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03/05/2014

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Shakespeare
and the
Sea
is
a
new and
original
study
of all
the
plays
and
poerns,
showing the extent and
accuracy
of
Shakespeare's
knowledge
of
the
sea
and
ships,
of
nautical terms and naval
custom.
Throughout
there is much
to
surprise, excite andstimulare.
A
great
deal
that
has been
misunderstoodis explained
in
a
way
that
makes
the
integrity
of
Shakespeare's
workmanship impressive. Certain
scenes
and incidents
are
put
in
a
new
light
and this
becomes
of
unusual importance
in
the
sections
onOthello, Hamlet, Antony
and Cleopatra
and
also
in
some
of
those
on the early and last plays.
The
dramas are
set
against
the background
of
a
great
age
of
navigation and a
Shakespeare
more
versatile
than
ever emerges.
Conjecture and theory
are
avoided,
conclusions
are
based
on
evidence.
The
narradve
will
interest the
general
reader,
while
thedocumentation and notes direct the scholar
and
critic to
fresh fields
of
investigation.
The
author
originally
conceived
the book
while
serving
in
the Royal
Navy
and
has
the
advantage
of
being
able
to
draw
both
upon
academic
training
and
that
ofa
naval officer,
Hc
is
now
profcssor
of
English at rhc
lJniversity
of
St, Andrcws.
rIRST
PUBLISHED
IN
I96+
BY
CONSTABLE
AND
COM?ANY LTD
IO-I2
ORANGE
STREET LONDON
WC2
CT
ALEXANDER
T.
T'ALCONER I964
 
Tlte Mariners
Mirrour
 
DANGERS
TO
NAVIGATION
ROCKS
AND
SHOALS
AND
SANDBANKS
 Huge
rocks,
high
winds, strong pirates,
shelves
and
sands,
The merchant
fears..,
Luoecegg5
Dangers
to
shipping were of everyday concern and
those
that
came
from
banks
and
shoals
and
shelves
were
very real
to
the
citizens
of London who not only
heard
and
talked
of them,
but
could
see
them
as
well.Montgomery's treatise
of
r57o
dealt
with
the
need
for
main-taining
in
good state
. .
. the Thames
or
river
of
London,
which
dayly falleth
to
decay
and
ruine from
the
Brige
down
to
Pur-
phelet [Purfleet],
wher
the
chanell
is
decayd
in
moste
places
fyve
foot
. . .
besyde
a
number ofBanckes and
shelves,
that
have
encreased
and
dayly
doe encrease.
.
. .
The work
of
keeping
the river
navigable
and
fitt
for
good
shippes
had
to
be
continuous,
for
otherwise there
would
have
been
great
hurt
to the
commonwealthe of
that
moste
ancyentand
famous
citty ,l fol.
16.
Mariners,
merchants, adventurers
all
told
of
further
dangers
in
the approaches
to the
coasts
or out
at
sea.
Manuals
ofnavigation,
sea
cards
and rutters
gave warnings
and
directions,
and
thefamous Mariners
Mirrour
(r5BB)
had an
important
section
onshoals, sands,
flats and
hidden
rocks,
including a
set
of
symbols
for
buoys
and
beacons
that
showed
where
these
lay.
The
Merchant
of
Venice
opens
with
talk of
the
hazards
of
sea-
faring.
The
merchant's
pride
in
his
argosies
with
portly
sail must
always
be
offset
by
fears
for their
safety
and
by
uneasy
thoughts
ofwhat
has been
risked:
...,
but
even
now
worth
this,
And
now worth
nothing.
r.r.35
Anything he
catches
sight
of
may be
enough
to
set
his mind
 tossing
on the
ocean ,
or
to
send
him
Peering
in
maps
for
ports
andtrpiers
and
roads;
1 A
treatise cdceruing
thc nauie
of
Englmd
witten
in amo
r57o
by
Ino
Moutgomerywith
an addicion therto
made
by the mide author
in,mo
1588. British
Musem,
Add.
MS.
eo.o4e.
DANGERS
TO
NAVTGATTON
83
I
should
not
see
the sandy hour-glass
run.But
I
should
think
ofshallows and
offlats;
Should
I
go
to
church.
And
see
the holy
edifice
ofstone,And not bethink
me
straight ofdangerous
rocks,
r,r.25
When
Bassanio
seeks
to
borrow
on no
better
security
thanAntonio's
ventures
at
sea,
Shylock at
once
reminds
him:
 But
ships are
but
boards,
sailors
but
men . .
.
and
then there
is
tle
peril
ofwaters, winds, and
rocks.',
r.g.2r
Dangers
abound:
 The
scarfed
bark
puts
from
her
native
bay
but,
even
ifnot
overtaken
by
disaster,
 How
like
the
prodigal doth
she
return,
With
over-weathered ribs, and ragged
sails,
Lean, rent, and
beggared.
e.6.r5 ff.
A rumour
of shipwreck itself
is
made
convincing by
its
realism:
 Antonio
hath
a
ship
of rich
lading
uracJud
on
the
narrow
seasl
theGoodwins,
I
think they
call the
place
: a
very
dangerou
s
flat
and,
fatal,
where the
carcasses
of
many a tall
ship
lie
buried.
3.r.3
Exact
nautical
and technical
terms are
used,
and the descriptionof the
area
of danger
is
similar
to
what
is
given
in
sea
cards
andmanuals:'oGoodwin
is
steepe
and
uneven,
for at
one casting
of
the
lead
you
shall have
z6
fathome,
and
at another
cast
ofthe
lead
you shall
be fast
upon the
Sand. lThe
Goodwins
bring
disasrer
to
the Dauphin's supply
ships
in
King John:
And your
supply which
you
have wished so
long
Are
cast
away
and
sunk
on Goodwin
sands. 5.5.rr-r3
Through
the
centuries,
they have
been
the
cause
of innumerablewrecks,
and
still
todan
lightships,
buoys,
fog
signals
and
even
guns give
warning that
they
are near.
Bank,
flat,
sands,
shelf, shoal are
used
precisely.
A
flat
is
anextended
sandbank
or
shallow.
It
can
also
mean
the
level fore-
shore
or
a
lowJying tract
over
which
the
tide
flows:
half my power
this
night,
Passing these
flats, are taken
by
the
tide.
K,
Jolm 5.6.4o
Or:
The
ocean, overpeering
ofhis
list,
Eats
not
the
flats
with
more impetuous
haste.
Harn,
4,5.too
r
W. J,
Blao,
Tlu
Light of
Nauigatin
(r6re),
p.
a7.

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