The "Sea-Venture" never showed up, and was presumed to be lost; word to that effect made it back to England by the fall and created a public sensation, since interest in the expedition was very high.But unknown to the rest of the world, the battered ship had managed to reach Bermuda before running aground, with all aboard making it safely ashore.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.
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.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 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.[note3] I have grouped them according to general categories: Background, The storm, The Island, The Conspiracies, Other Events on the Island, and Miscellaneous Verbal Parallels. running sometimes along the Maine-yard to the very end, and then returning . Sometimes I'ld divide, And burn in many places; on the topmast, The yards and boresprit, would I flame distinctly, Then meet and join.