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No one has hitherto been fortunate enough to discover the romance, on which Shakspeare founded this play. Mr. Collins the poet is said indeed to have informed Mr. T. Warton, that it was founded on an old romance called Aurelio and Isabella,' printed in Italian, Spanish, French, and English in 1588: but as no such work could be discovered by the acute and learned writer to whom this information was communicated, it was reasonably inferred by him, that Collins, in consequence of the failure of memory during his last illness, had substituted the name of one novel for another.

It seems probable, that the event, which immediately gave rise to the composition of this drama, was the voyage of Sir George Somers, who was shipwrecked on the Bermudas in 1609, and whose adventures were given to the public by Silvester Jourdan, one of his crew, with the following title: A Discovery of the Bermudas, otherwise called the Isle of Divels: by Sir Thomas Gates, Sir Geo. Sommers, and Captayne Newport, and divers others.' In this publication Jourdan informs us, that the islands of the Bermudas, as every man knoweth, that hath heard or read of them, were never inhabited by any Christian or heathen people; but ever esteemed and reputed a most prodigious and inchanted place, affording nothing

but gusts, stormes, and foul weather; which made every navigator and mariner to avoid them as Scylla and Charybdis, or as they would shun the devil himselfe.' It has hence been concluded that this play was written towards the close of 1611, and that it was brought on the stage early in the succeeding year.

'Whatever might be Shakspeare's intention,' says Dr. Johnson, in forming or adopting the plot, he has made it instrumental to the production of many characters, diversified with boundless invention, and preserved with profound skill in nature, extensive knowlege of opinions, and accurate observation of life. In a single drama are here exhibited princes, courtiers, and sailors, all speaking in their real characters. There is the agency of airy spirits, and of an earthly goblin; the operations of magic, the tumults of à storm, the adventures of a desert island, the native effusion of untaught affection, the punishment of guilt,' and the final happiness of the pair for whom our passions and reason are equally interested.'

It is remarked by Dr. Drake, that the Tempest is, next to Macbeth, the noblest product of our author's genius. Never were the wild and the wonderful, the pathetic and the sublime, more artfully and gracefully combined with the sportive sallies of a playful imagination, than in this enchantingly attractive drama. Nor is it less remarkable, that all these excellences of the highest order are connected with a plot, which, in its mechanism, and in the preservation of the unities, is perfectly classical and correct.'

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