« AnteriorContinuar »
With wonder, knit in triple unity,
The Battell of Alcazar, fought in Barbarie, betweene Sebastian king of Portugall, and Abdelmelec king of Marocco. With the death of Captaine Stukeley. As it was sundrie times plaid by the Lord high Admirall his servants. Imprinted at London by Edward Allde for Richard Bankworth, & are to be solde at his shoppe in Pouls Churchyard at the signe of the Sunne. 1594. 4to. In the Biographia Dramatica we are told that the plot of this play is taken from Heylin's Cosmography; a fact which one may be allowed to doubt, as Peter Heylin was not born till the year 1600. Of Stukely, that “Bubble of Emptinesse, and Meteor of Ostentation,” as he calls him, Fuller gives the following account:— “Thomas Stuckley. Were he alive, he would be highly offended to be ranked under any other Topick than that of Princes; whose memory must now be content and thankful too, that we will afford it a place amongst our Souldiers. “He was a younger brother, of an ancient, wealthy, and worshipful Family, nigh Illfracombe in this County, being one of good parts, but valued the lesse by others; because over-prized by himself. Having prodigally mis-spent his Patrimony, he entred on several projects (the issue general of all decaied estates) and first pitched on the peopleing of Florida, then newly found out in the West Indies. So confident his ambition, that he blushed not to tell Queen Elizabeth, that he preferred rather to be Soveraign of a Mole-hill, than the highest Subject to the greatest King in Christendome ; adding moreover, that, he was assured he should be a Prince before his death: I hope (said Queen Elizabeth) I shall hear from you, when you are stated in your Principality: I will write unto you (quoth Stukely.) In what Language? (said the Queen) He returned, In the Stile of Princes; To our dear Sister. “His fair project of Florida being blasted for lack of money to pursue it, he went over into Ireland, where he was frustrate of the preferment he expected, and met such Physick, that turned his Feaver into Frensie. For, hereafter resolving treacherously to attempt, what he could not loyally atchieve, he went over into Italy. “It is incredible how quickly he wrought himself thorough the notice into the favour, through the Court into the Chamber, yea Closet, yea bosome of Pope Pius Quintus; so that some wise men thought his Holinesse did forfeit a parcel of his infallibility, in giving credit to such a Glorioso, vaunting that with three thousand souldiers he would beat all the English out of Ireland. “The Pope finding it cheaper to fill Stuckleys swelling sails, with aiery Titles, than real Gifts, created him Baron of Ross, Viscount Murrough, Earl of Wexford, Marquesse of Lemster, and then furnished the Title-top-heavy General, with eight hundred souldiers paid by the King of Spain for the Irish Expedition. “In passage thereunto Stuckley lands at Portugal, just when Sebastian the King thereof, with two Moorish Kings, were undertaking of a voyage into Affrica. Stuckly scorning to attend, is perswaded to accompany them. Some thought he wholly quitted his Irish design, partly because loath to be pent up in an Island (the Continent of Affrica affording more elbow-room for his Atchievements) partly because so mutable his mind, he ever loved the last project (as Mothers the youngest child:) best. Others conceive he took this Affrican in order to his Irish design; such his confidence of Conquest, that his Break-fast on the Turks, would the better enable him to dine on the English in Ireland. “Landing in Affrica, Stuckley gave counsil, which was safe, seasonable and necessary; namely, that for two or three dayes they should refresh their land Souldiers; whereof some were sick, and some were weak, by reason of their tempestuous passage. This would not be heard, so furious was Don Sebastion to engage; as if he would pluck up the bays of Victory out of the ground, before they were grown up; and so in the Battail of Alcaser their Army was wholly defeated: Where Stuckley lost his life.
“A fatal fight, where in one day was slain,
“This Battail was fought [4th August] Anno 1578. Where Stuckley with his eight hundred men behaved himself most
valiantly, till over-powred with multitude.” Worthies, p. 258-9, ed. 1672.
I throw together a few poetical notices of him :
“ that renowned battle
Heywood's If you Know not me, you Know Nobody.
“A Stukeley or a Sherley, for his spirit,
“It is a saying auncient (not autenticall, I win) That whoso England will subdew, with Ireland must begin. Imagine Stukelies onely name includeth all that's ill: He forging worth, and to our State Malevolent in will, Of bounteous Pensions was therefore possest in Spayne long while, Untill (for it a Nature was in Stukelie to beguile,) The King, whom he had cozen'd long, him purpos'd to exile. Then for the Pope the Fugitive a welcome Agent was: (For nothing ill, might worke us ill, hath Spayne and Rome let pas) Of him he had an Armie, that for Irelands Conquest sayles: When through a fight in Barbarie that Expedition fayles.” Warner's Albion's England, B. 10. Ch. 54. p. 242. ed. 1596.