The Queen’s Privateer

By 9th April 2009December 9th, 2019No Comments

Stately Spanish galleon sailing so sublime,
protected by her escorts, three deckers’ of the line,
passing in false confidence on the Spanish Lake,
for coming are the hunters, led by Francis Drake.

The morning mists lay heavy when a voice calls from the shrouds,
sail ho, sail ho to starboard, here come the English hounds.
The drums beat to quarters, the guns are fast run out,
when from across the waters they hear a mighty shout.

Drake and the English privateers are closing for the fight,
seemingly impervious to the Spaniards might,
as the two fighting ships close with marksmen at the rails,
the galleon slips away under crowded sails.

Running fast with the wind, Drake comes about with flair,
splitting their defences, he sails between the pair.
Lying low in the water by at least a deck or two,
his gunners rake the enemy ships, throwing fear into the crew.

The tactics of the Englishman cause the Spanish to despair,
for in the closeness of the fight their guns they cannot bear.
The fire from the English guns glowed like a smithy’s forge,
as high above the battle streamed the Standard of St George.

Billowing smoke surrounds the scene, when we hear the English cheer,
as the wind shifts to the quarter and they are in the clear.
The Spanish fighting ships afire and falling fast astern,
as the faster, lighter Englishman, leaves them adrift to burn.

They come upon the galleon, her holds filled with gold,
and out go the grappling hooks to take a firm, fast hold.
Then over the side with fiendish yells the English sailors stream,
each man hoping to strike it rich, beyond his wildest dreams.

A fierce fight, and a bloody one, ends as fast as it had begun,
with Spanish colours struck, and retreat beat on a drum.
The Captain and his hapless crew are imprisoned down below,
as Drake sets sail for England with the galleon in tow.

Their safe return to Plymouth is hailed amid a joyous scene,
as Spanish gold fills the treasury of the Virgin Queen.
From Cadiz to the New World one name makes the Spanish quake,
its the terror of the high sea’s, his name Sir Francis Drake.

Len Payne

Author Len Payne

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