the Queen, seeing
it, wrote underneath, "If thy heart fail thee, climb then
not at all." So Raleigh climbed, and although he never
reached the throne, he climbed high.
Elizabeth gave him money and lands till he became very rich.
He wanted to sail away over the sea in search of new
countries and treasure, as Drake had done. But the Queen
would not let him go.
As Raleigh could not go himself, he spent a great deal of
his money in buying ships and sending other men over the sea
to find new lands. These men sailed to America, which was
then wild and unknown. Landing there, they claimed it for
England, and Raleigh named it Virginia of Elizabeth. She
liked to call herself the Virgin Queen which means "the
Queen who has never married." One of the United States of
America is still called Virginia.
For a long time Elizabeth was very pleased with
 Raleigh, but
at last she became angry with him and sent him to prison in
the dreadful Tower. The reason for this was that Sir Walter
had dared to love and marry another lady, one of the Queen's
own maids of honour. Elizabeth was always very angry if any
of the gentlemen in her court married. Many of them wished
to marry her, but she refused them all. Still she wished
them to think that she was the cleverest and most beautiful
woman in all the world; she wished them all to love and
admire her so much that they would never think of marrying
any other lady. And when they did marry another, she was
always very angry.
Sir Walter, happily, was not kept in prison for very long,
and some years later he really did have his wish, and sailed
away to explore America. He did not find the golden land
which he had imagined, but he brought home many strange
stories, and many curious and useful things.
Two of the things which Raleigh brought home with him were
tobacco and potatoes. Elizabeth had given him estates in
Ireland, and there he planted the potatoes, and showed the
people how to grow them. Even to this day the poor people in
Ireland grow many potatoes, and live on them very largely.
People were pleased with the new vegetable, but they were
very much astonished when he showed them how to use tobacco.
Such a thing had never been seen before, and it took people
some time to grow accustomed to it.
One day, soon after Raleigh had returned home, he was
sitting smoking when a servant came into the room. The man
stood still in horror. Smoke filled the room and was pouring
out of his master's mouth. He must be on fire, thought the
servant. Without saying a word he ran away and returned as
quickly as he could with a pail
 of water. This he threw over
his master, hoping to put out the fire and so save his life.
Raleigh, you may imagine, was not very pleased at finding
himself suddenly drenched with cold water, just when he was
enjoying a quiet smoke, but, when he understood the mistake
his servant had made, he laughed heartily.
Raleigh had many adventures. He swept the ocean in his
ships, and he fought by land and sea. But he wrote books
too, and one of his friends was the poet Spenser, who tells
beautiful stories in his poem called The Faerie Queen.
The greatest writer of this time (perhaps the greatest poet
of any time), was Shakespeare. His name you know, and some
day you will read the stories he wrote.
Another writer, and great soldier too, was Sir Philip
Sidney. He was so handsome, and brave and kind that every
one loved him. Queen, statesmen and people, soldiers,
courtiers and poets, all loved him. He lived well, wrote
well, fought well, and died well. He fell fighting for his
country. Wounded and groaning with pain, he asked for a cup
of water. While it was being brought, he noticed a soldier
lying beside him in great agony. "Give it to him," he said,
pointing to this poor soldier. The man refused to have it.
"Nay, but take it," said Sir Philip, "you need it more than
Sir Philip never recovered from his wound. A fortnight later
he died; still young, brave, and handsome.
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