This article focuses on one particular transition between the foreign policies of Elizabeth and James, the state's attitude to piracy. By focusing on the representation of piracy in a dramatic text, Fortune by Land and Sea (1607–9), by Thomas Heywood and William Rowley, I explore the extent to which such seaborne activities are aligned with the oppositional discourses which were critical of Jacobean policies. I argue that Fortune by Land and Sea uses values and activities associated with Elizabeth in James's reign as a contrast to those promulgated by the new monarch. In the play we have two spheres represented—one at sea with young Forrest, one on land with Philip—and the contrasts between the brave and adventurous young Forrest and the passive, arguably weak, Philip can be seen as tapping into a nostalgia for Elizabethan values that threatens to undermine Jacobean policies. In what follows, then, I test the extent to which Fortune by Land and Sea should be read as expressing a growing, but coded, sense of dissatisfaction with the king.