Gateway to the Classics: Display Item
Eva March Tappan

The Boyhood of Raleigh

by Sir John Everett Millais

(English painter,  1829-1896)

THE illustration represents a scene that is common enough on any coast—two boys listening to a sailor's rehearsal of his adventures; but one of these boys is supposed to be Sir Walter Raleigh, and the adventures are supposed to have taken place on the wonderful Western ocean. When Raleigh had grown up, he was eager to go forth upon the sea. Unfortunately for his wishes, he became a favorite of Queen Elizabeth, and this sovereign had no idea of permitting her favorites to leave the country. Wealth and power came to him, and he was able to send out expeditions of discovery; but it was not until after many years that he was allowed to visit the unknown continent across the seas. On this voyage he sailed up the Orinoco for four hundred miles. Raleigh fell out of the royal favor, his enemies were active, and although after a time he was restored to the favor of the queen, yet, when James I came to the throne, he was sent to the Tower on a charge of being privy to plots against the king. Here he wrote his famous "History of the World." In 1616, he was allowed to make a voyage to the Orinoco to search for a gold mine. The gold mine was not found; and on his return he was executed on the old charge of treason.