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‘Beneath A Hollow Word of Law’
"The One Black Stain" by Robert E. Howard (Poem)
A reading of Lee Miller’s Roanoke, has convinced me that Howard did some reading of primary sources for his Solomon Kane stories. The horrors Kane survives are only worse than the actual adventures of English Seafaring men of the late 1500s, due to the addition of supernatural terrors. His back story, of surviving the Spanish inquisition and enslavement as a galley slave, where actually experienced by numerous British seamen, as was enslavement in Islamic and Indian lands.
In Drake’s day every British sea captain was a pirate, and none were safe from the machinations of the others, who might gain the favor of the virgin queen or hatch a plot to have him marooned, jailed or executed.
This poem is set at the tip of South America, during Drake’s circumnavigation of the earth, the first captain of a sailing ship to survive the ringing of the globe under sail, Magellan having been slain halfway around the world in his attempt some 50 years earlier.
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