Imagens da página
PDF
ePub

The mariners all under hatches stow'd;
Whom, with a charm, join’d to their suffer'd labour,
I have left asleep: and, for the rest o' the fleet,

Which I dispers’d, they all have met again ; all And“are" upon the Mediterranean flote, 6 r float. ms. 1632.

Bound sadly home for Naples ;
Supposing that they saw the king's ship wreck'd,
And his great person perish.
Pro.

Ariel, thy charge
Exactly is perform’d; but there's more work:
What is the time o' the day ??
Ari.

Past the mid season.
Pro. At least two glasses : The time 'twixt six and now,
Must by us both be spent most preciously.

Ari. Is there more toil? Since thou dost give me pains,
Let me remember thee what thou hast promis’d,
Which is not yet perform'd me.
Pro.

How now? moody?
What is't thou can'st demand ?
Ari.

My liberty.
Pro. Before the time be out? no more.
Ari.

I
pray

thee
Remember I have done thee worthy service;
Told thee no lies, made no mistakings, servd8

Again, in one of his Epistles :

“Have their Bermudas, and their straights i' th' Strand.”
Again, in The Devil is an Ass :

I gave my word
“ For one that's run away to the Bermudas.Steevens.
6 the Mediterranean flote,] Flote is wave. Flot. Fr.
And all spený midir. Moat ms.1632,

Steevens.
7 What is the time oʻthe day?] This passage needs not be dis-
turbed, it being common to ask a question, which the next mo-
ment enables us to answer: he that thinks it faulty, may easily
adjust it thus :

Pro. What is the time o' the day? Past the mid season?
Ari. At least two glasses.

Pro. The time 'twixt six and now Johnson
Mr. Upton proposes to regulate this passage differently:

Ariel. Past the mid season, at least two glasses.
Pros. The time, &c. Malone.
8 Told thee no lies, made no mistakings, serv'd -] The old
“ Told thee no lies, made thee no mistakings, servid"

D

.

copy has

Without or grudge, or grumblings: thou didst promise
To bate me a full year.
Pro.

Dost thou forget
From what a torment I did free thee?
Ari.

No.
Pro. Thou dost? and think'st
It much, to tread the ooze of the salt deep;
To run upon the sharp wind of the north;
To do me business in the veins o' the earth,

The repetition of a word will be found a frequent mistake, in the ancient editions. Ritson.

9 Dost thou forget - ] That the character and conduct of Prospero may be understood, something must be known of the system of enchantment, which supplied all the marvellous, found in the romances of the middle ages. This system seems to be founded on the opinion that the fallen spirits, having different degrees of guilt, had different habitations allotted them at their expulsion, some being confined in hell, some (as Hooker, who delivers the opinion of our poet's age, expresses it,) dispersed in air, some on earth, some in water, others in caves, dens, or minerals under the earth. Of these, some were more malignant and mischievous than others. The earthy spirits seem to have been thought the most depraved, and the aerial the least vitiated. Thus Prospero observes of Ariel:

Thou wast a spirit too delicate

To act her earthy and abhorr'd commands. Over these spirits a power might be obtained by certain rites performed, or charms learned. This power was called The black Art, or Knowledge of Enchantment. The enchanter being (as king James observes in his Demonology) one who commands the devil, whereas the witch serves him. Those who thought best of this art, the existence of which was, I am afraid, believed very seriously, held, that certain sounds and characters had a physical power over spirits, and compelled their agency; others who con. demned the practice, which in reality was surely never practised, were of opinion, with more reason, that the power of charms arose only from compact, and was no more than the spirits voluntarily allowed them for the seduction of man. The art was held by all, though not equally criminal, yet unlawful, and therefore Casaubon, speaking of one who had commerce with spirits, blames him, though he imagines him one of the best kind, who dealt with them by way of command. Thus Prospero repents of his art in the last scene. The spirits were always considered as in some measure enslaved to the enchanter, at least for a time, and as serving with unwillingness; therefore Ariel so often begs for liberty; and Caliban observes, that the spirits serve Prospero with no good will, but hate him rootedly. Of these trifles enough.

Fohnson.

When it is bak'd with frost.
Ari.

I do not, sir.
Pro. Thou liest, malignant thing? Hast thou forgot
The foul witch Sycorax," who, with age, and envy,
Was grown into a hoop? hast thou forgot her?

Ari. No, sir.
Pro.

Thou hast: Where was she born?
speak; tell me.
Ari. Sir, in Argier.2
Pro.

O, was she so? I must,
Once in a month recount what thou hast been,
Which thou forget'st. This damn’d witch, Sycorax,
For mischiefs manifold, and sorceries terrible
To enter human hearing, from Argier,
Thou know'st, was banish’d; for one thing she did,
They would not take her life: Is not this true?

Ari. Ay, sir.

