His life was one of incessant eager questioning of nature on all sides, and his many and varied works all bear the stamp of a fresh and original genius, capable of stating and solving problems in all departments of science - at one time finding the true explanation of "ducks and drakes" (formerly attributed to the elasticity of water) and at another helping to lay the foundations of our modern vulcanology and meteorology.
In every direction English influence penetrated, and Englishmen before 1603 might be found in every quarter of the globe, following Drakes lead into the Pacific, painfully breaking the ice in search of a north-east or a north-west passage, hunting for slaves in the wilds of Africa, journeying in caravans across the steppes of Russia into central Asia, bargaining with the Turks on the shores of the Golden Horn, or with the Greeks in the Levant, laying the foundations of the East India Company, or of the colonies of Virginia and Newfoundland.
Drakes singeing of Philips beard in Cadiz harbour in 1587 delayed the expedition for a year, and a storm again postponed it in the early summer of 1588.
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