« AnteriorContinuar »
him many thinges and among other a great looking glasse, in the which as soon as he sawe his owne likeness, was sodaynly afrayde, and started backe with suche violence, that he overthrewe two that stood nearest about him. When the captayne had thus gyven him certayne haukes belles, with also a look yng glasse, a combe, and a payre of beades of glasse, he sent him to lando with foure of his owne men well arined. Shortly after, they sawe another gyant of somewhat greater stature with his bowe and arrowes in his hande. As he drew nearer unto our men hee laide his hande on his head, and pointed up towards heaven, and our men did the lyke. Thc captayne sent his shippe boate to bring him to a little islande, beyng in the haven. This giant was very tractable and pleasaunt. He soong and daunsed, and in his daunsing left the print of his feet on the ground. After other xv day es were past, there came foure other giauntes without any weapons, but had hid their bowes and arrowes in certaine bushes. The captayne retained two of these, which were youngest and best made. He tooke them by a deceite, in this manner; that giving them knyves, sheares, looking-glasses , belles, beades of chrystall, and such other trifles, he 80 fylled their handes, that they could bolde no more; then caused two paire of shackels of iron to be putt on their legges, making signes that he would also give thein ihose chaynes, which they liked very well because ihey were made of bright and shining metall. And whereas they could not carry them bycause theyr hands were full, the other giants would have carryed them, but the captayne would not suffer them. When they felt the shackels fast about theyr legges, they began to doubt ; but the captayne did put them in comfori and bade them stand stille. In fine, when they sawe how they were deceived, they roared lyke bulles, and cryed upon theyr GREAT DEVILL SETEBOS, to help them. They say that when any of them dye, there appeare x or xı devils leaping and daunsing about the bodie of the dead, and seeme to have theyr bodies paynted with divers colours, and that among other there is one seene bigger than the residue, who maketh great mirth with rejoysing. This great devyll they call Setebos, and call the lesse Cheleule. One of these giantes which they tooke declared by eignes that he had seen devylles with two hornes above theyr heades, with long heare downe to theyr feete, and that they caste forth fyre at theyr throates both before and behind. The captayne named these people Patagon The moste parte of them weare the skynnes of such beastes whereof I have spoken before. They lyve of raw fleshe, and a certaine sweete roote which they call capar."
Caliban, as was long since observed by Dr. Farmer, is merely the metathesis of Cannibal. of the Cannibals a long account is given by Eden, ubi supra.
"The Tempest," says the judicious Schlegel, "has little action and progressive movement: the union of Ferdinand and Miranda is fixed at their first meeting, and Prospero merely throws apparent obstacles in their way; the shipwrecked band go leisurely about the island ; the attempts of Sebastian and Antonio on the Jife of the King of Naples, and of Caliban and his drunken companions against Prospero, are nothing but a feint, as we foresee ihat they will be completely frustrated by the magical skill of the latter; nothing remains therefore but the punishment of the guilty, by dreadful sights which harrow up their consciences, the discovery, and final reconciliation. Yet this want is so admirably concealed by the most varied display of the fascinations of poetry and the exhilaration of mirth; the details of the execution are so very attractive that it requires no small degree of attention to
perceive that the denouement is, in some measgre, already. contained in the exposition. The history of the love of Ferdinand and Miranda, developed in a few short scenes, is enchantingly beautiful: an affecting union of chivalrous magnanimity on the one part, and, on the other, of the virgin openness of a heart which, brought up far from the world on an uninhabited island, has never learned to disguise_its innocent movements. The wise dom of the princely hermit Prospero has a magical and mysterious air ; the impression of the black falsehood of the two usurpers is mitigated by the honest gossiping of the old and faithful Gonzalo ; Irinculo and Stephano, two good-for-nothing drunkards, find a worthy associate in Caliban; and Ariel hovers sweetly over the whole as the personified genius of the wonderful fable.
“Caliban has become a bye-word, as the strange creation of a poetical imagination. A mixture of the gnome and the savage, half demon, half brute ; in his behaviour we perceive at once the traces of his native disposition, and the influence of Prospero's education. The latter could only unfold his understanding, without, in the slightest degree, taming his rooted malignity: it is as if the use of reason and human speech should be communicated to a stupid ape. Caliban is malicious, cowardly, false, and base in his inclinations; and yet he is essentially different from the vulgar knaves of a civilized world, as they are occasionally portrayed by Shakspeare. He is rude, but not vulgar; he never falls into the prosaical and low familiarity of his drunken associates, for he is a poetical being in his way; he always speaks too in verse 2. He has picked up every thing dissonant and thorny in language, out of which he has composed his vocabulary, and of the whole variety of nature, the hateful, repulsive, and pettily deformed have alone been impressed on his imagination. The magical world of spirits, which the staff of Prospero has assembled on the island, casts merely a faint reflection into his mind, as a ray of light which falls into a dark cave, incapable of communicating to it either heat or illumination, merely serves to put in motion the poisonous vapours. The whole delineation of this monster is inconceivably consistent and profound, and not. withstanding its hatefulness, by no means hurtful to our feelings, as the honour of human nature is left untouched.
“In the zephyrlike Ariel the image of air is not to be mis. taken, his name even bears an allusion to it; on the other hand, Caliban signifies the heavy element of earth. Yet they are neither of them allegorical personifications, but beings individually determined. In general we find, in the Midsummer Night's Dream, in the Tempest , in the magical part of Macbeth, and wherever Shakspeare avails himself of the popular belief in the invisible presence of spirite, and the possibility of coming in contact with them, a profound view of the inward life of Nature and her mysterious springs; which, it is true, ought never to be alto. gether unknown to the genuine poet, as poetry is altogether incompatible with mechanical physics, but which few have possessed in an equal degree with Dante and himself 3."
Schlegel is not quite correct in asserling that Caliban "always speaks
Mr. Steevens, it is true, endeavoured to give a metrical form to some of his speeches, which were evidently intended for prose, and they are therefore in the present edition su printed. Shakspeare , throughout bis plays, frequently introduces short prose speeches in the midst of blauk
3 Lectures on Dramatic Literature by Aug. Will. Schlegel, translated by John Black, 1815, Vol. ii. p. 178.
It seems probable that this play was written in 1611: at all events between the years 1609 and 1614. It appears from the MSS. of Vertue that the Tempest was acted, by John Heminge and the rest of the King's Company, before Prince Charles, the Lady Elizabeth, and the Prince Palatine Elector, in the beginning of the year 1613.
ALONSO, King of Naples.
MIRANDA, Daughter to Prospero.
ABIEL, an airy Spirit.
Other Spirits attending on Prospero.
SCENE, the Sea, with a Ship; afterwards an unin
* From the Folio Edition of 1623