Page:15 decisive battles of the world Vol 2 (London).djvu/155

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147
THE SPANISH ARMADA.


The sufferings and losses which the unhappy Spaniards sustained in their flight round Scot- land and Ireland, are well known. Of their whole Armada only fifty-three shattered vessels brought back their beaten and wasted crews to the Spanish coast which they had quitted in such pageantry and pride.

Some passages from the writings of those who took part in the struggle, have been already quoted ; and the most spirited description of the defeat of the Armada which ever was penned, may perhaps be taken from the letter which our brave vice-admiral Drake wrote in answer to some men- dacious stories by which the Spaniards strove to hide their shame. Thus does he describe the scenes in which he played so important a part*

"They were not ashamed to publish, in sundry languages in print, great victories in words, which they pretended to have obtained against this realm, and spread the same in a most false sort over all parts of France, Italy, and elsewhere; when, shortly afterwards, it was happily manifested in very deed to all nations, how their navy, which they termed invincible, consisting of one hundred and forty sail of ships, not only of their own kingdom, but strengthened with the greatest argosies,

♦ See Strype, and the notes to the Life of Drake, in the "Biographia Britannica."