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S HA KE S P E A RE
SELECTED AND PREPARED FOR USE IN
WITH INTRODUCTIONS AND NOTES.
THE REV. HENRY N. HUDSON.
GINN AND II EATH.
George Gay Brown Collection
alice, Albert and Richardson Brown
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1873, by
HENRY N. HUDSON,
INTRODUCTION TO THE TEMPEST.
reasons unknown to us, it stands the first in the volume. In regard to the text there are no very serious difficulties, and but a few points that are much disputed. These are remarked in the notes, and so need not be mentioned here.
It is beyond question that this play was among the latest of the Poet's writing. Malone ascertained from some old records that The Tempest was acted by the King's players “ before Prince Charles, the Princess Elizabeth, and the Prince Palatine, in the beginning of 1613.” This is the only authentic contemporary notice we have to help us towards the date of the writing. I say the only authentic notice ; for the memorandum put forth some years ago by Mr. Cunningham, purporting to be from “Accounts of the Revels at Court," and stating the play to have been acted at Whitehall, November 1, 1611, has been lately discredited. A passage from Florio's translation of Montaigne's Essays, quoted in note 17, Act ii. scene 1, shows conclusively that the play must have been written after 1603. But the time of writing is to be gathered more nearly from another source. The play has several points clearly connecting with some of the then recent marvels of Transatlantic discovery ; in fact, I suspect America may justly claim to have borne a considerable part in suggesting and shaping this delectable workmanship. In May, 1609, Sir George Somers, with a fleet of nine ships, headed by the Sea Venture, which was called the Admirals Ship, sailed for Virginia. In mid-ocean they were struck by a terrible tempest, which scattered the whole fleet; seven of the ships, however, reached Virginia ; but the Sea Venture was parted from
the rest, driven out of her course, and finally wrecked on one of the Bermudas. These islands were then thought to be “a most prodigious and enchanted place, affording nothing but gusts, storms, and foul weather"; on which account they had acquired a bad name. In 1610 appeared a pamphlet entitled A Discovery of the Bermudas, otherwise called the Isle of Devils, giving an account of the storm and shipwreck. The sailors had worked themselves into complete exhaustion, and given over in despair, and taken leave of each other, when the ship was found to be jammed in between two rocks, so that all came safe to land. They found the island uninhabited, the air mild and wholesome, the land exceedingly fruitful ; "all the fairies of the rocks were but flocks of birds, and all the devils that haunted the woods were but herds of swine."
Staying there some nine months they had a very delightful time of it, refitted their ship, and then put to sea again, with an ample supply of provisions, and their minds richly freighted with the beauties and wonders of the place.
There can be no rational doubt that from this narrative Shakespeare took various hints for the matter and whereabout of his drama. Thus much is plainly indicated by his mention of "the still-vexed Bermoothes," as the Bermudas were then called, and also by the qualities of air and soil ascribed to his happy island. It is not to be supposed, however, that the scene of the play lies in the Bermudas ; for in less than an hour after the tempest the rest of the fleet is said to be on the Mediterranean, “bound sadly home for Naples.” As to the actual