[Scene opens with two pinnaces – the men spot a large ship through the fog. We see views of various characters as the title sequence plays.]
Drake: [Calling down from ship to pinnace] Does the queen still live?
Fisherman 1: Master?
Drake: Does the queen still live?
Fisherman 1: In good health, sir.
Fisherman 1: Aye, in good health, master.
Fisherman 1: All’s well, sir.
Drake: Thanks, good masters. [Turns to Fletcher] Now God be praised, Chaplain Fletcher, for he has delivered us from our travail. [Fletcher looks disgusted.]
John Drake: We go into harbor, then, uncle?
Drake: No, not yet. We’ll anchor off St. Nicholas Island. Let them know in
John: Aye, sir!
Fisherman 1: [points] Drake!
Fisherman 2: Can’t be.
Fisherman 1: Drake. There’s no mistakin’ him.
Fisherman 2: But Drake is dead. Wrecked and drowned in the
Fisherman 1: No. Drake. ‘Tis he. [Camera focuses on the figure of the golden hinde painted on the back of the ship, then cuts to a medallion around Hatton’s neck bearing the same symbol. We see the Privy Council.]
Hatton: He’s back, your majesty. ‘Tis he. Awaiting your instructions in Plymouth Sound. Shall I dispatch?
Queen: No. There is much to be considered before I summon here my resurrected captain general. Let him wait there a while until I have taken thought.
[Drake is sitting in his cabin, someone plays the flute; bored crewmen are cooling their heels.]
Brewer: Boat ahoy! Boat coming!
John: [Enters Drake’s cabin] A boat, uncle!
Drake: What kind of boat?
John: Pinnace! I think it carries a messenger from the queen!
Messenger: [Knocks] Captain Drake?
Drake: Captain General Drake, aye.
Messenger: From her sovereign majesty, Queen Elizabeth. [Hands Drake a letter.] I’ll wait without.
Drake: [opens message] She wishes to see me.
John: The queen?
Drake: Aye, lad, the queen.
Drake: Forthwith, at
John: What sort of specimens?
Drake: The sort that even monarchs love to look at. The sort that might well save your uncle’s head. Thank God we have them - and in right royal abundance!
[Cut to shots of gold coins being packed and taken ashore. Scenes of Drake traveling by horseback to see queen. Cut to stairwell where Hatton and Walsingham are standing.]
Hatton: He’s with her now.
Hatton: Yes. ‘Twas her express command.
Walsingham: How long?
Hatton: Just now.
Walsingham: Have you, ah? [Gestures at nose.]
Hatton: No, nothing.
Walsingham: He hath much to tell her.
Hatton: And much to explain.
[Interior. Queen examines silver pieces. Drake kneels as the queen signals, and several guards exit.]
Queen: So. ‘Tis over. The circumnavigation done.
Drake: Aye, ma’am.
Queen: And by an Englishman West Country born. My salutations, Master Drake, and welcome home to
Drake: Thank you, your majesty. [Rises]
Queen: Lies she still in
Drake: The Golden Hinde, ma’am. I renamed her for Sir Christopher Hatton. He has a hinde in his crest.
Queen: So he has. All considered then, a most felicitous and prudent change of “hart.” However, lies she still in
Drake: Aye ma’am, awaiting your command.
Queen: Seaworthy still?
Drake: Enough needs be to venture forth anew.
Queen: Three eventful years, Master Drake. And all the seas of our globe have passed beneath your keel. John Dee was right. You are the finest mariner of all. Your holds, they say, are heavy with treasure?
Drake: Exceeding heavy, ma’am. My timbers groan with wealth - wealth beyond belief. She is, I fancy, the richest freighted argosy which ever flew our English flag.
Queen: Do you know the value of what you carry?
Drake: To the groat ma’am. There lies beneath my decks enough and more to sustain your kingdom and all its needs for at least a year.
Queen: [She fondles gold coins.] A year, at least?
