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Kathryn Gillett, Elizabethan HistorianTours > Sir Francis Drake > Leaving for Home

In Search of Sir Francis Drake
by Kathryn Gillett, Elizabethan England on Britannia

Leaving for Home
Reflections

Devon and Cornwall is an enchanting corner of the world: fascinating history, lovely landscapes, dramatic seascapes, and charming villages. But as beautiful as it is, I longed for home - much as Drake must have longed for the sea. After many years as a successful and much-loved politician, the ocean called the great mariner and, like the Sirens' song, it lured him to his death. On August 28, 1595 he headed out for his final adventure, dying on January 28, 1596. He was buried at sea off the coast of Panama, the new commander lamenting in his journal, "today died the captain of the bloody flux."

As I left Plymouth, one of my favorite stories about Drake came to mind. It involves his widow, Elizabeth, who was in a church about to re-marry. As the story goes, in the middle of the ceremony, a canon ball flew through the door of the church, harmlessly rolling into the midst of the proceedings. Elizabeth saw it as a message of disapproval from Drake, and so refused to marry the man, leaving the church as much a widow as ever. It was in this way that the formidable Sir Francis Drake lived on even in death, with powers to affect mortals by the mere thought of him - much as he does today.

The end.



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