Rich, Richard (fl.1610) (DNB00)


RICH, RICHARD (fl. 1610), author of ‘Newes from Virginia,’ was possibly the Richard Rich, illegitimate son of Richard, first baron Rich [q. v.], and father of Sir Nathaniel Rich [q. v.] He is said to be related to Barnabe Rich [q. v.], and was a soldier and adventurer, who sailed on 2 June 1609 from Plymouth for Virginia in the Sea Venture, which was commanded by Captain Christopher Newport [q. v.] In the same vessel were the three commissioners, Sir Thomas Gates [q. v.], Lord de la Warr, and Sir George Somers [q. v.], who were directed to colonise the new country. The fleet consisted of nine vessels. A violent storm separated the Sea Venture from the other ships, and drove her on to the rocks of the Bermudas, where her crew and passengers were forced to remain for forty-two weeks. During that time they built two pinnaces of cedarwood, in which they ultimately proceeded to Virginia.

Rich reached England in 1610, and published, on 1 Oct., a poem, entitled ‘Nevves from Virginia. The lost Flocke Triumphant. With the happy Arriual of that famous and worthy knight Sr Thomas Gates; and the well reputed and valiant captaine Mr. Christopher Newporte, and others, into England. With the manner of their distresse in the Iland of Deuils (otherwise called Bermoothawes), where they remayned 42 weekes, and builded two Pynaces, in which they returned into Virginia, by R. Rich, gent., one of the voyage, London, Printed by Edw. Allde, and are to be solde by John Wright, at Christ Church dore, 1610,’ 4to. The poem consists of twenty-two eight-line verses, to which is added a brief and bluntly humorous preface. His object was to ‘spread the truth’ about the new colony, and he announced his intention of returning with Captain Newport next year to Virginia. The only known copy is in the Huth Library. It was formerly included in Lord Charlemont's collection, where it was found in 1864 by James Orchard Halliwell[-Phillipps], who reprinted it in 1865 in a limited edition of only ten copies. Twenty-five copies were reprinted by Quaritch for private circulation (London, 1874). Both reprints lack the woodcut of a ship, which is in the original.

The narratives by Rich and others of the Bermudas adventure—Rich spells the word ‘Bermoothawes,’ Shakespeare spells it ‘Bermoothes’—doubtless suggested to Shakespeare some of the scenes in his ‘Tempest’ (cf. arts. Newport, Christopher; Gates, Sir Thomas; and Jourdain, Silvester; and Malone, Account of the Incidents from which Shakespeare's ‘Tempest’ was derived, London, 1808).

Rich speaks in his preface of another work on Virginia, to be ready in ‘a few daies.’ An entry in the ‘Stationers' Register’ gives under the same date (1610) ‘Good Speed to Virginia.’ But no second book by Rich has been discovered.

[Arber's Transcript of the Reg. of Stationers' Hall, iii. 444; Catalogue of the Huth Library, iv. 1247; editions of the Newes mentioned above; Hazlitt's Handbook to the Lit. of Great Britain, p. 506.]

C. F. S.