Drake: At least. [Drake walks over to her and sits down.]
Queen: Didst think after all that’s passed that it would end this way?
Drake: No ma’am.
Queen: [Cuts to flashback of the Queen and her council.] Nor I. Three years ago, I would have prevented you but for the urging of your champions: Sir Christopher Hatton, my old friend and advisor and my secretary of state Sir Francis Walsingham, and my great cosmographer, John Dee.
Hatton: We must do this, your majesty.
Walsingham: The state hath need of it.
Queen: And the leader of this expedition?
Hatton: There is but one, ma’am.
Walsingham: But one.
Queen: [Annoyed.] And who is this one?
Hatton: Drake, ma’am.
Queen: Francis Drake? El Draco the dragon?
Hatton: Why yes ma’am, the dragon.
Queen: There are those who look upon Master Drake as more a pirate than an explorer.
Hatton: Oh indeed, there are, ma’am, but even those who abuse him most must perforce agree that he is a most productive pirate, ma’am. Perhaps the most productive that ever put to sea.
Queen: [Cuts back to present time] A most percipient gentleman, Sir Christopher. And now a very much richer one because of it. You’ve seen him since your return?
Drake: Aye, ma’am, here in
Queen: Did he speak of Doughty?
Drake: He did ma’am.
Drake: He understood.
Queen: And forgave?
Drake: Aye, ma’am.
Queen: Knowing all?
Drake: Knowing all.
Queen: Was he not your closest friend on this great venture? Your companion in arms for many years?
Drake: He was to me as my other hand your majesty. I loved him well, and would that he were here to share our triumph.
[Cut to flashback of Doughty, who is standing on deck with Vicarye, holding a book. The two men observe as the ship is loaded.]
Drake: Make haste, my masters.
V.O. Guy: Come on lads, jump to it. lively now
V.O. Other Guy: come on, easy lads, easy.
Drake V.O.: In ventures such as these, there is but one commander, one monarch only when the Lizard Point sinks beneath the stern and all that lies ahead is unknown sea.
Drake: See those barrels stowed, John.
Drake V.O.: All else is anarchy.
Queen: And Doughty sought your place?
Drake: My place and then my life, your majesty.
Queen: [Cut back to her study] Our Spanish cousins are sore disgruntled, so I’m told. Your escapades have much offended them. Indeed, King Philip has asked me for your head.
Drake: He has ma’am?
Queen: Yes, good Master Drake, he has. [Looks at Drake’s log book.]. You paint exceeding well.
Drake: Thank you, your majesty.
Queen: [Flips to a painting of the Magellan Straits] ‘Twas here your voyage almost came to grief.
Drake: The Magellan straits. Aye ma’am. It very nearly did.
Queen: I meant before you put to sea, Master Drake. Before you sailed from Plymouth Sound. [Flashback to a conversation with her advisors.] You spoke of the Magellan straits.
Queen: Like mountains are they not, the waves therein when tempests blow?
Queen: And here is where you would have us send our ships?
Queen: Uncharted still, you say.
Queen: Then why should Drake succeed where great Magellan failed?
Drake: [Running up the ship’s stair. Yells as he passes.] Make haste there! [Doughty is reading a book, Wynter standing next to him. Addresses Doughty and Wynter]. There are whispers from court that this voyage may be stopped.
Doughty: But why?
Drake: My lord Burghley hath had word of it.
Doughty: How so?
Drake: I know not, but by the rood I shall. How fare the other ships?
Wynter: All ready and standing by.
Drake: To thy place then. As soon as I get word, we’ll straight to sea.
Walsingham: Your majesty? [
Drake: [Opening a message. He reads. His look is inscrutable. He goes on deck and addresses his men.] Go forward! [The men scramble. Lots of pretty footage of the ship setting sail. The back clearly has a Pelican painted upon it.]
Doughty: [Embraces Drake enthusiastically] Then said they among the heathen, “The Lord hath done great things for us.”
