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not printed till 1662; but appears from internal evidence, to have been written about the year 1619, three years after Shakspeare's death!)

“ But though (proceeds Mr. Capell) we have in honesty given this extract, [that quoted from “ Middleton's play,] and said of it as above, 'tis not “ from an opinion that the compound referr’d-to

[“still-vex'd”] sprang from thence; which should “rather have been the offspring of some fuller and

LATER relations, by print or otherwise, WHICH


These are the reasons : “ In 1609, Sir George Sommers, (of whom the is“ lands were also called Sommer islands, the first

Englishman certainly, and for aught appears, the “ first European, who set his foot on them, was cast

upon them by shipwreck; stay'd a year on them; “ return'd to them again from Virginia, and then

dy'd on them. That colony calls them within its “ limits; and the then majority of it sold them to

some particulars, members of their society; who “ in April 1612, ' sent thither a ship with sixty per

sons, who arrived, and remayn'd there very safely.' “ The furnisher of these particulars and of the ex“tract that follows them, speaking of the islands

themselves, says further, 'they were of all nations said and supposed to be enchanted and in- habited with witches and devils, which grew by

reason of accustomed monstrous thunder, storme “ and tempest, neere unto them.' Now as these “ particulars must, from the nature of them, have “ been the subject as well of writings as talk, at “ at the time they were passing, the presumption “ is, FIRST, that the afore-mention'd epithet [“ still

vex'd"] rose from them; and next, that they were also SUGGESTERS OF SYCORAX AND HER SOR

CERIES, OF THE PRETERNATURAL BEING SUBJECTED “ TO HER, AND OF PROSPERO'S MAGICK; which, if “ it be allow'd, then is this play prov'd by it a late

composition; and weight added to the opinion “ that makes it the Poet's last ; a circumstance that

might determine the Players to place it foremost " in their publish'd collection.-Stratford, his place “ of birth and of residence, was burnt in 1614, “ which should in reason have drawn him thither, “ and in 16 he dy'd. The extracts, and what re“lates to these islands, we have from Howe's Con“ tinuation of Stowe ; (edition 1631, fol. bl. 1.) their “ name in him is Bermodes and Bermodies, which, “ as well as Bermoothes, (the poet's spelling,) are “ defective attempts to give in English the Spanish sound of Bermudas."

This is the whole that Mr. Capell has said upon this subject; and between this statement and mine the writer in question, on repeated and mature consideration, sees so little difference, that in his apprehension, the passage just now quoted fully warrants his conclusion ; namely, that the discovery which I pretend to have made, was previously made by Mr. Capell.

The matter here in controversy lies in so narrow a compass, that it admits of little illustration or amplification : where no arguments have been adduced in support of an opinion, there is nothing to

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be confuted. In some questions of a complex and difficult nature, when many specious observations are urged by ingenious men, in support of contrary tenets, an attentive consideration and sound judgment are requisite, to separate truth from falsehood, and to form a just decision ;-but here are no opposing probabilities to be balanced, and no reasoning to be sifted and examined: on the one side, we have a series of connected proofs, all leading to the same conclusion ; on the other a mere assertion with scarcely one colourable suggestion to sup

port it.

In the passage relied upon as furnishing a desive proof of what has been asserted, Sir George Somers, and the misfortune that befel him, as has been already observed, are indeed mentioned; but the notice of this gentleman, and of his shipwreck, is merely historical and incidental. The writer was naturally led to mention that circumstance, in order to attain the object that he had in view; which was only to shew that the opinions vulgarly entertained concerning the Bermuda islands gave rise to the magick of The TEMPEST.

Mr. Capell's language is in general so quaint, perverse, cloudy, and almost unintelligible, that two men of the quickest apprehension, and soundest judgment, might often find it extremely difficult to ascertain his meaning; and might perhaps, in many cases ascribe to the same passage interpretations of a totally opposite and contrary import: but here, in spite of all the awkwardness of his language, it is demonstrable, that the notice of Sir George Somers is merely incidental, and introduced solely as

a greese or step' to the Bermuda Islands, and to the opinions which prevailed concerning them; and he is extremely particular in the conclusion that he meant to have drawn from this statement; which is not, that the storm of 1609, that wrecked Somers there, gave rise to the play; but that the supposed enchantments belonging to those islands on which he was wrecked, gave rise, SOME YEARS AFTERWARDS, in the first place, to the epithet applied to them by the poet; and secondly, produced the character of Caliban, the delineation of Sycorax and her Sorceries, and the magick of Prospero. This, and this only, it is manifest, is the conclusion which he meant to draw; and for this purpose only was Sir George Somers, or his shipwreck at Bermuda, mentioned.

With respect to the notions entertained by the vulgar that the Bermudas were enchanted islands, and to the circumstances which made it probable that Shakspeare had those notions in view when he wrote this comedy; and that the beings with which he has peopled his enchanted island, and the magick of Prospero, were in some measure derived from thence; all this was known to Dr. Farmer, Bishop Percy, Mr. Steevens, and others; (though not one of them could ascertain at what precise period Shakspeare attained the knowledge requisite for the formation of this drama:) and each of those gentlemen may be said to have anticipated the present writer in his discovery, with as much propriety as Mr. Capell.

The remark indeed of a much elder editor, Mr. Theobald, is so material on this part of our present disquisition, that I shall here transcribe it. It is observable, that his Note is on the very same words (" the still-ver'd Bermoothes,") which gave rise to the remark of Mr. Capell, inserted above :

“ So this word [Bermoothes] has hitherto been

mistakenly written in all the books. There are “ about 400 islands in North America, the principal “ of which was called Bermuda, from a Spaniard “ of that name, who first discovered them. They “ are likewise called Summer Islands, from SIR “ GEORGE SUMMERS, WHO IN 1609, MADE THAT

VOYAGE; and viewing them, probably first brought “ the English acquainted with them, and invited “ them afterwards to settle a plantation there.“ But why 'still-ver'd Bermudas?' The soil is “ celebrated for its beauty and fruitfulness, and the “ air is so very temperate and serene, that people “ live there to a great age, and are seldom troubled “ with sickness. But then, on the other hand, " these islands are so surrounded with rocks on all

sides, that without a perfect knowledge of the

passage a small vessel cannot be brought to ha“ ven. Again, we are told, that they are subject “ to violent storms, sometimes with terrible clat

tering of thunder, and dismal flashing of light“ning.–And besides, SIR GEORGE SUMMERS, WHEN

HE MADE THE DISCOVERY, was actually ship“ WRECK'D on the coast. This, I take it, might be

a sufficient foundation for our author's using the epithet still-ver'd.

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