Pro. This blue-ey'd hag was hither brought with child,
And here was left by the sailors : Thou, my slave,
As thou report'st thyself, wast then her servant :
And, for thou wast a spirit too delicate
To act her earthy and abhorr'd commands,
Refusing her grand hests, she did confine thee,
By help of her more potent ministers,
And in her most unmitigable rage,
Into a cloven pine ; within which rift
Imprison’d, thou didst painfully remain
A dozen years; within which space she died,
And left thee there; where thou didst vent thy groans,
As fast as mill-wheels strike: Then was this island,
(Save for the son that she did litter here,
A freckled whelp, hag-born,) not honour'd with

1 The foul witch Sycorax,] This idea might have been caught from Dionyse Settle's Reporte of the Last Voyage of Capteine Frobisher, 12mo. bl. 1. 1577. He is speaking of a woman found on one of the islands described. “ The old wretch, whome diuers of our Saylers supposed to be a Diuell, or a Witche, plucked off her buskins, to see if she were clouen footed, and for her ougly hewe and deformitie, we let her goe.” Steevens.

in Argier.) Argier is the ancient English name for Algiers. See a pamphlet entitled, A true Relation of the Travailes, &c. of William Davies, Barber-surgeon, &c. 1614. In this is a chapter “on the description, &c. of Argier.Steevens.

2

1

A human shape.
Ari.

Yes; Caliban her son.
Pro. Dull thing, I say so; he, that Caliban,
Whom now I keep in service. Thou best know'st
What torment I did find thee in: Thy groans
Did make wolves howl, and penetrate the breasts
Of ever-angry bears; it was a torment
To lay upon the damnd, which Sycorax
Could not again undo; it was mine art,
When I arriv'd, and heard thee, that made gape
The pine, and let thee out.
Ari.

I thank thee, master.
Pro. If thou more murmur'st, I will rend an oak,
And peg thee in his knotty entrails, till
Thou hast howld away twelve winters.
Ari.

Pardon, master:
I will be correspondent to command,
And do my spriting gently.
Pro.

Do so; and after two days I will discharge thee. Ari.

That's

my

noble master! What shall I do? say what? what shall I do?

Pro. Go make thyself like to a nymph o’ the sea ;3 Be subject to no sight but mine ; invisible To every eye-ball else.4 Go, take this shape,

3

to a nymph o' the sea;] There does not appear to be sufficient cause why Ariel should assume this new shape, as he was to be invisible to all eyes, but those of Prospero. Steevens. A Be subject to no sight but mine ; invisible To every eye-ball else.] The old copy reads

“Be subject to no sight but thine and mine; invisible,” &c. But redundancy in the first line, and the ridiculous precaution that Ariel should not be invisible to himself, plainly prove that the words-and thine-were the interpolations of ignorance.

Steevens. Go make thyself like a nymph o the sea : be subject

To no sight but thine and mine ; invisible, &c.] The words-“ be subject-having been transferred in the first copy of this play to the latter of these lines, by the carelessness of the transcriber or printer, the editor of the second folio, to supply the metre of the former, introduced the word to ;-reading, “like to a nymph o' the sea.” The regulation that I have made, shews that the addition, like many others made by that editor, was unnecessary. Malone.

And hither come in't: Hence, with diligence.5

[Exit ARIEL. Awake, dear heart, awake! thou hast slept well; Awake!

Mira. The strangeness of your story put Heaviness in me.

[Making ] SD, ms1632 Pro.

Shake it off: Come on;
We'll visit Caliban, my slave, who never
Yields us kind answer.
Mira.

'Tis a villain, sir,
I do not love to look on.
Pro.

But, as 'tis,
We cannot miss him :? he does make our fire,
Fetch in our wood; and serves in offices
That profit us. What ho! slave! Caliban !
Thou earth, thou! speak.

Cal. [Within] There's wood enough within.

Pro. Come forth, I say; there's other business for thee: Come forth, thou tortoise when?

My arrangement of this passage, admits the word to, which, I think, was judiciously restored by the editor of the second folio.

Steevens. 5 And hither come in't: hence with diligence.] The old copy reads

“ And hither come in't : go, hence with diligence.” The transcriber or compositor had caught the word go from the preceding line. Ritson.

6 The strangeness ] Why should a wonderful story produce sleep? I believe experience will prove, that any violent agitation of the mind easily subsides in slumber, especially when, as in Prospero's relation, the last images are pleasing. Johnson.

The poet seems to have been apprehensive that the audience, as well as Miranda, would sleep over this long, but necessary, tale, and, therefore, strives to break it. First, by making Prospero divest himself of the magic robe and wand; then, by waking her attention no less than six times, by verbal interruption : then, by varying the action, when he rises, and bids her continue sitting : and lastly, by carrying on the business of the fable, while Miranda sleeps, by which she is continued on the stage, till the poet has occasion for her again. Warner. Miranda swam magically jonmabuized 7 We cannot miss him:] That is, we cannot do without him. ·

M. Mason. 8 Come forth, thou tortoise! when?] This interrogation, indica. tive of impatience in the highest degree, occurs also in King Richard II. Act I. sc. i: “When, Harry?” See note on this pas. sage, Act I. sc. i.

« AnteriorContinuar »