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Trinculo says of Caliban, "I took him to be kill'd with a thunder-stroke" (2.2.108); and earlier Antonio says, "They dropp'd, as by a thunder-stroke" (2.1.204). Strachey says that "There are no Rivers nor running Springs of fresh water to bee found upon any of [the islands]"; their "Wels and Pits" were "either halfe full, or absolutely exhausted and dry," though eventually the men found "some low bottoms" which "we found to continue as fishing Ponds, or standing Pooles . In the play Adrian says, "The air breathes upon us here most sweetly," to which Sebastian retorts, "As if it had lungs, and rotten ones," and Antonio adds, "Or, as 'twere perfumed by a fen" (2.1.47-9).
(These are Shakespeare's only two uses of the word "thunder-stroke"; he usually--seven times--used "thunderbolt.") Strachey also writes of the "many scattering showers of Raine (which would passe swiftly over, and yet fall with such force and darknesse for the time as if it would never bee cleere again)" (16). Fens are mentioned twice more in The Tempest -- "from unwholesome fen" (1.2.322); "bogs, fens, flats" (2.2.2) -- but only twice more in the rest of the canon.
(1.2.232-37)Strachey describes the storm as "roaring" and "beat[ing] all light from heaven; which like an hell of darknesse turned blacke upon us . In The Tempest, Miranda describes the waters as being in a "roar," and says that "The sky it seems would pour down stinking pitch, / But that the Sea, mounting to th' welkins cheek, / Dashes the fire out." (1.2.1-5) Strachey says that "Our clamours dround in the windes, and the windes in thunder. (1.2.26-31)Jourdain tells how they "had time and leasure to save some good part of our goods and provision, which the water had not spoyled" (7-8); Gonzalo mentions how "our garments, being (as they were) drench'd in the sea, hold notwithstanding their freshness and glosses, being rather new dy'd than stain'd with salt water" (2.1.62-65).
Prayers might well be in the heart and lips, but drowned in the outcries of the officers" (7); in the play the boatswain says, "A plague upon this howling; they are louder than the weather, or our office" (1.1.36-7), and a few lines later the mariners cry, "To prayers! Strachey writes about how it had been thought that the Bermudas were "given over to Devils and wicked Spirits" (14); Jourdain calls it "the Ile of Divels" (title page) and "a most prodigious and enchanted place" (8); A True Declaration says that "these Islands of the Bermudos, have ever beene accounted as an enchaunted pile of rockes, and a desert inhabitation for Divels; but all the Fairies of the rocks were but flocks of birds, and all the Divels that haunted the woods, were but heards of swine" (10-11).
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).
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.
Others are less impressive when looked at in isolation, since they are of a type that might be found in other travel narratives, but their sheer number and breadth (much greater than in other narratives) is significant. Elmo's fire that corresponds in many particulars to Ariel's description of his magical boarding of the King's ship. Jourdain says that the sailors "drunke one to the other, taking their last leave one of the other" (5); in the play the boatswain says, "What, must our mouths be cold?A storm separated the Sea-Venture from the other ships, and the rest of the fleet continued on safely to Virginia, assuming that Gates had drowned. In both cases everybody on board made it safely ashore. perished: but see the goodnesse and sweet introduction of better hope, by our mercifull God given unto us" (13); "by the mercy of God unto us, making out our Boates, we had ere night brought all our men, women, and children, about the number of one hundred and fifty, safe into the Iland" (13).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.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.