Biography Of

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When you think of the word write you may think of a boring individual who only concentrated on that one thing. Sir Walter Raleigh lived a very adventurous live and to many was not even considered a write, but an adventurer. From the time he lived in to his explorations and relationship to the Queen and the disappearance of must of his works makes him the man he was.

Sir Walter Raleigh lived most of his life in the Elizabethan age. The name comes from its queen, Elizabeth. The Elizabethan people were expressive and eloquent, pleasure loving not industrious or hard working, but bold and self-confident; fearless of death and very passionate. (Encarta) The main conflict during this time period was religion. The Puritans wanted religious freedom from the Church of England, Presbyterians wanted to take over the church and remodel it to their own suiting.

The people of this time enjoyed festivals and feasts.

Every season of the year had a special day. Christmas, Easter, and midsummer were the main dates of these festivals.

During this time music and art were extremely popular especially with the upper class. However all classes had their own form of music. The middle and lower class would play their own music in the streets. The upper class would hire musicians to play their instruments at dinners or parties. Dancing would also take place wherever it was played. Most interaction between couples occurred while dancing. Plays were also very popular whether action, humor, violence or musical. Most plays would move form town to town, performing in courtyards or in the street.

Recreation and leisure time was spent on Sundays after church. The middle and lower class enjoyed football (soccer). If they could not play in a field they would take to the streets. The upper class enjoyed tennis and bowling.

Most people during this area were looking for a sense of discover and of change. They loved new things and welcomed adventure. This is what influenced the live of Sir Walter Raleigh.

Raleigh was born at Hayes Barton in Devon shire, England. Not much is known about him until his early teens as a French mercenary. He later attended Oxford University until he was called to a religious war where he was on the Huegnot side. After the war he went to London and studied law. (Britannia) In 1578 Raleigh joined the Queens court and with his half brother Sir Humphrey Gilbert went on a voyage to the new Americas. This uncovered Raleigh's true passion of expedition. On March 1584 he received a patent from the queen granting him titles to any lands he might discover and claim to the crown. In 1585 he sponsored the first English colony in America on Roanoke Island in present day North Carolina. (Huvard) This however failed and Raleigh returned to England. His passion for discovery did not end their Raleigh then went to present day Guyana searching for El Dorado or city of gold. (Springfield) No large discoveries were made and Raleigh returned to England once again. In 1588 he was appointed Vice Admiral of the Devon during the year of the Spanish Armada. They fought the Spanish Armada at Cadiz and because victorious. (Britannia) Raleigh first came to Queen Elizabeth's attention through his work in Ireland, where he went to suppress a rebellion. He then posed as an expert on Irish affairs in London and became the Queen's favorite. (Encarta) He was soon knighted and became one of the most powerful figures in England. He was also one of the first men in England to smoke tobacco. He is also known as the man who laid his cloak over a puddle so the queen could step over it. The queen made him extremely rich with his grants and lands.

Raleigh temporally fell from the queen's favor when she discovered he married lady Bessie Throckmorton who he had two children with. They were locked into the tower of London and released at Christmas. After his released Raleigh retired to his estate. He wrote an account of his voyage in the Discoverie Of Guiana. Which is said to be one of the best Elizabethan adventures. ( Through his years of seafaring and his position on court many enemies who saw their chance to kill him when the queen died. Raleigh was accused of plotting against the Scottish king; James the first became king after Elizabeth died. (Springfield) Raleigh was sentenced to be hung, disemboweled, beheaded, and quartered. He was reprieved and was sentenced to life in the tower of London. While imprisoned he conducted chemical experiences and wrote a history of the world, as he knew it. (Encarta) King James the released Raleigh to give him one more time to find treasure, but instead most of his men and son were killed. (Huvard) As it turns out King James arranged a set-up in Guyana so the Spanish could kill him to maintain peaceful relations. (Encarta) Raleigh would return to England and the King would decide to follow through with his sentencing and have him beheaded. His wife was given his head and kept it for twenty-nine years until she died and it was then buried with his body. Because of the circumstances before his death most of his work was either hidden or destroyed since he wrote most of it in prison.

The works of Raleigh that have survived are said to be "rich and complex" reflecting his own life. (Holt p.253) His reputation as a writer is hard to judge because so little of his work has survived. His words contain realism, humor, high spirit, some bitterness and yet no fear of death. (Britannia) His famous works include The Silent Lover and The Nymph's Reply to the Shepard.

In conclusion Sir Walter Raleigh was a sea-faring man, a soldier, and a courtier. His work reflected his life and an adventurous life he lived. He is probably one of the most under appreciated writers after there death. Although most of his works are lost we must appreciate those that we may still read.