« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
I saw thee once again ;
Was there no more;
The strife was o'er.
The long, dark lashes swept
Eyes tearless now;
They flash'd not now.
Calmly thou took'st thy rest,
'Neath brighter skies;
Those haunting eyes !
THE HARRY GRACE À DIEU.
Who has not heard of the jousts and tournaments, and other knightly pastimes, with which, somewhat more than three centuries ago, Henry VIII. of England, and Francis I. of France, celebrated their meeting on the far-famed Champ de drap d'Or, the Field of Cloth of Gold ? It were superfluous to attempt to describe the circumstances attendant upon that royal meeting. Let our readers imagine to themselves the accomplished monarchs, each of them in the very prime of manhood, nobly mounted, gorgeously apparelled, expert in every military exercise, surrounded by the beauty and the chivalry of the French and English courts, bearing away the prize from a concourse of gallant knights assembled by their royal invitation on the plains of Picardy, receiving the palm of victory from the hands of the most celebrated beauties of the day, or feasting at noon with nobles and ladies under a richly-embroidered tent, from the summit of which waved the royal standard of England ; and they may form some idea of the nature of the splendid pageant which, on the 30th of May, 1520, was exhibited between Guisnes and Ardres, on the famous Field of Cloth of Gold.
The accompanying engraving represents the vessel which conveyed King Henry, with his queen and court, to this scene of splendour. Instead of presenting our
THE HARRY GRACE À DIEU.
readers with a more particular account of the princely pastimes to which we have alluded, we would take occasion to draw their attention to the progress in England of naval architecture.
The Harry Grace à Dieu, which, when she bore her royal freight to Calais, was the largest and most magnificent ship in the world, was built by command of King Henry VII., but was not launched till the year 1515. She was of the burthen of one thousand tons; her length being one hundred and sixty-seven feet, and her breadth forty-eight. This ship was accidentally burned at Woolwich, in the year 1553.
Henry VIII. took much interest in naval affairs. He caused many ships to be built expressly for the royal service; and founded dockyards at Woolwich, Deptford, and Portsmouth, appointing a commissioner to control the three establishments thus formed.
Queen Elizabeth was nowise inferior to her father in respect of zeal for the naval defence of England. With her usual sound discretion, she availed herself of the advice and judgment of Sir Walter Raleigh ; who, being a man of considerable learning and science, and an able navigator, effected some important improvements in ship-building and in the art of navigation.
James I. exhibited an equal regard for the prosperity of the navy; and naval archi. chitecture was much improved during his reign.
In Charles I. the important art of ship-building found a yet more enlightened and liberal patron. By his order a vessel was constructed, called “ The Sovereign of the Seas,” which carried one hundred guns, and had three regular tiers of portholes. This noble vessel, after having been engaged in many obstinate actions, was at length destroyed at Chatham, by accidental fire.
The long warfare which, during the usurpation of Cromwell, and the subsequent reigns of Charles II. and his brother, was maintained between this country and the States of Holland, tended greatly to increase the strength and efficiency of the English navy; but in the art of constructing ships the want of scientific engineers was deeply felt. In consequence of this deficiency, the English ship-builders, the chief of whom, in Evelyn's time, was, according to that writer, “hardly able to read,” were content to imitate the clumsy models of their enemies, the Dutch. Charles II., however, loved his navy; and, in 1670, established a fourth dockyard at Sheerness. His successor, James II., was also a patron of the navy; but little improvement was made during his reign, in the construction of sailing-vessels. In France, the marine was now rapidly improving. Many men of science were engaged in the constructing of her ships of war, which, consequently, soon excelled those both of England and Holland.
King William came to this country somewhat prepossessed in favour of the Dutch system of ship-building. He gave two substantial proofs of his regard for the English navy; first, by establishing a fifth dockyard at Plymouth; and secondly, by appropriating his palace at Greenwich to the use of disabled seamen.
Since the accession of the House of Hanover, naval architecture in England has made great progress; which progress is, in a great measure, to be attributed to the