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Though Oxfordians consistently try to deny it, one of the biggest problems for their theory is The Tempest, which can be dated with virtual certainty as having been written between late 1610 and mid-to-late 1611, six to seven years after the death of the Earl of Oxford in 1604. Thomas Looney, the originator of the Oxford theory, accepted this dating (one of the few times sense overcame him in the writing of Shakespeare Identified) and thus denigrated the play mercilessly in an attempt to show that it was not written by "Shakespeare" (i.e. Later Oxfordians have looked coolly upon this subtraction from the canon, and have tried to show that the play could have been written earlier than 1604; they have done this to their own satisfaction, and so consider the issue more or less closed.However, the issue is anything but closed; all Oxfordian attempts I am aware of to date the play before 1604 (and I think I've looked at the most elaborate, including those of Charlton Ogburn and Ruth Loyd Miller) are in fact astonishingly flimsy, and fail completely to confront the overwhelming evidence that in writing The Tempest, Shakespeare made extensive use of narratives describing the wreck and redemption of the ship the "Sea-Venture" in Bermuda in 1609, and the events which ensued when the crew made it safely ashore.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.Many of these are quite striking, involving similar wording in similar or identical contexts. Strachey mentions "hatches" four times (10, 10, 13, 25); Shakespeare in Act 5 again mentions "the mariners asleep / Under the hatches" (5.98-99), and the boatswain says, "We were dead of sleep, / And (how we know not) all clapp'd under hatches" (5.230-31).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?
Though it was not published until 1625, Strachey's account is dated July 15, 1610, and circulated among those in the know; it is addressed to an unidentified "Excellent Lady," who was obviously familiar with the doings of the Virginia Company.
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.
For most of the voyage all went well, but on July 25 a violent storm (probably a hurricane) overtook the ships and raged for several days.
After the storm had subsided, four of the nine ships found each other and proceeded on to Virginia, and three of the others eventually made it into port as well.