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When it is bak'd with frost.
I do not, sir.
Ari. No, sir.
Thou hast: Where was she born?
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.
A human shape.
Yes; Caliban her son.
I thank thee, master.
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,
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. 4 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
Shake it off: Come on;
'Tis a villain, sir,
But, as 'tis,
Cal. [Within] There's wood enough within.
Pro. Come forth, I say; there's other business for thee: Come forth, thou tortoise! when ? 8
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 nccessary, 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. 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 passage, Act I. sc. i.
Re-enter ARIEL, like a water-nymph.
My lord, it shall be done. [Exit. Pro. Thou poisonous slave, got by the devil himself Upon thy wicked dam, come forth!
In Prospero's summons to Caliban, however, as it stands in the old copy, the word forth (which I have repeated for the sake of metre) is wanting. Steevens. 9 Cal. As wicked dew as e'er my mother brush'd,
With raven's feather from unwholesome fen,
Drop on you both!'] It was a tradition, it seems, that Lord Falkland, Lord C. J. Vaughan, and Mr. Selden concurred in observing, that Shakspeare had not only found out a new character in his Caliban, but had also devised and adapted a new manner of language for that character. What they meant by it, without doubt, was, that Shakspeare gave his language a certain grotesque air of the savage and antique; which it certainly has. But Dr. Bentley took this, of a new language, literally; for, speaking of a phrase in Milton, which he supposed altogether absurd and unmeaning, he says, Satan had not the privilege, as Caliban in Shak. speare, to use new phrase and diction unknown to all others- -and again to practise distances is still a Caliban style. Note on Milton's Paradise Lost, 1. iv. v. 945. But I know f no such Caliban style in Shakspeare, that hath new phrase and diction, unknown to all others. Warburton.
Whence these critics derived the notion of a new language, appropriated to Caliban, I cannot find: they certainly mistook brutality of sentiment for uncouthness of words. Caliban had learned to speak of Prospero and his daughter; he had no names for the sun and moon, before their arrival, and could not have invented a language of his own, without more understanding, than Shakspeare has thought it proper to bestow upon him. His diction is indeed somewhat clouded, by the gloominess of his temper, and the malignity of his purposes; but let any other being entertain the same thoughts, and he will find them easily issue, in the same expres. sions. Johnson.
As wicked dew-] Wicked; having baneful qualities. So Spenser says, wicked weed; so, in opposition, we say, herbs or medicines have virtues. Bacon mentions virtuous bezoar, and Dryden virtuDus herbs. Johnson.
So, in the Book of Haukyng, &c. bl. 1. no date: “ If a wycked fellon be swollen in such a manner that a man may hele it, the
Pro. For this, be sure, to-night thou shalt have cramps, Side-stitches, that shall pen thy breath up; urchins? Shall, for that vast of night that they may work,2
hauke shall not dye.” Under King Henry VI. the parliament petitioned against hops, as a wicked weed. See Fuller's Worthies : Essex. Steevens.
- urchins - ] i.e. hedge-hogs, Urchins are enumerated by Reginald Scott, among other terrific beings. So, in Chapman's May day, 1611:
to fold thyself up like an urchin." Again, in Selimus Emperor of the Turks, 1584:
“ What are the urchins crept out of their dens,
“ Under the conduct of this porcupine!” Urchins are, perhaps, here put for fairies. Milton, in his Masque, speaks of “ urchin blasts,” and we still call any little dwarfish child an urchin. The word occurs again, in the next act. The echinus, or sea hedge-hog, is still denominated the urchin. Steevens.
In the Merry Wives of Windsor we have “ urchins, ouphes, and fairies ;” and the passage, to which Mr. Steevens alludes, proves, I think, that urchins here signifies beings of the fairy kind :
“ His spirits hear me,
Malone. - for that vast of night that they may work,] The vast of night means the night, which is naturally empty and deserted, without action; or when all things lying in sleep and silence, makes the world appear one great uninhabited waste. So, in Hamlet :
“ In the dead waste, and middle of the night." It has a meaning, like that of nox vasta.
Perhaps, however, it may be used with a signification somewhat different, in Pericles Prince of Tyre, 1609.
“ Thou God of this great vast, rebuke the surges.” Vastum is likewise the ancient law term for waste, uncultivated lạnd; and, with this meaning, vast is used, by Chapman, in his Shadow of night, 1594:
When unlightsome, vast, and indigest, “ The formeless matter of this world did lye.” It should be remembered, that, in the pneumatology of former ages, these particulars were settled with the most minute exactness, and the different kinds of visionary beings had different allotments of time, suitable to the variety, or consequence of their employments. During these spaces, they were at liberty to act, but were always obliged to leave off at a certain hour, that they might not interfere in that portion of night, which belonged to others. Among these, we may suppose urchins to have had a part