Gillian Spraggs (wolfinthewood) wrote,
Gillian Spraggs

A nobleman's story

… myself and Sir Thomas Lucy … came on our way as far as Dieppe in Normandy, and there took ship about the beginning of February, when so furious a storm arose, that with very great danger we were at sea all night. The master of our ship lost both the use of his compass and his reason; for not knowing whither he was carried by the tempest, all the help he had was by the lightnings, which, together with thunder very frequently that night, terrified him, yet gave the advantage sometimes to discover whether we were upon our coast, to which he thought by the course of his glasses we were near approached. And now towards day we found ourselves, by great providence of God, within view of Dover, to which the master of our ship did make. The men of Dover rising betimes in the morning to see whether any ship were coming towards them, were in great numbers upon the shore, as believing the tempest, which had thrown down barns and trees near the town, might give them the benefit of some wreck, if perchance any ship were driven thitherwards. We coming thus in extreme danger straight upon the pier of Dover, which stands out in the sea, our ship was unfortunately split against it; the master said, Mes amies, nous sommes perdus; or, My friends, we are cast away. When myself who heard the ship crack against the pier, and then found by the master's words it was time for every one to save themselves, if they could, got out of my cabin (though very sea-sick), and climbing up the mast a little way, drew my sword and flourished it; they at Dover having this sign given them, adventured in a shallop of six oars to relieve us, which being come with great danger to the side of our ship, I got into it first with my sword in my hand, and called for Sir Thomas Lucy, saying, that if any man offered to get in before him, I should resist him with my sword; whereupon a faithful servant of his taking Sir Thomas Lucy out of the cabin, who was half dead of sea-sickness, put him into my arms, whom after I had received, I bid the shallop make away for shore, and the rather that I saw another shallop coming to relieve us; when a post from France, who carried letters, finding the ship still rent more and more, adventured to leap from the top of our ship into the shallop, where falling fortunately on some of the stronger timber of the boat, and not on the planks, which he must needs have broken, and so sunk us, had he fallen upon them, escaped together with us two, unto the land. I must confess myself, as also the seamen that were in the shallop, thought once to have killed him for this desperate attempt; but finding no harm followed, we escaped together unto the land, from whence we sent more shallops, and so made means to save both men and horses that were in the ship …

Edward, Lord Herbert of Cherbury (1583–1648)

from The Life of Edward, Lord Herbert of Cherbury, first published in 1764

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