Born about 1552, educated at Oxford. Served with the Huguenot army in France in 1569, and joined expeditions against Spanish interests in 1578. He became a favorite of Queen Elizabeth for services rendered in Ireland, and organised two ventures to colonise Virginia, both of which failed. He fell out of favour as Essex grew in the Queen's favour, and was briefly imprisoned in the Tower of London before being freed and going to sea again, this time for South America.

After the death of Elizabeth he was accused of treason against James I and was imprisoned for twelve years. He wrote his History of the World during this time and made various scientific researches. In 1616 he sailed again to seek gold in Venezuela, but was unsuccessful, and was executed on the old charge of treason upon his return in 1618.

The Bible of Sir Walter Raleigh, supposedly found in the Gatehouse at Westminster the night before his execution, was found to contain the following lines. It is often printed as 'Even such is time', or 'Epitaph', with small differences in the text.

Even such is Time, which takes in trust
Our youth, our joys, and all we have,
And pays us but with age and dust;
Who in the dark and silent grave,
When we have wandered all our ways,
Shuts up the story of our days:
And from which earth, and grave, and dust,
The Lord shall raise me up, I trust.

--Sir Walter Raleigh, first published in 1628 with his work Prerogative of Parliaments.

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