The story of Sir Walter Raleigh is a fascinating tale of 16th century swashbuckling on the high seas, fighting religious wars in Europe and firing verbal broadsides in the house of commons as an MP. Yet for all his meteoric highs in life he was just as swiftly returned to terra firma as on three occasions he spent a total of 13 years incarcerated in the Tower of London and he suffered the misfortune of having his head chopped off. His upbringing was devoutly protestant and his family suffered under the brief reign of Mary I (1553-1558) which left him with a loathing of all things catholic. As a young man he travelled to France to fight in the French religious civil wars and later served for England fighting insurrections in Ireland. His bravery and valour were noted by Queen Elizabeth I and when his opportunity came to meet with her he proved to be a charming courtier and a favoured subject for many years to come. His first downfall was when he fell in love and impregnated one of the queen's ladies in waiting Elizabeth Throckmorton. They married in secret in 1591 but the following year their secret came out and the queen sent them both to the Tower of London as punishment. After a few months in the tower they were both freed and it took a couple of years for Sir Walter to get back in the Queens favour. In 1594 he sailed to South America and explored parts of Guiana, upon his return he used some poetic licence to extend the tale of riches to be found in the new world, he published a book called The Discovery of Guiana in 1596 and this added fuel to the fire of the legend of the lost city of El Dorado. In 1603 the queen died and King James I was the new monarch and within 4 months Raleigh had been arrested as a conspirator against the king and charged with treason. He was found guilty but the king commuted his sentence to life in the tower. He served a very sorrowful but productive 13 years in the Tower of London and wrote the acclaimed book "The Historie of the World" which he was allowed to publish in 1614. He was released on licence in 1616 and set sail for Guiana under orders from the king to find El Dorado and bring back gold and riches. Part of the deal was to avoid conflict with the Spanish, but unbeknown to Raleigh his men were involved in a skirmish which saw them attack a Spanish colony and it sealed the fate of Sir Walter Raleigh. Back in England he was arrested and sent to the tower which was to prove 3 times unlucky as the king ordered his head to be chopped off to appease the Spanish. Away from the politics, pirating and profiteering he was a wonderful poet and gifted writer, he was good for a one liner also so here is my compilation of 15 of the best Walter Raleigh quotes
- Mini Bio
- Name: Walter Raleigh
- Born: 22nd January 1552, Hayes Barton, East Budleigh, Devon, England
- Died: 29th October 1618, London, England
- Resting place: The Church of St. Margaret, Westminster Abbey, London
- Alma mater: Oriel College, Oxford
- Occupation: Writer, poet, and explorer
- Marriage resume: Elizabeth Throckmorton 1591 - 1618 (his death)
- Nickname: Water (Elizabeth I coined this moniker for him derived from his poem "Cynthia")
- Ships name: He commissioned a ship to be built which he called "Ark Raleigh", years later Queen Elizabeth I bought this ship from him and changed the name to "Ark Royal"
- Titles: He was knighted in 1585 and given the title Lord Lieutenant of Cornwall
- Trivia: In the nineteenth century it had been suggested that Sir Walter Raleigh was the writer of much of the works of William Shakespeare which caused an intense debate in academic circles about whether it could be true. Most Shakespearean scholars believe it to be untrue, but do agree that Sir Walter was a mighty fine writer
- Quotes about Walter Raleigh: Historian Anna Beer described him thus: "Raleigh knew how to get things done. He could justify the unjustifiable while in the same breath standing up for the underdog"
- The author Alexander Balloch Grosart was dumbfounded to say: "That such a head should be struck off is of the infamies of our island story. One inevitably pronounces it damnable that it should have been possible for a sovereign of England to perpetrate judicial murder of this type and the nation be dumb"
- One of the judges at his trial later recalled in disbelief: "The justice of England has never been so degraded and injured as by the condemnation of the honourable Sir Walter Raleigh"
"Let my accuser come face to face, and be deposed. Were the case but for a small copyhold, you would have witnesses or good proof to lead the jury to a verdict; and I am here for my life"
"Whosoever commands the sea commands the trade; whosoever commands the trade of the world commands the riches of the world, and consequently the world itself"
"Whoso desireth to govern well and securely, it behoveth him to have a vigilant eye to the proceedings of great princes, and to consider seriously of their designs"
"Flatterers are the worst kind of traitors; for they will strengthen thy imperfections, encourage thee in all evils, correct thee in nothing"
"Whosoever, in writing a modern history, shall follow truth too near the heels, it may happily strike out his teeth"
"Speaking much also is a sign of vanity; for he that is lavish in words is a niggard in deeds"
"History hath triumphed over time, which besides it nothing but eternity hath triumphed over"
"The world itself is but a larger prison, out of which some are daily selected for execution"
"At this hour my ague comes upon me. I would not have my enemies think I quaked from fear"
"Tis a sharp Medicine, but it is a Physician for all diseases and miseries"
"So the heart be right, it is no matter which way the head lies"
"No man is esteemed for gay garments but by fools and women"
"Every fool knoweth that hatreds are the cinders of affection"
"There is nothing exempt from the peril of mutation"
"No man is wise or safe, but he that is honest"
Great quotes are not where you find great wisdom. It's where you share this knowledge that counts