Drake: The Lord done great things for us already, whereof we rejoice. [Doughty laughs happily. More footage of the ship. Cut to
Burghley: I repeat: this voyage has been kept secret from me.
Hatton: According to my intelligence, you’ve known of it for some time.
Burghley: Not directly, Sir Christopher, even now, not directly. By whose authority do these ships proceed?
Hatton: The voyage is a private venture, my Lord Burghley, and needs no authority.
Burghley: Most private, indeed so private that I wonder that her majesty knew aught about it.
Burghley: Do you seek to compromise her majesty and thus provoke the Spanish into war?
Burghley: And I speak for the security of the state. Our survival as a nation might now be at stake. The ships, I take it, are now beyond recall?
Hatton: Indeed they are, my lord.
Burghley: Then God help us all - especially those who sanctioned this voyage, and him who leads it.
[Cut to Drake and Doughty in Drake’s cabin, toasting each other.]
Doughty: The Pelican!
Drake: The Pelican! [They drink.]
Doughty: The voyage and our prosperity.
Drake: [Drinks] Aye.
Doughty: Didst ever think when comrades in arms in
Drake: I always hoped so, Thomas, but conviction lagged so far astern of dreams in those days, I never dared believe it. I owe you much. Your friendship had opened many doors to me.
Doughty: A right royal sesame, eh Francis? [Laughs. Drake drinks.] To advance a comrade’s interest is a privilege. To advance a partner’s is but prudence too. [Drinks]
Drake: [Frowns.] Partners?
Doughty: Aye, Francis.
Drake: Partners ashore, Thomas, comrades at sea. [Drinks.]
Doughty: The voyage, then. We shall do it. I know we shall. [Drinks]
Drake: With your good help, Thomas, yes I shall.
[Cut to the ship on rough water. Clattering noise. Cut to Drake, Vicarye, John and Doughty on deck.]
Bright: [Shoves Doughty out of his way.] Master, the casks roll dangerously in the forward hold.
Bright: The haste at
Drake: Attend them; take what men you need.
Bright: Aye, sir. [Shoves Doughty out of the way again.]
Drake: That fellow hath need of manners to brush me by like that.
Drake: Ned Bright? Aye. He’s a true mariner and a sterling fellow. He has a task to perform - an urgent one.
Doughty: He shall not conduct himself so jauntily when he knows our true destination. [Snaps his fingers and points at John] When you go below, see that places are laid for all the gentlemen at dinner. Come Leonard.
John: What did he mean by that remark? About our destination? We go to
Drake: Nay, lad, we go not there. ‘Twas but a deception for the papist spies onshore. And for the crews themselves, of course. They might have tarried in
[Cut to below decks. Drake is on the stairs, sees an idle man.]
Drake: You, sirrah, give a hand there.
Bright: [Mocking] But he’s a soldier, sir. He says he’s one of Master Doughty’s men.
Drake: Master Doughty’s? You are aboard my ship, sirrah, and I, Captain General Drake, am in sole command. Now fall to there, fellow. [He rises.] Ned?
Drake: Put this idle fellow to work and see that he stays till all be done.
Bright: [Mocking.] But he’s a corporal, master. [Doughty descends, freezes on the stair.]
Drake: Is he indeed? Then wherever the labor’s filthiest put him to work on that.
Ned: Aye aye, sir. [Addresses corporal] Get thee to work, sirrah,! [Grabs him, thrusts him forward and kicks him on the rump as he pitches forward.] Go on, get on there, get on your hands in knees, get in there and stow that stuff as high up there as you can. Tie it up.
[Drake goes up the stair, meets Doughty.]
Doughty: That is one of my soldiers, Francis, a corporal, one of my men.
Drake: [Mocking] Your men, Thomas?
Drake: There are no men of yours aboard this ship, Thomas. Nor on any other ship in the fleet. All who sail forth are my men. All, Thomas, all. [Drake exits. Doughty glares.]