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The first recorded performance of The Tempest was at Court on November 1, 1611, allowing us to date the play's composition with remarkable accuracy to the roughly one-year period between the fall of 1610 and the fall of 1611. Could it have served us now miraculously to have taken our height by, it might have strucken amazement" (11-12).
To Table of Contents The following is a list of thematic, verbal, and plot correspondences between Strachey's account and The Tempest; in some cases, parallels are also noted with Jourdain's Discovery of the Barmudas and the anonymous True Declaration, in general only when they are closer to the play than Strachey. but upon a sodaine, towards the morning watch, they lost the sight of it, and knew not which way it made . Ariel: I boarded the King's ship; now on the beak, Now in the waist, the deck, in every cabin, I flam'd amazement.
This suggests Trinculo hiding under Caliban's "gaberdine" (2.2.38) to escape the above rainstorm. In fact, the relevant passage of Strachey mentions owls and bats consecutively: "Owles, and Battes in great store"; and Ariel's song in Act 5 mentions them in consecutive lines: "There I couch when owls do cry. Strachey has a lengthy passage about a bird called the "Sea-Meawe" which the men caught "standing on the Rockes" (22); Caliban tells Stephano that "I'll get thee / Young scamels from the rock" (2.2.171-72).
A True Declaration calls the Bermudas "a place hardly accessable" (10) and "an uninhabited desart" (11), but Jourdain says, "yet did we finde there the ayre so temperate and the Country so aboundantly fruitful of all fit necessaries" (9). Scamels" is usually taken to be a misprint for "Sea-mells," a variant of "Sea-mews." Strachey has a paragraph about the "Tortoyse," which he says "is such a kind of meat, as a man can neither absolutely call Fish nor Flesh, keeping most what in the water, and feeding upon Sea-grasse like a Heifer" (24).
The first of these, A Discovery of the Barmudas, came out in October; it was written by Sylvester Jourdain, who had been aboard the "Sea-Venture" and had returned to England with Gates.
A month later A True Declaration of the Estate of the Colonie in Virginia was published.
Oxfordian writings tend to misrepresent the facts on this issue rather blatantly; I aim here to set the record straight, and (I hope) convince the reader that the Seventeenth Earl of Oxford could not have written The Tempest. [note1] In early June, 1609, nine ships set out from England, carrying around 600 people altogether, to strengthen the new English colony in Virginia.
The "Sea-Venture" was the lead ship, and carried Sir Thomas Gates, the newly-appointed Governor of the colony, and Sir George Somers, the Admiral of the Virginia Company.
The situation in The Tempest is exactly parallel: the ship is part of a fleet on its way to Naples; it carries Alonso, King of Naples, and his entourage; a storm separates the ship from the rest of the fleet, which continues on to Naples, assuming Alonso has drowned: and for the rest o' th' fleet (Which I dispers'd), they have all met again, And are upon the Mediterranean float Bound sadly home for Naples, Supposing that they saw the King's ship wrack'd, And his great person perish. The sea swelled above the clouds, which gave battel unto heaven" (6-7). Strachey attributes this to the benevolence of God: "that night we must have . In The Tempest, the safe landing is attributed to the benevolence of Prospero: The direful spectacle of the wrack, which touch'd The very virtue of compassion in thee, I have with such provision in mine art So safely ordered that there is no soul-- No, not so much perdition as an hair Betid to any creature in the vessel.Taken as a whole, these parallels constitute very strong evidence -- virtual proof, I would say -- that Shakespeare had read Strachey's account closely and had it in mind when he wrote The Tempest. " (1.1.52), after which Antonio complains, "We are merely cheated of our lives by drunkards" (1.1.56), and Sebastian says "Let's take our leave of him" (1.1.64). and staved many a Butt of Beere, Hogsheads of Oyle, Syder, Wine, and Vinegar, and heaved away all our Ordnance on the Starboord side" (12). Strachey tells how "we were inforced to run [the ship] ashoare, as neere the land as we could, which brought us within three quarters of a mile of shoare" (13); Jourdain adds that the ship "fell in between two rockes, where she was fast lodged and locked, for further budging" (7).To Table of Contents The "Sea-Venture" was one of a fleet of nine ships which set out in 1609 to strengthen the English colony in Virginia; it carried Gates, the newly appointed Governor of Virginia, and his entourage. both by his speech and authoritie heartening every man unto his labour" (10); as soon as he appears, King Alonso says, "Good boatswain, have care. Strachey tells how the sailors "threw over-boord much luggage . Stephano says that "I escap'd upon a butt of sack which the sailors heav'd o'erboard" (2.2.121-22), and later tells Caliban to "bear this away where my hogshead of wine is" (4.1.250-51); both Caliban (4.1.231) and Alonso (5.1.299) call the stolen apparel "luggage." Strachey says that "death is accompanied at no time, nor place with circumstances so uncapable of particularities of goodnesse and inward comforts, as at Sea" (6); Gonzalo says, "Now would I give a thousand furlongs of sea for an acre of barren ground, long heath, brown furze, any thing. Ariel in The Tempest, after confirming for Prospero that the ship was "nigh shore" (1.2.216) says, "Safely in harbor / Is the King's ship, in the deep nook" (1.2.226-27).A ship carrying Governor Gates and others left Jamestown two months later and reached England in September; the news of their survival caused another public sensation.Several accounts of the wreck and survival of the "Sea-Venture" were rushed into print in the fall of 1610.