The Spanish Armada
The Armada was a great fleet (= flotta) which the King of Spain sent to attack
, in the days of Queen Elizabeth. There were more than a hundred ships, so large and high that they looked like towers on the sea; and they came sailing along arranged in the shape of a big half-moon (= mezza luna)
The great English admiral, Sir Francis Drake, was playing at bowls when messengers came hurrying (= affrettandosi) to tell him that the Armada was approaching. He quietly finished his game, and then set sail to fight the Spaniards. His fleet was not so large as the Armada, and the ships were small, but they were light and fast. They met the Armada in the
English Channel, and sailed round it, attacking any ship and speeding away
(= allontanandosi velocemente)before the clumsy (= goffe) Spanish vessels could seize (= prenderle) them. In this way they did much harm to the enemy. Then, one night, when it was dark, and the Spanish vessels were lying quietly at anchor, Admiral Drake sent eight blazing (= in fiamme) fire-ships into their midst (=mezzo) . In great fear, the Spaniards cut their anchor-ropes (= catene che tengono le ancore) , and sailed out to the open sea, and the English ships followed, firing upon them as they fled (= se ne andavano). For two days the English chased (= diedero la caccia) the flying Spaniards. Then their powder (=polvere da sparo) and shot (= proiettili) failed, and a tempest arose; so they had to go back. The Armada sailed on, hoping to escape, but the wild tempest threw (=gettò) many of the great vessels on the rocks and cliffs (=scogliere) of the coast, and sank them to pieces. Only a few, broken and battered (=rotte) , with starving (=affamati) and exhausted men on board, ever reached
again. And so Spain was saved.