Page images
PDF
EPUB

despaire, and not doe as much as any? Was it vertue in those Hero[e]s to provide that [which] doth maintaine us, and basenesse in us to do the like for others to come? Surely no : then seeing wee are not borne for ourselves but each to helpe other; and our abilities are much alike at the howre of our birth and the minute of our death : seeing our good deeds or bad, by faith in Christs merits, is all wee have to carry our soules to heaven or hell: Seeing honour is our lives ambition, and our ambition after death to have an honourable memory of our life ; and seeing by no meanes we would be abated of the dignitie and glory of our predecessors, let us imitate their vertues to be worthily their successors; or at least not hinder, if not further, them that would and doe their utmost and best endeavour.

ASCENT OF THE JAMES RIVER, 1607.

(From Newes from Virginia.) The two and twenty day of Aprill (or rather May, 1607], Captain Newport and myself with diuers others, to the number of twenty two persons, set forward to discouer the Riuer, some fiftie or sixtie miles, finding it in some places broader, and in some narrower, the Countrie (for the moste part) on each side plaine high ground, with many freshe Springes, the people in all places kindely intreating vs, daunsing, and feasting vs with strawberries, Mulberies, Bread, Fish, and other their Countrie prouisions whereof we had plenty ; for which Captaine Newport kindely requited their least fauors with Bels, Pinnes, Needles, beades, or Glasses, which so contented them that his liberallitie made them follow vs from place to place, and euer kindely to respect vs. In the midway staying to refresh our selues in a little Ile foure or five sauages came vnto vs which der scribed vnto vs the course of the Riuer, and after in our iourney, they often met vs, trading with vs for such prouision as wee had, and arriuing at Arsatecke, hee whom we supposed to bee the chiefe King of all the rest, moste kindely entertained vs, giuing vs in a guide to go with vs vp the Riuer to Powhatan, of which place their great Emperor taketh his name, where he that they honored for King vsed vs kindely.

But to finish this discouerie, we passed on further, where within an ile [a mile] we were intercepted with great craggy stones in the midst of the riuer, where the water falleth so rudely, and with such a violence, as not any boat can possibly passe, and so broad disperseth the streame, as there is not past fiue or sixe Foote at a low water, and to the shore scarce passage with a barge, the water floweth foure foote, and the freshes by reason of the Rockes haue left markes of the inundations 8. or 9. foote: The south side is plaine low ground, and the north side high mountaines, the rockes being of a grauelly nature, interlaced with many vains of glistring spangles.

That night we returned to Powhatan: the next day (being Whitsunday after dinner) we returned to the fals, leauing a mariner in pawn with the Indians for a guide of theirs, hee that they honoured for King followed vs by the riuer. That afternoone we trifled in looking vpon the Rockes and riuer (further he would not goe) so there we erected a crosse, and that night taking our man at Powhatans, Captaine Newport congratulated his kindenes with a Gown and a Hatchet : returning to Arsetecke, and stayed there the next day to obserue the height [latitude] thereof, and so with many signes of loue we departed.

[ocr errors]
[graphic][merged small]
[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

WILLIAM STRACHEY* was an English gentleman who came over to Virginia with Sir Thomas Gates in 1609, and was secretary of the Colony for three years. Their ship, the Sea Venture, was wrecked on the Bermudas in a terrible tempest, of which he gives the account that follows. It is said to have suggested to Shakspere the scene of the storm and hurricane in his “Tempest.”

[ocr errors]

WORKS.

A True Repertory of the Wracke and Re. demption of Sir Thomas Gates upon and from the Islands of the Bermudas,

Historie of Travaile into Virginia Brittania.

Edited Lawes Divine, Morall, and Martiall.

William Strachey's writings show a thoughtful and cultivated mind. His style abounds in the long involved and often obscure sentences of his times, but his subject matter is usually very interesting. Compare the following selection with Shakspere's “ Tempest,” Act I., scene 1 and 2, to · Ariel, thy charge.” Notice the reference to Bermoothes (Bermudas).

A STORM OFF THE BERMUDAS.
(From A True Repertory of the Wracke and Redemption of Sir Thomas Gates.)

On St. James his day, July 24, being Monday (pre-
paring for no less all the black night before) the clouds
gathering thick upon us, and the winds singing and whis-
tling most unusually, which made us to cast off our Pin-
nace, towing the same until then asterne, a dreadful storm
and hideous began to blow from out the Northeast, which,
swelling and roaring as it were by fits, some hours with
more violence than others, at length did beat all light from
heaven, which, like an hell of darkness, turned black upon

* Pronounced Străk'ey.

[ocr errors]

us, so much the more fuller of horror, as in such cases horror and fear use to overrun the troubled and overmastered senses of all, while (taken up with amazement) the ears lay so sensible to the terrible cries, and murmurs of the winds and distraction of our Company, as who was most armed and best prepared, was not a little shaken.

For four and twenty hours the storm, in a restless tumult, had blown so exceedingly, as we could not apprehend in our imaginations any possibility of greater violence, yet did we still find it, not only more terrible, but more constant, fury added to fury, and one storm urging a second, more outrageous than the former, whether it so wrought upon our fears, or indeed met with new forces. Sometimes strikes in our Ship amongst women, and passengers not used to such hurly and discomforts, made us look one upon the other with troubled hearts, and panting bosoms, our clamors drowned in the winds, and the winds in thunder. Prayers might well be in the heart and lips, but drowned in the outcries of the Officers,-nothing heard that could give comfort, nothing seen that might encourage hope.

Our sails, wound up, lay without their use, and if at any time we bore but a Hollocke, or half forecourse, to guide her before the Sea, six and sometimes eight men, were not enough to hold the whip-staffe in the steerage, and the tiller below in the Gunner room; by which may be imagined the strength of the storm, in which the Sea swelled above the Clouds and gave battle unto heaven. It could not be said to rain, the waters like whole Rivers did flood in the ayre.

And this I did still observe, that whereas upon the Land, when a storm hath poured itself forth once in drists of rain, the wind as beaten down, and vanquished therewith, not long after endureth,-here the glut of water (as if throatling the wind ere while) was no sooner a little emptied

« PreviousContinue »